Showing posts with label charcoal drawing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charcoal drawing. Show all posts

January 11, 2016

The Journey

untitled drawing, 2015, charcoal on paper, 22X30"



isn't everything and everyone a journey?
     every cell, every atom
moving from one place to another

my eyes follow
     follow
the tiles in the bathroom
outlined in grey
     cement lines that take me
from one little square to another
and another
and another
like an eternal question
     why am I never satisfied

because I'm always following
        a line
that never ends


perhaps this is why I don't paint trees

trees have a trunk, roots, and branches that end
their lines break off and turn into sky and grass
     too finite
     too decisive
they're an answer, not a question

where will I go today?
what will I do?

do the lines in my paintings have answers?
they circle one another, over and under
I want to spend more time with them
     listening
but I'm too impatient
        too restless
they say to me, look what you've done
you've taken us where we didn't want to go
and I say
I didn't know where the hell else to put you

"Save me from my desires", 2015, oil on canvas, 60X60"

viewers see all of this
they know things without knowing they know
    
because we all do
we're all connected this way
        this knowing without knowing
we're all connected by this journey
whether it's a line in a painting or cement lines between bathroom tiles
I see this everywhere, in everything
     this is me

a journey by definition
never ends
once you arrive it becomes something else
     it becomes
a destination

I set goals like destinations but I could be more grateful
for the journey I guess

I would like to paint trees
I keep trying
I would like to be the tree
     with a clear beginning and end
        bending and changing with the seasons
           but always
always the same


 
[This excerpt was written during a wonderful writing workshop given by Maya Gottfried at the Shambhala Yoga Center in Beacon. Thanks Maya and Shannon for putting this together!]

January 4, 2016

My Art Studio

 The studio today looks like this:

Samantha Palmeri drawing
a room full of black and white drawings on new 22X30" watercolor paper

Samantha Palmeri drawing
figuring out where they want to go all on their own..


    
Samantha Palmeri
dirty hands
Samantha Palmeri art studio
I mean, cold, dirty hands. in 4 hrs. the temp. moved only 3 degrees: 57 to 60




Tomorrow the studio will look completely different, I guarantee it...

December 3, 2015

A Safe, Easy Way To...

I'm currently working on a project with a writer friend. He sends me writing, I send him pictures in response. At least that's the plan. So far all I've managed to do is read and re-read the words he's sent me over and over. It's more challenging than I first imagined because every time I read them, they sound completely different and I keep coming up with different answers...

It's making me realize how easy it is to misconstrue things, and with all our preconceived notions, how quick we are to jump to conclusions and assign swift judgements. Human brains do this automatically. We categorize everything the second our senses get hold of it.

When it comes to the written word, there's no doubt that the more times you read something the better you understand it. I'm sure that I've thrown out and deleted so many letters and messages that I completely misunderstood because I looked at them too quickly. You read something like a text message once and immediately respond thinking you know exactly what it's all about, but it happens that if you read it again three or four times you start to hear that person's voice a lot clearer and realize that you may have had it all wrong. I'm sure there are little misunderstandings like this going on all over the place all day long.
But I'm getting off the subject...

What I want to say is that when you look at a painting, it's exactly the same thing. It needs to be contemplated over and over. Because art is complex, every time you look at it you might see something different. It's naive to expect viewers to be open minded but it's kind of a requirement when looking at art. Letting things go opens you up, opens your mind. Letting go of the quick judgement/categorization that automatically happens when we look at a work of art frees us to see it in a more truthful light, as it really is.

Once you've assessed and categorized something it's like you've closed the box on it. For example, it looks like a whale, it must be a whale, all I see is a whale, end of story. You've already dismissed it and you probably only spent about 15 seconds on it. According to statistics, the average museum visitor spends an average of 15-30 seconds in front of a work of art. 
(It took me longer to write this paragraph.)


detail work in progress, charcoal on canvas
Lately I've attempted through the strictest frugality of materials to discourage this kind of quick categorization of my own work, but it's nearly impossible. I'm fine with people seeing whales or dancers or whatever else they see in my abstractions, as long as the story doesn't end there. There should always be more to discover the more you look at a work of art. No simple explanation should be able to easily dismiss it.
Like great poetry or jazz, you should be able to discover something new every time you stand before it.

detail work in progress, charcoal on canvas
I recently had an interesting conversation about the significance of working in a museum. How profound an experience it is to be exposed to a collection of artwork something like 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Being in the presence of great works of art for that amount of time, especially if there are few others around, can be a meditative and intimate experience. (The Rothko Chapel comes to mind.) One gains a rare understanding of the work in a way that the average viewer never could. When I worked as a gallery assistant during an exhibition in 1997, After The Fall curated by Lilly Wei, I learned so much. I would say I learned more about abstract painting from that experience than 4 years of college. 

It's a serious luxury to have that kind of intimacy with a roomful of great artworks, but there are great luxuries to be had everyday by most of us if we pay attention. Knowing first hand how challenging it is to keep an open mind, if anything at all can be gained from a better understanding of the world around me, of art, of life, I'm willing to make an attempt to slow down a tiny bit and give it at least a few more seconds of my time.

Hopefully you are too...








November 23, 2015

more black tar drawings


Still working on this series of drawings. almost ready for some canvas action!
I think my favorite are the half erased ones which makes sense because they are also
the most work..

charcoal on watercolor paper 11X14"

charcoal on watercolor paper 22X30"

charcoal on watercolor paper 22X30"

charcoal on watercolor paper (top) 22X30" (bottom) 18X24"
series of drawings hung together, charcoal on handmade paper 11X14" each (& Don't mind the blue tape)
charcoal on handmade paper 11X14"



charcoal on handmade paper 11X14"

charcoal on handmade paper 11X14"






October 22, 2015

MINDFUL DRAWING on a Thursday afternoon

I'm supposed to be practicing mindfulness.*
I've given myself to meditation, and occasionally, yoga. Even gave myself a trip to three day holistic retreat. I should be feeling like heaven on earth, but the more I think about it, the farther away from Zen I get. And that's just the point. I have to keep reminding myself to stop thinking.

I'm going to venture to say that 90% of my blog posts include the question why repeatedly, well probably even more than that, which maybe some of you have noticed.
It's a hard habit to break..

With that said, I'm taking this moment to reflect on what's happening right now and accept it as is. No why's in this post, no past, no future, just here's what I'm doing without having any idea where it's going or why it's happening.

New drawings everyday being made with minimal materials including charcoal, eraser, fingers, hand, paper, wall... 

*Mindfulness means being aware of what is going on around you in the present moment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them.
When you are on a journey, it is certainly helpful to know where you're going - but remember: the only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. that's all there ever is.
 from the little book of Mindfulness

So here is one full week's worth of mindful drawing, posted on a Thursday afternoon: