Showing posts with label works in progress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label works in progress. Show all posts

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 21, 2016

Where's your studio?

So here's another question for you artists:
Which do you prefer, studio space outside your home or inside your home?? 
For two years I've been telling the world how madly in love with my studio space I am and now I'm trying to rationalize the possibility of not being able to afford it anymore.
I told myself when I got it that I'd never have a studio in my house again.
There's something about physically going to work that is so appealing. Paying for a separate space forces me to work harder and take it all more seriously. I don't think about the computer or the dirty dishes or what we're eating for dinner. I barely even look at my phone.
Having a professional space makes me feel more like, um, a professional. 
But it also has a lot to do with having something all to myself which is really important too. The problem is if I can't afford it then that something for myself turns into something else entirely.
How selfish do we artists get to be? 
Especially when there's no money coming in from the work, only going out.....

Samantha Palmeri painting
unfinished painting, oil on canvas

I'm an artist who has tinkered away in the studio mostly unnoticed for years, and I suspect that will be the case for more years to come. Not that I'm complaining about it, well, I don't mean to anyway. I know I sound like I complain about a lot of things! About rejection notices and staying motivated and burning bridges, about solitude, both the desire for it and the lack thereof. I've complained about wanting a muse after losing one I thought I had, and also about not really needing a muse to begin with, etc. etc. I'd like to think they're not really complaints so much as comments on the topic.
I think spending a lifetime making art can sometimes be confusing like this, and at certain times it does feel a little like a useless endeavor. Nobody really needs it, do they?

I used to have a slogan, pinned up in the storefront window of my first art gallery with white twinkly lights around it, that said Art Is A Necessity. One day a known local artist asked me with a quizzical smirk on his face if I actually believed that. It never occurred to me not to believe it. I think about that all the time. I don't know why, because I don't really know how it affects me one way or the other except that I've always made art because it was a necessity for me. I don't know about anyone else but I need it.

Anyway, my hesitation, anticipation and anxiousness about getting back to work in the studio tends to do this. This wallowing in existential revery sort of thing. I've been reading Philip Guston books lately like I'm studying for the next quiz. Philip I'm ready whenever you wanna lay it on me! Except reading about it and doing it are very very different. I don't want to be him anyway. I'd like to be myself if I can figure out what in the world that looks like, and where to do it.............................





April 2, 2016

"Any Time Spent In The Studio Is Not A Waste Of Time"


Speaking of rituals, which I seem to do a lot of,
I was wondering what other artists do in the studio...

Yesterday I went to the studio for the first time in a little over a week and it felt like I hadn't been there in a month. I thought I was going to end up sitting on the couch staring into space and conveniently procrastinating the day away, but I totally surprised myself and got to work right away.

Samantha Palmeri painting in progress
here's the painting I worked on, still unfinished. See it finished HERE

It made me realize that there are a lot of ways to procrastinate (no kidding). But a lot of the things I used to think were taking up, a.k.a wasting, too much time are actually necessary parts of the whole process. Yesterday I did what I always do and took the time to empty all the clumped up skins of oil paint at the bottom of my paint jars. I refilled them with new colors, mixed up a fresh jar of medium, threw away old rags, and poured new Gamsol. By moving through my regular routine I was able to naturally move right back into the paintings themselves without too much painful effort. I also sat and looked for a long time which used to feel like serious loitering but is another important and necessary tool.

The truth is that sometimes just standing around doing nothing is helpful, as if simply absorbing it all in is as much of an activity as the painting itself. Regardless, I'm still glad that wasn't the only thing I accomplished yesterday.

I used to have a sign in the studio that said Any Time Spent in the Studio is not a Waste of Time, which by the way I just found out is quoted in a bizarre little book JERRY SALTZ ART CRITIC's Fans, Friends, & The Tribes Suggested ART STUDIO DOOR SIGNS of Real Life or Fantasy.

I still think it's true.. 

So back to all you studio workers, what are your rituals or routines that help you get going??



March 2, 2016

how to get everything you want

Samantha Palmeri painting
what I thought was finished 6 months ago, now decisively, completely finished  
Bird Brain, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches


When it comes to looking at other people's artwork or curating or planning a show I think I am a fairly decisive person. I usually know what I'm looking for and know it when I see it, or don't, right away. 
When it comes to almost everything else, and particularly that infinite realm of self-knowledge and critique, I am just the opposite. 
I don't see clearly what everyone else is seeing and I can't make up my mind. I want so many things at once I can't decide which to put forward and which to push back, so much like the foreground/background issues that are currently plaguing me in the studio. 

Thankfully, it's a good thing that unlike in the real world where self restraint and stoicism are necessary servants to an amiable life in society, in the painting world there is much more leniency in the letting-it-all-hang-out, I-want-everything-at-once department. 

However tempted I am to put every single idea, mood, desire, color and line into every single canvas, I try to accept that it's virtually impossible and it will surely defeat my purpose.  
And then just as I've accepted it, out of nowhere a painting will resolve to make this happen.
Not completely of course. No one painting can encompass everything you want. But when you've been working on a specific set of ideas, shapes and colors for a long while and you suddenly see even a few of those elements come together and give you what you want, it is wonderful! 

It is so satisfying it keeps you going, until against all odds, it happens again.

Samantha Palmeri painting
so far untitled, oil on canvas, 54 x 54 inches
still working on this one, 50 x 72 inches

Samantha Palmeri painting
untitled, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches


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...








