Saturday, November 28, 2009

Good Times

Did you grow up in the 70's like I did? CHIPS, the Dukes of Hazard, the Love Boat...Good Times?
Remember that J.J, played by Jimmy Walker, was a young aspiring painter? Do you know that the amazing neo-mannerist paintings used on the set and credits were created by Ernie Barnes, the football player turned painter? I didn't realize he passed away this past Spring.
Here is his website and here is a CNN video tribute.

c. Ernie Barnes
"Sugar Shack" (used in the intro of "Good Times")

Monday, November 23, 2009

Veterans as Artists

In the "Combat Paper Project" veterans make their uniforms worn in combat into paper and then into works of art. This cathartic process of papermaking and creating art helps them embrace their combat experiences. This is a very cool project and is a fine example of the healing power of the art process.

The Athenaeum Opening

The opening of the Athenaeum show last night was really great. Plenty of friends and family present along with others. I really enjoyed engaging new friends about art and all manner of topics from Andrew Wyeth to pet pigs. Receiving such wonderful feedback and response is always a humbling experience and I count myself very blessed to be a professional artist with so much support for the work. Thanks everyone. As of today four paintings have been sold.

And special thanks to the lovely and amazing Twig Murray who really is behind all of this and has been such a wonderful encouragement to me.


The Historic Athenaeum

Phil and my husband, Craig.

Eugenia anf Steve Ryner

Mike, my sister, Sarah and Chris

Craig managed a few interior shots before the people arrived.

Friday, November 20, 2009


The Athenaeum opening is this Sunday. It has been an odd week. I have worked some on paintings in progress, and started a new painting, but really mostly have enjoyed relaxing and getting some other things done this week. Family is coming in, some for the opening and some early in the week and then Thanksgiving arrives, so next week might not hold a lot of painting time either.

I will leave you all this Friday with the new project by my favorite photographer, Andrew Zuckerman, called "Bird."

One of my all time favorite images is his photograph of Andrew Wyeth.

c. Andrew Zuckerman

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Artist Statements

I have to thank fellow artist Kathleen Krucoff for the laugh I had this morning by going to the link she posted on Facebook. With the Market-O-Matic 1.0 (fine arts version) one can simply use the drop down boxes, click the "crank out the crap" button and out comes a ridiculously pretentious artist statement. I read one of these this past week by an artist whose work I liked, but the cryptic statement did little to help me engage the art. I came away confused, not compelled to engage the paintings. I wished I had not read it.

Those of you who are artist know the pain of writing an artist statement. Those of you who are not artists know the pain of reading those statements. So, here is mine:

"Work of Sub-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction

The mind creates, the body profligates. In the synoptic hallucination, art objects are resurrections of the creations of the mind -- a mind that uses the body as an organism to materialize ideas, patterns, and emotions. With the evolution of the electronic environment, the mind is conceiving a point where it will be free from the body to transcend immersions into the parameters of the delphic hallucination. Work of Sub-Art in the Age of Generative Reproduction contains 10 minimal "flash engines" (also refered to as "memes") that enable the user to make victorious visual compositions.

measuring chains, constructing realities
putting into place forms
a matrix of illusion and disillusion
a strange attracting force
so that a seduced reality will be able to spontaneously feed on it

Tracey Clarke's work investigates the nuances of modulations through the use of slow motion and close-ups which emphasize the Generative nature of digital media. Clarke explores abstract and heavy scenery as motifs to describe the idea of imaginary hallucination. Using powerful loops, non-linear narratives, and interactive images as patterns, Clarke creates meditative environments which suggest the expansion of space...


Monday, November 16, 2009

Breathe and relax.......

I feel a pretty big internal sigh of relief after delivering the show for the Athenaeum yesterday. Those of you who have been with me through the journey of the last several months know I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. But, it all got done and with the FCCA show hanging now and getting really positive reviews and the Athenaeum show opening this coming weekend, I know now that I can do it with a lot of dedication and discipline (and support from my husband who was so helpful with the admin.)

I am back on the self portrait I thought was finished. Every dream I have has animals, and I have recurring dreams particularly about baby animals. As someone who feels strongly about the stewardship, compassion and care of animals (and children) whom I consider innocents in the grand scheme of history, this is the path to follow in bringing the portrait about myself to completion. So, on we go.......back to the blessed easel.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Upcoming Gallery Opening

Varnishing paintings is on hold with all the rain we are having. I may be able to do a little painting today just because of this weather.

I reminded of late how much history there is in Northern Virginia area. The historic Silversmith House in Fredericksburg is the location of my current exhibit. The Athenaeum gallery where my next show will be held has quite a history as well.

The photograph of the Athenaeum below was taken by Matthew Brady in 1864 during the Civil War. Located in old town Alexandria, it was a bank building when it opened in 1851. After Alexandria fell to the North during the Civil War, it became a headquarters building of the Union Army. These are Union Army officers standing outside their HQ. Today, it is home to the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association (NVFAA).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Update

I think I have forgotten how to paint. Five weeks post-last painting, and feeling it. When I took on two shows opening within a month of each other, I knew it would be a challenge getting enough good work, but now the ongoing framing (with two damaged frame shipments), varnishing and writing narratives have worn me out. It has been a learning experience as one show I (and the other artist, Anne) were exclusively responsible for press, hanging, the reception and cleaning of the gallery. I did enjoy getting the reception together and will do that again with the first opening of 2010 in February. But I have to say I officially hate varnishing. I wonder how many brain cells I have murdered by breathing that stuff over the last month?

