‘Figures’ The Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance

“Art is longing. You never arrive, but you keep going in the hope that you will.” -Anselm Kiefer

I first met Heatherly Wakefield in 2008 when she invited me to do “Fired Works: A Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale.”  Heatherly is the Director of Fine Art at the Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance and Fired Works is an annual show sponsored by Macon Arts Alliance. I participated in Fired Works with my pottery 2008, 2009 and 2010. Heatherly recently found me and my 2-D work and contacted me about the upcoming gallery show ‘Figures.’ Below are the pieces that were selected to be in the show:

The show is being held during the month of August (2014) at the Gallery at Macon Arts Alliance (check the link for the gallery hours and location). The show features Georgia artists Bob Hart (Athens), James Schroeder (Rome), Marie Weaver (Atlanta) and Macon artists Meg Campbell and Martha Tisdale and me (Ellijay).

This will be the first show at Macon Arts Alliance that focuses on figures. According to Heatherly ‘this is not figure studies, but work that shows the figure in action, or invites the viewer to find the story.’ The show will include 3-D as well as 2-D. I’ve included a link to each artist (above), if you would like to look at the other artists who will be in this show.

I am thrilled to be invited to participate in this show. I absolutely love painting and feel that a paint brush literally fell out of the sky and landed in my hand at an important turning point in my life. I want to paint invisible landscapes – that magical place that exists for all of us right below the surface. It’s why I paint. And for my work to be included in a show and purchased in a gallery amazes and delights me.

 

“Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.” Dr. Seuss

Posted in ceramics, folk art, galleries, painting | 12 Comments

Out Walking With My Baby

“There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.” -May Sarton

Out Walking With My Baby acrylics, charcoal 14x14 birch panel

Out Walking With My Baby
acrylics, charcoal
14×14 birch panel

This painting felt like it burst from me. That’s what happens when I don’t spend daily time drawing or painting. I’m not sure what it’s about. I’ll have to spend some time with it.

I have had a house full of company this past week – six extra folks – loved ones we don’t get to see very often. Even though I enjoyed their visit, I am used to having some time alone every day. I usually spend that time in my garden, in my studio, reading or doing yoga. I am not used to cooking and talking so much.  Thankfully my guests, my son and my husband all left on the same morning. I almost feel guilty because I have relished my time alone the last couple of days. It has allowed me to re-fill the well. Bob returns today. Luke comes in for a quick visit on his way to a percussion retreat. Bob and I will spend a quiet weekend immersing ourselves at home doing the things we love to do. Life is good.

The painting below sold! YAY -

Barnyard Talk - sold

Barnyard Talk – sold

 

And I did get invited to do a show in Macon, GA at the Gallery at the Macon Arts Alliance in August. I will give more details as they become available. 6 pieces will be going. Another – ‘YAY.’

“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.” -D.W. Winnicott

 

Posted in folk art | 16 Comments

Walking The Dog

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” -Joseph Campbell

Walking the Dog acrylics, charcoal, oil pastels 24x24 birch panel

Walking the Dog
acrylics, charcoal, oil pastels
24×24 birch panel

Here’s a quick piece. Tomorrow family from Idaho arrives, so I’ll be busy talking, laughing, cooking and eating. No time to paint for a few days.

I might have some good news next week. A gallery contacted me about my work. YAY!

 

“The universe is always speaking to us – sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, look around, to believe in something else, something more.” -Nancy Thayer

Posted in folk art | 8 Comments

Why Do I Garden Anyway?

“Our existence on this beautiful but lonely blue planet depends entirely on plants. The air we breathe, the food we eat, fibers for our clothes and many medicines we need derive directly or indirectly from plants. What can possibly be more important than to learn about plants and how to care for them? To learn about nature really means to understand about life and how we need to care for ourselves. Plants are our capital, our life savings and retirement fund at the same time ensuring that we survive as long as the sun may shine.” -Stig Dalstrom

 

Why Do I Garden Anyway? acrylics, charcoal 14x14 birch panel l

Why Do I Garden Anyway?
acrylics, charcoal
14×14 birch panel

 

This painting is a vent for me. My vegetable garden is being grown totally organically – no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. And every bug in existence loves this Georgia heat and humidity. Why do I garden? Now I love it and the quote above describes how I feel about the importance of taking care of our planet, but I do need to vent.

Two to three times a day I go to the garden to battle – right now – Mexican bean beetles. How do they know I planted beans? My method is to fill a bucket with about two inches of soapy water and knock the beetles into it where they die. I also mix my own insecticidal soap – using Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and essential oils of citronella and eucalyptus. The insecticidal soap helps with the aphids and stuns the beetles so I can knock them off the plants.

