Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hands On

"Helping hand," "lend a hand," "all hands on deck"; hands are a powerful image conveying friendship and connectedness through outwardly symbolizing welcoming, sharing, and helping.  We wave, shake, hold and pray with our hands.  "Hands on" expresses the idea putting physical work into something to help make that thing better or to engage with new information in an active way to help us to internalize what we learn.  I'd like to celebrate our ability to use our hands for good.

When we think of works of art, we often think of making something by hand.  Many creative pursuits utilize the hands as a shaping tool to make beautiful and communicative objects.  Below are images I find to be very powerful and emotive; a (very) brief survey of (mostly) 20th century artworks exploring not only things made by hand but also hand imagery.

Woman's Wearing Blanket
early 20th century
wool and silk trade cloth, glass beads
(image via  The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Georgia O'Keeffe-Hands
Alfred Stieglitz
Platinum print
(image via The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

The Welcoming Hands
Louise Bourgeois
Bronze coated with silvernitrate patina, polished
(image via Art Net)

Leslie Dill
White bronze, steel wire and horse hair
(image via Barbara Krakow Gallery)

Untitled (Hands Waving)
Kiki Smith
Lithograph and ink on paper collage with two mirrored discs on Nepal paper
(image via Phillips Art Auctions)
What do you enjoy making, by hand?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring, Walk, and Cut Paper

So glad that spring is officially here!  To celebrate, I'm going to first share with you some of my favorite spring instagram photos...

And, while we are thinking about spring, I wanted to share a painting that celebrates walking outside, enjoying your neighborhood.  Below is a painting by Jennifer Hartley that I just adore - couldn't you imagine jumping into this painting?  This is one of her new paintings from a show,  recently on view at our local film house - Cine.  By the way, Cine is a fantastic place to catch a flick, enjoy a drink with friends, and see art.  I feel so lucky that I can travel there by foot!

Painting by Jennifer Hartley.  Show was on view during Feb-March, 2013 at Cine in Athens, GA

Lastly, since we have been patiently waiting out the cold for spring to finally arrive, I will share with you a physical manifestation of patience - a hand-cut paper piece made by one of my students, just finished this week.  It always makes me so happy to see students really challenge themselves and go above and beyond.  This particular student had two visions for the project, and rather than deciding between the two, he decided to execute both!  This was the second version of the project (his first was stellar too, you can see this one below).  Jesus is in my 2D design class.

student work - Jesus Fonseca, University of North Georgia
hand cut paper, from "Interior/Exterior Self Portrait" project, version 2

student work - Jesus Fonseca, University of North Georgia
hand cut paper, from "Interior/Exterior Self Portrait" project, version 1

Happy first day of spring, y'all!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Flower Power

During yesterday's blast of Georgia spring I bought myself some flowers and then proceeded to stay INSIDE all day painting.  Thankfully, I finished my painting and because of the time change, managed to squeeze in a stroll downtown to enjoy the later last hour of light and perfect 70 degree weather.

Since I now have a bouquet of flowers sitting on my kitchen table, I spent my entire day looking, drawing, and painting them.  (Now it is raining so I don't feel so guilty being inside.)  Today I made a number of quick watercolors from direct observation and also played around with some pattern ideas using my tulips and lilies as inspiration.  

The more I think about why I make paintings, the more I keep coming back to the idea of putting something into the world that is positive and uplifting; something you want to look at everyday and just makes the day better.  It goes without saying that flowers fits the bill.  After following a hunch last year to start painting them as a way to practice painting from observation and to feed my more non-representational work, I am coming back for round two.  

Simultaneously simple and complex, flowers are just beautiful, period.  Here is a little of my enjoyment of them, today:

And here is some of my inspiration.  The following are flower paintings by some of my favorite artist and designers.  Take a breath, relax and enjoy as you ease into the week.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Studio Peek

If you are like me, you are not good at keeping new year's resolutions.  This year is different though because there is one I can say I am following through with.  Here is the photo evidence, I am wearing gloves when I paint.  Everyday.  While they make me feel like I'm sitting in a dentist's chair each time I put them on, they make clean-up so much easier and help to put my mind at ease that I'm keeping certain pigments out of my body.  As far as some of the other resolutions, well, they need some work.  

While I am getting ready for my show at Gregg Irby Fine Art, I thought I'd give you a look at the place I work.  My studio is a bit of a wreck right now as I am finishing a few last paintings.  Paintings get delivered to Atlanta on the 18th of March!  

These days I typically work on an easel, although sometimes I work with my canvases on the wall and sometimes at a table.  One thing is sure, I am almost always standing when working.  My hamstrings and lower back are not my friends right now, but I am getting myself back into yoga to try to ease those little pains.

When you walk into my studio at Chase Street Park Warehouse, this is what you'll see.  There is really beautiful daylight from the skylight each afternoon.  And I love high ceilings, makes the space feel so open.   I've been in this particular studio for a little over a year now.  With a great space and even more wonderful neighbors, I couldn't be happier than I am right here.

Remember when I said I have a small collection of books, well, most of them, as you can imagine, are art books.  Exploring the Invisible is one of my favorites.  It was one of those stumble upon books that I found while wandering the isles of the UGA library.  After checking it out multiple times, I finally broke down to buy it, naturally.  This book has greatly informed my work.

There are lots of stuff in the studio, it is usually a little crammed.

Concrete floors, while not good for standing always look good with paint drops.

I have a few fresh tubes of paint.  Sap Green is a new color for me, I've never, ever used it until now.  I have found I can mix it with white to get a color that reads as a great gray against some yellows.  

And lastly, my work table, ready for more.