Oct 24, 2012

texture - fern remnants

Oct 18, 2012

This is my friend Libby's shed that I drew while sitting around her backyard as she modeled a shell out of a ball of clay.  Spending time with friends while making things is my favorite way of socializing, especially when we branch out and do different things than we normally do in our studio.  

I’ve also been getting together with a writer friend but that's a bit different.  We chat before and after, but when we actually start working there’s a lovely shared silence for about an hour.  She works on her poems and I usually write in my journal,  pen an old fashioned letter (I use to be an avid letter writer before the internet, but not so much anymore), or I’ll just read.   Carving out this kind of time helps my studio life because each time I do it I pick up something, usually subconsciously, that I can carry in my pocket forever. 

Sep 9, 2012

the last few months

I'll start with this little shack in Minnesota that sits on a spring fed lake surrounded by pine and spruce trees. Here I swam, hiked, read, stared off into space, and then at night stared down into fires and out into stars.  This trip marked the end of the summer of 2012, a time when I paced around the studio with a torch in hand trying to muster up the courage to burn the fallow fields.

In June I had my first exhibition at L Ross Gallery.  The show was with Carl Moore, a  Memphis painter I've admired a long time.  We decided to title the show "I Can See Your House From the Highway" as a nod to the experience of two painters living in the same town and witnessing each other's evolution over time.  It speaks to the experience of making art alone and making art within a community.

The paintings for this show came pouring out last winter and spring with such abundance that I assumed the momentum would sustain itself throughout the summer.  Well, it didn't.  Instead, I stopped dead in my tracks as everything came to a screeching halt.  Even though I know that sometimes this is a necessary part of the life cycle of a studio practice, the whole thing just made me mad and uncomfortable. Since I didn't have much control over the stand still, I decided to relax a bit and let it happen. I slashed and burned by tearing things apart and putting them back together - sifting, sorting, cleaning, and  lots of staring off into space in the middle of it all. 

It feels good to look back on this work after a few months of going inward. This year marks ten years of painting abstraction and these pieces represent the culmination of that time and focus. When I set out to make them my intention was simply to stand on the shoulders of my own discoveries these past ten years and see what happens.  

A closer look...

The Anchored, 34" x 38"

Everyone is Involved, 48" x 48" 

No Two Days Sound the Same, 60" x 36" 

The Next Three Days, 38" x 34"
 She Told Me Her Story, 24" x 24"

 McLemore Avenue, 24" x 24"

The Pillow You Dream On, 18" x 18"

 Our Morning Walk Around, 18" x 18"

The Unsayable, 18" x 18"

A shift is happening in my studio that's hard to put words around, so I won't even try.  For now, I'll keep showing up, read, be engaged in my community and talk with other artists, stare off into space, play with materials, play in general, and soon something will sprout out from those burned up fields.

Apr 24, 2012

Apr 18, 2012

Mar 3, 2012

project sketchbook


Thank you Rozelle Artists Guild for letting us play in your sandbox!

Mar 1, 2012

Feb 26, 2012

ritual and color in ladies home journal

Some years before I was born my mother would get ready in this room.  I’ve always loved to watch people groom – comb their hair, put on perfume, shave, tie a tie. When I was  little I’d sit on the edge of the tub transfixed as I watched her transform on Saturday nights before she and my Dad would go out.  I recently made art about that feeling of getting lost in that particular type of watching.
This piece came about when Dwayne Butcher asked me to be in a collaboration show called Memphis Connections that he was curating at Marshall Arts Gallery.   I wasn’t sure who I was going to ask to collaborate with when one day I was having lunch at my house with my old friend Brian Pera and I realized that my collaborator was sitting right across from me.  (Brian writes about the collaboration here.)

For many years now we’ve stood on the sidelines of each other’s creative life cheering one another on.   Brian started out as a writer and has taken his love for story telling one step further into filmmaking.  Whenever we need honest feedback about our work we turn to one another.   Color is important to both of us, often rising to the level of a character in my paintings and his films.  One source of our pallettes comes from women's magazines from the 1950s and 60s. 
As we sat at my dining room table brainstorming about what we could make, I said I was curious about doing an installation about grooming and to somehow wrap that ritual in the rich colors of his movies. 

We started by looking at my collection of old magazines.

Then we picked a palette.

Once we had the colors, I made these backdrops.
And then it was time to shoot.  Here's Brian rigging up the lights.
We thought of all the women we know that might be willing to stare into a camera, brush their hair, and put on makeup one Monday evening.   We were very lucky to get Savannah Bearden, Betsy Taylor, Jessica Buttermore and Autumn Potter.  Also, Brian’s great DP Ryan Parker shot it for us.
When it came time to make the installation, we knew we wanted to create a sense of living space, so we decided to paint the wall of the gallery a buttery yellow, as well as a dresser and a frame for the monitor.   A floral stencil was a must. 
Here I am doing some last minute touches in the gallery.
And here it is installed.

Brian came up with the perfect title Ladies Home Journal.  He also scored the music.  I feel like the piece was a success because at the opening people would get lost in it much like I did as a kid when I'd zone out into watching my mom get ready. 

Right now we're back in our own worlds.  I'm working steadily in my studio and he's in the midst of pre-production on a new feature he's shooting soon called "Only Child".  I know that Ladies Home Journal will find it's way into our new work.  How could it not?