Thursday, November 14, 2013

where my gypsy blood leads me

I.M Pei's Glass Pyramid at the Louvre, Paris, France
A month ago, I applied for an artist residency located in Noyers, France, and coupled with a career grant from Alaska Council of the Arts, this will help me fund this adventure.  I will be going in May, 2014, and while the Alaskan dark can be invigorating for others, I need a focus on a future project and something to look forward to.

For three weeks, I will working on a body of drawings and watercolors gleaned from the French countryside and upon completing this expression, I will have an exhibition at the facilities' space.  I am also thinking of renting a car and perhaps with other resident artists, we can view the landscape together and aspire to new inspirations.

Before heading south to Noyers, I will peruse Paris for five days.  Currently, I am reorienting myself to the city where I lived years ago in the late 70's and frequented back and forth from my college studies.  Under Rutgers University, we studied for two months at the Sorbonne and then headed to Tours, France, where we finished the bulk of our schooling.  Tours, France is best known for chateau country located on the Loire Valley and where the best French is learned and pronounced.  It is said to be linguistically perfect.

I remember my college times fondly as they were intense.  It is where I continued my love affair with French literature ( not to mention other involvements!)  The last time I visited Paris was in 1990, and so I thought recently, that I was way overdue a visit.  I wanted to reconnect to the language and people.  In fact, upon rentering the United States back from school as a young gal, I felt out of place.  The states shocked me by it's bigness and it appeared ugly.  I had immersed easily into the French culture at that time; attitudes, ways of thinking, and their high sensibilities for taste had grown on me and had become home.

Noyers, France 
Noyers is located about one hour and forty minutes southeast of Paris.  This is where I will be working and doing some art at the Porte de Peinte pour les Arts.  Seen below is the village where I will be living and were the foundation provides me with a studio.  You can rent bicycles and tour the area.  They have three good restaurants and I can bet the  food is incredibly good.  When I lived in Tours, it was a small village too.  In fact, while looking at the train departures the other day, I found France to be riddled with hundred of quaint small neighborhoods equivalent to our suburbs.  I am currently reading some French literature and listening to French movies to get my comprehension and language fluency up to par.  It will be challenging but I am hoping I will fall into the mysteries of language and dialog without too much hesitation.  Oh la la!
the village of Noyers, Frnace
Manet's Gypsy Woman, oil on canvas, 1862

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the high feather experience

Three of my newest works are listed on this page.  My works tells of my painting experiences and while they are figurative in nature, they are expressionistic, abstract and contemporary.  They exhibit an academic feel to them because I learned from the experience of painting.  I have been painting for a long time and of course, anything you do often and continually, your process and outcomes get better and better and it becomes a familiar place to be.
what I learned from black, 48" x 48", 2013
high feather, 60" x 30", 2013
These three works are older paintings that I reworked and the surfaces have a deep textured appearance.  Paintings are also gestural in style, painted quickly, intuitively rendered, in an unconscious manner; almost knowing by heart where each paint stroke belongs.  But, when I step back from each work, I realize consciously what I need to do and rework.  Painting is a strange form of activity; mysterious, a beautiful journey and an anxious pursuit for me.
new painting, she said, 72" x 52", 2013
This December, 2014, I am included in a group exhibition called PAINT! at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art.  Two of these pieces will be included in this show.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

kotzebue finds

Ken booked a companion flight for me and wanted to show me a true Alaskan village.  He has often flown there with his work and loves the town of Kotzebue. It turned out to be a great idea and I really caught the true essence about living in the Arctic.  Although we didn't experience the community first hand and walked around on our own, the sights made up for this difference.

Kotzabue, view from our hotel window

salmon drying by the sea

Along out walks by the Chukchi Sea, we stumbled upon the many drying shacks where the natives hang their fish and complete their harvesting, a wondrous abandoned bullet holed Quonset hut, subtle colors that hemmed the disheveled huts, sunlit grasses along with feeling the immense extreme of the Arctic winds and cold was impressionable.
love the subtle colors and worn look!
playing in the fox tail grasses
We stayed for close to three days; an hour and a half plane ride over much of tundra, the massive Yukon River, winding rivers and lakes, snow capped mountains was mesmerizing.  We stayed at this sterile hotel (one of two in Kotzebue) but it did have a great windowed restaurant overlooking the sea, where sea gulls coasted in one place by the winds and where I got to observe hundreds of white caps.  The room was brightly lit with the massive sunlight that flooded upon us.  The power of the sea struck me as very full and almost menacing.

abandoned Quonset hut
fall colors by the shoreline

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Pokhara Raptors and Tharu Dancers

Among our favorite places in Nepal: a respite from our travels from Lumbini (the birthplace of Buddha), and the hectic pace of Kathmandu, was the town of Pokhara.  We stayed on the third floor of the Tropicana Hotel; observed Pokhara's main street and beautiful lake from the balcony. We also witnessed many para gliders from our spot and loved seeing these floating apparitions.  We were tempted to try it out but wanted to save our money for Tibet travel.  (You can see my mini video clip I put together above from the captured sights.) Pokhara is known as a agricultural city; is fertile, a kick back place, and the air is better breathing.  It is also where many trekkers go to hike the Annapurna Trail.  We hiked up to see the Peace Stupa and you can view the city landscape from very high.  It was a grueling one our walk up hill making the downhill just as demanding.  

