Wednesday, July 31, 2013

the postcards: part 1


back of Carol Graham's postcard

The postmark deadline is today. There were just over 2 dozen artists who joined, representing 14 states, and 3 countries. (Come on EU, you were underrepresented!) 

My goals for the postcard swap were:

1. Have fun.
2. Meet other artists. The swap was set up in a way that an artist was sending a postcard to one artist but receiving one from a different artist.
3. Promote those artists, and hopefully have them promote each other. I agreed from the onset to repost/share all the postcards which were posted online and to put together a couple of blog posts featuring all the artists' work. This is first one.

Carol Graham
page from an old book, gesso, ink, pencil

Jennifer Billig
letterpress light exposed plate for image transfer, 
standard metal type, embroidery, colored pencil

Leslie Lambert
ink and highlighter 

Patsy Priebe

Shad Hall
acrylic with glass beads on fabric

P. Anthony Benninghoff
pen and bleach on colored cardstock

Loralei Walker
mixed media with collage

Mary Schons

Michael Kaysen
collage, found materials

Links are included for the artists who provided them. So check out the rest of their work, and find them online: circle, follow, like, etc. 

There will be another  #postcardswap. I am looking at twice a year. Sign ups in December, make and post in January, and then continue every January and July. Suggestions to this? Is it doable? It is certainly not set in stone. In the meantime, I recommend you all check out #twitterartexhibit

Updated: Part 2 can be seen here. Part 3 can be seen here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

in the studio

This week was full of #art365 landscapes, and work on my postcard for the #postcardswap. I also started a new large scale piece today. I am filming it, so more next week on that. There is not much to show on that right now. I've only blocked in some shapes and tried to eliminate the previous paintings, as I'm using old canvases. I really look forward to the day I no longer paint over older canvases because they've all found new homes. Someday.

willow pond, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

copse, acrylic on paper, 5.5" x 5.5"

prairie, looking north, acrylic on paper, 5.5" x 5.5"

summer grass, crabapples, acrylic on paper, 5.5" x 5.5"

thistle, acrylic on paper, 5.5" x 5.5"

I  am so looking forward to seeing all the postcards! What I've seen so far is wonderful, and all so unique. Stay tuned for upcoming posts featuring all the great work! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

in the studio

This week sputtered by. I blame the heat. 

Every now and then, someone I know posts random pics of somewhere and I think, I should paint that. And I ask, and so far everyone has said yes. (Artists: you have to get permission to use somebody else's photos as reference material.) So my friend John, who went through Foundation with me at Pratt, posted a bunch a pics of the Long Island shore and I was inspired. (Did you look at his site? Do it. I'll wait. ...right? When I win the lottery.)

the ascent, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

the bluff, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

view from the bluff, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

Earlier in the week, I took my kids to the splash pad at Wicker Park. I've painted Wicker Park many times in the #art365 series.

splash, acrylic on paper, 7" x 5"

The hibiscus are blooming. I have pinks, purples, and whites in the backyard, all jumbled together. They are self-seeding and trying hard to take over the yard. They get some competition from the mulberry and sassafras. But this is (mostly) all hibiscus.

hibiscus, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

I made a series of small tweaks to and so it begins again, and I'm ready to set this aside to work on the next big piece. To get ready, I've put some older work on sale.

and so it begins again, ink and acrylic on canvas, 36" x 90"

Finally (although it was done in the middle of the week...) I updated my website. It's not 100% but it's pretty close. I'd gotten a little bit lazy about daily updates of the #art365. Will not be doing that again. I am absolutely in love with this now. It is my favorite page. Also added in the latest drawings. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, July 19, 2013

hate mail

I got my first hate mail this morning. What, you didn't know artists got hate mail? Well, yeah! Especially when you make art about sex or religion or politics...or the quality of light. 

Yeah, quality of light gets people all fired up!
I'M FROM Griffith In. now live in N.Carolina. as the saying goes " I don't know art but I know what I like." yah I don't like these examples of your art. my 7yrs old grandson can do better. so here is one "unlike"

Honestly, I did laugh when I read it. I have a pretty thick skin. I have bigger worries in life than what a stranger who doesn't know anything about me or my artwork, or artwork in general, has to say. Not everyone is going to like my art. I had a professor in school who told us: There will always be someone who hates your art. It doesn't matter what kind of art you make or how good you are, there will always be someone who just doesn't like it. And that's true.

I posted over on my personal facebook page, and many friends came to my defense. Several wondered why he even bothered to comment. Hadn't his mother taught him to not say anything if he had nothing nice to say? I also immediately thought of this post over on hyperallergic. When it was first posted, I sent it to another artist friend, because she needed to read it. For the record: a lot of artists pour their hearts and souls into their work. On a semi-related note, we generally don't like to be told that your kid could make that. Because they didn't. And they couldn't. And neither could you. Just as I couldn't make my friend's work and she couldn't make mine. Artwork is the result of your whole life up until that instant that the piece is made. So unless your kid is living my life in an alternate universe somewhere, they really couldn't do what I do, or what any other artist does.

