I just submitted to a locally famous, heavily juried open studio tour that I will call Art Paths. Continue reading
A big tuba shout out to you, friends, readers, and painters, for 2013! The Hubbub Club drove out all the creative heebie-jeebies during my new studio warming in the Uribe Gallery in the SOFA arts district in Santa Rosa during Winterblast 2012. It reminded me of the ruckus of a shivaree, and felt like an early New Year’s Eve party. Thanks to all my friends who came bearing gifts, good wishes, and their presence to the new incarnation of Saltworkstudio.
How to begin? I’ve been creating in fits and starts. I like this time of year for brainstorming and planting seeds. In 2013 I’m thinking of the Caerus Artist Residency, my studio classes, gallery shows, and more large mythological paintings. What’s on your docket?
In 2013, there are a lot of open studio doors, more than usual. I’m looking forward to showing regularly during Third Thursdays and the SOFA Strolls starting Thursday, January 17, 6-8 PM. These are fun, informal drop-in open studios, where you can wander around SOFA, catch up with friends, get a snack.
Come on over to my studio and visit. I have a biiiiiig SOFA sofa to lounge on.
On January 27 my Sunday Studio painting classes begin. You can take all 3 monthly Sunday Studios for $150 if you register in advance. I’m also doing a Spontaneous Construction whole-weekend intensive class in April, for the springtime. In the new neighborhood it will be easy to get a lunch out or stroll in the park between paintings. There’s room in the classes right now- send in the registration form or contact me to sign up.
On a personal note, it’s fun but challenging to be open so much. It requires an open heart and the ability to go with the flow. My introverted self squirms a bit. I just want to hide in the woods with my deer antlers.
Antlers, because they are created and shed annually, are a symbol of renewal. I wish the best to you in your renewal for the New Year.
There’s something compelling and fey when outdoor creatures come inside. Sandra Maresca’s narrative animal paintings move the animals into our intimate, domestic consciousness in a delightful way. Bright colors and primary forms lend a graphic, deceptively childlike look to the paintings, with echoes of folk motifs and domestic ornament. Sandra references the flattened, decorative “Les Nabis” style: iconic forms , local color, and applied arts designed for everyday enjoyment.
The paintings tell stories on many levels. Lambs on a bed make us think of the wool used in blankets as well as “counting sheep.” They also have a feeling of the “see no evil” monkeys, with secrets under the fleece. After all, they are sitting on that most intimate of worlds, the bed. When the wilderness is moved inside, on to a bed or chair, invading the private world represented by our houses, the animals begin to speak their own language of inhabitation.
Here the human is on the outside, looking into a wallpapered world occupied by the animals. The forest wildflowers now blossom on walls, while the trees have become furnishings. The green chair is like a forest floor, with owl and rabbit. Our houses used to be homes to domestic animals. When Scott and I visited Matera, in South Italy, where families lived in limestone cave warrens, the donkeys lived in the back of the cave, behind the matrimonial bed, while the chickens lived under it. I see our modern loss of connection to the animal world in a daily sense of farm, wilderness, home, and food as a wound; our longing erupts in overbred “purse dogs” and animals treated as human children. Sandra’s paintings have some echoes of Bonnard in her use of animals in patterned domestic spaces to define intricate worlds. Her animals instruct as well as entertain.
I saw Sandra’s show on the First Friday Art Walk in Guerneville in March. I was impressed by the fine gallery space that The Blue Door Gallery provided. Johanna Ottenweller, mosaic artist, has done a wonderful job of creating a Craftsman-style environment that displays art with simplicity and elegance. For more of Sandra Maresca’s paintings, visit her website or drop by the Blue Door Gallery (see details below). Sandra’s studio will be open during the Art at the Source open studio tours the first two weekends of June. Don’t miss her handmade fur and wool animal sculptures: adorable, totemic, and often beautifully disturbing, like something from the ancient days. I own one.
Blue Door Gallery
Owner/proprietor: Johanna Ottenweller, mosaic artist
16359 Main Street, Guerneville, CA 95446
Hours: Fri-Sun –Noon to 5:00pm
“So Much We Can Learn” Narrative Paintings by Sandra Maresca March 2- 31, 2012
Opening a studio is like cleaning a window into the inner life of the artist. Down the rabbit hole we go!
It’s more intimate than having people into your home, because you give your hospitality to everyone. They can luxuriate in your colors, drink in images, and dine on your line. The public sees the traces of your best effort and your worst nightmares, the deep and superficial. The artist tries to be fully with each question, from sublime to inane, without falling into the pit of sales obsession. It’s quite the wine-and-cheese marathon. Unless your heart is open, it can be nerve-wracking . But when someone really sees your art– and really loves it– there is no greater high.
A few times people have burst into tears in front of one of my paintings. James Elkin explores the phenomena in his Pictures and Tears: People who have cried in front of paintings. The book is a strange and fascinating exploration reactions to art when the eyes in our hearts have opened. Museums used to have nursing stations where patrons overcome by art could recover… I think the Louvre still does. Have you laughed or cried over a piece of art?
Turquoise Window World is a sort of threshold or sill where the everyday table starts to tip over into the extraordinary, like the tables that the spirits move. Strange fruit converse. Flowers march and sprout angels, and a grove of spirits wavers in the background. The painting expands domestic motifs as an un- still life , animated. The turquoise paint, that bright opaque, came from my time living in India, where houses are unabashedly brilliant blue as a Kodachrome sea.
