Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Revisited

2009 Was a rather interesting year....many ups and downs. Here's my own flashback....


January

-43F at the "Countenance" show opening that I curated.

I found out that my Trooper has a blown head gasket + a warped head. This means my car is officially a lawn ornament.
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February


I turned 37.

My best friend of 12 years passed away.

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March


My stepfather died.

My mother and father got back together after 30 years of divorce. (?!!?!)

I was accepted to grad school.

Ethan Ivey was born.
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April

Frommage moved out.

I delivered 12 paintings to the gallery for my solo show.

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May

Fromage moved back in.

We bought a new bed.

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June


I bought a 2001 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle.

Fromage and I went on a 400 mile bicycle tour for our

8th wedding anniversary.


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July

I went to Vermont for my first MFA artist residency.


I met amazing artists and made wonderful friends.

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August

I took a mushroom identification class


and did a lot of (unsuccessful) fishing with Cousin Bill.

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September

Painted my kitchen yellow...at long last!


Took three pickup truck loads of CRAP to the recycling station.


My cycling partner Shannon moved to California...

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October

Back to VT for my second residency.

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November

I made 17 artworks in three weeks.

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December

Fromage turned 44.


Silas Worley was born.

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December 31, 2009:

Everything is the same, and everything is different....again.

Happy New Year!


Health, wealth and happiness to you in 2010!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter work

Nothing much is happening...and I mean nothing. A little knitting, a little writing, a little job searching! It's the horse latitudes of winter...

I'm helping Fromage with a survey of some property North of town. It's three days of standing in the woods with the rod and prism at -5F. Or, -10F today, it turns out. Boring, but more interesting than reviewing another empty list of jobs I neither want to apply for or can't apply for.


We saw a moose the first day. She merely stood there, ears alert, gazing at us. To forstall any quick and ugly change in temper on her part, we both said "Hi there Moosie!" in bright, loud, annoying voices. Ears flicked back, she trotted off deeper into the snowy woods.
Above, Fromage with the instrument, making notes.


I wear multiple layers, and this great, stained and dirty military down coat. So warm! I haven't figured out the trick to warm feet, however. Yesterday, stomping a trail from one power pole to another, I realized that my feet had gotten cold enough to feel like I was walking on little stumps. Not good, but not really bad---no damage done.


Else?


Just a few days until winter solstice, and we start our climb back into the light!


An invite from my great adventure friend Shannon means I may head down to California for a bit in January. YES!!!


Did I mention knitting? I'm doing a lacework hat that's making me cross-eyed. I do a few rows, then put it down and rest. It has a pattern of climbing leaves, and I think it'll be beautiful.




Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Winter slide

I'm getting used to being back home in AK. Okay, okay....I'm sleeping and eating a lot! Haha! No, really---coming down off of the intensity of my November residency has been absolutely necessary. Being at VSC requires a lot of structure to my time, long hours in the studio and constant socializing...that last one being particularly wearing on me. I like me some friends and some people--but not all the time. I've been totally enjoying the quiet and solitude at home. Totally enjoying just having Fromage around and seeing some good friends now and then. My studio has yet to wake up to my return! I do independant studio packets in my months away from school, so I have to get rolling on art very soon. Also, my next solo show is in July of 2010, a scant 7 months away. Time to get that underway, for sure.

Above---the half-finished garden bed to honor my very first motorcycle, a 1971 Honda CB 450. ---the snow tidies it up beautifully! We're down to 4 or so hours of daylight now. I took a nap around 2pm and missed the actual sunlight of the day!




My only productivity this week has been making this hat---knitted with Lion Brand Wool Ease. Yes, yes---I am kind of a yarn snob, and this yarn doesn't actually fit into that attitude! Turns out I'm just that wee bit allergic to wool in most of it's forms...so this acrylic blend stuff doesn't itch. I LOVE knitting in the winter! It totally sastisfies this OCD side of me, too. Curling up on the couch, cold outside, good movie (lately renting episodes of Fringe) and knitting. I do wonder if it gives me a false sense of productivity, however. Siphoning off a little of that creative angst, maybe?? Haha. No worries---knitting can never take the place of painting for me.



Happy December, ya'll. I hope you're each finding some satisfying winter creativity wherever you are.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The month in images....

Cydney's pallette



Early Riser's Club



Eero's studio: the final showing



Oreen's sculpture



Erin in studio



Beth in studio



Church studio building



Eero's pallette



Happy to have been there...



Oreen's tree



A friend's home studio



My nest for a month...



Nightfall


And now?

Back in AK....


It's -29F.

Friday, November 13, 2009

VSC, continued...

I went for a long walk the other morning. I'm experiencing some serious burn-out in the studio! This is compounded by a feeling that I've shot my load, so to speak: I've done what I needed to do here, I've done the best work I'm going to do here, and it's all over but the shouting. (Where does that saying come from? Some book or other??)

Anyway---long walk. This is the old electric station at the Gihon River. The treat was to see that chalk? drawing on the concrete retaining wall. Someone had to be adventurous to get down there with art supplies.




