Saturday, June 19, 2010


This piece is not new.  My studio is in the basement, and I'd hung it at the bottom of the stairs.  I titled it "Baggage" and it's purpose was to absorb any baggage in my life before I entered my creative space.  It's a 30 x 40 stretched canvas.  It was the first large canvas I stretched myself.  Experimenting with different methods of applying paint and medium was the goal when it was created.  After a couple of years, I decided to add a frame.  I purchased a thin metal shadow box frame and learned the lesson that canvases you stretch yourself aren't necessarily square, and you're better off with a frame that can hide the fact.  I didn't have the funds to purchase another, so made it work.  I framed it so it could be exhibited in a juried show.  When it returned home from that show, it found a place in my living room.  The reason I'm posting this today is I've lent it out for an exhibition where I work.  I work in the fiscal department of a non-profit social service agency, and was depressed by the state of the building.  There were no funds for anything other than basic maintenance.  The agency had purchased an antique school building from a town for $1.00.  I think the town got the better deal.  There was no color, nothing on the walls.  Blank space.  I started talking about inviting local artists to exhibit their work.  I finally managed to get one other person excited about the possibility and it spread to one other.  We went through all the channels, wrote up a proposal, got approval, and I'm pleased to say the building was transformed yesterday, when two old friends and I curated and hung 47 pieces by 20 local artists.  There was a call for artists, on a first come first to exhibit basis, inviting them to exhibit one to three pieces, no jury, no fee.  The space is not a gallery, has no special lights, the invitation was meant to allow the energy of original art transform a building and offer artists an open opportunity to exhibit.  The exhibit will hang until October, when we hope to repeat the process.  The goal is to have three exhibits a year. 

There is a reception scheduled for next Thursday evening.  The exhibit reception will also mark the 45th anniversay of the agency.  I am energized, sore and tired at the same time.  We didn't know what the artists would bring.  We had a collection of different sizes, medium, subject, style, and color to arrange.  We found the almost perfect place for each piece.  The quality of all the work is incredible.  Visitors, partners in service, executives, and employees frequent the building, so the exposure for the artists is reasonable.  Not great, but reasonable. 

I believe it is very important for artists to share their work, close up and personal.  The public needs to see art in everyday places, not just in museums, galleries, and libraries.  Art should be everywhere, sharing it's energy.  There may not be an economic factor in simply "putting it out there."  However, the benefits to society cannot be counted.  Everyone wins.  Art takes two people, one to create and another to see. 

I thank everyone that takes the time to post and write about their work in this venue.  Sharing is the key to creativity.  All that said, I will now turn my focus to my own work with joy. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Start Over

Last Sunday I worked on a start all afternoon, and wiped it all off on Monday.  There are times I feel it is okay to do that.  I'm not compelled to work with something I'm not attracted to.  I was feeling frustrated and threw the paint on this canvas, stabbed it with my brush, pulled it around, had my rag handy and was wiping paint off as fast as it was being applied.  When I was done, I stood the piece on a shelf and walked away.  When I returned to the studio, the paint had been thin and wet enough (oil mixed with paint thinner) some of it dripped through the painting and I had a puddle of indigo on the shelf.  I could have wiped it all off at that point, but there is something here that fascinates me.  I don't know what it is yet.  I've been looking at this piece for a week now.  It's almost dry enough to work on, but I'll wait until I have a longer block of time.  My obligations at my paying job kept me out of the studio the latter part of the week, and a family visit for the weekend did the same. 

I was excited by a previous start I posted, now I wish I had it back.  I developed the painting too soon.  Patience is what I don't always have.  The painting that did result from that one is beginning to grow on me.  There are no mistakes, I need to remember that. 

This start has water, wind, plant life, sky,earth and human elements in it.  I will bring it into what it is, and will abstain from forcing images into the paint.  There are enough there to keep me busy and content for several hours of painting.