Friday, April 08, 2016

The Seedbed of the Journal and Spain in September

This is an old journal page. I've been thinking about how one gets from zero to finding one's personal language in paint. It can be a long and arduous journey but I think I've found some shortcuts and some ways to stay motivated. Right from my first nervous steps into non-representational painting, I experimented in my journal like the page above.

Another one from the archives. These are the pages that survived my enthusiastic culling. Some of the experiments ended in disappointment. These pages became backgrounds for writing or underpaintings for other work. So the ones I liked better became records of my search.

The ones I didn't like were gone as though they never existed. Nothing lost. No record of failure. In fact, no failure at all since I learned from every single effort.

I treasure each one of these early efforts and I can plainly see, only in hindsight, what they were leading to. Not that the work doesn't continue to evolve because it does. But I can see how these small (8x10") paintings led to the more confident work I'm doing today.

This is a detail from my most recent painting on canvas. I see everything in it that I saw in the earlier work. But I couldn't have reached this point without building the platform first in a safe place. You really will need to paint many paintings to develop work that looks like your own and not someone else's. It takes self knowledge. It takes time. It takes the courage to accept something that doesn't look like work you've seen somewhere else.

So here is where I tell you about Barcelona and Bordils, Spain. Because what I've been thinking about is the upcoming retreat in September that will take place in those locations.

We'll be spending 4 days in Barcelona at the Hotel Cram.

Four days in Barcelona! Yeah. I know. Picasso, Miro, Gaudi ... some of the best art museums and architecture in the world. With time left over to make our own art, collect souvenirs, be with a group of friends who love to share ideas and experiences.

Transportation will be provided to Bordils where we will do more sightseeing, more fabulous food eating and more journaling discovery in our 2nd Catalonian location.

Oh, and if you have a big travel budget, you could also join us in Can Serrat for the first leg of this exquisite journey where we will be painting BIG paintings on canvas. A glorious stretch and a place that could be the beginning of a new life for you as it was for me after I stayed there 3 years ago.

You can dream. We only go around once. More information on Painting Big in Can Serrat HERE. (oops. This one says it's full but there might be a waiting list)

And on the Journaling part of our trip to Spain HERE. You will have me and Katie Kendrick teaching at both locations and Kathie Vezzani guiding us to some of the best food in Europe.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Oaxaca Last Call

I'd better finish my story of Oaxaca.
This is the courtyard of the artist, Gabriel Mendoza.
My friend Ellen Benson introduced us.

Lisa Sonora in one of the rooms of Gabriel's domicile.

All of these murals and paintings are the work of Gabriel. That's Ellen in the picture with him.
He's as nice as he looks.

More of Gabriel's work.

He even makes dolls.

And his studio was filled with fascinating assemblages, like this cardboard girl.

And this ghost.

Gabriel is a printmaker, carpenter, man of many experiences and kindnesses.
Artists are so interesting to me and carry so many stories in them.
I love to visit their studios and look at everything; supplies, equipment, work.

On to one of the market places (there are many) where we visit several times a week.
One thing John goes crazy for is buying small pieces of this charming red pottery.
Perfect little hand made dishes for condiments and snacks.

And here is a lady with her turkey.
Nothing unusual for Oaxaca.

This is what you put on your tacos.

And this is what a salad looks like.
This is the land of awesome food.

Suzanne Kinney and I showed paintings and photographs at our show.
Did I mention how blown away I was by the fun of doing that?

Suzanne getting ready for her close up.

Me choosing which paintings to hang.

Ellen Benson and Ruth Price, two of my friends at the opening.
Thank you dear ones.

Lisa and Alex, at home in their excellent creation that combines food and art.

Such a great place, built on love.

Lisa and Vida, having Monday Art Day.

And now the mural.

Lisa had this dream of painting the walls of Art House Oaxaca.

She purchased a boat load of exterior paints in bright colors ...

invited over a few friends ...

and this is what happened.

All in a little over 2 hours!

And yes, visiting artists, we saved some wall for you to paint when you come as well.

