Sunday, April 26, 2015

Change



Although I've used photoshop for years, I've only touched very lightly on what it can do.  Kind of like having a Porsche in the garage that you go and sit in, turning the steering wheel ever so slightly as you pretend to accelerate through a tricky hairpin curve at 90 mph.  But things have changed.  I decided this past year that I would learn more photoshop, and I've set about doing so.

Along with years of expensive continuing ed classes, I have picked up ways to use the different PS tools from many places, most recently, signing up for Lynda, the online IT learning program.  Along the way, I also picked up Painter by Corel, a kind of a fun, slightly trashy version of photoshop, and have learned to do more with my large Epson printer, having had numerous semi-heart stopping events where I got paper caught in the feed and the printer head made horrible grinding noises.  And lastly, I recently purchased an Intuos tablet to draw with, an event with another big learning curve.

With all of this, I have entered a brave new world, one with limitless possibilities.  I can now, by scanning my backgrounds, make different versions of the same image, and not lose my paintings in the process.  I can make an image entirely in Photoshop or Corel Paint, and then be able to make as many as I want, not just the one of a kinds that I've always done in the past.  I can do DASS transfers onto a panel, and if it doesn't work out, I can just print up another transfer and try it on something else.  My final image can live on in many ways:
1. on the screen only
2. as a "photo" on real photo paper
3. as a print on canvas, stretched or mounted on a panel
4. as a print, adhered onto a panel, then painted on to alter the surface.
5. lastly, the final image can be small, or huge, if I want to pay to have it printed out by a professional.

 I'm still learning and trying to figure things out.  Sometimes I go to bed at night with my head full of possibilities, other days, when I look at what I've done I think, "Crap, just a bunch of crap"--but-- interesting crap nonetheless.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ted Kuykendall 1953-2009

For years, Jim Kraft and Judy Booth's place in the South Valley was a refuge for many artists in the Albuquerque area, Ted Kuykendall and I among them, which is where I first met Ted.  Ted and I  were never close friends, but I admired and respected his work tremendously. At one point, when I was pregnant and didn't want to be in the darkroom, he developed a series of large prints for me that I later painted on.

Ted had the thing--he was the real deal.  His work came from a place that was unknown, only to be made visible as Ted did magic with his camera and darkroom chemistry. Of the work I'm familiar with, all have a sense of troubling oddness, as if we could briefly get a snapshot into his strange and dark dreams.  They are strange and unsettling, but quietly so.  His craft was his own, combining multiple images and then using chemistry to alter the surfaces.

Ted died in 2009 at the age of 56.  He had a heart condition.  His life hadn't been easy, and he worked primarily as a carpenter and a cabinetmaker. He seemed to never have had much money and lived  hand to mouth at times, yet he always continued to make work, and the quality and craftsmanship were superb.

Recently, while browsing on the photo-eye website and I came across some of Ted's images http://www.photoeye.com/templates/mSearchShowcasePowerSearch.cfm?keyword=ted+kuykendall&x=6&y=7 .  I was reminded of how much I had liked his work, and reminded, also, of what little commercial success Ted had had in his lifetime.  Few people knew /know his work. He was so very good, and yet so very under appreciated. History still has to write Ted's legacy and my hope is that his place in the world of fine art photography will end up at the very top.

*A lovely piece about Ted and his work by Stephen Fleming, Director of the Roswell Artists in Residence Program  http://www.rair.org/MarshellGallery-Kuykendall.htm

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Davis 2015


 
One of my students this past year happened to be Connie Carpenter, known, among other things,  for being the first woman to win an Olympic Gold medal in cycling.  She took two--three week workshops with me, and during that time I had the great pleasure of getting to know her and her husband, Daivs Phinney.  Davis, also an Olympic cyclist, has Parkinson's Disease. The Carpenter-Phinneys have a foundation http://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/?gclid=CjwKEAjw0LmoBRDHuo7UkaKXhn8SJADmDTG0tleCTBId9_KYZ-rZruyjHNMtPhwu-6LOnb2S1A4WbRoCKkLw_wcB and that's where most of their time and energy goes.

I asked Davis to pose for me after I saw him changing his shirt one morning in the parking lot of the Aspen Country club(Connie, Davis, and I had spent the morning cross country skiing on the groomed tracks of the golf course).  In addition to having a great torso, he has a small device, the size of a pack of cigarettes, inserted under his skin on the right side of his chest.  Wires travel from the device up to his brain and help regulate the tremors caused by his PD. It was wonderful in a futuristic, bionic kind of a way.

In the short time I had getting to know Davis, he became my hero.  This is a man whose life was  taken off course in a pretty severe way, a world class athlete whose athleticism was his passion, his profession, and his connection to the world.  He had the flexibility to just change lanes and continue on, making whatever adjustments he had to to continue to live his life as fully as possible--a life full of humor, warmth, and generosity. As I age, and  see and understand the difficulties of illness in myself and in those around me, I think of Davis and the gift he has given me, the gift of seeing how it's done when the going gets tough.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Being Told 2012

On a recent bike ride with my husband, I noticed that his rear tire was wobbly--very wobbly.  Later that week,  I took the tire into the bike shop to have it looked at, and it was as we had surmised--a broken spoke. I asked the owner of the shop if we had caused it to break in some way, and he assured me that it just happens.  Then I said, "Darn, I was hoping to blame it on my husband", and in unison, all three of the bicycle repair guys in the shop replied, "Oh, it was his fault!" I remarked that they were awfully quick to jump on the husband blame wagon, and one of them said, "It's always the husband's fault", and we all laughed--a universal truth.

