Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Science! 37" X 42"

      July was an unusual month. I was not home for much of the month, and when one is out it is very difficult to paint! I did manage to finish the painting above. It stands out as conspicuous to most of my other images. However, this is an older painting that I abandoned 8 years ago, rediscovered, and then decided to complete. It is truly unexpected to see something that was put away, and then re-imagine what could have been.  

     I also managed to make it to an art opening.

   
Art opening and reception for Janelle Hebert
  This show and reception was for Janelle Hebert. Her landscapes are particularly interesting to me, and aptly capture the Louisiana countryside. For one who has not lived in Louisiana for very long, these images present the unfamiliar in a familiar light. My favorite image from the show is featured here:

 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

May

Painting faces again.


      I have again started working with figures and faces. I started the painting above this past weekend. Here it is again a few steps later:

Added more layers.

   Each step/layer adds more to the image. I took a photo this morning before I left. This is what the image currently looks like:



It's interesting to get back to an idea after a break. We'll see how this mage progresses.

Also of note, I have been getting a lot of feedback about posting my art on Instagram. I don't really have an account, but I am looking into this as an option. If you enjoy Instagram, be on the lookout for that.


Monday, April 8, 2019

April

      I have been researching Blogs lately. I've been looking at how they are used, and who reads them. Blogs are not as popular as they were 10 years ago. Most people spend less than 15 minutes looking at an individual blog, and even less time reading the content. Many never read a blog entry through to the end. With this in mind, my postings are going to be brief. I'm going to show what I have been working on, and works in progress.



   This image is what I am currently working on. I have received positive feedback on many of my railroad related imagery. This is surprising to me because I always work with railroad images as a sort of test bed. I  experiment and test new techniques using these images, but never really planned on doing much else with them. I certainly never expected to share them.




      This is of a painting I finished over the weekend. This is how it looked as I was just getting started. I plan to photograph the finished piece and get it up on the Website soon.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

December




 

Painting completed at the open studio event.


       Last month, I wrote about a recent open studio event in which I participated. It was a good showing, and I ended up creating two and a half images. Above, is one example of what I worked on. This image is finished. However, after reviewing the images I realized that one of them just wasn't where I wanted it to be. I got it home and while looking it over, I realized that the proportions were off. I had already sealed this image believing I had it completed, so now I had a problem on my hands.

      Indeed, hands were in fact the problem. I made a very common mistake in rendering the hands of my figure too small. This is common to amateur artists, and something that I was often called out on in art school. Honestly, I couldn't believe I had made the same old mistake, and that I hadn't really noticed it until I got home and thought it was "done."

      Fortunately for me, I have been working with "parts." My current way of working includes the use of several individual pages to compose the whole. By using individual pieces of paper, I could simply patch the problem area with a new piece of paper. I was not sure how the new paper would adhere to the already-sealed image, but it seems to have been working just fine. The picture below demonstrates the progress.

A problem with the proportions of the hand necessitated reworking a portion of this image.






      In addition to writing this blog, and making art, I review a lot of material about art and art making. Sometimes there are really interesting articles and ideas worth sharing. One blog that I follow comes from the Artwork Archive. This comes from a commercial site that is ultimately trying to sell you their software product, but sometimes there is some good information included. Not every blog is 100% spot on perfect with useful information, one only need look at my blog to see that (hehehe).

Screenshot from the Artwork Archive blog.


      Anyway, in a recent posting the author discussed why it is never too late to start working as an artist. There are several ideas included in the article, but a couple of them stuck out to me. One was that life experiences give you a creative edge. The blog says that there are more memories, feelings, and emotions from which to draw inspiration when you begin your art career late. I have found this to be true for me. I didn't start late, I went to art school when I was 18, but one thing I struggled with while in art school was where to get ideas. What was my artistic voice, and what was I doing with my art, were questions that constantly nagged me. I was at an age where I was trying to find myself and learn about being an adult too! So, there was a lot going on. Now that I am older, I realize I don't necessarily have to have all the answers, but I do have more ideas, and better experiences to include in my work. I have more emotions to energize my work, and as one who uses color to emphasize emotion and expression this has greatly helped my work develop.

