Wednesday, February 24, 2010
You want color? You've got color! You want texture? You've got it! Just head down to Green Valley to the Community Performing Arts Center on Continental Rd. It is in the same complex as Pima Community College.
My friend, Joe Bourne, has a one-man show going on, and I went down to see it today. Yeah, I know--Green Valley is way out of my comfort zone, but some things are just well worth the panic attack.
Before I go any further, here is Joe's "Artist Statement:"
"My paintings reflect my fascination with color, shapes and texture. I love working with wax and various acrylic gels to build three-dimensionality and I like to incorporate ornamental elements--copper and other metals into my artwork. I work with acrylic and encaustic, starting with an inspiration or a definite idea, and from time to time I will just pick a color at random and begin, and see what evolves.
Born in Cambridge, Mass., I relocated to the Netherlands in 1975 where I performed as a jazz and pop music vocalist. My work as a vocalist presented me with the opportunities to travel worldwide, allowing me to be exposed to various cultures and visual art masters.
In the mid-nineties, while on a cruise ship (where I was the featured performer)sailing between Manaus, and Cape Town, I took part in a watercolor workshop. From that moment on, I have always to be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a microphone in the other.
My subject matter for painting is much like my musical repertoire (and myself)-- extremely varied. Many of my paintings have of course been inspired by my music, my various world travels, and nature. In the last few years of being in the Southwest, i derive new inspiration from the forms and rhythms of deserts, mountains, big skies and canyons"
I have known Joe for several years, and have watched his growth as a painter, and enjoyed hearing those dulcet tones in performances at the Arizona Inn, Westward Look,
the Hilton El Conquistador, and yes, even in my own home, where he performed one year at the Guild's annual 4th of July party.
You can view some of Joe's work on the right, but scatter-brained person that I am, I forgot to jot down the titles.
So hop in your car and set the cruise control, and head down to Green Valley. Be prepared for a visual overload of color and texture! Take some home with you to enjoy on a daily basis.
To really get the flavor of the complete Joe Bourne, he is giving a jazz concert at the Center on Saturday night. You can go to Joe's web page, www.joebourne.com
to get more info.
p.s. Before you go, don't forget to feed the fish!
Monday, February 22, 2010
Shortly after I moved to the Southwest, I began teaching painting classes. I had a great group of students who soon became my friends as well. We had so much fun! They were eager to learn, and after several months in a teaching center, they decided they could learn more and have more fun in the comfort of my home. They told me it would be better for everyone because I wouldn't have to pack up my supplies and drive to the center. Plus, they said, we could have Margaritas in the afternoon after class was over. Well, that certainly piqued my interest!
It was great fun for a lot of years. Then sad things began to happen. One student's wife developed dementia and they moved back east so he would have family to help him out. Another student had been fighting cancer for years and was finally overcome by it. Still another student, whose husband had been seriously ill for many years decided that she could no longer make the trip with him to the southwest for the winter. This sort of thing makes you very sad and takes away your creativity, so for a while I stopped teaching.
While I was teaching my fun students, I was also teaching at a retirement center. I did that for several years, but then my students began dying on me. This happens when people get very old--one day they die. It was getting to be a habit, and one that I simply could not deal with, so I resigned my position.
I felt very creative for all those years that I was teaching, and I have come to realize that teaching other people the skills you have learned makes you a better artist. It makes you think beyond what you learned years ago and makes you want to experiment and improve. This is what my students have given me--more knowledge, and more creativity, and a desire to be a better painter.
For several years I didn't teach. I was involved with the arts, but not in a creative way. Then, this year, I began teaching again, and some of my old students wanted to come and play once a week with me. It is great fun, and has made me start thinking again about how I paint and how I can do it better.
If you want to do something better, teach what you do know to someone else. It will make you think about what you don't know, and make you want to learn. Share you knowledge with others and you will get a delightful return on your investment. Plus, if you are really lucky, you can drink Margaritas in the afternoon with people you really like.
Friday, February 19, 2010
...the harder they fall!
After my comments on men's figure skating, I am embarrassed to tell you that I watched the finals last night. After having seen a clip on Evgni Plushenko in which he called his competitors his enemies, and announced to the world that he came out of retirement only to prove that he is superior to everyone in the field, I decided to watch the show.
