I'm happily landed in Australia and finally quite settled in. I keep hearing about the wintry weather back home and find it hard to imagine, given the heat that has taken over here. With Christmas just a few days away it seems odd to contemplate celebrating the holiday feeling perhaps too warm!
But on the topic of art, I'm back in the studio. It was all waiting for me just as I left it eight months ago, everything neatly stacked away. It's been interesting to see the work that I did earlier in the year...I actually quite like some of it that I wasn't so sure about in April. Distance can help!
I know I won't have much time to work over the next couple of weeks with a houseful of family to play with, but at least I've taken out the paints and gotten a start! It definitely feels good and is quite a change with the windows wide open and the sunlight pouring in.
Here are a couple of photos of the studio....quite a change from the space in Vermont!
White River Junction and Tip Top Art and Media made today's New York Times travel section as a travel destination! Be sure to select the slide show option to see photos of the town, including one of the orange wall in the lobby of the building, displaying work by the visual artists at Tip Top.... Way down to the left is my painting, "Eagle #2".
I've had more requests for "Clint Eastwood" kirigami so last night I cut these two. In my Etsy shop there are more cowboy boots. As you see, these are pretty detailed, so each one is a one-movie creation.
I'm almost finished packing, what seems like way too much stuff as always. In a few days we'll be in sunny Sydney and before long I'll be getting my studio there up and running.
I don't usually take much work Down Under, but I am packing an old deck of playing cards. I've recently been creating collages on playing cards as the background. Not only is this tiny size very transportable, but it's an interesting challenge to create images on such a small scale. I've finished five so far, so have at least 47 more possible works in store.....we'll see where that all goes.
Cynthia Emerlye: I was watching Harry Potter videos the other night while I was madly cutting kirigami to get ready for my Snowflake Party. Since I don't make patterns or draw on the paper (I cut free-hand whatever occurs to me at the moment) I began cutting images of magic: wizards, owls, and a friendly dragon. Here's what came out:
This has been an exciting couple of weeks at the Tip Top as we worked to get ready for this weekend. Brochures should arrive today and with lots of measuring and leveling and taping, the downstairs wall has been striped a lighter tint of orange....
Yesterday, we artists met and hung our work and added the finishing touch -- the sign at the top....
Later this week we'll finish hanging the first floor gallery just in time for our Open Studios this weekend. Please come visit Upstairs at the Tip Top Friday from 5 to 8, and Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 5, at 85 North Main Street, White River Junction. I will be working in my studio and serving refreshments.
In addition to supporting Upper Valley artists by purchasing their work, there will be free activities all weekend long. Friday, at 7:30 there will be a gallery talk by photographers Sara Wight and James Patterson at the PHOTOSTOP Gallery, followed by an opening reception for “Winter’s Depths” from 6 to 9. At 6, Georgina Forbes will be demonstrating her unique technique of pouring liquid color washes onto canvases positioned on the floor. On Saturday, at 2 Kathy Parsonnet will offer an interactive session on color and space and at 4 Larissa King will give a wire sculpture demonstration. On Sunday, at 2 Rebecca Gottesman will show how she moves from vision to canvas.
It's time to update my website.....in fact it's way beyond time to update my website. It is one of those things I procrastinate about. But the good news is that it is offering me an opportunity to look at the work I've created in the past 12 months. I am being forced to consolidate and evaluate what I've done and decide what I'd like to present.
I'm also for the first time seeing images of work I did nine months ago in Sydney and remembering the process and experience of being in that very different place. Having two separate studios is a special experience and allows me to work on various projects in each place that may have no resemblance to one another. And because I don't carry much work between the two spaces I can create works unique to each.
So here are a couple of images of pieces from earlier in the year that I will probably include on my website. Now just to do it!
Cynthia Emerlye: This morning when I collected my mail, I discovered the long-awaited Paper Cuts book in my box. To my surprise, one of my kirigami keepsake cards is on the cover! The book includes a basic explanation of different kinds of papercutting and many examples of projects you can make. Two of my items are presented: the kirigami card and a kirigami mandala. I chose very simple designs to present because the kind of complex work I do would be too difficult for most beginning papercutters. Also, kirigami involves cutting through many layers of paper, which is much more difficult than cutting through single sheets, which is the case for most paper cutting methods, such as scherenschnitte. Shown above is the book cover. You can find this oversized paperback on Amazon.com for pre-order HERE.
