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   Welcome to my blog! I'll be posting thoughts about art, photos, happenings, and other things that strike me--and hopefully my readers--as interesting. And please visit my website by clicking the link to the right--thanks!

   Also please check out my second blog, The Painting Archives to see older (pre-2004) paintings for sale.

Monday, August 28, 2006
  new blog
I'm trying something new...I've set up another blog on which I am posting older (pre-2004) paintings that are available for purchase. Please check out the new site at The Painting Archives.

Because these are older paintings that I would love to find homes for, I'm offering them at special low prices. I plan to post a few of these every couple of days until I get the whole inventory up. When a painting is sold, the image will be deleted, so what is posted will always be current.

I'll be handling sales through my email address.

Here's one of the older paintings that is available, and posted on my new site--this one is Foliage, oil on canvas, from 2003 ($250) It's from a period when I approached traditional landscape painting with abstracted, loose handling of the paint.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
  gardens and gardeners
Last night my friend Paula and I took a long walk through Eau Claire's East Hill neighborhood where she lives. Most of the houses in the area are small one- or two-story bungalows or cottages, dating back to the 1920s or 30s, and set on neatly maintained, flat lots. It is a very modest and unassuming kind of neighborhood. Friendly and quiet.

For beauty in the summer, most people find it's enough to buy a hanging basket or two, maybe have a little shrubbery by the front steps. Nice. But there are others who completely transform their yards into gardens that pulse with life and imagination. Every three or four blocks, Paula and I had to stop and stare at another of these amazing gardens. People had come up with countless ways to transcend the uniform aspects of their yards. There were densely planted berms, charming paths, all manner of sculptures and lawn ornaments, devices to hang plants at various levels (some handmade and sculptural)and benches, arbors, water gardens..I wished I had my camera along--this entry could use an illustration!

Near the end of our walk we came upon a woman working in her front garden. That is to say, she was crouching down right next to the street, as her profusion of flowers and plants skipped right over the front sidewalk and kept going. We stopped to talk, found out she is a Master Gardener (an actual title, if you didn't know) and immediately we were all over her asking for advice and information about various plants. She was very gracious. Besides answering us at length, she invited us to wander around as we pleased. The back yard was as dense with flowers and plants as the front, and she had created a varied topography with raised beds, a deck area, a small pond with koi, trellises, and statuary. The plants were mostly rather untamed, rambling here and there and all mixed up together. The effect was enchanting. Before we left, she gave me some plants for my water garden that had spread and needed to be thinned out. I'm feeling pretty grateful to her, whoever she is (we never exchanged names and I'm not even sure what street we were on) for her gifts of time, information and plants.

So--gardens and gardeners are on my mind today...thinking about a creative energy that seems to be shared by artists and gardeners. Although I'm pretty enthused about gardening, I felt a certain kinship with that woman that also went to another level. It had to do with her visual creativity...even though we didn't talk about that at all. We stuck to more technical gardening topics, like about what needs sun or how to over-winter water plants. But the fact that she works with color, texture, movement, contrast and all the other art elements intrigued me. In her yard she had created distinct, intriguing, evocative spaces from what once was as flat and blank as an unused painting panel. What I really loved was her comment that she needed to move some plants around from here to there because "sometimes you just don't know how they will end up looking when you put them in." Oh, yeah--I know about that! Translated into painting terms that gets right to the heart of the surprises and experimentation that I'm so familiar with in the studio.
  website updates
I've been adding photos of new work to my website and generally updating...please visit www.rebecca crowell.com. Thanks!
Monday, August 21, 2006
  new work at Circa Gallery
Last week I delivered four paintings to Circa Gallery in Minneapolis that I have been working on since spring. I was really pleased when the director, Wanda Flechsig, decided to hang all of them together in the display area at the entrance to the gallery. They will come down when the regular fall schedule begins in a few weeks--but in the meantime it's a totally unexpected, unscheduled little mini-show.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006
  a few days in Door County

I just got back from a little road trip with my friend Liz to Door County, which is among my favorite places in Wisconsin. Door County is a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, forming Green Bay to the northwest. Long an agricultural area, there are beautiful expanses of fields and woods stetching away from the villages that line the coast, and many opportunities to buy and sample cherries, apples and wines made in the area. Lots of interesting shops and galleries, too--including Woodwalk Gallery, which carries my paintings. Woodwalk is one of the few galleries in the area that hangs abstract work, and when I went hunting for Door County representation a few years ago I knew right away I'd found a good place for my paintings. I like the friendly, down-to-earth and personable owner/artist, Margaret Lockwood so much. As an artist herself--her atmospheric, abstracted paintings of sky and trees are featured in the gallery--she's in the unique position of seeing both sides of the gallery business. When I stopped in on Monday to see how things were going, she told me the gallery will be relocating in 2007 to a renovated barn which sounds really nice. (For those of you familiar with the area, it will be further south off Hwy. 42 near Carlsville.)

The photos are of a pelican spotted from the bike trail in Peninsula State Park, and some beautiful mossy rocks--inspiration for texture! (Click on photos for a larger view...)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
  new painting

Here is a recently finished painting...detail shots of its texture are shown in my last post. The title is Artifacts #1, 42"x36," oil on board.
Saturday, August 05, 2006

These are close up shots of a painting I'm working on. They show places where I have removed several layers of paint with a solvent-soaked rag so you can see layers applied earlier. Texture in my work generally comes from building up, and then selectively tearing down--working back and forth between the top layer of paint and those underneath by scraping and disolving those above. Some of the most beautiful and surprising textures I've come up with result from this way of applying paint.

I think of these kinds of complex, built up and eroded textures as meaningful in a symbolic way--in that they express the passing of time, and the building up of life experiences. I hope it isn't too farfetched to see parallels between adding a new layer and living another day--or to feel that wiping out an overworked, dull area is refreshingly like experiencing a new beginning.


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       Rebecca Crowell