Saturday, November 26, 2011

So what does an abstract painter do when they have painters block? Well...

They go back to where it all began....

When I first started painting, I painted in oils.  I was terrified of this new medium and never dreamed I would even get close to mastering it.  What I discovered was that, yes, I could paint....and yes, I was pretty good at it.  I started with very traditional still lifes and landscapes and then one day, I painted a cow.  I loved him.  Then I painted another and another and another. There was something about their shapes and their faces and those noses.  I experimented with impressionism, knife painting, and even a little abstraction- all with cows. 

That is what eventually led me into abstraction and consequently into switching to acrylics ( for the ability to paint more spontaneously.)  I never looked back....until now.  I have had sever painters block for months.  Lack of sales in the galleries has perpetuated a feeling of "what the heck am I doing - and why?"  I have been painting, but not anything that I love. I refer to it as: making mud.  Needless to say,  I've been very discouraged for quite some time. forward to the present....

  My daughter, Hanna, who is a very talented emerging artist, began taking some photographs a couple of months ago around the farms of our area.  She's been photographing cotton bolls, soy beans, tractor parts, silos, landscapes, and of course cows. The photos are fantastic- lots of macro photography along with the landscapes.  I've been enjoying watching her work progress.  She then started making some impressionistic paintings from the landscape photos, so I basically turned over my studio space to her. 

Cotton Boll   by Hanna Casey

  Then she asked me, "why didn't you ever keep any of your cow paintings?"  "I don't know", I said, "I gave them all away to my farmer friends."  (This was before I turned "pro".)  "Well, I want one", she said - "and I want a big one."  So, what the heck -  I wasn't getting anywhere with my non-objective work - so I painted one big-ass cow.  HUGE, as a matter of fact. And, of course, I love him.  Then, Hanna said, "why don't we have an open studio again, you haven't done it in a couple of years. We could do a collaborative show- my photography and landscape paintings - and  you could paint some of your cows (much smaller of course) and abstract landscape paintings based on my photos. It would be fun."

Hmmm.  Fun. What a novel idea.

So - "Southern Exposure- Art inspired by the landscape of farm country" was born.  A friend of mine (who lives on a farm)- is an avid art collector and an interior designer who has placed a lot of my abstract work is hosting our little show. This is a blessing, since I won't have to clean up my very messy studio to have an open-studio format.  It should be a fun party and hopefully generate a few sales.  The main thing is, I am having a great time painting my little cows and collaborating with my daughter.  I'm sure I'll soon get back to abstraction - but for now those type of paintings will just have to moooooove over while I have a little fun.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

O.K.  It's time to shake things more creative block.  I need to step out of my comfort zone and look inward.  Something has got to give! My painting is shit - I'm floundering and I feel completely out of control.  Not good...not good at all.

(Have I really not even considered my own blog since April? WTF??)
Any and all suggestions as to how to pick myself up and dust myself off will be considered.
Yet - on a happier note:  I can feel that change is on the horizon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Unchartered Waters

Serra #8    24x24   2011

Every artist at some point or another should stretch and explore.  As scary as it is to wade into unchartered waters (or in my case- dive in, head first)... it can be very exhilirating.  The scary part comes from wondering what other people will think...particularly collectors.  The Serra series is my "dive in the deep end".  The new paintings are more controlled and more geometric than previous works.  They still have similar qualities to my other work: a strong grid, my color palettes,  texture- although less of it, a balance of areas that are "messy" and un-predictable with those that are opaque and stable, a sense of flux, and layers that overlap and obliterate to create a sense of history and mystery.  I still see myself in them...but I realize they are very, very different.  I'm unveiling the series this summer - for my solo show "Twenty-Four" during Spoleto Festival USA at Ellis-Nicholson Gallery in Charleston.  I will be very interested in the response to them. What I do know is this:  I can't control what happens once the work is hanging - I can only hope for a positive reaction.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

10 Things I learned last year....

A Far Brighter Light    2010

All of the sudden I realized that it's February.  Where in the heck did January go?  For that matter, where did last year go?  Time: she is a waistin'.  I've decided that with my horrible memory, I really need to start paying attention and writing things down that I need to remember.  Rather, I need to start blogging things down- so I can't loose it.
 (or can I?)