Luckily I don’t have deer or rabbit problems because of our fences. Our property is totally fenced and the garden is fenced.

A few tomato hornworms have showed up as well. They are easy to pick off although not always easy to see. Those pesky worms can devour a tomato plant in a matter of hours. But the garden is thriving – I’ll have tomatoes, squash, and cukes soon. I’ve already made some herb butters – sage, oregano, thyme and summer savory. I don’t love dried herbs. They seem to loose their flavor, so I buy farm fresh butter, chop the herbs (about 2 tablespoons per cube) add some butter to cover and freeze them. Ball makes these great ice tray type silicon freezer starter cubes. Your freeze overnight in their cubes and then transfer to freezer bags.

I posted this photo on my Facebook page, so some of you have already seen it. Here’s the garden this week:

Garden July 1, 2014

Garden
July 1, 2014

 

Have a happy 4th – stay safe, have fun and wave a flag! Hope you get to eat some good bbq with family and friends.

Happy 4th acrylics 10x8 birch panel

Happy 4th
acrylics
10×8 birch panel

 

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” -Pablo Picasso

 

Posted in acrylics, folk art, gardening, painting | 4 Comments

Finished!

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” -W.B. Yeats

Minstrels Coming To Town acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal 24x24 cradled birch panel

Minstrels Coming To Town
acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal
24×24 cradled birch panel

 

This was a fun painting to do. My favorite way of working is straight from my imagination. I’ve always felt things were much more magical in this world than we allow ourselves to see. It’s easier to live in an organized, practical world. But have you had a conversation with a four year old lately? What they see and imagine isn’t yet covered up with the world’s problems. When I paint, I try and access my imagination as my younger self. It makes me happy.

One of my first magical memories was when The Wonderful World of Disney aired Peter Pan on television. I think it was 1955 and I was five years old. I was mesmerized watching. And I remember as clear as if it were yesterday, dreaming I could fly. Oh to be Tinker Bell – now that would be amazing.

“A person’s life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.” -Albert Camus

 

Posted in folk art | 10 Comments

Continuing Process

“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with objects it loves.” -Carl Gustav Jung

In my previous post (click on link to see how this painting started), I began to talk about process.  I created an underpainting and began to add color to my beginning charcoal drawings. Once I began to add color, I no longer liked the background painting. I couldn’t continue with the painting until I adjusted the background. In the photo below, you can see that I’ve started to add vibrant color and I have not finished that process yet. At this point, I am thinking I will leave the ‘town’ as abstract line and color. I need to finish painting the new background colors around the figures too. I hope to get to that today.

WIP Minstrels Coming to Town acrylic 24x24 cradled birch panel

WIP
Minstrels Coming to Town
acrylic
24×24 cradled birch panel

When I make a change that makes the work click for me, I get very full of myself immediately afterwards and I am guilty of letting that feeling get the better of me sometimes. I have occasionally sent out work that wasn’t fully formed yet.  I am now trying to let my paintings sit in my studio for a while before sending them out into the world. When I first started painting, I was so amazed I could get anything on a canvas. But now I have come to recognize the value of polish and revision. In fact some paintings never get to see the world, but are entirely painted over. The last four or five paintings I’ve done are hung in my house, so I can visit them for a while with a critical eye first.

How do you know your painting is finished? What makes you realize it’s true to your current voice? Is it just a ‘feeling?’

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” -Aristotle

Posted in acrylics, drawing, folk art, galleries, painting | 6 Comments

Process

“Painting is a kind of call and response. During the act of painting one is listening, paying attention to a self, a voice simultaneously recognizable and foreign.” -Squeak Carnwath

 

I have had no formal training in painting. None. It’s odd because when I was learning about how to work with clay, I took dozens of workshops from some really amazing clay artists. But with painting, I like finding my own way. I really enjoy just seeing what works and I’m afraid of a teacher telling me I’m doing it all wrong and ‘correct’ my methods and style. So when I describe process, it’s my process.

First I gesso – one coat on a birch panel. When that dries, I start just putting on paint without much thought to what I want the finished painting to be. Layer after layer, reacting to each layer and building the next layer from what I see on each layer.

When I  am happy with the underpainting, I use Stabilo charcoal pencils to draw in my story – the figures, buildings and whatever landscape the underpainting seems to be giving me. At this point I prefer to walk away for awhile and come back with fresh eyes. The charcoal pencil is fully removable, so I can change my mind and quite often I do.

