Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Back

The Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland.

Well where to start, it has been awhile and a lot, I mean A LOT has happened.  First of all, let me update you on my show in October. This is the last painting I finished and one of the most fun to paint. I had a fun opening and I am very grateful that in this economy I sold two paintings. No press, but you can't have everything.

Because of this economy, I will not be taking the the winter off from my Trolley job. I will be working, driving in circles and talking history all winter. It has med me think about my priorities, I would really like to hobble together a life that revolved around art. To that end I have launched another venture.

I am making beautiful felted wearables, teaching felting classes and selling the materials and I am the gallery coordinator for a friends store/gallery, Bead + Fiber Gallery. It is located in the hot hot section of Boston, Sowa, at 460 Harrison Ave. I know what your are thinking at store in a downturn economy?  Well so far so good, I mean if we can keep our heads above water now, which we are, just think what will happen when the economy turns around.  It is a unique concept. Bead + Fiber Gallery shows contemporary Bead + Fiber artists. sells the materials  and has classes to teach. I am the felt maven.

This is an example of  the type of my work. The scarf is a Nuno felt scarf, which means wool and silk are laminated together during the felting process. The earrings are beaded felt beads.

I do love making things it is very satisfying, and then to see someone buy them and use them gives me a kick. 

Anyway, check out the website, www.beadandfiber.net, for my classes and I will soon launch a website devoted to B.felt complete with an Etsy store to sell my finished goods and supplies.

I went to Scotland to see my son Oliver perform at his school, the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in a performance called a "Panto". It was so much fun, they have nothing like this in the states. It, is geared toward children, the title is Mother Goose, but a lot of the jokes and gags are strictly for adults. If I had to compare it to something it would be a cross between, burlesque and variety. I loved seeing my son in his element. His girlfriend had me over for dinner and I swear she was rehearsing for the role for Mrs Poole. It was a wonderful dinner complete with meet the aunt, who is a delightfully chatty women. Though that said I  only understood every third word was said. I know they are speaking English, but there is only so many times you can say, What?

The economy really bit us for Christmas, I pared back to what really mattered. Having all my family and friends over for wonderful, calorie laden dinner. I made most of my Christmas gifts and the kids got only what they needed, new coat, jeans no big ticket items this Christmas. And guess what? I didn't miss them, and neither did they. It was a delightful day.

As I am getting ready to drive in the parade for First Night here in Boston I want to wish everyone  a Happy, Hopeful and Healthy New Year.
In Peace and Hope


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Sad Week

Work in progress 24"x36" acrylic on panel

This is a very hard week for me, there has been family illness, a friend and colleague is battling breast cancer and my husband is having trouble in his company. Sometimes I wonder if I really should be doing something, like painting which during times like these it feels very self-indulgent. I have not been able to make a living from my art, I do sell, but it is barely enough to support my art habit. But then I go to my studio, pick up my paints and the rest of the world disappears, so perhaps by working in my studio, I am keeping myself out of the mental health care system and thereby saving room form someone who truly needs it. 

Today, is one of of those beautiful New England days, my crab apple tree is blooming in my little "yardette" and the smell is intoxicating. I went to the garden center yesterday on my way home from the hospital and picked up some beautiful pale pink ivy geraniums to plant in my window boxes. Because I have to drive this weekend, I have asked that for mothers' day,  my family please plant my window boxes. That way, when I come home from my shift on Sunday, I will be surprised with the work all done. I am looking forward to seeing that.

Heard form my son Oliver, who goes to school in Scotland. He chastised me for not calling! An absolute first, usually, it get ragged on for calling too often. The year is winding down so I think he is getting a little homesick and looking forward to coming home. They go to school until July 2 so he still has a ways to go. His twin sister, who goes to school in Montana will be coming home the end of the month. She has already informed me that our home is going to be a youth hostel this summer, with dozens of her friends coming to Boston to visit. I don't really mind, secretly, I really enjoy all that youthful energy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Routines

Work in Progress (no title yet) for the series Pulp Fiction acrylic on wood 24"x36"

I just spent three days driving in circles talking history on the streets of Boston. It was not as hard as I thought it was going to be, and, indeed, I remembered about 90% of my spiel from last year. I really felt more relaxed about it, and I was able to joke and kid more with the guests. Still, by my last tour on Sunday I was pretty tired and couldn't wait to get home.

