This spring my mind has been on many of the seasonal imperatives, like creating new work for my galleries on the Cape and Islands and sorting through and shipping or delivering their selections. It has also, after a huge jump-start on my Atlas Project during my residency at the Nantucket Arts Association, been very much on advancing that exploration; and the spring has been spiced up by a few other new projects.
I have scheduled a talk to discuss my Atlas Project for July 15 during the Shandaken Artists Studio Tour, 4:30-6pm. I am currently developing the third sequence, Atlas/Hudson Valley segment. This means that, in addition to other work in my studio, I will hang a grouping of each of the sections that I have been working on this year: Atlas/Forms of Water/Snow; Atlas/Island (Nantucket); and the most extensive sequence to date, the Hudson River and Catskills work and mapping thereof.
In my studio work progresses on my third prototype map for this grouping, which will include mini-monotypes of the paintings involved; maps of various sorts of the area; and a number of other elements, both descriptive and visual. I am hoping that this map will be the working template that clicks for me so that I can use it for new groupings/exhibitions going forward. This involves lots of trial and error, applied problem-solving and then experimenting with the materials (maps, acrylics, printmaking, rice paper, collage, river mud, etc.).
I have found that when I pose myself a complex creative problem to be solved, following a simple process works quite well. I start by seeing how far I can think my way into it, often using moments when I am driving or walking, and when I hit an aspect or aspects that stump me, I plant those as a seed, and then let go of the conscious effort. Some time later—usually weeks—the answer will pop into my head, my subconscious having been at work on it all the while, sometimes aided by new information that comes my way in the interval.
Here is where I am so far with the latest Site Map and associated prints:
Above and below are a few of the Hudson River & Valley/Catskills paintings that are part of the new sequence:
My new series is bringing me ever closer to the many aspects of the natural world that I have in the past observed, researched and delighted in. Which of these things and how they can manifest in the work is the adventure. As is true of most meaningful new endeavors, the space this holds for me is both stimulating and disquieting.
My first gallery show of Atlas/Hudson Valley is scheduled for 2018 at Thompson Giroux Gallery in Chatham, NY.
To view more oil paintings that are currently in my studio, click here:
During spring I am always preparing to deliver or ship new work to my galleries in Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and/or Cape Cod. Below are some new pieces at the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. She always has a beautifully installed grouping of my work on display throughout the year, so please stop by if you are on the island.
My residency at the Arts Association of Nantucket in February resulted in many advancements in my problem-solving curve for the Atlas Project; a number of small paintings; and some monotypes (see my blog post on the residency):
The five monotypes hanging below are a the results of printing sessions in both Woodstock and Nantucket.
And a few others:
See more of my prints and pastels here:
In April I flew to South Florida to do a large painting for friends with a new house there. I managed to pack in one big suitcase everything I needed, including the 16″x20″ version of the wave image that I had painted ahead of time. The one thing that did not fit in my suitcase was the 48″x60″ stretched linen canvas, which we had shipped from my wonderful stretcher-makers in Vermont, Brickyard Enterprises.
I had exactly one week to do this large piece and so, concerned about the possibility of things going wrong, I put in long days for the first several, working under an overhang in the pool enclosure.
Happily, nothing did go wrong, so we had a finished piece on the wall ahead of deadline and then I got to play, spending time at the Morikami Gardens and the beach (more wave paintings to come!).
My winter-spring show with Albert Shahinian Fine Art wrapped up in early April. We had a nice run of of two receptions—one at the gallery and one at my studio; a number of sales of pieces small and large, old and new; and an interview with the Poughkeepsie Journal containing questions that I quite enjoyed:
Several of the pieces that went to new homes from our show “Gallery/Studio: A Symbiosis”:
I am teaching four more workshops in 2017, several of them new. In my workshops I emphasize composition as well as color, and share not only my techniques, but also an eclectic delight in many styles and aspects of contemporary and historical art.
The Woodstock School of Art:
I have plans for some new pastels in the near future—its a good time of year to approach these, with the studio windows wide open (ah, and I must mention sounds of birds and the creek behind my studio), mitigating any effects of flying dust. Below is a fairly recent one, in which I was pushing the color somewhat.
Over the years I have at times felt pressure from some of my galleries to work brighter. I am very often a moody painter, though I don’t ever want to limit myself to any palette, locale, format, or mood. I do love a bright sunny day, but painting dramatic clouds and subtle, tonal color often draws me, and many of my collectors will follow me into that terrain.
With the pastel above, I set myself the intention of not going as dark along the horizon as I often do in a seascape, and in general keeping the colors more saturated or desaturated with white instead of grey. I wanted to see if I could make myself happy with a lower contrast, brighter image. And I did.
