Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Anticipated mail deliveries from Crystal Neubauer and Yves Leterme . . . and thoughts about "wabi-sabi"

I was delighted to get Crystal Neubauer's collage in the mail Friday.  

This is my purchase, it is an untitled, 6x6 collage on wood with frame
 And I must say (as I've heard others mention this), the real thing
is much better than the photo!

I'm just starting to purchase other artists' work . . small pieces, and I'm enjoying that so much. Wonderful to have an in-person piece of work I admire. Some of the mediums she uses with collage elements (vintage ephemera and salvaged wood) are encaustic (beeswax and resin) and acrylic on salvaged wood and assemblages. Below are more examples of her work, and clicking on the image will take you to her website

Untitled, 6 x 6, framed collage

from Utterings: A Wordless Prayer Series
(authentic ephemera: packaging materials, book spine ... )

"A Long Time Coming"
Collage encaustic assemblage

"Moonlit Serenade"
12 x 30 Collage and acrylic

Encaustic collage framed from salvaged antique materials

I have spent a lot of web time looking at art and what is it that draws me in to some art. About 6 mos ago, I learned about the term, wabi-sabi. When I looked at Crystal's collage, in real life, I was really drawn into it, and I didn't understand what that was, until I was reading Yves Leterme's book, "Thoughtful Gestures" (which was my other anticipated mail deliviery). This, what I call, "drawing in", is something that happens when I view a piece of artwork that resonates with me. It feels intuitive and without words, and I feel that when I see Yves Leterme's paintings. His words  . . . "quiet authority from subtle details, small doses, a limited palette, and simplicity" just popped out at me, and I realized that is what I respond to.

And so . . about "Wabi-Sabi" . . . 

Having seen Yves Leterme's work blogged on Tumblr, I had checked out his website and wordpress blog. I am not a calligrapher, but I am drawn to a certain types of script. He has different names for different styles of his script. He uses it in his paintings, and what I was drawn to was, at times, legible, and other times not. But it had something else. What that something was intrigued me. It appeared lyrical to me, and although it appeared to be random and spontaneous, there seemed to be a kind of order or structure. THAT was the thing that was different for me. When I saw that he had just finished a book and was taking orders, I decided to purchase it.

I had taken a calligraphic class years ago. I didn't do well at the time with the process of spending hours in repetitive practice, something that is necessary to develop a natural, sure, rhythmic flow. So I didn't pursue it. 

As I was reading Leterme's book, Thoughtful Gestures, I came upon his description of wabi-sabi, and I realized that what he was describing, was the very thing I was experiencing with Crystal's work, what I experience with other art that draws me in, and what I would like to bring, in some measure, to mine. I believe it will take me a while to get past "art school" direction, which at the time, I took fairly literally. I believe now that there is a way to bring spontaneity, intuition, and flow without sacrificing formal elements. To me it can be very subtle, but it is what I strive for and hope to bring to my work. So . . . acceptance of the fact that that will be an ongoing process, connected to lots of hard work, is my intention. Acceptance that what I want in my work will not be as instantaneous and automatic as I found realism to be in art school. I've learned a LOT on Tumblr. To me it's like having the world's galleries at my fingertips. I found I like many styles of art, and wabi-sabi is not the only kind. Although feeling "drawn into" other styles and palettes does bring some confusion to what I want to bring to my work right now, I will keep looking and learning. Ah . . . . life has so many rich lessons to learn!

"It's the art of finding beauty in imperfection, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay and death. It reveres authenticity above all and it celebrates cracks and crevices, and all the other marks that time, weather and loving use leave behind. Things Wabi Sabi are unpretentious and unstudied.". . . "In my latest work I have often tried to capture that spirit of Wabi-Sabi. It may look easy and simple, but" . . . "A true Wabi Sabi piece derives it's quiet authority from subtle details, small doses, a limited palette and simplicity.

----- from Thoughtful Gestures, Yves Leterme

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Celebrating learning and "letting you in" a little

This image on Tumblr "popped" out at me. When I say, "popped", I mean to say, that when I read it, the combination of the man who quoted (a creative master) and his age (although I really don't know if either is true), struck a chord . . or should I say, "popped" a chord in me.