I'll close with an image of one of the paintings that went home with a lovely collector from the show.
The title is: "Valentine for Poets and Introverts" and it was painted approximately on Valentines Day.

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mexico City to Oaxaca

This first photo sums up the best of my 7 weeks in Mexico. 
I had a private studio at Lisa Sonora's place where I went to paint every morning in Oaxaca.
I completed 27-19x24" paintings on paper in that time. 
It was the most prolific and intense time of learning I've ever been able to experience.
In other words, heaven.
I'll tell you more about that in the next post.

We arrived in Mexico City at the Red Tree House on January 18th.
Our friends from San Miguel met us there and we had a week to share.

We went to museums.

All of us love food and art so that's what we did.

Mexico City is full of museums; no time to see them all.

We barely scratched the surface.

I took hundreds of photos but then in March my iPhone died.

It was as harrowing as you'd imagine.
I had no idea that my photos were magically in a cloud up there.

In the Museum of Anthropology I saw these clay paint palettes that ancient artists used.
I thought you'd like that.

And there was this clever doll that was assembled just like the Sculpy dolls we made last year.
As if anything is ever truly new.

We spent a day on a boat in Xochimilco, eating, floating, daydreaming with each other.

The Japanese have the expression, "floating world" to describe the impermanence of life.
On that day our world really was floating.

I got to see paintings by a fascinating Mexican artist, Jose Cuevas.
I've admired his drawing style for many years.

On our arrival in Oaxaca we were greeted by friends from our hometown.
It's always a bit of a miracle to see familiar faces so far from home.
We spent many lovely hours together.

There was a great show of Ikat weaving at the Textile Museum.

The Monday friends still met up to create and visit.
That's where I met Lisa Sonora, who offered me the use of a private studio.

Here is my angel in her studio with one of her Buddha paintings. 
She is forming an artists' haven (Art House Oaxaca) near the Llano Park in central 
Oaxaca City where artists will be able to live and work and 
gather for classes. If you've ever wanted to retreat and have a quiet, 
private place to live and work, Lisa is a woman who can
set you up. She has room to sleep 10 people and studio space as well.
The location is excellent with everything you need in walking distance.

Around the corner from Lisa's is an art store and this studio full of printmaking
and ceramic equipment. Fun to visit and a place to work for printmakers.

John got to meet his favorite living Mexican singer, Lila Downs.
She was shopping at the Tlacalula Market when we spotted her. 
Such a lovely person; she was warm and generous to the fans who
stopped to greet her. This was really a special moment for both of us.

I did a warm up self portrait in watercolor in my journal.

Coincidently, Kathie Vezzani was also in Oaxaca with Carla Sonheim, Lynn Whipple, Lynn's husband John Whipple and Ane Martinez
Carla and Lynn were teaching a group of artists there. 
I was thrilled to be invited to share a meal with them at the beautiful Casa Oaxaca restaurant.

Before I got settled into Lisa's studio I did 3 paintings in my apartment.
This is the shower stall where the lighting was perfect and I didn't have to 
worry about dripping on the floor. The only problem was the cracks in
the tile that were uneven. But I was determined to paint.

Full moon over the Santo Domingo Church. Big puppets. 

I loved these tender drawings on paper of shaded bodies. I'll be teaching gesture
drawing and Rembrandt shading in Amsterdam in two months with Kathie Vezzani 
(go here for information; there is one spot available). I love the human form
and we will have a live model; such an opportunity to study art and see all the
wonders of Amsterdam.

I loved all the stores in Mexico with quinceanera dresses. We have nothing like it here;
 truly they are Cinderella gowns for the young girls who are being feted.

I didn't get a single photo of my own at the opening that Lisa held for Suzanne Kinney and myself.
Fortunately my friends came and shared theirs; we had a terrific turn out and I was thrilled to
feel so supported and honored. I got to show 17 of the 27 paintings I accomplished; between Suzanne
and myself we filled the large room with our creations. I've posted the paintings over on Instagram;
my handle there is judygirl9876.

In my next posting I'll write more about the opening, visiting a Oaxacan artist there
 and painting a mural on the big wall at Lisa's Art House with a group of friends.