Wednesday, April 25, 2012

like dreamscape meanderings

from the artist Valdimir Kush

The past few days I was thinking about writing on the concept of strength. Where does strength come from? Physical strength can be built and worked by maintaining a regiment of diet and exercise. That takes practice, will power, concentration and constant energy. How is that done? Why are more people prone to this successfully while others fail miserably? What about mental strength? What keeps us going; the drive to do, the strive, getting something and having to go somewhere, this state of achievement. Can this be taught? Is it dependent on our backgrounds, our genes, luck, chance and how we were raised? I was brought up with the rugged individualist ideal. We worked for our adventures and discovered our lives through accidents, by doing, finding out and making lots of mistakes.

from the artist Hieronymus Bosch

Shown in this entry blog are surrealist paintings done as a final project from my drawing class. Students were shown surrealist paintings from artists such as Salvador Dali, Frida Kahlo and Dorothea Tanning. For warm ups, I read stories and myths aloud to them as students drew what they experienced or felt by using symbols forming the concept on the narrative. We worked with a live model. Students then could attach these elements to the figure drawing building the concept of storytelling and showing how surrealism works in expressing dream states and altered realities . Finally, they were asked to copy a painting from a surrealist master's oeuvre. Included in this post are their responses to the assignment.

from the artist Valdimir Kush

Monday, April 2, 2012

sunshine planters with great expectations

I started watching Dicken's classic Great Expectations last night on PBS. It is hard to grip the English cockney at first, but you soon tune your ears into the brogue. It is beautifully set in England; the characters delightful and engaging ringing true that the Brits are truly masters at their theatre craft. I look forward to the upcoming episodes.

But it is the new sunshine and light that invigorates me. Last week, I decided to do some experiments with old soil and work it with flower seeds that we didn't use from last year's planting. We get some beautiful sun and heat in the front rooms of our home suggesting a greenhouse space and we have often used it in the past for starter plants. It is very early in the year to plant though but I decided to test it out anyway with a few of my pots. After two days, all of the pots have sprouted with tiny green sprigs. These modest beginnings are religiously observed every day with optimism and happiness.

This time of year reminds me too that I have five weeks left of college classes; soon to resume three months of working full time in the studio, focused reading and upcoming summer trips brings great openness to my psyche. This May, I will traveling to New York to see art and family with an old grad school buddy from Los Angeles. Ken and I will be doing our annual research for our trip abroad to China for next winter(which is yet too far away.) I have an artist in residency to teach in Xi'an, the funerary home of the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. We have been wanting to go to China for some time; the art dense, deep, centuries of brilliant ceramics, contemporary art and the exquisite forest steppes landscape shaped by dynasties of the old and new will be sensational. We caught a whiff of this sensibility last year when we travelled to the northern area of Sapa, Viet Nam which bordered China. I felt like I had been transported into another time realm.

My planting brings to mind the things that I have yet to do, the possibilities of new things to see with surprises and changes. All this cultivating is done with careful tendering, watering and good sunlight, not to mention the work that brings the joy of fruition.