Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fresco from a drawing

Fresco on lime plastered wattle and daub frame 10 x 12

I've been keeping up my blind drawing, or morning drawing, depending on whether I can grab my glasses.  Jane Lewis lent me her copy of Barbara Rae's drawings and that spurred me on to use some colour as I draw.  The original drawing was pen with watercolour over and I thought that would be a good starting point for my next attempt at the plaster experiment. It hasn't dried fully yet, so I'm not sure what the final piece will look like but this feels more like me than previous attempts.  I like working in wet plaster more than on dry with casein, I think. 

pen and watercolour on paper

Figures in response to Delouis

Day one on a 60x40cm canvas.  Taking up the idea of the hat again and using memory (open gardens 2012 on Mount Desert Island) and imagination but letting colour, shape and mood lead me. Trying to be me, responding to colour, painting about what interests me, unashamedly: people, landscape, objects, colour, oh everything! What I was really struck and delighted by in Delouis was the way she uses paint.  So I'm going to focus on that next. I used my palette knife on the trousers - a departure!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Complacencies of the peignoir

soft pastel on paper 22 x 24cm 

It's easy to avoid things that others scorn. And then I read Messum's catalogue about Nancy DeLouis - she has an upcoming exhibition there and I have to admit feeling affected by her view of the world, a 'feminine' view. It's easy to think you need to change and go a different direction even when you get a thrill out of decorative work.  It's easy to see yourself as dated (rehashing) and then you talk to a few fellow women artists and feel that little bit more confident. 

I've been getting up early and enjoying those hours of the day before anyone else has risen.  I want to do everything, read, write and draw immediately and at the same time. It's often the everyday that take me in.


That hour between
fill of day,
nothing of night
milky, lemon zest
stolen before
morning peeled
from night
Ideas that feel
like balancing stones
Hope’s black, cold, clear
watery worlds Those
glazed limpet walls,
smooth, brittle lazuli
beads of dawn. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

‘There is no whiteness so white as the memory of white.’

The title of this post is something Giorgio Morandi said, according to Barbara Haskell in her book on Milton Avery.  I have been reading.  Haskell also refers to Okeefe who said , ‘nothing is less real than realism.’ I have been dreaming about those words and working.  I think some of the struggle has been about ensuring, to myself, that I have some skill and that is easy to translate into drawing correctly and perhaps drawing realistically.  Diebekorn reminds not to believe in the first thing.  I don't BELIEVE in today's beginning oil sketch, but I do know that I need to trust my memory and my sense of colour and not worry about creating 'feminine' art. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

painting in puddles

The plaster experiment has been gnawing away at me so I have kept reading and turned to other media, waiting. Everytime I walked through Hudson's room I would stop and look and feel the beautiful simplicity of the desk, the light, the shirt, the chair, the plaster walls. This morning, finishing Jane's Diebekorn book I began to think about the layers of D's paint and what he said, what he thought: 'the feelings, the desires evoked by the object can in this account, only be remembered by being successfully forgotten and represented in the disguise of successive different transcriptions. Concealing and revising, again, are the means of making meaning.' So, I sanded down the plaster, layers of revisions as an underpaint and took some charcoal to Hudson's room to sketch what mattered.  I mixed my casein, pigment and limewater and painted in puddles of water at an image that doesn't look like it will. Obstacles, I love them! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Red and Yellow Leaves Love You

Behind blue brown barn presides
runner geese trip toe to pond's edge
can't help but follow the wrinkle 
of fallen fingerprints
I balance on the green slice of bank
Lower the sky to them
umber trees are ivying up and over
Lay down the screen of reflector leaves
trembling in refraction
Sigh at youth's lemon-leafed sapling
wonder at its resistance 
I am the tooth of the red acacia
gnawing urgently in scratches

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A typical Friday night

In response to a very theoretical but also provocative symposium on Involuntary Drawing: Art and Automatism yesterday, I did a bit of tangerine scanning and let it take me somewhere culminating in a book.  The lecture featured the film of Matisse drawing. The characters hover around orange.  And  this morning as I was just finished attaching the velcro to the intentionless tangerine closure, Figgy called to tell me she had a pivotal poetry lecture and that it doesn't matter what the writer (artist) intends.  We all make our own meaning, so there.

 'Intentionless Tangerine' cover
P2 &3

P 3 & 4
Back cover
Back envelope

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maybe how an idea begins to evolve

I went through my sketchbooks and gessoed out all the stuff that wasn't interesting.  In a few places I glued shapes of a different colour over dark places. The rose red was part of a paint chip I'd collected in Maine a few summers ago.  I blended a bit of bluey gouache into the gesso.This morning I woke early and found some objects that would work with the direction of the red.  The objects were not red.

Next I scanned the new image and printed it onto some cartridge paper.  I worked without reference to the objects with a Matisse book opened.

