My plan was to use a shotgun approach: Start on all of the ideas that were bubbling up in me (an intricate tree/neg space lino, the three large panels, a series of tiny foggy landscapes and the exploration of jewelry making...oh, and a continuation of the ink work). I'm now realizing how frustrated that has made me. Having so many irons in the fire has limited the time I can spend on each project to the point that I am overwhelmed.
Today I decided it was important to finish up some ideas so I can more effectively focus my energies. I have decided to return to oil paint for my large panels (I had given up oils due to toxicity, but I just miss the richness too much.) So I finally finished the lino cut that I started months ago...lots of tedious work (which I love...I know, weird!) and managed to pull a few prints today. It was the first time printing without a press (the old wooden spoon method) and I only had black ink so I screwed around with Chine Colle for color. Pulled five prints...I'll probably do a handful more then put printing aside for a bit so I can focus on the oils over xmas vacation (of course I'm also looking forward to getting away...cannot wait to see the David Hockney show at the deYoung in S.F.)!
A very hectic autumn indeed! My schedule is happily filled with painting, drawing, printing, teaching (yay! the economy is clawing its way back!) and getting the yard in shape for winter (and all the regular life stuff)! I was fortunate enough to participate in MAS Attack (an excitingly huge exhibition of 100 or so LA artists) organized by Max Presniel and his people at the Torrance Art Museum. (There's me and my olive tree in the picture!) The best part was getting a real sense of how many fantastic artists there are living and working in the area and the range of work. All of these men and women slugging it out in their studios doing what they do.
Summer schedule has arrived! Minimal teaching schedule leaves a lot of studio time....although somehow everything seems to take longer (perhaps I'm just moving slower). I still feel new to Southern California, transplanted here from Marin County twenty something years ago. I find myself going into a bit of a panic with the thought of the late summer heat just around the corner. I cling to the "may gray" and "june gloom" mornings and aside from a quick early heatwave we are still enjoying the a.m. gray. Going about my early morning walks and errands I have become infatuated with the fog as it moves through the olive trees.
As much as I lamented the end (or hiatus) of my recent printmaking foray I am happy to be painting again. I got stuck on the "one tree per square" format which offered up all kinds formal and conceptual avenues but the shallowness of the space began to become an issue for me. The emphasis on atmosphere, air and space, along with the coolness of the fog has been commanding my attention.
Nearly all of my painting experience has come from oils but I'm sticking to acrylics for now, trying to keep the fumes down. The small paintings have gone well (like the one pictured) but I've just begun a large painting (3'x4') and I'm finding the acrylic challenging (read nightmareish)....like I'm needing to re-learn how to paint, or maybe it's because I've been working small for so long. Regardless, I'm enjoying the struggle (kinda) and letting the fog keep me cool.
So, I connected with the print studio at Long Beach City College in the Fall of 2012 to get (re)acquainted with printmaking (specifically intaglio) which I explored a million years ago while earning my MFA at CSULB. The print teacher at LBCC was Annie Stromquist an excellent printmaker and old acquaintance from college. I quickly became obsessed with the never-ending techniques that needed exploring and the prints began piling up. Annie retired and Tyler Ferreira (another CSULB grad) came and brought with him another set of ideas and techniques that I am eager to try out.
The process of chine colle (gluing pieces of thin decorative paper to the print while printing the image) has held my fascination for the past six weeks or so....I can't get enough of the flat, clean geometric shape in contrast to the organic descriptive intaglio line!
In the mean time I have been asked to teach life drawing at Cerritos College, which I'm looking forward to, but that class will conflict with my print studio time, so I am frantically trying to conclude this print series I've been obsessed with for the past 9 months or so. It has been such a joy to have had the opportunity to work creatively along side other artists (I usually hide out in my studio solo) and I have loved latching onto the student mentality of working feverishly, within a set period of time.
I have one more week with access to the LBCC print studio, I hope I make the most of it!
I have been preparing the studio for our local Art and Garden Tour. Combining the two is ideal for me...I am like a ping pong ball: studio/garden/studio/garden.
I have been cranking out prints at a frenetic pace, just producing while I have access to the printing press and hoping to make sense of the images later. As I sort through what I have, as I gain a small measure of competence in the medium, I can see the same visual and conceptual sensibilities beginning to emerge in the work.
I finally came up with the title for my recent work: Substitute Nature. Going all the way back to the cows, I realize this has always been my subject....our earnest, and sometimes misguided, attempt to create, encourage, nurture nature in suburbia. We want nature in our lives on our terms...not too big or unruly or smelly or inconvenient. The olive trees illustrate this relationship perfectly. The fact that our town is dotted with them plus the radical variation in their shapes...they are a record of our attitude towards them.