Friday, September 18, 2020

Here is What a Zoom Workshop Looks Like

 I did a Zoom workshop on Professional Practices for the Artist, which did not involve any art-making, just lecture, discussion, writing, Q&A. Easy squeezy. Then, though Port Townsend School of the Arts, I taught a workshop called Time to Paint. Three days of Zoom interaction: demonstration, painting/drawing/collaging, and then looking at work, offering feedback, Q&A, etc. Here are a few pix:

Me with a demo piece

Everyone, almost, holding up their art

Mary Anne's dog with Mary Anne

My dog, Pearl, had to get into the shot.

We're all finding new ways of doing what we do. Zoom is a great tool for learning, but I'm still trying to find a combination of platforms that will facilitate teaching and learning in better ways.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

My Great Canadian Border Crossing

 Here are a few images, before and after, that have come out of my Canadian Border Crossing project, which you can read about here. This has been so much fun! And there are a lot more art pieces in the works. THANK YOU to my Canadian friends who have participated.

Patricia in Alberta

Marylou in Alberta

Lorna in Qu├ębec

Karen in Alberta

Deirdre in British Columbia

Brenda in Newfoundland

I have just named the provinces, not the cities, of the artists. My additions to the works are merely additions. I was not trying to 'finish' the pieces, just take them one more step along their journeys.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Lessons from Stripes

If you've been following me on social media, you'll be aware that I've been addicted to stripes for the last few months. Here are a few things I've learned from immersing myself in this format:

Value is at least as important as color, if not more so. We sort of know this intellectually, but it has really hit home with this stripes series. It is the lighter values that give a piece its sense of space and presence. I go through a lot of white paint!

Detail of work in progress

The lighter values are deceptive: they look almost white on the palette, but in the piece they are much darker. The paints do dry to a slightly darker value than they are wet, but still, the difference between the palette and the context of the piece (next to other colors) is surprising.

Detail of work in progress

Color is SO relative. Something that looks like a dull terracotta on the palette (alizarin crimson + white) is clearly purple on the piece. This happens over and over again, the color 'changing' between the palette and the piece. And it is not the lighting, I swear.

A very little of the dark, bright, and sweet colors go a long way. By 'sweet' I mean mid-light values of 'pure' colors, not muted with grays. 'Pastels' is probably what I'm referring to.

Sunshine Stripes, 11"x14", acrylic and collage on paper. This piece looks bright, and it is. But look at how much square footage is occupied by muted, neutral, and very very light colors.


This is a detail shot of the above, turned 90 degrees.

A detail shot of a piece that includes the high contrast of black and bright red.

This is the piece in its totality. 12"x24"

I enjoy playing with degrees of contrast. Subtle contrast, medium contrast, and dramatic contrast. Contrast of value seems to be the strongest language, but contrast of color and of intensity are also interesting.

So it's great to play with all of these formal issues in this prescribed format of stripes - the exploration could go on and on! But what are the stripes about? What can they express? These are very slow paintings, so I spend a lot of time contemplating while steeped in color. I see mostly geological phenomena in these: layers of sediment, clay and earth, seawater, sand, rocks, and also landscape. But they are also inspired by the Quilts of Gee's Bend, which are made of fabrics worn out and given new life. The stripes, by their nature, set up rhythms, based on spacing of the colors, and the improvisational aspect of them (I never plan them out, but make them up as I go along) is like visual jazz. I leave them open to the viewer's interpretation, and hope you enjoy them on may levels.