So - back to last year.  A list of 10 things that I know to be true:

1. Nothing is permanent.
 (I feel so strongly about these words of wisdom from the Buddha that I  made it my personal mantra - and - had it tattooed on my flesh so I can read it every day....yes, I realize the irony.)

2. When the Shit Hits the Fan....turn the fan OFF.  
(Then "dust" yourself off and keep going.  You can turn the fan on again after things calm down.)

3. When things get tough, lean on those who can hold you up. 
 (Thank goodness for good friends and family - this is what they're there for.)

4. If you think it can't get worse....just wait.  
( - and thank your lucky stars when things are going your way.)

5. I have the most awesome kids in the world.  
(Confirmed to be true, once again in 2010.  It's not bragging if it's true.) 

6. I DO have a favorite color.... and it's pyrolle orange. 
 (or...maybe it's cobalt teal....either way - I love you Golden Artist's Colors - and you ARE worth the money.)

7. Short cuts aren't worth it. 
 (why am I in such a hurry anyway?)

8. If it's not working - make a change.  
('cause change is good, um-kay?)

9. The things that I do - MATTER.  
(one way- or another, they matter....maybe not in a "change the world" sort of way - but in a small, "butterfly effect" way.)

10. Time is something that we are not guaranteed. 
 (I need to make the most of mine.)
                                   -  Bring it on, 2011!  I'm always ready to learn more.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Sketchbook Project

my cover

The Sketchbook Project from ArtHouse Co-op
(click this link for details, images and video about the project)

 "It's like a concert tour, but with sketchbooks."

What an interesting project to be involved in.  Very few rules -  no pressure -  non-juried - anyone can participate... just plain cool!  

I love how my book turned out.  It's really just what I always do - random, automatic drawings that may or may not lead to a painting.  My book was about me just having fun - playing with crayons, graphite pencils, colored pencils, pastels, sharpies, paint - what ever I felt like doing at the time. My theme was "the view from up here" - which influenced the beginning of the drawings, but was mostly abandoned during the developement of them --- but that's how I roll.

The collection of submitted sketchbooks will travel around the country to multiple venues and wind up in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library.  I think it's time to start planning my road trip to see the whole project in person:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Speaking of Procrastination....

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
William James 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Procrastination: The number one resolution....why do we do it?

In an aqua light    24x36   mixed media & collage on panel 

Show deadline: Today.  And I'm still labeling, wiring, documenting ...and goofing around online.  WHY do I do this to myself?  The funny thing is, I know I'm not alone.  I asked a lot of people about their resolutions for the New Year and the most popular: To not procrastinate.  It was (is) on my list as well.  Yet here it is, January 3rd, and I'm still sweating out a deadline.  I was already behind because I was a major procrastinator last year.  So the way I figure it:  if it is a looming deadline that crosses the December/January timeline it doesn't count as this year's problem.  Right?  ... Right?  

Procrastinating is my version of a roller coaster ride.  The rush of adrenaline when pushing things to the last minute - it's absolutely exhilarating.  My palms sweat.  My heart is pumping.  I'm sleepless with the nervousness of the sheer number of items on the to-do list.  And it feels terrible!  And it feels wonderful -- wonderful when the deadline is actually met....the relief!

I have been successful (so far) in meeting deadlines where work was to be physically delivered.  I feel obligated to meet a deadline once the commitment is already made- no matter how I blast thru the door  as the last guns are fired. I've not, however,  been that successful with juried shows or gallery submission deadlines when just images are required- when I haven't fully commited to making the deadline.  I missed so many potential opportunities last year - because I just couldn't get my stuff together on time- so I just skipped it.  Why do I do this sort of procrastination: the kind where the deadline is missed - permanently- and no one is the wiser (except me.)  Is it self sabotage? Is it fear of rejection? Is it laziness? Is it all of the above?  This sort of procrastination feels the worst.  I do it with other things in my life as well.  This is the sort of procrastination that I MUST STOP.  I really must.  

I've purchased the new calendar to keep me on track.  I've penciled in some deadlines.  Now: for the hard part.  Doing it.