Showing posts with label perception. Show all posts
Showing posts with label perception. Show all posts

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



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.











May 20, 2015

suck it up and spit it out

some notes that I took after a long weekend of open studio conversations...

view of my studio during Beacon Open Studios




how is a painting perceived?
a painting that you could see the artist stepping into and stepping out of. feeling it first and then thinking it. it's that spewing out and reeling in motion. kids do that with pool water, they suck it up and spit it out. these are two things that go together, an in and out simultaneously, but there are many dichotomies also at work. there is soft and hard, the slathering on and wiping away. the act of half destroying a thing in order for it to emerge to its full potential, and the act of knowing how to do that and how to repeat it. to purposely destroy a piece with the faith in the process that the painting will eventually complete itself. this is the most difficult thing because the potential is for complete destruction. if you're lucky, the reward outweighs the failure every time.
of course I don't actually believe in luck...





April 18, 2014

the word CULTURE


Lately the word culture has been coming up a lot. 

As an artist I am wholly concerned with perception, that very subjective notion of any given thing. It's my job as a painter to sway the viewer's perception one way or another. To bring my personal viewpoint to their world. Painting after all is an illusion, and even if the painting is more about the object itself than the illusion, you still must address the viewer's awareness of these things.

I'm finding out that perception is what makes the world go round, and is the answer to most of my questions.

So here is the word culture, that has a myriad of subjective meanings. 

I've been using the word culture in my life in pretty much one specific way; as a broad term for anything art related such as the opera, the ballet, art institutions like galleries and museums, live music, the theater. When I talk about living in an area with nothing cultural going on those are the types of things I'm referring to. My thesaurus complies by telling me that culture suggests a certain education and sophistication and cites words like erudition and gentility.

Recently, however, it's occurred to me that my awareness and use of this term culture has been quite limited. It came about while I was watching a documentary where the person being interviewed was describing her childhood as culturally Jewish even though she did not believe or practice Judaism in any way.


I thought how stupid of me that I'd never used the word culture in that sense, although I'm sure I've described it that way without realizing it. 

This could be a duh moment for some of you reading this, but bear with me...

In a way you could use the word to describe almost anything, like the culture of urban or suburban life, the culture of soccer moms and restless dads, the culture of any race or religion, the culture of any neighborhood, Brooklyn culture, uptown culture, downtown culture, jazz culture, theater culture. In Long Beach Island it'd be the surf culture. There is the art world culture. Miami has a culture, New York City has a culture. I just filled out a personal profile for some web site that asked where I lived, but also added that it could include my philosophy, state of mind or where I'm from, which could've also just said your culture. So I put NYC.

map of New York City


Please feel free to chime in at any time as I'm sure you all have had your own experiences with the word CULTURE-

The revelation to me is that I've been complaining about a lack of culture in my life without recognizing that it's this true multilayered meaning of the word that I'm really protesting. The culture I seek is less about the institutions it inhabits and more about an entire community lifestyle, traditions, habits and ways of living, ways of thinking, dressing, and talking. It can now be the simple answer to everyone's question of why are you moving

Barbara Kruger, Culture
Barbara Kruger

My husband and I have always created our own culture, or to put it another way, have taken our culture with us wherever we went. We've initiated art galleries and music festivals, happenings and events in every town we've lived in. We've formed alliances with every cultured group we could find or invent, yet we still haven't found what we're looking for. (thanks Bono for getting that song stuck in my head) Now that we're moving, it's nerve wracking to expect so much from one little unknown dot on a map. It's hard to know what we'll find, but it makes me feel better that at least we know what we're looking for. When people ask why we're moving now I can simply say... CULTURE