Below is a series of photos of a painting I started this week. It’s in no way complete. During this phase, I fall in and out of love with the painting many times. In fact as I continue to paint, I know I’m finished when I finally like it again. This painting’s working title is ‘The Town’s Minstrels.’

At first the charcoal drawings. These are all on one 24×24 birch panel – just little snippets of the beginnings of a painting.

WIP first drawings WIP first drawings WIP first drawings

 

Then I start to add color:

WIP first colorWIP first color

 

How do you work? Too bad we don’t all live closer together and could meet once a month to talk about our working styles, our favorite paints, artists, books . . . .

“The only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out; a deeply lonely unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out.” -David Rakoff

 

Posted in acrylics, art books, drawing, folk art, painting | 13 Comments

Table Top Fun and Other Studio News

“The universe is always speaking to us – sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.” - Nancy Thayer

About five years ago, we broke the glass top on our porch furniture table. At that time, I was busy working in clay and still believing I couldn’t paint or draw. So Bob cut a piece of plywood to fit the space and painted some squares and stars to liven it up. Then we added a varnish which made it too dark. We lived with it like that for the last five years – hey -it’s porch furniture. But the other night I dreamed about that table top and woke up the next morning ready to re-paint it. Why I’m dreaming about porch furniture, I don’t have a clue, but it was fun to do a project and not worry about galleries – to just paint for the fun of it.

table top

table top

acrylics 17x27 wood panel

acrylics
17×27 wood panel

Remember a few months ago I moved my painting studio from a small bedroom to our converted studio garage? I set-up all my clay tools and glazes out there too. Bob also has his woodshop in the garage studio.

Last week, I moved my painting studio back into the bedroom. I found I needed to create a more sacred space than I could accomplish in the garage. Too much else was going on while I was trying to paint and it just felt too big. I really need a space where I can lose myself. Working in clay can be done in a busier setting, but I need quiet to dig to those deep places while painting. And in this bedroom studio I also have a few of my favorite things. It feels more like it’s my space.

studio studio studio

I’ve started a new 24×24 cradled board. You can see in the above photo, I’m just beginning the abstract background.

I also continue to tweak my blog. I’ve updated the ‘about me’ page and removed the archived work – paintings and clay. I was getting requests for clay work and I’m not ready to work in clay again – yet.

“To have a sacred place is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so, where you do not know who your friends are, you don’t what you owe anybody or what they owe you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.” -Joseph Campbell

Posted in folk art | 4 Comments

Her Magical Ride

“Everything great that ever happened in this world happened first in somebody’s imagination.” -Astrid Lindgren

I came across the above quote the other day and remembered how much I loved the Pippi Longstocking chapter books when I was a young girl. Pippi was my hero. She was unconventional, sassed adults and had super human strength and her best friend was her horse. I think I might have dreamed about Pippi because when I woke-up, I headed straight to my studio and painted this.

Her Magical Ride acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal 8x10 birch panel

Her Magical Ride
acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal
8×10 birch panel

“A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.” -Astrid Lindgren

 

Posted in acrylics, folk art | 14 Comments

I Love My Gallery and Other News

“Making art is a lot about just seeing what happens if you put some energy into something.” -Kiki Smith

Sold during the month of May — YAY!

Why is it so important for an artist to sell their work? Is it the money? Artists tend to create whether or not their work ever sells. For most artists, money just buys more art supplies. So, why is a sale so important? We all have a deep desire to be heard and understood. I’m not just putting paint on a canvas. The essence of who I am ends up in my work. So when I hear that a painting has sold, there comes a deep sense of satisfaction - someone listened and understood my story.

I know art is expensive and not everyone can afford to buy. But if you can, invest in an artist and artwork. You’ll be doing something amazing in the life of that artist, not only will the artist know you were listening, you will be inspiring that artist to continue working.

In other news, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve changed the look of my blog. It’s still a work in progress. I didn’t want to change it, but WordPress updated their platform and the ‘theme’ I was using was no longer compatible. Change is good, right?

“A great painting or symphony or play doesn’t diminish us, but enlarges us, and we too, want to make our own cry of affirmation to the power of creating behind the universe. This surge of creativity has nothing to do with competition or degree of talent. When I hear a superb pianist, I can’t wait to get to my own piano and I play about as well now as I did when I was ten. A great novel, rather than discouraging me simply makes me want to write. This response on the part of any artist is the need to make incarnate the new awareness we have been granted through the genius of someone else.” -Madeleine L’Engle

Posted in acrylics, blog, folk art, galleries | 12 Comments