Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts

January 21, 2019

Reference images for paintings


I've spent the last week preparing canvases. Cutting, pasting, screwing, priming, etc. I have not decided how to tackle the actual painting part yet. Today I printed some reference photos as a point of departure, a jumping-off point to get me started. 
It is everyday things that I find most interesting. I catch a glimpse of something and imagine a whole world within it and around it. These glimpses can sometimes be very personal parts of me and my day. Mostly they evoke something greater than just color or composition, something I can't really articulate. One day I would like to publish a whole book of my reference photos and collages. 
 
dreadlocks. this color. 


cherry tomatoes from the garden



this is dough.


a dwarf maple tree in my backyard



 


food that's gone bad and ends up in the trash is both an ongoing challenge, and resource for my work.
stemming from my desire to never let anything go to waste and my guilty conscience when it does



spotted this giant ball of rope at a friend's studio



                                                          
clearly I'm obsessed


this is not a staged photo. the dirty dishes were really piled that high 


Some photos are from Instagram and Pinterest. Sorry some image credits are unknown. If I've swiped a photo from you unknowingly, thank you! and let me know so I can give you credit.



January 3, 2019

Artist of the week Elizabeth Murray

Bowtie, 2000
Everybody Knows, 2007, oil on canvas, 87 1/4 x 93 inches

(the last painting made before the artist died in 2007)


To follow through with some of those unfinished posts I recently mentioned, here is Artist of the week Elizabeth Murray.


Elizabeth Murray's heroic paintings are as fearless as the life she seems to have led. A woman who wanted it all, and achieved it against all the odds; to have her children and family, and her artwork all playing center stage at once. She is a hero and an absolute inspiration. 
The Sun and the Moon, 2005, oil on canvas on wood, 9 feet 
Do the Dance, 2005, oil on canvas on wood, 9 1/2 x 11 feet
Kind of Blue, 2004, oil on canvas on wood, 9 x 11 feet
Midnight Special, 2000, oil on two canvases, 92 7/8 x 129 1/2 inches
Bill Alley, 2006, 3D lithographic construction, 35 x 41 1/4 inches
Hey Madge, 2001-02, oil on canvas on wood, 53 x 48 inches
Worm's Eye, 2002
Cry Baby, 2000, oil on canvas, 105 3/4 x 105 3/4 inches
Path/Door, 2002
Mister Postman, 1998, oil on canvas, 82 x 77 inches
for a better sense of scale: Bop, 2002-03, at MOMA

As always, I try my best to include the correct information for the images I post. In this case I was unable to find full descriptions for a few of the paintings. It's both surprising and infuriating how many images are out there without any credit to the artist or the work.

With one exception, these paintings are all from 2000-07. There are so many more layers to her work and it's nice to see the progression throughout the years, but these just screamed EXUBERANCE to me so that's where I started. 

Further looking and reading:

Pace Gallery
elizabethmurrayart.org
Art21
Everybody Knows, a PBS film



December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

Sending you a very Happy New Year's greeting! 


Today, New Year's Eve, will be a feast with friends. Boeuf Bourguignonne, chocolate mousse, sparkly decorations, and champagne cocktails like "Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon".

A good title to lead with: Green, 2018, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 inches


It's been a busy year, so much that I currently have 35 posts in the drafts folder half written and waiting to be finished. But, hey, that's 35 half finished essays I can look forward to completing.

I had a conversation with a friend recently who reminded me that all artists struggle to some degree with an often debilitating balancing act. The times when we are filled to overflowing with great new ideas and motivation are coupled with times when we can't find the energy to get dressed in the morning. We talked about creating deadlines and goals to anchor us throughout the year, and especially the winter months.

So..., I have been stockpiling ideas and materials lately in anticipation of what I'd like to be a busy art making season ahead. I've started a knitting project, a drawing project, and just bought a miter saw and tools to literally cut and paste some wonky stretcher bars together. I've been wanting to do this for years and I am so excited! I mean, I bought a saw! It's totally going to be a good year.

I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be having a solo exhibition of new work at the Catalyst Gallery in September. I am also very pleased to have been asked to be part of a group exhibition, curated by artist and owner of Theo Ganz Studio, Eleni Smolen, celebrating Women's history at the Howland Cultural Center in March.

There is so much more I hope to share with you in the coming months.

Thank you so much for continuing to read and support the ArtWrestler blog..


December 14, 2017

How Much Of The Audience Should I Be Concerned With?

This is a repost of something I wrote back in 2014. It's crazy that I just stumbled across it and it's like I could've written it yesterday! 

Thankfully I feel like the new series of paintings I'm working on is resolving this very issue. I guess we'll just have to wait another 3 years to see if it still applies!

.................................................................................................




laundry meat after a funeral, 2011, 44X44", oil on canvas
caress, 2009, oil on canvas, 54X56"

March 2014

I've always been interested in the figure, but not necessarily in figure painting. I prefer a blurry line between the figurative and abstract. I'd much rather offer a question to the viewer than a declaration. 