      Another thing that I gravitated towards was  the idea that creativity can add meaning to your life. The blog talked about how focusing on the process allows one to enjoy the time working on the project and being present in the moment. The way that I am currently working certainly speaks to that.Sometimes, I get lost in adding a scrap of paper here, or another sheet there. By focusing on creating parts, I have limited what I am working on in any given moment and can be involved more in the process. I believe the resulting images are stronger, and carry the color and emotion that I am look for in a better way.

    It was a good read. I have it linked here, if you would like to read it  yourself. There is lots of good information here, and I'm sure you can find something that you might find insightful. So, I think that's in for this year. The next post will begin 2019. Thanks, for reading!

   

Thursday, November 29, 2018

November

"Tank Engine," one of my most recent images,

      I missed a post in October. Mainly because there was so much going on. Which, if one is going to skip a post on their art blog, it's not such a bad thing that the reason is because there are so many art happenings. Earlier this month I participated in an open studio tour across South Louisiana as a member of Nunu's Art collective. October was busy in anticipation of preparing for this event.


Logo for the Ope Studio Tour

The Open Studio Tour had two aspects. The first and most obvious is the event itself where people come in to your studio, examine your work, talk to you, and watch as you make new pieces. But, in an effort to get people excited and thinking about the upcoming tour, a separate exhibition of all the participating artists was curated for display at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. There was an opening and reception for this event on November 6th. I wanted to create a new, unique image for this show, so I was involved in trying to get that image completed in time for the exhibition. The title of the piece is "Ooh! I like that hat," because everyone who had seen the work being made had that exact comment.

"Ooh! I like that hat!" completed October 2018.


      This image, and the one at the top of the page were completed using pages from old discarded books. I have access to a lot of discarded books, so this works well in that regard. But, I think the texture of the different pages, as well as the text of the book showing through the painted image add an interesting visual element. In these particular examples an old law reporter was used. I enjoy reading the pages through the painting, and can't help but think about the people who were involved in these court cases and how the court proceedings actually contributed to the creation of my art.

Me, Carole Lancon, and Shane Seneca during the tour. Click on the image to enlarge.

       I really enjoyed participating in this event. Art making is such a solitary act, that opening the studio and inviting people in to see you work, as well as working in close proximity to other artists was stimulating in way that I have not really experienced since studio art courses in college. Establishing yourself in a community of creatives helps you make art just as much as practicing your craft and techniques.











   

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

September


      I am very pleased to be participating in a group exhibition at the Prairie Arts Center in North Platte, NE. This show is featured for the entire month of September, and is being held in conjunction with Rail Days 2018.  North Platte is home to Baily Yard, the worlds largest rail classification yard. It is someplace that I have always wanted to visit, and it is gratifying that my art is on display here.

     I want to thank DeeAnn Tatum for the pictures below, and for alerting me to the exhibition. She just happened to post a call from the Prairie Arts Center for railroad art, and I just happened to come across it. The train images I submitted were part of my Recent Works exhibition this past February. It is interesting that they have had so much exposure, as I had never really intended to show them. In my Recent Works show, I included a few train sketches and explained that these are the images I use to warm up my art skills, experiment with new ideas, and just get  an image down. For me, the train images are particularly helpful when working through a creative block.

      I don't really believe they are "finished works." However, I had very positive reviews on them and the reactions have been surprising. When I saw the call for art, I knew I had just the thing. The serendipity of it all is fun. It also serves as a lesson for finding your niche. No matter what type of art you are working on, and no matter how you accept or reject the image you have created, somebody somewhere will respond and connect with what you have made. This is part of what makes art so incredible!


My two paintings on display in North Platte, NE. Courtesy of DeeAnn Tatum.
 

An additional image, with my works behind the layout. Courtesy of DeeAnn Tatum.






      I was recently given the postcard pictured below for Stephan Wiesmore, an artist and an opening of his in LA earlier this year. Much of the contemporary art that I have seen of late is similar to this in that it doesn't depict anything and is non-representational.

