Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Habit of Painting

“Habit is more powerful than will. If you get in the habit of painting every day, nothing will keep you from painting.”
-Irwin Greenberg 

"Enduring Dance" 40" x 40" work on canvas

"Enduring Dance" 40" x 40" work on canvas

The change in the weather and the change in the household inhabitants has encouraged me to re-establish my studio habits and focus on the upcoming fall events. Starting with a good scrub down of the space and an inventory of what is needed, I have happily fallen back into my workday habit. I am not sure that habit is really the best word to describe what I do, it is more a passion, drive, need, desire, necessity or all of the above. I have a long established pattern of the workday week. I choose to keep the weekends free for family time. I get a lot done and I allow myself time to regroup and renew on the weekends without the inner voices telling me “I should be painting”. It works for me. I do have to admit, that I did sneak out and go to the beach for a few hours this past week – it is just too beautiful not to catch those last few waning days of summer. I see that beach time as a gift and nourishment for the soul. Hey, isn’t that the beauty of working independently?

I have a lot of exhibitions on the horizon. I just was asked to be a part of an invitational abstract show on Martha’s Vineyard called “Vineyard Artists’ Abstractions: Creating New Perspectives”  will take place at the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven, MA, October 3 – 18, 2009. I am also slated to be in a show titled “Heavy Metal, Metalwork and Abstractions”  at the Water Street Gallery in Douglas, Michigan. This show opens October 10, and runs through November 11, 2009. There are also 3 festivals that I will be participating in this October; the 48th Annual Armonk Outdoor Art Show, in Armonk, NY, October 3 & 4. The 28th Annual Outdoor Arts Festival of the Bruce Museum, in Greenwich, CT, October 10 & 11 and The Gracie Square Art Show at Carl Schurz Park in New York City, October 17 & 18. Things are busy here and that is always a bit of a motivating factor. More important for me is getting into the habit of painting again. Summer is wonderful, and I do get things done, but real focus time seems to come in the fall. I look forward to the adventure…

“Painting is an adventure to an unknown world. New ideas and concepts develop along the way.”  –Ratindra Das

Painting is available .

More information on shows listed checkout my exhibition schedule.

Different Methods of Expression

“Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”
-Pablo Picasso

I don’t generally participate in a lot of themed shows. Shows that have a specific theme are often a bit tricky for non-representational work. Interestingly enough, I found myself working this past summer on pieces for two such shows – both will open in September.

The Twitter 140 Art Show

I am pleased to be a part of the Twitter 140 show which debuts at Grandon Art Gallery, Flagstaff, Arizona, with a reception this evening September 4, 2009. The Twitter 140 show is a collection of 24 international artists from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. The show was the brainchild of Sheree Rensel whom I met through the twitter network. She has worked tirelessly to pull together this eclectic group of artists for this exciting and unique exhibition. Ms. Rensel states, We have organized a diverse and unique group of artists whose work reflects technology and the use of Twitter. Twitter messages have to be 140 characters or less. Therefore, all works in our show are 140 square inches or less. The same with each artist’s statement and bio. All contain 140 characters or less.” Visit the Grandon Art Gallery site to view the works of this interesting group.

Grandon Art Gallery
20 N Leroux St
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Opening September 4, 2009
Exhibition: 4 – 30 September 2009

A BOOK ABOUT DEATH

deborah-colter

Another fascinating show that I am pleased to be a part of is taking place at The Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery in New York City. As stated in the open call for this exhibit: “A BOOK ABOUT DEATH is an open, unbound book produced by artists worldwide. Artists are invited to create a “page” in the form of a postcard about death – any aspect about death. Works can be of any design, personal or conceptual, color or black and white. A BOOK ABOUT DEATH takes its inspiration from the late, underground American artist Ray Johnson (1927 – 1995). Ray Johnson’s unbound “book” of the same title was mailed to his New York Correspondence School “students” and included pages in his idiosyncratic style that were funny, sad and ironic “one-page essays” on death.  With the A BOOK ABOUT DEATH project, artists are invited to plunge into subject in creating their own pages that score the dramatic final dance of death.”

deborah-colter-1Through the process of putting together a piece for this show I found the feelings surrounding the loss of a loved one to be overwhelming and complicated. There are many, many facets of this difficult subject and to create a piece that had the deepth of meaning for me was a huge challenge. The confines of the postcard format and the simplicity of typing his story lead to the piece I am contributing.

