Saturday, May 29, 2010

In the Pink

Continuing in the throes of my pink and red obsession, I present a new piece that I'm calling "Mad Romance."



Encaustic with rubber, tacks, fiber, 12" x 24"




Closeup of bottom panel




Closeup of top panel


More later - must get to garden to plant pink and red flowers.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Art's Fringe Benefits

Hanging out with other artists and talking art is nearly as good as making the stuff. No one gets it like other artists do, and an extended stretch of time with art pals is just a wonderful time to share news, enthusiasms, stories and opinions about art.






Binnie Birstein before the opening of NEW @ FAC




Last weekend I spent nearly two days talking art and hanging out with friends at the NEW @ FAC show in Fairfield, Connecticut. We even managed to fit in a pajama party at Binnie's on Saturday night.


Here are a few images of work in the show. There were 55 pieces of work in encaustic altogether, so not all the work is included here. (NEW members can see all my photos on our yahoo site.) The show is on until June 25th, which means it will still be up during and after the encaustic conference.




This work was in the entryway: LtoR - Kim Bernard, Pat Gerkin, Binnie Birstein, Nancy Natale





It kills me to post this horrible picture of myself, but I do want to show you Billie Jean Sullivan, Director of FAC, in blue, Show Organizer Binnie Birstein in the white shawl and Curator Laura Einstein on the far right. Laura did an excellent job selecting the work and finding a way to hang it all and meld it into a unified exhibition.




This is part of the first wall after the entryway. LtoR work is by Donna Hamil Talman (2), Misa Galazzi (top), Dawna Bemis (2), Ken Eason (2), Helene Farrar (top), Barbara Cone and part of a work by Earl Schofield.




Work by Beverly Rippel (top), Sharon Coffin, Sue Katz (2) and Binnie Birstein.




These are by Diane Langley on the left and Linda Cordner on the right.




Corner piece by Carol Odell, sculpture and painting on right by Kim Bernard.




Kim's piece again with two by Gregory Wright.






LtoR: A diptych and single panel piece by Rick Green, two landscapes by Pam DeJong, blue landscape by Charyl Weissbach and bottom work by Suzanne Des Rosiers.





Two pieces by Alison Golder on the left, then Kellie Weeks and Lelia Weinstein.





On Sunday we did a two-hour talk and demo and were happily surprised when Joanne Mattera stopped by on her way out of New York. (LtoR: Binnie, Dawna Bemis, Joanne, Misa Galazzi.)




Here is Binnie demonstrating use of a propane torch.




Dawna talking about her work.




And Misa showing us a book that documented a recent solo show of her work.




Do you think Binnie is talking about painting with encaustic or techniques of flying here?


Whatever it was, Binnie did a great job introducing New England Wax to the Fairfield Arts Council and providing lots of fun for artist pals.

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Bulletin: The number of Art in the Studio followers has hit 100! Welcome followers. I hope I can keep you interested and entertained - or at least amused.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Illusion of Control



This time of year in the garden marks the season when I think I am in control. The plants haven't filled out, some early blooming perennials like iris and peonies are starting to come in and everything is just very green. It's so restful without all those nasty weeds and the urgent struggle of one plant trying to overcome another. Ahh spring!






This is the time when I imagine that I'll be able to undertake all those garden projects on the ever-growing list. I'll fit in garden time and studio time because, really, there's not all that much to do.










The birds are singing, courting and nesting, hummingbirds have returned, skies are blue, etc., etc.










And everything is so neat and well behaved. (Here you see in the background the Weber grill that serves as garden sculpture.)








The one exception is these lousy peonies (in pink) that demand support and then go to mush in rain. (Note the poor planning of the yellow and orange pansies - but they were there first.) Let's see how long it takes me to cut off these mushy, dead or dying blooms.








The moss and ferns are great at this time of year when it's still so dampish and cool. (Note the found - unearthed - Easter Island figure.)








Perfect little hostas emerge so sweetly.








Or some have enormous leaves, bigger than dinner plates, with not a trace of insect hole, wind damage, sun burn, etc., etc.



This is some European ginger I rescued that was growing wild in the front lawn. I'm rooting it here.




This is what it looks like when it's established. It's a lovely shade groundcover.




The yard looks a lot like a park with the shade trees and chairs. No annuals yet to water and deadhead.




And the boys are always in attendance. 