In the above video clip are the Tharu Dancers from our stay at Chitwan National Forest.

the main drag in Pokhara, Nepal, seen from our balcony

At Chitwan National Forest, we bought a package deal for four nights and five days; visited the towns and villages of the Tharu people was a plus.  We witnessed several wild life during our stints in the jungle.  I loved seeing the one horned rhinoceros and rushing through the brush, we saw some deer and wild boar.  The heat was overwhelming at times but our room had a nice fan (when the electricity was working!) the food not too stellar consisting mainly on variations of potatoes and vegetables dishes.  One of our outings included an evening to the cultural center that featured several dances of the Tharu people.
the one horned rhino at Chitwan National Forest, Nepal

Friday, August 9, 2013

Jersey short stops

a small view inside Princeton University campus

One of my highlights was revisiting Princeton University.  While in high school, I would hear singers at the cafe on campus and it is where I first heard Paul Stuky sing solo.  (You may know him from the trio Peter, Paul and Mary.)  My girlfriend had an ingenious idea to drive over there one Saturday.  It took us an hour to get there; beautiful mansions, roadside vegetable and fruit stands and large open green pastures filled our glimpses out the car window.  Once on campus, we saw a fantastic collection of art at the museum.  They have quite a range of work - Contemporary,  Medieval, Renaissance to the Impressionists from masters around the world.   

Princeton University Art Museum
My brother and sister

Hibiscus the size of your hand
a friend since eight grade

 I had worked my visit too with my 40th high school reunion and made it to the opening night barely recognizing a soul!  The rest of my sojourn was focused on close friends and family.  I posted some of the highlights of this journey.  New Jersey is an expansive, rich and busy state - townships connecting one another with dozens upon dozens of side roads, parkways, interstates and freeways. 
Jersey Shore, Ocean Grove

When visiting the shore points, I would have not known that a devastating hurricane had destroyed much of the beach front under a year ago.   I loved the sea while I lived there and during my short stay, I managed to spend time sitting on the beach observing the vastness of the horizon line.  It is where I first learned one point perspective and gorgeous space.  No art class could ever teach me that.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This time around, blog entry, Kathmandu 5/21/2013i

Paton Dubar Square idol, near Kathmandu, Nepal
This time around we have chosen the fifth floor of the Karma Travelers Lodge.  
Our shanty room opens up to a courtyard of urban sprawl and roof top views; twin size beds receive light and air from both sides of the room, screened windows let a cross flow of breezes filter in 
and it has become pre monsoon month.

It may rain torrents like yesterday as we splashed through puddles viewing the Paton Dubar Square temples.  They where magnificent ancient buildings however, even in the downpour, while heavy rains kept coming.......we jumped from one overhang to another missing the rain but got to see its work, its relentlessness.

Almost as immediately as these rains fell, the sun came out.  Steep waters are sucked into the gutters leaving roads with only patches of wet remembrances.  Muggy, humid days but extreme dry too comes and changes from a quick setting to another.

This time around, I sleep better.   Kathmandu shuts down by 11 pm; noises subdue and the place slumbers.  The whole district is blanketed with a stillness of quiet.  And, this time around, I rest with everyone else.

Paton Dubar Square 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Tibetan Pilgrimage - Pekor Chode Monastery

The Pekor Chode Monastery was founded in 1418 and is a twenty minute drive located near Lhasha, Tibet.  When we visited the monastery, it happened to be one of the holidays marking the draping of the thangka.  This only comes about once a year.  Hundreds of Tibetans could be seen making their walk clockwise around the stupa (called circumambulation) and some continued on by walking against the large wall (pictured below) where the thangka was displayed.  They do this to obtain merit and to put themselves on the right path.  You can see the picture of the Buddha icon of the thangka in the photo, whereas in the video, the image of the Buddha was already removed in a matter of a couple of hours while I was there on the grounds.  I was taken by the uniqueness of the Tibetan people.  You can see many of the pilgrims in the original dress, with their prayer beads, prayer wheels and some prostrating by stretching themselves on the ground and rising up again.
draping of the Buddha Thangka