Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy Solstice!

In the northern hemisphere, where I live, this is the shortest day of the year. I like to celebrate the fact that the days start getting longer from here. I think of solstice as the turning point, the beginning of the new year, and, in keeping with so many traditions, time for a celebration of lights. I am happy to celebrate the fabulously extravagant lighting in my new studio!

One month of the 2019 calendar

We put together a full 2019 wall calendar as a solstice gift to you. Each month has a cropped image of one of my paintings, and we have filled in my workshop schedule for the year. See my website for links and more information on workshops. I may add one or two short workshops in the fall, and the calendar does not include online workshops. Each page should print out on 8.5"x11" paper; use matte photo paper for best results. Happy new year!

Friday, December 7, 2018

New Studio

Although my new studio is not quite complete, I have started moving in, and thought it would be fun to do a little retrospective of its progress.

Here is a photo of the studio I worked in for thirteen years (before that, I was a potter, and when I started doing freelance work and painting I used an upstairs tiny bedroom in the house).
Though this upstairs in a barn served me well for many years, its main challenges were the knee walls and gable ceiling, and the lack of running water in the building. No sink, no bathroom.
Beginning to pour concrete for the foundation

The deck is done and framing the walls begins

Second floor and loft framing begin

Beginning to close it in

Interior, sometime in the summer

Exterior, awaiting exterior insulation, strapping, and siding.
Drywall defines the space.

Exterior is insulated and strapped, shingles are going up.

Here is a brief tour of the studio after the first day of working in it.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Art For Fun

I read this article from the New York Times the other day, and shared it on Facebook because it raised interesting questions for me as a teacher. The article states that fewer people have "hobbies" these days because we have devalued the practice of leisure activities, things we do just for fun and relaxation with no pressure to be good at them.

I will admit to bristling just a little bit when someone comes to a workshop saying "I just want to have fun", and treating it like a vacation. Huh? I ask myself.  
Why shouldn't someone come to a workshop for fun? What is MY problem with this? 

I guess I think that implicit in "just for fun" is the idea that it's easy, and anyone who practices art knows that it is anything but easy. But it IS FUN TOO, or we wouldn't do it.

 Do I feel that "just for fun" somehow diminishes a practice that I take seriously? 

One thing about making art (or singing, or making jewelry, or acting, or cooking - creative endeavors in general) is that you CAN do it for fun. You CAN achieve a skill level that will allow you to enjoy it and get some satisfaction out of your creations. And that engaged enjoyment of a creative activity is valuable in itself. 

If I were to teach a workshop, or maybe "offer a session" is a better way to put it, that was really focused on "art for fun", what would that look like? Easy techniques with which you can make beautiful things? Art Without Agony? ... and then my mind jumps to the slightly cynical "quick and easy ways to make real art".  
Can I just relax with the idea of encouraging art practice for pleasure?

Students making art and having fun at Madeline Island School of the Arts.

Having fun and making art in Green Valley, AZ
Having fun and making art (and goofing around with my ukulele and alligator puppet) at Hudson River Valley Art Workshops

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.