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.
today show segment to air
Some of you may recall a couple of my posts back in late October (see 10/28-29) about a camera guy filming at our house for a Today Show segment about artist Jim Mott
and his Itinerant Artist Project. Jim just sent the following email with the news that the piece will be aired this Wednesday, 01/02/08. Dear IAP Hosts and Accomplices,
Some of you are sick of hearing about this, and some don't know: The
latest word from NBC is that the 4-minute "American Story" about my fall
‘07 art tour is scheduled to run on the Today Show, 1/2/08 between 8 and
9 am (in the Eastern Time Zone). The schedule could change without
advance notice. If it runs, I hope it is more fun than embarassing.
After the broadcast, it will probably be put online at the Today Show
website, under American Story with Bob Dotson. And eventually I will get
a digital video version to put on the www.jimmott.com website. The
website currently has the beginnings of a trip report for this latest,
strangely eventful tour.
I have no idea how much of the footage that was shot here will be included, and frankly I'm a little nervous...we had very short notice in which to do anything to make our place look presentable for millions to view! We ended up mostly doing just normal picking up as if company were arriving. And of course I've wondered in the aftermath exactly what I actually said when the camera was pointed at me...but the piece is about Jim, not me or my questionable housekeeping, and he is a very interesting person. So I think it will be a lot of fun to watch, and wonderful publicity for him and his future travels. Tune in if you can, or look for online versions later (I will post them when they become available.)
a painting story
When I look at one of my paintings from an earlier time, there's rarely an actual memory of painting it. In terms of technique, or the intentions and development of the work, it might just as well have been painted by someone else. But often I do have a memory or association with a particular time in my life, and the situation in which the painting was done. This painting, Of Dreams and Circumstance (1986)
, takes me back to the time of my first pregnancy--the intense colors and the swirling composition relate to the surreal feeling, the excitement (and yes, the nausea) of early pregnancy. The small red heart in the upper right quadrant may or may not have been intentional, but seems now very meaningful.
A few months ago my older son called me to ask about this painting. He had seen it on my blog
of older works and realized from the date and the medium that it must have been done while I was carrying him. (It's acrylic, which I used while pregnant, in order to avoid the toxicity of oils.) He loved the colors, the depth, and the heart. He's home for the holidays now and yesterday I hauled this out from the back of my studio so he could see it, and I gave it to him. It pleased me very much to do so. It's really too big (55"x60") for him to deal with in his present living situation--student housing--but he asked me to save it for him until he has a place for it.
This all strikes me as a most perfect flow of creativity--a painting done during pregnancy (a truly creative state)...years later recognized and appreciated by--and now given to--the well-loved person who inspired it to be.
Not so much time to paint or to post lately, with holidays and sons home from college. Still, I am finishing out the year with this one, Vertical #16,
completed on Christmas Eve day (please note: I did spend most of the day in places other than the studio.)
The next bit is art-related, but I thought I'd share two great websites as a little holiday gift to my readers.
The first is FreeRice
, a website that features a very compelling (perhaps addictive) vocabulary-building game with a bonus. Correct answers earn rice that is distributed by the United Nations World Food program to hungry people around the world. The program builds local economies by buying the rice from area farmers whenever possible. As you rack up correct answers to the multiple-choice questions, featuring ever-more obscure words as you reach higher levels, you can see your donation increase. It's kind of a weird combination of goals, but as my husband says, there are plenty of games you can play on the computer that don't help anybody--so why not gain some vocabulary and provide food aid at the same time?
The second website is very helpful when you receive those alarming emails that warn of some impending terrible thing--NPR will soon be shut down, your cell phone number is about to be given out to telemarketers, a vicious computer virus is heading your way. You read and wonder, and probably doubt. But plenty of people are still concerned enough to pass the info on to their entire email list, as these messages generally urge you to do. Here's where Snopes.com
Instead of forwarding the message, enter the key words into Snopes' search box, and you will get the background and status of the claim--most of which have been around for years and are totally fraudulent. Then if you wish to enlighten the person who sent you the email in the first place, you can link them to this explanation page. Which can be rather self-righteously-satisfying.
And now that I've given everybody more reasons to hang around the computer, I'm tearing away from mine and heading through the snow to the studio...
Tomorrow I'm shipping this painting, Vertical #14
, to Wilde Meyer Gallery
in Arizona, for a January show of abstract artists (to be held at their Tucson location.)
It's one of my shorter Verticals, 66"x12"...sometimes they say what they have to say with fewer panels. This one has a deep red upper panel and some brighter cadmium red lines showing through several layers of earthier colors on the lower panel. I will have 6-9 paintings in the exhibit--not sure which ones exactly, but I've been doing my best to send out enough for them to choose from.
