Two Exhibits

Cherry Blossoms Oil on panel, 18" x 18" 2013  

Cherry Blossoms

Oil on panel, 18" x 18"

2013

 

This painting, inspired by a cherry tree in my backyard, was painted this spring and will be on display in two upcoming exhibitions.

The first, the 2013 Collection Invitational, opens this Friday night, 5:30- 7:00 p.m. at The Hardy Gallery in Ephraim, WI.  The exhibit runs from July 20 -August 25.

Several weeks after that show closes, the painting will be exhibited in the 69th Art Annual Juried Exhibition at the Neville Public Museum in Green Bay, WI.  The Art Annual is on exhibit from September 14, 2013 - January 5, 2014.  

Since this painting represents a return to abstraction in my art I'm happy to have it included in these two exhibitions.  Hope you can make it to one or both of the shows. 

 

A Few Seconds...

The Zen master (Thich Nhat Hahn) ... offers advice about how to appreciate his works. “The best way to look at the exhibition is to breathe in mindfully. You need only a few seconds to be fully present in the here and now. In understanding, there are seeds of joy, seeds of insight and seeds of enlightenment. He suggests walking slowly around the exhibition. “Half an hour spent in the exhibition hall is half an hour of meditation. You can come out of the hall as new person.
— The Art of Zen, The Nation, Thailand, April 7, 2013, an article about, "Calligraphic Meditation: The Mindful Art of Thich Nhat Hanh" at the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre.

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. 

Stand on Your Head (and other ways to evaluate a painting)

 
Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched.jpg

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!  

Trees

On the Last Day paintings, museum installation photo

On the Last Day paintings, museum installation photo

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.

On the Last Day Series

On the Last Day, 1 Oil on panel, 72" x 18"

On the Last Day, 1

Oil on panel, 72" x 18"

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. 

Still Life

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.

Light Change

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.