What a thrill it was to hang my show at Guardino Gallery a couple of weeks ago. I always like behind the scenes photos, so I thought it would be fun to share the highlights of the hanging on May 25, 2022. My show partner, Nadine Gay, was there with her husband, and my husband/studio assistant/business manager showed up and did a bit of everything to help get the show hung. It took six of us four hours to get the whole show hung.
I did an earlier post about Howard’s hanging of my 25-piece grid made up of individual 8×8 inch pieces, and you can see that post by clicking here.
I had an idea for a painting I wanted in my show at Guardino Gallery. I envisioned a grid of smaller paintings hung together to create a large 40×40 inch piece of art. I decided the small paintings would be 8×8 inches. But the initial problem was how to hang 25 paintings in a manner that would allow me to work on all 25 at the same time, as if I was actually painting a 40×40-inch piece of art. My studio assistant came to the rescue. He devised a system using Velcro. He attached Velcro to the back of the 25 8×8-inch cradled panels, then matched up the other piece of Velcro to the wall, allowing all of the paintings to hang together, but could easily be removed for me to 1) paint the edges, and 2) work on each piece individually when it became time to resolve each piece as a single painting.
After I secured the 25 panels (thank you Art Department for ordering so many boards for me), they were primed with fluorescent pink and orange acrylic paint by my studio assistant. I decided to start the painting process using acrylic paint to get lots of layers of color and marks. It was such fun to paint across the surface with grand swaths of paint, and occasionally pull the panels off the wall to wrap paint around and onto the edges.
After a few layers of acrylic, I switched to oil paint mixed with cold wax, and began enhancing and adding more layers, words, and marks.
Last fall, I received the email that always thrills and humbles me: I had been selected by Donna Guardino to have a show in the Main Gallery at Guardino Gallery in June of 2022. I didn’t celebrate too long, but instead studied the schematics of the gallery, the wall spaces to be filled, pulled together a batch of boards, and got to work.
The getting to work initially meant prepping the boards for painting. I knew early on that I wanted to pair art quotes with vivid colors, so right from the beginning these elements were prominent.
After all the boards were prepped (with massive help from my studio assistant), they were ready for paint to be applied.
This part of the process required many layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax. The dominant theme was layers of paint with the writing of quotes in between the layers.
After several months of work, the pieces began to take shape. Some boards got scraped, some were finished, but then I decided they weren’t finished so more layers were applied. Writing was always present, but it was in the last six weeks of working that I began applying the words more boldly on the surface of the painted surfaces, and these turned out to be my favorite pieces.
And before I knew it, it was time to stop painting. The oil and cold wax needed time to dry, cure, and set before applying a final coat of cold wax. For the month of May, the paintings were in my studio, in the hallway, and in our bathroom just resting.
Today as I put together this post, all the paintings have been moved to the main floor of our house. They are being prepared to be wrapped and loaded into a van we had to rent to transport the 44 paintings (yes, 44!) to the gallery in the morning.
The show hangs on Wednesday, May 25, and opens on Thursday, May 26, with the opening reception from 6-9 pm; the show will be up through June 26. An added bonus is you can see (and shop) all the pieces by going to Guardino Gallery’s website.
Finally, our long overdue and postponed group show, Traces, is now on view at the Salem Art Association Annex Gallery. During the two-year wait for things to reopen and get our show rescheduled, we changed our name from the Salem Art group to the Band of Artists Collective, but we’re the same group of talented artists. We’ve been plotting and planning for this show over the past few months, and got together in February to make final preparations (and take a very serious group photo).
The title of our show Traces, could be interpreted however we chose, but our group show statement explains it in more detail:
Like messages to the future and from the past, the traces of nine different paths converge here in the Annex Gallery this spring. As mark makers of varying sorts, these nine artists of the Band of Artists Collective use the indications of their existence as persons in their art work. An interest in superimposing experience, idea, image, and color onto canvas, paper, wood, and fabric is the shared language of any group of artists, this group included.
Artists understand the term palimpsest as way of reusing materials and ideas, of scraping an older work away while leaving a trace behind, a shadow, a nuance of an earlier idea. As women, as artists, as gardeners…as daughters and mothers and friends, we find the trace of others stamped on our minds just as we leave a shadow behind.
Although there is always a narrative somewhere buried in an artwork, it is less necessary to know each individual story than to sense the traces that appear in the work. Bring your own eyes to the work displayed here, perhaps finding a trace of communication.