If only the illusion would last.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

10 Reactions and Reflections


All the news that's fit to think about.



Item:   A Catholic school refuses to accept the son of two lesbians as a student. 
Reaction: Discrimination! How dare they?
Reflection: Why would any two lesbians want to send their son to a Catholic school? What were they thinking?!!!














Item:  Art auctions bringing in gazillions, way higher than any estimates, for art made maybe 40 or 50 years ago. 

Reaction: When art becomes such a commodity, doesn't it lose its magical artiness?
Reflection: Without a big name giving it a big price tag, is it still art or is it more art than ever?

Image: Magical, pink arty stuff from the internet










Item:  "Oprah", Kitty Kelley's just-published biography 
Reaction: Since I just read this bio, perhaps my opinion of Oprah is now influenced by Kitty Kelley's tell-all.
Reflection: Oprah should have quit last year. She looks downright haggard - and bored. Maybe her producers are scheduling all the sensationalism not to increase ratings but to keep Oprah engaged? Anyway, I haven't watched her in a couple of months.


P.S. Whatever happened to her BFF Gayle? Where is she? Why the hell is the decorator guy doing interviews that Gayle used to do?















Item: The Gulf oil geyser pumps thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico with no end in sight
Reaction: Not another horrifying environmental tragedy caused by corporate greed!
Reflection: A disgusting mess bound to get even more horrifying. I can't even joke about Cheney being behind it all.

Image: This so reminds me of Laura Moriarty's work.













Item: George Rekers, a Baptist minister and clinical psychologist who is a self-proclaimed expert at turning homosexuals straight, caught returning from a 10-day trip overseas with an "escort" from RentBoy.com
Reaction: Are all these homophobic preachers really closeted gays?
Reflection: All these homophobic preachers are really closeted gays.
Image: Rekers' "rentboy" escort.






Item: Laura Bush writes a memoir and makes a big PR splash
Reaction: She seems to talk real good for the wife of a language mangler.
Reflection: First step in the reconstitution of Our Boy George










Item: The six biggest U.S. banks made $18.7 Billion in profit in first quarter of 2010, biggest profit since spring 2007.
Reaction: Were these profits financed by the U.S. government?
Reflection: Maybe that's why Bank of America stopped including mini-photocopies of cancelled checks with their monthly statements? (as they really did)

Image: I threw in Cheney because he must have had something to do with it.




Item: The Kardashians
Reaction: No talent, not that good looking, too icky for even me to watch their "reality" show
Reflection: A talented public relations staff used that booty to carry the whole family to celebritydom.













Item: Arizona passes a stringent anti-immigrant bill that makes it a crime for an immigrant to travel anywhere without papers.
Reaction: This will lead to racial profiling, open discrimination and persecution of non-whites.
Reflection: A Pew Research Poll in early May showed that more than 60% of Americans (not just Arizonians) were in favor of this law. They obviously don't know it could be them next time.


Image: "Executive Order 9066, Series 6," 30x22, 2009, by Mary Higuchi, from Donna Watson's blog. Note: Executive Order 9066 imprisoned Japanese immigrants and their descendants in concentration camps during WWII.









Item: President Obama nominates Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.
Reaction: Finally, a third of the Court will be women!
Reflection: Damn! She's apparently not a lesbian. Guess we'll have to settle.









Note: While I'm thinking about all this stuff, I'm not focusing on the two wars that have been going on for eons costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars. I'm not thinking about the climate that we have destroyed with our poisonous gases and short-sighted, rapacious ways. I'm not thinking about the thousands of people in the U.S. who have lost their homes and their jobs and can't find others or have to work at something way below their capabilities just to hold it all together. I'm not thinking about the people who still believe that President Obama was born in Kenya and wants to convert us to Socialism. I'm not thinking about all those hypocrites who are telling us how to live but don't follow their own rules. Well, you get the drift. Oh, and I'm probably not in the studio because I'm on the internets getting time sucked away from me.

All images from the internet unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Collage + Encaustic

Sometimes I feel like I spend my whole life stumbling around like Mr. Magoo at the hind end of the elephant, taking the tail for the whole beast. Myopia is me. I get so focused on whatever is near at hand or last to arrive in my mind, that I can't see the big picture or remember what came before.



Cuppa, collage with encaustic and oilstick on book cover, about 7"x5".


