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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Opened Lock 022

This lock has been around for a long time and I'm not sure where the key for it is.
It is still in the opened position which I suppose is a problem if anything is ever locked with it.
As a symbol, an opened lock is interesting. Originally I thought of it in terms of a lock that had been closed and is now opened. But I suppose that is more about the key.
I hadn't considered the latent potential to lock up something that had otherwise been free and open.
Now I am seeing it as a lock without a key, a trap, menacing.
As is true with other symbols and the meanings we find in objects, our state of mind is the filter, the projector, and the screen on which the story plays out.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Scalloped Cup 021

I spent all day today in the studio working on the collage pieces, and then I got side tracked with dinner so I ended up doing my drawing really late.
But here it is, an upside down tea cup with scalloped detail.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cologne 020

I think I like to draw glass...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lunch Counter 019

I was in Chicago today for several meetings and had some time for lunch and a sketch. I had only taken really small pieces of cardboard and the bud vases on the counter with cheerful flowers - a harbinger of Spring on such a cold Winter day- were clearly a vertical composition. So I used two small pieces to make a bigger one.
I was talking with another artist friend of mine who does photo transfers and breaks one image up into a grid and prints out each piece in order to enlarge the original image. He goes to some efforts to make sure that the pieces of the image are in the right order - so the question arose, what happens if they are scrambled up? Would it result in something even more interesting?
Finding variations and alternatives is simply creative problem solving, or more importantly problem finding. We as artists are looking for problems that we want to explore. It can lead to interesting places. And more questions.
I am interested in the meaning that we assign to objects. For this project I am choosing objects that hold some meaning for me - personal meaning and memories. I am also aware that other people who look at these drawings will have different associations than mine, and that is part of what I want to explore.
I am also taking these drawings and combining them with other elements to make collage pieces out of them. In this way my hope is to take it out of the realm of being about my memories, and make it about the idea of memory, the concept of associations we make with objects, and the process of imbuing objects with meaning.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Celadon 018

When I visited my friend Mari in Japan, we went to one of her favorite antique shops that was not in a tourist section so the prices were more reasonable.
I found an item that I liked and decided to purchase, and then the shop owner said that with the purchase, we could select small items from a certain table for free.
This small celadon porcelain vase was one of the items. The top has a small hole to be used as a bud vase and is designed to come off like a lid - for easy cleaning.
The color is a blue-green that I am crazy about.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Parisian Crystal

You can click on any of the images to see a larger version, and then use the "back" arrow to return to the blog.
This very delicate cut glass apéritif was a souvenir from a trip to Paris to see my friend Mari.
She had only been in Paris for a year studying French yet I made her negotiate the price with the vendor at the flea market. She did very well and the woman sold them to me for a good price. Of course I remember that trip when I look at the glasses, and my friend who is also my sketching buddy.

Dice 016

From yesterday.
I was so excited when a friend gave me a stack of game boards and a bag of game pieces. Monopoly, Clue, dice, houses, and other bits and pieces.
They are wonderful objects to put into collage pieces as symbols of other types of games that we find being played in life. A metaphor for the human experience.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saucer of Water with Echeveria 015

If one is good, two is better.
I spent all day in the studio working on the collages that these drawings are going into. Progress, good progress and great fun.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Echeveria 014

I am crazy for echeveria and sempervivum plants. I swoon whenever I see them. There is just something about the pattern of the leaves - like a flower or starburst - that cheers me.
At Cathy and Matt's wedding, years ago now, the centerpieces on the tables were low, clear glass vessels with echeveria floating in water - there might have been flowers too, but my memory is all about these delightful plants.
Ross and I were among the last to leave because we were really dancing and having fun - so when it appeared that the centerpieces were going to be tossed, we intervened.
Every year since then I move them outside in the summer where they become strrong and healthy and multiply (because a new plant will come from leaves simply put on soil or from cuttings of stems). Over the winter they have to come indoors where they survive but generally don't thrive. Luckily each spring when they return to the pots outdoors, they once again thrive.
I offered Cathy and Matt some of them and they laughingly said I should keep them because if they took them, it would be a death sentence. So partly I feel like the echeveria belong to them and I'm just the happy care taker.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Holding Hand 013