Postcard for artist Stephen Wiesmore
     

      It is noteworthy to me that this is the type of imagery that seems to be taking off lately. In June I commented about a show in Lafayette, LA that was also dealing with non-representational compositions. Recently a call went out for art to be loaned locally to an office for display, and when I responded with my art I was told that they were looking for images that focused on shape and color, and more non-representational depictions. My work was not accepted.

      There is nothing wrong with non-representational art. However, part of me can't help but wonder if this is a reaction to the times we are living in. I think about the art produced when I was in art school 20 years ago. Much of what I recall was representational art and the works from the Sensations show come to mind. These works caused a lot of controversy, and as I think about the representational artworks that are recognized as significant to art history, many of them also caused controversy in their day. Creating controversial representational art might be a bit much for the current climate of popular culture, where everything seems to  cause controversy. It is hard to avoid controversy unless you deal in shapes, color, or some other element that does not depict a person or object.

     As a librarian, I have glanced into this topic, and it does appear that non-representational art is being talked about a little more than it used to be. However, there's more information about where art has gone in the past, than where it is going currently. There's an interesting article from the Huffington Post that addresses some of these ideas. It talks about how artists all want to push the avant garde including the use of non-representational subject matter.  But it doesn't explain everything, and I think that this is a topic worth thinking more about.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

August

An unfinished painting that I recently unearthed.
     
     Greetings! Every month it seems like I just get my blog updated, and I have turn around and get a new one up. I remember when I was updating weekly, and I thought the turn around was quick. Since I have switched to the monthly format, I thought I might get some more time to reflect on my posts. Nope!

     Anyway, I was recently rummaging through some of my old paintings in my mother's basement. I was looking for a particular image that I wanted to send to an art show. I couldn't find that image, but I came across the one depicted above. It is incomplete, and I'm not sure I remember why I abandoned it. It is a fantastic image, and I now have it up and plan to finish it. 
     

A close-up of the cells in the painting
      

      As I look that this image. I vaguely remember being disappointed in the way the cells were revealing themselves. In the closeup above, you can see the detail of the "bubbles," or individual cells I was trying to depict. These are made with tiny impressions in the paper, and my hope was that the watercolor would collect in these areas, and make the circles stand out more. This didn't happen, and when one looks at the overall image it can be difficult to see the tiny indentations.

      As I look at the image now, I don't see this as a problem. It just means the viewer has to spend a little more time sussing out the details. Isn't it funny how time can change the way one sees their own work? Each time I begin an image, I have in mind how I would like it to turn out. But of course this rarely happens. The real and the ideal are two  completely different things, as Plato pointed out many centuries ago. Very often I am disappointed with the final image of something I have painted, and I have found this to be true for many artists I have talked with. In the case of this painting, I never even made it to the final image. I gave up before it could get that far.

    However, I now think the painting deserves a second chance. I don't really remember where I was hoping for this mage to go. With fresh eyes, I can see new places for me to take it, and the painting has a new lease on life. This isn't the first time I have pulled out an image of mine that I had put away in disgust. It's also not the first time I have reexamined a work and decided it is not as bad as I thought. The takeaway here is that if you don't like where your art, or project, or whatever it is you are working on is going, put it away for a bit. When you pull it out later it may just inspire you to work in a new direction!





      As you may recall, this is the image I am currently working on. I wanted to include this as part of a mixed media piece. I sometimes like to work with mixed media imagery. Back when I was studying ceramics I had a teacher who was all about making parts. One would throw on the wheel, or create a spout, pull a handle, or any of a number of ways of working with clay. Then after there were a number of individual clay components, once could assemble them together to create a unique vessel or form. It was a nice way to create freely. 


The current image I'm working on.

      I find that the same ideas can apply towards a painting. One begins with an image, maybe several kinds of paper, some textures, some colors, and then all these elements are put together in one image. It's just another way of working, and the finished image can sometimes be a surprise. I'm now at the point where I need to create a stretcher in order to add all these elements together.


Construction of stretchers.
    

      I don't work in a terribly large space. So the few times I have needed to build a stretched canvas, I have had to work outside. Lately, the weather in Louisiana has been quite rainy. When you need to work outside, this can slow things down. So for now I'm working between storms trying to get this done. Hopefully I will have this finished soon, and can share it with you.