Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Nuances

I often feel as if I should begin this blog with an apology for not having written recently, a throwback to old letter writing days which frequently began in that fashion. Suffice it to say I’ve been busy. This weekend is Art a Whirl in Minnesota, one of the largest open studio events in the country. Thousands of people will be coming through our studio and seeing much of the work I’ve written about in these pages. I will spend the weekend telling the stories behind my work. While by no means a relaxing weekend, it is certainly an energizing one. It presents a wonderful opportunity to get very direct feedback.

For once we are ahead of schedule with the work hung and many of the preparations already completed. I’ve also been busy creating a website for the California Building where my studio is housed and of course doing the speeches that have become an important element in my work.

Some time ago I got an ipad as a tool to easily show my artwork. I soon realized another benefit to it was to crop my paintings to focus on specific sections. Many of my paintings have elements that I would like to develop further and by working smaller, I have an opportunity to develop the nuances that I find most visually appealing, thus a new series of Nuances was born.

I had done the Hole in Time series on 12” x 12” wood panels and with some still in the studio decided to pursue the idea of Nuances. The painting, Lozan Sha, that I wrote about in a prior entry had several areas that interested me. I especially liked the synagogue, half hidden under white. The synagogue was purposely obscured to create a sense of mystery and a distance from the women’s balcony.

I also liked the imagery associated with the mother’s hand resting on her child’s head as she slept in the pew. The resting hand connoted a sense of safety and security as experienced by a child. Each of these images lent themselves to a more nuanced painting

For the synagogue I first did a very detailed painting, then coated it in a veil of white paint. For the painting of the child, I didn’t seek to reproduce the original painting, but rather to take the idea and develop it further. Similarly I chose the gaze between the young girl and the chicken in Sleeping with Chickens to capture within a small panel.

In this case I decided to make the girl younger than in the original painting and incorporated some of the revisions I had made to signify the alarm of the child at the nearby chickens.

I've been thinking about whether a children's story with illustrations might grow out of some of these interviews so was playing with a character who might represent the child within them.

I’ve found this an interesting way to work and am thinking it may need to be an aspect of each series that I do, a way to explore imagery that interests me and conveys some nuance of the broader story.

If you are in the Minneapolis area, please stop by studio 409 in the California Building this weekend. We are open May 18th 5-10PM, May 19th 12-8PM and May 20th 12-5PM

 

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