The Life

It’s easy to get caught up in writing about art making, the process, the inspiration or even the trials of marketing.  But we titled this blog Art Life Business: A Paradox so that means our private as well as public life.  You may be familiar with my personal blog, http://www.HeadingforAndromeda.wordpress.com  in which case you are aware of my telegraphing the family secrets and not only that, but also verbally bashing my “sister”.  Many I’m sure have wondered why I haven’t just walked away from it all by now.  In truth I was devastated by the family crisis and subsequent betrayal.   She crossed a moral line that I can not ignore so in order to  hold her accountable  it is necessary to tell the story.  I bring it up in this venue to talk of how it has effected our art making and the business of marketing our art.

My family went into crisis in the fall of 2000, so this has been a 14 year nightmare for me and subsequently for Robin because ultimately one’s spouse always gets dragged into your drama one way or another.  Robin and I are very close and we’re both rather reclusive.  We feel loved, appreciated, respected, happy, understood and safe with each other.  The outer world intrudes from time to time to test that haven and nevermore than with the rupture and death of my family.  It drew me away from my center, preoccupied my physical and intellectual health and distorted reality to the extent that it ultimately had an extreme impact on my creativity and production of work.  That said, look to what I’ve said about my sculpture “Lady Liberty” (the Expressions interview on WSIL-TV) to understand the battle I’ve fought and how I’ve kept getting back up after each blow.  I’m ready to walk away from it all but for now I have to share my story.

Artists Wear Many Hats

It’s been slow-going with my clay sculptures.  Robin was hospitalized week before last with a copperhead bite!  We learned a lot from that experience.

Our collaboration with Growing Media has moved us to a new location–much better than the space we had in the mall.  But the move has meant building all new sets for The Spiel with Angie & Julie.  We got behind with Robin’s injury so we’re scrambling now before the official opening of the space August 1st.  We’re nearly finished and then we’ll begin displaying our sculpture not only on the sets, but in the offices and our gallery within the building.  So for now, I’m juggling building walls, painting them, marketing our work, making 3 new insect sculptures, finishing a wood relief sculpture and playing with the clay!  I’m just much slower then I used to be.

I’ll be posting photos of the new TV studio space soon.  We made an awesome interview desk for them!

New clay sculptures started

I’ve been chomping at the bit to get back into the clay studio and the news of winning the inside back cover of Art & Beyond Magazine with

Lady Liberty               “Lady Liberty” (left) and also selling “This World Becomes That” (right)This World Becomes That

has given me just the encouragement I need.   Last week I started a new goddess piece.  She’s going to be an Earth Goddess, standing on a globe, title to be determined later.  I’ve gotten to the upper calf on her right leg so far.  It’s going slow since I haven’t practiced this craft enough to build easily and quickly–late starter and all that.  I did  my first clay handbuilding in the early 80’s and just loved it.  I did these abstract organic creations with spikes growing out of openings and raku’d them.  Here’s one of them.

#2After a couple of years I left raku’ behind and didn’t return to clay building until several years ago.  This time around it’s earthenware.  I’m loving the challenge and the feel of working the clay with my hands.  It takes me back to my roots–making mud pies as a child!  I was in a world all my own then, living in the country without playmates (no neighbor kids and my older sisters didn’t want to spend time with “the baby”).  I had a great time with my dog and my mud!  That’s when talking to myself became habitual.

I started another piece yesterday.  This one is quite different.  It’s called “Seeding the Earth” and it’s going to be a clay relief sculpture, a 24″ round disc.  I started the center section today and it’s going well.  I’m looking at this piece as a prototype to test out some of my design ideas and feeling free to do whatever I want.  It’s exciting!  I’m considering whether to place this symbolic shield in between the thighs of an outrageous goddess.  Who?????   Do I want to incorporate the bugs?  I think I do.  We’ll see how it feels as I build.  Got a good start.

 

 

 

 

Glorious Redbud

We prize our Redbud and Dogwood trees.  A redbud that has graced our west great room window for 15-20 years is dying–possibly from verticillium wilt.  I’ve decided to document its demise as a way of paying homage as well as demonstrating how you just gotta make lemonade sometimes when  you’re served up sour lemons.  I don’t know how long it will be before we take it down completely, but in the meantime I’ve used it as part of a garden sculpture that I’ve been contemplating for sometime.  Here’s the first photo I took yesterday morning before I broke out the electric chain saw.  Red Bud dying

I selectively pruned some of the lower and central dead growth. After trimming some of the dead branches here’s what was left.

Trimming

Next I got to work with some 80 lb test fishing line.  And walla!

Web

detail

Nice days work.  Next I’ll make a wire spider for it.

Afraid of Making a Mistake

You hear a lot about writer’s block, but little about the similar phenomena with visual artists.  Whatever it’s called, it’s about being afraid of making a mistake.  And then there it is, staring you in the face.  It’s the discouragement that follows that’s most awful–not the mistake itself, but the fear that that’s the best you can do.  It can be paralyzing.

I’ve got a great idea for a new series of clay sculptures.  Been making notes, sketches, researching thoughts, poking around in my morgue.  Cleaned the clay tools, swept the floor, gotta jump off the cliff now.

The Crackled Surface

Those of you familiar with my relief sculpture know that my signature is the  crackled surface  as seen here on

“Amber Earth & Sky”  Amber Earth & Sky

 

As a painter, I’ve always been interested in surface as well as meaning. In my explorations of mixed media, I became intrigued with the idea of  the crackled surface. The inspiration for using it probably harks back to my youth, living in the countryside  close to the Earth and  being fascinated by the patterns in the drying mud as the ponds drew down in the summer heat.

crackled mud

In the 1990’s as I began experimenting with ways of making the crackled surface and ways of coloring it, I came to realize it is a visual reference for many other things that occur in nature–the veins of a leaf, the spider-web, the branching of tree growth, the patterns of the forest, blood vessels, reptile scales, dragonfly wings, an aged face.  It’s all of those things, because they all share a common underlying branched structure.  It is up to me to use it expressively, with or without the narrative.  I work color through the veined surface conveying emotion and ultimately thought and connection.  Connection because we recognize the  mystery of the similarities of different life forms.

In this recent series of “parallel paths”, the opposition to the fractured side is one expressing stable balance for the emotional life, allowing it to burst or seep forth, receiving it, supporting it, complimenting and yet giving tension enough to create movement.  The two together are an expression of life, a metaphor if you will for the patterns and coordination of life….the image of tranquil balance.

Parallel Paths e

36″ square.  Paint & acrylic emulsion on wood with stainless steel bar.  “Parallel Paths”