So today was my first day back in the studio. It is going to be a real challenge to get all the work done I need for October and get all Life stuff done. Like getting the car inspected, calling and scheduling the exterminator (ants), getting the garden ready, etc., etc., etc. Plus, my husband and I have started an exercise program, every morning, off we go to the gym. We both hate it, but we like how we fell afterwards. We have promised each other, that if we make it to 80 we will just let everything go. I'll take up cigarette smoking and eating foi gras, and drinking whiskey, while Chip will take up cigar smoking and eating double bacon cheeseburgers. I mean, hey, if you make to 80 you have earned it !

I have come up with a title for my show in October, "Pulp Fiction", which I believe will make all these narrative paintings hang together. I am very excited about this new painting, it is so much fun and so free not to censure myself.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'm gonna be the movies ( at least my art work will be)

Pamela Boll, the women who produced "Born into Brothels" has just finished a documentry, titled "Who does she think she is?". It is about 5 women artists, visual, literary and performing, who against all odds continued to make art. Now, I am not one of the artists, but my artwork will be featured in some of the scenes. The movie is not up yet, but here is a link, that will eventually lead to more information. The actually took three of my paintings, but I don't have the others on digital yet, as soon as I do, I'll post them.

Me and one of my fellow conductors going on the NEW Tour

I am feeling a little frazzled now as I am  starting work tomorrow. Driving in circles and talking history, it can be a lot of fun, but after three tours a day, you are pretty wasted. I really love the people I work with, I have never laughed so much as when I am around these guys, and they are mostly guys. Remember in middle school, all the smart-ass guys who got sent down to the principles office for having a smart mouth, or being just a cut-up ? Ever wonder what happened to them? Well, I know, they all work for Old Town Trolley . They are a great bunch of guys, knowledgeable, irreverent, but now they have learned how, and when to be cut-ups. As jobs, go, if you have to work outside the studio, this is not a bad one to have. As a result of my working on weekends only, I will probably not have the energy to be blogging after work. So I will be posting Monday - Thursday, unless I get an unusual burst of energy, who knows it can happen.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day

We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Today is Earth Day, I sometimes curse myself for having been born in the Northeast where cynicism is practically a birthright. It is always an up hill battle to fight my natural inclination. So here's the joke. 

question: If today is earth day, what happens the rest of the year ?
answer: Pollution.

I know, I know not very funny, but it is right on the mark for me. I was watching some innocuous day time show while I was exercising in my gym, and this "celebutante" gets all gushy, with how she is saving the planet by buying Green sneakers. She already had over a 100 pairs. Now, does anybody besides me see what's wrong with this picture?  

Enough ranting and raving, time to go to work. I hope to re-finish the painting I started at VSC. I thought it was finished but after my crit, I noticed all sorts of ways to change and improve. 

Plus, I have to spend some time today driving (yes I know adding more pollution) around Boston, reviewing my history. I go back to work on Friday. I started reviewing my spiel, and have discovered to my utter amazement, that I actually remember a good deal of my blather. I tell the worst jokes ! 

Friday, April 18, 2008

Self-doubts and Affirmations

The Fall 24x36" acrylic on wood panel, 2008

What a wonderful day today was. It is so beautiful in Boston when we have spring, and it seems like we might. This is my last free weekend, starting next week I will begin my seasonal job at the Old Town Trolley Company. I will drive around in circles all day talking history. This year I will be only working part time, 3 days a week, Fri, Sat, and Sunday. This week I had to take my drug test, I don't know maybe there is something anatomically wrong with me but I find it virtually impossible to pee in those little tiny cups. And you are under such pressure, they mark the cup off with how much you have to produce, they stand out side the door to make sure you are not doing anything nefarious with your collection. You feel guilty even though you are not! Next Wednesday, I go and get certified with the safety conductor, I will have to spend the next few days rereading and memorizing my Boston history, as all those dates have flown right out of my head.

Last night my son helped me hang all my current work around my studio for a visit with our newly formed crit group. I was very apprehensive about the crit as I am suffering now from huge self-doubts, with the cancellation of the shows and going back to work, I start to question my artistic dedication and lets face it, my chops. Well, what a wonderful, talented, generous group of artists I have the pleasure of being part of, of calling my peers. Their attention, encouragement  and suggestions helped me to feel connected to my work and to my peers, and to even feel like a peer. The more I do this the more I realize the need to develop internal success markers and one of those markers has to be the respect of my peers, today that was affirmed. 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Man Makes Plans and God Laughs

I finished all twenty of my hula paintings, hung them and am more convinced than ever that I should do 100. These twenty paintings were destined for a show in Chicago, but do to unfortunate circumstances the show has been cancelled. This makes the second show cancelled for me this year, I hope this trend ends soon as I am amassing a great deal of work with no place to show them. I will put them up for the upcoming May open Studios in the South
End, which is not the same.


