October 22, 2015

MINDFUL DRAWING on a Thursday afternoon

I'm supposed to be practicing mindfulness.*
I've given myself to meditation, and occasionally, yoga. Even gave myself a trip to three day holistic retreat. I should be feeling like heaven on earth, but the more I think about it, the farther away from Zen I get. And that's just the point. I have to keep reminding myself to stop thinking.

I'm going to venture to say that 90% of my blog posts include the question why repeatedly, well probably even more than that, which maybe some of you have noticed.
It's a hard habit to break..

With that said, I'm taking this moment to reflect on what's happening right now and accept it as is. No why's in this post, no past, no future, just here's what I'm doing without having any idea where it's going or why it's happening.

New drawings everyday being made with minimal materials including charcoal, eraser, fingers, hand, paper, wall... 

*Mindfulness means being aware of what is going on around you in the present moment. Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them.
When you are on a journey, it is certainly helpful to know where you're going - but remember: the only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. that's all there ever is.
 from the little book of Mindfulness

So here is one full week's worth of mindful drawing, posted on a Thursday afternoon:






















September 30, 2015

unavoidable metaphors everywhere


here's what I just learned this week: that muscles do not actually grow bigger the more you work them out. muscles develop tiny little tears that repair themselves, which makes them thicker and stronger than they were before. the body repairs the damaged muscle with new and improved muscle protein. in other words, muscles need to break down before they can build themselves up. and interestingly, this does not happen while you're actually doing the workout, it happens while you rest, after the workout.

I think that is amazing. I think it's amazing that God would make it that way (yes... I said God), and it makes me wonder and imagine all the million billion minute details of our bodies and our lives that God has also made that way.

in essence, nothing was really meant to be easy. we have to just figure out which battles are the most important, and how to carve out little moments of peace for ourselves.

Samantha Palmeri drawing
2 drawings from 2 days ago

today I plan to carve out some more charcoal drawings for myself, a similar process of breaking down and building up. like both a battle and a moment of peace at the same time.




September 24, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

It's been a crazy long hiatus from the studio 
so I am very happy to report that I am  
I'm even happier to report that I've actually went and done it and stuck to my guns (sorry, Gene Autry is still singing in my head), including getting my comfy white couch settled in its new home, and finally starting my new "Black Tar" drawing series.


Samantha Palmeri art studio


Drawings are charcoal on heavy handmade paper colored with watercolor wash, approx. 11X14"
















here's some more drawings from today, September 25th. same handmade paper but with no watercolor wash...












August 25, 2015

Is happiness a talent?

That seals it. I need to go to Italy soon... very soon.

Spaghetti Carbonara
Life is taking an unexpected turn toward trying new things. Like Spaghetti Carbonara. and Elizabeth Gilbert. I know. Spaghetti Carbonara is not a new discovery, but it's new to me, and let me add that it is an absolute revelation. Not sure why I've never made it or ever eaten it. And here's where a good blogger would research all sorts of historic details about the origin of the recipe, but I don't have time for that now and it's not really what this post is about... Anyway, like the Carbonara, Elizabeth Gilbert is also a revelation. Author of Eat Pray Love which book (also not new but new to me) I am now midway through has some very interesting insights. I admit I watched the movie, which is irrelevant, and I also admit I only checked the book out of the local library because I liked a recent article about seduction she wrote for the New York Times Magazine, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/28/magazine/confessions-of-a-seduction-addict.html
Regardless. Here I am midway through characters like Luca Spaghetti and phrases about genius Italian culture like,
The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work... The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement... Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this, not only the rich.
If you've read my blog you know that the beauty of doing nothing is a wonderful goal I do wish to achieve, 
but the thing that caught my attention most was the idea of happiness actually being a talent. 

As if you could be born with this talent or not born with it. As if there could maybe even be the possibility of learning how to do it better, or do it at all.
It got me thinking about my own happiness or unhappiness. And then of course, how does this translate into my artwork...
I don't know if I'd consider myself a happy person or if I have a talent for making happy paintings... but lo and behold I just found an entry in my journal from last December telling myself how happy I was and that I thought I was actually making happy paintings! Who knew.

Do I even want to be making happy paintings?

Samantha Palmeri painting
"abstract painting #7"
Samantha Palmeri painting
"abstract painting #9" two paintings I imagine I labeled at the time as happy
I've read some interesting theories about what makes for more popular art. As in what do collectors like to purchase, and what do commercial galleries like to sell, etc. It has been suggested that brown paintings do not sell, blue paintings do sell, red paintings are exciting, and if you can't fit it in the elevator you're probably not taking it home with you.
Ms. Gilbert remarks that,
Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment.
As the two words arts and entertainment are so entwined in American culture, it doesn't seem that far off that visual art is a form of entertainment. Not that the pleasure you get from a wonderful piece of art could really be considered entertainment, but at the same time you need to want to spend most evenings enjoying its company.

So then the question is, do people want to hang happier paintings on their walls??
Death and murder make up a huge part of our entertainment as well.  
I imagine that there must be a comparable number of melancholy art collectors as there are happy ones, right? 

I for one have no intention of choosing my paint colors based on statistical data. I do admit, however, that I spend a lot of time thinking about things like this. In fact it crosses my mind each time I unload a very murky brownish mustard color off my paintbrush. I am a painter who loves color and puts a lot of meaning into the colors I choose and the emotional effects they will have on the viewer. So I can't really help it.

Anyway it turns out, and I am happy to report, that in the theme of trying new things, along with planning my trip to Italy, the crisis of happy or unhappy and brown versus blue is currently being solved, at least temporarily, with plans for a new series of paintings... all in black and white.

Samantha Palmeri painting
"ADT" what will turn out to be one of the last paintings I made before the new black and white series






August 1, 2015

nuances of creativity

unfinished painting (don't smoke crack II)
There are some months where I can write and write, and nothing else -
where my mind is so clear all I want to do is sit in a room and think -
where words come out automatically, without permission or request.

There are also months where I can't put two sentences together no matter how hard I try -
not ironically coinciding with me barely having a clue about what I'm thinking or doing.

Painting is not like that.
I realize that for me, painting does not require a clear mind, and in fact a tangled mess can sometimes lead to wonderful accomplishments in the painting studio.

I am amazed at these nuances of creativity.
There are so many parts of us that need exercise, practice, restraint, contemplation, time, space, etc. -
each part playing a slightly different role, but just as important
because all of it together makes up the whole.

I'm so glad that when words come I have a place to write them down,
and when paint is flying it has a place to land.







July 15, 2015

some new paintings

Sometimes work just needs to fester, and you need to fester with it. Here are four paintings that although were all completed within the last two months, have taken many many months to come to fruition. I think they all say something different but speak the same language...


Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
Save me from my desires, oil on canvas, 60X60"

Samantha Palmeri painting
Go figure, oil on canvas, 60X60"
Samantha Palmeri painting
ADT, oil on canvas, 50X50"
Samantha Palmeri painting
Bird brain, oil on canvas, 50X50"

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.








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, 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...