The black edge left on the cardboard backer from a note pad acts as a way of orientation for the drawing of my hand holding the cardboard as I drew it. Escher-esque. I'm taking my own advice that I would give to my students at a loss for something to draw: draw your hand.
I'm also taking my own advice when it comes to creative practice. I have often encouraged people who don't have much time to do their creative work to find smaller bits of time throughout the day and use it to do something toward a creative goal. One small step. The next right thing.
In some ways being at day 13 of 100 is mind boggling, and it is also energizing. I have had a burst of energy for the creative work that these drawings will end up in, the mixed media collage 12x12 pieces that are resulting.
I found some really terrific vintage record albums and the sleeves are the foundation, inspiration, and motivation in combination with these drawings, for the final work. More on that later, once they are more developed.
I made this drawing on the train ride home so it might be a bit bumpy and stumpy. The reception tonight at the Coalition Gallery made me feel once again that I am in great company.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mercury Glass Vase at the Blackstone (012)

I ended up at the Blackstone Hotel to mainly get in out of the rain and enjoy the comfort of the lobby before I got on my train home. They have decorated the lobby with modern chic furnishings that contrast with the highly ornate Baroque architectural embellishments of the structure. A set of mercury glass vases were on the rustic-yet-retro coffee table and they had really cool, funky, jazzy music - it felt like a club. So that is where my trip took me.

It started out with a very special lunch meeting and my train got me there early enough that I stopped in the Chicago Cultural Center to see the new shows.

Project Onward is an art studio that supports artists with mental and developmental disabilities, and they were featuring the work of Sereno Wilson : All That Glitters. When I went in the studio space, they were advertising that several of the artists would do a $5 or $10 portrait, and it only took 10 minutes of your time. So I had enough time to have Reno do this portrait of me, and while he worked on glitterizing it, I went to my lunch meeting and brought my friend back to see the finished product.

Then she had one done by Fernando Ramirez, a pencil drawing.

It was a lovely day despite the cold, freezing rain. A lunch at Pastoral that made me feel like I was in Europe (and not just because of the tiny, cramped tables); delicious. A visit to the Prudential lobby to see the latest art exhibit there featuring paintings by Cleveland Dean, photographs by Susan Aurinko, and paintings by Matthew J. Schaefer.

I chatted with a Flossmoor friend on the train platform and on the ride home. She had given me a set of encyclopedia that I have used in my work, and was suggesting ways I can get books for my upcoming installation piece - I'm going to need a lot of books.

An art filled day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Orange Tea Pot (011)

My recent exhibit of my work was titled OBJECTS OF AFFECTION, a title chosen by our gallery curator Susan Aurinko to organize my work with two other artists who also work figuratively. I have always used objects symbolically in my work to create curiosity in the viewer and to guide a possible narrative, however this exhibit caused me to consider our relationships to objects again and in different ways.

I associate this small, metal, orange enameled tea pot with my 2007 trip to Amsterdam and Barcelona. I picked it up for less than .50 Euro on Queen's Day in Amsterdam when the streets turn into one big flea market and people come in from the country side to lay a blanket on the sidewalk and put out there wares. I love the shape. The color is really wonderful. I love the worn spots on the handle and lid from this object being used repeatedly. For me this tea pot and the trip represent abundance. They are symbols that asking for what we want and then saying yes when it comes along brings magic into our lives. Moving forward confidently, well prepared, with joy and wonderment toward what we want will make it so.

I haven't used it to make tea. I think it is holding a lot for me already.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pastry Cutter 010

Another kitchen gadget - I do love gadgets. Having the right tool for the job is usually half the battle. Maybe these gadgets are my subconscious wanting to cook and bake more. I made dinner tonight - pork roast, brown rice, fennel/carrot/orange salad, and asparagus. Quite nice.

I am starting to comprehend the number 100 in terms of what I will have at the end and I'm beginning to envision an installation of all 100 re-worked collage pieces that have these drawings in them. I like what I see in my minds eye.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Constellation 009

OK so I can't pass up Intelligentsia and I love drawing table ware. It reminds me of trips I have taken and time spent with my sketching buddy, Mari. Wine glasses, coffee cups, silverware, food, and whatever was in front of us.