Randy Garber at the Newton Art Center (my photo does nod do this piece justice)

Friday I went to a wonderful drawing show, titled "On Drawing, Surface, Line, Mark at the New Art Center In Newton. One of the artists, Randy Garber, who is a personal friend of mine had some of the more interesting work in the show. She was the only artist that presented  a different idea of drawing, her work was on paper, but because it extended out of the wall it became sculptural. The paper she used was a non traditional, piano scroll, and by suspending in on the wall she created yet another dimension for the drawing, light and shadow. The holes on the scroll, became marks on the wall and at the same time they were the absence of marks on the paper. Her work directly relates to her hearing impairment and the way in which language is construed and misconstrued. My picture does not do it justice !!! The other artist in the show whose work I responded to was Thaddeus Beal. He refuses to believe a drawing is dead and keeps working till he has it resolved. I loved reading his comments on his process. In he said. "I saved the drawing with the exuberant use of the erasure."   I wish everything could be saved that way.


Thaddeous Beal, charcoal on etching.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The end is in sight

I finished the last panel of the small hulas and am quite pleased, now all I have to do is paint the sides of the panels, attach the swavorski crystals, and varnish. I am waiting on new panels arriving so I can work on my multiple hulas. I have them all composed, just need the boards, and they should be arriving any day now.

Just a thought, yesterday was opening day for the Boston Red Sox each one of the Red Sox, managers and various hangers on were rewarded for last years World Series Championship with a ring, valued at 12,000 dollars. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually love baseball and the Red Sox, but does somebody want to tell me why they need rings ? They gave away a total of 43 rings, thats over 500, 000. dollars, it seems to me that they could have come up with a more imaginative and less costly way of saying, job well done.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Piece Work

The assembly line.

Works in progress, all that remains to be added are the swavorski crystals, at this stage the are White Gold leaf, acrylic, 6"x8" wood panels

I have gotten into the grove of work again. My knee feels so much better, I can finally walk up and DOWN stairs. I am have a whole lot of fun with these paintings, I finished 8 today and have only 9 more to finish so I will have a total of 20. Ons of the interesting things about painting these people, is that I don't start out thinking I am going to change their images, but as I paint them, they start to morph. They become shy, confused, outgoing and sometimes younger or older, with the flick of a brush. One of the hulas, has even ended up pregnant. I think if she sees it she will be a bit shocked as I don't think she has any plans in the near future for children.

Unfinished, Haven't got a title for it yet
As soon as I am finished with the hulas I can get back to work on this painting I started in Vermont. I just loved paining all the stuffed animals, I think I am going to do a whole group of paintings with dead animals in them. While I was in the groove painting I had an epiphany, about composition. I frequently use rooms I have found in magazines, and then I painstakingly grid them out and copy onto the panel I will use. Well, it was one of those slap your head kind of moments, where I thought, now why don't I just photograph the mag, than do the composition in the computer. DUH. Well I think this will save a lot of time in getting the scale right.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

First Friday

Opening night at the Bromfield Gallery with the two artists, JIll Weber and Bettsyann Duval this past Friday was very well attended, even though the weather was less than ideal, rain. In fact the whole area was really crawling with a lot of people. I think the large number of people can be partly attributed to what I consider a"disaster attitude", the end is near, so we better go now. The Boston Globe, the Phoenix, the Big Red Shiny all reported this  week about a shift in the gallery scene. A few galleries are closing, some are moving and others are reconfiguring. To some, this triggers the chicken little response, others are bit more philosophical and think in terms of Darwin. I tend to lean towards the Darwin theorists. 

The South End is evolving, and yes, I am sure part is due to this lagging economy, but I am equally sure, that it is also do to the natural rhythm of business. So who is staying and who is leaving. Allston Skirt had their last opening on Friday. MPG will be closing its doors in July. Bernie Toale, is bowing out of the gallery operation, but his business partner, James Hull, will be taking over and maintain the current roster and promoting newer artists. The really good news for the area is that Howard Yezerski will be moving his gallery into the newly renovated 460 Harrison Ave this September. So all the doomsayers out there relax, take a deep breath the end of the Boston art world is not in sigh its just redecorating.

Back in my studio I have just finished gold leafing 20 6x8" panels for my hula-hoop project. I got an e-mail from Ginny Sykes earlier in the week asking if she could change the show dates. I broke out into a cold sweat, oh no, not another show cancellation ,and me with all this work and I should have been working on the work for the show in October, instead of wasting my time making work for shows that don't happen. Thankfully she is not canceling the show, she has reassured me(now who sounds like chicken little) its just that the dates need to be adjusted.

