Showing posts with label artwrestling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artwrestling. Show all posts

August 8, 2017

How The Hell To Write An Artist Statement

Artist statements: a never-ending battle!

I am continually rewriting and rewriting mine. So many subjective questions I don't know the answers to, like how casual, humorous or conventional to make it, how long, how short, how specific, how ambiguous, how poetic, existential, philosophical, art historical, how personal, how formal, do I give every detail away or leave them wanting more, etc. etc.

Of all the written advice I've read over the years on the topic, I do try to remember two things: to write it out the way I would describe it in person if someone were visiting my studio, and to describe the specific process but keep the reader wanting to actually see the work in person. 

Shouldn't be personable but not longwinded also be on that list? I don't even know anymore. I'll let you be the judge. Here is the statement that's currently on my website:

some artwork to reference while reading the description!
"Momento (ribbon)", 2017, oil on paper, 33.5 x 38 inches

My work is informed by both the inward and the outward, 
by things observed, and things that cannot be observed. 
By entangled forms found naturally or unnaturally
in the body, in nature, in everyday objects; and

equally by chance and feeling.



Process oriented and gestural, these abstractions entice 
the viewer's subjectivity, while allowing me the freedom to access 
a wider range of resources both physical and emotional.

And here is the newest statement I've written:

I start a painting or a series of paintings with a simple thought or inspiration. I don't usually sketch it out first. I prefer to tackle the canvas all at once and let the materials and process of painting dictate the direction. I work on up to five things at once. I'm an observer and am usually looking at something while I paint. I try to keep myself emotionally connected to the specific object or memory I begin with, but painting has a way of prescribing its own journey. Success would mean that I've allowed the painting to take me someplace unexpected while maintaining some hint of my original intention.
I'm interested in posing a question rather than an answer, and I prefer to evoke the feeling of a thing rather than make a statement about it. I'm interested in the process of making, in paint, color, line, handwork, women's work, repetition, knitting, sewing, braiding, rope making... entangled forms found naturally or unnaturally in the body, nature, or everyday objects; and equally in chance and feeling.
My work is about connections; the intertwining and overlapping of the physical, spiritual, metaphorical. The connection of shapes and color, form to form, body to body, mind to mind.

July 7, 2017

What it means to be an artist and a vegan

My first homemade vegan blueberry pie! 

A little less than six months ago I became a vegan. It's just occurred to me how being a vegan is sort of on par with being an artist... People tend to react in very similar ways.

When you tell people you're an artist, right away they put you into a stereotypical category that may or may not have anything to do with you. Temporarily they may start using words like artsy, crafty, eccentric and even weird, all the while recounting every family member or friend's relative or neighbor they know of who is also an artist. They will insist on giving you advice you didn't ask for and don't want, about making more money and getting more exposure, and will often exclaim how little they personally know about it and how they "can't even draw a stick figure", indicating in some degrading passive/aggressive way that being an artist is way too special* for them and thank goodness they don't have to have anything to do with it. 

*a.k.a abnormal


I think it would shock and bewilder people even more if they knew anything about what being an artist is really like. Let me get all defensive for a minute and say that artists just happen to have the hardest working, most conscientious, community minded, concerned, empathetic, risk taking will power and nerves of steel you'll ever encounter in your life! One day I would like to respond to the question what do you do with the answer; I stand in a quiet empty room by myself for 5 hours a day contemplating my existence. I build frames and staple fabric to them so I can paint pictures and argue with myself over how to properly express my ideas visually. I spend hours, days and months working on things that I end up destroying. I obsessively examine my purpose, my inner voice, and how to make even a tiny ripple in the overall world around me. I attempt to define and redefine an imaginary dialogue with artists who've lived two hundred years ago, artists who are here now, and artists who aren't even alive yet. And then I hang it all up for strangers to ogle and critique. What do you do? 

Hmmmm... Maybe this is proving that artists really are weird, but I think it's the other way around. Maybe everyone else is the weirdo in this scenario. 

Anyway, when you tell certain people you are a vegan, and it definitely depends on who it is, as "the times they are a changin'"... some people are immediately suspicious and put off, even annoyed, like oh, you're one of those* people. There are a lot of questions asked that require proper justification. And then there is, again, lots of advice that you didn't ask for and don't want. 
Humans crave the familiar, and fear the unknown, and there's just no way around it.