Evan Lysacek skated brilliantly. His poise was not born of arrogance, but of the peace within himself that he had garnered for this last test. He placed his performance into the hands of his muse with humility, and then skated to a well-deserved victory.
When Plushenko, the arrogant braggart, cock-sure and surly, finished his performance, he stood in front of the judges and held up his index fingers. "You see??" those long slender fingers proclaimed, "I am the best!"
Then Plushenko's scores were posted, and someone yelled, "Evan Lysacek has won the gold!" Lysacek's eyes popped open in disbelief. He wasn't sure he had heard correctly. When he realized that he had won, a smile of utter joy spread across his face. Had he really won? YES, HE HAD!
Plushenko stood a step below victory on the podium, ramrod straight, like some Russian military figure, staring out into the arena, his hands behind his back. That is what the defeat of arrogance looks like. In his head, I suspect, he was sure that he had been cheated out of what he deserved, that he was really superior, and that medal should have been his!
Lysacek bent his head to accept the medal. His smile was joyous, and came from a heart that was both warm and content. He did what he had come to do, and he was the champion. HURRAH!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I have been trying to feed my fish this morning. If you put the cursor near the fish, they all gather around, thinking that you have food for them. Then they get bored and swim away, because of course you have no food, and they are only computer-generated and can't eat. OMG! I think I am in a coma, or am brain dead from watching figure skating every night.
Have you noticed that, with the exception of a little fancy foot-work, all the skaters do exactly the same thing? Of course, there are varying degrees of proficiency, and occasionally one takes a spill (or two). My Best Friend Artist and I think that they should compete naked, just to add a little more interest.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
All those artists to whom I gave a hard time when I was exhibition chair of the Guild will be glad to know that I am just as bad as they are when it comes to getting entry forms in on time. Most of the time I don't even know for sure what day it is. Those deadlines really slip up on us, don't they? So to all the people I scolded for being late, to all the people I denied entry into shows because they failed to meet the deadline, I apologize!
I did a piece in the encaustics class entitled "Time." Time really does become meaningless in the face of creativity! I have decided that I am going to make myself a weekly calendar and post it where I will be sure to see it. The freezer side of the fridge seems like a very likely place, because that is where the ice cream sandwiches are kept. I am going to type it out in VERY LARGE LETTERS so I will have no excuse.
Thank you, Saundra and Eleanor, for being a lot nicer than I was! I will see you both when I deliver my pieces for our next show, 'Visions," at Brandi Fenton Park. What's that date again?? Just kidding!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I knew someone would catch me on "skitoma," and I really should have not been so careless when I put that word down. I should have told you that it is NOT in the scrabble dictionary, and therefore not usable. You may use the word "scotoma" which is a medical word that for all intents and purposes means almost the same thing. My Best Friend Artist caught my error and set me straight. The word "skitoma" is found on Google, however. That much I do know. And if it's good enough for Google, it's good enough for me!
Now for my next error: Michelangelo was way too perfect an artist to have missed the size of those hands, and the fact is that he didn't. There was method in his madness, and my Best Friend Artist, art history teacher extraordinaire, let me have it! Please accept my profound apologies for having led you astray. Here is the REAL poop on David, right from the expert:
"... Michelangelo knew exactly what he was doing with David's hands. The original statue was planned to be almost 20 feet tall and to stand on an eight foot base. Thus, he knew that people would be standing far below Davey boy and looking up. The hands would have looked normal size from that perspective. What he never could have known was that the camera would be invented and photographers generally shoot photos of David while standing on a ladder so that they are looking straight on at the sculpture. From that angle the hands look bigger than life. If you ever want to address the "horns" that Michelangelo carved onto the head of his statue of Moses, there's a reason behind those, too! But that's a different art history lesson altogether."
I am sure that my Best Friend Artist can give you an explanation about Michelangelo's sculpture, Night. I am wondering why it looks like a really buff guy with breast implants, when it is supposed to be a woman. Did Michelangelo not like women? I knew that he claimed to be celibate, and he lived to be 89 years old in a time when people were lucky to see 50. If anyone knows the answer, please respond to this post and let me know. This means you, Di.
While we are on the subject of Mickey, I would like to know about those horns on Moses. Did it have anything to do with his being unusually amorous for Mrs. Moses?