 I have started painting the new group of hulas and I am really happy with what is happening and an looking forward to seeing them as one big group. I have been painting them for a year, but I sell them and so I have not amassed a large number, this will be the first time. I'll try to take a picture tomorrow, the assembly line is kind of cool.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday at the Gallery

I gallery sat today at my co-operative gallery, the Bromfield Gallery . This being the Thursday before First Friday, the gallery and studio opening event of the month in Boston's South End, it was extremely quiet. There are two artists showing, both gallery members and their work couldn't be more different, but both equally passionate. In the first gallery Jill Weber , whose paintings evoke the feeling of being in a fun house, where walls and ceiling collide and slant at dangerous angles. She approaches her painting as constructions and bases her imagery on the shadows and interplay of planes from skylights.

Connector Diagram Blue 2 - click for more information
Jill Weber, Connector Diagram Blue 2 12"x12" oil on board 2008

In gallery II is Betsyann Duval , I always look forward to her shows as she is constantly changing. This month she is showing large, charcoal drawings that center on some very famous women's faces, an appropriate show for women's history month. The images are close cropped and centered on the face. And as controlled as Jill's lines are, Betsyann's lines are wild and free, with a huge variety of mark making. 
Local Artists Exhibit Work at Bromfield Gallery
Betsyann Duval, Hillary, Charcoal on Illustration Board

Because it was so slow I took the opportunity to work out the composition for my next hula-hoop painting. My mother-in-law had given me a pot of narcissus that just bloomed, they were so delicate and fragrant and when I got down on the table I saw my next painting. One of the people who hula-hooped for me at VSC was Allison Sparrow. Isn't that a great name. She is a beautiful painter, unfortunately she doesn't have a web site so I can't show you any of her work, but she hula-hooped the way she painted, enthusiastically and with abandon, which seemed to me to match the vitality of the narcissus.

Composition for next Hula Hoop Painting. TBC

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday at the Movies Or Where is Bruegs?

Today being Sunday, I too the day off from the studio to go to an afternoon movie. I think that is one of the most decadent things you can do. While the sun is shining to sit in a darkened room with the flickering light of the projectors. Hubby and I and a guest, Gail who is visiting us from VSC went and saw the comedy, very very black comedy In Bruges. You laugh and are horrified at the same time. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeso play the roles of two hit men, who after a difficult job are ordered by their boss to go and cool off in Bruges. They are immediately out of their element, not knowing how to be tourists, how to relax or even where is Bruges. Colin keeps calling it a shit hole and if it really had been someplace good it would have been in a country that everyone knew, not Belgium. In this the most well preserved medieval city in Europe the hit men start to question life, death and the morality of their occupations through interactions with a dwarf, tourists, pregnant hotel owners and indifferent minor bureaucrats. The stories comedy moves into tragedy with unexpected results. It was the perfect way to escape Sunday.

Then it was off to Whole Foods, or as we like to think of whole paycheck for our weekly supply of groceries. That place gets on my nerves, way to many type A people shop there. Here I am still hopping on a crutch and they are pushing me out of my way to get their organic guava or whatever. Still, I shop there, because I do like to know what is in my food.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Dreary Day in Beantown

This is another painting from my work at Vermont Studio Center, on of my favorites. I think of these paintings as landscapes that are on the edge of the real landscapes. The places you pass, going to an fro from your destinations. Not places you stop at for coffee, or go for a walk with your dog, they are the places you try to pretend don't exist, but quietly nature starts to reclaim.

I had a very productive day in the studio, I love it when it is grey and rainy outside, then I am not tempted to do anything else. I started gold leafing my little panels for my hula hoop project and am about 50% done. I am doing 15 of them and am excited as I usually have only done 3 or at the most 4 at a time. Now I will have a nice group to send to Studio Rose in Chicago for a group show of Boston Artists. The gallery is run by friend of mine Ginny Sykes, a wonderful artist in her own right. The two other artists exhibiting will be Sand T and Kim Salerno a performance and installation artist. Studio Rose is located in the Ravenswood section of Chicago and next door to Spacca Napoli Pizzeria, 1769 W. Sunnyside Ave, Chichago, IL.  The opening will be on May 29, and the pizza place will be open. It should be a fun exhibit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Disappointing Day

This is another image from my work up in Vermont. Sometimes you feel like the seagull and sometimes you feel like the statute. Today is one of those statute days for me. I had been planing to show this work with my brother in DC, but the only reason I was going to show it was to see my brother, whom I have not seen since I was 4. He informed that he will not be able to come to the opening, so I pulled out of the show. I know, it sounds kind of childless, but it was to be in some nothing non-profit and it was going to cost me a bunch of money I don't have, and I don't need another go no where line one my resume. So I said no. But it still makes me sad, now I have 7 paintings which I am quite pleased with but the do not fit into my other work. I think I will have to make more and find another outlet for them, someplace other than my own backyard, It will take a little investigation and research, but what else is new.