I'm so much wiser than I was when I was young, and as I become more mature and more than a little surprised with the physical changes, reading this quote from a Master at 87 yrs of age (from what I've read, 87 was especially old then) led me to reflect that all of life is really about learning, even down to the moment-to-moment, in a myriad of ways, and it will never end. It's not unusual to be frustrated at life's trials and challenges. I certainly have. (I hurt my hip when I was moving and climbing a tall ladder with a paint tray in one hand and a paint roller with an extension in the other; climbing up and down the ladder to remove items from high shelving around the studio. I've hired someone to paint the ceiling.) But I'm surrendering to my limits and learning that, while maturity brings physical challenges, there are many other compensations; like not taking things so personally or so seriously (with "a grain of salt"), the old adage, "this too shall pass"; looking at what I've accomplished and how I've grown in wisdom from my mistakes rather than fearing "the next step forward" or judging those mistakes; becoming more aware others make mistakes and don't have to meet my standards, my opinions, or my goals . . even the ones I love most . . all have their own learning.

This quote somehow ignited some self-reflection that turned into gratitude for my past life struggles/challenges, and how I have more piece of mind and a deeper appreciation for myself; how really wonderful and exciting it is to learn; that I can look forward to more . . moment by moment, day by day, and on and on. Frustrations, challenges, and stuggles for me will continue, but perhaps I will step back sooner, look at "the bigger picture", put things in perspective, put one foot in front of the other, lighten the experience, move on . . and continue to learn, experience, grow, and create . . and truly celebrate and appreciate the wisdom about I have acquired about myself and the world around me.

Here are some more pics of things I've collected through the years (what my son, when he was young, used to call my "weird stuff"). They're in my studio, as they've outgrown my living area.

Old chimney caps (I think) They may be made of zinc, as the rust color is worn paint . . maybe aluminum? 

A metal star (each faceted cone is welded at its base to the other) hanging from an old bird cage support.

A large spring, probably from a train, given to me by the same artist who gave me the gear . . my "treasures"!
I also collect balls (spheres) of different materials, metal, glass, wood, mercury glass, a nail ball (this one is some kind of metal)

An old wood wheel form, painted, about 24" in diameter, 3 1/2" thick
When I found it in a junk store, years ago, the owner said it was used to make wheels.

Some wood balls and a hanging light sphere from the 50's or 60's
(my radiator will also be painted white when I'm done)

I've moved a lot in the last 15 yrs and the expressions on the mover's faces and "tilt of the head" to a co-worker (I especially remember this in regard to my wood wheel and chimney caps), as they were preparing to pack them, were funny. To them they were junk . . ha-ha . . and another (wo)man's treasure!

On with the ladders, paint cans, and rollers. Before I hurt the muscle in my back, that was felt in my hip, I just wanted to get-this-done-and-out-of-the-way . . FAST!! Another lesson learned. Go slower. For a few years I have looked up at the ceiling and speculated about what techniques I might use to paint that ceiling, piece by piece (10 ft tall! and painted, pressed tin). Now it will be done by a professional and I won't chance that I might experience another injury.

Just to let you know, I'm fine. But . . I've got to go slower. Thank you so much for following, your visits here and your comments and support.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Working hard re-organizing & painting my studio

I've been working hard to re-organize my studio. It's what I've always intended to do, since I moved here. I'm also painting walls, putting up more shelving and painting. I had put three coats on the bookshelves you see here, but this is a large space. I'm so blessed to live here (former hardware store . . studio downstairs and live upstairs). But after one coat of paint (there were varnished brown), it was so much painting (not the kind I like), I quit and started making art. Some photos here are also of some things I've collected through the years. First my re-organized encaustic area . . .

All the things that were on this table are now on the new shelving I installed . .
and painted.

Lots of books

The skull was something I found that was a halloween decoration and bought it to see the structure of the face and head in real life.

I purchased this old typewriter and had it fixed, years before I knew how to use computer type . . and in anticipation of doing some collage with old type.

This maniken (sp?) probably from the 20's or 30's.

An unfinished sculpture from art school, that I intend to finish.
My son received this rattlesnake skin from his uncle, and I
took it when he didn't want it.

I love gears. This is about two ft. in diameter, VERY thick and heavy.
It was given to me by another artist, and I've carted it around with my
many moves. I'd like to have it on a wall, but can only roll it around.