*a.k.a special*

*a.k.a abnormal



I became a vegan for one simple reason, to be healthier. It just made sense to me. 

I may not decide to be a vegan my whole life, but in the end, it's not all that complicated, and really, neither is being an artist.



P.S Get the recipe for vegan blueberry pie here at 40aprons.com 



April 13, 2017

what does success mean to you?

I'm posting this on my birthday, in the hopes that this year will be more successful than the last....

IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs is a très interesting book of interviews. The founder of Design Sponge, Grace Bonney, asks this diverse group of inspiring women a series of questions describing their creative paths.

A book like this, with artists answering the same questions over and over, makes me imagine how I would answer the questions myself. It's only natural to make those comparisons. I won't bore you with the details, but what I want to talk about is the one question I was stuck on.  

What does success mean to you?
This is, of course, a completely subjective thing but don't you find the very notion of success a bit fleeting? It seems to change with the times, at least for me. When I was young I thought fame and fortune played a big part. Recognition, accolades, raising a family, being a good person. But any one of those things just by themselves has never really done it for me. I've thought about it a lot.

When I read Ping Zhu's reply, that "when things are harmonious, even for a moment, I try to savor it",  

Paul Klee, New Harmony, 1936
I realized that was it! That was the answer I was looking for. Success is not a concrete thing after all, it's a moment when everything is working together in perfect harmony. And if that's true, then there's the possibility for moments of great success every single day in everything we do!

I recently watched an episode of Chef's Table on Netflix. I can't say enough about this series, I absolutely love it. This one was about the Korean Buddhist nun Jeong Kwon.
Jeong Kwon used the word orchestra to illustrate the kind of unifying harmony where everything is working together. She was referring to nature and her place in it, but it's indicative of her all-inclusive philosophy about her food, her means of expressing her life, and her gratitude. Even more interesting was Ms. Kwon's notion that that very harmony was what she considered true freedom.

Hmmm.
I love this idea that maybe what success really means is true freedom. A freedom almost like a weightlessness, where all the elements are equally balanced, where nothing is too heavy or too light, nothing unnecessary or out of place, no interference, no mistakes. Even if it's just for a brief moment.

It's so simple isn't it? True freedom, true success, is the ability to get past our own selves, our own disappointments and desires. To not be burdened with expectations but to allow things to fall into place. I think the more we get away from the idea that we are the center of the universe, that life should wait for us, should adhere to our every want and whim, the closer we'll get to feeling at peace with ourselves and the things around us. Everything has a place and a purpose if we choose to see it that way. If we get out of our own way, perfect harmony can be happening all around us.

Henri Matisse, The Dessert: Harmony in Red, 1908









Success is harmony and harmony is freedom.

And there ends my sermon for the day! haha


February 21, 2017

How to Make the Most out of What You've Got

So yesterday was moving day.

Goodbye to my beloved studio.

Hello to working out of the house again.

There's something très depressing about the amount of back breaking work it takes to move two and a half year's worth of paintings, just to store them in obscurity.

Moving always makes me feel like this...

It makes me painfully aware of how attached I am to these canvases, while also realizing how fragile and meaningless these things really are. After all, a painting is nothing more than some paint on a piece of fabric, and a drawing sometimes is nothing more than a doodle. Someone says it's special, puts it on a pedestal, proclaims its genius and all of a sudden it becomes something else entirely. It's so bizarre when you stop to think about it.

So, yeah, I had my little cry moment. It'll take some getting used to, but I'm already starting to feel better about it. Who knows, this could be the greatest thing ever. Last night some new friends came to visit me. What a lovely sight to see outside my window four deer quietly walking in the snow. It made me think how nice it will be to look out into the woods and the mountain from now on.

So I guess change will be good after all. Who knows what great artwork is about to get made.

Deer, the woods, the mountain... I'd say a much better view than that way-too-blue house and ugly duplex!