Or maybe it's just that I get so wrapped up in the new, that I forget the old? Anyway, I'm in the studio and having a really fun time making these little collages on book covers. I'm making some bigger work at the same time, but these little pieces are very enjoyable.



Hear Ye, collage with encaustic and oilstick on book cover, about 7"x5"


What I mean by my opening statements is that in my rush to embrace the next new thing, I completely erase all memory of what had me so engaged with the old, abandoned thing. I forgot that I really love doing collage, that is, I love the kind of collage that's more like mosaic because I really love mosaic. You see how it goes.





In the Pool, collage with encaustic on book cover, about 9"x 5.5"


I've done mosaic with glass and tiles but that's a lot more work than these and you have to be careful about glass splinters. Plus it's very heavy. All I have to be careful about with these is the paper storm that I have brewing on one of my tables. I hope it doesn't get hot too quick because if I turn on a fan, I'm done for.




Wish You Were Here, collage with encaustic on book cover, about 9"x 5.5"


In Other News 
I received the stolen and recovered paintings back from Tucson today. I kind of dreaded opening them to see their condition, but they weren't bad - a few chips and scrapes. I think the rubber surrounding the panels in place of frames really saved them from more damage. That's one of the great things about encaustic - easily fixable.


Preparing for NEW @ FAC
New England Wax is having an exhibition at the Fairfield Arts Council gallery in Fairfield, CT that opens next week. It was organized by my pal, Binnie Birstein, who lives in Connecticut and belongs to the FAC as well as to NEW. The show was juried and curated by Laura Epstein, who has a background in Asian and contemporary art. I've been working on the show for a while - gathering images, preparing lists of accepted work, putting together the catalog, etc. This Saturday I'm helping to receive, unwrap and check in paintings. There's really so much work to it all. It's worse than housework - but more exciting and with a better ending. (You do know that you can click on these images and see them larger, right?)




Friday, May 7, 2010

Embracing Passionate Color

Painting reveals my inner state better than any analyst could. Think how much I have saved on therapy over the years by allowing color to signal my interior emotional state and alert me to what is happening in my life.

This is not something that I really notice right away unless I just drown myself in it, but this past year or so it's really been apparent to me. I've been through a black and brown phase when I was so depressed about my mother's condition, I emerged into a blue and green period when the stress and anxiety were lifting and then I found myself in a dark red and orange state when I began to feel much better about life in general. Apparently I'm back to being even lighter and brighter than I thought I was because I can't get enough of pink and red. Wow! The Little Woman and I have been together nearly 25 years so it's not a new love affair, but to judge by my palette, it's spring and I am passionately embracing the whole wide world.

Actually I'm embracing a new method of working in the studio. I have slowly begun using the old books and papers I've been collecting and begun collaging them in various ways with encaustic and other materials. This process began with the rubber and copper I started using a year ago and now it's morphed into books. I've previously shown in this blog the book pieces that will be included in Wax Libris II, the library show that Joanne Mattera has curated for this year's encaustic conference in June. (Note that those pieces were pink and red!) Now here are a few more recent pieces.




Still untitled, 12" x 12", encaustic over paper collage



Bumpy Red Ride, 12" x 12", encaustic and mixed media


The second piece does not include books but has my standard things embedded plus some larger, cruder hunks of wax and a lot of red/pink colors. The pink blur in the center is a color called Opal Rose that is transparent and iridescent - very pretty. The reason that I include this piece in this post is that I thought I might make a diptych from these two.



Here's the diptych. I think the dots bring it together, but we'll see.


And here are the first pieces with book collage I made:


Library I, encaustic over collaged parts of books. I think it's about 32"H x 18"W or something like that. This is still pretty dark.


Library II, encaustic over collage parts of books, same size. You can see the red and pink creeping in there even though there's a lot of blue.


I am getting a kick out of working with these materials because they're so rich all on their own. I've been struggling to discover how I can make them my own, and now I think I'm working my way into it.

This week I also made a few collages on cut off book covers, thinking about the small works show later this month in Fairfield, CT. They were fun to do. Here's one of them.



Untitled in red, pink and black, about 9" x 6" or something like that, encaustic over collage.


It always surprises me how much my emotional state is affected by what happens in the studio. When I have a good day, I'm just exhilarated and when it goes badly or doesn't go at all, I am in despair. It's the life of an artist.