Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poetry Wednesday

My Lute Awake

My lute awake! perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun;
For when this song is sung and past,
My lute be still, for I have done.

As to be heard where ear is none,
As lead to grave in marble stone,
My song may pierce her heart as soon;
Should we then sigh or sing or moan?
No, no, my lute, for I have done.

The rocks do not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suit and affection;
So that I am past remedy,
Whereby my lute and I have done.

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
Of simple hearts thorough Love's shot,
By whom, unkind, thou hast them won,
Think not he hath his bow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain
That makest but game on earnest pain.
Think not alone under the sun
Unquit to cause thy lovers plain,
Although my lute and I have done.

Perchance thee lie wethered and old
The winter nights that are so cold,
Plaining in vain unto the moon;
Thy wishes then dare not be told;
Care then who list, for I have done.

And then may chance thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent
To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
Then shalt thou know beauty but lent,
And wish and want as I have done.

Now cease, my lute; this is the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And ended is that we begun.
Now is this song both sung and past:
My lute be still, for I have done.

Sir Thomas Wyatt

More poems from Sir Thomas Wyatt

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Work Week - Sidetracked Again

One of the continual problems of being self-employed is nobody gets it that you have a schedule to keep to (including at times yourself).  Mind you one of the bonuses of self-employment is flex time but you can flex yourself out of business if at some time or the other your end product does not get produced.

Since ArtsFest I have been entirely too flexible with my schedule. I took what amounted to a whole week off to get the new steps done so HUD could do their inspection and the new renter could move in August 1st. The government flex schedule is worse than mine and now it frankly looks like it will not get done. Meanwhile the prospective renter and calls to the housing authority are taking the part of my schedule I did not want to flex having given up a week already followed by another to get ready for the Artistic Vistas and Treasures Art trail kick off. I am down to 10 days to get paintings done for my last summer fair.

Flex time is over but nobody is getting it. They seem to read studio time as an opportunity to call or pop in and take up my time. Time when I should be making up for the time "giving away" already. Open studio in my opinion means you come in and talk about the paintings of mine you would like to buy not what I can do for you since I don't have a real job.

This is my real job! And because I am waiting for calls from government agents that don't seem to keep regular hours I cannot even NOT answer the telephone. I have to finish ten paintings in the next ten day so everyone just go away!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Art Sunday - Salvador Dali

"One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams." Salvador Dali 

Sacrament of the Last Supper

I was a student of art and art history long before I had any memory of seeing a work of art in person. I spent almost two years in Rome as an infant and mother took me everywhere to see art and architecture so I think that is where my love of art came from. Life was rather plebeian after that, but once I hit college there was this marvelous thing called art history lectures with images flashed upon a screen larger than life.

 Landscape of Butterflies

The first artists, whose work I saw in person, were Matisse, Parrish, and Salvador Dali. The effect of actually standing before a work of art is a life altering experience or at least it was for me. Dali's works at the National Gallery in Washington DC were as huge as those flashed upon that image wall in college. Maybe it is like a first love - an experience you were never forget and is impossible to surmount.

I love Dali. Especially his more "subtle" works. The ones that require you look deeply to detect the oddity and which cause you to doubt your sense of reality. When I was gathering images for this Art Sunday Blog I stumbled upon a few I had not seen in a long time like the one below which he calls simply Abstract Painting.

And I have to wonder if on some level the seeing of these works formed a subconscious foundation for my goddesses in the canyon walls. I can certainly understand Dali's reality, and easily read the statement he puts on the canvases he paints.

 Three Sphinxes of Bikini

Note: Years after this love affair with Salvador Dali's works began I came into possession of one of his etchings of Don Quixote. Given how he flooded the market in his later years it is not worth much except to me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

RGA&C Festival Acceptance

Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Holiday Festival

When the economy got bad I drew back from my participation in the "big shows" with the high entry fees. I was certainly not alone in that. Sunshine Artist, which does artist surveys, found that the majority of artists did fewer fairs, smaller fairs, and fairs closer to home. Last year Red River was as far out of the valley as I ventured.

