Monday, January 10, 2011

On the Easel: Morgan Falls Reservoir

Morgan Falls Reservoir No. 6
Morgan Falls Reservoir No. 5

MFR No.1
MFR No.2
MFR No.3

I had a preconceived notion of the Chattahoochee river, completely formed by one really bad country song. Little did I know that as the river snakes through the hills in Georgia, it is called by different names. The section closest to Avery's apartment is known as Morgan Falls and there's a dam and a little park there. I spent a few afternoons last week painting at Morgan Falls Reservoir. While my first drawings were akin to the images below (yes, I played with the black and white presets in Lightroom, don't make fun of me), it was soon evident that I was more intrigued by the challenge of capturing moving water. The series above is the product. My drawing skills are visibly lacking, painting atmospheric landscapes has done little to maintain my eye for perspective and foreshortening. That being said, I'm pleased with this series and look forward to doing more.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Charcoal

Dirty Fingers


Untitled (5 x 7" charcoal on watercolor paper)

I'm currently up in Atlanta spending time with Avery. While not as wintry as he'd like, we did build a fire the other night, which reminded me of the large chunk charcoal I used to see at the art store. So, the next day I pulled what I could from the fireplace and drew a few pictures. I hope to take some down to the creek with me in the next few days for some plein air drawing.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the Easel: No. 46 Work in Progress

No. 26 (Oil on Canvas, 24" x 24")

When I was young I wanted to be a musician. I have notebooks filled with songs and poetry going back to second grade. They are terribly embarrassing to look back through. Some time along the way, however, I stopped writing. There was no delineating moment - it just simply slipped away. In conversation with my boyfriend about my blog and the hours I spend agonizing over it, Avery asked why my posts were never as long as their handwritten counterparts. I replied "I could never be that honest. That's why I couldn't be a musician." I didn't have to think about the words - they just jumped from my mouth, momentarily stunning me with their honesty.

That line stuck in my head for a while, and I started thinking about my paintings. Painting has been a way for me to discuss unpleasant themes without it feeling like such emotional masturbation, the way my writing always had. John Hull, one of my professors, said that abstraction can be the subject matter of a painting, or abstraction can be the mantle through which subject matter is discussed. I loved this idea and it has certainly been formative to my paintings. My landscapes continually further themselves from reality.

However, some people misunderstand my work. "It's a landscape, right?" they ask, "and its... blue." Yes, thank you. My four year old niece can do better than that. They stand there for a moment, a giant question mark on their face, then they give up, "I don't get it," and walk away. I am left disheartened. Yet, when I respond as directly and matter-of-factually as possible that my works are nonrepresentational, emotionally driven landscapes, they look at me like I have three heads. How do I tell a stranger, or my family for that matter, that my paintings are about loneliness and isolation, both self and socially imposed, and the tension between their co-existing positive and negative connotations? They're going to think I need anti-depressants!

I do not wish to be emotionally verbose or visually obvious (it's not like I'm painting pictures of a man, alone on a chair in an empty room). I've spent so much time learning how to explicitly not say whats on my mind, but to instead hint and allude to it. There is a subtlety in painting this way that is now paramount to my work. It would seem that I have to be explicit, if not emotionally self deprecating, to be understood even though I've shied away from doing so - shied away from being "that honest" for years.  

Map of Antarctica
In other news, a couple weeks ago I was invited to join the Etsy Team, House of Art & Design, an invitation only Etsy Team whose express intention is to "transform public perception of real ART&DESIGN on Etsy." The members of this Team exude  a wonderful professionalism. I am proud to be counted among them. Due to my new found association with the Team, my watercolors have been featured in twelve Treasuries in the last few days. (Boggles my mind!) Thank goodness for Etsy's new Activity Feed feature, without it I'd only known of 4 of these.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature: Out My Window

My Watercolor No. 39 has been featured in another Treasury. Jen from Autumn to May curated this wonderful Treasury entitled Out My Window. This is certainly my kind of palate, greens and greys. There are some truly lovely items in this collection, my neighbors to the left and right are particular favorites.

On the Easel: No. 43 Continued

No. 43
 Photographing my paintings is something I'm not great at, not for lack of trying. So far, I've been working on this painting for roughly 30 hours and though not photographed well, the shifts in color are subtle and luminous, the paint having been built up in layers. The layers have also given the painting a wonderful surface, thick and modeled in some areas, and thin and soft in others. My previous paintings on wood have relied on wood grain for texture but in this painting, being my first on canvas in over a year and a half, I've been focused on building up paint for texture. I unfortunately have again reached that painful place of uncertainty, not knowing whether or not the painting is finished. Just as with my last commission painting, this uncertain feeling is in large part due to my (delicate artist's ego) fear that they won't like it. Alas, uncertainty is part of the process.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Etsy Treasury Feature: I Enjoy Being a Girl

My Watercolor No. 39 has been featured in a lovely Treasury titled I Enjoy Being a Girl, curated by Jaros Designs. The list is soft and feminine in sea foam greens and soft pinks. Jaros Designs is one of the founding members of the Etsy Team and blog Curation Nation, an Etsy Team who's soul mission is creating treasury lists. This is the second time one of my watercolors has been hand picked by a curatorial Etsy Team.

Watercolor No. 39

Artists I'm Looking At: Art Basel Edition

I wrote this blog post last week, but with Cataclysm dropping last Tuesday and the holiday and what-not, I've been a little distracted.

Having grown up in South Florida, there was a strong part of me that wanted to be rid of this place. I'd felt negatively about it for years, "it's too hot, there's nothing to do, if I go outside I'll get sunburned," the list of complaints goes on.  It's why my siblings and I attended colleges elsewhere. Yet, somehow we've all returned home.

Perhaps I've matured. Perhaps my baneful negativity has subsided (unlikely), but the number of culturally aware, artistically mined, and entrepreneurial spirited individuals seems to have risen. Miami is a mecca of cultural diversity and artistic prowess. I've never had any interest in living New York or LA, but perhaps Miami isn't so bad after all. Of course I could just be saying this because Art Basel was this weekend.

While my pockets could only afford me one evening at the event, I had a blast. Below are some of the works that I loved from the show.

Frank Stella
My response upon seeing this from across the room was, "Holy Crap! That's a Frank Stella!"

Gustavo Bonevardi


Thiago Rocha Pitta
Thiago Rocha Pitta
Suspended by Michael Raedecker
Present by Michael Raedecker
Phoenixallee by Kailiang Yang
Sommer 8 by Kailiang Yang