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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.

Monday, April 27, 2009
  new paintings

These 12" square paintings (as yet untitled) are ones that I did as demos during my workshop at Rochester Art Supply two weekends ago. I didn't really expect to finish any of my own work, but everyone painted so intently that I actually did complete these two during those sessions, and two more are close to done.

All four demo paintings went through many changes over the two days, since my purpose was not actually to make any finished work, but to show as many ways of applying and removing paint as I could come up with. It was a good refresher exercise for me. It was also a challenge to paint in front of people, but I certainly had an appreciative audience.

For more pics and commentary on the workshop, please visit Barb Chappelle's blog--she was one of those intent and appreciative people.

(My apologies for the slightly blurry photos--they were taken under less than optimal conditions, and I had to leave the paintings themselves behind to dry.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009
  central ny trip wrap-up

I've been pretty tired and scattered since coming home from New York state--travel always seems to leave me in that condition, though I've been in the studio every day and doing what I can. My week away was wonderful, and the timing was great too--when I left, spring still seemed a tentative idea here (April can be hard for us Northerners, when people in other places are gardening and being outside.) It has definitely arrived now though (yesterday we hit 90 degrees!) and a full calendar for the next few months is also upon me.

I wrote about the Rochester workshop in my last post, but my time in Ithaca, NY, earlier that week also deserves mention. I stayed with my old friend (also my web designer) Pamela Wik-Grimm and her family. They live in a newly built eco-house on a wooded lot outside of town, designed by Pamela (who always thinks outside the box) so that the central hallway also serves as a art gallery. It is a bit wider than a normal hall, with excellent track lighting. There are also several other display areas in the house.

I love Pamela's concept of displaying art in the comfortable setting of a home. When the Rochester workshop was confirmed, I was pleased to be the first artist invited to show in her space. I shipped a few boxes of small paintings ahead of my visit, and hung them when I arrived. Pamela arranged a small reception to coincide with my visit, and plans a larger event for next month. The work may also be seen by appointment.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
  rochester workshop

The experience of running the workshop in Rochester, NY over the weekend (at Rochester Art Supply) seemed more like hosting an art party than whatever else I had anticipated. Of course, I worked hard (a host usually does) planning and preparing. And both days I gave demos of materials and techniques, answered a lot of questions, and did my best to give feedback and share information with the five other artists in attendance. But overall, it seemed more like pleasure than work to me. I loved the atmosphere--there were hours in which there was barely a sound, as everyone (including me) worked intently...interspersed with friendly conversation and banter, and comments on various paintings in progress. This was a group of highly focused, serious artists--who also knew how to laugh and enjoy themselves and each other. Jim Mott (whom I have known since his 2007 visit to our place during his Itinerant Artist Project tour) and Kathryn Bevier (of Rochester Art Supply) are shown above; below is Barbara Chappelle (who came down from Canada) and some of the paintings that I developed as demos over the two days.

Friday, April 17, 2009
  ithaca/rochester report
No pics to post yet, but it has been a good week in the central NY area. I spent Tuesday night through this afternoon in Ithaca, visiting old friends and doing a little hiking and sight seeing (I love all the waterfalls in the area.) My friend Pamela hung about a dozen of my smaller paintings in the gallery space she had built into her new home, and held a small reception for me on Wednesday night. (She'll be having a larger event in May, but it was nice to meet a few of her interested frineds while I was in town.)

Now I'm in Rochester, at Rochester Art Supply, getting ready for my workshop that starts in the morning. I'm typing this in the classroom, which is just off the main part of the store. And a wonderful store it is--my favorite kind--packed with products. I always feel inspired just walking aorund in such stores. It's a nice classroom too, with big windows onto the street and plenty of space. I'm very much looking forward to what will transpire in here over the weekend--
Saturday, April 11, 2009
  new painting

This one is a small, 8" square painting called Stones Along the Path. A lot of my single panel pieces have some sort of division of the space, usually horizontal, but in this one I used a vertical division. Dividing the space within the panel echoes the composition of my multiple panel pieces--it adds structure and tension to the free flowing, organic surface.

I am looking harder at this right now--ways to bring more variety of divisions into my single panel paintings. Horizontal divisions do seem "right" to me a lot of times--and they evoke certain things that interest me, such as layers of rock, stone walls, geological strata, landscape. There is often a sense of gravity at work, the visual weight of the painting making more sense as a horizontal composition.

But, I'm wary of the horizontal divisions becoming too habitual. There is a fine line between following an impulse that something is "right" for the painting--and just doing what is tried and true, and you are pretty sure will work out. When those impulses lead to the same answers over and over, stagnation can set in. Again, a fine line--it's good to stay with an idea for awhile, and see where it goes...real change tends to evolve slowly, at least for me. But change and growth are so important--I need to know they are happening to be happy with my work. Often there is a moment, as with this painting, when it dawns on me--here is a new thread to follow.
Monday, April 06, 2009
  new painting

This painting is called Slate, and is 56"x24", oil on panel. It is one that I'll be taking to Circa Gallery in Minneapolis on Wednesday. I go back over ten years with Circa, and think of it as my "home" gallery. It's time for a big overhaul of my work there--I'm taking in about seven new paintings, and bringing about the same number of older pieces.

The past few weeks have been confusing for me...lots of work in the studio, and all of it is heading here or there. So I've been sorting that out, and at the same time I'm doing new work, and also at the same time getting ready for my workshop next week in Rochester. And tomorrow I'm shipping off three boxes of small paintings that my friend Pamela is going to hang in the gallery she has in her house in Ithaca. I'm thinking, some day it will all get quiet again, and I can just paint in peace. But I do look at all of this in a positive light. Things are happening and I can't complain.
Friday, April 03, 2009
  more workshops ahead

The workshop idea is taking off, and at this point, I have two more coming up--October 19-21 at Peninsula School of the Arts in lovely Door County, WI, and one that is as yet unscheduled at the Dick Blick location in Wheaton, IL (near Chicago.) That one will probably be in July or August.

(Someone called the Dick Blick store to ask that I be contacted for this--if that was one of my blog readers, thanks! and could you please email me at crowellart@yahoo.com so that I am sure to schedule it when you can attend?)

The painting above is Sahara Wind, 24"x26." Like a lot of my recent work, it comes out of my residency in Catalonia last fall. I was rather charmed by the fact that at times, a pinkish dust is deposited in the area where I was staying--carried on winds from the Sahara. I was reminded of that as I developed the pink/orange colors in this painting.


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       Rebecca Crowell