Showing posts with label rituals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rituals. Show all posts

June 20, 2018

Gratitude for Summer solstice and dirty fingernails

I think I remember telling someone once how much I loved having dirty fingernails if it was from gardening or painting!

I'm writing this just as the summer solstice is about to circle back around to us, and I couldn't be happier. I'm starting to think the six months of cold weather we get around here is like five months too many. So, this summer I am making every effort to celebrate the weather and outdoor living.

I'm always looking for opportunities for artist residencies or fairs in places like Italy and France, but this week I realized I can create my own artist residency right here. I've been working on my pastel and charcoal drawings en plein air, aka the patio, in between dips in the pool and visits from friends. Life is good!

Every morning I go out to the yard and switch my slippers to rubber boots to water the vegetable garden. There's something about the ritual of this activity that makes me so happy. I'm not a very patient person, but I seem to be really good at watching the plants grow...

Anyway, Happy Summer. Hope we are all able to make the most of it!

















Plants and drawings: all works in progress

All images © 2018 Samantha Palmeri
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February 4, 2018

"Byron Kim's painting ritual" by Two Coats of Paint

Byron Kim’s painting ritual

Byron Kim, Sunday Painting 1:20:09, 2009, acrylic and pencil on canvas mounted on panel, 14 x 14 inches

Every Sunday, Byron Kim makes a painting of the sky. One hundred of these purposefully unremarkable small canvases are on view at James Cohan through February 17. What makes them unremarkable are their size and the undramatic skies they depict – not the complex, sublime sky paintings made by, say, great Dutch painters like Aelbert Cuyp and Jacob van Ruisdael. Instead, they are simple renderings with a limited palette of blue and white, and a bit of light grey for the odd cloudy day. Rather than offering an expansive view or capturing the subtle color ranges in cloud forms, these paintings convey a dainty sense of claustrophobia and ennui but no real sense of joy or wonder. It is as if the monotonous ritual of making a painting a week were more important to Kim than the painted image itself.
Byron Kim, Sunday Painting 6:19:01, 2001, acrylic and pencil on panel, 14 x 14 inches
Thus, in Kim’s exhibition, quantity, habit, and process seem to trump the quality of the individual paintings. Reinforcing this point, Kim has handwritten a prosaic note about the day on each painting, perhaps as an indication that Kim’s ambition and concentration have gone missing in the mire of family life and all the yawn-inducing tasks that a successful artist must perform. Kim may be living the dream, but it doesn’t seem very transporting.
Byron Kim, Sunday Painting 3:26:08, 2008, acrylic and pencil on canvas mounted on panel, 14 x 14 inches
Byron Kim, Sunday Painting 4:20:10, 2010, acrylic and pen on canvas mounted on panel, 14 x 14 inches.
Byron Kim, Sunday Painting 1:22:17, acrylic and pencil on canvas mounted on panel, 14 x 14 inches
Byron Kim, Sunday Painting 8:20:17, 2017, acrylic and pencil on canvas mounted on panel, 14 x 14 inches
Byron Kim, installation view.
The project reminds me of On Kawara’s Date Paintings. Each day Kawara crafted a painting of the date in the ubiquitous sans serif typeface Helvetica. In the box where he stored the painting, he also included a page of the newspaper from the city where he was working. Like Kawara, Kim is interested in the idea of maintaining a serial approach rather than engaging with the materiality of paint. But Kim’s project also conjures a link to more painterly perceptual artists, such as Lois Dodd and Giorgio Morandi. Morandi spent his life painting easel-sized still-lifes that depicted small cups, bowls, and other tabletop vessels in tertiary colors, even as World War II raged around him. Lois Dodd has painted the landscape around her familiar Maine homestead for decades, and the resulting body of work is a moving record of a quiet and dedicated life.
Both Morandi and Dodd focus narrowly on translating their immediate surroundings with great painterly nuance onto canvas to convey the emotional timbre of their lives. In this distracted age, especially as the big picture becomes increasingly daunting, it’s undeniably tempting for artists to employ this kind of approach as a kind of refuge. Kim presents an alternative escape, whereby grim routine isolates the artist and decontextualizes the personal content of his work. It’s rather dispirited, and perhaps a sign of the times.
Byron Kim: Sunday Paintings,” James Cohan Gallery, Chelsea, New York, NY. through February 17, 2018.
Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

February 12, 2016

Artist's Daily Rituals

Here's a great book for artists I recently read that I must share with you,
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, edited and with text by Mason Currey.

