July 30, 2014

brand new art studio

We've finally made it to our new home in Beacon, New York!
here's some pics of my brand new art studio

my new studio: big beautiful empty space!

empty: but not for long 

view of studio building (the old Beacon High School) & Mt. Beacon which I can see if I stick my head out the window
Over the years I've occupied a lot of different spaces: a converted garage, an unfinished basement, my one bedroom apartment, the back room of two art galleries, the third floor dressing room of an abandoned 19th century theater... but this is the first time I am at an actual artist building in a proper "artist studio". V E R Y exciting!

If you're not exactly sure what "a proper artist studio" really means, well, neither am I! A great book exploring the matter is The Studio Reader: on the space of artists edited by Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner.

July 17, 2014

on looking- part 2

When I was a kid my favorite artist was Vincent Van Gogh. I was enamored by his strong use of complimentary colors and the thickness of his urgent brush strokes. As I got older my tastes changed. Over the years I've had art crushes on lots of different artists. Susan Rothenberg, Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Ida Applebroog, and Philip Guston, to name a few. Someone just asked me the other day that artless of all artless questions- who is my favorite artist. I of course said I didn't have one.

Through the years, though, and especially when I teach, Van Gogh comes back again and again- and every time I look at his work I see something different. The last lesson I taught using Van Gogh as inspiration revolved around his pen and ink drawings. I can look at those studies forever. His incredibly efficient eye was able to gather an extraordinary amount of detailed information from something like the leaves of a tree, or a dense brush of foliage beneath the trees, or the individual blades of grass in a huge field. I picture him intently staring down his subjects for hours, relishing in, or perhaps damning, his uncommon powers of observation. It is a great lesson in focus and determination and at times keeps me from being extra lazy in my own work.

Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh

Years ago I read a wonderful book called Daybook. One of a series of memoirs by sculptor Anne Truitt. In it she talks about being near sighted for years as a child before she finally got glasses. She attributes her artwork- her particular visual language and means of observation to this fact of seeing the world slightly out of focus for a small chunk of her life. I was astonished when I read this because I too am near sighted and related very much to Ms. Truitt's story. Although I got glasses to correct my sight as soon as it was noticed, I admit that I voluntarily walk around in a foggy blur most of the time because I don't like to actually wear my glasses. I can understand Ms. Truitt's peculiar way of categorizing visual information in clumps of color and clumps of contrast because that's how I see things too. Needless to say, it was a revelation! but it also made me realize that there are in fact different ways of seeing, and maybe the blue that I see really isn't the same exact blue that you see.

Anne Truitt
Anne Truitt

Some of us could never even find the needle in the haystack let alone be able to focus in on it long enough to create an amazing drawing of it-
so, thanks to Vincent and all those extraordinary artists
for looking.