Although it's been a while since I made the more definitive transition to pure abstraction, lately I've been looking at some of my older figurative work with a discerning eye.

I notice a big difference in the way people respond to the recognizable versus the unrecognizable. And now that I'm thinking about it, I notice a big difference in the way I'm responding myself. It's like there was more to look at before, more of an essence. 

Most viewers had a much stronger reaction to the work that was more recognizable. I thought it was just that figures and faces were more familiar. It's also hard to experience abstract work when you're spending the whole time trying to 'figure it out' instead of actually looking, which is what people tend to do.
ugly head, 2009, oil on canvas, 54X54"

detail, in like a lion, 2011, oil on canvas, 50X76"
These paintings have a lot in common, but I do feel that there is something almost tangible in the figures that is missing in the abstractions. If I could just get that thing into the abstract paintings...

It's that human connection I've been searching for in all my work, but perhaps it was clearer to a broader audience before. 

I wonder, how much of the audience should I be concerned with? 

What do you think?

the new swimmer, 2009, triptych, 178X50", oil on canvas
skinny, 2012, oil on canvas, 30X50"



































girl with pearl earring, 2008, oil on canvas, 54X56"



snowy november, 2012, oil on canvas, 56X56"





























baby, 2009, oil on canvas, 50X84"

December 4, 2017

CONSUMERISM

I am obsessed with decorating magazines. I admit it. House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, Domino, Lonny, Dwell, Moon to Moon, etc. etc.
It's kind of a problem because all it does is make me want to go out and buy all the things on the pages, which is the point of course. I know ultimately it's all a farce, but I do love looking at other cultures and the way other people all over the world live. I find it inspiring. Unfortunately it also leads to sweeping generalizations about America and the way we live, the way I live.


Samantha Palmeri art
magic marker on tracing paper, 19 x 24 inches
American culture... where everything has to be brand new, pristine, shiny, and big. We think of ourselves as slightly more moral and decent than the rest of the world, dare I say uncorrupted, at least up until recently, and we like our products to reflect that. When things get used we replace them. Throw out the old and bring in the new. This reinforces our entire way of thinking and living. It's one side or the other. We don't face our problems, we either toss them completely or we rebrand them, clean them up, package and ship them out. Is this really the American ideal? If we stripped away this idea of shiny newness what would that look like?

Well, certainly the answer can't be found on the pages of a glossy magazine! But just look at that old stone cottage, Italian countryside, wild nature climbing all over it, where not one shred of anything is manufactured in China, where maybe the people who live there are as real as the materials..... I really have to stop subscribing to these things.

Lately I've been searching on the internet for things like how to darn socks and dye old fabrics, and now that it is officially Christmas season this all seems relevant...? I am NOT free from American consumerism by any means. Not all the things on my Christmas list are used/vintage (FYI I just spent a ton of money on a very shiny new kitchen sink), but I also cannot bear to buy one more product from Home Depot or Target. I have no interest in living a life that looks like a sterile hotel room or an ad in a home and garden box store circular. And anyway I can't think of anything warmer and more inviting than objects, interiors, and even people that are slightly rumpled and used.

And that leads me to what I really wanted to tell you about. I know I've gone off on a tangent, but besides my Christmas list, I really have been thinking of all this in relation to my work. If I could embrace that bit of messy nature, of wild rambling vines and the familiarity of the slightly used and rumpled... I'd be very happy.


Samantha Palmeri art
magic marker on tracing paper, 19 x 24 inches
At night while I watch TV I've been making drawings with magic marker on crumpled tracing paper. It feels very liberating. When I started to paint on paper instead of canvas last spring I had this need to not take my materials so seriously. I was feeling pressured with the responsibility of costly canvases and I wanted to not be precious with anything. I want to be free and unencumbered with my materials but also I want to make work that is more natural, less laborious and ultimately more accessible for the viewer. Although I've been going back and forth between canvas and paper, I'm approaching it differently. Less preciousness, less earnestness, less pressure, more natural, more immediate, more personal, more accessible. Nature is a wild beautiful miry mess and I'd like to embrace that, at least in my work if I can.

... off on a tangent or not, I'm planning to give everyone jarred peaches for Christmas this year, tied with a used ribbon and a handmade paper card... we'll see how well that goes over.


Happy Season to you all!
Happy Making, and thinking, and being!


art podcasts and approachability

I haven't posted anything in a while although I've been writing a lot. Sufficient to say, I'm still here... happily trudging along. Eventually I'll probably post some of these so feel free to act surprised..

Topics I've been writing about run the gamut:
no longer a vegan
cut my hair
deadlines, real and imagined
upcoming exhibits
thanksgiving dinner
new kitchen counters
messy painters
art fairs
podcasts
social media
Corinne Bailey Rae
having the flu in October and a cold in November/December...

