Friday, June 22, 2012

My Confession

Donna Watson, collage, 6"x6"
I have a confession to make.  I am a procrastinator.  I procrastinate on starting new projects.  Heck, I  procrastinate starting old projects.  I even procrastinate my blog posts.  I do not have a problem working in my studio on my paintings and collages.  I have a problem trying to start projects that are art related, at the computer for example.  I have never given much thought as to WHY I put off starting new projects until I read an interview with Susannah Conway.  She has written a new book titled THIS I KNOW.  You can find out more about Susannah at her blog here.          

image by Donna Watson
Anyway, back to the interview.  She was asked if perfectionism was an issue for her.  She answered "yes" and that her procrastination was closely related to her perfectionism.  And I thought, omg, I am a perfectionist too.  I set high standards for myself.  I realized I may be putting off new projects because I fear it won't be good enough.
  image by Donna Watson
As someone who loves the concept of wabi sabi... mainly that there is beauty in imperfection... I still have this perfectionist streak in me.  
  image by Donna Watson
I have recently started... and finished... several projects that I have been putting off for months now.
None of these projects had a deadline which is why I could keep putting them off.  I seem to really need a deadline.  What helped me get started was to make a list of my goals and priorities.  I looked at it every day.  And I began to slowly check off some of my projects.  One of my projects was to make my first hand made book.  Check! (more about my book in my next blog post).  Another project was to get my small collages set up at  Please check out my new shop at (see sidebar).  
  image by Donna Watson
Now I wonder how many other artists are perfectionists and procrastinators.  Where do you fit?
  image by Donna Watson
There is a website called Smith's Magazine's Six Word Memoirs which you can find here.  

image by Donna Watson
I tried to come up with my six word memoir.  Breath in, out, in the moment.  Kick in butt, get to work.  Then I realized these are really more like actions and not really like a memoir.  So here is the one I settled on:  She has faults, but good intentions.
  image by Donna Watson
One life.  Six words.  What's yours?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

NYC Art Scene

Donna Watson,  Connections 3,  acrylic/collage

I had a wonderful trip to NYC to see my son, Matt's graduation from Columbia University with his MFA.  We ate in fabulous restaurants and bakeries, went shopping in Soho, and went to several books stores where I looked at many art books (and came home with a few).   My son now has a website which you can find here and below is one of his paintings.

Matthew C. Watson, oil on copper, 9"x11"
I did see some very interesting exhibits at some of the NYC museums.  One of the artists I discovered at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is Taryn Simon.  She is considered an art documentary/photographer and the name of her exhibit is A Living Man Declared Dead and other Chapters I-XVIII.  She spent 4 years and traveled to 25 countries researching and recording bloodlines and their related stories.

In India, Taryn Simon located living people officially declared dead, a predicament involving corrupt
bureaucrats scheming to take their properties.  In Bosnia, she followed the bloodline of Muslims killed by Bosnian serbs.  

In each scenario, she would photograph any family member who would pose for her.   

Another artist, Cindy Sherman (b. 1954),  has a huge retrospective at MoMA.  She is widely recognized as one of the most important and influential artists in contemporary art.  Sherman has spent many years creating her unique form of art... dressing herself up in costumes and make up and then photographing herself in different poses and backgrounds.  

Drawing from an unlimited supply of images from movies, TV, magazines, the Internet and art history, she has worked as her own model.  She is her own photographer, model, make up artist,
hairdresser, stylist, and wardrobe mistress.

With an arsenal of wigs, costumes, makeup, prosthetic, and props she alters her physique and surroundings to the point of being unrecognizable as Cindy Sherman, the artist.  She explores issues of identity, representation, and feminism.

Tacita Dean (Great Britain) has an exhibit at the New Museum in Soho titled Five Americans.  Using mostly videos, she captures portraits of 5 important American artists and thinkers:  Merce Cunningham, Leo Steinberg, Julie Mehretu, Claes Oldenburg and Cy Twombly.  These 5 large almost black pieces (with faint, light writing) captured my attention when you first enter her floor of videos.

Her installation provides insight (the still moments of these artists conveyed in videos) into the way that film making intersects with painting, sculptures, writing and dance.

Klara Liden (Germany) also has an exhibit at the New Museum.   Liden scavengers the streets of cities all around the world for discarded materials, which she uses to build sculptural hideaways, scaled to her own body.  Her exhibit is titled Bodies of Society.  And yes, it did look like she had taken trash cans right off of the streets of NYC and placed them in the museum room.  She radically alters the space of the museum in order to expose it to the material and political realities of the world outside.

She engages with the folds and fabrics of cities she passes through, adapting public space to her own needs in the creation of a more intimate environment.

"They [critics] don't grasp that art tells you things that you don't know you need to know until you know them, that there's no way to know beforehand what might strike you, and that art isn't about understanding, it's about experience."  --  Jerry Saltz, Frieze Magazine, "Writing Wrongs"