September 12, 2016

Music to listen to in the art studio


Yesterday in my studio I meditated to John Coltrane's Interstellar Space... 
It was only a few minutes, but wow. If you would've told me a year ago that I'd be into this album I'd have thought you were crazy, but all of a sudden it's working for me. I find myself tangled up in the color and light of the sound, breathing in all its breaths. I open my eyes to the brightness of my room knowing exactly what I want to do with the painting on the wall.

I don't usually meditate before I start painting, and I don't usually listen to free jazz while I'm working, but I'm glad for whatever gave me the impulse.

About the album, Robert Christgau wrote in his column for The Village Voice that he was amazed by the duets, which "sound like an annoyance until you concentrate on them, at which point the interactions take on pace and shape, with metaphorical overtones that have little to do with the musical ideas being explored."

I couldn't have said it better myself! Here, take a listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le4iF-ZAJ3g&list=PLd56fNeWVkFn6OqF_4JR86Gz5Db9MYpmP


Music has that magic ability to set a mood and tone for the day, bringing up memory and emotion, good or bad.
You can wallow and get lost in it, or it can drown everything out. Usually I spend half my day in silence and half of it with music on. There are periods when I listen to the same thing almost every day. Years ago I did a whole series of paintings to Peter Gabriel's Us. Then there are periods when I'm not satisfied with anything I listen to.

Because I'm aware of how much I'm influenced by it, lately I've been trying to be much more conscious of the music I listen to.
Last month out of frustration I spent several days in complete silence. I ended up listening to Pink Floyd's Final Cut for an entire week after that. Bitches Brew by Miles Davis is another current favorite.

When it comes down to it there is certain criteria that needs to be met. If the music I'm hearing can jolt me emotionally in one direction or other without overwhelming me, I'm in. If it echoes the same mood as the painting I'm working on, that's good too. But it can't impede on the work. If I'm paying more attention to the lyrics of the song than the colors on my canvas, that's no good. There needs to be enough space in the music that I can subconsciously float myself into. Philip Glass is really good at that. If a whole album flies by and I realize I didn't hear any of it because I was lost in my work, that's perfection!

I just realized that everyone on this list is male, so here, to balance that out, depending on the mood: Concrete Blonde, Ani DiFranco, Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Zap Mama, Martha Wainwright... okay well, that more than balances it out!

Happy listening.






July 8, 2016

FREE INSPIRATION

There are certain artists I can never get enough of. No matter when or where I happen to stumble upon them, their images never fail to fascinate and inspire.

Here are three of my favorites, Bill Jensen, Gerhard Richter, and Richard Diebenkorn. With one extra by Will Barnett.

Bill Jensen Art
1. Bill Jensen
Gerhard Richter
2. Gerhard Richter
Richard Diebenkorn
3. Richard Diebenkorn

Gerhard Richter
4. Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter
5. Gerhard Richter
Bill Jensen Art
6. Bill Jensen

Richard Diebenkorn
7. Richard Diebenkorn
Will Barnet
8. Will Barnet

Richard Diebenkorn
9. Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn
10. Richard Diebenkorn

1.  Bill Jensen,

2.  Gerhard Richter, "Sinbad" (series), 2008, enamel on back of glass, 11 x 9 inches
        Follow the link to view the entire Sinbad series of 100 paintings

3.  Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952. Gouache and graphite on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches
4.  Gerhard Richter, "Sinbad" (series), 2008, enamel on back of glass, 11 x 9 inches
5.  Gerhard Richter, "Abdallah" (series), 2010, enamel on back of glass, 12 x 12 inches
6.  Bill Jensen, "With Color XIII", 2009, egg and oil tempera on paper, 20 1/4 x 15 inches
7.  Richard Diebenkorn
8.  Will Barnet, "Untitled", c. 1957. Watercolor on paper, 7 x 4 7/8 inches
9.  Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952-53. Watercolor and graphite on paper, 12 7/8 x 18 7/8 inches
10.  Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952-53. Gouache on paper, 17 1/8 x 14 inches




FREE INSPIRATION

There are certain artists I can never get enough of. No matter when or where I happen to stumble upon them, their images never fail to fascinate and inspire.