But I decided to again apply for one of the three Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festivals this year. They have been consistently rated as one of the top shows in the country and they do a bang up job promoting the shows. I have in the past done their Balloon Festival and Spring show but this will be my first year in their Holiday Festival at Thanksgiving.

Angel Fire Community Center used to have this small holiday market that was always good for me. It was only $75 and right in the neighborhood. But they have ruined it. It is so easy to ruin a good fair: poor jurying of exhibitors, bad management of call for entries, bad advertising for the event itself. The AFCC managed all of those in the last year and regardless of new management seems headed to do it again.

A good holiday fair is crucial for artists as summer fair submissions are in January and February and that means you have to have the money to apply. Holiday fairs are your last chance to make that money. So as much a I would like to stay home at Thanksgiving I am going to Albuquerque. I was notified of my acceptance in the festival event yesterday.

I am thrilled on a multitude of levels. First it is always nice to be accepted. It is a competition to get in to big shows. You have to be juried in. And with painting I am up against some stiff competition in this show. Some big names participate like Amando Pena.

Second, it is like old home week. I know so many of the artists that routinely do one or more of the Rio Grande shows and I have not seen them for two years. The staff is known for its kind treatment of artists. It will be fun.

Third is that the RGA&CF's do a marvelous job of promoting their events. There will definitely be a lot of potential customers. I am, of course, hoping for some great sales. But it is also great exposure in a new market. In the art business you pay your money (booth fees) and you take your chances.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Poetry Wednesday Again At Last

I am trying to get back to normal after a few months of total chaos. So once again Poetry Wednesday. (It is Wednesday in Australia you know). If you have a poem to share please leave a comment and your url.

Break, break, break
Break, break, break,
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
The thoughts that arise in me.
O, well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!
And the stately ships go on
To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,
And the sound of a voice that is still!
Break, break, break,
At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

More poems from Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Art Sunday Revived - Andre Derain

Blackfriars Bridge

Once upon a time on Y!360 we did an Art Sunday Tour. I began by showing the art of others and then moved to daring to show my own art. Now on my Facebook Fan Page I show my own art and feature famous artists and their quotes. I realized today as I was going through my files of famous artist images that I probably had more Andre Derain than any other painters so I figured I would post an Art Sunday blog and feature more than one of his works.

Andre Derain (1880-1954)

Derain was one of the founding fathers of fauvism, and one of its wildest practitioners. Influenced by van Gogh and working with Valminck in 1904 he felt that the impressionists had disintegrated their work into dots excessively. Instead, he chose to use wide, choppy brush strokes of pure color. In 1905, he worked with Matisse to bring the technique to maturity.

 Derain paints boats and I paint canyons but I find his work very inspiring. I love how he reduces a scene to almost an abstract block of colors but the images hold in tact.

Charing Cross Bridge

By the Sea

And I love his vivid use of color. For more about Andre Derain see Wiki.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Art Fair Recap

The vast history of my fair experience has been with the more "craftier" arts. I have done weaving and basketry too long ago to note here. And then for 15 years I made and sold elaborate Mardi Gras Masks. I am used to a lot of activity at fairs. People coming and going in my booth. And a fair number of sales as my price point was lower and I had to sell more to make expenses. Yes, Virginia, there are expenses at a fair. And they are about equal to the gallery cut.

I knew when I switched to painting that art fairs would be different. More people just walk by my booth. If they are looking for jewelry they walk by all booths with paintings. I know that fairs are now about finding those people looking for paintings - not selling paintings to those that are not. It is about getting my work before the people that like it. And given my price point these days the difference between a so-so fair and a great fair can be one sale. Or as in the case of this last fair - one or two collectors of my work.

And the fair is not necessarily over when you break down and pack all the paintings away. They do not, like my masks, go into dark boxes stored in a corner of my storage shed. They get hung back up in my studio and some go to the galleries that represent me. And some of the people that just passed by this last weekend took my card and call.

It was my best fair with painting that I have ever had. (This is by my standards as a painter new to this game.) But I don't consider it over yet. My fine artist friends in the game for far longer than me say they consider a 2-week window in which someone can still call and say,"I saw your work at . . ." or "Did you sell that one . . .". And an art fair is about more than sales. It is about recognition and networking. Still the sales are very nice whenever they come.