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Today’s word is SKITOMA. By definition, it is the phenomenon of mental misperception. The brain is fooled by the eyes, for the eyes see what they believe to be true. If you are a famous artist, you can get away with this. Michelangelo got away with it in his statue, “David.” The average person who views this piece may comment on the hands, which are out of proportion to the rest of the body. We artists don’t notice that unless it is pointed out to us, and Michelangelo probably didn’t notice it until after the fact. Since super glue had not yet been invented, and his hands were probably blistered from all that hard work, or he DIDN’T notice it, David remains exactly as he created it.
If you are not a famous artist, you can’t get away with proportional errors in your work. People will notice it every time! People will whisper to each other about how strange it is that one foot is bigger than the other, or that one eye is looking at the person standing way over by the door, while the other eye is looking at you. That is why critiques are so vital to our work.
Yesterday we had a wonderful critique at the Guild meeting. Led by Mo Greene, our Critique Chair, his team once again made us feel good about ourselves, and about our endeavors. His team’s sage advice is delivered gently and professionally, and not only gives us food for thought, but makes us want to go home and apply what we have learned.
I NEED this stuff to make me a better painter. Mo has such vast knowledge about what makes work successful, and his experienced critiquers add to that mix to bring us another viewpoint and more food for thought.
Mo is a retired cancer specialist as well as being the publisher of the New England Journal of Medicine, and an accomplished artist, so he can give us a lot of physiological pointers to make our work jump out and grab the viewer in ways we would have never thought of on our own. I just eat that kind of stuff up! Learning about the rods and cones in the eye satisfies my secret desire to have become a scientist in my former life. I always learn something at these sessions, and hope that I can be skilled enough to apply it to my art.
Don’t think people won’t notice when you have skitoma! I guarantee they will! I once completed an entire painting only to discover that the horizon was slanted. Skitoma kept me from seeing that until it was in the hands of my friend, for whom I had painted it. I saw a rather blank look on her face, only for a second. But I knew! I was mortified! Should I take it back and fix it? Or should I laugh and tell her my viewpoint is always a little slanted? She took the painting and immediately put it on her wall. It is still there. Most people don’t love you enough to do that.
If you want to see more of Mo’s work, click on: http://www.harrygreenefinearts.com/artist.htm
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The Rogue Speaks:
You know that old expression about going to the ends of the earth for something?
Well, that's where I was on Saturday afternoon last. My Best Friend Artist and I went to the reception for the Contemporary Artists of Southern Arizona exhibit at Agua Caliente Park, about an hour east of where I live. Best Friend Artist thought we were almost to Texas.
I am not a good traveler. The Tucson Mall is just at the edge of my comfort zone. Those of you who know me, know that ever since I returned from the 7000 mile car trip we took last May, I have never been the same. I have night sweats, and sometimes the sight of the front seat of Rod's car makes me get all shaky, and everything starts to go black.
I did travel outside my comfort zone on Saturday, however, and it was well worth it. The reception was wonderful, and the art was superb. My encaustics teacher, Diane Bailey-Haug took best of show. Diane's photo is the larger of the two above. I took a picture with her ribbon, but it was a little too blurry. The show was entitled "Flight and Feathers," and if you look closely, you can see the cardinals in Diane's beautiful collage. The woman is certainly gifted!
I can see why Agua Caliente Park is a favorite for artists to sketch and paint. I took a few pictures, but the wind was blowing a little too briskly for me, and it was down right chilly. I may go back there when the weather is a LOT warmer, and do some sketching. You should check this place out! It has WATER! And WATERFOWL! You can't feed them, but they sure know how to beg!
I saw another collage that was very lovely, by artist Ruth Canada (top photo). There are sections of burlap that make up the eagle. Look carefully. It is a very clever use of a textile, and the colors are some of my favorites. Ruth loves to paint birds with an attitude. You can see more of Ruth's work by going to her website: http://www.ruthcanada.com/
I am still plugging away with encaustics. Currently I am trying to make some sense of two paintings that I did before I took Diane's class. I may bring one to the Guild's critique on Saturday morning, so I can find out how to make it better. It may take a lot to do that!
So I guess I will see you at 8:30 on Saturday morning, when we all fill up on bacon at the Hometown Buffet. You may have to fight Best Friend Artist for the bacon tongs, though.