By the way, my white couch is still white! So much for everyone who thought moving it to the studio would be a disaster, including me. I just washed that slipcover again and I must say, this 16 year old IKEA beauty may just be the best $500 I've ever spent. Totally indestructible!




the last paintings I was working on. soon to be worked on some more
yup, the last things to get packed. the essentials: music, toilet paper and my flask of vodka

that sign didn't really work but I'm leaving it for the next tenant anyway
See ya



January 26, 2017

Hot Selling Copy

This January it feels more like a brand new year than almost any other year I can remember.

Major shifts in thinking are taking place at every level; individually, nationally, globally.  
Change isn't coming, it's here. And for anyone who's ever wished or rallied for change, be prepared, because it's never easy or quick or painless. My father used to say "struggle is good" with the conviction that nothing earned easily was worth earning, and that without the struggle, it could never be truly cherished or appreciated (whatever the it in your life might be). With that thought in mind I feel somewhat optimistic, in spite of the challenges that artists, women and the general American population are about to face.

This has been a January of change for me as well. A newer new year than usual!

I was pleased to participate in a Small Works show at the Catalyst Gallery here in Beacon, and even more pleased to have sold several drawings and a watercolor.

pastel drawing Samantha Palmeri
sold pastel drawing, 11 x 14 inches

This Saturday I'll be participating in another group show in Newburgh, and there is a possibility for a solo show of my paintings coming up this June, which I'll keep you posted on.

soon to be my new art studio

I've made the tough decision to move my art studio out of the studio building I've been in for the past two and a half years back to my home. I've gone back and forth about it for a while, but finally bit the bullet as they say. Change is good, right??   . . .  C h a n g e   i s   g o o d . . .   C h a n g e   i s   g o o d . . .   S t r u g g l e   i s   g o o d . . .   S t r u g g l e   i s   g o o d . . .




Last but not least, I'm super excited to have just become the new Director of Beacon Open Studios, a yearly event where Beacon artists open up their studios to the public. It's a huge weekend long, city-wide celebration sponsored by the artists and community members of Beacon, and enjoyed by thousands of visitors from all over. I'm thrilled to have volunteered, but it really is a huge job organizing it all. The irony is that I'm giving up my studio right before this event and will have to look for a temporary space to show my work!

Did I mention struggle is good!

My hope (and I am hopeful), is that you all are able to not just endure the new changes in your own lives, but relish them, because the reward for your perseverance is great!

My Facebook post this morning was this:

Think Big! because from one fallen dying leaf a whole brand new plant can grow



Happy 2017!



November 20, 2016

How To Be A Better Painter




So, this happened today. My favorite and most useful tool suddenly gave out on me. I can't even remember how many years I've had it or how many palette knives I've purchased since (that were never half as good), but it's been a constant in my painting life for... like... ever....
Blah, so much for reliability.

Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife


Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife

Samantha Palmeri, broken palette knife

Anyhow, in other pragmatic news today.
Do you ever have one of those moments in the studio when you realize you're standing way too far, like three feet away from your painting wall and you're thinking why can't I see what the hell I'm doing??

How To Be A Better Painter: stand closer to the fucking canvas

November 2, 2016

Another Artist Dilemma

P A T I E N C E

I just watched a video of Eddie Martinez claiming to be one of the most impatient people in the world. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like his paintings so much!

I'm an oil painter who does not have the patience (or the time) literally, to sit and wait for the paint to dry!

P A T I E N C E . . .
Not a new concept, definitely a virtue, and for me a never-ending challenge inside the art studio and out.

Maria Popova's recent musings on the seven greatest things she's learned as the creator of brain pickings include:
#7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.” 
... As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.
Although she was referring more to success in life, I'm talking about patience in the studio. My work may be process oriented, aka 'the tedium of the blossoming', but that doesn't make me any more patient. Lately I've been forcing myself to think about it more and more. 

For the most part I'm a fast painter and I like to work on human sized canvases like four to five feet. Since I've been working on a much smaller scale lately, this patience thing has become a lot more relevant. Painting small is really tough for me. Those canvases fill up fast! There's a moment when you're painting, you get a feeling that if you don't walk away from it right that second you'll destroy it and never be able to get it back. 

