Sunday, December 29, 2013

A LOVE STORY IN 37 SECONDS


Rising Tide meets the kids from Variance/Invariance
Dearest Readers,

Meet the stars above of my new video,  (a love story).
 My unfinished painting, Rising Tide is on the left, and the group of paintings on the right are part of Judy Rushin's collaborative project, Variance/ Invariance. Judy used to live in Atlanta and is now teaching painting at Florida State in Tallahassee.
 
This love story is my contribution and interpretation of Judy's collaborative project.
She mailed kits of her interlocking, wood panel paintings, and asked that artists use them in a fresh, fun (my word) way in their lives. Here's my resulting video–a brief affair between two styles of painting. You can see them cavort below, or on YouTube at:

video
 


 Read more about the project in Judy’s own words at: http://varianceinvariance.com/

The resulting works will eventually be exhibited in galleries and museums according to the project website.

See some of the latest participating artist installations at Judy’s blog: http://judyrushin.blogspot.com/

Many thanks to my son Osman who laid a tarp on my studio floor and taped it down as a background for the love story. And thanks to my daughter Ayla visiting from Portland OR who positioned some of the panels within the painting as I shot the scenes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

TWO SHOWS CLOSING

The Fullness of Being - 35" x 39" Acrylic on Paper, 2012

Dearest Readers,

Ta-Da! Allow me to re-introduce The Fullness of Being, aka Wings3 a painting on paper that first appeared in a blog of mine back on June 24, 2012

For a year I’ve been working on paintings of rising or surging shapes that have morphed from wing imagery into more genuine depictions of something essential that’s been bubbling inside…a flowing of contentment I think, within the ups and downs, fears and joys of my life.


This painting recently appeared in a group show entitled More at the Sellars Gallery, Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, September 17-December 15 2013, sponsored by the Women’s Caucus for Art-Georgia. The show title predisposed many of the visual works to be abstract or conceptual, and open to interpretation on many levels. Below are a few of my favorites in the exhibition.

Remnant 23-Maggie Davis, oil on canvas



Remnant 24-Maggie Davis, oil on canvas



Untitled 1,2, 3-Madeleine Soloway, ink on paper on board



More Work To Do In The Garden-Angie Dachs, oil on canvas



Enmeshed-Ann Rowles, mixed media crochet



Help- Sarah Landrum - Mixed Media on panel



A few words about this cool otherworldly venue…

Brenau is a small women’s liberal arts college founded in 1878 as a Georgia Baptist women’s seminary, originally an institution for the education of women to be teachers. The gallery is located inside the Simmons Visual Arts Building, in a line of stately turn-of-the-last-century buildings along Centennial Circle.  

Sellars Gallery located inside the Simmons Visual Arts Center

Centennial Circle with Simmons Visual Arts Center, near right


Dorothy Smith Hopkins, Class of 1932

I felt as if I had slipped through a wormhole back to the early 1900’s. A portrait of Dorothy Smith Hopkins, Class of 1932 hung at the side entrance to the gallery. Her significance to the college was not explained, but I love her bubbly, debutante-ish persona, captured in this oil painting by Charles Naegele. 

Dr. Thomas Simmons, & Lessie Southgate Simmons, oil on canvas- A. Edmonds

 Oil portraits of two early educators, Dr. Thomas Simmons, former president and teacher & Lessie Southgate Simmons former teacher and the building's namesake hang near the door. 
Pearce Auditorium lobby-Brenau University

  A passageway connects the visual arts building to the Pearce Auditorium, a space that seems suspended in time back to the turn of the last century. When I visited, the building was well lit but devoid of sound and people. Framed black and white photo-ghosts of women’s classes and team pictures lined the the far wall, probably 100 years old. 


Gainesville is known for its chicken processing plants, but walking around Brenau opened me up to the possibility of a rich historical layer to the city, population now at 34,000.