My husband and I tossed around the idea of going out for the opening reception on the 10th--Tucson in January is a very attractive idea, whatever the excuse. It was entertaining to imagine jetting out for a few days, soaking up the sun and warmth, hiking in the desert. We lived in the Phoenix area for three years when I was in grad school at ASU and love the rugged, saguaro-strewn landscape. And of course it would be great to see the exhibit and meet the other artists.
But after a rather grueling weekend trip earlier this month, when I flew with my mother to Arkansas on a family matter, the realities of air travel set in. Among other trials, there was an unexplained three hour delay departing Fayetteville, and we ended up on a totally different flight that arrived too late to catch our scheduled shuttle from Minneapolis to home. Sometimes you get lucky, but so often it is not a fun, easy thing to fly. Especially when you're only gone a few days and there is barely time to enjoy the destination before you're back in the airport. So for now, no trip West...January in Wisconsin is great, really!
I took this painting (Vertical #13, 81"x12") to Circa Gallery
in Minneapolis yesterday, along with three others. Circa has recently moved to a downtown location, a vibrant district bordering the river with restaurants and upscale shops. My first experience of the new space was in late October at the grand opening, and that night I found it all quite disorienting--crowded, noisy and huge--somehow this did not sit well with me. For as long as I have been with the gallery (since the late 90s) Circa has been a rather small, charming, tile-floored and slightly funky space near the Walker Art Center. Overnight (or so it seemed to me) it morphed into a large, elegant, pristine "white box" ...a very startling transformation I was not sure I could warm up to.
But yesterday it was a very different experience, to enter on a quiet afternoon, with natural light flooding the space from the large windows, and each painting given breathing room. It felt airy, restful, and inviting, in the way that a freshly cleaned house is easier to relax in than one that is cluttered and disorganized. Wanda, the director, is clearly very pleased with the changes, and now I have been won over. The gallery has a whole new presence, and I feel really very honored to be part of it.
Also under the general heading of "changes," my solo exhibit at Darnell Fine Art
in Santa Fe has been moved from October up to July-August of '08, giving me just six months to prepare. This is a good change and made with my full approval--the timing works better with tentative travel plans I have to return to the art center in Spain (where I was in residence in the fall of 2001) and the summer dates also take advantage of the peak time for summer visitors to Santa Fe. Still, it means readjusting my inner time line in a big way, and as soon as a few loose ends are tied up in the studio (paintings for other galleries) I'll be giving full time to this show. It's exciting, and now that I've seen the gallery (I visited in October) it's quite entertaining to think of how to fill the space.
These are examples of something new I'm doing--medium sized paintings using multiple panels. I like the intimate scale of these, along with the contrast and interaction of multiple panels. These have evolved after painting Grove
(my November 29 entry.)
The top painting, Cadence
, is 26"x20" and the one below, Golden Day
(it evoked for me an October day spent with my younger son in the mountains above Flagstaff) is 22"x18."
I'm a bit overdue for bringing new work to my Minneapolis gallery, Circa Gallery
, and I plan to remedy that on Friday. I am hauling in Grove, Cadence, a new Verticle, and Ghost
, pictured below, 72"x24".
This is another little one (8"x6") that I have shipped to Polderland Gallery
in Milwaukee for the winter sale (Polderland Wonderland) this coming weekend, December 7-9.
Mostly, though, I've had bigger things underway...I'm working really, really hard, but I'm always a painting (or two or three) short of what I'd honestly thought I could produce. Some paintings go well, others present very stubborn and unpredictable problems. This evening I wanted to figure out which paintings could be sent to which galleries, but even as I tried to organize them in this way, (which meant imagining them as done) I knew some might decide to dig in their heels or change directions at the last minute (...the expression "herding cats" came to mind...) Somehow, though, I have to get a whole bunch of paintings out the door in the next month or so!
When do you set aside a painting--decide it is not worth pursuing at least in its current form? (Ignoring inner voices which proclaim "finish what you start" or "don't give up...")
That question came up this morning when my friend Mark paid a studio visit. He said that he will abandon a painting when he feels that it is not leading him into new territory. I liked that...the idea of the painting pulling you along. When you are pulling it, often it is towards the tried and true, and that robs you both of energy and vitality.
There are also times for me when I'm too intent on expressing something that is indeed a new idea, but one that has formed in my mind, as opposed to having evolved naturally out of the process. It seems better in both cases to back off and start again. Or paint over or wash out...anything to steer clear of that insidious energy drain of trying to force a painting to work.