Samantha Palmeri art
one of four smaller paintings still very much in progress
I've never had much success working on one single piece until I drop. I've always worked on several things at once and this is exactly why. I have to remind myself, this will not be resolved in 4 hours, or 8, or 12, just let it do its thing!

In the mean time I have a real need to keep going, be busy, keep moving, so... on to the next canvas, and the next, and back around again. 


Needless to say, I have a lot of paintings piled up. What I'm suddenly realizing, though, is this pressing need to slow it all down. I need to be more consistent, more cognizant of what's working and where it's all going. It's like when you (well I don't know if they even give typing tests anymore) take a typing test for a job and you can type a thousand words a minute but half of them are spelled wrong. It's time to slow down and get it right.


Patience would mean slowing down a lot, and being perfectly happy with that. Patience would mean standing still long enough to let the moment have its moment. That seems useful... and good. Some moments need more time. How long does this one need?

Some paintings need more time, and that's what I'm trying to appreciate. In the meanwhile I'll just keep tacking those new canvases to the wall... 
 t a c k 
t a c k 
t a c k



Here's an interesting article for further reading: Patience and Painting


July 14, 2016

The Killer of Imagination

I think I've been wrong.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin

What can I say. Some people who know me intimately will think that's very funny. But yes, I think I've been, I mean I know I've been overly self-conscious, which is the killer of imagination and impulse. All my musing about muses and audience can't possibly be right. I don't need more people looking over my shoulder, I need less.

We should learn to be our own muses is my new motto. 

I have been away from the studio for probably the longest stretch since moving to Beacon, NY two years ago. I've worked hard in that time, making over 25 paintings and countless works on paper, so I very much needed this break... At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin
It all started with this year's Beacon Open Studios at the end of May. I spent two full days gibbering to strangers (and friends) about my artwork. Something a lot of us who participated in the event noticed was that after a while of describing your work to people, you start repeating yourself over and over. The same descriptive words start flying out of your mouth. And you hear yourself saying things you never heard before. You're like, oh, so that's what my work is really about!!

So what did I hear myself saying all day for two days straight? That my paintings were in a transition phase, that they weren't exactly the kind of paintings I wanted to be making but somehow they needed to be made, that they were more formal and more figurative than I wanted them to be. Although I had very positive feedback, I found my own self-effacing comments very revealing. It was clear to me that that series of paintings was done with. But what to do next? And why did I need to make all those paintings that now felt forced and untruthful?

So, I've been away from it for a while.

Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin
The timing has been impeccable since I did just move, and moving as we all know, is hell. But now I'm ready to go back and I can't imagine what to do.

For starters, I've decided to refrain from sharing works in progress, so you probably won't see any new photographs for a while. In this age of sharing every second of our lives with everyone on the planet, I've suddenly found myself needing some privacy.  

I have a lot of work to do. Whatever it is that's been keeping me from the most truthful work I can possibly make has got to go! So I may need to close off the world for a bit, hole up in the studio and not come out till I figure something out. 

 
Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin



Promise I won't be MIA for too long..............




February 12, 2016

Artist's Daily Rituals

Here's a great book for artists I recently read that I must share with you,
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, edited and with text by Mason Currey.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
It presents detailed descriptions of the daily routines of 161 artists, mostly in their own words. It includes artists of every genre throughout history including writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists.

I am so fascinated by books like this. I love to hear how other artists spend their days in and out of the studio. With all the vagaries of artist temperaments, and all the disparate ways of getting things done, what amazes me is that in the end I think we are all exactly the same, all fighting with ourselves over one thing or another, and for the same end purpose: creating. So many quirks and peculiar habits: charts and time clocks to track the time, pots of coffee and chocolate and opium and whiskey to keep us up when we should be down and down when we should be up. Rising at 3am or at noon or not sleeping at all, working in pajamas or while lying in bed or at the kitchen table. All leading up to the most important aspect of our lives, the work. I think most artists agree that inspiration is either non-existent or so constant we don't think of it as inspiration at all. The key is getting to work, whether we feel inclined at the moment or not. I love reading about an artist who lived two hundred years ago who went about his day similarly to the way I go about my day. Not to get too overly sentimental (if it's not too late), but I think it's important for artists to feel this connection, like we're continuing something important, something we can't help to begin with.