The lights in the coffee shop today were bouncing all over the surface of the cup and because it is retail track lighting and there are loads of light sources, the tiny sparkling reflections reminded me of a constellation. Constellation Latte.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spiral 008

The form of this object appealed to me. I've had it in my box of items for a while and keep looking at it, wondering how it might figure into my work. I wasn't sure I was up for trying to capture the complex shape and shadow, but I'm glad I tried. Some of the lines are a little wobbly, and over all I like the results.

I pick up unusual items at thrift stores if the shape, color, or patina appeal to me. I really like it when I'm not quite sure what the object is. This is probably a whisk although I haven't seen any like it in common use. It must be a bad functional design, however the visual design is great. So, here it is.

Latte 007

I made this drawing at Intelligentsia coffee on Randolph St where they make the BEST lattes. They use whole milk and it is never over steamed or scorched tasting, and the quality of the espresso is top notch AND they take the time to put a beautiful design in the foam by pouring the steamed milk into the crema of the espresso in just the right way. It always fills me with delight to see the design and to anticipate the taste of the expertly crafted, balanced cup of wonderful.

I had taken Metra downtown to attend a talk at The Art Institute of Chicago and had just enough time to stop in for my latte treat. The talk was on Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus that is on a short term temporary loan/exchange from the National Gallery of London. I am so glad that I went. The talk was presented by a young, energetic woman who was very well versed on the subject and held the attention of the record number crowd (the room was packed) for over an hour, peppering her presentation with questions from the group. I tell my students that knowing more about a piece of art does enhance the experience and I'm excited to share what I have learned with them. It is only on display through January 24, 2010 so go see it if you haven't already.

I also went back to see Exquisite Pain, an installation at Finestra Art Space by Susan Aurinko because the photos I had taken at the opening reception weren't of the quality I wanted for an article I was writing. This exhibit is up through January 30, 2010 so put it on your list too and save time to wander through the building - it in itself is a treat.

Irene, Irene,

she's got big round eyes
and she's smooth as silk
but all she wants
is a bowl of milk

Friday, January 15, 2010

Insignia 006

I actually found an extra hour or so this morning and was able to sit down and do this drawing. My day was filling up fast so I'm glad I was able to devote some time to drawing.

Anything that we engage with becomes engaging. This is what I am learning from great teachers. Attention to an object, a person, a topic, or making a piece of artwork can result in delight. Flow is when the mind is fully engaged in something and skills are well matched to the task at hand - time and cares melt away as we become absorbed in what we are doing. There is a feeling of pleasure, satisfaction, and accomplishment that usually results. I want more of that!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Countersink drill bit 005

The clock says 11:50 so I'm cutting it close tonight. I was in bed and suddenly remembered I hadn't made a drawing so I chose something small, yet interesting. And it is on a 2.25 x 2.25 inch piece of cardboard.

Ross got me a set of these bits for Christmas and I was really excited to get them. I tend to break them a lot and always need them when I'm constructing my assemblage mixed media work.

They also remind me of an old HGTV show, This Small Space with Peter Fallico. He always managed to do a project that included butt joints, forstner bits, or the countersink bit.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wilde, 004

A great day in Chicago today: steering committee meeting with Chicago Artists' Coalition, Creativity Coaching Client meeting, dismantled the show at Coalition Gallery, had a great dinner at Wilde restaurant.

My drawing was done at the restaurant as we sat on low, loungey leather chairs in front of a fireplace, surrounded by book shelves. A modern portrait of Oscar Wilde hangs above the mantle and quotes by the author appear on the walls. A cozy, warm, atmosphere as a remedy for the Chicago winter. The sweet potato french fries with a goat cheese dipping sauce were my favorite thing. In fact, one fry was added to my plate as I was drawing and I automatically ate it instead of including it in the scene.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Broken Glass 003

When life gives you a broken glass - make a drawing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Walnut Shells and Cork (002)

In my mixed media collage work, I respond to images that are associated with personal memories and associations, realizing that viewers will as well. What I think about when I look at these images is different from what the viewer might. Although I do attempt to guide the viewer in a certain direction or to consider a subject, I happily surrender to the lack of control over determining one singular outcome. When people ask me what one of my pieces means I will often reply playfully "What do you think it means?" It is this exchange that is of interest to me. (so please feel free to comment on these posts with your own associations - I would love to hear it).