Saltworkstudio and my friends the Barracks Artists are open November 5-6 at 3840 Finley Ave, Santa Rosa, California. Drop by to visit 24 artists in one location. I’ll be painting.
In a Mythic News today, I introduce Jeremy Joan Hewes, Caren Catterall , Mardi Storm, Paula and Cliff Strother, Kathryn Kelsey, Maris Peach, Claudia Rhymes, Monica Lee-Boutz, and Chuni Anello. We will be having a party on Saturday between 4 and 6. All our studios will be open. Join us!
Jeremy Joan Hewes is a dynamic, subtle printmaker, photographer and my friend. In her words: Sometimes you walk into a room and a discover an alluring mystery. That’s how I think of this image of subtle colors, dynamic pattern, and silhouettes, which I made at a recent workshop in Coupeville, Washington. I kept returning to that room as the day wore on and the light changed, each time taking more photographs. Color and light, with a little bit of “what is this?” thrown in. Come see this photograph and some new mixed media pieces in studio 250 at the Barracks Artists open studio on November 5 and 6 – this weekend!
Caren Catterall , master printmaker, is a guiding star at the studio. She produces a wonderful moon calendar for gardening , as well as her mythic prints. Visit the beautiful print studio for goddesses, coyotes, ravens and giants. For a treat, relax with a cup of tea and her delightful video, The People with Spirits Strong as Stone.
Mardi Storm’s art is colorful and ethereal, with delightful Animal Angels. She just started a new Etsy store. Her partner’s group, Outlaw Dervish, will be playing at the reception at 4 on Saturday. See her new studio next to Caren and Jeremy! Visit Mardi Storm Artworks for a preview.
Don’t be fooled by Claudia Rhymes’ pixie glasses or shy demeanor. Her new series of urban landscape grids over bright backgrounds rocks, and she’s a gifted, secret graffiti artist. She also has one of the new, larger downstairs studios. Claudia is our hidden wonderchild in this Open Studio.
Paula and Cliff Strother share the studio with the most beautiful outlook on the hills. Paula paints in acrylics and Cliff in oils. Visit this newly established studio to enjoy lush landscapes in a room with a view.
Kathryn Kelsey’s fascinating mixed media work changes every year. Dedicated to wild animals, the environment, and indigenous peoples, her textures and materials are a delight. I love her mixed media with dried radishes. She is the Editor of the Barracks Bulletin and writes a blog. Her downstairs studio is filled with the calm green light of nature, one of my favorite places to sit and relax.
Maris Peach is our very own Joseph Cornell. I own a piece she made, the Alchemist’s Arcade. In her words: I tell stories using the flotsam and jetsam of life’s leftovers. Sometimes I begin with an object, sometimes I build from a concept, sometimes I fiddle and nuture a dream memory until it becomes an elaborate narrative. Othertimes the story is sparsly simple or even hidden, revealing itself through the beholder’s eye. Don’t miss her intricate, fascinating workshop and studio.
Monica Lee-Boutz is an energizing force of nature! She paints in watercolor, is an accomplished collage artist, and has had several recent exhibitions. Visit her studio upstairs across from Paula and Cliff.
Chuni is from Madrid, has a new studio downstairs, and absolutely unique mixed pieces using fabric, fiber, and wool.
Collage is a natural for Halloween, the dark hinge in the year that creaks as something opens the door. The bits and pieces of paper are ghosts or forlorn spirits, no longer “alive” in their original context. You cut them, dismember them, rip them up, seek underworld messages from scraps of text, and bury theme in paint. You can “skin” them as well. Then, like good little ghosts, they march out and live again, speaking in paper whispers.
Yesterday, in the class I teach at Sebastopol Center for the Arts, I was trying to model how to develop a series theme. I shared to the class that in my notebook I had written that I wanted to do a series that was like “Edgar Allen Poe on acid.” I like to read horror stories and murder mysteries; husband Scott actually prescribes them for me as an antidote if I get too bound up in art books or my secret indulgence bonbons, preachy self-help books, which I love but invariably depress me with how much help I still need to add to Self. I had been hanging on to scratchy black and white compositional studies for years; liked ’em but didn’t know how to take them further. The Choirboys had been altered into a very damaged acrylic skin. I tore them up into two pieces and mounted them on two paintings, paired with a quote from a cave painting book, and my landscape transformed itself into the River Styx. Mixed media included Utrecht Pro Gesso as my white paint… love the opaque chalkiness… and Derwent Inktense pencils for the purple automatic writing marks. Payne’s Grey makes a gorgeous blue/black. If this little group comes to your door tonight, I wouldn’t open it.
Mythic News: Avernus, a crater lake of Italy near Naples, is supposed to be the entry to the Greco-Roman underworld. Our own Crater Lake in Oregon is creepy enough… dead, because not fed by springs. Dead, because the volcano crater goes down, down to the center of the earth, or near enough. Birds and fish often avoid these lakes as well. I’ll see Avernus around Christmas on our Italian trip.
Saltworkstudio events: We have our annual Open Studios this weekend, November 5 and 6, 2012, at the old naval airbase , 3840 Finley Ave, Santa Rosa. I have a new series of B/W paintings and you can see the top of a WWII bunker from my studio window. Drop by Saltworkstudio. I will be doing demos and would love to visit with you.