Birthing the 'Cedar Bar Shenanigans' project. - 20 Artists sharing the canvas.

I was inspired recently to send out an open call among my fellow artist students among a group of MoMA alumni peers.
I did not expect 20 artists to answer the call or that it would cross overseas but that is the diversity of online education and networks and the enthusiasm of a supportive artist group eager to participate in a creative endeavor, for which I am grateful.
The naming of the project inspired by the gatherings the NY School Ab/Ex artists had at The Cedar Bar in NY during the 50’s and 60’s.

The beginning of ‘Cedar Bar Shenanigans’ was raw when I presented the idea but I’m fortunate the process of how to get a collaborative process up and going became clearer. I learnt it is best to be clear in statement before introducing an idea to a large group and to have guidelines or boundaries in place as imagination is wide. It makes it easier when you then include personalities, cultural understandings and personal expression in the mix.
A collaboration works best if all parties are equal in importance and symbiotic in relationship.

8” x 10” double gesso’d canvas ready to send out.

8” x 10” double gesso’d canvas ready to send out.

The original idea was to circulate one painting between all the artists and see how each persons way of working affected the outcome of the whole. To understand how one persons work influence the next artists choices by means of asking each artist to record their initial impression of the work received and to state why they were altering it the way they had.
The only creative guidelines were to take inspiration from one of the Abstract Expressionist artists we had studied together at MoMA and to only hold the painting for a week in order to keep it moving in a timely manner. Of course with International participants, postal service had a role in the timeline as well but there was no hard deadline for this reason.
The medium chosen was acrylic, personally as an oil painter this was a challenge, but the fast drying time was important for the timeframe too.

After much discussion, concerns raised about cost of postage and the percentage of any one artists work that would remain with a large number working on the painting, it was decided to break the larger group of 20 artists into 4 groups of 5 artists each. This meant additional effort to prepare 4 canvases and mail to 4 artists to begin the project but resulted in a clearer definition of work from all the artists involved and more regional groupings but also quartered the time frame to conclusion of the project.

I set up a google drive for loading ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs and a word document to record artists’ impressions and intentions. This documentation would become the resource for printing the material to create a sketchbook, which will be sent to the Brooklyn Art Library for inclusion in their permanent collection to travel the world.
Here is a link to the Sketchbook project @ Brooklyn Art Library for further information.
I highly recommend artists consider purchasing a sketchbook to complete and send in to the collection. It is an exciting project and a wonderful resting place for our collaboration. It allows the project to live on in another form of collaboration between artists, sharing art with a wider audience. By purchasing a sketchbook to fill you are enabling this crowdfunded project to continue its work.

The Sketchbook on arrival.

The Sketchbook on arrival.

At present the paintings are circulating, the photo’s, impressions and intents are being collected and I look forward to compiling the sketchbook once all 4 canvases are complete. It is inspiring to see how others are interpreting the guidelines and I am delighted it has provided an opportunity to revisit some of the lessons we undertook together in our Materials and Techniques of Postwar Abstract Painting course.

During my week with the canvas, the Pacific North West experienced a once in 50 years snow storm, dumping 14”s of snow in 48hours starting February 8th. We were completely enveloped in white, a new experience for me.
During this time I heard that one of the artists we studied- Robert Ryman, died (in NYC- aged 88yrs) on the day of the storm. Ryman was known for his ‘white’ paintings, and his exploration of paint and its qualities had no formal arts training but spent 7 years as a security guard at MoMA soaking it all in.
It was a no brainer for me…I was choosing to reflect on Robert Ryman’s Techniques for my inspiration. The snow, his connection with MoMA left no doubt. I had purchased some acrylic paint for an art journal course I was undertaking and when I set out to begin my study of white I discovered one of my paints was named Snow, of course I had to choose it. It matched well with my source of inspiration as Ryman was known to like the blue tinge of a ‘cool’ white too.