All over the place

Mail art sent to Theresa (the letter project)

Looking at Dorothy Eisner, finding an old collage and rereading Barbara Haskell's Milton Avery book,  and borowing Jane's Barbara Rae drawings, reminded me that working in all directions from a range of sources, life, drawings, photos, imagination, monotypes, collages is the way I always worked before.  I have been feeling so serious and so self-conscious, mailart the only place I feel I really play or experiment.  License.  Didn't I do my MA thesis on that? And besides aren't women born to multi-task? In the midst of all this theorising I went to a talk by Daniel Sturgis at First Site in Colchester.  Interesting but in a funny way dispiriting. Only response is to fill all the moments of doubt with frenetic making. So here is some 'bad art' or in process art that might be the stimulus for the next thing. Jeni, from UEA would be proud with my 'messiness' (Jeni thought I tidied up my thought process, revealing only semi-finished ideas in my journals).  Perhaps suffering in public is the honest way.  Or maybe I shoud have a continual bonfire ablaze?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

After the dinner party

I love when you notice something and have to stop everything and draw it.  That's what happened today. We had some friends over last night so I bought flowers and the tablecloth was still on the table. I collaged a few pieces of pastel paper onto the beige background, thinking of those picaso collages but then behaved as if I didn't have wonderful planes of flat colour and was carried away by the colour and pattern, as ever.

Responding to what's around me

Struggling with this idea of using the material our house is built of  to say something. I am using recycled frames to create the armature for the 'fresco' to live in. The problem is I have to learn how to use the new materials.  The first image is a wet fresco using lime water and pigment.  The second landscape is the same plaster that I worked on top of with casein/ lime water/putty and pigment.  I think you need to work wet, so spraying the plaster and that becomes confusing as the image is much darker, with endless ghosts.  Then there's the issue of the image itself which is hum drum... We are having grey days! I think my confusion is pretty apparent and not sure the limited palette of lime-resistant pigments will allow me to work to my strengths!  

I visited the Hepworth Wakefield earlier in the week and was utterly inspired.  Her hospital drawings are full of ideas that I might be able to translate here, but let's face it this idea will need lots more application!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Painting Dialogue

Cheryl Penn has a marvelous mail art exhibition on at the moment.  Here is the line from the essay in her online catalog that sparked an idea for me -

'Firstly, one is – or isn’t born a Postal Person.  Perhaps letter writing is genetic?  Secondly, mail art is the perfect vehicle for the dissemination of incomplete ideas and thirdly, mail art helps formulate ones own art practice – well it certainly has mine.’ Cheryl Penn

Today is my 23rd anniversary and I woke up thinking that I'm going to try using mailart (to Patrick) as a way to think about my own developing ideas on painting. We'll see how it goes but please go and look at Cheryl's catalog.  It is superb and the articles by other mail artists are wonderful too!

What I'm reading

A poet-friend of mine sent me a collection by Anna Adams.  This poem seems so relevant to all we do in mail art/ visual poetry, trashpo, etc... I keep reading it and thought some of you might like it too:


Think of caseworms in their streams
     gathering stray bric-a-brac –
     sandgrain, leafscrap, broken stick,
to disguise their tender forms:

Binding tesserae of trash
     close, to make a carapace –
     intricate mosaic face –
covering near-naked flesh.

Think of poets in the street
     finding unconsidered snatches –
     phrases overheard – for patches
to be stitched into a coat

That close-fits transparent thought.
     They obsessively construct
     intellectual artefacts,
Babel-towers to support

Flickerings of inner flame,
     shielding it from unkind winds,
     circumstances, obtuse minds,
housing fire in name on name –

Images purloined from Dream –
     using what they hear, touch, see,
     to embody mystery.
Poems swim upstream through Time,

Keeping in the present tense,
     hearing still the ever-young
     poets of archaic tongue
making one harmonious sense.

Permutations of the rhymes
     work like genes in DNA
     keeping poetry OK,
constantly renewing themes

in contemporary dress:
     Death and Love, and Love and Death,
     Poets’ truth, till our least breath,
sings our dole of consciousness.

Anna Adams: Green Resistance NEW AND SELECTED POEMS
(1996: Enitharmon)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What is an Epistolarium?

Was asked by Theresa at The Letter Project to consider the epistolarium. Monday morning I ranted: Try reading it with one breath.

Episolarium Rant

A room with a view
solarium, aquarium, agrarian
Place where ideas grow
weave, weft, hook
Paper words
between people
More practical than missiles
or pistols
Plural, equal, altered
born, hatched, spawned
Epistolarium ovarian
women words
organic shapes
Victorian? Matissian?
hothouse determination
Uprising of letters
an anti-Lariam, epistolarium
a community
of eco egos
Epicenter of postal prodding
to the edges of knowing and beyond

This morning the epistolarium woke me up. 

Epistolarium of my mind

Waking me
shaking me
sheet-shimmying me

Levitating liberating
translating my days

Hemisphere within

letters hanging
words colliding

Winking smiling
Spinning its trance

A monotype  made on a mirror (Akua Kolor and Akua Intaglio).