I have these walnut shells on my work table and I have often enjoyed the heart shapes deliniated by the void left by the nut meats. Compositions are generally more interesting with 3 objects. I wanted something else that was about the same size. The cork came to mind quickly because Ed Liska made trivets out of wine corks so it seemed fitting to put one in this drawing.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cruet (001)

This is a small glass cruet my mom gave to me. The measurement of the drawing panel is 8x8 inches. Graphite and white acrylic paint.

100 drawings 100 days : the plan

I have been creating graphite drawings on cardboard and adding collage elements (small found objects, and paper of every kind).

I will create one graphite drawing per day for 100 days. Additional elements will be added later, but one drawing will be done each day.

The drawings will be photographed and posted on this blog. The finished collaged pieces will be photographed and added to the blog later, but one drawing will be posted each day.

The finished pieces will be 11x11 inches.

Day ONE is today, January 10, 2010 and day ONE HUNDRED will be Monday April 19, 2010.

I will take supplies with me when traveling and make every attempt to post to the blog while on the road.

Tea Cup Blue is an example on my website of work of this kind.

100 drawings 100 days : the inspiration

An idea emerged to create a drawing a day for 100 days. Well, the 100 days part fluctuated from 30, to 40 to 365 days, and my partner Ross and friend Emily seemed to agree that 100 was the right number.

In Baron Baptiste's book "40 Days to Personal Revolution", he chooses 40 days because of the significance of that number in Western, specifically Christian, culture. He says "...the number 40 holds tremendous spiritual significance in the realm of transformation. Jesus wandered in the desert for forty days in order to experience purification and come to a greater understanding of himself and his mission. Moses and his people traveled through the desert for forty years before arriving at their home in the holy land. Noah preserved the sacredness of life by sailing his ark for forty days and forty nights. According to the Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical text, it takes forty days to ingrain any new way of being into our system, and that is what we are aiming to do here: wipe out the old and welcome the new. In forty days, you can shift into a whole new way of living and being." I followed this program to amazing results in 2007.

The number is arbitrary. The idea is that what we do every day for some length of time is what ends up mattering, and forming the life we will be living.

I have also found inspiration in other projects of this nature. I visited the Robert Motherwell exhibit at the Block Museum and learned about his Lyric Suite ink drawings from 1965. Motherwell created over 600 spontaneous automatic drawings to explore his concept of Automatism - the notion that conscious thought gets in the way of pure creativity. His story caught my imagination. And yes, Julie/Julia too.

At different times in my life I have been an avid sketchbook artist. I would take one with me everywhere and found inspiration in the scenes and objects of life. I started to tell myself however, that traveling and vacations were the inspiration for sketching. Pretty soon I believed it and began to neglect sketching in my "everyday" life because it just wasn't as interesting. With this project I am confronting my own thinking. I have learned and believe that paying attention to something results in finding it interesting.

The recent exhibit of James Castle's work at The Art Institute of Chicago resonated with my current way of working - drawing on cardboard and adding collage elements. This exhibit was a retrospective of Castle's life's work and the number of pieces created by this prolific artist was truly inspiring.

So, I asked myself, "when should I start?"

Aside from the obvious wisdom of 'no time like the present' and 'carpe diem' and 'never put off to tomorrow what you can do today' and, well, you was the right day to begin.

I just had a closing reception for an exhibit that represents a new beginning and endless possibilities for what is coming next. So today is that day.

And today Ed Liska died at age 93. Ed is survived by his lovely wife Claire, and his family who I count among my favorite people on the planet. Ed inspired those around him with his enthusiasm for life and he lived it well right up to the end. So, I want to dedicate this project to Ed who showed us all how to do it. To life, to love, to doing more of what you want, and being with the people who make you smile.