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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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
  the year ahead

It's the quiet time of year for me, which I appreciate, winter weather and all. For the past couple of years--including this one--I've avoided scheduling any workshops or exhibits from November through January or early February. Of course, hours (days!!) are devoted to planning for the rest of the year, but the anticipation is enjoyable. I'm exceptionally happy with everything on the calendar for 2012.

A quick summary of 2102 workshops and exhibits: Three introductory Oil and Wax Workshops are scheduled in February, April and May for my home studio, and one advanced class in March. Teaching in my own space, where I have everything I need, is a pleasure, and since the size of it limits classes to six artists, the small group dynamic is unique to these classes. (Click here to read an older blog post about the value of studio classes.)

I'm especially pleased to welcome back six artists in March for an advanced Level Two Workshop. Along with one additional person, this is the same group of five that came last March--to some extent they have kept in touch with each other and they're eager to work together again here. They personify the ongoing involvement and commitment to working with cold wax medium that motivated me to begin teaching advanced classes.

In April, I'll exhibit some of my Ireland paintings at Elaine Erickson Gallery in Milwaukee, a new venue for my work, along with Allison B. Cooke, who will show paintings inspired by time in Italy. Work for the show is coming along really well, and the opening (April 20-21) will coincide with Gallery Night and Day in Milwaukee's Third Ward, so should be a lot of fun.

After the opening I will head down to Mineral Point, WI to teach a 2-day Critique Workshop at Shake Rag Alley on April 28-29. This class is one I've in the back of my mind for years to do, and I'm am excited to put my ideas in action. Plus, I love teaching at Shake Rag--great people and a beautiful historic setting.

June begins a season of frequent travel, starting with California at the beginning of the month. I'll fly into the Bay Area, rent a car and drive up to Yreka, where I'll teach an intro level Oil and Wax Workshop, June 8-10. I'm already feeling very welcome there, and excited to see this place of great natural beauty. In the past few years I've had many workshop inquiries by artists from California and the Pacific Northwest, so I am expecting a full and exciting class. I plan to teach a private workshop on my way back to the Bay Area, and perhaps visit a friend or two before heading home.

July 16-20 I will be teaching at Cullowhee Mountain Arts, a new summer workshop program on the campus of Western Carolina University. It is an honor to be included in the first summer faculty. This class is a week long, beginning the evening before with a reception for instructors and students--it will be great to have time to dig deeply into the work and enjoy a sense of community. There will be lectures and artist presentations throughout the session.

Early August will find me on an extended road trip, first to Dallas for an Oil and Wax Workshop (this one is now filled, with a waiting list) and then on to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, to deliver paintings for an exhibit at Darnell Fine Art. After a few days in NM, I will head to Colorado to each a Level Two Oil and Wax Workshop at the Ah Haa School of the Arts in Telluride, Aug. 13-16. I love that town, and the school is a top notch venue. This class is so far about half full with returning students from introductory cold wax classes. I'm looking forward to seeing familiar faces and spending four days with some of the more conceptual angles of painting that can be explored in an advanced class.

That's everything on the calendar...I intend to go back to Ireland this fall, but I'm not sure yet when and where, so I am leaving myself open from September on.

For a complete list of workshops and registration details please click here.

The painting above is Irish Garden 16"x16," oil and mixed media on panel. It may be seen at Darnell Fine Art in Santa Fe, NM>
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
  my studio in photos
Just wandering around the studio with my camera...

Monday, January 09, 2012

While I consider landscape to be only one of many influences on my work, it's been a pretty obvious one in a few of my recent, post-Ireland paintings, such as the painting above, Carrowmore, 20"x16".

Interpreting landscape in a pictorial way has also happened in the past after I return from travel or a residency. Maybe I'm drawn a more literal or direct approach in order to process some of what I've experienced.

What remains strong in my mind about Ireland are the misty atmosphere around the lake at Annaghmakerrig, the saturate colors of the damp forest, the rugged western seacoast, and perhaps most compelling, a number of megalithic sites made up of ancient cairns and standing stones, which I experienced in the pouring rain (I seem to have very few sunny memories of Ireland!)

The influence of rich colors and rugged textures is also coming through in my more non-objective paintings, which I'm working on at the same time as these few more literal landscapes...and because I identify so strongly as an abstract artist I tend to dismiss the landscapes and think the more abstract way of working is more valid. Yet it seems wrong to box myself in or put up too much resistance to letting a painting evolve in a more representational way.

Besides, I recognize that landscape and nature images have been the most consistent and enduring influences over my lifetime of painting. The expression of nature's complexity and beauty in all its many aspects is the core meaning of my work. So I'm OK with letting in a few bits of objective reality...with letting the occasional landscape be a landscape.

(By the way I should note that all I'm writing here pertains to how I see and interpret my own work...viewers have always tended to read a certain degree of landscape into my work, and that's fine, especially considering that core meaning I just mentioned. I'm just usually the last one to see it.)
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
  a thought for the new year

Emerson's version of Trust the Process:
Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

(photo above, detail of a recently completed multiple panel painting...)


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       Rebecca Crowell