I have been painting a lot, trying to get to a place I haven't been. Is running while standing still an expression? that's how I often feel. Oh, Google tells me it's running to stand still and they reference the current state of affairs, no pun intended. that seems about right.

Anyway, I have been painting a lot but I've also been paying attention a lot, which isn't necessarily always the case. I'm making sure to allot the same amount of time for sitting and looking as for standing and painting. this is helpful because I think painter's psyche works this way (or maybe it's all artists I don't know). We have the capacity to work instinctually, allowing the spiritual, the unknown, the subconscious to take the lead, but we're also quite cerebral and need to think a lot and sort it all out. We are in it and out of it which is a good explanation for painting being so much about the push and pull of it all and the tension between the two.

I've been talking about my work a lot lately too, which is very helpful. Abstraction is not a discernible concrete thing to be easily discussed. A lot of people don't know how to talk about it which makes it hard to know how these things are coming across. I am now making strides to add some context to my work. I've had this purist notion that the painting itself should be doing all the talking, but without accessibility there is a clear disconnect. You can't identify with something that is so unfamiliar you don't know what it is. I want to create a clearer entrance for the viewer. Pure abstract formalism has never been my goal. Abstraction has given me a broader range of meaning, but I need my paintings to say more than what they've been saying. I'm not quite sure how that will all work. It's complicated because I'm not really commenting on anything, yet I'm not interested in decoration either. I want to evoke a feeling in the viewer, a memory, a moment, and I want them to take it personally somehow. Is that valid? I realize I have to create it from a personal place to begin with, and, well, that's exactly where I am going to start..

Of several new obsessions, listening to podcasts while I work is by far the most useful. I've listened to a number of artists talk about the same exact things I've just mentioned, specifically about painting and context, and that validation is a real comfort in what is usually a pretty uncomfortable space. The studio that is, the place of refuge and struggle at the same time, comfort and conflict!

More posts on the way... For now check out my favorite podcasts: Magic Praxis, The Conversation

Further listening and reading: Should Artists Talk About Their Work



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 13, 2017

Artist of the week: Anne Truitt


Installation view of the exhibition, Anne Truitt Sculpture 1962-2004 at Matthew Marks Gallery
Anne Truitt is an artist I first came to know through her writing. Her three memoirs, DaybookTurn, and Prospect: The Journey of an Artist, are must reads for any studio worker, especially for women and mothers.

First, 1961, Acrylic on wood, 44 ¼ x 17 ¾ x 7 inches. 
Because of her writing, when I see her sculptures I feel like I have a shared intimacy with them. Her work is such a perfect reflection of who she seemed to be. They are at once subtle yet straightforward, delicate yet powerful, thoughtful yet severe.

Watauga, 1962, Acrylic on wood, 46 x 56 x 7 inches

Spring Dryad, 1975, Acrylic on wood, 76 x 13 x 8 inches

Currently there's an Anne Truitt installation at DIA Beacon so I wanted to post this while you can still see the show. It really is just a glimpse, and I wish there were at least five more rooms full, but in order to understand and appreciate what she was all about you do need to stand in the real presence of her work. As she writes in Daybook:
"I am most profoundly grateful to have had the opportunity to see my work... Like the night at the Corcoran Gallery of Art... I walked up and down the dark corridors between their massive forms, most of which towered over me, and held out both my hands to feel them, not touching them. They stood in their own space, in their own time, and I was glad in their presence."
I could easily quote from the entire book since after reading it three times already I am still completely enthralled, but I'll leave it up to you to go get a copy and see for yourself!

Gloucester, 1963–72, Acrylic on wood, 74 x 72 x 13 inches

Morning Choice, 1968, Acrylic on wood, 72 x 14 x 14 inches

Hardcastle, 1962, Acrylic on wood, 99 ¾ x 42 x 16 inches

Pith, 1969, Acrylic on wood, 85 ½ x 18 x 18 inches

View, 1999, Acrylic on wood, 81 x 8 x 8 inches

Second Requiem, 1977, Acrylic on wood, 84 x 10 x 8 inches

Shrove, 1962, Acrylic on wood, 60 x 10 x 10 inches

View of Anne Truitt's Washington D.C studio, 1980

Seven, 1962, Oil (semi-gloss enamel) on wood, 53 ¾ x 32 x 7 ⅞ inches

Southern Elegy, 1962, Oil (semi-gloss and flat) on wood, 47 x 20 ⅞ x 6 ⅞ inches
A Wall for Apricots, 1968, Acrylic on wood, 72 ⅝ x 14 x 14 inches

Anne Truitt in her studio















 

Most of the images here are from the very comprehensive website: http://www.annetruitt.org/
I've selected only her sculpture but her paintings are also significant and worth viewing: http://www.annetruitt.org/works/selected-paintings