I’m very excited that my new series, Skyscapes, will be on exhibit at Collector Art Shop starting October 2, 2012. Collector is a great gallery in Elmwood (2950 College Avenue, at Ashby) specializing in affordable, original art.
This series of celestial paintings had a varied set of inspirations: watching for falling stars during meteor showers, a hand-glazed sake cup we found in Kyoto, and watching far too many episodes of Star Trek as a child. Here’s the sake cup that began my journey in this direction:
Working on this series has been a very meditative process for me. The paintings aren’t intended to faithfully represent the galaxies, but instead, to remind us of the emotions we feel when looking up into the night sky.
Collector is having an artists’ reception Friday, October 12, from 6-8 pm. Join me and the other exhibiting artists!
I was fortunate to take two totally different — but equally inspiring — vacations this summer.
The first was a long weekend in Southern Utah. I have always loved the Southwestern US – the landscape is vast, colorful, and ever-changing. Late July in the area is “monsoon season”, so the cactus was a deeper green than I’d ever seen it, and the afternoon rains created dramatic cloud formations for gorgeous sunsets.
I also was inspired by an artist I met, Ulrike Arnold (web site: http://www.ulrikearnold.com/). Ulrike is a German artist who paints on location, using the rocks and soils she finds as her pigments. Given the huge variety of colors found in the Southwest, I could understand how she could fashion a painting from the earth. Here are a few photos of her materials and workspace:
While I may not start grinding rocks to use as pigment, I am eager to try using glass frit and powder to create a landscape in glass.
The second vacation was a cruise of the Baltic Sea. We had spectacular weather and visited some beautiful cities and small islands. As in the Southwest, the clouds were dramatic, though very different:
On the island of Christiansø, Denmark, we found brightly colored cottages silhouetted against a deep blue sky:
And in cities such as Stockholm, we found beautiful Hanseatic architecture:
So many inspirations! Now the only question is, where to begin? (as soon as I recover sufficiently from the jetlag!)
A few weeks back, I participated in Silicon Valley Open Studios. It was my third year participating, and I was amazed at how much more art (paintings, glass and jewelry) I had to exhibit than last year. I had to put up a second tent and still couldn’t display all my paintings. It was very exciting to see what a productive year I’d had.
But then a fellow artist stopped by. Looking around at my paintings (oils, acrylics, pastels, landscapes, still lifes, abstracts), glass art and jewelry, he commented: “Well, it looks like you haven’t found your groove yet.”
I was floored! What a rude thing to say! At first I thought he was criticizing the quality of my work, but then it became clear he was talking about my focus, or lack thereof. Turns out, he paints only one thing: flowers in watercolor. And that’s all he wants to paint. And he seems to think that all mature artists should similarly choose one subject matter – “real artists” have to specialize. Thus, my variety of work struck him as evidence of an immature artist who is still searching for that “one thing” that I’ll do for the rest of my career.
I see things differently. There are too many things I love to limit myself to just one. First of all, I’d be bored out of my mind – and art would feel like work – if I had to do the same thing day in and day out. For me, the variety keeps me fresh, engaged, and growing. A technique in one medium can inspire me to try something new in another, such as imprinting pottery with pine needles led me to try the same technique with paint in my painting “Imprint.”
Secondly, if you look at many successful artists throughout history, you’ll find that many were active in different media or different subject matters. Michelangelo was a painter and sculptor; Picasso did just about everything.
So to the gentleman who stopped by during Open Studios I want to say: I’m glad you’ve found your groove. I’ve found mine too, and it’s variety.
The new Bullseye Resource Center opened last month in Emeryville. I waited until after the craziness of their grand opening to visit. Yesterday, my friend Angel and I made the trek across the Bay to stock up on glass. What a treat! Instead of looking at tiny little squares on the web site and trying to figure out what the sheet would look like in real life, we got to pull out the actual sheets of glass and hold them up to the light.
I can’t wait to start creating with all my new glass!
They also had an inspiring exhibit, ACT 2 The Glass Track, of pieces created by artists who began working in glass after careers in other fields. The pieces were beautiful, and with some, you could really see a connection to their first careers. I wonder if people will be able to tell from my work that I used to be a lawyer?
