Lizzies Blog

Mapping the visual world through a nebulous lens. Varying degrees of tangibility and culpability.
 

According To Plan

When everything is going right and the stars are in alignment, my work looks something like this.

Building a history that start with a layer of modeling paste, colors and textures, usually ending with a thick layer that is left to partially dry, cut into with a razor blade or the sharp edge of a palette knife. This reveals the layers of color, color that creates a contrast,  a push and pull of energy. Although it may seem so, nothing is really planned. The colors are chosen according to my mood and the lines, pencil marks and gestural color a moment by moment act, carried out more in regards to emotion, sound and smell. Each color has a different smell, and those smells can change or become more intense depending on my ability to focus on the moment. To me it is like a vast microbiome of sensual influences. Having an synesthetic ability that runs through my visual art as well as my work in a scent lab, It is a peculiar set of circumstances that inform me in my work. I embrace it, mostly. Sometimes it drives me crazy, because the overlap and overload can be too distracting. This is why when things do turn out somewhat according to plan, I do my little happy dance and continue on, knowing that it is never, and never will be easy.

Open Studio

Every month the Pendleton Art Center in downtown Cincinnati has an open studio event. I have a studio in the building and try to be there each month if I can. Often times I am in the middle of work and just do not want to move things around and clean up the studio so I do not open. It is strictly voluntary on the part of the artists, yet most do open for the monthly event because it is well attended with crowds of up to 800 or so stopping in during the four hour window. There are eight floor of studios in the main warehouse building (where I am) and more in the annex buildings and galleries within the complex that includes buildings across the street and up the alley. They have live outdoor entertainment in the summer months and people will come from the neighborhood to sit and listen to the band. Food vendors are always on site and each artist has their own mini reception and sometimes big events where galleries in the building or complex coordinate with their own openings.

Yesterday was one of those days where I had a lot of things out and works in progress that I did not really want to move, so to take advantage of the open house, I spent some time yesterday changing out the artwork I had on my outside walls. Artists can hang work on the wall space outside their studios, and I am lucky to have a nice wall for display. If someone were to walk by my studio when I am not there they will see the current long wall with seven paintings, two more on the door and three on the area next to the door. A nice selection of my work. I have a rack with business cards next to the door, so with little effort I can be contacted and make arrangements to meet up at the studio.

This usually works out well, most people are good about keeping their appointments. /Some as I found out last week are not reliable at all, so it is a live and learn experience. Still in all it is a great way to have work on display without having to be there all the time. On several occasions works on the outside walls have been sold on days and nights when I was not there.

I do however love the interaction with the public and try to be there when I can. I am working currently on new things for a fall project and am putting a lot of my focus on the coming months and year. I have finally gotten back into a groove with my work and the only thing to do now os move forward.

Thanks to all who support my work, visit the studio and share your enthusiasm for the creative process.

Little Pistol

When I am painting in my small home studio, located in my sun room I am often surrounded by cats. One of the more ubiquitous of the clan is the Little Pistol. She lives in my office chair and never wants to move to let me sit down. She is a Calico and has very much an attitude of defiance. When I was finishing this painting she was there giving me her "I own You" look.

This is how it happens. Painting with the direction of the wind. This way and that, no mind to anything that is planned.

Working smaller makes it easier to get through a painting in a reasonable amount of time. Larger pieces are difficult because they require, either sustaining a mood or feeling, or letting it go and allowing the work to change over and over until something is achieved. Not necessarily an aesthetic but rather a sense of completion that does not have me wanting to add more paint.

What Does It Mean

At the last open studio I was feeling a bit under the weather, so what I thought was going to be a long night actually turned out to go fast and was quite nice. I sold three paintings early on and as my partner reminded me, if I had stayed home I would not have sold anything. Point taken!...

I doubt that realists get this question, or maybe not so often. "What Does It Mean".. People think that abstract art has to mean something or that there is a subtext or message in the paint. Not true, at least for me. I try to approach each painting like it is a new day, clean slate, no baggage. Sure it will take on a personality as I work it. It will take on a life that is made up of moments and sometimes powerful moments. But not always. Sometimes I just paint for the pure visual joy of it. For the love of color, texture and flow.

With the new work and the mark making, I get a lot more inquiry as to what it means. I try to be as honest as I can, but mostly I just don't really know the answer. or maybe the answer would never live up to the expectation.

Sometimes I wish I could bring more of this existential hypothesizing to the table, and then the thought of it wears me out and I need to conserve my energy.. :)

art-liz-zorn.jpg

10-25

I am not sure why people get all worked up at the start of a new year. Vow to do some otherwise impossible things and never follow through.  I too have taken the plunge and am in the process of successfully completing my task.