I got to do just a wee bit of letterboxing last week! Always so much fun. This one was a series where the boxes were pretty close to each other. 7 in the series and only one we couldn't find among them. I did find my very first, real, live acorn, however! Thrills abound! No, really---I'm a lifelong Alaskan---I've only ever seen pictures of acorns. Seriously!




Here's the base sketch for a drawing/painting (oil bar, again) I titled, "The Pact." 41"x29." I keep doing these twinned women....



This is the almost finished piece. I resolved their hands to be holding each other tightly. The face of the woman on the left wouldn't work and wouldn't work until I finally gave her a small, secretive smile and then voila, she was there. The women on the right side of these pictures always seem to have a lot of attitude....

A week left. Let's see if I can make just a few more pieces....


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Making all of the time worth it

"The Twins"
(Huntresses)
40"x30"
Oil bar on paper
November 2009

This is a new work from this week, done on November 9th. My project is going well---one artwork a day. I've fallen totally in love with oil bars, just a week after totally re-falling in love with chalk pastels. In addition, I'm also falling in love with working BIG, and thankfully still in love with paper, so I can roll all of this stuff up to ship home. The good bit is that I'm not worrying overmuch with framing, showing, selling, shipping, etc. It's very freeing---letting me do any and all images/styles/ideas I want to, disregarding outcome entirely, except for the requirement that I like it!


I'm also getting in a little tiny bit of photography this session. I brought along my super-sexy-fantastic camera, the Canon G40, and I promised myself I could take pix of anything and everything I felt was even mildly interesting. It's good to get back into the habit. Above, nifty patterns. I have a thing about clotheslines....as in, I think they are kind of beautiful and very evocative.


There are kids art classes taught here in one of the studios. This is a big painting left on the wall---don't know if it's a work in progress or what, but my guess is that it's a full classroom effort. The whole painting is so great! Intricate little sea monsters and submarines and big, blobby jellyfish. There are even fish wearing hats and a guy in an undersea cage. Sheesh...I could get a month's artwork inspiration off of this one painting.

One of the best things about this place is the conversation. At any given mealtime, you can compare notes on studio practice, materials use, art methods. Just yesterday, I had a conversation with a printmaker named Amy who told me that when she pulls a multiple-layered print and it comes out perfectly, she'll stop for a moment and clap. Just do a little applauding for the artwork (and herself, I imagine) that this endeavor came out beautifully. She laughed when I told her my self congratulatory act was to step back from the artwork and say out loud, "I FU*%ING ROCK!" Not as elegant or mature as an ovation, I'm afraid....

Just 9 days left here. I can admit to being homesick. There are one or two things here that I will miss so much that I just know I'm going to do some serious crying after I leave! I've reserved a spot for next summer to continue my MFA, so there I go---another countdown to begin!

In the interim.....winter.



Friday, November 06, 2009

Anatomy of an Artwork

Here is a sequence showing the development of my drawing from
November 5th.

"Into the Horse Wars"
20"x16"
Oil paint bar

The initial sketch in charcoal.



Filling in major areas---focusing on the body armor/breastplate and horse heads.



The faces appear.....




Mixing tones more, and the bowl appears...



The composition is completed and all areas of the image have been attended to. Now for the final adjustments....



Just a bit of deepening of blacks and it's finished.




This drawing came out fast and furious. It's the most compositionally complex piece I've done this month. Today, another oil stick drawing on a similar horse theme titled, "Ride It Through." My task for each day is to find a good idea, most often accompanied by a provocative title, and then jump right into it without a lot of analysis or planning. It's working well, as I have 11 finished pieces as of today.

Tomorrow---a new task. This afternoon I bought a BIG piece of heavy watercolor paper for the next artwork: 30"x40". This is still to be completed in one day! I have a juicy idea in mind, but of course, this could change easily in the morning....

I'll keep you posted....






Open Studios: The Inside View

Open Studios Night here at VSC: We all wander around from building to building, checking out what everyone is working on. If you don't feel like sharing, you just keep your door closed. Good to see what all of my fellow residents are working on! There is great talent here this month. The following pictures are a few of my favorites....
Wesley's studio---his big charcoal drawings depict bears and bear hunting. Beautiful, if sad and haunting work.


Oreen's sculpture. Found object, junk, ephemera and detritus. I LOVE her stuff. I feel a kinship, since I photographed abandoned buildings for all of those years. Her studio is like a big rusty playground. Great stuff!
Erin Lee Benson---painting the walls of her studio---a full intallation piece. You get this really amazing feeling in there, surrounded by the giant pink critters and yellow, floating orbs. Really fun and slightly unnerving stuff----like I like it. She's a delightful person, as well. Very intelligent and funny.



Liz Hamby: Her table of objects. This type of arranging of stuff really tickles me. She does layered painting/drawing/collages and sands them, then builds the layers up again. She works fast and furious.



Jason's studio with about 75 figure drawings. He's managed to do all of this in 2 weeks, as well as have a few oil paintings underway....and go to all of the evening events and parties! And he's 22. Nifty guy. Very talented.


My studio, yesterday. I'm doing well on my "one artwork a day" project. This type of approach makes me appreciate my ideas differently, as well as work differently. When you don't have a set plan, you have to pay closer attention and keep all of you options open. I'm having a great time with it. I've made art that makes me laugh and creeps me out at the same time. Good combination!