Category Archives: mixed media
I was diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma in October. There have been chemo and radiation therapies since. Last Sunday, I slept from 2PM on with the help of one of my anti-nausea meds. The last several days I have been up until after 9, my old bedtime.
A week ago I dropped off “Imperfection” (above) to the Harlow Gallery, easily a two hour drive from here. And, two hours to return. I was not up to that kind of a drive. Today, it might have been more fun.
Today, I also thought about a proposal that could go to 3S and Space. And, I continue to think about it though I haven’t put pen to paper yet. I worked on the next two of the “Imperfection” series, both of which are larger than the one at Harlow.
And, here I am.
The Rochester Library show went up last week, which incorporates most of what I have completed since I was diagnosed.
“Holding It Together 1” demonstrates another of the artistic concerns that I have embraced recently. Both this series and the “Imperfection” series are monochromatic. These, however, utilize a myriad of materials that are either painted to approximate the color of the canvas or inherently are a similar shade.
“Homage to the Surrealists” uses no paint. The native color of the materials is what is important, along with the textures and translucency.
So, along with a renewed interest in Photoshop, which I also purchased this week, I am exploring my best in 2-D art.
“The Shadows of the Everyday” has a sister piece which was started a few days earlier. “Transparent Passage” utilizes a similar list of materials but is less regimented and .linear in composition.
For those who follow my blog: I mentioned a strong desire to get a DSLR but also said that I should allow my work with the smaller point-and-shoots that I own to pay for that purchase. I bought a new Nikon yesterday without a single sale to go toward it. I think that the purchase will pay for itself.
In the meantime, I have been working on a few other shows. An annual non-juried show that I consistently do is called Art PM, and the only requirement is that the work presented must be done in its entirety in the month of February prior to the show.
“The Shadows of the Everyday”, completed start to finish today, MM including handmade paper, wire screen, nylon fabric, foam sheeting, leather and graphite on canvas, 22″ x 28″.
I am forcing simplicity again, like I did with the “Mesh” photographs. The textures are very dominant in this piece because of the lack of color. The graphite on the canvas demands the attention it gets not because it’s hand-applied but it accentuates the texture of the canvas.
This piece is another of the “Real” series as it deals very much with my health. There will be reminders in the everyday as I pick up my life after chemo.
“Invisible Storm” is one of the earlier pieces with the almost non-chromatic color palette which relies heavily also on texture. As a much smaller piece, it is more intimate. Since it describes the beginning of my cancer, it is also rougher, grittier in the textures.
The original piece planned for Art PM isn’t finished, and will require some reworking. It did present some fun surfaces to experiment with, with the new camera.
This detail has been digitally enhanced beyond recognition, but this shot is of another MM piece that utilizes many of the same materials as “The Shadows of the Everyday.”
So little of being sick has to do with the body. The mind can take the healthy and make a real mess. Or, more commonly, it can take weak and make it weaker-and that’s what I am fighting.
I was seemingly getting along with my new chemo until last Friday. The HR department of the company I work for called to tell me that my short-term disability would be ending today. I thought I had until February 5. Then, the spiral started. By Friday night, I was having serious gastro-intestinal issues which I am still having, though not to the degree that I did on Friday night or Sunday morning.
I called my doctor today. I will be getting mid-treatment blood work and hydration tomorrow. The insurance has also been straightened out.
Aside from watercolor portraits, I am starting a large installation piece entitled “Real”. The premise behind it is that all 2-D art has a semblance of reality, and everything I put on canvas reflects mine. I had originally thought that these pieces would all have a direct relationship to my “cancer pieces”. That would be ridiculous since so much of my life has nothing to do with being sick.
So, there will be an element of randomness about the series that will make up the installation. I sat down today to work on another abstract and ended up painting a small portrait of David Bowie. In a very mysterious number of ways, that makes so much sense. His album “Blackstar” was released today, and he would have been 70 also today. Blackstar is a type of cancer lesion. He died of liver cancer. (Blackstar is associated with breast cancer.)
I have a favorite new work of mine.
As I am allowing myself to explore, reinvent, and recombine that which I’ve done before-none of this is new territory if you know my entire body of work-but I continue to surprise myself.
I am far more comfortable in a larger format on canvas than on paper, but that is changing.
“The Folly of Sentiment” is another flex of my artistic muscle where I am employing some of the new things that I am seeing, but more so, utilizing materials and techniques, palettes, etc that I have in the past and combining them in different ways. “Valentine”, presently at the BUOY Gallery in Kittery, Maine, was the first of the “Portraits” to include assemblage elements, with bits of magazine photos. I found foil paper and a plastic mesh “bag” (which I cut apart and stretched) to integrate into this piece.
The last Blackbird Studio and Gallery newsletter reiterated something that I said at an opening, but I am not entirely sure it is 100% correct. It said that I am being “influenced” by whose working around me. I don’t doubt that that is happening but this little piece, painted just after I broke my leg, might show that the “Portraits” have always been there.
The “Portrait” series actually has an even earlier ancestor in a series called “Everyman”, which dates back to 1990. So, it really is too soon to say the influences come from Blackbird, which isn’t a bad thing, but more that those influences have awakened other muses within me, that were just dormant. I don’t have digital images of the “Everyman” series yet, but they are also the predecessors of the large 2014 canvas “Chasing the Sun”.
This and a few other new pieces will be in the opening exhibit at Blackbird Studio and Gallery. We are also very proud to be hosting a visit by Carolyn Chute, author of “The Beans of Egypt, Maine”. Please join us for this event on April 18, from 1-3.
Art and politics works…sometimes. Most of the time, the art should be on the poster of the cause, and left there. But, not always.
I am of the mindset that political and social consciousness should be an underlying part, but hitting someone over the head with it…not my game.
I read an article yesterday in the Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/teenage-jihad-inside-the-world-of-american-kids-seduced-by-isis-20150325 This is incredibly chilling and scary.
It has obviously been brewing in my brain, because this was created today:
I don’t need to swear, wave a tampon in your face, ask you to eat me, or whatever.
I need to make you think, and hard, about what ISIS is doing to “Some of my Sisters”. And, yours.
Some of the area’s art offerings require a 20-40 minute drive. The Gafney Library has gained the reputation for the offering some of the best of who Strafford County has for art. And, since I showed there last month…
I was trying to post daily, and I got really good at posting something…
and then this last period happened…
so, here I am again, to show off today, and the opening reception at the Gafney.
I loved today. A perfect flow where everything actually made sense. Huh?
I delivered 2 pieces to the Gallery at 100 Market, and the curator was there early, knowing I needed to be in Sanbornville at 9:30. Amazingly, I got to the Gafney much earlier than I expected. So, the food display was artful, too.
My compadre, Steffanie Antonio was there right after 10. That really set the pace for the reception! Anne and Niles showed up not 10 minutes later…
As Anne Vaughan wanted a real tour, I needed to break for a whole new set of arrivals. I am waiting for the rest of the images that other people shot today, because once things got rolling, I “lost” my camera.
Amy Regan, who is one of the founders of the Rochester Museum of Fine Art came and we discussed not only some of my art-making history, but also some of the mechanics of this show, and how I work.
I guess for some, putting together a show this size might be a retro…for me, the oldest piece in the show is September of 2013. About 40 of the 49 pieces on display are from 2014.
It will be up through next Saturday-check for the library hours on their website.