Friday, July 30, 2010

The Subject is Line

Whilst still struggling with EXACTO knife cutting and rubber cement gluing, I am starting to warm to cutting and composing with paper.


Here’s my response to this week’s Design Course line assignment, which is to vary line weight and size, overlap some lines, create definition and an illusion of space and try to create a sense of depth. If not altogether a smashing success, at least my piece has variety and visual interest.

I’m quite looking forward to our group crit next Thursday evening (sadly, our final class) and seeing more clearly how I could improve the line work in this piece. I’ll share that feedback with you if you are interested – or you can share your own reactions to this exercise now and see  how your reactions compare to the instructor’s and other class members’.

As an accompaniment to doing these line exercises, I’ve also been reading Steve Aimone’s latest book, Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within.

The spontaneous and playful part of me loves the exercises, images, references and quotes in this book. I look forward to setting aside the EXACTO knife a bit for a paint brush and a large piece of paper and painting big, spontaneous, expressive marks.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What Next?

A fertile, production period of time has drawn to a close and my creative life feels almost eerily calm and quiet. No more white- water-rapids-ride of productivity. Now there’s more like a steady current beneath my vessel. I feel alert, attentive, all my senses keenly tuned – ready and waiting for “what comes next.”

During this hiatus, I am looking closely at the work that I’ve produced this past six months and feeling for the strongest pulse. Where the most excitement is, that’s the direction to pursue next.

While this self-inventory is in process, I’m taking some time in my studio to do some samples and make some new tools.


Sample detail, monoprint with wax resist and painting.

I also am exploring the cola pen, made by cutting and folding a piece of aluminum cut from a cola can and taping it to a stick.


Several examples of “cola pens” I’ve made.


Cola pen writing sample on Bristol paper with DyNaFlo paint.

To stir up the inspiration soup, I’m also participating in a four-week pilot design class from Rebecca Howdeshell that she will soon be offering online. Here is also a link to  Rebecca Howdeshell Studio Art, which explains her artist concept and displays some of her beautiful art work.

In conjunction with the class, my attention has been drawn even more to line. All good, all strengthening my observation.


Notice the lines of these tree branches reflecting on shallow water with the rock shapes beneath. One of my favorite images from our recent trip to the Adirondacks.

I am greatly enjoying the class. Rebecca is an excellent teacher  -- she will soon be publicly offering online design classes as well as a portfolio review service. Check back on her blog or mine for an announcement soon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Entwining Alphabets at Adirondack Center for the Arts


Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake – a small but vibrant facility.


Gallery director Cornelia Tobey did an excellent job of installing my work in the gallery space.


Having three large windows dividing the wall space inspired innovative hanging of my Pages pieces.


The split colors of the gallery walls had been of great concern to me – but serendipitously created a visual illusion that I can use intentionally in future works. Notice in the angled corner piece that the white letterforms leap forward at the top where the wall is dark; once the wall behind the work shifts to pure white, the gray letterforms pop and the white ones recede – even though the piece is identical from top to bottom.

DSCN5523 Fellow artists Debbie Bein and Judith Plotner (along with her husband Stan) attended my reception. It was  wonderful to meet them both in person.


We turned the opening into a getaway weekend and stayed at The Hedges for three nights. This Adirondack family great camp dates back to 188o and was restful and relaxing.

Once I returned home, I immediately started working on two applications for future solo exhibitions. This experience intensified my desire to show my work collectively because solos heighten the creative process and link it to a specific space and time.

A solo opportunity is not just about the location or scale or sophistication of the exhibition space. Solos are catalysts for growth, experimentation and new work.

My work leaped forward this past six months in response to this opportunity, in part because in my heart I treated it just as if it were an invitation to participate in the Whitney Biennial or the Guggenheim.

That same attitude will propel me forward as an artist and I can hardly wait to discover where my next solo exhibition will be!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Small Work: “AKA Letters at the Edge”

I finished this small work last week, too late to include in my current exhibition.  Contrasting the positive letterform shapes with negative space ones (that strip along the right is cut from portions of the same alphabet as the positive letter form shapes) has a lot of potential and I’ll be working with this idea again in the future.

The light marks on the darker horizontal band are hand stitched. Every step of making this piece felt playful and relaxed.

AKA Letters from the Edge2

AKA Letters at the Edge, 2010, 20” x 20”, silk, applied silks, synthetic fabric, monoprinted and screen printed, painted and stitched, mounted on stretched canvas. $350.