I spoke with journalist Craig Schulin from the Freelance Star newspaper today about the FCCA show. I will post the story he is writing on the exhibit as soon as I get it from him.I really enjoyed speaking with him and hearing his comments and thoughts on my work.

I deliver the Athenaeum show this Sunday. The inventory will be nine large paintings and ten
5" x 7" panels. Until then, I will keep tying things up, making sure each painting, each word is right, and photographing (which I loathe.) And...(sigh of relief) I will officially be back at the easel on Monday. We will see if I can paint a stick animal or remember color mixing at all........

I leave you with the Latte artist.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

FCCA Opening

We had a great attendance at the gallery last night with people moving through all evening. I am a blessed person to have so many "regulars" who come to every opening to support me. I was thrilled to have friends Steve and Eugenia there, as well. These are two people who have been overwhelmingly supportive of my work in many ways. And of course it is wonderful to connect with new people.

This morning I debriefed the event with my friend Pam who will often walk around listening to comments and talking to people. The painting that by far received the most varied response was the "Shepherdess of the Sea." This painting is the most surrealistic and generally cryptic of all of my paintings thus far. It is interesting to find that from the beginning, it evoked strong response. Many people really loved the idea and encouraged me to pursue it, but some felt otherwise. It seemed that as long as I was painting the lovely fawn, all was well, but as soon as the idea evolved in a directly surrealistic direction, I received some opposition. Originally, the initial drawing utilized some of the ideas of "The Flowering Bull" such as using botanical elements for the legs with the thought that she may be his predecessor. But as I went along in the process I realized she had something to do with the ocean, and followed that leading.

Among the common comments were that some did not feel comfortable with the pairing of land and sea life, and others didn't "get it." Working in this genre requires a non-left brained way of seeing. Many people have a hard time connecting with surrealism most likely because the viewer often has to work harder to "get it" in this genre than any other, maybe with the exception of minimalism. It can appear "nonsensical", odd and often times there may be nothing to "get." In most of us the rational brain, the labeling and compartmentalizing brain is the first to respond. I find even in myself this kind of unconscious habit of trying to explain and make sense of art when I look at it. In my painting, this kind of immediate reaction hinders my creativity, so I work at trying to let the work speak to me.

As the artist, this spectrum of reaction is a fantastic thing and in no way a negative. The more I think about the Shepherdesses' evolution and the volume of reaction, the better I feel about the painting. When everyone likes a painting, you have to wonder how challenging it really is and on the other hand, if people are really being honest. The very worst that can happen is no response. A huge part of why I paint is to evoke a feeling and I feel every individual reaction is valid. So thank you to everyone from sketch to opening night who voiced their thoughts on this painting openly and honestly. You bless, encourage and challenge me when you do...

One woman approached me to say she thought my work is scary and indeed, there are dark undertones and notes to be sure (forbid it that I would ever paint a work that is simply "pleasing" or "enjoyable." It wouldn't be authentic for me to do that). So, another wonderful reaction from someone who took the time to "look", let the work speak and so feel what comes to the surface.

I hope that my work is uniquely creative with a strange beauty that others remember and that in some way it will speak to each individual in a personal manner.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Art Hoarders or Collectors?

Filmmaker Megumi Sasaki has made a documentary about Herb and Dorothy Vogel, art collectors who have amassed over 2,ooo works of art in their lifetime on postal clerk's salary. The focus of the majority of their purchases have been of minimalist or conceptual works. This looks really interesting and I am glad for collectors....but....I'd call it hoarding. Some folks hoard food, some cats, some clothes. The Vogels obviously hoard art. What is the point of buying art that is put away in stacks of boxes or shoved under beds?

See the trailer here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

FCCA hanging at the Historic Silversmith house

Sunday was a rainy day to transport paintings, but we did it and the FCCA show is hung and looks fantastic. Anne has one side of the space and I have the other. Our work is drastically different from one another, but I think it works great. Something for everyone, I hope.

The Member's Gallery in in the basement of the house. You can see the old beams in the ceiling supporting the main level floor. Because the basement walls are stone, our hanging system consists of a wooden strip all the way around the top of the walls and using fishing line to suspend the works.

Because this is an artist run organization, Anne and I will also be responsible for the food and drink. This is something I really enjoy, so I am looking forward to a trip to Trader Joe's for great unique food and good, inexpensive wine. The upstairs gallery is also opening a juried show and it is First Friday, which means the area galleries are also opening shows, so we should have a lot of traffic.

The gallery is housed in the Silversmith house in densely historic Fredericksburg. Built in 1785, the house sits right on the Rappahannock River in old town. In 1961, in danger of being torn down, it was bought be the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation and eventually became the property of the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts.

Thanks to everyone for sending well wishes for the show.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Humane Society Blog Post

Not much that needs to be said....
As a person who loves animals and as the they are the focus of my work, I cannot turn a blind eye to these issues. I share so we can all be informed.
May we not ever tolerate the cruelty, abuse and neglect of any living being.

Humane Society Blog
: October 30th

I am off shortly to hang the FCCA show.......