Written by one of my favorite authors, this is a book about
voice, silence, motherhood, family, loss and creativity. One of the highlights
of my year was seeing Terry read from it at Commonweal in May – you could hear
it too, thanks to the New
It is a rare thing in my
experience for a photography book to possess the depth of emotional content
that this one does. Rebecca Norris Webb made this series of powerful
photographs after the untimely death of her brother, and I could feel her grappling with the edge between the
living and the dying in these pictures. Her handwritten text runs throughout
the book adding personal and poetic meaning.
Chris McCaw has created a
fabulous series of photographs that are simple yet profound renderings of the
path the sun and moon make across his paper negatives – literally burning the
paper at times with the extreme length of exposure. I love how one of the very
first images has a burn mark right through the paper page as if it were one of
his prints – it’s so tactile and succinctly describes his process.
With two young girls in my
house, most of the books I read are for the 2-4 year old. Mo Willems is a master in that category.
This is my personal favorite among his many wonderful titles, because he did
something so clever in this book that breaks down the distance between the
reader and the characters of Piggie and Elephant. I will let you read it to
find it out, as it offers a good chuckle for kids and adults alike.
I am always on the look out
for a good book about the creative process -- this is my pick for 2012. It is
light-hearted in size and style, but the wisdom is spot on. One of my favorite
bits of insight was the permission to work analog even in this digital age – to
work with the tools that best suit your own rhythm. This book is one I am
keeping in the studio to flip through whenever I need a little creative
Relishing the meditative practice of handwriting envelopes, adhering postage and return address labels, and embellishing envelopes with rubber stamps...my next Open Studio card is in process today. I love the tactile process of making mail. It helps build my anticipation for my next Open Studio in Muir Beach on December 2 from 11-5. If you would like to receive a mailed invite, just send me your address.
This bottle has sat on my studio shelf for months with just an image of the ocean inside, waiting.... Today I finally picked it up, literally dusted it off, and began to form it into the piece you see here. I layered sheet music and a handwritten text about the music of the ocean. I rolled some of the sheet music into scrolls - one in the front, and three in the back. The big breakthrough for me was placing the scroll in front of the photo inside the bottle...I have never tried that before, and I really like the effect - it pushes the photo away from the glass, giving it a little more space to move. I poured in mineral oil so that the elements can move and shift together like they would if they were in the ocean's water. It still needs to have its lid adhered with silicone, and then I will take a more professional photo, but for now I just wanted to share the progress made today.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how nothing is wasted...there are so many ideas I have for art, so many objects and images I collect in my studio, and all in due time the parts come together to form new art. The trick is patience. This piece reminds me that completion is not a race, but rather a gentle allowing and trusting my own timing.
I am getting ready for my next exhibition called "Art Plus Life," a group exhibition at a really lovely venue. Commonweal is a center for healing, research, and inspiration in Bolinas, CA. I will exhibiting some of my large-scale mixed media collages from Milagros. In this series, I photographed people's arms and asked them to write a wish for a positive change or miracle in their life, and then I created a collage combining the two with the intention of creating a visual affirmation of that wish. Pictured here is one of my pieces in the "Art + Life" exhibit - called "Kindness". And if you look closely at the original you will find the handwritten wish in the forearm, stating "What about kindness becoming infectiously popular - among close relations and strangers - unknown kindness mischief." I am so delighted to be showing this series at a place so committed to transformation and healing. I hope that if you are in the area, you will get a chance to see the exhibit.
Today I am working away in the studio getting ready for my next Open Studio happening Saturday & Sunday, April 28 & 29, 10am-4pm each day. I always look forward to these events for a few reasons...
1) I get the opportunity to share my art and process in person, face to face. Having events like this in my studio makes it easy to show my working methods, techniques, and sources of inspiration. I love the feedback, good conversation, and sense of being connected to others who appreciate creative work.
2) I get to collaborate with my wonderful neighbors, Wendy Johnson and Peter Rudnick who host an Open Garden and Plant Sale at the same time. Wendy and Peter used to run the gardens at Green Gulch and are masters at farming and cultivating the soil. Hosting this event with them enhances the feeling of neighborhood & community. 3) It's a family friendly art event. As an artist and a mother, I love that this event integrates those two roles. My young daughters are here with me, kids come and play outside, and there are art supplies for them to explore. Last time, children painted pots at my studio and then took them over to Peter and Wendy's for soil and seed. I think we will be doing that again this time.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, it would be lovely to have you come by for tea and treats, fine art, and springtime plants. See details below.
Muir Beach Open Studio & Spring Plant Sale Saturday & Sunday, April 28 & 29, 10am-4pm 1795 & 1815 Shoreline Hwy, Muir Beach, CA Click here for directions
It was a wonderful surprise this past week to get an email query from a Mills College student about this piece pictured here called Nocturne. She is is helping to put together an exhibit from the collection of Lenore Pereira & Rich Niles which will open on April 14 in San Francisco. It is really delightful to hear out of the blue that my work is going to be shown publicly. Once a piece sells and leaves my domain, it finds a new home and depending on the circumstances, I may not even know where that is. This mixed media collage now dwells in some great company in a private collection focused on contemporary women artists. This exhibit, called Femmescapes, "explores the relationship of a woman’s place in the environment, woman as environment, and the environment as woman." It features artists including Ann Hamilton, Louise Bourgeois, Lisa Kokin, Ana Mendieta, and Kiki Smith - wow!
Nocturne was created in 1999 as part of my series Mapping the Body, in which I explored the emotions & experiences housed within the body. Here I layered kodalith transparency over sheet music (a Chopin Nocturne), torn paper and skeletonized magnolia leaves. Nocturne depicts that chrysalis state right before flight - the egg hatching and wings ready. While making this piece, I was thinking a lot about the experiences in life that crack us open - both the joyful ones and the very painful ones. That cracking can be quite uncomfortable, but ultimately yields access to a new territory within oneself...a new sense of self...a new internal rhythm or hum.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and would like to see this exhibition, here is some more information:
FEMMESCAPES An exhibition featuring work from the collection of Lenore Pereira & Rich Niles curated by students in the Mills College Museum Studies Workshop Opening Reception: Saturday, April 14, 2012, 6–8 pm Exhibition Dates: Saturdays & Sundays, April 15 - May 6, 2012,11am–5pm Location: 70 South Park, San Francisco, CA, 94107 Learn more by clicking here
I am gearing up for my first art show of the new year - wrapping up art today and creating inventory lists to send off a number of pieces from the Sanctuary and Bottle Dreams series for a group photography exhibit at the newly-opened Stinson Beach Gallery. I will be at the reception on Saturday, February 11, and I will even be giving a short presentation about my work at 4pm that same day. It would be wonderful to have you come to see the show if you are in the Bay Area.
I am a mixed media photographer and a lover of old maps, surrealism, the ocean, and the body’s wealth of wisdom. I started this blog in 2007 to chronicle my experiences in my actual art studio, but overtime have come to learn that the studio has no boundaries. Wherever I am being creative is my studio. Here you can learn more about my sources of inspiration, new work in progress, playful projects with my young daughters, and more. Enjoy!