On the first day of the Holiday Originals show at Concord Art Association, my painting, "Red Bars" sold. Tomorrow (Sunday, December 5th), is the opening reception, and I will be bringing in this painting, which I am calling "Trio". It measures 8x6 and is oil pastel on panel.
Having your art, one's art, my art, sell is a funny thing. First of all, it is great. It is so very encouraging that some total stranger saw something I made and plunked down a wad o' cash so they could own it and look at it more. Come on, that's cool.
The second thing that happens is a little tug at the heart: oh, I'm going to miss my little red friend!
Then, the third thing that happens is insidious. Thoughts come barreling down, "Oh, They (whoever "they" are) liked that one. I will make More, just like It! And They will like it even more!"
Agh. The challenge is to remain true to one's own artistic exploration. We all are vulnerable to bending towards the warm light of praise, but an artist making art mustn't be a dog learning tricks: do the thing, get a treat, do the same thing, get the same treat, every time, time after time. We have to push on, follow the thread of our own inquiry, wherever it leads us, even if into unpopular terrain. What I mean to say, is that sincerity of heart and vision may be the most important lesson any artist, great or small, must grapple with.
This was my fifth painting to sell this year.
Now, get out there, whatever hemisphere, stratosphere, time zone, twilight zone, you find yourself in and buy some original art!
P.s.: I also have two small oil paintings available in the Miniature show running until December 30th at the Post Road Art Center. http://postroadartcenter.com/ The photo doesn't really show off the cool surface on these two. You've got to see them in the flesh!
Concord Art Association will have two of my paintings in their Holiday Originals Exhibit & Sale. This still life as well as "Red Bars" (see blog entry from March 22, 2010) are both available for under $100.00.
This time of year lots of local groups and galleries make smaller scale pieces available for gift giving. I encourage you to get out to enjoy the shows and take the leap to buy a truly original gift for someone special.
Holiday Originals runs December 2nd through the 21st
open house December 5th 2-4 p.m.
Concord Art Association, 37 Lexington, Rd, Concord, MA
In my part of the world, things can be very stark, grey, raw with increasing hours of darkness that catch you off guard. Nevertheless, the subdued tones and low, raking light is really beautiful, even if in a mournful way.
This is a painting of a rookery (where great blue heron nest) that I pass frequently. It is always haunting and stark, but even more so this time of year.
".....one day the sun shall shine more brightly than he has ever done, shall perchance shine into our minds and hearts and light up our whole lives with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn." Henry David Thoreau
I have never really been enthralled by still life as a subject matter, but a week of heavy rain during what was supposed to be a plein aire workshop culminated in this painting. I so enjoyed working with these terra cotta pots, that I imagine doing more paintings with them. Thanks to Jon Imber for a great week, despite the uncooperative weather!
I don't usually post class assignments, but I really enjoyed many of the pieces that resulted from a class I took at Worcester Art Museum. This came out of "Expressive Drawing and Painting" with Patti Kelly. As always, click on image for detail.
This is the second piece to which I referred (see last entry). It seems, if I insert two images in the same blog entry, you can only click on the first one to see the full-sized file. So here it is, click away!
In the midst of a heat wave, I went out with two friends, wonderful (patient) teachers, gifted artists, Randy Le Sage and George Hancin, to paint "en plein air" at Moore State Park, Paxton, MA. In was meltingly hot. The deer flies were in attack mode. Perfectly charming. I did the first piece in oil pastel and then later that evening (in air conditioned comfort) did the second one in acrylic. I didn't set out to recreate the scene, it just kind of crept back to me.
Finally! I've made the time to paint again. I don't mind taking a break , but that felt like waaaay too long. This week my classes at Worcester Art Museum started up again. This is a short session, but I've got three interesting, complementary courses with three really fine teachers. This is a wee little thing I made in my painting class with Christine Cross. It measures 8" x 5" and is made from acrylic & graphite on rag board.
So, maybe I am guilty of a little hyperbole, but I will have pieces in three simultaneous shows in Fitchburg, MA (clearly the next Williamsburg). The previously mentioned juried show at Rollstone Studios, a new piece accepted into the Regional Exhibition at the Fitchburg Museum of Art, and another new piece will be exhibited in "Salon des Refuses Deux", Design at 639.
Here are the details:
Design at 639, 639 Main St., Fitchburg, MA http://www.designat639.com/
Show runs July 18-September 5
Opening July 18, hours 6-8p.m.
Fitchburg Art Museum, 75th Regional Exhibition of Art & Craft
This is another older piece, also from the mid 1990's.
I wanted to include this and the piece on my last post here on my blog after reading a wonderful little book: "Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers" by Leonard Koren.
While I don't pretend that these works could really be characterized as wabi-sabi, they do deal with the beauty inherent to rustic forms and impermanence, transience, and the beautiful mystery of decomposition, which is what I get from the aesthetic of wabi-sabi.
