Saturday, June 26, 2010

more from the studio

"morning coffee" 20x20" oil on canvas

"lingering scent" 24x30" oil on canvas

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

this week at the studio

"secret place" 24x36" oil on canvas

"no clarity today" 24x24" oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

things are not always as they seem

I was struck recently by a statistic that I read within an article announcing Al and Tipper Gore's splitting up. The so-called experts were weighing in on the split as well as siting the statistics of success and failure for (presumably) straight, married couples. Of course, the "facts" were measured by the factoid that the Gore's were high school sweethearts and were married like, forever. Or about thirty or forty years. Can't remember and doesn't matter to make my point anyway. The statistic that was most shocking was that married couples that each partner has been married previously: odds of success: 10%. That's a 90% chance of failure by married couples that each come from divorce.

A painting that I worked on today is really a commentary about things not being what they seem. The thought that comes to mind first is when, after my son Noah died, how people wrongly assume that since I "looked like I was doing just fine" that things were fine. The truth is that I don't wear sweat pants, sneakers and old t-shirts. I always dress in presentable attire and I always put on lipstick. That's just me. I was dying inside and looked just great. Painful isn't it? But it certainly wouldn't have helped me feel good about myself to look like what was really going on. And would have been frightening to everyone around me.
We're all going through private and sometimes secret moments of some part of our lives. The Gore's are a perfect example of that.
"But she looked like she was doing just fine" oil on canvas, 44"x44"

Saturday, June 12, 2010

another work in progress

"the act of making art is a leap of faith. exhibition of one's own art defines an artist as true."
I included that quote today just for a chuckle.

"dirty fun" 24x36" oil on canvas

Thursday, June 10, 2010

this week at the studio

I'm noticing a definite trend in the paintings I've done this week. That's why we call it a series...
1. the composition moving toward the diagonal (I am drawn to the movement of this direction)
2. they look wind blown, all to the right. (it's been very windy here this week)
3. they all look a bit like my garden, at different times and from different vantage points

I like it in my garden. I'm content there because I'm enjoying what it's becoming and how far it's going to go. I think that to call something a yard is to conjure up a place to look at, all utilitarian and without much personality.
But true lovers of gardening are not yardworkers, they're gardeners. There is no work involved.

"secret place" 16x20 oil on canvas

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

and happen some more

making art, that is.
Another productive morning.
I'm a admitted control freak and usually plot and plan my way through most paintings, knowing what the end result will be before beginning. I've been able to let go of that control this week and have been able to paint freely, letting myself find my own direction as it happens.
I've been getting and giving up control all week. Feels nice.

"blow a breeze towards me" 20x20" oil on canvas

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

sometimes things happen

So many things in life come about that we have no choice in. Emotionally, mentally, physically.
Maybe a result of raging hormones within the crazy of perimenopause, but sometimes paintings just start happening.

My time devoted to painting was all planned out to work on portrait work, but plans get abandoned, emotions get followed and the palette knife will not be denied.

Since yesterday's "crazy making garden foreplay" needs to sit for a few days untouched so that the paint can start setting up and I can continue on it, I started "Grow a tree in my garden" 36x48" oil on canvas.

Monday, June 7, 2010

when is a painting just a painting?

"crazy making garden foreplay" is on day 2 of it's evolution. Yesterday's post got me to thinking about a painting being a view into the soul of the artist. I am still having an internal debate about that but some might see things clearly.

I told a friend recently that sometimes I feel like my life is playing out in some sort of opera. The equivalent of an off-off broadway show to be sure, but an opera nonetheless and without the benefit of a working title.

I am old enough now that I have some serious history of my own life. Some successes, some failures and plenty of joy as well as sorrow along the way. The cumulation of all these experiences has resulted in right now, right here, where I am. The biggest lesson learned through my greatest sorrow, which was the death of one of my children: live now. Lesson learned through great joy( and I've had much joy in my life): live now. All that is in between the joy and the sorrow: pour a nice glass of wine and live now.

(I have always preferred and find plenty of reasons to live in the joy, lest you think that this blog entry is dwelling on the sorrow. it's not)

Occasionally I'll have a friend confide in me about an issue or problem that they're facing and my summarized answer in at least the last few years has been "live now". don't worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Find your joy in the right now of your life.

By contrast, in the opera of my life, I am hoping that I won't be the one jumping off of the turret. I just want to be the one with the amazing voice that convinces one in the audience that there might very well be a God if one person can have such a gift as that. That is to say, sometimes when my own troublesome thoughts take over, I am unable to find my own answers.

p.s. please don't worry, this is not a suicide note.

I hope that in this painting the viewer sees passion being played out. The way that I see passion.

post script: I found out this evening that my grandmother, Cicely Robertson Szabo, passed away yesterday. My grandparents, Cicely and Bill had a huge place in my life. I am the daughter of their eldest of ten, so my place in their life was more so as a daughter as their youngest children were my age. When my grandfather died of heart failure, they lived with me in my home in southern California and had both just graduated from college at the age of 76. Cicely's death will be marked by much grief, much laughter and memories shared. She was the mother of ten, wife of a hungarian commercial fisherman, daughter of a scottish artist.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

art as a view into the soul

A commenter recently wrote that a painting could or might be considered a view into the soul of an artist. That very large statement I am sure has been debated and pondered for generations. I am certain if for nothing else the sheer joy of debate.

I have been painting in what I describe as very "tight" style which is to say that some of the direction of the new work demands a very precise hand, very concentrated effort and much reflection on achieving the goal. The goal being a likeness of a persons face, but with the challenge of the face being five to ten times larger than a human face. The exaggeration was a natural step for me considering I do most of my favorite subjects (fruit) in large, exploded, outscaled size. How natural to do the human face then. As it is equal parts enjoyable and challenging, I need a release from the precision that it requires.

My release is to work through a landscape painting, largely using a palette knife. One of my absolute favorite tools to use, the palette knife allows me to work quickly, thickly and aggressively through the painting accomplishing in the case of this painting, a new work that has been rattling around in my head (not really, it was a spontaneous thought) as well as a release of sorts. From the restraint of the portraiture? From the various crazy making stresses that comprise my life? Both really.

This is painted on my favorite well built 44"square. Impressive and intimidating canvas heft.
"Crazy making garden foreplay" is it's name.
I am unsure what someone would comment on what this painting is windowing, but I do wonder what it says about me.
I think it's still a work in progress. As am I.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

this week at the studio

This has been an exciting week at Gstudio. With June 1st, we have two new artists moving in to a couple of vacant studio spaces.
I am very excited to have a "full house" again and these two, both being Napa residents, will be a fun addition to our space. One, an establish professional and the other, what one might describe as an "emerging" artist.

I am posting the latest version of "Tuesday" as well as it being an un-cropped image, so that you can see a small peek at the other paintings that I was eluding to in my last post.