Lois Dodd: Painting the Ordinary World Around Her

Snow, Tree, Window
One of my favorite Lois Dodd pieces is “Snow, Tree, Window,” 2014. It is so quiet in its simplicity.

One of my favorite living landscape painters is Lois Dodd. I first learned about her through her affiliation with Cooper Union. Now 80-years old, Dodd still delights in the ordinary. Catch her New York show if you can. It runs through April 4th.

Photo credit: Alexandre Gallery

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Confinement and Creativitiy

Al Weiwei in Alcatraz
Ai Wei Wei’s Dragon at Alcatraz (photo credit madashl, 2014)

Ai Wei Wei at Alcatraz.

I’m going to see this show next week and I cannot wait! If you are in the Bay Area, try to see it.

http://www.parksconservancy.org/about/publications/multimedia/ai-weiwei.html

 

Exhibition Review: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz
A prison cell at Alcatraz (Photo credit Architectural Record, 2014)

 

Writing an Artist’s Statement Is Hard!

Posing2For the past six weeks I’ve been slaving over my artist’s statement. It turns out you’re not a real professional unless you have one. I looked at other artists’ statements, and didn’t see any that I liked. They were so hifaluting (spelling?), filled with art-speak and treated me as if I was too much of an imbecile to figure out what their work was about. It was maddening.

An honest explanation of why you do what you do takes real brain work. You really have to turn your noggin on and think, think, think.The best analogy I can think of is the genius of a small child caught in a lie. You call them on it and ask, “Why did you do it?” And what do you get from the kid? A little face all scrunched up as (s)he tries to think up yet another lie to cover the first one. You watch that little genius face at work and you just know that you are about to get a fantastically unbelievable story about how they didn’t actually do what you just saw them do. It takes that kind of brain power to write you own artist’s statement. No easy task that. So here now, is my explanation of why I create and how and what I create. Your comments, suggestions, criticisms are all welcome.

*****          *****          *****

Color is My Personal Symbolism

Jamaica’s Blue Mountains did it and now the Bay Area’s ridges and valleys are doing it again! Colors unfold, vibrant and vivid, take hold and send me rushing to my studio where I feverishly squeeze paints from tubes, freeing images I have conjured up during my mountain and coastal hikes.

      Often you will find me sketching atop a grassy mountain knoll or on a dune at Ano Nuevo. From my perch I draw things I encounter during my hikes — plants, insects, birds or the scenery before me. If I sight a coyote, badger or mountain lion, I sketch as quickly as I can, trying to capture it before it heads for cover in the woods.

      In the studio, sketches transform into paintings: there are today’s golden California poppies, ruby throated hummingbirds and green, brown and gold Bay Area hills; and there are yesterday’s women ambling through Blue Mountain towns. The outcome is my highly texturized process paintings and detailed miniatures.

      Recycled bits of metal, scraps, feathers and straw are given new life in my works. I fold them into gessoed surfaces then bathe them in paints, pigments and inks. Some paintings are whimsical; others move from the realm of the real to the unreal. A woman, for example, can be transformed into a California Quail.

      Unsurprisingly, the unifying thread throughout my works is the sun infused colors of  the Caribbean and California. I could not have created these paintings without these two muses. I nod in appreciation to both.

 

Professionally Yours

From the series, The Two, or California Loving

From the series, The Two, or California Loving

I’ve been working on my series of postcards and paintings. I have also written my Artist’s Biography and am almost through writing my Artist’s Statement. Tonight my Website went live. You can view it here. If you are up to giving feedback, it will be appreciated. Thanks for reading my posts.

 

After the Celestial Axe

After the Celestial Axe - detail
photo credit: drue.net

Photographs and a short video of After the Celestial Axe (see my April 2013 article, “New Sculpture at Djerassi“), are now available at the artist’s site, drue.net. My own personal encounter with the sculpture won’t be until the end of summer, when I lead an outdoor art hike at Djerassi.

After the Celestial Axe is beautiful and changes constantly, as is to be expected of mirrors placed outdoors. They capture the changing landscape, from moving clouds and shaking tree limbs to light and dark. The nature lover in me is concerned about the potential hazard to wildlife, particularly birds. You can hear them chirping in the video. I cannot imagine what the blinding light does to them when the sun hits the piece. (There are 27 parts to this sculpture!) And how do the other animals fare with this glare? There are deer and bobcat, for example, in this area. What is the effect on them?

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