I’m thrilled to have my art in a great gallery in Berkeley, Collector Art Shop (http://collectorartshop.com/). The gallery focuses on “affordable original art” and their idea is to make art available to more people — a goal which I fully support!
In keeping with the theme, I placed several of my smaller recent landscapes at Collector:
as well as prints, note cards and magnets:
Next time you’re in Berkeley, stop by. Collector is located on College Avenue in Elmwood, right next to Ici ice cream. My work will be there through May 15.
Yesterday I awoke to a beautiful sunny day, and decided to take advantage of the sunshine to do some painting on location. I packed up the car and drove to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to paint the ocean. I had previously hiked there and scoped out a spot I wanted to capture – Moss Cove – less than a mile from the parking area along a pretty easy trail.
Gorgeous! One slight problem though – I’d forgotten to check the wind conditions when I checked the weather, and it was so windy the canvas kept blowing off my easel. So I ended up climbing down to the rock outcropping (in the foreground of the picture above) where the curve of the shore provided a little shelter from the wind, and setting up my paints in front of me and the canvas on my lap. Not ideal from an ergonomic perspective, but it worked (although I did wish I’d brought a chair or cushion).
The advantage to a little discomfort: fresh sea air, warm sunshine, and some wildlife for company.
The sea lions kept me company the whole time. Otters popped up occasionally. I had to wave off a turkey vulture to convince him I was still alive and wouldn’t make a good snack. All in all, a pretty idyllic day.
I had to call it quits before I finished (cold hands, even with gloves), but I made a great start. Now I have to decide if I want to finish up in the studio or take my studio on the road another day…
Here’s the work in progress.
Over the past few months, I’ve been honored to be entrusted with a couple of commissioned paintings. I’m always a little nervous when I get a commission — what if my interpretation doesn’t match the picture in the client’s head? But it’s a great opportunity to try subject matter I might not automatically gravitate to, and I’ve always been really happy to have taken on the project.
This commission was especially emotionally charged. A friend recently lost his mother, and after the funeral, the family released balloons into the air. He wanted me to paint the balloons to give as a gift to his father. Having lost my own father not too long ago, this really resonated with me and I was afraid I’d have a hard time emotionally with this. But the image was so colorful and the balloons so cheerful, I couldn’t help but smile while I was painting.
This second recent commission was less emotionally fraught. The client’s mother collects orchids, and this is one of her favorites. I loved how the greenhouse windows indicate a world outside, while the bright yellow flowers command your attention.
Thanks to my clients for bringing these beautiful images into my life and letting me paint my interpretation of them.
I have a secret. I’m an artist who never sketches. But last fall, a project came to my attention that had the potential to change all that: the ArtHouse Sketchbook Project 2012.
ArtHouse Co-Op, to quote their website, “is an independent Brooklyn-based company that organizes global, collaborative art projects.” Their flagship project is to get thousands of artists to complete a sketchbook, which then tour the world and end up in the Brooklyn Art Library. This sounded pretty cool to me, so I decided this might just be the project to get me from “gee, I want to sketch someday” to actually sketching.
See, there was a deadline. And I thrive on deadlines.
Plus, we got to pick one of several themes, and the one I picked was “In ten minutes“. I figured I could get myself to sketch for ten minutes. What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to limit myself to those ten minutes.
I started within my comfort zone: a tree:
I love pastel and oil, both very forgiving media. And I’m addicted to color. So I decided to challenge myself to black and white, and ink. Putting that first line in the sketchbook was hard. But I actually liked it, and had fun figuring out how to indicate shading and shape with only black and white.
A trip to the Rodin Sculpture Garden on the Stanford campus gave me a bigger challenge: the human form.
Emboldened by my efforts, I decided to go whole hog and sketch “The Gates of Hell”:
I wasn’t sure what the result would be, but I really got into the process of capturing the darks, and this turned out to be one of my favorite sketches – both because I had so much fun doing it and because I liked the result.
Here’s another of my favorites, my last post, completed on 1/31, which just happened to be the deadline:
My sketchbook is now in the mail on its way to the Brooklyn Art Library. I’m planning on stocking up on small sketchbooks and keeping one in my purse at all times. Because you never know when you’ll have 10 minutes or so to fill, and I’ve discovered that filling that time with sketching is very nice indeed.