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the Tablets continue….

“THE TABLET SERIES: MORE WORDS” (detail)

On the “Clay Page” of this site I have explained a bit about the inspiration and development of the “Tablets Series.” Yesterday I completed another in the series, “More Words.” As with several of the other tablets, the overall shape suggests a cathedral window which suggests worship. Letters are spilling down the center of the tablet, maybe attempting to make more words, with tiny delicate bits of vegetation rising up below them. Of course words are the medium of expression the world relies on. I contend, along with others, that words are not necessarily the best means of expression……at least not in every instance. Is not music a universal medium that is understood in the intuitive mind, even when there are not lyrics accompanying it? So also are colors, textures and shapes used by the artist for expression.
“More Words” has a quotation from Josiah Cullen on the back:
Love bigger
Live Louder
Judge Lesser
Lift Higher
Josiah was diagnosed with severe autism in his toddlerhood. He does not speak but at age 10 or so he typed on his ipad, “God is a good gift giver.” He has continued to use his ipad to express his inspirations. The story of Josiah has been written by his mother Tahni Cullen in a book entitled JOSIAH’S FIRE. She says of him: “Autism stole his words, God gave him a voice.” When the book was recommended to me, I could not put it down. You can learn about Josiah online. He is a miraculous inspiration.
“THE TABLET SERIES: MORE WORDS: the full image can be seen on the Clay Page on this site. Thanks for reading my blog.

updating my website

I’ve been spending some time, not so much time, but energy, updating my website. It is old in “on-line” time, maybe 8-10 years old and way out of date as far as cyber world is concerned! Thanks to a loyal long time friend and her connections, the work has been done and now I’m learning the new ways…..it is not easy for me. This week I managed to delete all the paintings on the PAINTINGS page and had to send an emergency “help signal.” Fortunately she was able to restore it and remind me to be careful about what is “selected” when I “delete.” Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep my studio discipline intact along with all the other components of my schedule. I’m hoping and trusting that this updating and blogging will get to be a quick and small part of my week in the days ahead. This updating will help me stay in touch, have a better presence on the internet, and interact with people who are interested in the work I do. Meanwhile…….the tools are in readiness and so am I !

UPDATE

Revitalization!! There’s a newness here, at least it’s a newness for me. I’m making a valiant attempt to step up my awareness of today’s ways with websites. I’ve had this website for a long time but I haven’t kept current by updating to the ways it can be used so more people will find it, and also be intrigued by my works of art. Sharing my inspirations, my thoughts about the creative work I do, and showing the products which become paintings, collages, assemblages and clay works is an important aspect of what I do. Today I’m excited to extend a renewed invitation to you to come into my world of art by showing you what I have created. I welcome a response from you. We can develop a dialog, even possibly a friendship, involving my ideas about creativity and yours too!

Sacred Land
“Sacred Land” watermedia/collage, 10×10 inches

Gathering for Studio Day

The days have been blustery which causes our most-welcome pecans to fall to the roof of the house, to the yard, to the river. They are welcome wherever they fall so long as it is not on my head. This year they are plentiful and tasty! These windy days make the refuge in the studio or in the art room at the Artist Gallery inviting.

Since I taught an Innovative Watermedia/Collage workshop in October the students have wanted to continue to meet together to paint or work on their creative projects. It’s an encouraging endeavor and while the enthusiasm is lively the students will make an effort to work together every week for several weeks to get the process started and eventually  establish a monthly gathering for a studio day.Renee working

I’m wishing the best for this group and plan to participate. I know that the camaraderie that can develop will offer much encouragement to the  artists. I have my personal responses in that I love the camaraderie but I also find it a challenge to gather some materials together and go out of my amply stocked studio where everything I might need is close by, and I’m so entrenched in the solitude of working alone that I get distracted and am challenged to concentrate. Many artists thrive and are inspired by the interactions and I am too sometimes. I know one well established, mature artist who rarely paints in her studio. She produces most of her work while she is teaching and when she is painting with other artists. I’m thankful for the many ways we work and I  appreciate the unique ways of individuality.  I’m especially thrilled that my students want to continue to work together, hone their skills and encourage each other.

THE ARTIST GALLERY’S ELEVENTH ANNUAL ARTWALK

THE ARTIST GALLERY’S ELEVENTH ANNUAL ARTWALK: FELIZ NAVIDAD
This year the team at the Artist Gallery decided on 6 venues for our historic artwalk in downtown Carlsbad. The Participants were The Carlsbad Museum, Bella, Candlewood, Art Uncorked and Bennie’s Western Store along with us. At our gallery, Dylan Taylor accompanied the many attendees viewing the art at the Artist Gallery with his acoustic guitar and occasional vocal renditions of regional music. Opening the Christmas Season with this traditional artwalk fills Carlsbad art-enthusiasts with a festive spirit. Attendance was brisk, filled with holiday greetings and many chatty conversations. The Artists filled the gallery with their latest works; the selections are outstanding. This year I was eager to show my new figure paintings:

