Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peace and Goodwill

Photograph by Werner Bischof, Courtyard of the Meiji Temple,
Tokyo, Japan, 1951

My Christmas card, 2009

"Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks
wrote so many years ago: to tame the
savageness of man and make gentle the life
of this world." --ROBERT F. KENNEDY
speaking in Indianapolis, April 4, 1968 after the
assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Another Father Christmas, handmade, 24" tall

Say that I was
a drum major
Say that I was
a drum major for justice
Say that I was
a drum major for peace
Say that I was
a drum major for
-----Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bowerbirds or Hoarders?

Bower bird: Australian male birds build a bower - or nest- to attract mates---a collection of look-alike objects that are carefully collected, sorted, and arranged by color into spectacular structures, often including hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, stones or berries.

Hoarder: a person who accumulate things and hides them away for future use.
Collector: a person who collects things.
Stylist: a finder, keeper and curator of beautiful objects.

Sibella Court, a collector, stylist, interior design artist from Australia writes about bower birds in her fabulous, wonderful book ETCETERA: creating beautiful interiors with the things you love. Her book is like an artful altered book of collages with beautiful photos and imagery. Her text is typed with an old manual typewriter with rubber stampings and collage elements throughout. She bases her designs on themes and color combinations of her collections. She also has a website called THE SOCIETY INC. which you can find here.
You can go to her website for information and links on how to purchase her book. You will also find more images similar to what you will find in her book. Also, check the website from time to time for availability in the USA.

in my studio

"Collecting is, of course, for most collectors, just a reasonably absorbing and largely harmless pastime, looked upon by an uncomprehending world as a kind of gentle madness." --- Stephen Calloway

"I like to collect things that speak eloquently of their history" -- Gail Rieke. Gail works with Asian assemblage and wrapping nature based objects, and you can find her website here.

in my studio

"The pleasure is in choosing the new road, pointed by a single object, and in gaining the insight of discovery along the way." Keith Lo Bue. Keith incorporates his collections, collage and assemblage into his fabulous jewelry and you can find his website here.

in my guest bathroom

in my guest bathroom

Graceann Warn "reveals that there is a strong visual thread between her home decor, her artwork, and even her clothing--as she defines it-- total connection." Graceann works with encaustic, collage and assemblage and you can find her website here.

bedroom interior

on dresser in bedroom

my great room interior

There is a wonderful store in Soho, New York City, called The Evolution Store. You can find fossils, bones, skulls--both real and replicas-- minerals, insects and much more. You can find their website here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Zen of Line

THE WAY, acrylic and collage, 2009
Everyone knows that even a single line can convey an emotion. ---Piet Mondrian

Zen is a school of behavior and thought based on austerity and an appreciation of the simplest acts in life.
Line: Of all the design elements, I think line is the most expressive and the most versatile. With just a few strokes one can convey a variety and range of emotions. Line can be: thin, light, airy, playful, happy, dancing, lyrical, rhythmic, static, musical, repetitive, staccato, dark, thick, heavy, moody, angry, dramatic, boring, exciting, and on and on.....

"Lines on a map, words on a page, tracks in the snow, carvings on rocks, drawings on cave walls, or recipes in a book; marks record our thoughts, our passages, and our existence. I am drawn to records mark makers have left us from their time in the past. And I make my marks now, constantly saying I am grateful to be here, on this planet and in this time." Leslie Avon Miller. Leslie incorporates dancing lines and lyrical mark marking into her works. You can find her blog Textures Shapes Color here.

This wonderful line work is by Imbi Star from Darwin, Australia. "(She) scratches, makes marks, collects stuff, paints, and thinks a bit". You can find her blog Two Worlds here.

Calligraphy signed by the monk, Nichiren (1222-82)
Antoni Tapies, from the cover of the 1987 Chicago International Art Exposition catalog
The large bonsai-pruned trees in the temple grounds and parks often needed large bamboo stakes to hold up their long, heavy limbs and branches. Their roots also created beautiful line patterns.