Here are three of my favorites, Bill Jensen, Gerhard Richter, and Richard Diebenkorn. With one extra by Will Barnett.

Bill Jensen Art










































Gerhard Richter Sinbad
Gerhard Richter, "Sinbad" (series), 2008, enamel on back of glass, 11 x 9 inches.                                                            Follow the link to view the entire series of 100 paintings. 













Gerhard Richter, "Sinbad" (series), 2008, enamel on back of glass, 11 x 9 inches








































Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952. Gouache and graphite on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches






Gerhard Richter Abdallah
Gerhard Richter, "Abdallah" (series), 2010, enamel on back of glass, 12 x 12 inches

Bill Jensen Art
Bill Jensen, "With Color XIII", 2009, egg and oil tempera on paper, 20 1/4 x 15 inches











































































Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952. Gouache and graphite on paper, 11 x 8 1/2 inches
Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952-53. Watercolor and graphite on paper, 12 7/8 x 18 7/8 in
Will Barnet
Will Barnet, "Untitled", c. 1957. Watercolor on paper, 7 x 4 7/8 inches

Richard Diebenkorn
Richard Diebenkorn, "Untitled", c. 1952-53. Gouache on paper, 17 1/8 x 14 inches



June 20, 2016

Artist of the Week: Philip Guston

Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Alchemist, 1960, oil on canvas, 61 x 67 3/8 inches
Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Position I, 1965, oil on canvas, 65 x 80 inches

Since I'm moving to a new house next week my time at the studio, or anywhere else for that matter, has been temporarily taken over with packing. Thankfully last week I was able to take a slight reprieve to go and see the Philip Guston show at Hauser & Wirth. Although I needed to climb over a few boxes to write this to you I wanted you to read it before the show closes next month.

Seeing this exhibit couldn't have come at a better time for me. While I'm at the cusp of an important address/life change, my work is also having a moment. It has reached its point to change directions.


With that, I think I can safely say this show has changed my life! Although it has left me with more questions than I know what to do with, I'm inspired to dig deeper within myself to find the thing that most interests me.

Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Portrait I, 1965, oil on canvas, 68 3/8 x 78 inches
I need to know why these paintings work!
How they work. It is baffling me. I've never been so perplexed by an exhibition. Why not paint to the edge? Why the same size brush throughout? Why the color choices? Why the muddy grey that's somehow not muddy at all? How is it possible for that black to work so well as a figure? How is he pulling this off? A line here, a gesture there and somehow we know exactly what he's trying to say. I don't know how he's done it but I'm determined to find out!
Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Inhabiter, 1965, oil on canvas, 76 1/8 x 79 1/4 inches

Guston believed artists don't always choose the kinds of paintings they inevitably end up making. That might go without saying. Guston was an artist who changed his course more than once and at no small cost to his professional career.

When I consider that, it makes me wonder why I am making the kinds of paintings I'm making...

Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Untitled, 1962, oil on canvas, 66 x 73 inches
Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Group II, 1964, oil on canvas, 65 1/8 x 79 1/8 inches

The show at Hauser & Wirth highlights the period smack in the middle between Guston's pure abstraction and late figuration. It's interesting that you can almost see his wheels turning, each brush stroke transporting him from one important moment to the next. Perhaps this work would look wholly different if we weren't able to place it so effectively in its historical place. But perhaps it would have succeeded just as well. I'm not sure about that, but I am sure that his mode of expressive painting seems to have chosen him rather than the other way around. No matter what, Guston was open to finding his absolute truth and the best way to represent it.

Philip Guston
Philip Guston, Painter III, 1963, oil on canvas, 66 x 79 inches


Philip Guston
Philip Guston, The Wave I, 1967, Brush and ink on paper, 13 7/8 x 16 5/8 inches

I'd say that's kind of where I'm at: I'm searching for my absolute truth and the best way to represent it.