"The opera ain't over till the fat lady sings." Dan Cook, Writer/sportscaster. And if you are one of those that believes it was Joe DiMaggio see Wiki.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Reaching for the Sky

Reaching for the Sky
29 x 12 Mixed Media on Canvas

Of the three paintings I was trying to finish before the art fair this weekend I managed to get one done. Everyone always asks if artists have a favorite painting. Maybe temporarily and because that painting represents a new pinnacle for us: a merging of techniques or emergence of a new command that seems to gel. But the answer is really that we have favorite subjects to paint. Or a subject we never quite feel we have translated to canvas so we keep attempting it like Monet and his waterlilies or Degas and his ballerinas.

Reaching for the Sky above is a redo of Dawn on Wallstreet/Bryce below. Both are from a photograph I took in 2004 while touring the Utah canyon lands with my sister. The earlier version is still in my collection because I kept it unconsciously. I displayed it at a minor show or two and then hung it on my wall. An old social network friend mentioned it recently as one of her all time favorites of mine.

Dawn on Wallstreet/Bryce 2005
19 x 7
Watercolor on paper

A lot has transpired artistically in five years. I have switched from traditional watercolors to liquid ones. I now paint on watercolor canvas or cradled board as opposed to paper. And I have gone from the rather daring proportions of Dawn to classic proportions of prepared canvas and back to different sizes when I started stretching my own canvas. The conditions were perfect for a redo of this subject. So when Sharon mentioned it as a favorite I dug through my old sketches and came up with the original and redrew it to the larger proportions so that I could repaint this favorite of mine in my new palette.

I am inclined to say, "You've come a long way, Baby." Dawn is a fairly adequate artistic rendering of a segment of the photograph. But Reaching is the light and the emotion I felt at the bottom of those walls of hoodoos looking up at this tree that reached the sky in spite of all the odds against it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Show Prep

There was a time between art fairs when I just kept my work boxed up. That was the time before the studio. There was not enough room to hang my work. And I did not have to consider people dropping by the studio to look at my art work. The boxed art work in the tiny room I had to paint in got in the way of doing any more new work between shows too.

The studio has changed things. I can now paint up until almost the last day before a fair. Nothing has to get boxed up to go to the fair until Thursday afternoon. And I seem driven to get at least one or two new pieces done before that happens. Ergo my studio table this morning still cluttered with paint and brushes and three uncompleted works.

And not everything goes to the fair these days, which is a good reason to visit my studio. Given my creative drive of late, and my new minimal approach to displays at fairs a lot of work will be left behind on the walls. Maybe even these three I am working so hard to complete.

It is nice to be able to pick and choose whether it is for a fair or a competitive exhibit. Nice to also be able to look around the studio and see how I handled the sky in that painting or the effect of a wash technique in another. It is nice not to have my creative life in boxes all summer long.

Every artist should have a studio with lots of wall space to get their work out of the closet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Stop and Look at the Skies

Life has been too busy lately. So busy I have not been looking at the skies outside my studio as I usually do. Or so I thought until I grabbed my camera to take a picture, and quickly checking the remaining images on the scandisc noticed I had taken quite a few pictures I had not downloaded: Stress, senility or Alzheimers?

Imagine my pleasant surprise when downloading this morning to find that even with my busy schedule I had been picking up the camera and recording the world outside my window remembering it or not. We are in a strange atmospheric condition here in the mountains. The heat of the day has been causing rising warm air up the side of the mountains mingling with moisture drifting in from cut off storm systems creating interesting cloud patterns. I post these for my artist friend, Jennifer, who has been away from our valley too much.

You can definitely see the "foot print" of the winds in this dawn image.

This "ghost" cloud sort of swept in, grew and then vanished as the sun evaporated it.

I took this yesterday evening right after a severe storm warning was issued. I had been so involved in the petty issues of the day I had totally missed any clouds outside.

I think we should never be too busy to notice the world around us.