June 24, 2018

the patience of making art


Thank you Brainpickings for posting this this morning:


Rilke on the Lonely Patience of Creative Work


“The most regretful people on earth,” the poet Mary Oliver wrote in contemplating the artist’s task and the central commitment of the creative life“are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”
That is what Rainer Maria Rilke (December 4, 1875–December 29, 1926), another great poet with a philosophical bend and uncommon existential insight, explored a century earlier in the third letter collected in his indispensable Letters to a Young Poet (public library) — the wellspring of wisdom on art and life, which Rilke bequeathed to the 19-year-old cadet and budding poet Franz Xaver Kappus.
1902 portrait of Rainer Maria Rilke by Helmuth Westhoff, Rilke’s brother-in-law
Rilke’s first letter to his young correspondent had laid out his core ideas about what it takes to be an artist. Building upon that foundation in the third letter, he echoes his contemporary Franz Kafka’s assertion that “patience is the master key to every situation” and considers the master key to the creative life:
Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything!
The patience of making art is a lonely patience — one that demands the solitude essential for creative work, be it art or science, so widely recognized by creators across time and discipline. “Oh comforting solitude, how favorable thou art to original thought!” wrote neuroscience founding father Santiago Ramón y Cajal in considering the ideal environment for intellectual breakthrough“Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul… Seek solitude,” Eugene Delacroix counseled himself as a young artist in 1824. “Solitude, a rest from responsibilities, and peace of mind, will do you more good than the atmosphere of the studio and the conversations,” the young Louise Bourgeois counseled an artist friend in the following century, just as the poet May Sarton was exulting in her sublime ode to solitude“There is no place more intimate than the spirit alone.”
Art by Isol from Daytime Visions
Rilke articulates this vital incubatory solitude of creative work to his young correspondent in a sentiment of growing poignancy and urgency amid our age of instant and ill-considered opinions:
Leave to your opinions their own quiet undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be pressed or hurried by anything. Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life: in understanding as in creating.
He echoes Goethe’s largehearted, increasingly needed wisdom on the only appropriate response to the creative labors of others and writes:
Works of art are of an infinite loneliness and with nothing so little to be reached as with criticism. Only love can grasp and hold and be just toward them.
Letters to a Young Poet — which also gave us Rilke on what it really means to lovethe life-expanding value of uncertainty, and why we read — remains one of the most beautiful, profound, and timeless works ever composed. Complement this particular portion with Rachel Carson on writing and the loneliness of creative workand Virginia Woolf on the relationship between loneliness and creativity, then revisit Rilke on the nature of creativity.




June 20, 2018

Gratitude for Summer solstice and dirty fingernails

I think I remember telling someone once how much I loved having dirty fingernails if it was from gardening or painting!

I'm writing this just as the summer solstice is about to circle back around to us, and I couldn't be happier. I'm starting to think the six months of cold weather we get around here is like five months too many. So, this summer I am making every effort to celebrate the weather and outdoor living.

I'm always looking for opportunities for artist residencies or fairs in places like Italy and France, but this week I realized I can create my own artist residency right here. I've been working on my pastel and charcoal drawings en plein air, aka the patio, in between dips in the pool and visits from friends. Life is good!

Every morning I go out to the yard and switch my slippers to rubber boots to water the vegetable garden. There's something about the ritual of this activity that makes me so happy. I'm not a very patient person, but I seem to be really good at watching the plants grow...

Anyway, Happy Summer. Hope we are all able to make the most of it!

















Plants and drawings: all works in progress

All images © 2018 Samantha Palmeri
Please join my mailing list at www.samanthapalmeri.com









May 25, 2018

Artist of the week: Leon Golub

Finally made it to the MET Breuer to see the Leon Golub show just before it closes on May 27th. So amazing to see this work close up, and experience the enormity of both the materials and subject matter. Golub's work is so much about power struggle, and it is expressed so perfectly through his materials. The violent torn and raw canvases, and the dry dragging of paint look almost as painful as the atrocities they depict. If I had to describe Golub's work with one word, it would be Monstrous. 

Excerpt taken from the MET's statement:
His devotion to the figure, his embrace of expressionism, his fusion of modern and classical sources, and his commitment to social justice distinguish his practice as an artist.
Alongside the monumental, terrifying Gigantomachy IILeon Golub: Raw Nerve features paintings from the artist's most important series....  that represent subjects of longstanding interest to the artist, from mercenaries, interrogators, and the victims of violence to political figures, nudes, and animals, all of them rendered in the raw, visceral style for which he is justly celebrated.
Together, these paintings attest to Golub's incisive perspective on the catastrophes that afflict human civilization and his critique of brutality and belligerent masculinity. The artist's work has much to teach us in the twenty-first century, as does his belief in the ethical responsibility of artists.
detail, Two Black Women and a White Man, 1986, acrylic on linen, 120 x 163 inches






detail, Two Black Women and a White Man, 1986, acrylic on linen, 120 x 163 inches

