Throughout my professional life as an artist my interests have gone in several distinguishing directions, somewhat like spokes on a wheel. As the artist, to me they all relate and always have. In the 1980′s I created pastel paintings of very minimal suburbanesque architectural themes drenched in Southern California light. At the same time I was obssessed with pattern, dramatic surface building through mixed media that were pure abstractions. Concurrently I developed series based on psychological themes surrounding what was going on in my personal life through simple iconography. It was on retrospect that I realized I had been continuing to work within these themes and constructs with varying media and processes over the course of the last thirty years. Spokes on a Wheel.
Within the last decade I have been actively developing my landscape/architectural paintings that are set within a psychological framework. Simultaneously, and perhaps more currently I have returned with vigor to abstractions on nature. This body of work, by design is deliberate and contemplative. Recently I was interviewed by writer Jason Marak, Art Beat writer for The North Coast Journal for an article titled “Different But Not” where I discussed the history and core nature of the work. I have a full body of work of these abstractions being shown together for the first time that include pastels and some prints as well as a suite of oils/charcoal on canvas. The show is at Plaza, Arcata through February with an opening reception tonight January 11, from 6 to 9 during Arts Arcata! Whereas the representational work evokes a psychological landscape for me, the abstractions, or deconstructions, allow me to let go of those burdens, as interesting as they can be and float within the spiritual, visual and philosophical space of ideas and marks and color and light. They are about allowing the purely intuitive to stage the course of action. I imagine the process of creating these as a bit like a piece of the collective subconscious sketching the ideas of what nature would become. With the ending of the Mayan calendar and the planetary alignment that was 26,000 years in the making, these ideas interest me. And again, like spokes on a wheel, they always return to the center.
There has been a lot going on in the studio , not the least which is the culmination of an exhibition of a body of work at Sewell Gallery in my city of Eureka, California opening next week with a reception Saturday Night, October 6 during Arts Alive!
Its always interesting putting together a show, especially one like this that has been in the works for a while. Beyond the landscape theme there is a narrative surrounding each piece and the group of work as a whole. There were motifs I had been exploring throughout the past few years and more that were revealed when looking at the body of work as whole. The show title, ”My California Dream” came as organically as the paintings. In addition to many rides over our local scenic Highway 36, and 299, I had made several road trips from one end of the state to the other over the past few years crisscrossing every bit of California’s terrain, and the landscapes and architecture I depicted in the ensuing work reflected varying physical, emotional and spiritual states of my own psyche, from blissful happiness, contentment to sadness and overwhelm. Working out these subtle states of mind and emotional being through the depiction of a landscape is not new for me but its never been more apparent to me how an attempt at creating something beautiful is cathartic and satisfying on a deeper level. I find myself utilizing pattern (vineyards and farms and streams zig zagging through Elk River Valley) to achieve a sense of order. In a similar way, trees create a sense of stability and strength and the contrast of light emerging from darkness is a reflection of a changing inner mood. The richness of pastel pulls it all together for me. Like writing down a dream first thing in the morning, the goal is to capture the essence of the emotion quickly and spontaneously and then continue to work out the formal elements at a more measured pace.
Its always curious what jumps out at me visually — being visually aware is a constant for me when traveling and so the compositions that end up being painted are very deliberate if not randomly odd. A big round tree next to a farm on the highway, rain puddles in the rows of a fall vineyard, a bleached white house in the summer sun, a peek of blue siding beyond an overgrown garden peeking out like a secret, a single rain cloud hiding the sun over the ocean….there’s usually something else revealed with the longer gaze.
I find I am continually drawn to rural architecture, farm houses and barns. I might not be if they hadn’t become part of my everyday experience living in Humboldt County. Now I identify with them. There is a quiet solitude that attracts me to include specific architecture prominently in a painting, almost like portraiture.
Together, these paintings tell a story not of high drama but of the subtle ebbs and flows of life and its challenges and triumphs. I can remember exactly how I felt whenI painted every one of these paintings. The viewer may have a similar response or they may evoke something entirely different. For me, its a form of a solidified visual, psychological and spiritual memory, like a dream. It is my California Dream.Learn More
Busy time continues and I’ve been holed up in my studio for the past few weeks working away. Sometimes the business of being an artist means juggling deadlines, details and most importantly, showing up. In addition to a large commission, which thank goodness I have a few months to complete, I have gallery shows and another art festival this opening this weekend. This pastel is for a group show at Studio Seven Fine Arts in Pleasanton, California through October.
This weekend is also the LaJolla Art and Wine Festival where I will be showing new work. This is the last festival of the season and the year. I’m looking forward to spending some time on the Southern California coast, visiting friends and family and taking a much needed break with my sweet husband. I did a series of small paintings revisting my ocean series. The beach is where I go to clear my mind and refresh my creative juices and it just seemed fitting to return to this imagery after a work filled season. This was a long summer and I’m ready for fall. Bring on the autumn color!
See you on the other side.Learn More
After a week living out of a suitcase at The Four Points Sheraton and preceded by weeks and months of annual preparation for my biggest event of the year The Sausalito Art Festival, we are finally, and happily, home. I’m sitting in my office, Barack Obama is addressing Congress in the background…..hmmm, I’m not big on politicians right now, even the ones I voted for. I’m incredulous to all of the rhetoric but let’s see how he does. I need to be inspired right now.
This time of year is historically the end and beginning of the work season for me. I just sent my daughter off to college and my dear husband and I are now empty nesters. Its a strange feeling but one I am embracing for the sake of my psyche and my art. I look forward to working with abandon in my studio late at night, taking the occasional trip to gather inspiration without having to concern myself with school schedules and the fear of my child driving at night. No car for this freshman and the dorm is right on campus. Somewhere there is an R.A. who is going to get a nice Christmas card from me. I wonder if they make sure the kids eat their vegetables?
Back to current events….. Sausalito was a bittersweet blast. Its always fun and crowded and I’m by now a show veteran along with my other peers in Row 600 on the tennis courts. This year’s “gala” was a tad ill conceived but our spirits were not deterred come opening morning.
My work looked great and I placed quite a few originals in the hands of new collectors and added to the collections of more. I love this show more than any other and its always sad when its over. So many friends and laughs and good times. But its so nice to be home.
In a little over two weeks we take off again for San Diego. A little show in LaJolla that has the benefit of having Joseph Lillis on board. He is the mastermind that turned the Sausalito Art Festival into a blockbuster event for artists and patrons and is hoping to do something similar in other venues. Till then I’ll be back in the studio in earnest. I have paintings to paint including a big hospital commission. Hope to come up for air soon.
Bay Area Friends: if you would like a private showing of anything you saw at the Sausalito Art Festival I will be in the Bay Area at the end of the month. Please let me know and I’ll come by and show you work in your home/office!
Barack is still talking. Lots of clapping. Seems to be going quite well. I’m actually inspired! Awesome.