Monday, November 28, 2011

closer to hand

Above is a new work titled Tuxedo Moon. I have chosen a few works that were completed this past month inspired by my visit to the Utah landscape. These works are drawings with oil stick and paint on watercolor paper, all approximately 18" x 20". They were done spontaneously with great ease and clarity. The theme of the work is based on the hourglass formations that I saw from the desert terrain. I noted the rock cathedrals; beautifully orchestrated natural lines of symmetry mixed with the plant life have their own aesthetics and beauty formed over millions of years.
The artwork pictured above is titled Canyon Cup. I like these works because they are simply drawn and implied. Abstract work is the hardest to comprehend and probably the least accepting of all art movements. When I discuss the theory of abstract to my classes I inform students that we usually do most of our thinking abstractly. It is a hard concept to embrace because of it's elusiveness.
Above the piece is called Canyon Torso and the piece below is called Hourglass Landscape. Colors are indicative of the country that I saw; vast expanses of red soil, peppered with green Juniper trees and of course the brilliant blue sky was a constant.
My favorite piece is called Arrowhead Dress pictured below. These are contemporary pieces of art; works done for the now and studies of how my mind works, never taking or copying from photographs but are drawn from my imagination. They are a collective body of impressions that are greatly thought about, studied, and reworked to fit my understanding of the subject at hand.

Monday, November 21, 2011

China and staying inspired

Currently, I am reading a novel called River Town by Peter Hessler. He writes his accounts and personal experiences while as a Peace Corps college instructor in the town called Fuling located in the Sichuan Valley. (While Fuling isn't located on the above map, you can locate the nearby city called Chengdu.) His depictions of the Chinese people are intriguing; dealing with educating the country people in this area, Hessler teaches English literature. He expresses how the peasants absorb themselves in Shakespeare and Beowulf easily and how they naturally experience the language. They work hard with comprehending the prose and don't complain about the difficulty of nuances. Hessler talks about the Yangtze River, the Wu River which runs south of the Yangtze, and the Three Gorges Dam. This past summer I watched a documentary on the Yangtze River; the relocation of hundreds of villagers that would have to move from the valley because of the construction of the dam but were given better accommodations in exchange. However, I saw the eventual rise of the river tides progressively increase, farmers thrown from their fields while being virtually displaced was criminal. Hessler goes on describing the river and the river industry, his relationship with the Chinese and his experiences learning the Chinese language. He gives great detail on the politics and historical context on this area.

While Ken and I have plans to go to China next year, we usually go away for the winter season but house repairs and an update for a new computer made us decide to spend a Christmas in Anchorage. It will be our first Christmas in the state of Alaska in nine years. I look forward to setting up a tree and making it festive, cooking and spending time in the studio. However, I need to stay inspired and these trips abroad fuel my creative capacities.

But I did get to spend some time this past October; mountain biking in Southern Utah gave me incentive to work on some drawings on this spectacular landscape. In fact, I have become attached to drawing and like how I am closer to the paper - realizations are purer and embody the hand. These are works that color, line and composition do the talking - nothing else, no fragments, or bits of paper, collaging or fabric remnants feeding the expression.

It is hard for me to stay
inspired and immersed in the art process. It is a continual challenge and struggle. These trips give me the impetus to remain focused and engaged. Making art connects me to my center and I love the introspection of the studio. There is something about leaving a place of comfort and seeing other cultures, people, and experiencing their ways of doing things. I have always had a restless spirit and need to go and see. Perhaps, staying in Alaska during the core winter months will ignite some ingenious drawings on the other hand.