June 10, 2015

"You see, I want a lot"

One of my favorite books of poetry is
Rilke's Book of Hours/ Love Poems to God
by Rainer Maria Rilke

detail of current painting in progress titled Save me from my Desires

I've read it through so many times yet I always find something inspiring.
Written in German and translated, here are two worth rereading:
 

Ich glaube an Alles noch nie Gesagte

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for

may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,

streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.


Du siehst, ich will viel

You see, I want a lot.
Maybe I want it all:
the darkness of each endless fall,
the shimmering light of each ascent.

So many are alive who don't seem to care.
Casual, easy, they move in the world
as though untouched.

But you take pleasure in the faces
of those who know they thirst.
You cherish those
who grip you for survival.

You are not dead yet, it's not too late
to open your depths by plunging into them
and drink in the life
that reveals itself quietly there.








December 30, 2014

the life of a painting

started the day finishing these two paintings...



...and ended the day with something entirely different
I guess I missed my old lines


How do you get a line to smile at you or say hello to the line standing next to it?
or "Merry Christmas" or "I saw you in the supermarket last week"?
Is this possible? Can lines exchange such pleasantries?
Should they be required to make such small talk?

There comes a moment in the life of a painting when
it's not enough to leave behind an idea that something may have just happened here.
There comes a moment when line needs to speak to line,
with color asking all the questions for a change.

This way we could all be in it together, frolicking around, acting out.

I'm not quite there yet... almost.


















November 14, 2014

scenes from my art studio, November 14th


I have had a renewed determination lately to get as much work done as humanly possible. It all started with an amazing and inspiring talk at the Garrison Art Center by artist Judy Pfaff (who I'll write more on later as she is my absolute new favorite artist). It also coincided with what I thought would be an open studio event at my studio building last week, which by the way, didn't even know had a name: "KUBE". Although it turned out to be free chips and red wine for someone else's opening, I ended up with an organized and raring to go studio space, which is always a much needed good thing.

here's my space last week just about ready for company

This morning I started my day looking around and thinking,
"I don't know what the hell I'm doing but I sure am doing a hell of a lot of it".

studio view this morning November 14th, 2014

sculpture pieces

It's been an interesting week. Monday I met my studio neighbor for the first time and another painter down the hall. Tuesday I brought my daughter to work with me. Wednesday I went and bought some new painting tools to play with and a space heater to keep me from freezing. Guess whose landlord decided to turn the heat on as soon as I plugged it in?

space heater
painting tools

my new favorite toy
Thursday I ended up cleaning all my brushes before I went home. I also may have had a great moment of clarity (which doesn't happen often by the way), so much that I changed my plans for Friday so I could spend another day working.

dirty paint brushes


I now have 6 paintings I am working on simultaneously, the source of which is all the same two globs I've had tacked to my wall for years.

meet my muse: the mark on the right and his dialogue


















After all of this and due to all of it, the end of the day, and week, appeared much more promising than the start of it.

the two pieces I worked on today
this one might actually be finished
this one definitely isn't






October 2, 2014

braided sculpture

here's some braided sculpture from this past week. part of a series of knots, balls, and chains all in progress and made with spray foam. stay tuned to see where this is going...


sculpture by Samantha Palmeri

sculpture by Samantha Palmeri

sculpture by Samantha Palmeri

sculpture by Samantha Palmeri

sculpture by Samantha Palmeri

sculpture by Samantha Palmeri

sculpture by Samantha Palmeri




all images copyrighted by Samantha Palmeri 2014



September 18, 2014

art studio activity

this was my studio at 10 am this morning. lots of activity going on. all very new works in progress.

studio view




this series of small paintings each measure 16X20"
remember those drawings I did of the ocean?!

oil paintings 
I'm still having fun with my spray foam and have been going back and forth between the painting and the sculpture. new this week are the braids.
braided sculpture 

I'm also trying out different metallic paints on them. it just occurred to me this is my spray foam ball and chain!

Samantha Palmeri spray foam sculpture 2014
oil paint and metallic pigment

and here's the studio at the end of the day. a little cleaner and with three new canvases on the left just barely started.

studio view










September 5, 2014

new works from the studio...

I got a new camera this week and am 
so happy to share some pictures of studio life here in 
Beacon New York -

it's so cool I am able to walk to my studio from home
kinda weird though that it still smells like an old high school


lots of activity going on right now
and still a few boxes that need to be unpacked-

finally put these brushes to good use for the first time in too long

and I can FINALLY see all my supplies all together

here's some of the work which right now is neither here nor there

made with spray foam and mixed materials. this one has some laundry meat stuck in there

I've been checking out a lot of John Chamberlain lately thanks to Dia: Beacon

these could be models for something bigger

or just meaningless balls of spray foam!

here's some experiments with braided spray foam

fun to make but tough to work with

the first time I did it I couldn't get the sticky off my hands for two days


taking the gloves off to get a better grip is a very very bad idea
here's a group of canvases with spray foam slathered on

hard to see the true texture from the photos

better in this one

there's about 9 of these but I don't really know what to do with them yet

and then there's my collages

in between every project, and when all else fails, there's always collages

if I could get what I like about these on a canvas I'd be very happy

they're very thick because most of the cut out papers are heavy watercolor


they're fun to make almost like working on a puzzle


So there it is, pretty much everything I've been working on lately.
There are also some canvases that I started but not picture worthy yet,
and much more to come... see you soon