Earlier this week, art work was dropped off. The day I dropped off my work, Kay was dropping off her pieces and Robin was busily hanging Katy’s work, while Kathy was trying to keep track of all of the final details.
Fast forward to Thursday. I was out for my weekly walk with Joni, and we decided to swing by the Art Annex to see the show. It was so nice to walk into the space and have it to ourselves. It’s a stunning show.
The work for each of the nine artists:
Salem Art Association prepared a beautiful color brochure, which includes a photo of everyone’s work along with individual artist statements.
Here is what I wrote for my Artist Statement – even before I had created my body of work.
Mixed media is often a wild goose chase down a twisted rabbit hole. It involves a series of what if questions and actions. What if I glued this down, drew a line over the top, added some paint, glued something else down, and then took a sander to it to reveal the first layer of collage, added more paint, then glued something else down, wrote with a wax crayon, then started over?
It is all a grand experimental mystery, which somehow all comes together one way or another. This project fits perfectly with my 2022 word of the year: RISK. I am taking a risk working in a new way, one I have been intrigued with for several years but somehow fear held me back: How can I cover a beautiful collage with paint? And yet covering it, excavating, concealing, and revealing is what I love doing and something I do in paint all the time.
Creating my mixed media pieces is a messy affair, a wild cacophony of cutting, tearing, drawing, gluing, painting, writing, scraping, sanding, layering, revealing, and varnishing. My pieces reflect my curiosity, playfulness, irreverence, and my love of texture, history, and a touch of surprise.
The opening reception was held tonight, it was a marvelous gathering of artists, art lovers, friends, family, and supporters.
The marriage of paint and collage was much tougher than I imagined. I have been a painter for years, I have been a collagist for even longer, but putting the two together has been a painful labor of love . . . . and finally came together.
I had been moving toward combining paint and collage over the past couple of years, trying to figure out a way of adding paint over collage, and collage over paint, discovering the right balance of revealing and concealing. Adding collage to a board is easy for me, but I never wanted to cover it up with paint. Or I would create a collage, feel brave, add paint, but before I knew it, every bit of the collage was covered up.
My art group, the Band of Artists Collective, has a show opening tonight and I was determined to have my mixed media pieces reflect the successful pairing of collage and paint. I experimented in a small journal, doing quick collages on a series of pages. But I liked the collages and didn’t want to mess them up with paint. Reminding myself that my word for this year is RISK, I spread some paint over a collage. I liked the painting, but the collage was gone. What the hell.
It came time to submit images for our upcoming show. I didn’t have any completed pieces and what if I never found my way to adding paint to collage (or collage to paint). So I submitted photos of two 12×12 inch paintings that were somewhat in the style I hoped to complete, although the work did not have one bit of collage in them.
But the challenge was mine, no one else knew I was attempting to pull off this arduous (to me) task. The fear grew, and I became paralyzed. Until I decided to push through. The opportunity came in the form of spending two weeks in Palm Springs in late January. We had rented a modern condo with a large dining room table (that was my main criteria in choosing our rental). I loaded up 12 12×12 inch flat birch panels, three working journals, two big bags of acrylic paint, a gigantic bag of collage materials, and a satchel of art supplies. I claimed the table (and the kitchen bar, and the kitchen prep counter, and sometimes the floor) as my work space. We were in Palm Springs to celebrate Howard’s birthday and his retirement, so he was there to golf. I was there to paint and collage. It was a beautiful win/win situation.
Daily, I worked in my journals.
I glued down collage onto the 12 boards.
Then I sidetracked myself to create a fresh batch of painted collage papers (that process is worthy of an entire blog post!).
And then I did what I had been hesitant to do. I started combining paint and collage in any way I could think to do it. If I did too much painting, I just added more collage. Sometimes I painted too much on purpose and glued collage on top. Sometimes I painted over the collage, revealing tiny bits of the collage beneath the surface. I sanded, I scraped, I reapplied paint, and added more collage.
I started to find my rhythm and I was having fun.
A body of work came together. I had started with the idea of creating six pieces for the show, and then it grew to nine. At the end of our two weeks in Palm Springs, I had twelve boards with potential. After we got home, I fine tuned a few of the panels and I had 12 that were show worthy – a beautiful grid.
Here are the 12 that are in the show.