This mixed media piece on a found board measures 32x8
This painting was started at the R&F pigment stick workshop I attended in November 2009. Right outside the studio where class was held were some active freight train tracks, which I have to admit, I found really exciting. Freight trains were common when I was growing up, but now I rarely see them wending through New England towns. I started the painting in response to the trains. There were tracks and wheels and boxcars and so forth, but I was unhappy with the outcome.
Later, back in my own studio, I scraped away at it , reworked it, letting go of the image of the trains and just getting into the material of the paint. I experimented with heating the paints in places and watching the colors run.
By loosening my attachment to the image of trains, I feel like I got closer the the feel of trains: the motion, the noise and vibration, the corrosion of the metal surfaces, the landscapes the trains travel through. It is not a pretty painting, but then, freight trains aren't really "pretty" either.
This piece measures 16x20 and is on canvas
Next, I launched into this piece. It is on gessoed paper that measures 18x24.
It is an imaginary flight over some kind of neighborhood. There are rooftops and parcels of lawn, maybe a pool of water or maybe just sidewalks. Don't get bogged down in being too literal. It is that jumble of colors and textures of an unplanned community viewed from a vantage point that was not considered as the structures and space evolved.
Skaket Beach, Off Season, 2009, mixed media on paper 9x12
This piece was selected by juror Nina Nielsen to appear in Members Juried I: Painting & Sculpture 2010 at Concord Art Association. The show was in January, before I had this blog, but I still wanted to get the image up here.
I usually work small. There is something intimate about small pieces, they don't overwhelm you, they draw you in. On a practical note, they are also are easier to deal with and less expensive to make. They are manageable, but maybe art isn't something to be "managed". Other artists almost always admonish me to work larger. This painting, which I did in the summer of 2009, was a response to that. It measures 36x36. Not REALLY large, but a big jump up for me. I am pleased with it up close (click on it for more detail), but I don't feel it is as successful from across the room. This work was done with acrylic paint and dry pastel on paper mounted on board. I call it "Over the Roar of the Falls". Like many of my paintings, it was inspired by the natural landscape/environment, without being about an exact place. "Over the Roar of the Falls" therefore, becomes about the experience of a waterfall, rather than what a specific waterfall looks like.
Because it is a little gloomy outside today, I feel like posting this painting I did in the Spring of 2009. it is oil pastel (different than the oil stick or pigment stick I wrote about earlier) on mat board, measures 10x13, and I call it A Place to Rest My Head. The composition is simple and translates immediately as a landscape: green field, blue sky, distinct horizon, but when more fully observed, the layers and luminosity of the oil pastels interject other possibilities. Is that a meadow or a couch? Are those clouds or windows? It is both and more. It is an Idealized space, calm, comfortable, and conducive to day-dreaming. It is A Place to Rest My Head.
I always try to remain philosophical about juried shows and competitions. It is just one person's opinion at one point in time, but it sure does feel good when something you have made gets selected by someone you respect! I just got word that two recent drawings of mine have been selected by Dana Salvo of Clark Gallery, Lincoln, MA to be included in the Concord Art Association's show, Members' Juried II: Photography, Drawing, Crafts, and Graphics. This on the heals of having a painting selected last month by Nina Nielsen for the equivalent show for painting and sculpture. It feels like a touch on the shoulder reassuring me that I am moving in a good direction. This is one of the two selected drawings, I actually like the other one better, but I don't have a photo of it yet.
Abiogenisis, 1, 2010, 6x6, graphite, charcoal, and conte crayon on gessoed panel
Show runs February 13- March 21 at Concord Art Association, 37 Lexington Rd., Concord, MA
opening reception, Thursday, February 18 6-9 p.m.
more information: 978-369-2578
view show online (after opening) at www.concordart.org
The weekend after Thanksgiving, 2009 I went to a pigment stick workshop at R&F Handmade Paints. You may know pigment sticks as oil bars or oil sticks. They are essentially oil paint mixed with some wax to render a solid, tubeless cylinder of paint with which to work directly. I had experimented with them before, but had been frustrated by their extremely wet nature. I couldn't figure out how to build layers. My efforts would turn to goo. And if I happened to like the goo, it would take ages, much longer than conventional oils, to dry. So off I went with the hopes of learning some techniques for using these gorgeous, unctuous paints to their full advantage.
I came away with mixed feelings. I still have the highest regard for the quality of the products that R&F make. And I did learn about using an absorbent ground rather than a traditional acrylic gesso, and it was fun to try all the available colors. I thought the instructor was a little cavalier about using them directly on paper. If you want your work to last, I would not do it.
I decided to relax into the transient nature of things and did the painting above rubbing the pigment into paper with a bit of mineral oil (his recommendation). The result is rich, but thin color. No goo.
This painting started life as a mono print. I reworked the whole thing by painting with acrylics on top of it. some of the gray areas are made with a micaceous paint that Golden produces which imparts a fine, gritty texture and a slightly metallic sheen. I also experimented with some iridescent medium, which prompted a friend to ask, "so what's with the shiny stuff ?" Okay, maybe he didn't use the word "stuff". I'm not really one for glitzy and slick, but I think it is good, at least in art-making, to venture into territories that feel a little out of character once in a while.
This piece measures 12x14 and is as yet, untitled.