Near the end of the year I had started work on some new paintings that did not involve modeling paste, heavy layers of texture and razor blades. Instead I have reintroduced brush work to my process along with a return to mixed media acrylics, ink, pencil, dry pastels and paint markers.

I had been right in the middle of a very large canvas, and decided somewhere near the end of it's completion that I did not care for it at all. I painted over it several times and eventually set it aside. I did the same thing to a couple of other in progress pieces. To say that I was frustrated would be an understatement. I was furious with myself. I was moving into a new thing and nothing was working, so I did the only logical thing an artist can do. I started fresh. I committed myself to painting ten small 25x25 studies. A primer to get me going with the new work. I am five paintings in now and starting to feel my direction more clearly.

Moving away from a bolder look with black outlines to a more organic look similar to my most recent works on paper. It's like I am finally starting to get on the same page with all my work and the work I see in my head. It would seem that after painting for half a century I would have figured some things out by now. Apparently not. Everything comes at a snails pace, one step at a time. Some things flow and are easy, others are extreme in their difficulty and still others are not worth the fight. I guess if anything is learned over time it is to know when to toss things on the junk heap and let them go.

A Thousand Points of Light: 5-10 Acrylic, ink, paint marker, pencil on hand stretched linen. 25x25

Number five in my study series seems to have me at my eureka moment. It pleases me and it makes sense; artistically and emotionally.  I will finish the series of course, before starting on anything large. If the next five pan out I will surely be onto something.

October

This is turning out to be a productive month for me. Not that I have a lot of finished work, but I know better where I am going. It's always hard to shift from one thing to another and start down a different path.  It appears that I have circled back around...again... to a place where my paper works and my canvas paintings are back in synch. I don't show a lot of paper, mostly because it is such a pain to photograph and format everything. Paper is often a study, as are the small canvases that I paint over and over until they are useless.. When something does feel worth keeping I am often more in love with all of the layers and incarnations on the canvas than the finished painting.

 new in progress 30x3010-15

new in progress 30x3010-15

 new in progress 18x14 10-15

new in progress 18x14 10-15

 Watermark: mixed media on paper Feb. 2015

Watermark: mixed media on paper Feb. 2015

 

Having (for the past two years) escaped my palette of earth tones, I am finding my way back to them. Again with the paper, but I always go to this palette for works on paper. For the new canvas pieces I am finding a happy medium for some and embracing my gray and sienna self with others.

I spent a couple of days earlier this month rearranging the furniture in my studio. Moving my big shelving unit to the front of the room and opening up my work area, giving me more room to roll the easel around to catch the great northern light that I get from my windows. Even abstract painters love natural light for painting. The whole room feels different and I am really enjoying this new burst of energy I get when I come into the building and open my door. Can't wait to have my first open studio with this new layout. More wall space for hanging art, particularly larger works.

I will be back with the fall schedule for the art center in a few weeks. Still not sure of all the dates.

Brush Work

Moving from one thing to another. Sometimes it's hard to leave a comfort zone. I needed to leave my comfort zone. Some of the struggles I have had with my health in the past couple of years along with a desire to stop forcing square things into round holes has led me to make a clean break with my work. Stop attacking the canvas like it is my enemy and just let the paint flow. This new work is bringing brush work back into my life and I am even buying new brushes. Good ones and not just the utilitariandisposable fare. I am also making a pact with myself to go easy on the black and stop digging into my paint with razor blades.... well at least.. mostly!!

It's like baby steps but I am getting a glimmer here and there of what I really loved about painting when I was young. In those days before I started planning everything out, creating detailed constructed pieces; when I felt more like a true abstract expressionist painter rather than a plumber or accountant, meticulously calculating my end game...

New: in progress, acrylic on canvas 12x30x2.5


That Was June

Bulldogs Beach: 30x30 acrylic on canvas

June came and went in a flash, but not before I sold three paintings from my Saatchi Art Portfolio.  Three nice sized pieces too. It leaves my studio walls a bit bare, but I will fill in the spots.. I have not been painting as much lately and really need to spend some serious time in the studio. Lots of things in progress, doodles and the like, but nothing serious or ready to go. Besides the doodling, working on new things like this. Aside from the fun little landscapes that break the flow of the larger more intense pieces, I really like this gray on gray  of Bulldogs Beach, and have one on the easel at home. I will probably go more in this direction once I am back in the studio downtown. I had been playing around with the gray with blues and greens as in the Queen City painting. As well as gray and purple, violet and other colors in that range.

Queen City: 24x24 acrylic on canvas

I missed the Final Friday at the studio this month, so next month I should have a lot of new things on the wall. Getting back to painting full time is the goal. It may take a little longer than I had anticipated as my other work is also demanding. I set myself a two year time goal and I am about six months in on that. It would be nice to come back here at the end of that time frame and say, yes I did it.