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.
My friend Patricia and I listened to a lot of Talking Heads in the car on our way to and from New Mexico, and yesterday in the studio David Byrne was stuck in my head singing "I'm painting, I'm painting again..." As much as I enjoyed the trip, I was happy to be back at work. Ten days without painting when I have four shows coming up this fall and winter (and a busy summer of travels and visitors) made me nervous. It's going well though, and new ideas are coming as a result of my travels West.
The title for my show in October at Darnell Fine Art
is Old Walls and Lost Paths
, and on this trip I collected many images (mostly in my mind and some in photos) of old adobes and other weather-worn surfaces in New Mexico. My original idea for the title and theme of the show arose from my residency last fall in Catalonia; one of my interests there was the way in which the stone buildings and ancient walls seemed such an integral part of the landscape, and embodied a sense of time. In New Mexico, I saw the same thing in the ancient adobe buildings in the pueblos we visited, and in other old buildings scattered around the desert--they are made of the natural materials of the landscape, and seem to grow organically out of the earth.
The sun is coming up over the mountains where I'm staying near Los Alamos...early for me to be up, but worth it for the view. My friend Patricia and I have just a few days left out here. It's been a great trip...we're making it up as we go along, other than a few appointments and meetings, and yesterday's trip to Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo for Feast Day (where we were invited to the home of one of her colleagues to eat.) We saw dancing there, including the Buffalo Dance. Later on we headed for Taos, which was one big traffic jam on that hot afternoon. We kept going and found ourselves in Taos Pueblo, which was beautifully serene, remote, and spectacular. It is the oldest continually inhabited village in the country. There was dancing there too, and just a few visitors...an unforgettable experience.
Today and tomorrow I am hoping to get back to Santa Fe and see some art...we were there just briefly on Tuesday, when I dropped off paintings at my gallery, Darnell Fine Art, and then met up with four Santa Fe artists--only one of whom I already knew personally--the others were Facebook friends. I'll post pictures and talk about that and a few other artists I'm hoping to meet when I get home. It was social networking of the most rewarding kind.
A parting shot of my cool, shady studio garden before I travel towards NM tomorrow. I started this large garden four years ago on the steep bank that rises up just outside my studio door. Because of the slope, it is a secret garden hidden from view in the yard, until you start down the steps that lead to my door.
Early on I planted mostly perennial flowers and various kinds of ground cover, and have added more plants, interesting stones, broken pottery, and driftwood over the years. The plants have matured, each year more lush, and have spread in both directions along the bank. The whole thing has always felt like a collaboration with nature rather than something I'm in charge of...the plants ramble, intertwine, and form a complex carpet of textures and colors--resonating with the more organic aspects of my painting.
new painting and NM plans
My friend Patricia and I are taking a road trip to the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area through next week. This painting is a new one in the Strata series, 62"x24." The texture is especially developed in the white panel. It will be in the back of the car to be delivered to Darnell Fine Art
in Santa Fe--I'm stockpiling for my show in October.
We leave on Friday, and this Monday morning I sit with a long to-do list titled "before NM." A lot of it will get done, and what's left will probably seem less important as we pack up and hit the road. Patricia has never driven out West and I am looking forward to sharing this now-familiar experience with her. She's going out to do research for her doctoral thesis in Native American Studies, and has a really interesting agenda. I'll be in on some of it, including the Feast Day and Corn Dance at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. I'm also planning to see plenty of art, visit some art friends and of course, spend time with my two sons in Albuquerque.
Twelve years ago, I met a gracious, beautiful woman who took an immediate, deep and lasting interest in my work, and in me as an artist. I was a rather inexperienced painter looking for representation, and she was Wanda Flechsig, director of Circa Gallery in Minneapolis. When she first took my work, nothing sold for the first year. A lot of other galleries would have asked me to pick up my work, but Wanda's request was that I please be patient, that she knew things would get better. They did, and I went on to enjoy many years of my relationship with this generous, honest, intelligent, down to earth, sincere and caring gallery director and friend. She was remarkably enthusiastic when I would bring in new work, and she hung in with me through a major shift in style without expressing any hesitation (she did confess years later, after the new work was successful, that she'd had her doubts....but said not a word at the time.) Once she chose to work with you, it was her way to be supportive and extremely respectful of your direction.
In the past year many of us learned the shocking news that she had ovarian cancer, and some time after that she left the gallery, sending a simple but poignant goodbye email to the artists. She died this past Thursday, June 4, at the age of 52. I am still trying to understand that she is gone. The gallery lives on, in excellent hands.
I am thinking a lot of her family, for as sad as I know the artists are, the grief of her loved ones is painful to imagine.
I find this is my only picture of her, and it's a bit of an odd one--but I love it, somehow. She is talking with my painter friend Mark Horton at one of my openings, absorbed in communicating, one of her great skills.
drawings on copper
A few months ago, I found some thin copper sheets at a liquidator store, and recently I decided to try drawing and painting on them with oils, oil sticks and cold wax medium. I first wiped them down with solvent to clean up any grease or dirt, and before finishing them, made sure that the entire surface had a coating of wax, to keep the copper from oxidizing. The surface was wonderfully smooth to work on, and in places the copper shine comes through, in a subtle way.
These pieces were very hard to photograph, for some reason--maybe because of their (slight) metallic sheen. In reality there is more depth and definition than you see here. I was pleased enough with the whole experiment that I went back to buy more copper sheets. But of course, since it was a liquidator store, there were none left. I'm pretty sure that I could find something similar on line though. Has anyone else out there tried copper as a support?
old walls and lost paths
The working title for my October exhibit at Darnell Fine Art
is Old Walls and Lost Paths,
a reference to the time I spent last September painting in Catalonia. I continue to feel strongly the influence of the textures of the ancient buildings and ruins, and the memories of walking in the landscape.
As time passes, though, their influence is more generalized, less specific to the particular place or experience from my residency. The old, time worn surfaces, and overgrown paths in the Catalonia landscape have taken on more metaphoric and universal meanings for me, and I find myself paying more attention to such images here in my own environment.
Almost every exhibit that I've had in the past has been titled some variation of New Work
or Recent Paintings
. For this exhibit I'm pleased to have a more specific idea or theme, which has come naturally out of my experience.
The painting above is Warm Wall
, 42"x36" (oil on panel.)