Serendipitous find: Snow

Serendipitous find: Snow

As the first artist in my group, painting a white surface left plenty of room for the next artist to engage in the way they saw fit. I covered 1/2 of the canvas is very small strokes, providing a textured ground to bounce off, yet leaving enough clear space for them to play. If I was more familiar with acrylic I may have had a medium gel on hand to help with keeping the intended texture. Acrylic is plastic and therefore settles somewhat as apposed to keeping its shape the way oil paint does.
The result was a little flatter than I had hoped but after 2 layers of same, i realized it would be built on in future efforts and I had no means of leaving the house at that point as we were snowed in!

Robert Ryman inspired stokes of white.

Robert Ryman inspired stokes of white.

As first artist in my group, I was inspired with a blank canvas, my environment and the news of Ryman’s passing.
The text for my work:
Reaction
Inspired by Seattle snowfall and the infinite possibilities of our collaboration.
Intent
Everything reduced. White envelopes.
I hear the news. Robert Ryman died.
Simplicity at the forefront. Only brushstroke and paint remain.
Whispers of blue.

The paintings are in circulation for at least a month more but I am excited by the contributions already and look forward to sharing the compilation at the conclusion of this project. It will be interesting to see how each artist influenced the next and we will all be able to see the thought process and progress of the paintings as they traveled from one to the next.
I am truly grateful for all the participants in making what started out as a fun idea conceived one afternoon in my studio, into a reality connecting 20 artists with a united goal from all over the world! May it be the first of many collaborations.






The themes of each of the 'batches' of Tiny Talisman.

This post was written in Jan 2017 and archived as a draft. I found it today, January 2019.
I’m posting in honor of the project that seems to have a life of it’s own. I have not closed the fb page for this reason. https://www.facebook.com/groups/574472702738633/
There may not be many posts but when there are it counts.
I still leave #tinytalisman on my travels but I admit to often forgetting to document. It has become more of a part of my doing than my personal sharing as the project sustains itself. <3

During an interview last week regarding the R-evol-u-tion project, it was brought to my attention by the reporter that it was important to share the story of the themes of each group of Tiny Talisman that have gone out into the community. It hadn't occurred to me previously as it is part of my process and not something i thought would be of interest to anyone else. She begged to differ so I thought I would share with you.

The original 100 Talisman were created with the intention of 'ONE'. That was the theme in my head as I laid down the layers. I painted an abstract self portrait and wrote the word 'ONE' over it. The colors were candy, rainbow colors to signify inclusion of all. Then I added layers of red, white and blue paint. This was to symbolize the America we create together.

Tiny Talisman (100-200)

The second group of Talisman (100-200) begged to be green and blue with hints of orange and yellow. At the time of their creation (Nov) I felt soothing, calming colors were warranted. White was also included in the layering process as white includes all color in it's resonance. The orange and green highlights were symbolic of the spark of spirit. 

Tiny Talisman (200-300)

The next group of 200-250 are earthy tones for grounding. For helping us place our feet firmly on the ground and centering ourselves. There is still much work to be done.

The early stages of the Tiny Talisman (200-250)
Some detail applied to the 200-250 Tiny Talisman

I am now preparing another 'batch' of Talisman to go out into the community. They have begun their life as pastel shades. I am not sure what I will paint next. It is very much an intuitive process at the time of creation. 

Bainbridge Island Winter Studio Tour- Nov 30, Dec 1 & 2 -2018.

I am pleased to announce I will be a contributing artist at the Bainbridge Island Winter Studio Tour this year. It will be the first time I am sharing my new work publicly, since moving to the Island a year ago.
You can find more about the tour on the official website : BISTUDIOTOUR.COM
I have a made a selection of small work especially for this show but will also have a few of my larger works available too.

‘Secrets of the Fog in Springtime’   18” x 36” (x3) | Oil on Canvas

‘Secrets of the Fog in Springtime’
18” x 36” (x3) | Oil on Canvas

I have really enjoyed creating smaller works specifically for this Studio Tour as I most often work on larger canvas. The smaller works have been a great opportunity to unite my art journaling practice with my painting practice in the form of mixed media canvases. There will be a number of 8” x 10” and smaller works available, including framed, free standing, 2” x 3” #tinytalisman , a new offering just for the event.