Willem de Kooning
photo of Willem de Kooning
I was thinking the other day that I can't remember an article I've read about contemporary painting in maybe the last five years that did not mention de Kooning at least 4 times. I wonder how he would feel about that. I used to imagine de Kooning's work ethic the epitome of what an artist's life should look like. Like being in your art studio 12 hours a day seven days a week was the only way to be a real artist. The man never stopped working. After years of struggling with that notion I've finally accepted my own way of doing things, which needless to say is a far cry from someone like Willem de Kooning.


Willem de Kooning
Woman Landscape XII, Willem de Kooning

Everyone needs to find their own way, so if four hours gets me to the best work I can make, so be it. 

Books like Daily Rituals confirm all my ideas about being an artist. It's wonderfully encouraging to see how other artists have been dealing with all the same issues but in so many different ways for so long...

For Like Ever, poster
for like ever.



December 4, 2015

How To See A Painting

According to Mallarme, "to name an object is to destroy three quarters of the pleasure we take in the poem..."

This as applied to abstract painting;
the pleasure "which is derived from the enjoyment of guessing by degrees, of suggesting it..."

My work these days is a flurry of suggestive activity on canvas,
which at times seems aimless, literally going in circles,
but certainly it's a lot more than that.

These suggestions are just as much brought to bare by the viewer as by the painter.
What does one see when looking at the activity of a painting?
The activity of a painter and her paints, color, texture, movement...?
Do you hear the song I am listening to, can you tell the mood I'm in?

My marks, my flight across the canvas,
like a spider weaving its web,
catch you in a moment of looking.
Two shapes connecting,
many shapes connecting.

As to color, which can only be related to one's perception of color,
is it universal to automatically associate red with blood, blue with the sea, brown with shit, peach with flesh, and black with death?
I'm literally running out of colors to use.
I make attempts to restrict my palette only to wind up with the same colors I love.
I make attempts to use color not for emotional purposes only to wind up doing exactly that.

When does a painting become a painting about making paintings, and who wants to see that?

Samantha Palmeri painting
Samantha Palmeri, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches


I like the idea of this mass moving through space.
A tangled mass of color and line.
Body fluids and parts, thoughts, ideas, feelings, moments,
sinews connecting tissue and nerve endings.
This rattles me.
This brings me peace.
This is a journey I do not want to go on.
This is a journey I do want to go on.

"The contemplation of objects, the images
and flights of fancy arising from this contemplation
These constitute the song..."

"...one gradually conjures up an object so as to demonstrate a state of mind, or, conversely, one chooses an object which, when gradually deciphered, reveals a state of mind."

This is my struggle to get viewers to not see a duck or a face. I want them to recognize the work, the feeling of it. Is there a way to actually change perception? Can pink ever signify more than little girl's rooms and stuffed animals?

It's a phenomenon that people are so inclined to tell you what they think your painting is all about.

I imagine most people have no idea how many of their comments are insulting, but I'm sure that whatever they think my painting looks like, it's exactly whatever is on their mind not mine. Apparently a lot of people's minds are filled with ducks and mermaids, cartoon characters, shoelaces, and faces from their past. 

If everyone views a work of art from their own distinct personal experience and perception, how can the artist speak to everyone at once? If it's even possible at all, then the only way to do it is to start with your own. Your own voice, experience and perception.

Let's just face it, some people will love black and hate pink no matter what you do.......





September 3, 2015

the grass is always greener


It is September again... already. I'm reminded of a September blog about Rituals 
I wrote that I thought was last year but turns out it was two years ago. This makes perfect sense as the next thing I was going to say was that my life seems to be replaying itself over and over. So it seems right on cue to want to talk about it all over again... 


 
My life is good, as in, I have a good life, but the critical part of me is extremely critical and always thinks the grass is greener no matter what. That annoying naysayer stuck in my head revels in an endless litany of malcontent. It matters not that this year I am settled in a new place, new location, new environment. Apparently the inward man is not affected by changes in scenery. My gut is still looking at the neighbor's lawn regardless.