May 12, 2016

Best Rejection Letter

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
paintings included in my application: "Green couch #1"
Nobody likes getting rejection letters. Most artists like me spend a fair amount of time in search of good opportunities, filling out applications and grant proposals on a regular basis. Some you get but most you don't. I've gotten used to the rejection letters but it's still disappointing no matter how you look at it.

There's always that brief moment of optimism when you realize the organization you sent an application to 6 months ago, and that you totally forgot all about, is finally getting back to you. Some of these letters are quick and to the point and when I ran my gallery I always tried to do that, but some are so long and drawn out, it's torturous. Paragraphs and paragraphs about the uncommonly large number of applicants this year and how great it is that you're pursuing your art career and how great they are for providing such wonderful funding for the arts, etc. etc.

I'm at the point where I don't read it. My eyes quickly scan for that one word that says it all. Once I see the word then I go back and actually read the whole letter.  
The word, of course, is unfortunately. 

This morning I got a rejection email that didn't get to the point until four paragraphs down. Finally there it was:

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
 "Green couch #2"
"Unfortunately, we are not able to fund your application, but we want you to know that we are inspired by your commitment to your craft and by the sacrifices you're making to pursue it."



Okay so we've all been there, done that, but here's the prize at the bottom of the cereal box, they actually gave me feedback! That hardly ever happens, on top of which I thought it was pretty good feedback. Six paragraphs down it said:

Our jurors are invited to provide feedback about the applications they review. We wanted to share the following:
"Intelligent, muscular contemporary abstracts that have the flow of de Kooning combined with the chunky organic expressionism of Philip Guston!"

"I see a great dedication in your studio practice. There is a long standing investigation one can see in your works. I'm curious to see where it goes."

Samantha Palmeri Contemporary Artist
"Green couch #3"

I mean, I'd rather have gotten the $6,000, but still,
this might be my favorite rejection letter of all time.
This one I'm keeping!





April 12, 2016

Artist of the Week: Emily Kame Kngwarreye



Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Yam Dreaming-Awelye, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches




I just saw some pictures of this artist's work on pinterest and needed to share..
Emily Kame Kngwarreye was an Australian Aboriginal artist 1910-1996.
She had a few different styles of painting but I was particularly drawn to these (no surprise there!)
Some online sources were difficult to decipher so hopefully I've gotten all the info. correct on these images. Enjoy!

Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Kame Colour, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches

Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Wild Yam Dreaming, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 47 x 35 inches

Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Yam Awelye- Body Paint, 1996, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches
Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Awelye, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 85 inches
Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Kame Awelye, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 89.5 x 58.5 inches


Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Bush Yam Dreaming, 1994, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 104 inches
Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Kame Colour II, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches
Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Untitled, acrylic on canvas, 59 x 48 inches
Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Anooralya Awelye, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches

Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Untitled, 1996, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches



Emily Kame Kngwarreye painting
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, painting






March 30, 2016

Tropical Inspiration


After a week's vacation spent at the Gulf I'm convinced I belong in the tropics!

It's no joke that even with the worst cold I've had in 3 years, the salty air and hot sun were able to transform misery into... paradise. Lush greens, turquoise blues, cool floury sand and the fiery heat of the sun all played a part. And those twisting, knowing vines and roots on every pointy cactus and palm frond were enough inspiration for a whole new series of paintings.

So much inspiration and good living makes a week away from the studio just about worth it! Sources say the name Palmeri means pilgrim or palm depending on where you look. I'm going with the palm definition. It reminds me of my house growing up that was filled to the brim with plants: ferns, ficus trees, marginata, philodendron, begonias, and of course the giant palm that prominently appeared in the background of every important family photograph.

Although I'd like to plan ten more trips like this, clearly that's not about to happen. Here's what will be happening though: when we move into our new house, our new sun room will be filled with all things tropical, not least of all a giant palm tree.