"Nature contains the elements, in color and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick and the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings forth from chaos, glorious harmony." ---- James Abbot McNeill Whistler

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Burning Question

Michelangelo burned most of his sketches and drawings. The Seattle Art Museum currently has a show titled: Michelangelo Public and Private: Drawings for the Sistine Chapel and Other Treasures from the Casa Buonarroti, Oct. 15-Jan 31st, 2010.

The primary focus of the exhibition is M's preliminary work for the Sistine Chapel in Rome, including a selection of working drawings for the Sistine Chapel and the LAST JUDGMENT. Together, these drawings give modern viewers insight into the artist's working process. "The exposure would have appalled Michelangelo who burned many of this drawings, hoping to sustain the idea that divine inspiration was responsible for his celebrated masterpieces." (This is a quote taken from the Seattle Art Museum website).

"If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all."

"I wouldn't have wanted to go down in history as a literary arsonist."
---Dmitri Nabokov on his decision to publish his father's unfinished novel despite Vladimir Nabokov's wish that it be burned.

When Vladimir Nabokov died in 1977, he left instructions for his heirs to burn the 138 handwritten index cards that made up the rough draft of his final and unfinished novel, THE ORIGINAL OF LAURA. But N's wife, Vera, could not bear to destroy it, and when she died, the manuscript went to her son, who has finally decided to publish it. However, one wonders how Nabokov would have felt. The final card in the manuscript is a list of synonyms for efface -- expunge, erase, delete, rub out, wipe out, obliterate.

Any Artist will tell you he's really only interested in the stuff he is doing now. He will, always. It's true, and it should be like that.
---- David Hockney

So, to burn or not to burn? Should artists have final say over their works? Should their wishes be respected and honored? Should the world be denied their last piece of great works?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To Plan or Not to Plan

Acrylic and collage, 2008
I approach my painting and collage in a very planned and thought-out way. I paint in a series, choosing subject matter and content that is personal to me. I plan out my elements, and placement of textures and subdued colors. I choose papers and move them around until they "feel" right.

Photograph by Werner Bischof, 1951-52.
Stones, large and small, are a major component of most Japanese gardens, from the very beginning. Much thought is given to the setting of stones, the selection and placement, giving the stones a reverence and spiritual component.

The spirit of the sabi natural stones: Stones used indoors and outdoors in Japan are selected for their size, shape, color, character and the "feelings" that they radiate. The stones thus form an additional link between humans, the earth, and nature. They have a calming effect on the spirit.

The Zen garden, Daisen-in, is an elegant example of karesansui or dry landscape rock garden. It was constructed in 1509 on the grounds of the Zen temple, Daitokuji. The karesansui dry 'stream' flows from a rock that represents a Mount Horai mountain, down a dry waterfall and under a stone bridge. All the rocks are placed to represent the "river of life". It plunges through the rapids of youth, into adulthood.

One enters the wall of doubt to the "treasure boat" when one reaches maturity. Next to the boat is the turtle rock (trials of life) and the crane rock (long life and happiness).
I plan out my paintings/assemblages before I even begin. But I know other artists that "go for it" right away, and then go with what comes. They see and work with what emerges. I think both ways of working are perfectly valid. It is the end result that matters. Where do you fit in?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Obsessions & Flea Markets

"Whether we call it collecting, scavenging, accumulating, scrounging, gathering, or junking, it's all about the urge to surround ourselves with our stuff, our loot, our stash, our hoard, our mother lode of treasures, and to reap the inspiration that these sometimes inexplicably irresistible objects provide." Lynne Perrella, from her book ART MAKING, COLLECTIONS & OBSESSIONS. This is a wonderful book which includes the collections and artwork of 35 wonderful artists. You can find out more about this book and how to acquire it here.

We do love things that bear the marks of grime,
soot, and weather, and we love colors
and sheen that call to mind the past that
made them. ---Tanizaki Junichiro