‘Lifting one another’  8” x 10” | Mixed media

‘Lifting one another’
8” x 10” | Mixed media

I hope you will be able to join us in this exciting showcase of local artists work on Bainbridge.
The dates are: Nov 30th, Dec 1st and 2nd from 10am -5pm each day.
My work will be in studio 5 at the Masonic Lodge, located at 1299 Grow Ave NW.

Author and travel blogger Margaret Millmore wrote a post on the history of the tour. You can find it here: https://theislandwanderer.com/come-celebrate-35-years-of-the-bainbridge-island-winter-studio-tour/

Glenn Eure's 'Ghost Fleet Gallery' 23rd annual Self Portrait Exhibition.

I am thrilled to be participating in this years 'Ghost Fleet Gallery's Self Portrait Exhibition'. 
Glenn Eure is himself an artist and beloved personality around town, he has held this exhibition at his gallery in Nags Head, North Carolina for 23 years now.  Ghost Fleet Gallery is known as the official hub for the Arts on the Outer Banks.
Lucky for me, this years theme is 'open' as I am not a traditional painter and my figurative self portraits are humbling at best.
I am sending an abstract self portrait titled 'Inner Life'.  It consists of torn self portraits on paper and journal style writings creating a landscape of my inner world. There is a harmonious order among the seeming chaos, I think it is a very apt representation! 
The opening is set for Sunday, April 1st from 2-4pm
Ghost Fleet Gallery
210 E Driftwood St
Nags Head, North Carolina
I have heard Doug Brannon (fellow artist and friend) is catering this event, as well as having an entry in the show, so save some room at lunch for some delicious appetizers and dessert!

'Inner Life' Self Portrait 10" x 8" mixed media on Canvas

'Inner Life' Self Portrait 10" x 8" mixed media on Canvas

'In The Studio' MoMA Exhibition January 2018

In January, I had the honor of being included in MoMA's exhibition 'In The Studio' to celebrate their online learning community. A call went out from MoMA to students of the course to submit a work for inclusion, I chose my 'Homage to deKooning'. It was accepted.
I chose this work because it was the week I struggled most during the course. I didn't resonate with deKooning's work and found what I learned about his personality further distanced me from his paintings. His mixed feelings about woman were evident in his gnarly faced, angry portrayals.
Toward the end of the week while discovering his later, more simplified work I found a connection with his fluid ribbons. From memory, I believe it was as he developed suspected Alzheimers that his work became softer, something I could feel without jarring. His Woman series just made me feel angry. I suspect I am not alone. 

deKooning 'Woman I' c/o MoMA

deKooning 'Woman I' c/o MoMA


Of course our emotional response to an artist is a direct reflection of ourselves and I was willing to investigate further but was surprised at how difficult it was for me to execute a painting in the style of the 'Woman' series.
I spent all week scraping and repainting and turpentine rubbing off area's not to my liking only to repaint and try again. On the very last day I literally scrapped off most of the figure and began working more abstractly, letting my wrist guide the way with fluid strokes that came together in the final result which is more indicative of deKooning's final works. 

My 'Homage to deKooning' painting 24" x 36" Oil on canvas

My 'Homage to deKooning' painting 24" x 36" Oil on canvas

This painting really taught me a lot about myself and that's the reason I chose to submit this one. 

I didn't get to go to NY for the opening of 'In the Studio' but many of my fellow Alumni did. It was a wonderful opportunity for them to meet in person and celebrate the teachers, faculty and the journey we took together as artists with MoMA. 
I was honored to have my painting included alongside fabulous artworks made by students, exploring the style of the artists we studied from Postwar Abstract NY Painters.
 

Here is a youtube slideshow of some of some of the work shown. My own painting is at 2.06 in the clip. 

Thank you MoMA!

The images in this slideshow were created by learners enrolled in "In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting," an online by MoMA on Coursera, and were submitted to an open call for the exhibition "In the Studio: Art by MoMA's Online Learning Community," on view at MoMA January 5-22, 2018.

