Thursday, April 24, 2008

summery day

It's been like summer here in Arlington. It was in the 80s yesterday, today it was up there, too. Gardens are bursting!

On the art front, I am getting ready to submit a piece to the Danforth Museum of Art members' exhibit. Last year, two of my Orbs pieces were accepted. I will be submitting a grouping of the Glyphs pieces.

I now have 4 pieces at a new gallery in Arlington, 13 Forest Gallery.

At the Arlington Center for the Arts, we have just about completed our April Vacation Arts Program - our theme is Tibet - Roof of the World. How did I know 9 months ago when I planned the theme that the topic would be so hot? We had a wonderful Tibetan musician play his instruments for our 70+ campers. I am so proud of this program! We are truly transforming lives through the arts!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Teaching Confidence

I am really enjoying my "Drawing Skillbuilding" class at the ACA. I love the challenge of teaching adults. But how to convince them that they already have in them everything they need to make their own very individual artistic expression? How to convince them that drawing well does not equate with making art, necessarily?

I go back to my favorite mentor/author, Peter London, the author of No More Secondhand Art: Awakening the Artist . When I found this book in the library stacks the title drew me in immediately. It is easy to teach technique, but it is really difficult to help students find what they want to say with their art. Why should we all strive to make art that looks like Picasso, O'Keefe or Degas? Instead we must learn to trust and value what we each have to say as artists, thus "No More Secondhand Art". The twelve exercises described in the book are geared to helping students generate imagery that is uniquely personal and immediate. These "Creative Encounters" are best done in a group setting. I have watched numerous students who have participated in these exercises break forth into new territory and finally find a freedom of expression that had eluded them. This book was a revelation to me when I first discovered it, and it transformed my teaching.

Another one of my most favorite books along these lines is "Learning By Heart", by Corita Kent. Those of us who were around during the 60s may remember her unique silkscreen prints that fused quotations and image. She is also responsible for the rainbow paint job on the Boston Gas storage tanks outside of Boston.

My colleague and former teacher at Mass College of Art, Dean Nimmer, has just come out with a book along similar lines - Art from Intuition. I haven't read it yet, but I just ordered it. I have started to write my own book along these lines - keep tuned... Seriously, this is something that I strongly believe in - that it is possible to guide students toward a unique creative expression.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Constellation is growing

The latest iteration of Constellation Installation. Left - 6 panels so far, each one 40" x 30", acrylic on paper. On the right, what it looks like when the panels are laid flat to spray them with paint between projections of imagery.

The Universe is Expanding

I am plugging away at my Constellation Installation. What started as a single piece has now blossomed into two projects that are expanding to create their own universe. This is an older photo, hope to upload the new and improved Constellation later today!

If you have the same sort of irreverant humor that I do, you'll love zefrank. View the link to see his "If the Earth Were a Sandwich" video. Like I always say, if you lose your sense of humor, it's just too bad.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Exciting new opportunity to design some fabric

Shh - don't tell anyone yet, but I will be creating some very special monoprinted fabric for a collaboration with a wonderful local designer. I'll keep you posted!

Vermont Studio Center acceptance and other news

Yay! I'll be returning to a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in September. I will have a month to myself with a studio, a place to stay, and lots of other artists. Heaven!

Two of my pieces just found homes, and another was auctioned last night at the Mass College of Art auction! Two more pieces were purchased at the Arlington Center for the Arts auction. It feels good to donate older work for a good cause.

Arlington Center for the Arts 20th last night

We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Arlington Center for the Arts last night - in case you didn't know, my day job is as the Ed. Director there, and I've been there for 5 years. I was involved with the center since it started, and I am very proud of where we've come since then. The center is housed in an old middle school building that was decommissioned when the population declined. Thanks to the foresight of the then town planner, Alan McClennan, part of the building was rented at a very low cost to the ACA. We have classes for all ages and many other events including Arlington Open Studios, Images of Arlington, and the Arlington:My Take that has just opened.

Andre Dubus, the author of House of Sand and Fog, was our honorary chair. Our board members outdid themselves with fabulous decor and food, and entertainment was provided by Louise Grasmere, Exit Dance and others. An auction of some excellent art and donated items did quite well. Thanks to everyone who came!

Glyph installation

Just had this photo taken of the whole series of Glyph pieces. I am pleased with the variation in each block and the way that the images "talk" to each other.
These images started out life as tiny pencil doodles in my son's high school notebooks - the doodles appealed to me as banal, found images.
But I think it plays with the idea that every mom that everything her kid makes is special - in an ironic sort of way, of course.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Round Table Discussion at NOW

Monday evening, I shared a roundtable discussion about being a woman artist with my colleague and friend Kaetlyn Wilcox, at the Boston offices of National Organization for Women. The discussion was open to the public, and we fielded questions from about 10 other people, women and men, about the trials and tribulations of the art profession.

Yes, I have certainly been influenced by feminism. No, my work is not overtly gender-related or political, but my interest in pattern, decoration, and intimate scale is clearly inspired by traditional feminine interests and some of the early feminist artists like Miriam Shapiro, Frieda Kahlo, Judy Chicago, etc. I came of age as an artist in the 70s, so could not help but be influenced by the exciting newness of women artists' work of that time.

I don't think of myself as a woman artist, just as an artist trying to keep making art despite it all. Is that a political act? Maybe so, in this day and age.