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


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.










June 28, 2014

on looking- part 1




photo by Samantha Palmeri


I was just reading, thanks to Max Watman, about becoming better at looking. Although he was referring to something completely different, the act of looking is still the act of looking no matter what you're looking at, or into. It is the act of getting to know something. It's investigatory and starts with a desire to know. It also requires a particular type of person, someone who accepts a position of general not knowing. Someone with an innate need to learn more, to gain a better understanding of things. And here's the most important part: it requires an open mind, one that is ready and willing to be filled.

I'm an investigator, a researcher, a reader, a thinker, a seeker. For the most part I cannot help but question all things all the time. I want to know the whys and hows behind everything. Sometimes I think it all stems from a lack of trust. Trust in rules, in laws, in labels, in business practices, in lawyers, in politicians in doctors... in anything with a boss or a bottom line. Things with ulterior motives and boundaries that are closed off and closed minded. I have my own mind that knows what it wants and what it wants is inevitably TRUTH.

Isn't that what every artist is after? Shouldn't this be what it's all about??
Only there are so many variables and so many mixed up ways of twisting it all around. It is seriously difficult to know what's real. Certainly we've all felt this way at one time or another. Just one full day of watching television could tamper with every idea of truth and reality you've ever had.

My advice is, and my only consolation- go back to that simple act of looking. Be aware. Go back to that innate desire to know.
In my last post I mentioned how "there's something about intently staring at the subject you're drawing that gives you an understanding of it in a way that nothing else can".
All it requires is a little focus, the desire for truth, and a willingness to accept what you don't already know.

photo by Samantha Palmeri





June 20, 2014

drawings at the beach

here's what I've been doing with my time off: a few simple drawings each day in my composition notebook with my trusty uni-ball black pen. the following images are of shells stuck in the sand that I observed while walking on the beach. mostly interested in the compositions naturally made by the water, and the abstract organic shapes that I can't help but see in almost everything~


drawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri


drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri


drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri


drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri


drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri
after a couple weeks of shells and broken crab legs I decided to challenge myself with drawing the foam from the waves as they broke in front of me. I say challenge because it was virtually impossible. although I made something of a game of it, my hands were never quite quick enough to capture on paper what I witnessed with my eyes. 

drawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeri



drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeri

drawing by Samantha Palmeri
drawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeridrawing by Samantha Palmeri


there's something about intently staring at the subject you're drawing that gives you an understanding of it in a way that nothing else can. I think I'm learning a lot about the ocean, and am starting to see patterns I've never seen before. I hope to get some of these thoughts onto canvas very soon...




all images copyrighted 2014 Samantha Palmeri