I'm in-between.

In the past couple of months, things changed very quickly.  I kid you not. We moved states. Literally. 
I have not had much time for painting which is most rare regardless the circumstances but I have a designated space set up to work with art journaling and related concepts and exploring how that, now, is translated in the way I see my work. 
I am changing, my work is changing.
Becoming.
I'm in-between.

'In-between'

'In-between'


My journaling time leans toward my studies with Erin Faith Allen's, courses Metamorph and Inner Space, (Love these year long workshops...you have time to dive deep)
I have learnt so much.
I've grown my disciplines, adding collage and multi media to my tool kit and my journals are becoming, it is time to start translating this expression on to canvas. 

It has been some months since I have written a post.
Life has been so busy with personal things, there hasn't been much to tell with painting. I had packed it all to move with the exception of my main journaling supplies which we kept with us when moving. It became my staple.
I am yet to begin a new series of paintings in earnest.

We have just settled our family and begun a new adventure. My painting is reflecting that and it is mostly journal oriented. 

artjournaling

artjournaling


I have decided to share the process 'of becoming' as this expression finds it's way out.
So in essence , instead of cataloguing work at the time of release with a series, I will share the journal pages as they are created, the artworks that come out of this time will be my next body of work.

I'm surprised by this evolution in mixed media but am deeply involved with the process of daily journaling, and excited at the prospect of broadening some more.
Sculpture is in my sights, as is installation pieces but first, we have some more settling in to do. Foundations are important for a long term vision. The forest is still informing me.
 

Finding personal balance.

I have to be honest and say the past few weeks have been challenging, I have found it difficult to find my balance, I seem to be either entirely optimistic and full of faith or collapsed inside of a fearful moment. I have felt true emotional exhaustion and questioned my own faith in a benevolent society but I have also felt elation and connection more profoundly than ever before.
I am so grateful for the clarity the process of painting provides me, as it is there I draw the fuel for balance-daily. 

There is definitely a shift occurring for all of humanity.
The times I have felt fear are the times I know I have been resistant to change. Deep down I believe that all is well on our planet despite the atrocities still playing out in our growth curve, I know the Universe conspires in our favor.
There is a saying that 'history repeats itself' and although it is often true, it is not steadfast or necessary that it does so.
In fact with true growth it doesn't. When we know better, we do better. 

We have reached a point in time where some patterns have come up for review and seem to be highlighted for our attention, this is not so we feel condemned to repeat the past but to awaken the knowledge that we truly create our reality with our expectation and contrast has helped discern our preferences.
That is why balance is so important now, we have a chance to create an entirely new paradigm. Where we focus our attention we add energy. Focus more on the outcome you desire rather than the problems you may perceive. 

There is always a silver lining to be found in contrast.

There is always a silver lining to be found in contrast.

It truly helps if you turn off the television and spend more time in nature and time spent creating something with joy can fill your soul with the energy needed to stay positive in those moments you feel the wobble.

I saw a wonderful movie recently called 'Arrival', it suggests time is cyclical, which is a belief I have subscribed to for some time, but time is also subject to consciousness.
We directly affect the future with our thoughts and our thoughts are changing.
They are more inclusive and oriented in community than ever before, this is changing the outcome of the cycle we may have been destined to repeat without this growth in consciousness. Just like ripples on a pond, thought waves affect reality. 

Earth tones- Tiny Talisman

Earth tones- Tiny Talisman

Sometimes the best thing you can do for others is take stock of your self love and care.  
Our outer world reflects our inner, so if you want to see change in the world, you need to find that change inside of yourself first.
The first order of the day is to find energetic sovereignty. You are the master of how you feel about anything.
It takes some getting used to because we are trained from birth to look for guidance outside of ourselves, starting with our parents, but true guidance comes from within, from your direct connection with source.
We are often so busy we don't have the space to connect with our inner self. Making time to do something you love in quietude affords you a place to connect. Some people find this in meditation or exercise, I find it in painting.
Spend some time working out where that place is provided in your life. There is much on offer when you find it.

