In this morning's Wall Street Journal, there was an article that caught my eye, The Lost Art of the Handwritten Note by Philip Hensher. He is the author of The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwriting, published by Faber and Faber, Inc.
Hensher writes, "In the past, handwriting was seen as the key to personal improvement and as an important way to understand other people, both those we knew and complete strangers." This sentence resonated. We are such a digital society that we hardly ever write notes to each other. We tend to be embarrassed by our poor handwriting skills. But I've always felt that handwriting is a key to understanding something about another person. I even remember glancing at books that could "read" your personality traits from your handwriting.
My interest in the unselfconscious doodle is related somehow to this manifestation of our own small motor muscles and our very identity. What could be more personal than one's own signature?…
Been giving much thought to the large space I will be exhibiting my work this summer, the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, MA. These pieces are all acrylic on canvas, paring down the layering. My idea is to group these large canvases into a very large grid, or perhaps show them as diptychs or triptychs. The clean colors and flat expanses take me back to my love of silkscreen printing.
Five of my longstanding students organized an exhibit of their work at Arlington's Old Schwamb Mill. Here is an article about the show that was in the Arlington Advocate this week. I am very proud of these folks for the bravery and the effort they made in sharing their work with the world.
Here is a view of part of the drawing installation that I made directly onto the walls of the gallery at the Groton Public Library in Groton, MA. There were 7 drawing sites altogether in the space. On Monday, I will be doing more of this kind of work at the Bromfield Gallery in Boston, for our summer drawing show.
During the last week of my residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, I started a series of little black and white drawings using black chalkboard paint on paper. I was surprised and delighted to find out that when you draw with a graphite pencil on the painted surface, the lines appear silver! I also used overlays of Mylar, a translucent acetate, which I both cut through and drew on as well. This technique relates to my recent paintings which employ layers of acrylic matte medium to create a similarly translucent, waxy surface.
If you are a follower of my work, you may know that since 2008 I have been using found marks, including doodles, as sources for my imagery. Some have suggested that I not use the word "doodle" to describe these unconscious scribbles that I found so compelling, for fear that the word might make my paintings seem less than serious. Well, here's a link to a TED talk by Sunni Brown in which she sings the praises of the lowly doodle. One of her points is that doodling helps us process information more readily, and also inspires creativity. So there!
I recently returned from a month long residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. This place nurtures artists, writers, musicians and composers with a pastoral environment in the foothills of the Blue Ride mountains. I had uninterrupted time in the studio and I met fellow artists whose work inspired me. Residencies can be compared to both summer camp and the Gulag. It is not a vacation. You have to face your work day after day with little to distract you.
Why drive 12 hours from home to do your work? Because you want to get away from your daily chores and distractions to focus on a particular goal, or to reconnect with why you became an artist. You are surrounded by others who feel the same way, and who understand the appeal of spending a beautiful sunny day inside the studio.
Four of my new pieces from the Tangled series are on display at Aloft Hotel in Lexington, MA. I think they look great in the space! I am hoping that the manager agrees and will commission me to do a wall mural there.
I have been lax about blogging lately, but very busy in the studio. That's generally a good thing! It means I think things are going well. Here are images from my newest series, Tangled, which are all done in acrylic on board. They have the velvety look of encaustic painting (paint mixed with or covered with wax) that gives a feeling of depth and softness up close BUT it's NOT encaustic, it's acrylic matte medium in layers and layers over painted layers. The imagery continues to be the drawn mark enlarged and projected onto my painting surface. The series title, Tangled, is expressive of my state of mind lately.
A new distraction, Bisbee the puppy, has entered my life and lessens the number of hours I spend online. Probably a good thing, however my blog has suffered. And it has been a busy winter in terms of teaching. I am currently teaching 3 classes - a home studio class, Introduction to Abstract Acrylic Painting at the New Art Center in Newton, MA, and Intuitive Painting at Maud Morgan Arts in Cambridge, MA. In addition, I have been doing many Golden Acrylic Paint workshops in a variety of venues. Here are some images from a workshop that I taught last weekend at Concord Art Association called the Painterly Print, monoprinting with Golden OPEN acrylics.
Currently, my work is on exhibit at the Munroe Center for the Arts in Lexington, MA through May, and I just installed 4 new pieces at the Aloft Hotel in Lexington, MA. The installation below is called Spring Constellation. You may recognize these shapes from my two previous installations, Summer Constellation in Beverly, and Winter …