Traces opens tonight . . . . next up, my blog about the show.
Yesterday I dropped off 17 new plaster, oil, and cold wax paintings at Salem on the Edge for my show Turns of the Kaleidoscope. The pieces range in size from 12×12 inches, up to 30×60 inches, all created to be hung on 48 feet of wall space! When I began working on this series, I had trouble imagining filling that long, blank wall. But I did it with one painting to spare. (If you happen to see the show during the month of May, ask Melanie to see the 36×48 inch piece, Life’s Distractions and Enticements.)
Rather than blather about creating the pieces, I’m going to share my process with a series of photos, after all, this is a post about an art show. Here we go . . . .
My solo show at RiverSea Gallery, Emotional Alignments, opened on January 9 and I celebrated the opening for a couple of days. I had dropped my art off at the gallery on the Thursday before the opening and saw it for the first time on Friday afternoon.
When we walked into the gallery on Friday, our friends Greg and Tabor were there, so we had a nice long visit about the show.
On Saturday, the official opening and Astoria’s monthly Art Walk, ran from noon until 8 pm, the hours greatly expanded to accommodate social distancing in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. My friend Stephanie drove to Astoria and we spent the day playing in and around Astoria.
Saturday night arrived and I was at the gallery from 5-8 pm.
It was a pretty quiet opening, but I was able to visit with everyone who stopped by and social distancing was easily achieved. Our friends from Salem, Lois and Dave, were in Astoria for a few days and they popped in for a hello and to see the show.
Howard and gallery owner, Jeannine, had a nice rock and chat.
And a few days later, our daughter Amy and grandson Emmett were able to see the show.
I thought I would share a few selected pieces of the art on view.
The show will be up through February 9 and all of the info on the show can be found by clicking here.
Painting should call out to the viewer . . . and the surprised viewer should go to it, as if entering a conversation.
Roger de Piles, 1676
The dust has hardly settled and I’m already looking ahead to 2021, although I’ve got a jump start on a couple of projects while it is still 2020. But first, my show at RiverSea, Emotional Alignments, gets hung next week and the opening reception will be held on Saturday, January 9, from 12-8 pm during the Astoria Art Walk. I’ll be at the gallery that evening from 5-8 pm if you happen to be out and about.
Most people would probably wait until after a show has opened before starting work on another show, but I’m not most people. So forward I go, taking full advantage of making art during a pandemic. Early preparations have begun for a May, 2021 show at Salem on the Edge. Very preliminary preparations, lining up which boards I want to use, getting them painted, plaster applied, sanding them outside (weather permitting), and then getting them sealed and ready for applying oil and cold wax. As of this writing, I have no idea what my theme or composition will be – that will come in the new year.
In my next post, I’ll share about another project I’m currently working on . . . . .
Back in April, I submitted an application to participate in the annual Word & Image: Writers and Artists in Dialogue show at the Hoffman Center for the Arts, a lively art center located on the north Oregon coast in Manzanita. My application was accepted and 12 artists and 12 writers were randomly paired during a Zoom meeting in mid June. Names were drawn from a hat and I was paired with Evan Williams. We both have North Coast connections: Evan has had a family cabin at Neahkahnie for years and lives in Portland. I grew up visiting our family cabin at Sunset Beach and now have a a house in Astoria and split my time between Astoria and Salem. Here is a bit more about Evan: Evan Morgan Williams has published two books of short stories. A Neahkahnie regular since 1969, his stories are realistic fictions, often set along the Oregon Coast. He lives in Portland, where he teaches in a high-poverty middle school.
The project worked like this (stay with me, it can sound confusing): I submitted three images of art I had created in the past. Evan submitted three pieces of his writing. Evan received an email with images of my three paintings and I received an email with copies of his three writings. I was to create a new piece of work in response to one of his writings, and Evan was to write a new story or poem in response to one of my three pieces of art.
I chose Kimberly’s Hands, which Evan said I could share in this post:
After the love-making failed, Michael let Kimberly’s hands take his. Her pleading touch was dry as paper. It didn’t used to be this way. Michael remembered his hands in water, plunged into a mountain creek ahead of an advancing burn. He and his crew had been dropped in a mile ahead of the flames. It was hazard pay, and they earned it. The creek was going to be the line. Michael did not know where that water came from or where it was going. His hands in the water, cold, clear, smooth, lifting what he could to his sooty face. There were ferns and thimbleberry along the shore, and his hands ached, and the water was clear and silent as it slid over jewel-colored stones. That little stream had no idea what was coming over the ridge. The crew tapped a portable pump into that stream, a two-stroker, ugly noise, shaking like a jackhammer, and they hosed down the brush and trees, up and down the creek, until they ran out of petrol, but it wasn’t enough. The fire came. They ditched the pump and ran for their lives. Nothing they could do. Never found that sweet water again. It was probably dry now.
