Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pretty Maids

I think I ruined the painting I posted yesterday today.  (or Cody says maybe it is just in its teenage phase).  I gesso-ed more things and organized my studio after ruining said painting.

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is a new piece "Empty Gesture".  It is about four layers in now.  I had a loose plan and it has deviated wildly.  Trying to loosen up my marks, investigate "gesture" in terms of Ab-Ex (questioning expressive mark-making now, attempting to access this so-called "pure expression", etc. etc.), and bridge the gap between the "Chi of painting" in Chinese painting and the "action painters" idea of the painting as a residue of a struggle.

With that aside, I am trying to censor less and let some things move through the brush.  

I also finished priming a new 7by8 foot canvas and 3 big papers for experimentation.  These are some things I am trying out:

*representing states of/layers of consciousness 
*making a painting that is a portrait/landscape/still life at the same time 
*working myself into an altered state of consciousness while painting/meditating while painting/meditating before painting

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Avalanche, Stormcloud, Eruption, Ceasefire

Here are yesterday's drawings....

I was working with the same ideas of representing the 15 brushstrokes, but also allowing myself to become slightly more illustrative and narrative.  These all were completed in roughly 1 hour.  I like the spontaneity of them, but I think at the end of this particular experiment, I would like to work back into them with more layers.  

Tonight, I teach an art class at DePaul. It is a studio course for non-art majors.  I really enjoy teaching this course because the students are so open and non-critical.  Tonight I am introducing them to india ink and brush.  I think I might try the "Mustard Seed" experiment with them and see how it turns out. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Year.....

It has been one year since I've started this studio blog.  I have decided today to move the blog from Wordpress to Blogspot.  Wordpress has been giving me anxiety attacks every time I try to upload images.  In the spirit of my New Year's Resolution to go easier on myself, I have switched to a more user-friendly blogggy. I have archived all of the old posts which now all fall under today's date.  I have included the original post date in the title.  I hope I don't confuse anyone too much.

I am going to try to make something and post everyday.  We'll see how that goes.  I am reading a huge biography on Picasso right now and I am inclined to allow myself to begin to slip between styles and subjects as easily as he did.  It seems to be time for production.  In an effort to move beyond my constant self criticism, I am going to attempt to utilize this kind of frenzied production to evade criticism.  Bear with me, as this may lead to some embarrassing experiments.  I do think, however, it is interesting to also share my failures with you, dear reader.  So at best, I hope you may have a smile or laugh at my expense.

I have made a lot of changes in my life in the past couple of months.  I quit a job that was taking over my life emotionally and actually, I quit smoking after 15 years, I've started up my yoga and meditation practice again, and I now have the luxury of time to myself in the studio.  It is a blessing to have this time to decompress, research, and produce.  

I am currently studying Chinese Painting.  The other day at Myopic, I found this amazing book for $3 dollars on the ideas and techniques of Chinese Painting.  There are excerpts from a manual called "The Mustard Seed Garden".  It was originally published in 1701.  I have often noticed in my practice that I tend to enjoy the process of repetition of small elements.  I have naturally incorporated meditation while painting, as it seems to be the one way to focus and restore balance in my mind.  Reading this and other books about these "Old Masters" is interesting to me as their whole philosophy of image making is so radically different than all of the Western philosophy that is taught and practiced in American art schools.  I feel like things are finally starting to make sense to me.  More on this later, as these ideas are still percolating.

Also, an interesting link I am exploring in my work and research is American Abstract Expressionism and 6th century eccentric Chinese Painters.  I've always been drawn to AbEx.  In grad school, I made a series of (really terrible) paintings that I affectionally refer to as my AbSex period.  I was channeling Ex-boyfriends while painting little "monuments"  (Adam Farcus called it Sexpressionism).  Now I'm not really sure what I'm doing...and it's wonderful.  Here are 7 colored ink drawings I made on paper yesterday.  I followed the Mustard Seed Garden's prompts for ways to make brushstrokes:

like spread out hemp fibers, like entangled hemp fibers, like sesame seeds, like big ax cuts, like cloud heads, like raindrops, like a whirlpool, like the veins of a lotus leaf, like lumps of alum, like skull bones, like the wrinkles on a devil's face, like raveled rope, like brushwood, like hair of cattle, like horses' teeth...

I'm not sure what any of those really look like, but I tried to include all 15 of them in each drawing.  I allowed my interpretation of each brushstroke to vary per drawing.

Blue is Sooooo Last Year (01.17.11)

Here are a couple of pieces I finished in 2010...

Prints! (01.11.11)

So I haven’t posted in a long time.  I’ve been very busy with the holidays (making gifts) and some studio detours…  We had a our 6th Guerrilla Dinner, where we showed Adam Grossi's paintings and shared a deliciously decadent four course meal.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time becoming obsessed once more with screenprinting.  It has been a great way to indulge myself in some super flat, graphic imagery that I have always been interested in.  Here is a link to my Etsy Shop.  I've been trying to get ONE STRANGE BIRD up and running for about a year now.  Thanks to my "just do it and don't think about it." mantra of the last couple of months...it's up and running.

WallFlower (11.15.10)

Screen print Sunday!  22 hours later, I have “wallpaper”.  (to be installed on a non-rainy day.)

Department of Beautification Report #1 (11.14.10)

Fall Sketchbook Update (11.08.10)

Here are some sketchbook/journal pages…I am officially obsessed with colored India ink.

Line Work (11.07.10)

Line Work=Complete

On to the next layer...coming soon

Avalanche (10.30.10)

Proposal for a Dystopic Avalanche
Here are some sculptural “sketches” I’ve been doing in the studio.  I’d like to do an installation piece where the work emanates from the corner and spills onto the gallery floor.  Everything is built from architectural scale lumber and hot glue.  The tree is an experiment with wire, spray snow, and L.E.D. lights.  Since 2007 in graduate school at UIC, I’ve been making these little models to use as an observational reference  for the paintings.  I think it would be an interesting move for me to create an installation alongside the paintings.  Now I just need a space…