There are some amazingly powerful works in this exhibit and they are all on view at the Gallery and online. I hope to be able to get in to New York to see the Show.

Emily Harvey Foundation Gallery
537 Broadway
New York City, New York 10012 USA
Opening, Thursday, 10 September 2009.
Exhibition: 10 – 22 September 2009.

“Selecting a challenge and meeting it creates a sense of self-empowerment that becomes the ground for further successful challenges.”
-Julia Cameron

*Thank you to Moshe Mikanovsky wrote an article mentioning this post! It has been published at EmptyEasel.com and on his Art Blog 9/28/09.

10/7/09 – I just found out that the MoMA (New York) now has a complete set of the works from A Book About Death. The pieces were compiled for the Museum by Deven Marriner.

In Search of a Reality

“In the process of making a painting in an abstract way, the painter is in search of a reality. Not one of realistic objects, but of the complete end result. The painting is experienced as a whole, and must evoke in the painter the absolute conviction that this is how it should be and no other way.”
Paul Burlin

"Making Things Happen"  36" x 40" work on canvas

"Making Things Happen" 36" x 40" work on canvas

“What do you think about while you paint? Or are you transfixed by the process? Do you daydream? If so, does it affect the painting? When you say collage, do you mean you apply objects like paper to the canvas before you paint? I’d also be interested in what inspires you to choose colors each time. I love these colors. The blue is special in this one. Is it cobalt? I think cobalt has special power to affect the emotions.” Diana Maus recently posted these questions in a comment from an early blog post (6/13/08) of mine. Well Diane, here goes… 

What do you think about while you paint? When I paint I think about everything and nothing at the same time. I try desperately to empty my mind of the day to day mundane stuff that piles up (my everything thoughts). To free myself as much as possible from the constant brain chatter (another blog subject) and allow myself to be transfixed on the process. Not easy – as I am sure you know. I don’t believe we can ever truly shut out what is happening in our lives, but when I am painting, the process does consume my being and yes, it is an astonishing experience. 

Do you daydream? If so, does it affect the painting? Daydream – as a verb daydream is “to indulge in a series of thoughts” Yes, I daydream. I believe that I do indulge in allowing my thoughts to wander freely as I work (my nothing thoughts).  I allow myself to transcend to a level of consciousness that frees me to paint without inhibition. I think this level of daydreaming does affect my work in a positive way. There are days when it is easier to reach this consciousness level than others of course!  

When you say collage, do you mean you apply objects like paper to the canvas before you paint? I incorporate paper – cut & torn, canvas, screen, etc. all through the process. Collaging, or applying them into the surfaces as I work. Before during and occasionally at the end. Some are buried and some stay visible – it really depends on the piece and it’s needs. 

I’d also be interested in what inspires you to choose colors each time?  All color is an inspiration to me. What inspires me to choose a color is often a process of challenging myself within the work. I choose colors at random and deliberately. Putting a color next to another color will change the whole balance of a piece. I love that surprise and it offers me the challenge of resolving the work through process of painting with even more color!  I love these colors. (Diane was asking about “On the Edge” shown below)  I too am in love with color and the power that it has to stop me in my tracks. The blue is special in this one. Is it cobalt? I think cobalt has special power to affect the emotions. I believe there is cobalt blue in this painting along with many other colors and shades of blue. I think all colors have that power to affect the emotions.

"On the Edge" 60" x 48" work on canvas

"On the Edge" 60" x 48"

I bet a lot of people would be interested in what goes through your mind in the studio. As I’ve said before, your work has an emotional impact. I’m curious if that comes from you indirectly or if you are purely working in the abstract?  Not really sure where to go on this question Diane. I am flattered that you feel people would be interested in knowing what goes on in my head. Personally, I am not sure I want to know! I am afraid there are somethings that just can not be put into words. I paint; it is what I do. I would like to believe that my work is an extension of my soul. That the paintings  I create, directly or indirectly,  are the experiences of my soul and they will speak of my absolute conviction that this is how they should be and no other way. 

Thanks for asking Diane!

What you do when you paint, you take a brush full of paint, get paint on the picture, and you have faith.” – Willem de Kooning 

Paintings are available.

“I can’t always reach the image in my mind… almost never, in fact… so that the abstract image I create is not quite there, but it gets to the point where I can leave it.”  
-Chuck Close