My hope with the R-evol-u-tion project is that in making Tiny Talisman people would take a few moments out of their busy schedule to create and in doing so, may find more connection with themselves.
It is not lost on me that in taking this time to create something to gift to another, one is gifted with oneself. We are living in a powerful era, what happens next is up to you.




 

Giving...keeps on giving...

I write today so fulfilled with the R-evol-u-tion project and it has not yet been a week. It really has restored my faith that people want to be involved in positive action.

Just the idea of leaving a Tiny Talisman for someone to randomly find seems to put a smile on peoples faces! Actually going out and leaving them around town had my friend and I grinning all afternoon. We felt like a kids in on a secret, it's exciting!

Pineapple love

I happened to see a woman walking down the street where I had hung a couple of Tiny Talisman earlier, I was actually waiting to pick up my child from school. She walked past the first one after spotting it but then on spotting a second a block further, must have realized the first was not something left for someone who may had dropped it. She retrieved it from the bush and popped it in her bag to open later. It is so fascinating to see different psychology at work. It never occurred to me people would not stop and pick them up but in hindsight it makes sense. People don't really want to do the wrong thing and pick up something that is not theirs. I hope she enjoyed opening it when she could.
 

Left on a bush for someone to find.


I've opened social media pages (fb: #R-evol-u-tion and Instagram #revolution_artwithheart) for people to share their experience with this project whether it be the making, the leaving or the finding of the Tiny Talisman. I have found the members who have joined the pages are as interested in seeing the pics people post as they are in the activity...seems this giving has many layers of joy. 

Thankfully, people are sharing too as the project only grows along with those who get on board. It may have initially started with the 200 Tiny Talisman I have made but many have pledged to create and share themselves.
This is where I think it will get really exciting. We'll be able to see what different people create and hopefully some of the finders will start checking in. Of course if they don't it doesn't mean the project isn't working to make people smile, they may be social media shy or not have time or access but ultimately the idea of following the journey of the Talisman is secondary but it does add another layer of community to the project.

Removing the envelope makes for better transparency

I am truly grateful for the friends whom have helped deliver the original Talisman to area's further than I would travel on my own. It has made it so easy to get them out into the world. It takes a village. Feedback has helped me decide to remove the envelope the original Tiny Talisman were packaged in. I hope it makes the card more visible and the intent more obvious.

This is just the beginning....the Love Revolution continues...A BIG thank you to everyone for helping spread love and goodwill in our communities!


 

R-evol-u-tion project with my Tiny Talisman.

I have been painting 'Tiny Talisman' for a while now but recently I decided to create them with a special purpose in mind, to leave them for people to randomly find in my neighborhood.
The idea is to think Global and act Local. 

I truly feel it is the small acts of kindness in a day that make it good and after feeling deflated and somewhat confused the past few months I feel this is a proactive, ground roots movement that could just put a smile on people's faces and remind us how very much connected we all are to one another.

On a deeper level as an artist, it is also a way for me to do what I need to express in the world. The energy of my work is what I have to offer the world. I want to give something of myself that can have a positive effect and ripple outward to others. I have felt a little stagnant of late and this idea has given me energy to create with purpose."

 

Will you join us?

 

Getting the first 100 Tiny Talisman packaged up to leave for people to find.

Getting the first 100 Tiny Talisman packaged up to leave for people to find.


I have enlisted the help of my local meet up group, 'Spirit Sister' friends to distribute 100 Tiny Talisman created over the past two months, throughout our neighborhood this week.
My hope is that when people come across them on their travels and open the package to find the 'Tiny Talisman' that it makes them feel good and smile.

Science has proven that smiling automatically makes a person feel good as endorphins are released in the body.
I hope this project makes many people smile and a flood of endorphins for all.
It has also been proven that helping others creates a feeling of purpose and wellbeing, so this project has a two fold effect.