“Michael, come back. It’s all right. Look at me.”
“I know it’s all right.”
Once Kimberly’s hands had felt exactly how that water used to be. Now her hands felt how that water was now.
I chose to paint my response to the story written by Evan and I began by writing his story across the surface of my prepared panel.
The story was layered and nuanced, so I added layers of oil paint mixed with cold wax. For a while the painting looked like this.
It continued to morph and I frequently reread Kimberly’s Hands.
It finally reached that point where I knew it was completed.
My process statement in response to Kimberly’s Hands:
Water, cold, clear, smooth. Ahead of the flames. The water was clear and silent. The fire came. Her pleading touch. The visual language of “Kimberly’s Hands” resonated as I translated Evan’s words into a painting. My own response conjured the passage of time, memories, the devastation of fire, the rejuvenation of water, aging, and desire. I started my piece by writing Evan’s prose across the surface of my board, then began adding layers of paint, partially covering the words. Through the use of layers, texture, and color, I created a visceral and abstracted response.
During my painting and processing over the six weeks, Evan had chosen one of my paintings, The Strange Velvet Beautiful Sea, and in response wrote Diving In.
The engine ticks down. Just enough starlight she can see her reflection in the rear view mirror. She does her lipstick.
She looks out. A tent on the dark beach waits for her. A campfire, too, but a strong shape blocks the light.
She checks her lipstick again.
They met on the beach that afternoon. He taught her how to bodysurf. The water was frigid, but he said, “Keep moving,” and this made it all right. He taught her to lunge when the wave was good, to tuck her head and dive when the wave was bad. The shock of cold, dark, quiet, was exhilarating. She emerged into the light anew.
He said, “Diving into dark water, you accept the unknown. You meet it with your face. Knowing this changes nothing. Darkness reveals its secrets just the same.” She was surprised when he added, “You learn its cold indifference.”
She said she would come back in the evening. Freshen up at the motel. She told him, “I could be into you.”
The rear view mirror says perfect. She puts the lipstick in her purse along with the pepper spray and the Lady Smith. Five bullets. All her things are small. They take up all the space in her small world.
But a mirror’s reflection is an opposite. If you see confidence in the mirror, it means you are a coward and a fool. She re-checks her reflection, isn’t sure. She dives into that unknown.
An image of my new art and the new piece of writing by Evan were due the end of July, and art work was then dropped off the end of September. Using the imagery and writings, a book was published showcasing all of the art and writing from the 12 artists and 12 writers. (It is a beautiful book and is available at the Hoffman Center for the Arts.)
Two broadsides were created, the first featured the art I created in response to Kimberly’s Hands, and the second broadside featured the story written by Evan in response to the art that I had submitted.
Fast forward to October when everything was revealed at the opening reception, which took place virtually because of you know what.
The reception was on a Friday night, and the exhibition opened on Saturday, October 3; we were able to visit the show on the following day. What a thrill to see the exhibit in person. The woman who was gallery sitting that afternoon said several people had expressed an interest in purchasing Under Perilous Conditions and someone had purchased my piece that afternoon.
Many months ago I was invited by Becky, one of the owners of Vintage Hardware in Astoria (on the Oregon Coast), if I would consider having a show in their Pop Up Gallery. I enthusiastically replied with a great big YES. Here are some photos of why I love this store and why I said yes.
The show was scheduled for July . . . and in July, we were all in the middle of the pandemic and things were closed down and people were hunkered inside, so we crossed our fingers and rescheduled for September. By the time September rolled around, things were starting to open (with limited hours, but open nevertheless). It was time to hang the show.
We hung the show on a Friday and on Saturday was the monthly Astoria Art Walk. It was never very busy, but friends came, family came, and shoppers and art lovers stopped in. I even sold several of my book board Salvage Collages during the afternoon.
The show is up through October 4. Check in with Vintage Hardware before visiting as their hours are limited right now.