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2013: New Saltworkstudio, New Classes starting January 27, and a New Start

Hubbub club in studio

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.

Sofa Stroll Poster

Come on over to my studio and visit.  I have a biiiiiig SOFA sofa to lounge on.

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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.

P1080591

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.

How We Built the Trojan Horse: A Four Hands Collaborative Painting Process

Trojan Horse, "Final" Version. A Four Hands Painting.

The Trojan Horse was surprising to both of us.  Just how did this image develop, seemingly independently of plan or will?  What was happening behind the Oz-like curtain of the studio process?  Follow us through our start and stages.

Trojan Horse Part 1: The Start. A Four Hands Painting

The Start: We poured ink, gesso and paint. What a figure emerged! I named him The Prophet in my mind. It was off-balance composition, with emphatic marks and lines hovering like bats, and Halloween colors. Edgar Allen Poe might have been proud.  We had agreed that we would work with large curves,  a vertical or upright form somewhere, and calligraphic marker lines on this series, and all those forms were there– but– like a “bad” child, acting out.   It wasn’t pleasing from the very start the way some of the abstract pours were; it was not initially not beautiful. However, it did invite radical action, which was fun. 

 Each Four Hands painting seemed to have its own soul or being trying to emerge.  When two people work together, control is lessened and gaps are created where fate or luck can enter.

Trojan Horse Part 2: The Development. A Four Hands Painting

Each “problem” became an invitation in the next stages.  Too warm?  Add purple shapes.  Periwinkle violet rectangles began to pop up.  An “arm” of the form was eliminated.   More gesso was combed on with one of Susan’s notched forms and a “coliseum” emerged.  Horse + ruins =… oh dear, a Trojan Horse was emerging, that gift that kept on giving.  The foreground aquired areas of blue and white as well.  Torch forms, cakes, candles started to light things up with red.  The canvas was very messy at this stage, with many distracting marks.  Time to remove and transform.  Heave-ho!

Susan had been exploring horses in her work, and I had just returned from Italy, where I bathed in Greco-Roman art and lost civilizations, so I supposed both of these elements emerged.  Like a dream, though, it was more than that.  The painting seemed related to Timeline in style and form, and was grouped with it in the show.  Trojan Horse and Timeline share some aethetic of “event” or chronology, time on wires.  You can see them together in the show.

Trojan Horse, "Final" Version. A Four Hands Painting.

 More blue added, orange cut back, violet reduced, pure red accents.  Opaques calm . A few greenish and brownish neutrals to rest the eye, and an iconic horse moves, as Joni Mitchell put it, on the “carousel of time.”  Or a child’s hobby horse thumps through a field….What do you see? For another Four Hands painting, visit Susan Cornelis’ Conversations with the Muse.

I’ve posted a picture of the Four Hands Collaboration below and an invitation to the event at Phantom IV Gallery this Saturday afternoon and evening. Come celebrate with us if you can.

Painter’s Spring 1: Barracks Blossoms, Bea Tate-Endert, and Sushi Paintings

This is Bea Tate-Endert’s studio window in the Barracks. Brushes and blossoms and Bea’s careful touch to her rich oil paintings brought an e. e. cummings poem to mind.

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and from moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.

Here are two paintings  by Bea.  These sushi paintings are postcard-sized oils.  Luscious!
The tobiko eggs shine and each grain of rice is deliniated.   I might have to have this one.I am so lucky to have her across the hall from me.  Her care and delicacy show her deep aesthetic celebrating food and the good life. Look at her Sennelier acrylic paints. Even they look good enough to eat!

AND–she invites me from across the hall to come over for absinthe, with sugar cube and spoon, in a French glass embossed with honeybees.  Take your “perhaps hand” and put it in mine. Spring just got a lot better!

Open Studios, Open Hearts: 24 Barracks Artists in Santa Rosa

 Opening a studio is like cleaning  a window into the inner life of the artist.  Down the rabbit hole we go!

Saltworkstudio Nov. 2011

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

 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.

Cow Licks Up Universe

Here’s your myth for the day, dear readers.  Did you know that in Norse mythology Auoumbla, the primaevil cow, actually created mankind?  She licked away the icy salt blocks of the first creation, sculpting them with her warm tongue until first a man’s hair appeared, then a head and a whole man.  I love making cows with abstract shapes rolling around in them like their complex factory stomachs.  On my last visit to the Central Vally I photographed cows right outside our house, their shining, massive flanks moving like hot mountains.

In last Sunday’s studio class, we painted flourescent pink and cadmium orange underpaintings, then spattered them with Golden Acrylic liquids.  This is just pure play to loosen up.   I like hot, bright underpaintings because I sometimes think they make the painting breathe and heave a little, generating imaginative form.  Then you carve with opaque paints like the cow’s tongue on the ice and things pop out.  Primitive creation is fun, letting us regress to being mucky little kids with cosmic questions.

Wierd creation myths and wrong, kitchy color give a wild spin to the day.  Abstraction and mythology read the world through metaphor. Auoumbla says, take a lick at eternity.