I am supposed to be coming up with new morning rituals, and this seems very difficult. Afternoon rituals and night time rituals also just as difficult. I am usually so excited for September, writing new schedules and starting new classes, etc. but right now it all seems like so much work. I am slightly dreading my calendar that already has so many marks circled and crossed off and circled again I can't see the numbers of the days anymore.

I'm sure the fact that I have not been in my art studio since July has a lot to do with it. Things happen in the summer that can't be explained except to say, well... it's the summer. Even though I am so proud of all the work I accomplished last year, I want to be even better this year and even more focused.

Sometimes I think if I could only be more traditional and go about the day rigidly following lists and schedules, I would be more stable, temperate, less distracted, stop thinking so much. I would be the most focused devoted person in the world. I imagine what it would be like to be that devoted to my artwork. I'd figure out how to haul the white couch into my second floor studio so I could spend mornings and nights there and just work work work. I'd be so devoted to my family I'd hang on their every word and make every meal from scratch. I'd be devoted to goodness and God and happiness. I would never be restless, bored or irritated. And I would definitely not spend the entire month of August away from my artwork. 

Thankfully I'm able to temporarily wake myself from this unrealistic dream. A cool relief sweeps right over my thought that all those temperate, ritualistic traditionalists have it any better than me. That would be almost as ridiculous as hauling a perfectly clean white couch into an oil stained painting studio.

On the other hand, there's something to this idea of keeping rituals I can't get away from. If only there were a way to use my naturally restless character to help me accomplish all my goals. If only the very idea of rituals did not include blind devotion with no guarantee of reward. Unrewarded is a term I am not friendly with. This is something to ponder... 

Devotion comes little by little, step by step. The very notion that change can come from doing something repeatedly is difficult to grasp. But maybe it is not the doing so much as the perception of it that leads to change. If I keep doing the same thing but think about it differently?


Samantha Palmeri painting
detail, "abstract painting #5" 2014
Perhaps I can focus on what I've already been rewarded with and start from there, or perhaps stop thinking about the reward altogether. 

I love my art studio. For the first time in my life I can honestly say that in this particular case the grass is not greener. I do not want a bigger, better space. I don't visit other artists and think, oh if I only had that space what amazing work I could get done. Nope. I just want more time to enjoy it. Come to think of it, I do not want a better anything. Really all I want is to be happy with what I already have. So what if it's stupid to put a white couch in a painting studio, so what if pizza night is twice or three times a week, and so what what the neighbors or anyone else is doing with their metaphorical lawns.

This is precisely what's going on my September schedule this year: 
Be happy with what I have and who I am.











January 6, 2015

why I hate January

making progress
little by little
precept upon precept

Apparently this is the time every year where art wrestling really catches up with me.
January advertises itself, with the help of the rest of the world, as the time of year to basically get your shit together no matter what you're doing. Words like efficient, frugal, economy, organization and focus come to mind. I hate January. For some reason all of a sudden I feel like I have to complete all my dreaded domestic duties before I can venture to the studio on a daily basis. It must be a mental thing like I can't get off the table until I finish my brussel sprouts. If I go to work and neglect the rest of life I feel very guilty over it, but then if I neglect my work I feel guilty and miserable as well. It's a catch-22, and it's all January's fault.

When I finally get to the studio I will tape new oil paper to the floor that I'll sweep clean. I'll stretch 4 new canvases 50X50" that I bought myself for Christmas, and I'll attempt to make myself a new painting table before my little blue one falls apart completely. By that time it should be mid-January.

I'll be a frugal and efficient machine by then...

(well, you know, we all think we're going to lose 15 lbs. a week on our new January diets too).

For optimism's sake I promise to post pictures of my new painting table!

December 31, 2014

happy new year


Happy New Year! 

Two thousand fifteen will mark the beginning of the Art Wrestler's third year! (well, technically the fourth but I started at the very end of 2012 so it doesn't really count!)

A lot has happened this year which accounts for the fact that there were a lot less posts to share with you. I believe my tiny readership may have slimmed down even further. I'm hoping to rectify that by bringing you many more teeming articles in the upcoming months.

I have been really happy in my new studio space and it is inspiring all kinds of ideas for new projects, discussions, entanglements, etc. So far I have been able to complete ten paintings in just the last 5 months, and I imagine spending even more time there after the new year.

