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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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008
  moving on
This week, something became unstuck for me...thankfully, I've lost the feeling of just wading through mud that clung to me after my return from NM. Some of that, I'm sure, was the fatigue of travel (20+ hours each way! followed by my little jaunt up to Lake Superior--see last posting.) But mostly it struck me as the let-down that is so common after pushing towards a big exhibit. Usually for me, that's a good time to take a studio break--but because I owe new work to several of my galleries (neglected in my push towards the show) I did not take time off. I really need to get several things finished and delivered before I leave for Spain on September 3.

And then, somehow, I just worked through it, and the past couple of days things are alive in the studio again, and colorfully so! Which is a surprise, because I came back from NM with high-contrast, black.white/gray paintings on the brain. Instead, I'm reaching for tubes of purple, yellow greens and other unexpected colors, and really, really enjoying myself. I considered putting a studio shot on here, but I think I'll just keep all this to myself for awhile, and allow any changes that are incubating to happen.

In another way I am moving on, also. DHL never located the missing box containing panels from two of my paintings that I had shipped to Santa Fe for my show. In the car, I brought back the still bubble-wrapped panels from those two paintings that did arrive safely. And the other day I took all the wrappings off and put them back into play. One panel has already been recycled into a finished painting, and the other is on its way. Except for filing some paperwork, that chapter is closed. Not a happy ending, but I can live with it.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
  up north

When I consider that I live only a few hours' drive from some of the most spectacular scenery in this part of the country--not to mention an area of charming small communities in which I actually know people, and don't have to feel like a total tourist--I wonder why I don't go there more often. The top photo above shows a bit of the shoreline of Lake Superior, where sandy stretches of beach alternate with rocky ones, and gorgeous cliffs tower over dramatic waves. Above, I am hiking with some friends.

My husband and I actually own a small piece of property not far from this region, about an hour from the Lake Superior shore. But it's completely undeveloped, and I'm not much of a primitive camper...so I don't go there often (though he does--it's on the edge of a huge disc golf course!) But, when I'm invited to stay in a lovely lake home, visit with other artists, hike, eat extremely fresh fish, and sit around in coffee shops where everyone talks to each other, it makes for a very nice visit.

Two artist friends who are in the process of retiring to this area along with their husbands are fiber and mixed media artist Jane Herrick (upper photo), shown with a couple of her sculptural works, and Sally Bowker (below) whose work includes painting, drawing and quilted fabric pieces. Several of her charcoal drawings based on water plants are seen in this shot. It was a pleasure to visit with both of these old friends, talk about art and life, and see what they have going in their studios. We all share a strong inspiration from the natural world, interpreted in very different ways.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
  more from new mexico--art and disc golf

There was certainly more to the trip to NM than the already-described opening reception at Darnell Fine Art. The day before the opening, I went with my friend, artist Marina Broere (who has recently joined a new Canyon Road gallery, The Edge) and her husband Cor to the studio and home of painter Diane McGregor. That is Diane above in front of one of her recent paintings. Marina and I were very impressed with her work, especially her most recent paintings with their subtle, softly shifting color fields, punctuated by small focal areas of color that emerge from earlier layers of paint. Her home and studio were also wonderful, located in a rugged, fairly isolated area outside Tesuque...the patio area was alive with hummingbirds, and the views from the many windows spectacular. Diane rehabilitates wildlife, and a love of animals permeates her life. We met her very unusual pet, a de-scented skunk named Flower, pictured below.

Our journey to NM served not only as an art trip, but was also business travel for my husband, Don. I haven't spoken much about TnT Discs on this blog, but the time has come. Don's passion for disc golf has led to not only his business selling discs and equipment and doing course design, but to an 18-hole public course (Wildapple Disc Golf Course) that he has built on our Wisconsin property (yes, art and disc golf can co-exist quite nicely.) He is also compelled to seek out new courses to play and evaluate on every trip away from home. That's where he was the day of my visit to Diane--playing three courses near Taos, a surprising number considering their rather remote locations. We spent part of another day on a course in Albuquerque while visiting with our two sons. That is our older son below, along with his dog. I love his acrobatic throwing style. (I don't play, myself, but tagged along during the game for the photo opportunities.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008
  more pictures from santa fe
Below are several recent photos--I will have more from our trip in a future post...

This is an installation shot from my solo show at Darnell Fine Art in Santa Fe, which opened last Friday night.

My nephew Matthew and I watching me on video (this is the video I have mentioned making in past posts, but I have yet to figure out how to post it on my blog or You Tube or anywhere...) The video seemed to go over very well, facilitating a lot of discussion about my process and techniques.

A shot from the opening reception showing from left to right, Hilary (one of the very engaging and knowledgeable gallery staff,) artist Marina Broere, myself, and Marina's husband Cor.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
  santa fe report (brief version)
This morning I'm wading through the aftermath of ten days away from home--it's wonderful to be back. I'm tired but buoyed up by the good trip and because now all the effort (and occasional stress) of the exhibit in Santa Fe at Darnell Fine Art is behind me. The evening of the opening was rainy, but many people came anyway. It was a very nice event, followed by a fun meal with friends, family, and gallery staff.

