This is such beautiful way to view a visit to an art museum or gallery. There is no need to enter with prior knowledge about the art or the artist. One can simply "breathe in mindfully." In our very busy, fast-paced world this seems like a perfect role for art. This is my goal when I paint, to shut down the busy mind, which sometimes feels like chasing the wind. Every once in a while, though, there are those precious moments of stillness, when time is lost and process takes over. Thich Naht Hahn's statement suggests this opportunity exists in both art-making and art viewing; a shared space of quiet in a very loud world.
1. Turn the work upside down (or stand on your head if you are so inclined). If the composition is dynamic and engaging upside down then it probably works right side up as well.
2. Snap a photo. Sometimes it’s easier to spot problem areas in a work of art when we look at a photo of it. I’m not sure exactly why this works, possibly because it provides a change of perspective and a bit of room for emotional detachment.
3. Squint. This is often referred as “squinting down the values,” and is used in the painting process to sort out and simplify values when working on an observation- based painting. We squint at the subject of the work, such as a still life or model. Squinting at a the canvas simplifies our view of the value structure, allowing us to see what is and is not working in the composition.
I'd love to know what tools you use to evaluate art--gut reaction, personal connection to the subject matter, color scheme...?
Happy art viewing!
This book arrived in the mail yesterday. I must admit, the gorgeous typography and cover design drove my decision to buy. It's simply a beautiful object; color scheme, photography, typography and paper quality are all thoughtfully considered and executed. The exquisite yoga sequences inside are icing on the cake.
For me, yoga and painting have three important things in common:
1. Yoga and art are practice.
2. Yoga and art demand presence.
3. Yoga and art are forms of creative expression.
What are you compelled to practice? Where do you find presence? Opportunities for expression?
Pull up a lovely, old tree stump and sit a spell. Reflect on the power and beauty of trees, life givers to us all. We all have our favorites; the great oak on a grandparent's farm, the impossibly huge redwood seen on vacation, the sapling in our own backyard.
Notice. Notice. Notice. And love.
These is the first painting completed in my newest series of work, On the Last Day.
The poem, “Place,” by W.S. Merwin, is the inspiration for the On the Last Day Series of paintings. I love that the sense of hope in Merwin’s poem is in the inherent value he places the tree itself, not as a means of service to humanity but simply because it is. The tree simply is and the planter simply does.
The paintings in this series are 72” tall and 18” wide, painted at human scale so the viewer physically relates to them. The images of tree slices are used as metaphors for internal worlds and expanding consciousness.
This piece is current on exhibition in This Land is Your Land at the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay, WI. This is artist statement for the piece:
This piece is inspired by the lakeside view at the Kangaroo Lake Nature Preserve. The painting itself is an impression of a moment, rather then an exact replica of place, painted in the studio from gestural sketches and imperfect memory. While descending down the cuesta, to the point on the lake from which this view is taken, I experienced a sense of deep time, both geologic time and the notion of being “lost in the moment.” The stones are used to represent deep time, as both physical representations of the history of the Niagra Escarpment and as simple objects of meditation and reflection.
The stones were taken, with permission, from another area in Door County, also part of the Niagra Escarpment. While wiping my shoes on the boot cleaner near the entrance of the Kangaroo Lake property, placed there to hinder the proliferation of invasive weeds, I could see remnants of the past in the form of a crumbling stone building foundation. This served as a reminder that the migration of objects is inevitable, whether attributed to ancient ice or human hands, and is part of the social and geographic history, and future, of place.
The St. Norbert College Art Faculty is currently featured in the exhibit, Northern Exposure, at Illinois Wesleyan University. The exhibit runs from February 28 - March 29. 2012. The above photo is was taken in The Merwin Gallery at IWU.
This leaf seemed to be suspended in air. Upon closer inspection I could see that it was hanging on a thread of spider's web.
Seeds and pods have always ambled in and out of my art, coming and going in one form or another every few years and currently in the form of The Milkweed Project. It is the moment in the life cycle when the plant is dying and seeds are forming that is very interesting to me; it is simultaneously both a beginning and an ending.
This is a photo of a still life in progress, a very simple still life of a tiny tea cup my daughter received as a favor at a birthday party. I like the phrase still life; life standing still, time slowing down. It makes me think of any Vermeer painting. His figurative works, not technically still life at all, convey a sense of life stilled. Light is soft yet sharp and details come into extreme focus. Time slips away and we really see the girl with the pearl earring or the woman holding a balance. Life stills for one very lovely, quiet moment.
I'm making a small change on this site and turning this page into a blog for occasional postings about things happening both in and out of the studio. I'm currently sitting by my daughter, who is home sick today, and hoping she feels better soon.
This photo captures what I feel about winter light. It comes in slivers between large chunks of darkness, bright and beautiful.
I'm heading to Madison, WI this weekend to deliver work to a new gallery, Hatch Art House, opening Dec. 3, 2010. Hatch Art House is located at 1250 Williamson St., Madison, WI.
My work will be part of a faculty exhibit at Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, WI, from March - April 3, 2011.