On another note, yesterday, I mentioned that I was gallery sitting at my co-operative the Bromfield Gallery and there is a great show up right now. Charles Goss, called vertical life. His work is funny and

 sophisticated and comments on gender and power without being pedantic Here is a sample of one of his pieces, you can see more of his work and read his statement by going to the Bromfield Gallery Site

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gallery sitting at the Bromfield Gallery

This is my first day out in the real world, doing things from my real life. I am a member of the Bromfield Gallery, a co-operative gallery in Boston's South End. Each member is required to gallery sit about 10 times a year. I say this is my first day out because for the last six weeks I have been in heaven, the Vermont Studio Center, an artists residency where my biggest worry was when to do my laundry. If you are an artist and have never been to an artists residency, start applying NOW. It is the only place I know of where you can expand and fill up all the corners of your mind with art. You are in an environment where everyone is either a visual or literary artist, your meals are prepared for you, you have a studio of your own and a bedroom and you can work 24/7 and nobody, will bat an eyelash.

 I was able to accomplish 5 months worth of work in 6 weeks and I have a studio in Boston. A lot of people ask me, if I have a studio already, why do I need to go away to work. It is because, when I am away, I am away from my life. The minute I get to my studio in Boston, I am already thinking of when I have to leave to go to the market, buy the food, cook the food or whatever other errand needs to be accomplished to run my life and my families life. At a residency there is only one thing to think about ME. The experience is an incredibly self-indulgent, luxurious but necessary blessing for the soul of any artist. 

The image at the top of the page is one of the pieces I completed at Vermont Studio Center. It is of the underpass to Lechmere train station in Cambridge MA , which is also its' title, it measures 24"x36" and is acrylic on wood panel. It is also very different from my usual subject matter. I'll discuss more about that in later posts. I completed 6 of these urban landscapes and one of my more usual subject matter, I call them 'Noir' paintings. This paintings title is The Epiphany, acrylic on wood panel, 24"x36". I really love doing both types of paintings but I am torn, because I am told that the road to success is paved in consistency and I find that I really want to stray from that road

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My First blog

Well, this is my very first post. I have been inspired by a two other artists to try my hand at blogging, one is Tracy Helgeson, an artist I met at the Vermont Studio Center and the other is Adria Arch, an artist who belongs  to the same co-operative gallery I belong to, the Bromfield Gallary. I love both of their blogs and their art. 

Today I had my first physical therapy appointment after having  knee surgery on March 20. I was feeling a little discouraged before I went, I thought I should be just about back to normal now, but my expectations are a little high. Evidently being able to walk up stairs using both feet is quite an accomplishment for someone so recently operated on. So I guess I will go easy on myself.  
Since the surgery I have been trying to paint at home. Which would be okay if I had a real room to do it in. But I have to make do with my dining room, which is smack dab
 in the middle of my house,. Essentially, it is the hallway for the house, can't get anywhere else unless you walk through the dining room. It is a recipe for distraction.  I
 did manage to complete a painting that I started up at the Vermont Studio Center. It is from a series of paintings I call the Redemptive Powers of the H
ula Hoop. The project began two years when I was a resident at Jental, an artists residency program in Wyoming. They had hula hoops there, for the fun of it, and just for fun I decided to take pictures of all the 
residents hooping. When I looked at the pictures, I noticed that after the first few attempts, the body and facial expressions would relax and a childlike posture would come over everyone. I think in order to hoop, or attempt to hoop, you have to access that child in you who first tried it out. From the pictures I started making these little icon paintings, they are white gold leaf, acrylic and gouache with swavorski crystals on wood panels, 4"x8". My goal is to complete a hundred of them, so far I have done abou
t 20, but I just took a lot of pictures of people attempting to hoop while I was in Vermont and can't wait to get started on the new Icons.

Of course I am really good at distracting myself and while I was in Vermont I got an idea for another way to use the hula hoop images. Which is the painting I just finished while I am recuperating at home. I call it Lana set free it is Acrylic on wood panel, with swavorski crystals, 18"x 24"  and was a lot of fun to do.