Two Black Women and a White Man, 1986, acrylic on linen, 120 x 163 inches

Installation view at the MET

The Conversation, 1990, acrylic on linen, 92 x 170 inches


Colossal Torso III, 1960, lacquer on canvas, 82 x 96 inches

Tete de Chevall II, 1963, acrylic on canvas, 81 x 81 inches

Combat I, 1970, offset lithograph



detail, Gigantomachy II, 1966, acrylic on linen, 9 x 24 feet


detail, Gigantomachy II, 1966, acrylic on linen, 9 x 24 feet


detail, Gigantomachy II, to show scale


Gigantomachy II, 1966, acrylic on linen, 9 x 24 feet


Leon Golub (1922-2004) was married to artist Nancy Spero (1926-2009)

Further looking and reading:
The Canvas takes Shape, on Youtube
The Paris Review
Leon Golub: Raw Nerve




Champ de Bataille, 1965, oil on canvas, 91 x 66 inches



Leon Golub in his studio


detail, Vietnam II, 1973, acrylic on canvas, 9 x 37 feet


Riot I, Lithograph

The Go-ahead, 1986, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 192 inches



March 22, 2018

the problem with deadlines

An  artist  without  a  deadline  is  like . . . . . . . . . . . . .....                        

I  am  good  with  deadlines.  I  have  actually  said  those  words.  What  does  that  even  mean?  It  does  not  mean  that  I  don't  freak  out,  get  mean,  anxious,  impatient,  frustrated  and  generally  riddled  with  nerves  and  self  doubt,  because  I  do.  I  need  deadlines  to  make  me  insane  is  the  more  accurate  thing  to  say.  Maybe  I  should  replace  it  altogether  with,  I'm  not  good  at  deadlines  at  all,  I'm  good  with  the  outcome  of  deadlines.  I'm  good  with  good  results,  and  the  enormous  feeling  of  relief  and  accomplishment.  Deadlines,  if  you  make  them  and  keep  them,  will  give  you  the  confidence  to  keep  making  and  keeping  them.  Deadlines  keep  you  in  check.  They  keep  you,  even  if  you  are  simultaneously  a  frazzled  mess,  focused.

Deadlines  Are  The  Great  Motivator.  So,  yeah,  I'm  good  with  deadlines.

Of  course  the  real  problem  with  deadlines  is  that  once  they're  over,  then  what.  You're  admittedly  a  little  high  on  yourself,  but  you're  exhausted  from  working  your  ass  off,  everything  is  a  wreck  around  you  because  you've  neglected  absolutely  everything,  and  you're  literally  slumped  over  the  studio  couch  wondering,  now  what  am  I  supposed  to  do..  Am  I  right?

Anyway,  that's  kind  of  where  I'm  at  at  the  present  moment.


March 14, 2018

Abstract Heart



FOCUS: Abstract Heart

Abstract Heart: Passion, emotion, deeply-held beliefs – how do we express and convey these concepts through an abstract vocabulary? Abstract Heart solicits work that speaks from the soul through a personal visual language. ...

Read more
www.woodstockart.org
March 17 – April 29, 2018
Juried by Katie Schmidt Feder
Director Garrison Art Center

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: 
Paulette Esrig, Nils Hill, Henry Klimowicz, 
Jerry Michalak, Samantha Palmeri, Tracy Phillips, Stephen Rose, Barbara Smith, 
Kat Stoutenborough, jd weiss

GALLERY TALK: FRI. MAR 23, 5 PM
RECEPTION: MAR 24, 4-6 PM

I'm pleased to be part of this show opening March 24th in Woodstock, NY. 
I'll have three paintings in it. And how nice they used my image for their advertising!

FOCUS: Abstract Heart




March 17 – April 29, 2018

Gallery Talk: Friday, March 23, 5 PM
Reception: Saturday, March 24, 4 – 6 PMMAIN GALLERY
JUROR: Katie Schmidt Feder, Director Garrison Art Center
AWARDS: Linda Freaney Award $100
Exhibiting Artists:
Paulette Esrig, Nils Hill, Henry Klimowicz,
Jerry Michalak, Samantha Palmeri, Tracy Phillips,
Stephen Rose, Barbara Smith Gioia,
Kat Stoutenborough, and jd weiss
Introduced in 2017, the FOCUS series features the work of ten artists in a theme-based exhibition. Selections are curated by a different juror for each exhibition with each artist represented by multiple examples of their work in service to the particular show’s theme.
Abstract Heart: Passion, emotion, deeply-held beliefs – how do we express and convey these concepts through an abstract vocabulary? Abstract Heart solicits work that speaks from the soul through a personal visual language.

In The Press



February 9, 2018

How to Enjoy Bad TV

Watching bad TV has never been so fun. I've been working on these crumpled tracing paper drawings in the evenings with the television going. Needless to say I watch a lot of Cheers and Frasier reruns. Thinking of a better title for them.........

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, detail, Magic II, 2017, magic marker on tracing paper

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, Magic I, 2017, magic marker on tracing paper, 19 x 24 inches

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, Magic II, 2017, magic marker on tracing paper, 19 x 24 inches
Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, Magic III, 2017, magic marker on tracing paper, 8.5 x 11.5 inches
Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, Magic IV, 2018, magic marker on tracing paper, 19 x 24 inches
Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, detail, Magic IV, 2018, magic marker on tracing paper

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, Magic V, 2018, magic marker on tracing paper, 19 x 24 inches
Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, detail, Magic V, 2018, magic marker on tracing paper
Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Samantha Palmeri, view of 5 drawings