Daily Rituals by Mason Currey
It presents detailed descriptions of the daily routines of 161 artists, mostly in their own words. It includes artists of every genre throughout history including writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists.

I am so fascinated by books like this. I love to hear how other artists spend their days in and out of the studio. With all the vagaries of artist temperaments, and all the disparate ways of getting things done, what amazes me is that in the end I think we are all exactly the same, all fighting with ourselves over one thing or another, and for the same end purpose: creating. So many quirks and peculiar habits: charts and time clocks to track the time, pots of coffee and chocolate and opium and whiskey to keep us up when we should be down and down when we should be up. Rising at 3am or at noon or not sleeping at all, working in pajamas or while lying in bed or at the kitchen table. All leading up to the most important aspect of our lives, the work. I think most artists agree that inspiration is either non-existent or so constant we don't think of it as inspiration at all. The key is getting to work, whether we feel inclined at the moment or not. I love reading about an artist who lived two hundred years ago who went about his day similarly to the way I go about my day. Not to get too overly sentimental (if it's not too late), but I think it's important for artists to feel this connection, like we're continuing something important, something we can't help to begin with.

Willem de Kooning
photo of Willem de Kooning
I was thinking the other day that I can't remember an article I've read about contemporary painting in maybe the last five years that did not mention de Kooning at least 4 times. I wonder how he would feel about that. I used to imagine de Kooning's work ethic the epitome of what an artist's life should look like. Like being in your art studio 12 hours a day seven days a week was the only way to be a real artist. The man never stopped working. After years of struggling with that notion I've finally accepted my own way of doing things, which needless to say is a far cry from someone like Willem de Kooning.


Willem de Kooning
Woman Landscape XII, Willem de Kooning

Everyone needs to find their own way, so if four hours in the studio gets me to the best work I can make, so be it. 

Books like Daily Rituals confirm all my ideas about being an artist. It's wonderfully encouraging to see how other artists have been dealing with all the same issues but in so many different ways for so long...

for like ever.



February 13, 2014

Master Dabblers

Thank you to the ladies at MasterDabblers.com for publishing an article I just wrote on their blog titled The Clothes We Wear. Check it out! 
Their site is very cool with provocative kits to purchase like "Legit Kits", interviews with contemporary artists, and regular events like field trips to meet artist Polly Apfelbaum in her New York studio.










September 18, 2013

RITUALS


I love September morning rituals. It always feels like the beginning of the year. New schools, new jobs, new season, new skies, new air. Every September I write my long to-do list of new goals for my artwork, my family, my house. I make new schedules and mark up the calendar with underlining asterisks, circles and exclamation points.

It's nice to go about your day with a steady flow of self-prescribed activity. It's comforting to have some daily practices to rely on, to wake up and know exactly what you want to do without even having to think about it.

Rituals are systems of ceremonial behavior. Although defined as religious rites, rituals can also be things you do repeatedly on a regular basis. Not to be confused with habits, rituals are voluntary and non-addictive, at least the type I'm imagining. 

I read a memorable article years ago in one of those home and garden magazines. It was about this artist couple who lived on this incredibly gorgeous ranch in South Africa or some exotic location. They each had their own enormous custom built barn-like structures where they painted every day for exactly 6 hours, rode their beloved horse exactly 5 miles each morning, and heated up the claw foot bathtub every night before dinner. Although I know that everything you read in those magazines is meant to look better, sound better, and be better than anything in your real life, there's something so intriguing...about that couple and their daily rituals.

My rituals would be waking up to hot cups of tea on chilly mornings. Spending X amount of time writing or reading in the morning light, working in the studio for X amount of hours, an afternoon walk, an early dinner, et cetera, et cetera.

For some reason I cannot accomplish this. I get sidetracked midway through the morning light. I remember I forgot to pay the bills or we ran out of milk. Sometimes my studio is such a mess I don't even want to go in there. Sometimes I just have nothing to read, or write. I used to drink coffee, then I realized my coffee was drinking me. Now I'm on tea, but it gets boring. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, all this newness seems really old. As sure as I know that the seasons will change, I know that at about the same time every year I'll start wondering how in the world I ever thought I would accomplish all the things on that list.

This year I've attempted to force the issue by signing up for a 5 week clay class in Philadelphia, my first art class since 1996! I also signed up the whole family for a month of Yoga classes. I know one month isn't much but maybe I'm slowly learning to enjoy each season as it comes.....so far so good, but then again, ask me at Thanksgiving!