Lizzies Blog

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

The End

We are nearing the end of the year and I am in a strange place. Feeling like I got punched in the stomach after our election, and trying to process it through my work has me somewhat paralyzed and at the same time has opened up a new door to an old project that we may just get finished by the time January rolls around. 

For the longest time I have been wanting to move back into my home studio, but there was no place to put all of the stuff that had been stored there while I was working elsewhere. Now we have a new huge storage container on our back property and I can start moving things out. Old furniture from my perfume studio, recording studio tables and racks. Packaging materials. Some things will be sold at a later date, but for now to just get them out of my studio so I can start getting it back in working order is priority number one.

I do plan on keeping my studio in the city, but am undecided how to best utilize each space. The city space is set up for painting and exhibiting art, so I will probably move a lot of the art materials from the city, my desk and fine art printer, etc.. Not sure yet about the large easel. How ever it all ends up I will feel better about it all and my ability to move around and work more freely.

In the meantime I am working on the oil/wax on wood paintings, small pieces, while stretching canvas for larger works. The focus of the oil paintings has drifted to the same frame of mind I was in all summer working on the small square acrylic paintings. At first the work went in a different direction, but now everything has gravitated back to what Matisse called the mark of the personality. The mark of my personality is messy, mark making, intuitive, deconstructed. The beginners mind. The place where everything always ends up for me.

Intersection: oil/wax on cradled birch wood 16x17x2

Stone Paper

After a couple of weeks experimenting with oil on stone paper I have come to the conclusion that my best course of action was my first thought. Thin washes of color with just a hint of wax and drying medium in the paint allow for an overnight dry and the ability to work the piece more quickly without any cracking or adverse reactions.

I do love this paper but it has a fragile quality. It can be scratched and pitted, so great care must be taken to make sure it is worked on a clean surface. Cut on a clean surface... Other than that I have not encountered any negatives, but the day is still young, so to speak.

Full sheet, stone paper 16pt. 38x28. Oil and wax wash. Dry to the touch in one day.

Terra Animam

This is the time of year that resets my body clock as well as my soul clock and reconnects me to the land. I love autumn I don't love winter. I love the crisp thin air and unfiltered sun, the shadows the angles of amazing light, the colors, the sounds and the smells.

It is a time for soups and sweaters and deep complicated poetry. It is a time for examining subtext and metaphor.

 Terra Animam: oil/cold wax on cradled birch wood. 16x16x2

Terra Animam: oil/cold wax on cradled birch wood. 16x16x2

 

I am still working from home mostly to finish some small paintings, and in the middle of it all I am changing up my palette to one that is warmer, earthy and soulful. The switch back to oils has been a bit of an up and down, but now I am in my groove and feel good about moving on to larger pieces. Going back and forth from canvas to wood has also been a yin yang of indecision. I think with the more washed out paintings I like canvas and for the textured pieces with a lot of wax I am leaning towards the wood. We are in the process of building some large cradled panels for the studio in the city and I am about two weeks away from having all of the smaller in progress pieces finished. This will also get me beyond a deadline that I have for the end of October. After that I will have a nice stretch of time to finally move things back from home to the city and take a few days off before starting on the new work.

 

The Great Divide

I seem to always be at this place. Dividing line or not. A dividing line often implies landscape, even when this is not the intention at all. I think more in terms of planes and fields. The sort of thing one is taught in beginning painting classes. Not necessarily based in representation or abstraction, but rather a gesture, a thought blip. It can be stark like a complete mood change, or subtle as in casually mulling it over. When it is all said and done, I really don't think about it. I can name it for the outside world, but the outside world usually finds the reference point all on it's own. Based on the experience and circumstance of the viewer, it is futile to put so much energy into how one might be perceived in an unknown future.

Having said all of that I find myself working on a project for mid autumn that has me back to my grid mentality and lines, dividing lines and nebulous ramblings. The kind of work that usually plays out better on paper (for me) than canvas. I am taking from my old playbook with the textures and application of paint and graphite (lots of graphite) and a precise color palette for the entire series. With the smaller ones like this one shown (there are nine). Two of them are finished and two more are in progress. Another large piece, a test run for site specific project that I may or may not get the go ahead on is also in the works. With the color palette chosen for me, I was able to work things around so that I could use the same palette for both projects. This is good because it was chosen based on some other completed works. Keeping me (mostly) in my comfort zone.

So two things: a project for a show and a project for a commercial space. Fingers crossed that it all comes out a win win.

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.. :)

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