All Joy Counted  It's Been Awhile

“All Joy Counted”         “It’s Been Awhile”

These two are representative of 5 I had on exhibit along with some new clay pieces and a couple of new landscape collages. I always look forward with great pleasure to the artwalk. It is the baby of Loretta Forbes, a painter and member of The Artist Gallery,  who first encountered an artwalk among some Northern New Mexico galleries and thought we could adapt such an event to our own locale. It has been a phenomenal success over the years. She continues to do much of the work to make it the joyfully anticipated event it has become.
Each year we send a beautiful direct mail invitation to our clients. This year the invitation bore this remarkable image, “LUV RST” painted by Sonja Bedinger, also an artist member of The Artist Gallery.
LUV RST

CLAY PLAY

Sooo much delight! I like the experimentation with clay and now, there’s a new development: the clay is inviting me to “glaze.” It is compelling me to a richness that, for now is new to me, welcoming and an enigma. Up until now, I’ve mainly bisqued pieces in the kiln to make them durable then taken them to my studio for painting, smoking and embellishing. But the new pieces, which I am calling TABLETS, are glazed or partially glazed. The involvement with the Tablets is a drive to express something I don’t quite know how to say in words but it is something about communication. As I write this I’m remembering a statement by Georgia O’Keeffe, “I found I could say things with colors that I couldn’t say in any other way – things I had no words for.” I once heard an interview of an artist in which the interviewer talked of the meaning and the deeper meaning the artist seemed to be putting into his works. The artist responded with the idea that if he had a lot to say, in words, about his work, he had left something out of the work.

                                                                     THE TABLETS: J

The Tablet Series-JThe Tablet Series-J (detail 1)                                                             THE TABLETS: CREVICEThe Tablet Series-CreviceThe Tablet Series-Crevice (detail)THE TABLETS have been prompted by a passage in the Old Testament book of Habakkuk written during an urgent time when God told the prophet Habakkuk to let the people know of His revelation, “Write upon tablets” and make it plain so it can be read quickly, on the run. This series of visual expressions  have engaged me in a non-verbal way that holds ineffable meaning and invites me to continue. Ten Tablets have developed, more are in progress. The ones available for purchase are exhibited at The Artist Gallery in Carlsbad, NM, 120 South Canyon Street, 575-887-1210.
                                                                   THE TABLETS: TULIP                                                                              The Tablet Series-Tulip

 

 

Innovative Watermedia/collage Workshop, 2016

Watermedia/Collage Workshop 2016 is fresh on my mind. It happened last week in the Carlsbad Area Art Association’s ROBERT S. LIGHT ARTROOM, behind the Artist Gallery. Busy! it was a busy class. The students were enthusiastic, chatty, positive, and eager. Each exercise I suggested was welcomed with willingness; some remarkable work showed up on their papers; and a generous spirit prevailed as they shared ideas and processes.
Leslie Smith-2016 class-3A favorite quote of mine from Robert Rauschenberg: “I like to have the maximum lack of control so things can happen that I can’t think of.”  I consider “think” to be a key word in this quote. Letting go of rational “thinking” processes and trusting the intuition to guide does truly cause things to happen, allow for surprises, and let some “gifts” develop on the paper.

We started with a playful
application of paint, not thinking of anything but enjoying the paint, experimenting with it’s flow, checking out our brushes. Then we began to look for tiny compositions, discovering that the paint had indeed deposited some gifts we could work with:Renee-2016 classThe class moved from this tiny start to more complex layers of paint and papers, preparing collage papers, making stamps to use for creating texture and holding off on composing. Yet, keenly watching all the while for shapes, directions, values of color that would appear  from the intuition and guide us, we moved toward a composition. Rich layered and textured surfaces were created and compositions inviting final details called for completion.                                                                                                                  RB2-2016 class
Ginger 2016 classLeft:Ginger Price, experiment

 

Right: Renee Boyd, experiment

 

 

Gerri-2016 classLeslie-2-2016 class

 

 

 

Left: Gerri Mattson, experiment                                                                                              Leslie Smith, experiment

2016 class - 12016 class - 4

 

 

 

When artists gather and stretch to see new ways of expressing, good things happen. There was talk of meeting  to create/paint/collage together. A gathering of artists working, no instruction except feedback and encouragement from one another. What a splendid idea!