I am in wait-and-see mode now in regards to sales...and am assured by the gallery folks that in spite of the slow economy, they will continue to occur over the coming days as interested people reach their decisions. It also helps me to know how amazingly well things have gone at Darnell over the past year that I have had my work there. So, I'm trying not to hover by the phone and computer waiting for news...and to think "whatever happens, happens."

There was much more to the trip west, including a studio visit with the wonderful painter Diane McGregor, relaxation at the hot springs, and hikes in the high desert. I'll post a few more images and stories later.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
  new painting and now i'm done....
Not long ago I was declaring my work finally finished for my Santa Fe exhibit which opens this coming Friday...but that was before losing panels from two paintings in the black hole that is DHL's (optimistically termed) "lost and found." (Well, they got the first part right anyway.) I spent the weekend getting some other paintings ready to show in their place, including this one, In Deep, 40"x36."

This painting had an interesting evolution--I had it bolted together a bit earlier in the process than I normally do (I can't recall why that was) and the carpenter who does this work advised me not to unbolt any of the panels (which I often do to work further on them, and for touch-ups) because he'd had trouble getting everything to line up correctly. He said if I took it apart he could not guarantee that it would go back the right way. From that point until just a week or so ago, I had a huge mental block about finishing this painting because of having to divert from my usual process. I did try to work on it many times, but with the most frustrating results!

Finally, I figured out a few things, and I think they have applications beyond this one painting. First, that I can use the same blue tape that I use on the edges of the panels (to keep them clean) to mask edges within the painting. I started doing that between panels on this painting, but soon began experimenting with other ideas for using the tape on other paintings, with interesting results. I also had to view this painting as a unified whole throughout most of its development, since I was unable to take it apart and move things around as I usually do. As a result I think the panels, at least the bottom four, are more congruent than is typical of my work. I don't know what this means at the moment, if anything, but it seemed worth noting.

Now I just hope it and the others I just finished will be dry enough to make the trip west...but there should be a few days of heat on the way to speed the process! I am very much looking forward to the week ahead--the western landscape that I love, seeing family and friends, and of course the opening reception. If you are in the Santa Fe area please plan to attend, from 5-7 on Friday the 11th at Darnell Fine Art, 640 Canyon Road.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
  new painting and conversations with dhl

A box containing panels from the painting above (Ramble #2, 60"x36") and from Border (posted a few days ago) have gone missing on their way to Santa Fe over the past week. Tracking data simply ended last Monday, with the information that the package had passed through the DHL hub in Minneapolis.

This means that two paintings intended for my upcoming show are in jeopardy...I'm bouncing around between anxiety and the aforementioned "que sera, sera" attitude, with "wait and see" as my default mode. I'm also (reasonably I think) contemplating which two paintings that are still in my studio might be finished up in time to replace these two in my exhibit (which opens July 11th.)

Of course, I've been calling DHL, trying to figure out where my box has gone and how to get it back on track. One thing I know from prior experience, though, is that each DHL employee exists in his or her own little world, and almost for sure you will get a completely different and contradictory story from each one when you call about anything.

My disjointed conversation with DHL started on Saturday, when I realized that the tracking data had gone dead. I phoned (using www.gethuman techniques--wonderful when you just don't want to listen to voicemail prompts!) and was told by a very businesslike person that a "dock search" would be put on my crate, and that I would be contacted on Monday with results. This resulted in disturbing mental pictures of my box sitting abandoned in some dark warehouse corner, perhaps with the shipping label torn or missing, and half-hearted dock workers missing it in some cursory glance around. But she sounded efficient and seemed to imply that this happens all the time, don't worry.

On Monday, after waiting impatiently until noon, I called again. This time the man I talked to was extremely reassuring. He said that the box was almost for sure not abandoned on a dock, but was on a truck going...somewhere. The wrong truck. But as soon as the mistake was discovered, the box would be sent to its correct destination. I liked this guy a lot, not only because he had a great theory about my box, but because when he found out it contained paintings, told me all about a friend of his in Texas who paints in the style of "that old hippie stuff, what do you call that?" (me--psychedelic?..him--yeah, that's it!)I felt that I was conversing with a concerned human being, and it lifted my spirits quite a bit.

Then a few hours later, someone else called me as a follow up to the dock search. This person quizzed me at length about what was in my box. Apparently if the shipping information had gotten detached from the box, it might be opened up for identification. I told her it contained paintings. She wanted to know what kind of paintings--portraits, or what?? I said, no, they are abstract paintings. Silence on the other end. I fumbled around for words a bit and finally said (feeling like a traitor to my art form) that if someone opened up the box, what they would see are just some wood panels with paint on them. I could practically hear her roll her eyes. (As in, OK lady, whatever you say. But they're not really so important, these pieces of wood with paint on them, are they?) I decided not to pursue this lesson in abstraction, and we went on to other questions about the size of the box and whatnot. This conversation left me quite unsettled--because it was Monday, after all, and I thought I'd have an answer, and instead I was just getting more questions.

So that's where it stands. I'm rooting for the "on the wrong truck" theory. And wondering why I ship with DHL. (Although to be fair, I've used them many times before, and this is the first time they have actually lost something, if only temporarily--knock on wood!)


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       Rebecca Crowell