Since I don't have much of an end of the year round-up myself, and since they've done all the work for us already, I'm including here links to Hyperallergic's vast array of best of lists for 2014.

See if you agree-

I'll see you in the new year!

Top 10 Exhibitions Around the World

Top 10 Exhibitions Across the United States

Top 20 NYC Art Shows That Weren’t in Brooklyn

Top 10 Brooklyn Art Shows

 

 

April 10, 2014

It may not always start in the art studio, but somehow, eventually, it all gets there!


..been going to the local library a lot lately. 

Being that to me the local indicates Manahawkin New Jersey, you have to understand that there are not a whole lot of cultural reading materials available (and I'll get to that word cultural in another post I'm working on). The only art books are on knitting, crafts, and the most general art history chronologies. Occasionally there'll be something so unexpected you'd think someone slipped it in there when no one was looking- A rare head turner like Gerhard Richter: Panorama by Achim Borchardt-Hume, which I've taken out twice already.

One has to get truly creative when poring through the non-fiction shelves, and amazing as it is there are plenty of gems to be found. You just have to look. 

Lately I've been looking in the cooking section and other random areas. 

My new absolute favorite book to read before going to bed, and one I'm hoping I can somehow permanently renew, is All the Time in the World: A Book of Hours by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.



I think I accidentally picked it up because I thought part of the title was "Encyclopedia of the Exquisite" which peaked my interest, but it turns out I didn't notice the words "Author of" above that. Either way, it is just as well an encyclopedia of the exquisite with every chapter a remarkable tidbit of life from every era, genre and subject in the world, like "feasting on fresh crab" at 12:50pm in China's Ming era (1368-1644), and Henry David Thoreau breaking from his solitude every day to eat lunch at his mother's house, 12:20pm. The author's incredible wealth of knowledgeable information, not to mention wit and charm, is very contagious and has prompted me to pull a few forgotten gems from my own dusty bookshelf. 

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers by Jessica Theroux has been another pleasant surprise and has prompted me to seriously consider writing a cookbook with my own 91 year old Italian grandmother. What I really liked about the stories had much less to do with cooking than with the art of living itself. And of course I couldn't help but relate some of the author's challenges to some of those I face in the art studio.

Last but not least this week I picked up The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano. A little revelation by a woman who used to run one of the most successful champagne companies in the world. I've always felt that a cookbook is only as good as the stories the cook can tell about the food they're making, and here I was captured by the author's charming childhood memories of France. The most endearing character in the book was not breakfast lunch or dinner but lovely Tante Berthe who reminded me a lot of my great aunt Edith. The first recipe in the book is called Magical Breakfast Cream and is said to keep you satisfied for half the day and healthy as can be. So I tried it. I kept checking to see if I'd forgotten something because it was, well, not exactly what I was expecting. Anyway, today for lunch I decided to give it another try after reading about all the variations one could attempt. Delicious!

So here is my version of 
Magical Breakfast Cream:

1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (2% Fage)
1 teaspoon organic flaxseed oil (Flax Liquid Gold)
Juice and pulp of 1 Clementine
1 teaspoon organic honey
2 tablespoons shredded wheat (100% whole wheat with no salt or sugar)
1 tablespoon coursely chopped almonds
Pinch of ground cinnamon
& my secret ingredient that makes everything better: a drizzle of almond extract
Start with the yogurt in a bowl and mix each ingredient separately into it. Eat right away!

I know I know, what does magical breakfast cream have to do with art, right? Well, all I can say is, these things are part of an art wrestler's life too. Sometimes we're led to find truth and meaning in roundabout ways. It may not always start in the art studio, but somehow, eventually, it all gets there!



February 13, 2014

Master Dabblers

Thank you to the ladies at MasterDabblers.com for publishing an article I just wrote on their blog titled The Clothes We Wear. Check it out! 
Their site is very cool with provocative kits to purchase like "Legit Kits", interviews with contemporary artists, and regular events like field trips to meet artist Polly Apfelbaum in her New York studio.










January 23, 2014

Art Wrestling in 2014

It's been just over one year that I've been publishing my blog.