Judy L-2                                              Judy L-3

Judy Lanier, experiments

 

 

 

 

 

Karen V.-1 Karen Veni, experiment

Innovative Watermedia/collage Workshop

Discussion with DemoIt’s been several years since I have taught a class or a workshop. Early this year Frank, the workshop chairman, for Carlsbad Area Art Association asked me if I would teach. Without really thinking, I heard, “sure, Frank” come out of my mouth. The possibility lay quietly, but not exactly silently in the back of my mind for a long time. I wanted to teach, I’ve taught a lot over the years, I like to teach and I don’t like to teach, I have a lot of experience and I don’t have enough experience, I have worked hard, not hard enough, and have learned a lot I can share. I had my doubts that anyone would be interested in my quirky ways of creating, and I doubted that I had the physical stamina. Sometimes  I listen to my critical self yammering in my mind. Round and round the thoughts went but the creative spirit (The Holy Spirit) reminded me that I had said I would teach and that whatever I have to offer would be sufficient.
Then I encountered a Lubbock artist who asked me about teaching, and encouraged me to offer a class. Within days she had spread the word that I was considering a workshop in Carlsbad. Other artists called saying they would come. I set a date in September, chose a title: “Innovative Watermedia/collage Workshop” then vascillated between cancelling and pulling it all together as I witnessed the enrollment numbers rise.
On September 10, 11, 12 the class became a vital, creative, moving reality. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm of 15 diligent artists who listened to my suggestions and worked with such intensity. We all checked our critical selves at the door and let the spirit flow. From day one when I asked them to paint along with me and put paint randomly on the paper, keeping it in light to middle range of values we progressed through painting-along to experimenting, and into a variety of explorations and demos with discussion. I offered techniques and materials and suggestions to play with. The move of  the creative spirit was obviously dynamic whether the students were grappling in confusion, happily creating stamps, gingerly painting tissues for collage material or testing their eyes to see what might be showing up on the papers.

Fuss Size Render, Carol H.                                              Experiment by Carol Hammond
It’s a non-rational, intuitive way of operating that comes out of a part of the brain and heart that is absolutely trustworthy. Learning to trust it is like no other experience…..it has no language, no system of orderliness, is usually not logical. Often, and dramatically so among beginning students, it feels like chaos. It is pulling images confidently from our histories, from our heritage, and sometimes seemingly from no where. Sometimes the paints begin to show us recognizable representative images and sometimes the colors challenge us with abstract shapes that intuitively communicate wholeness. When we become like children and play with materials we allow ourselves to paint the worst painting in the world without judging whether it is a keeper or not, and we also allow ourselves to paint the best painting in the world.
Collage, Renae Winters                                               Experiment by Renae Winters

Indian Blanket Flowers, Laurel Weathersbee                                           Experiment by Laurel Weathersbee
Experiment - Judy Lanier                                                         Experiment by Judy Lanier
I would love to publish more of the student experiments here but alas, I neglected to take pictures when we put our works out on a common table to share what we had accomplished. I have put out the call to the students to send me pictures but when students leave the classroom, life envelopes them and the demands of home and work and play rise to the forefront and sending pictures to the teacher drops to the bottom of priorities.
Grace Lipps, collageCollage only, Carol Hammond

                                   

 

 

 

 

              Collage by Grace Lipps                                                     Collage by Carol Hammond

Below is a demonstration painting I worked on in the class. I will post other pieces I started with my students as I get them completed and photographed. They will be  on the pages of this website.

For this Cause, corrected                             “For This Cause” (watermedia collage, 22X15 inches)


Join me in San Antonio, May 2-3

Not really in San Antonio, but almost, and not really in Boerne, but almost. It was an invitation from Chicago, from Crystal Naubauer  a collage artist I have admired for a number of years. It was also an invitation from Laura Roberts, (aka Hasty Pearl) gracious hostess with the innovative idea of having an art workshop in her home. Laura: artist, collector, gardener, who lives in a wooded area on the outskirts of San Antonio welcomed participants to her exquisite home and gardens with handmade name tags, delicious lunches, and a garage/workshop that could compete with any studio/classroom.
An eclectic group of artists reveled in the delightful setting and especially in the gentle/kind/generous/creative/ spirit of Crystal Neubauer. By her, we were led through a number of mark-making/drawing/painting/stamping/collaging exercises designed to assist us in accessing the intuitive artist within. Her quiet/rich/deep/confident personal nature, nourished by the Holy Spirit, established a comfortable working environment. The heady atmosphere of nine working artists fed each individual artist as we grappled with materials and ideas and stretched ourselves to let go of control and trust our  intuitive natures.
Below are photos of our expressive attempts. I apologize for my quick shots, some of them may be presented sideways or upside down, (which is a good test for artists to see the quality of composition) and unfortunately I cannot credit the individual artists with each of these experimental works of art:
Art Pieces 8Art Pieces 9Art Pieces 4!Art Pieces 5Art Pieces 11Art Pieces 3Art Pieces 7Art Pieces 1Art Pieces 10Art Pieces 2Pregnant with possibility? Some of them seem to have a full delivery of expression already. Only two days together, yet bonds were formed and each artist went home with several “works” or “starts” and an impromptu handmade paint brush culled from Laura’s garden:IMG_2291IMG_2292Fun? Fun! not a frivolous zany kind of fun, but a fun that had within it some Texas hospitality and an overflowing cup of creative juice, mixed gently with spoonfuls and tidbits and pinches of new ideas. I’m charged anew with energy for creative endeavors in my studio. Thank you Laura and Crystal!

Laura Roberts and Crystal Neubauer