Kane in front of 60 portraits - Shambhala Center, Decatur GA


 My self-portrait series, “How Am I Feeling Today?” is finishing a two-week run at the Shambhala Meditation Center of Atlanta. December 7-December 21, 2013. Three rows of 60 portraits of my changing feelings are displayed in a variety of media and paper along a 23-foot wall in the main Community Room. The Center is tucked behind a bamboo-bordered entrance way at 1447 Church Street in Decatur, Georgia. Here are a few site shots from their website. 

Plaza-Shambhala Meditation Center of Atlanta

Main Building-Shambhala Meditation Center of Atlanta

Meditating in the Shrine Room-Shambhala Meditation Center of Atlanta



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

AM I MY FEELINGS?


 
Day #3: Cosmic

Dearest Readers,
A few years ago I initiated a daily artistic test to answer the existential question, “Who Am I?”–  specifically, ** “Am I my thoughts and feelings?” 500 years ago, the French philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes thought so. He famously declared, “Cogito ergo sum”…”I think therefore I am”.  He ignored the squishier category of feelings. As I age, and look at my mortality, I’ve been using art as a language of self-discovery. My process is often diaristic and quotidian. I think this harkens back to my Catholic upbringing. Repetitive prayers like the rosary, saying novenas (prayers for 9 days, 9 months or some sequence of 9’s), or walking the 14 Stations of the Cross were predicated on the idea that if one held a question or prayer in mind, an answer might be forthcoming after sequential repetition. I am not religious anymore in this manner, but the residual practice often emerges as an artistic framework.


Day #32 Groggy


“How Am I Feeling Today?” is a series of self-portraits of my feelings in a variety of media and paper stocks. They are based on 89 days of morning photos I shot of my face in 2009 staring into my bathroom mirror.  Each day I asked myself to name my feeling of the moment. (bored, calm, groggy, nervous etc.) 

 
Friends Deb, Tony, Karen, Wayne mugging in front of my mugs in 2009 at Henley Studios, Atlanta
I wrote the feeling in lipstick on my forehead and photographed my face in the mirror. Last year I began to paint and draw each one. I’ve completed about 60 so far. There are 89 photos, the number of years my Mother lived, a-not-so-obvious layer of meaning and self -identity for me. 
 
"How Am I Feeling Today?" at The Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College
Fifty-five of these portraits are now on view at The Dalton Gallery at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA as part of the show, Material Witness. If you are in the Atlanta area this Saturday, Nov.16, there will be a closing reception from 3-6pm. Three artists and myself will be speaking briefly at 4:15 about our work. I hope you can join us. Food and drink will be served. The address is 141 College Avenue, but the gallery is actually on McDonough St just off College.
 
Day #56: Moody
I’m posting the remaining portraits as I complete them on Facebook–usually one a week. “Moody” is the current one.  
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
**ANSWER: I quickly discovered that I’m not my feelings, or my thoughts. They change rapidly throughout the day, and from moment to moment. I think Descartes was using the idea of thinking as a way to describe consciousness as the seat of self. I tend to agree with him…but that’s a subject for another artistic endeavor.

Friday, November 8, 2013

THE PATIENT PRACTICE OF BAKING BREAD


Success!

Dearest Readers,
Behold my beautiful loaf of home-made white bread–warm, crusty, aromatic, and earthy.  It’s been a two-month journey of trial and error, several failures and adjustments to bread recipes to arrive at this successful loaf. 

I love bread. Good bread. It’s comfort food from my childhood. Living in New Jersey as a youngster in the 50’s, my Dad brought home crunchy deli Kaiser rolls, and long loaves of Italian bread. Mom refused to buy the fluffy white brands of sliced bread, allowing only Pepperidge Farm. When we moved to Rutland, Vermont in 1962, Mom often bought bakery bread. 


Here’s my rocky journey to this golden loaf:
 
King Arthur Flour Education Center, Bakery, Cafe, and Store
September 15: I took a 3-hour sourdough class at King Arthur Flour Baking School in Norwich VT.