After my recent two week interlude without a computer, of all the time sucking online activities I've decided to eliminate from my life, my blog, I'm happy to say, is not one of them.

What started as a simple way to connect myself to the ever growing online community has turned out to be a very fun and useful extension of my work and life.

When I began I was just entering my second year as the owner and director of The Art House Gallery. It was a huge part of what I was wrestling with on a daily basis. Part of my intention was to expose the experience of running a gallery, and part of it was to regularly share my artwork. In fact I think my first post (which has since been deleted) said something about making new artwork and writing something once a week to start.
That of course never really happened. I didn't even post any images in the beginning. If you've been paying attention you know that I'm much more naturally inclined toward the inconsistencies of life than in rigid routines. Most of what I publish comes directly from my writing journals which I've kept for years and which are generally all over the place.


I'm a juggler, a wrestler, a mother, an artist, a thinker, a worker. I've been a teacher, a curator, a director, an exhibitor. I balance food shopping each week with stretching canvas, cooking dinner with mixing paints, cleaning the house with organizing my art studio. This is what I do everyday. Occasionally I open up a shop or a gallery or start a group, but I always come back to my artwork.

The Art Wrestler is about all of this. It's about the balance between the everyday, mundane and repetitive; and the creative and sublime.

I know there are others who can relate.

Daybook by Anne Truitt is an inspiring book of this sculptor's published journals all about raising a family and being an artist


During a studio visit I conducted back in 1999, when I owned my first art gallery, Catherine Street Gallery, I met with a wonderful artist living in Brooklyn. She had a lovely detached home at the end of the block that she shared with her husband, her kids and her dog. Her studio was in the attic at the top of the third floor, and as we climbed the three flights of stairs we passed by all the commotion and mayhem that made up her life. I remember leaving there hoping that I'd never have to juggle that many things in life to be able to do my art and make a living.
Ha.....ha, ha. How naive I was to imagine I could escape the chaos of life while still being a part of it.

Another inspiring book. If you look to the right you'll see a quote from here that's become something of a mantra for me
   

I don't know who's reading this, but I hope you find it worthwhile enough to keep reading. This year I'd like to include some guest writers and artists to keep things interesting, perhaps a few interviews, and more behind the scenes from my art studio.

What are some other things you'd like to read about???? Send me your comments...

I often get comments that don't end up here either by email or facebook. If you comment directly to the blog at least we can all share in the conversation.







November 20, 2013

SOLITUDE



Maybe this is something to address since it keeps popping up. It appears as a major theme in two books I'm currently reading, Rainer Marie Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet and Mary Oliver's Blue Pastures; and it has inadvertently become the topic of several recent phone conversations...

S O L I T U D E
Photos by French artist Maia Flore

The dictionary is really down in the dumps about this word, citing examples of losing loved ones, being put in isolation with infectious diseases, etc. How awful. As an artist I can tell you, solitude is not that bad, in fact it is a much sought after state of being.

You still feel alone when you're by yourself, but when that aloneness becomes a necessary factor to the type of concentration and self reflection that creativity demands, it becomes a very welcome occasion. The idea of being alone with one's thoughts seems absolutely divine to me, and being able to work on my artwork when I want without interruption is pure joy.

Maybe it's not even just artists who feel this way. My friend was just telling me how her kids are so busy all year her daughter recently told her she didn't know who she was anymore because she didn't have a minute to think about it... Obviously we all need those moments to reconnect with ourselves.

from the series Situations by Maia Flore

I think artists just require more of those moments because of the work we do. If we don't know who we are, where is our voice or our vision? And without a clear vision what would our artwork be..

This is what artwrestling is all about!

.....and I guess it comes at no better time because no sooner did I write it down than I spent the whole day today being distracted by phone calls and emails. My daughter read her homework OUT LOUD for half an hour, and my husband has been pacing the floors waiting for me to cook dinner extra early. It's only 3:30! I'm not even doing the type of artwork that I imagine requires that much concentration but every watery mark I make is followed by me having to get up for something. I'm telling myself this is what you get for thinking you could pull this off on the kitchen table...Tomorrow I'll start earlier, but....Hold on, the rice is ready~


Maia Flore