That's what this painting is about:  what TV sitcoms like Everyone Loves Raymond, and the new Last Man on Earth base episode after episode on.  The small nagging, female voice.  The large, unaware, "innocent" male counterpart.  The female confronting the male, the male denying culpability, the female not letting him off the hook and, whether he will admit it or not, the male knowing she's right.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MIxed Up Face 2015

Lowbrow, or lowbrow art,[1] describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. It is a populist art movement with its cultural roots in underground comix, punk music, and hot-rod cultures of the street. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor – sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it is a sarcastic comment.     Wikipedia

At the Yuma Art Symposium last week, I went to a talk by a ceramic artist named Max Lehman   http://www.maxdna.com/#!   The work was fun to look at, full of references to Mayan Art, Mexican folklore, bunnies, cars, and skeletons.  Max went into the influence that Pop Surrealism had on his work, and showed images by Pop Surrealists such as Mark Ryden and Gary Baseman. When the talk was over, I felt discouraged, feeling that that my art was old and dated, the words "fuddy duddy" springing to mind.  Some raw nerve had been touched, some part of me that felt out of step and unloved.  Even though Pop Surrealism was old news by now, I still couldn't get over the feeling that I wasn't doing work that spoke to a younger generation, work that was cynical and clever, droll, and complex.

I thought a lot about this Pop Surrealist thing, this feeling I had of not being current for the rest of my stay in Yuma.  I then brought these thoughts back to New Mexico to ponder and chew over.  Today, when I came out to the studio, I felt as if I were looking at my work with new eyes. Interestingly, I found the  work to be very compelling--much better than I had remembered.  Perhaps not clever or cynical, but certainly complex and not like anything I've ever seen before. There was honesty, and an attempt to make and do things I hadn't done or known how to do before.  I don't know exactly why I needed to beat up on myself so much in Yuma, but I suspect it was the part of me that doesn't know where I am going creatively.  That part of me was looking for a way to dodge the responsibility of not knowing, of being uncomfortable, of feeling chaotic and lost.  It was easier to substitute the known for the unknown instead of just reassuring myself that, no matter how hard it is, all would be okay.




Thursday, February 12, 2015

Pins: Yuma Art Symposium 2015

I've been invited to be a presenter at the Yuma Art Symposium http://yumaartsymposium.memberlodge.org/  later this month.  My talk will be about my work, and then I will do a short presentation on what I have become an expert at:  gluing and transfers--a very narrow field of expertise.

We are asked to bring "pins".  I wasn't quite sure what that meant, so I emailed back and forth with Janet Fine, one of the first people to tell me about Yuma. Here is what she said, " yes i can tell you about the pins...its pretty fun...a little stressful. crazy.  the first time i went i didnt get it and i made 8 super intricate pins...duh..wrong. so you get to lutes casino and folks are trading pins. all kinds..the bar is high AND low...if that makes sense....but that is not the majority. the idea is to be able to make a lot and not spend too much time. i always make the same mistake which is i make them all different and then exchanging is a long process cuz folks mull over which to take...but i guess thats what i enjoy.  So I took what Janet said to heart, and have spent the last week(am still putting the final finishes on them)putting my pins together.  They are 3"x4", on a light board with a pin glued to the back, 27 in total.  Here are some of my favorites:








Sunday, January 25, 2015

Anderson Ranch Winter 2015 Immersive Jan. 5-Jan 23.


View of the studio given to me in the basement of the painting/printmaking building during my recent teaching/working immersive at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Co.  I had half of the printmaking complex, the other half(through the door at the far end)housing the presses, large digital printer, and flat files.  My studio was the classroom for printmaking--an ideal studio since there was no immersive in printmaking(I was there as the photo/new media instructor).   Lots of tables(high, good for standing) and glass surfaces all along both walls, ideal for gluing and making a mess when painting.  My only problem with the studio was that it served as a main walkway for people going into printmaking, and I found it easier to talk to people passing through than to struggle with my images.  I worked with students in the mornings and then had the afternoon and evening to work on my own.  At the end of each of the three weeks we were there I would invite my students to come down and check on my progress.  I had hoped to conquer the DASS transfer process, so brought materials to support that effort:  paint, brushes, panels, DASS super sauce, DASS transparencies, and access to my photographs files via on-line backup. I also had a Mac computer and an Epson 3880 to print with.


East wall with cellutex so that I could easiily put up work to look at with push pins.  Works developing using DASS transfer techniques along with an ink wash face that developed from across the room as I looked at my paintings lined up against the opposite wall.  It became the face of a bear surrounded by dots(lower right).  I had hoped to improve my photoshop skills, and managed to learn quite a few new things from one of my students, Mark Tucker, and from my friend, Kathy Honea, another digital immigrant.
Finished piece:  DASS transfer over painting.  Wash bear face on the left(with spots).
"
Opposite wall with developing paintings, some finished, some maybe, maybe not.  All still working with DASS transfer process which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't.  I'm never quite sure why the non successful don't work, and am often surprised at how the transfers look when they are on the transparencies as opposed to when they have actually been transferred.  Again, sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  Below is a composite of two paintings with a hawk uniiting the two.  Done on a new kind of paper ordered from Dick Blick, a kind of faux carboard meant to be painted on, either oil or water based.  Nice stuff.

 I won't know the success of the images I did during my time at Anderson Ranch until I have them up, have sat with them awhile, and have looked at them through the critical eyes of my husband, Bob.  They are different than what I usually do, so am having to look at the work with new eyes.