Sharon O’Leary at King Arthur, demonstrates how to mix, handle, form, knead and bake sourdough.
 
Grab, lift, flop and turn the autolyse (first mixing of the ingredients)
 
Folding ends of dough into the center after first rising

Hands on experience in rolling the dough into a ball

 
Placing the pre-folded dough in cloth lined bowls to rise again

Shaping the dough into batards (and round shapes)

The class's final baked round sourdough loaves



Each of us in the class leaves with a loaf we baked, a small amount of starter culture and the phase 1 batch of dough we mixed. 
First mix of sourdough ingredients and the starter culture

Sept. 16th: I begin my car trip back to Georgia with the dough and culture in a cooler in the car.

Sept. 23: I leave Brooklyn heading south again. It dawns on me in Delaware that I’ve forgotten the culture, the preliminary dough, and the cooler in my daughter’s apartment in Brooklyn.

Around Oct. 1st I email King Arthur Flour’s help site and they send me another starter culture via UPS free of charge. The living blob of wild yeast and flour arrives healthy, and happily ready to grow.
New batch of sourdough starter culture

 Three tries at making my own sourdough bread ends in flat failures, sticky dough and a final tough culture starter. I did something wrong!
sourdough bread #1-flat and misshapen
sourdough #2-barely rising
sourdough #3-sticky and tough

 I release from my mind the romantic notion of maintaining a live, friendly  sourdough culture in my fridge that I will feed weekly with flour. Goodbye idea!

Friend and bread baker Julie Puttgen sent me a link to a delicious no-knead bread recipe that she used to make a couple of round loaves when I visited her home in Lebanon, NH this summer. It's cooked in a dutch oven in the oven:

I adjusted this recipe three times, trying, and finally succeeding at the right proportion of ingredients. Maybe altitude has something to do with the necessary changes??? 


No-knead bread #1-flat and small


No-knead bread dough #2-rising nicely
No-knead bread dough #2-second rising on a smooth towel per the recipe

Scraping off the dough from the second rising stuck on the cloth
No-knead bread #2-tiny loaf due to so much dough stuck on the towel

During the preparation for Bread #3, my oven dies, but my neighbor with a nice digital stove comes to the rescue. 
My oven refuses to light completely
Neighbor Mary Alma saves the day with her new stove

 
Another look at the wonderful no-knead bread #3


 The King Arthur Flour site has plenty of bread and pastry recipes. Here's King Arthur's recipe for kaiser rolls:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/kaiser-rolls-recipe

 
kaiser rolls picture from the Taste of Home website

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NEW DAWN


New Dawn, oil, acrylic, pastel, and charcoal on canvas, 41"x42"

Dearest Readers,
Meet the latest iteration of my painting Golden Dawn. She’s no longer golden, but does still represent a personal awakening…this upsurge in positivity and contentment that I’ve noticed in my being. Death still lurks as a spoiler, but that’s not on the “horizon”, so to speak.

Back in early September I took you on a blog-journey
 through the various lives of Golden Dawn, from initial ground 
 
Golden Dawn, early stage
 to a raw, vegetal creature, 
Golden Dawn, middle stage
 ending with a kaleidoscopic double swirl that I labeled as “finished”. 
 
Golden Dawn, "Finished"
Not so.  I noodled a few more times last month toning down the central areas with red and de-emphasizing the black surface lines in an unsuccessful attempt to eliminate the busyness.  
Golden Dawn, Additional Adjustments

 I was holding on to parts that I liked, but that just did not work.

This weekend I opened my stash of oils and made some serious changes. With a glass of wine as moral support, and a deep sigh, I slashed away at the former acrylic painting, leaving translucent areas, and reworking the double swirl, which is the essence of my resurgence.  I also pinned up a page from the Portland Oregon Gallery Guide as inspiration showing the abstract oil paintings of Barbara Sternberger whose courageous style I admire. I viewed them this summer at Elizabeth Leach Gallery.


 I’m happy with the result.
New Dawn