Learning from Other Artists, Like David Hockney

I have reread the recent article on David Hockney by Deborah Solomon in the New York Times, "David Hockney, Contrarian, Shifts Perspectives," several times.   He's being interviewed because there's a massive retrospective of his life and art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City scheduled for November 27, 2017. I was surprised when I read the quote that earlier in his career he thought he was a painter on the fringes. He said  ,“I thought I was a peripheral artist, really.” You see he was doing figurative somewhat realistic art when it was fashionable to only create abstract art. This article pointed out that now he's probably the most celebrated artist in all of England. He is designing a stained-glass window for Westminster Abbey in honor of Queen Elizabeth. The author of the New York Times article went on to say that nowadays artists can choose their own medium, figurative or abstract.  There are no rules. There's no exclusion.  You are not better or worse if you do one or the other. I hadn't realize what a liberating thing that is. If a great artist like David Hockney felt like he was a peripheral artist because of the way he chose to express himself, we are lucky that he had the courage and perseverance to do it anyway.  

I have been interested in David Hockney and his art for years.

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Questions for Artists

 In March 2015, I joined the Fine Arts Commission in our community. The Commission has a mission.

"This Commission has served to provide a forum where enthusiastic supporters of the arts can meet and discuss innovative new strategies to promote art in order to improve the community."

I was asked to submit an application to this Commission because my art was selected the previous year for the Public Art Program. I have included images of both pieces to show how my art has changed over the years. These are the last pieces were i used printed fabrics as now I exclusibely use Kona solid fabrics. It has been a rewarding tenure so far as the Commission is up for new ideas and committed to promoting a diverse array of arts in the community from large public murals to community theater and local arts programming at the public library.

This week I need to think of three questions to ask the artists at our Open House next week.

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Imagine Standing in a Forest Looking Up

My current series the Forest has been getting some attention in my Instagram account. Even people who have followed me for years said there was something special about this series with the multiple greens and the varying compositions. When I was trying to describe it to one of the commenters the thought came to me I really imagine standing in the forest looking up at the trees with dappled light all around and seeing the blue sky peeking through. I captured the emotion that I use to create the Forest series into words. Sometimes it is hard for me to capture that essence into words and I am practicing doing it. This time I felt like I succeeded. I shared this with one of the commenters and they got it.

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Artist Stories-Laolu Senbanjo

Many artists inspire me. I decided to highlight some of them in my Studio Notes in an ongoing series called Artist Stories.

I have been listening to TED talks lately while I have been in the studio. I listened to such an inspiring one this past weekend. I listened to it 3 times and kept pausing it to rehear what Laolu Senbanjo was saying.

His first powerful statement is...

"Every artist has name. And every artist has a story. "

I provided the link to the TED talk because you are going to want to see his art as well as hear him speak.

"The Sacred Art of the Ori"

He starts at the beginning, how he saw the world as a child. 


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Landscape Artist

After spending time on lakes in the woods this summer, I decided to focus more on landscapes in my upcoming series. As an artist I have used the natural world for inspiration for many of my series over the past years. As I told one of my artist friends, I am really a landscape artist.

For some reason, this was a very clarifying moment for me. So what does this mean and how will it change my creative practice?  I plan to focus on the geometric elements of the natural world that inspire me to help inspire others to see the beauty all around us.

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Change is the Only Constant

I am reading a book called The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe. It is a very detailed comprehensive book about the years from when the Impressionists started learning how to paint in Paris, through the years where they found other people with similar interests in new painting styles, up through when a dealer, Paul Durand-Ruel, brought the Impressionist art work to New York for an Exhibition in 1886. It took me a while to get into the book because Roe writes about many different artists all at the same time because she goes in chronological order and the artists all converged on Paris around the same time. You learn about their backstory, where they came from, how their families had to support most of them for decades, how some married their models and hid that fact from their middle class parents.  I just didn't realize how persistent these artists were. They wanted to break from tradition and not just copy the old masters and be limited to traditional subject matter like portraiture or classical myths. They wanted to paint outdoors, plein-air. They wanted to paint contemporary subjects, every day people doing every day things. 

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Revisiting Lessons from Working in a Series

As I go on another holiday up into the Northwoods with spotty internet service, I thought I would repost an article from last November 2016, Lessons from Working in a Series. One of the best ways I set myself up for success completing the Every Day Project every day is by setting up 25 day series with an engaging theme. I decide the color palette and design parameters for each 25 days series. It narrows the options to some degree but makes the every day part more do-able with less decision fatigue to wear me out. Each series has a lesson waiting for me. I added more images of the daily squares to illustrate my point in this revisited article.

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Lakes and Forests

After spending a week on a small lake in the Northwoods, I realize that most of my inspiration for both color and design in my art comes from the natural world I see around me. I feel like a landscape artist even if my art may seem abstract to some. This vacation brought me new insights into the importance for me to be immersed in nature on a regular basis. I do some of my best thinking in nature.

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Revisiting the article One Year Anniversary of Studio Notes

This week finds me in the Northwoods with no internet service. So I decided to repost my article from January 2017, One Year Anniversary of Studio Notes describing why I continue my weekly Studio Notes. As I write at the end of this article, my goal is to help people honor their creativity and...

"...Find a form of self-expression that feels good to them so then they can be good to others.

Happy people make a happy world."

Here is the original article.

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100 Day Project 2017 Artwork

In the past two 100 Day Projects, I have created a four part series around a theme. In 2016, my theme was the Four Elements. I created a 25 day piece sewing together 25 daily squares for each of the elements; Fire, Sky, Water and Earth. This year's theme was Trees and Windows. Since I just finished the 100 Day Project last week, I decided to give some insight into my creative process by sharing, and maybe rambling a bit, about what I was thinking for each piece in this four part series.

This year I was inspired by the art of Elizabeth Gourlay. In particular, I was drawn to her geometric art with color strips around the outside of a square and pieces with vertical and horizontal lines made up of small strips of color within the line. I envisioned the vertical strips as trees and the square piece as a window frame. Hence the name of the series is Trees and Windows. I knew I could have these two pieces compliment each other with the design. For the other two pieces in the series, I thought I could just reverse the design concept and call them Inverse Trees and Inverse Windows. Instead of color strips on the edges of a square like a window frame, the second piece would be full of color strips on the inside of the window and then grey as the window frame. For the tree series, the inverse would be a grey vertical strip amongst strips of fabric as the background.

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