Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Fresh Stack of Invitations

Sitting here with morning coffee and a fresh stack of invitations to my upcoming exhibit at the Center for Photographic Art in Carmel, CA. My husband (good guy that he is) delivered 59 pieces from Mapping the Body and Milagros to them yesterday and picked up 200 invites for me. Labeling and stamping them will keep my hands busy while watching tomorrow night’s Academy Awards.

One of the nice things about this exhibit is that because it is at a non-profit (rather than a commercial) gallery, I am able to include some artist proofs from editions that have sold out and a few pieces borrowed from collectors. So pieces like Release, Crescendo, Territory, Union, and Nocturne will be able to be in the public eye again.

I will be driving down for the show, which opens on Friday, March 14. At 5pm that night, I will give a gallery walk-through, followed by a reception from 6-8pm. If you are in the area, it would be great to see you there.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"The Power of Whimsy"

I almost missed this. Fortunately my mom mentioned it to me, and how it had inspired her and my father. And so I rifled through the large stack of last Sunday’s NY Times to find an article on Sandra Boynton called “The Power of Whimsy” gracing the front page of the business section. Boynton (picture here) has spent the last 30+ years creating greeting cards, children’s books, music cd’s, and more that all share her fresh and quirky vision. As a 12-13 year old, I loved her cards with messages like “Things are getting worse – please send chocolate” or a birthday card with animals proclaiming “Hippo Birdy Two Ewes.” This article offers a nice overview of the life and work of a woman who had made me chuckle as a kid.

Above all, it is really refreshing to see an artist on the cover of the business section and to find her speaking about focusing on the creative process first, and money second. As she says, “To me, the commodity that we consistently overvalue is money and what we undervalue is our precious and irreplaceable time.” Or as the article’s author, Phyllis Korki, explains, “As an entrepreneur, Ms. Boynton maintains a firm grasp on market realities and her finances, but she has refused to make money her main objective. Instead she has focused on the creative process, her artistic autonomy, her relationships and how she uses her time.” The article reveals her to be a woman with a keen sense of business – even as young as her early twenties, Boynton was savy enough to ask for royalties from the company who first picked up her illustrations for their greeting cards, and good thing too as these cards had an unprecedented level of success. Simultaneously she is also a woman who won’t agree to overmerchandizing her characters, and keeps her business intimate, manageable, and ultimately more enjoyable for her. Quality of life really guides her decisions, not greed. What a great message to find on page one of the business section of a mainstream paper like the NY Times. It gives me hope that artists can be part of shapeshifting the values of our culture toward something more holistic – a world in which money is just one measure of success along with time, connection, and even whimsy.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Spotting Sanctuary

I spent several days this past week absorbed in the computer, prepping files for printing new images in the Sanctuary series (like this one here). There was something so absorbing and meditative about the process of spotting out dust and light reflections. And there was also the overwhelm of the infinite choices one has to make working in Photoshop - the marvels of technology open the door to so many, many options. In the end, it is the accumulation of all these myriad choices that create the artwork - which image to bottle, which bottle piece to photograph, which digital file to print, which light flecks to leave, which to spot, which degree of color shift to make.... In the end, it is really about releasing perfectionism and trusting instinct - until that magic moment when the piece coalesces and becomes Sanctuary for me.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

JFKU Faculty Exhibit and Open House

Over the past two years, I have been teaching photography courses at JFK University in Berkeley, CA. This Saturday, February 9, JFKU is having an Open House and a reception for the faculty art exhibit. Here you can see my contribution to the show - works from Sanctuary and Evocations - as well as a book in the foreground by the wonderful mixed media artist Lisa Kokin. This group exhibit will be up until February 16. For more info, please click here.

On Saturday afternoon, there will be an Open House that gives an overview of the arts program at JFKU. As part of this event, I will be reviewing portfolios and giving a short artist talk. For more details or to sign up for this event, please click here or call 510-649-0499.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shifting Rhythms

One of the benefits of the creative life is being able to shift my working rhythm in response to new opportunities and internal needs. The new year has already offered me the experience of changing pace several times. January started out fast and furious with teaching a new class at JFK University and planning for upcoming exhibitions. Then mid month, I shifted into vacation mode, traveling to Florida with my husband to visit his parents. There I shed the detail-minded thinking of my professional life in lieu of an enhanced focus on the present moment – fishing in the mangroves, piecing together a butterfly puzzle, reading one novel and then another, and napping most afternoons. I did a little shooting while there, taking photographs like this one while wading in shallow water, fishing for red fish. Maybe the memory of that cloud-covered morning will make its way into a Bottle Dreams piece someday.

Upon returning home, life looks so fresh and new. I have used the time change of three hours as an impetus to get up earlier, rising by 7am to greet the day, thereby gaining another hour or so of work time in the morning, which has always been my most effective creative time. Shifting something as simple as the time I rise creates a new spark of energy. Eventually, I expect this new rhythm to give way to another sense of timing and pace (the creative spirit loves variety), but for now I am enjoying the crispness of early morning and being awake to see the sun peak over the hills of Muir Beach.