Sunday, May 20, 2018
We weren't looking forward to it. Both of us had come down with bad head colds that week, and the virus seemed to be getting worse as it progressed. None-the-less, we could do nothing except head out early that Saturday morning, heads throbbing, noses running, coughing and sneezing as we pulled away. Our first mishap happened while I was sleeping: Bob missed the turn for I-40 in Knoxsville and I woke up to signs telling us that we were just outside of Chattanooga. The wrong turn took us an hour out of our way, but we eventually reunited with I-40. Our next mishap happened when we stopped at our first rest stop in Tennessee and, upon opening the door to let the dogs out, we were presented with the partially digested contents of Sophie's breakfast sliding down the side of the seat.
We drove and drove, listening to Herman Wouk's "The Wind's of War", 45 hours in all, something we could fall asleep and wake up to without missing too much of the plot. We checked into the La Quinta Inn in Little Rock, Arkansas after 13 hours of driving. Exhausted, moving like the living dead, we took care of the dogs, and then stumbled into bed. The next day we took off again, determined to make it back home in one long day's worth of driving. I-40 was an endless stream of 18 wheelers, us passing some, some passing us, shaking our little truck each time they did. Rain that was so hard we could barely see drenched us outside of Memphis, and then a gradual browning of the growth on the sides of the road as we continued west. Another 13 hour day, both of us trading off the driving, sleeping when we weren't driving. At 9:30 that night we drove into our driveway, breathing in the familiar warm, dry desert air, glad to be home, wondering if we had really arrived or were just hallucinating.
Sunday, April 29, 2018
My corner of the painting studio with one week left to go
The last week will be a mixture of working, critiques, and cleaning up, with a live auction on Thursday night and "Show and Tell" on Friday, where the entire school will put up the best work they've done over the last 8 weeks. I've done 20 pieces in this time, all work that I sandwiched in while helping my students who are all, at this point, fairly independent, usually just coming to me for confirmation or advice on how to do something technically. I've stuck to my rules fairly well, only using materials that I found/scrounged/bought here, or photos taken here as well. Among other things, I discovered a new technique of using pieces of dry wall mud that have cracked off another substrate, then reassembling and gluing them down("Trouble").
"Giant Waving", I did using a cast off image from the letter press class for the main part of the body and the ground(found in the trash and used with permission of the artist).
I'm not sure how successful these images are, and I won't really know until I get them home and see them in my studio, away from the clutter and compression of the class. However, I feel very good about having worked with seven other artists in a fairly confined space, sharing thoughts, ideas, and experiences(as well as being irritated with each at times as well). But most of all, I've loved being part of this community of artists, makers, and art related people who think that spending 8 weeks making art, day in and any out, is just about as good as it gets.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
"Woman with Spring" 2018
In sharing a workspace with seven other people, I've come to realize how much I need the space and solitude of my own studio. Because my method of working has evolved over the years, I hadn't really realized what the key ingredients were to my making an image until I found that I didn't have those things. They are 1. Lots and lots of space(I mean 7-8 large tables space)so that I can spread out and make a mess, and then leave the mess. 2. Not to have to think about what other people are doing or thinking or saying. 3. To be able to go in and out of the many moods I evolve through (among them irritability and frustration) without worrying about other people's reactions. And 4. To be able put up work in progress and look at it, often for weeks or months, until I feel it's done.
As we've progressed through our time here, I've found myself stealing as much space as I can and working early in the morning or on weekends when few people are around. I've learned to tune out much (but not all) of need for approval and attention from the other artists I share the space with. And I've gone ahead and finished pieces in a few weeks without the luxury of living with them until I'm sure they are finished. And that may not be such a bad thing.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
The rules for working on my own images during my two months at Penland School of Crafts are this:
1. I can only use materials that I find(or buy)while at Penland.
2. I should try and use materials that are completely new and/or foreign to me.
3. Any photo I use should be taken while at Penland.
4. I have to stop complaining in my head about the lack of privacy and space available to me.
5. Students needs come first, except after hours.
6. I can break any rule I want.
"Round Head" is made from the negative space left over from student Troy Skully's portrait, the white marks are made using a new foam roller from a set bought at Michael's, the mouth is from a piece of dry wall mud mixed with polymer medium with the teeth drawn in ink, the eyes are student Beth Kokol's, and the sweater neck is from a photo of Photography Studio Manager, Betsy Dewitt's cap. Image not yet adhered, could blow away with the next strong gust of wind that blows in periodically when the door next to my area opens and shuts suddenly.
Sunday, March 18, 2018
I've done a weeks worth of demos for the students, but haven't really started anything of my own yet, and I have quite a bit of trepidation about starting. I will try and work on the weekends, but have already seen, with this weekend almost gone, and next to nothing done(a trip into Spruce Pine, the nearest town, to buy art and household supplies)how quickly it goes by. I will be way out of my comfort zone in terms of my ways of working, plus my normal, extreme anxiety anytime I start something new. I'm going to try and post every few weeks as we progress, so, sit tight, and send a few creative prayers my way.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
Years passed, and I learned not to use food to avoid my problems, instead, dealing with those problems directly. In 1997 I did this painting. At the opening of the exhibit that included it I noticed a young woman standing in front of the painting, rocking from side to side, clearly distressed. My memory is that she was very thin, slight and probably in her mid twenties. I asked her if I could help her, and she turned to me, and said, in a very angry voice, "Why did you do this? Why? And what does the red mean anyway?"*. I don't remember how I replied, only that later I found out that she was from a very wealthy family in Canada and came to live at a resort in Tucson every winter, which is where the exhibit was. She was, of course, struggling with her own overwhelming and destructive eating disorder. I wished I could have helped her in some way, but, of course, I never saw her again.
*The red path refers to the cessation of periods in women with eating disorders