This is turning a request, essentially, into a creative problem. When people ask me how and whether being a full time, self-supporting artist affects my decision-making in the studio, that is part of the answer—that if I feel that I am being nudged in a particular direction, can I turn that into an interesting problem? And after I work that one out, what else can I do that is generated exclusively by, to use Kandinsky’s term, inner necessity?
Additional works at the gallery:
These are works on paper, many of them unframed, currently in my studio. Often works on paper are an option that is more affordable than oil paintings. Several of my galleries and consultants also have a selection of framed or unframed pastels, most notably Albert Shahinian Fine Art in Rhinebeck, NY; JSO ART Associates in Westport CT, and Megan Peter Fine Art in Redbank, NJ.
Oil on paper:
To see the blog post on my smallest oil-on-paper pieces showing currently available works along with a discussion of their genesis, click on the link below:
Mixed Media/Collage (Of paper and other things, on board):
Monotypes (these are all 8″x10″ or 10″x8″):
These three stories describing sales from many years ago warm my heart to this day. They impart my memory of how things happened, likely having picked up intensity and lost and gained detail while traveling into the present, as memories often do.
Quite a few years ago I was enjoying a studio visit with a family sent by a nearby gallery, where they had loved my work but not seen the right piece. The parents were intent on picking their piece, and their kids, an 11 -year old and a 14-year old, seemed happy to be along. The older, a girl, was a young artist, and so we chatted.
After the parents had chosen a pastel to bring home, the teenage girl turned to her father and said that she would really like to buy something, and did he think that it would be an appropriate use for her Batmitzvah money?
I could see him hesitate for a minute, and when he answered I knew that this was caused by a choke of pride and pleasure in his daughter (which can’t be openly displayed to a teenager); and then he assured her that he couldn’t think of a better use for her savings.
She bought two small framed pastels, spending, I am sure, way more money on a purchase than she had in her life. She must now be approaching or past 3o, and I hope she loves them today just as much as she did then.
Lunch with Art
When my gallery of longest standing, Albert Shahinian Fine Art, was in Poughkeepsie, a woman passing by on her lunch break saw a large piece of mine through the window. Not a regular gallery-goer and most definitely not a collector, she was taken enough with the piece to come in and view it up close and chat for a bit with Albert.
Soon, she started bringing a sandwich and taking her lunch break in the gallery in front of the piece, “Wayne’s Barn”.
This is a large piece, 40″X50″, and while much less expensive than it would be now, a hefty price tag for someone not used to buying art.
But at some point, she started to become convinced that she wanted to find a way to own the piece.
During this time, all I knew was that a woman had been visiting the gallery frequently who was in love with Wayne’s Barn.
At first, her husband was completely taken aback with the idea of buying a large oil painting (I remember hearing that the first time she took him to see it he was so rattled that he walked out of the gallery, got in the car, and drove off without her!).
But eventually, he too came to love the piece, and they ended up buying both Wayne’s Barn and another painting the same size to hang across from each other in their apartment on the river. I got to know them after that and they went on to buy another piece or two—lovely people who continue to cherish the work that they chose.
It was a dark and rainy November night many years ago when I was bringing work to a new gallery, about an hour from my house. Actually, I am sure that it must have been late afternoon, but by the time my husband and I arrived and for much of the drive it was pitch dark. We took a road new to us, a two-lane rural highway that had very little traffic that night, lending a feeling that we were driving through and to a wild and lonely spot.
When we arrived at the small city there were lights on in the storefronts, but very little foot traffic along the long business district, due to the time of year and the stormy weather. Locating the gallery toward the end of this stretch, we gamely parked and started unloading artwork.
The gallery was in a pre-war building with large windows in the front, brightly lit up, a rewarding destination. As we got the work in the door and, to the warm sounds of jazz, walked toward the back, a female voice called out from upstairs. When I identified myself, the owner told me to bring the work back into the office and pour ourselves a glass of wine—she was upstairs looking at photographs with clients and would be down shortly.
We unwrapped the artwork, poured ourselves a glass of wine, and sank into a comfortable couch, listening to the music and looking around at the art. It felt like we had arrived at the last–but best–place on earth after the dark drive, full of sensory rewards.
When the owner came in with her clients, they too sat on a couch with a glass of wine while she wrote up an invoice. Spotting the largest piece that I had brought leaning up against the wall, he asked if we were planning on buying that piece? I said no, that I was the artist, and within about five minutes they had added the painting to their invoice while I wrapped in back up again, and they headed out the door.
The whole experience felt as if I had died and gone to gallery heaven.