Friday, March 30, 2007

Making art and keeping very, very busy...

My studio table...
The past two weeks have passed in a rush. I'm working
full time at the greenhouse, which is physically exhausting.
I'm having trouble with the newly burgeoning arthritis in
my hands....they ache and ache at night...
I imagine that I'll be like Monet near the end of his life,
tying paintbrushes to my wrists to keep working despite
the failing of the body....
(I've got it all planned out...I'll do abstract.)

This is the busy time of the year a the greenhouses
when we are all ramping up for the brief and intense
selling season. I call the greenhouse customers 'the locusts'
because they rush in in a huge wave or cloud and retreat
again, taking all the plant material with them.
I'll be absent for the craziest two weeks, however....
more about that later.....

Lately I've taken a big jump forward in creating work for
my next exhibit, "9 North." This show is my brainchild,
my baby, and I have to make a good presentation in it. Several of
the other 8 artists have sent in their paperwork
listing what size and style of pieces they're putting in
the show.....thankfully, several are HUGE. Gotta make
sure we are able to fill the whole gallery...can't have this
exhibit look anemic. I am worried about how
this show will come together. A few of the artists
are doing rather small work. 15" x 20" or so....and
only 6-8 of those.....
I really need to do a count and look at the gallery and
settle my nerves on this point. I am a worrier, by nature....

My own new pieces for "9" are 4' x4'....the
largest I've ever worked! It's a thrill. I LOVE working
big. It'll be hard to go back to a smaller size. At this
point, however, four foot square is about the limit of
what I can get in and out of my studio, navigating the
interior stairwell of our house.....

Here's the most recent painting begun. Name unknown.
4' x 4' mixed media on baltic birch panel. Thus far, I'm
using acrylics for their easy drying and quick layering
ability. I feel that oils are my destiny....eventually.

This is a rough sketch of a painting that still may make
the grade. I love the excitement in the overlapping,
curving lines! This will be a labor intensive piece, and
I chose to clean the panel and start with a new idea
rather than dive into this one right now. I felt like
it might be like building the Eiffel Tower when
I should really just build a small cabin....i.e.,
something I could reasonably finish in the next
few weeks.
An old friend of mine once said, "Practicality is
often used like a club."


Here's the painting a little further on. All I had
to go on for the impulse for this painting
was "the big blue." Sometimes and idea is
much more mature and complex. This one....
it's more like I'm blindfolded and the painting
is leading me along by the hand. I'm not
to nervous, though. This is somewhat familiar,
level ground for me to traverse.....

And last, but not least: some good news...
I've just received a letter from
Penland School of Crafts that I've been awarded
a special work study scholarship to attend
an artist bookmaking class in May!


It's the 'Collins, Evans, Massey Scholarship'
which is full tuition, room and board, but I work
during the week at the school 20-25 hrs. a week
and pay my own materials fees and transportation.
Yikes....airfare from Alaska to North Carolina.....

I've wanted to go to Penland for a few years---
last year they offered me a partial scholarship, but
in a class that I didn't want at all. I couldn't justify the
airfare and time for something I didn't really have
my heart in.
This scholarship and class falls during the two
most insane weeks of the selling season at the
greenhouse I work at. I haven't told my boss yet
that I'm bailing out right when she needs me most...
but I must.

I called my sister to share the news and
she was wonderfully excited for me.
My fiddling friend Tom McLean called
about a violin party this weekend and I
told him about the school and scholarship--
he was congratulatory on my attending
'art camp!' Art camp! Love it.