And if your 7 year old kid, is somehow living my life, I have a 10 year old and a 13 year old, so, you know, you should not be worried about art, you should be selling that kid to science. Seriously, make some money on that. Then you can buy some art.

example of artwork unworthy of a 7 year old:
ditch (tiger lilies),
 acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

or he might have seen this

The more I thought it over, the more I had to reply. Most people said to ignore it or delete it, but that's bad business, as anyone who has ever deleted a comment/criticism will tell you. It asks for backlash. So I tried to play nice. Here is my response:

I would like to thank you for taking the time to offer your opinion of my artwork. So often, people don’t bother to comment one way or another. In fact, you have written my first hate mail, and I do, in all honesty, thank you for it. I understand that you, like many people, are not trained in art. Because I am, I would like to explain a bit about the #art365 series, which you feel is beneath your 7 year old grandson.

The #art365 project was a plan to make art every day, in some fashion of another. I have been working on very large paintings, which cannot be completed quickly due to their scale. I was inspired by the color of the sunrise one morning and thought to capture that. The quality of light was what I was striving for, not a realistic replication of the scene. I have often painted the prairie on the corner of Main and Kennedy, perhaps you remember that location? I found it very inspirational to watch the prairie come alive this spring. Every day it was different. The color of light changes every day, all throughout the day, and all throughout the seasons.  Most people live their entire lives completely unaware of this. I find it fascinating. If your grandson is already aware of this, then he is way ahead of the curve. Of course, most 7 year olds are still full of creativity. Don’t despair, society doesn’t value art and it will soon be beaten out of him.

I am aware, as you mentioned that art is subjective: its beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is good art and bad art. There is good art that you might not like and bad art that you might love. There is room for all of it. My work, and this series, has been very well received. I am not the least bit slighted that you do not like it. You are entitled to your opinion of it and free to express it. One aspect of artmaking is eliciting a response. The fact that you felt the need to click on a link which showed artwork you didn’t like, then click over to my page and write some negative comments at 3 in the morning, means my artwork elicited a response. Therefore, you may not like my work, but you just validated it. Again, I thank you.

(As an aside, I certainly hope you encourage any artistic endeavors your grandson may have. The arts are so very important, not only for their cultural qualities, but the imagination, creativity and problem solving they bring to all aspects of our lives. We need problem solvers for the betterment of our country and society.) 

...awaiting a response...

Got some constructive criticism? Let me hear it! I am always learning, growing, developing. I don't always give a whole lot of explanation about my work. If you have a question about it, please ask! There are no stupid questions. Got a question about materials or technique or process or inspiration? Ask! There's always a story. There's not always a good story, which is funny and entertaining, but there's always a story. I may or may not be willing to tell you the entire story, because remember: it's often my heart and soul. A lot of my artwork is like a diary. Do you let strangers read your diary? Probably not. And if you like my artwork, leave a comment, or share it, or buy it! If you don't like, you can still leave a comment, although you'll probably be less inclined to share it or buy it. To be fair, if you tell me I hate this piece, I'm going to spend my hard earned money on it! I will let you. Try me. Really. Go ahead. 

update: I got a reply!

I've live in N.W. Indiana all my life. been down here a year. I understand that your or anybody elses art don' do it self justice on a computer. but next time I'm back "home" I will be in to your studio. so keep on doing what you love,as I know you will. thake care. 
I have to say, this was much nicer than I expected. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

in the studio

Most of this week was spent in bits and pieces working on and so it begins again. Finally, it is starting to come together. Today, I declared it almost done. Should be finished next week.

and so it begins again, acrylic and ink on canvas, 36" x 90"
I spent two days out of the house at my kid's scout camp and I'm still recovering from the sun burn. (ouch!) The #art365 landscapes are from the camp days and the drive there.

wildflowers, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

light and shadow, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

ditch (tiger lilies), acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

Up next week: finishing and so it begins again, hopefully starting a new larger version of tired (with a strong back but an empty soul), and revamping my website. Not looking forward to the last bit, but it's needed. And postcard art! I've seen a few pieces for the #postcardswap and I'm really looking forward to more!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

in the studio

hunh. I spent a lot of time on washes this week. And while I promised myself I'd keep track of how many washes I put on this piece, I didn't. I lost track somewhere north of 12. My best guess is over 20. I can tell you that there are multiple layers of most of these: walnut ink, raw sienna, manganese and ultramarine blues and vivid lime green. Now starting to work on the rest of the painting. Light washes over the rest to seal in the walnut drips, which I discovered would bleed last week. There will be heavier applications of paint later.

and so it begins again, wip, acrylic and ink, 36" x 90"

There was just one #art365 landscape this week, haze, of the prairie straddling Main Street.

haze, acrylic on paper, 5" x 7"

Friday night I went to Michigan City's First Friday Art Walk and finally got to see Brabant Lenting's studio. Here's a quick peek. I'll be going back for a real studio visit, so stay tuned for that.