The recipients have a choice to keep the Talisman,  but if they decide to keep it, my hope is that they will create something to leave in the same fashion, for someone else to find in 'pay it forward fashion'.
A person who writes might leave a positive quote or a poem, some may draw, paint or even create a collage to share, in fact the possibilities are as endless as the imagination.

Painting is what I have to offer but this project is not restricted to my creative expression. In fact I sincerely hope seed groups begin and others may feel inclined to create multiple items to share themselves. This project could grow itself exponentially as seed groups form.
 

The next 100 Tiny Talisman to go out in the community.

The next 100 Tiny Talisman to go out in the community.



I would love to see what other people choose to create and leave for another too, so I created a Facebook page called  R-evol-u-tion and Instagram at revolution_artwithheart where a person can leave a comment on where they found the Talisman (not a specific location, more a description such as 'under a tree' or 'on 'a park bench') and perhaps whether they have decided to keep the Talisman or have left it in a new place for someone else to find. I have numbered the cards and would love to be able to observe how far they travel and how many times they are replaced for others. 

There is no obligation to leave a message but wouldn't it be cool to see exactly how far we can pay it forward? 
The ultimate goal is just to spread good feeling and as wide as we possibly can. It's my way of sending love out into the world and I would love it if you would join me.

We can be the change we wish to see.

#revolution. #tinytalisman

She is transformed!

I finally took the plunge and worked on a painting on canvas with the same intention as I undertake a journal spread. 

She is transformed.


I painted an abstract piece I liked very much but decided to push it further and consider it a sacrificial piece in order to satisfy the process.
Our theme for November was fire. 
I painted her, I cut her up, I sewed her back together with thread and finally set her alight.
She lives. She is transformed.
Destruction is an interesting process in itself. When you put aside the judgement of 'breaking' something, or the idea of loss in regard to what you already had created, it allows you to let go of a desired outcome in powerful way.
I often sacrifice what I have created for the pleasure of pushing further to see what comes next (as I am sure I have covered in previous posts regarding the multiple 'stopping points' an artwork has along the way of it's making) but the idea of incorporating scissors, thread and fire was new.
I wonder if I will be cutting up and burning older works I have stored in the studio now? It is somewhat addicting! 
I too feel transformed.

Connecting with my ancestors.

Through journaling I have found another portal to self discovery.
I am using art making as the medium to evoke memories of my own and unlock memories stored in my DNA because there are family members no longer on this Earth who's stories remain a mystery, as there was much they would not speak of while here. They are survivors of WWII.
My Grandparents had the courage to travel with a small child (who later became my Mother) across Europe, from The Czech Republic to Italy to board a ship bound for a foreign country (Australia) in the hopes of creating a new life.
They, along with many others, managed against all hardship to do exactly that. I am eternally grateful for the courage and faith they had in their ability and future, assuring mine.
This spread is a way for me to connect more fully to their journey. I am surprised by the depth of emotion I have felt using this process of art journaling.
The act of collaging old photographs, building and excavating layers of paint, pastel, ink and graphite, mirror the emotional digging, revealing and concealing so much more than I anticipated. It is a truly rewarding process and one that I will use as a means of expression, alongside of my daily painting practice.
 

'A Rose by any other name'

I am deeply attracted to tiles, blocks and multiples in painting. I just love the concept of many small parts that contribute to the whole. A metaphor for life really, we can appreciate the detail while still seeing the big picture.
While working on my larger paintings, I usually have a smaller, multiple work on the go at the same time. I love designing the multiples to read as one and yet be able to hang individually.
I am especially thrilled when a client purchases a set, as I create I do intend the work to be hung as one but understand available space and finance have a place when purchasing a work.
'A Rose by any other name' has been collected in it's entirety, consisting of 9 blocks @ 6"x 6". 
I hope my new collector is inspired everyday.

 

'Go forth and be kind'

I have been finding my personal balance in painting.

Restoring connection to source energy, as dialogue occurs between the canvas and the paint.    
'Go forth and be kind'  it says.

18" x 36" Oil/Canvas
2016

Detail: (This is only a detail picture not the whole painting.) 

'Go forth and be kind'