Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Still Here and Raring to Go

The blog thing is OK but I guess I don't have the commitment to posting down. When I'm not in the studio, I'm not out looking either. Call me lax or whatever, but that's how it is.

But this week the Encaustic Conference at Montserrat in Beverly, Mass. has finally arrived and I'm very excited to get together for the third year with encaustic aficionados and bask in the warm, waxy ambiance. It's always so inspiring and such fun to hang out for a few days to talk art and life.
Here is this year's postcard that I will give out to show my work.

This year I'm presenting a talk/demo about editing digital photos of artwork using Photoshop Elements. I know there are many technophobes who are daunted (and rightly) by all the possibilities that Photoshop offers and don't know how to find the info they need to do the job for them. That's why I'm sticking to Photoshop Jr. and restricting my talk just to editing photos of artwork, broken down into five basic steps. I'm also including some background on how digital photography works. I'll be showing some PowerPoint slides and live PS Elements.

The conference is just Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but I'm staying on Monday and Tuesday for two day-long critical feedback workshops that are limited to 10 participants each. Monday will be with Barbara O'Brien, the conference's keynote speaker and long-time curator and art critic. Tuesday will be with Miles Conrad of the Conrad Wilde Gallery. I really want the opportunity to think about and discuss my work in a critique format so I'm taking a double dose.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my work since I've been feeling kind of stymied by where it's going (or not going). Last week I finally got a book on Lee Bontecou's work that I've been wanting for a long time. Reading it and looking at the wonderful images of her earlier work from the '60s and '70s, I was reminded of work that I had been making in the mid-'90s. I made quite a bit, but it got abandoned when I started making work on paper to sell through corporate consultants. They did not want crude-looking, black work and it didn't seem that anyone else did either. But I like it - still. I took some photos to show in the workshops. Here are a couple.

I don't remember the title I gave this, so I'm just calling this Tarpaper Piece. It's torn tarpaper with black caulk, found wood and a few tacks. I was big on tacks - as you'll see.

This one I do remember was called Cauldron. It's a found catalytic converter on wood with strips of a black foam material I was using and plenty of tacks. There's a piece of very thin netting over the converter and a lot of hidden inclusions wrapped in netting and some threads that look hairy.

This one I'm calling The Twins since I don't remember the name. It's the black foam with tacks and some found pieces of metal with painted stripes. It has inclusions such as shells, keys, etc. These pieces are all around 15 or 20 inches or so.

So I believe that this is the direction I'll be going in after the conference. I've been working somewhat sculpturally but I'm going to push it more, add some other materials to the encaustic and break out of the square/rectangle. It's an exciting prospect and I want to get started.

Meanwhile, what I've been doing since I haven't been in the studio is working in the garden. As I've mentioned (ranted on about) in earlier posts, the garden has been especially lovely this year because of the weather. The weather and the progression of growth has continued to be exceptional and it's been so satisfying to watch things develop. So here are just a couple (really I have hundreds) of photos, these taken just this week.

The Boys in their idyllic setting. The irises were fabulous this year - even though I dug up hundreds, there was still amazing bloom.

Here are the boys waiting for the Pack Leader to emerge and take them for a ride. This is how I feel waiting for the conference to start. I'm not taking my eyes off Friday.


Alicia Blaze Hunsicker said...

Hi Nancy, I've missed your posts! Glad you are back in the blog-o-sphere.
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE (underlined and bold) your black pieces...maybe its time to meet up at our respective studios for some art sharing.

Valerie said...

I wanted you to know how much i love your work and your blog! It is one of my favorites places to read about art.

Nancy Natale said...

Alicia, Wow! Thanks for your emphatic approval. Yes, we should get together. Maybe later this summer when I've had a chance to make some new work in this direction, I'll invite you over.

Valerie, I appreciate your very nice comment, too. I admit that I'm surprised because I sometimes feel that the rest of my life gets in the way of the art - but it's really all one and the same.

Ian MacLeod said...

great work Nancy - the piece you have titled "Tar paper" is very nice - and the pieces you show on the card are fabulous.