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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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
In an nearly empty studio, creative energy can be a fragile thing. The paintings I've been interacting with for months are gone--first to my exhibit in Milwaukee, and now shipped off to galleries. The paintings are no longer talking to me or to each other... the party in the studio is over.

Some days my energy for painting seems heightened by this emptiness, other days it seems to leak away.

There are a few quotes and meditations that charge my creative batteries on the slow days. This one is part of the Unitarian Universalist service I used to attend. (It is said to be a Sanskrit proverb...I've seen various translations.)
Look to this day
For it is life
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty --

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well-lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

I think it is the "glory of action" part that gets me up off my couch.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
  new addition

I've added to my small (but growing!) collection of art works (by people other than myself!) with this painting by my friend Mark Horton. I love its jazzy colors and the balance it strikes between abstraction and representation.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
  53 rocks

My friend Paula Gorski's art often includes repetitive actions such as wrapping cloth around various armatures, or bringing together a number of similar, symbolic objects. There is always a narrative element, a story behind the actions or objects, which is spoken or spelled out in some way.

On my birthday, June 13th, she gave me a box with instructions inside (in story form) for an art event to honor the day. According to the story, Paula and I, along with our friend Marty, would go to the river and gather 53 stones, one for each of my years. As a festive note, we would wear pearls, which were included in the box. There was also a small book to record the experience.

It turned out to be a busy day, but close to sunset we made it to the river and collected rocks of all sizes, shapes and colors. It was a heavy pile indeed when we were done, a visual symbol of a life of varied experience. I plan to use the rocks to make a small garden area, and if I think of it, I'll add one more each year.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
  starting out in santa fe
Over the past week or so Darnell Fine Art has received crates containing eight of my paintings, to add to the three already there. So they now have a significant body of my work. I got this email yesterday when the last paintings arrived:

Thanks so much...Janine has placed them beautifully, and they look stately and gorgeous.

I like "stately" (!) Everyone there seems to feel the work is a really good fit for the gallery. So I'm letting myself feel a bit of excitement and anticipation for what the summer will bring. At this point I'm pretty deeply invested in the whole thing, and cautiously optimisitic.

If anyone is wandering around Canyon Road in Santa Fe this summer, please stop in at Darnell Fine Art--I'd love to hear any feedback or comments. I'm hoping to make it out there this fall (my favorite time to visit NM) but until then I don't have much of a picture of how things look.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
  back to 1983

Last night was the opening of a group show called Rivers at the Eau Claire public library in Eau Claire, WI. My old painting instructor, Anders Shafer curated the show, and when he asked me to be part of it I hesitated. What could I contribute that would relate to the theme? He told me he was thinking of a painting he'd seen in my studio during one of my Open Studio sales of older work. Here it is hanging (in a stairwell) at the exhibit, and the statement I wrote to go with it.

I painted Dry River Bed 24 years ago while I was living in Tempe, AZ and attending grad school at Arizona State University. This was my first exposure to the bleached, arid desert landscape of the area.

This painting came out of the experience of walking around in the bed of the Salt River, which dries up completely on a seasonal basis. During the rainy season, the river collects all sorts of random items, which are then exposed when the water recedes. I used to collect interesting bits of wood and other objects, and there was a always slightly disturbing feeling, wondering what else I might come across. The style of the painting is typical of my surrealist approach at the time and reflects the dreamlike aspect of this landscape.

The narrative aspect of the work comes from my current perspective—I’m not at all sure what I’d have said about this painting when I did it. My work has evolved since then in a very different direction--towards abstraction, with much richer color and texture--though an interest in landscape remains.

I had mixed feelings about exhibiting this older painting, though I still like it. I wondered if people would mistake it for a current painting. And indeed a few people at the opening told me how much they like my "new direction"...I wonder if some will be sorry to see me "go back" to those multiple panel things!
Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How focus wavers at times...when something happens in the rest of life (like for example, your 82 year old mother falls and breaks her ankle, and complicated arrangements for care must be made) what happens in the studio? Not much?

For me this was the story of last week. I did manage to finish the painting shown here, Wander, 48"x36", oil on board. I had a deadline of sorts, as Darnell Fine Art in Santa Fe was waiting for a painting of these dimensions from me. Personal issues aside, I felt I had to come through, and to ship them eight other paintings they requested for the summer also. And then there were the four new pieces I took to Circa Gallery in Minneapolis on Thursday, a trip timed so that I could rotate out a few older things needed elsewhere. So I spent a hectic week, running between Pak Mail, DHL (the shipping company I use) and my mother's nursing home, when I wasn't on the road to the Twin Cities.

It's so hard to keep running at that kind of frantic pace, and I'm trying to slow down now, spend a little incubation time and find my focus again.


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       Rebecca Crowell