In case you are not familiar with my work, here is an example of my most recent mandala:
You can find similar items for sale in my Etsy shop: www.EmerlyeArtsKirigami.com
I hope all of you in the USA had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday yesterday. I wish you and yours the best.
This Friday, November 27th, the 2009 AVA Holiday Exhibition opens and runs through December 30. I have entered two small oils, the first shown here on the blog last week and the second, below....
The Holiday Sale and Exhibition has an abundance of wonderful, hand-made artworks and crafts on display. With well over 300 original pieces in the gallery – including painting, photography, and sculpture, as well as greeting cards, jewelry, and textiles -- it's a great place to see and purchase beautiful artwork at nominal prices--most everything is under $400--and support the arts in the Upper Valley.
I'm still at work on the Tuscan landscapes. Some have moved from very early stages to near completion. A couple are still pretty "raw" but could resolve themselves rather quickly if I just keep working. My goal is to finish the series by early next week so that I can close up my studio in anticipation of our annual move to Sydney. I'd like to have these finished rather than having them awaiting my April return.
I have been "tweeking" the four pieces that were in my last post. By simply playing with the color of the "sky" I think I've been able to make the landscapes come more alive.
Here's the painting with the sky lightened.....
compared to before.......
Here's the painting with the sky lightened.......
.....compared to before
These little changes seem to make a big difference. It's worth experimenting, even when work feels like it's about finished.
The other day in the studio, I found myself looking at a photo of a salt marsh I took in New Brunswick last September and wondering how to make a painting out of it. Because working from photos has never been my forte. I get tied up in the static details recorded by the camera. I feel distanced from the actual landscape as an experience. I tighten up. It becomes NOT fun. My memory of this landscape was of spaciousness, light, warmth, aliveness and freedom, and that's what I wanted to experience and to capture.
Then I had a bit of an inspiration taken from the days when I was teaching drawing. What if I turned both the photo and the canvas upside down? Upside down drawing helps to simplify the experience when one is having a hard time separating descriptive line from, for example, the labels "nose" or "eye".
Well, what can I say? It worked! Suddenly the photo became shapes and colors, lines and values. No sky, no water, no grasses, no clouds. Loosened up by this detachment from "reality" I was able to paint more freely and create a painting that worked.
"Salt Marsh, New Brunswick"
This is a small painting for me--only 8" x 10"--it has become a study for a larger work I started this week. I like this new way of working...
Last autumn, after a wonderful trip hiking in Tuscany, I came home and began work on a series celebrating the fantastic furrowed fields of the area. I loved the irregular patterns created by plows over the hilly terrain. Because it was September the crops had been harvested and interesting stubble accentuated the curving lines.
I began experimenting with a heavy coat of gesso on board. Using small sticks and other implements I traced the imagined patterns into the wet gesso, then applied many coats of acrylic paint. Soon it was time to leave for Australia and I abandoned the work, feeling that it would be easier to figure out the next steps toward resolution when I returned in the spring.
I've been looking at the boards for months and decided that at last I would resume work. And they seem to be coming along. Some of the problems have been solved, others still await my attention. But it's been really interesting to return to this project and I'm curious to see how it will evolve.
Here are several pieces that seem to be working. My intention is to continue with others and see where they lead me!
Cynthia Emerlye: I'm getting behind in my displaying of new kirigami. Here are a few I've cut in the past three days (besides the ones I've already shown.) I will be laminating today, so some of these will be available on Etsy in a day or so. The Chandler Gallery is having a holiday Bazaar in December. Some of my kirigami will be displayed there as well.
Being an artist is so much more than form, color, design, execution, editing, framing, matting, stretching, pricing, hanging, selling, etc....it also involves dealing people, coordination, face-time at the computer, etc.
Charles and I arrived at 10:30 to hang the show at the Norwich Library, in Norwich, Vermont, and because of a mix-up we couldn't get in until 1 and we had to be out by 3 on the dot. Two stomach wrenching hours of fiddling with fishing line and hooks we managed to get everything up.
Today, I will spend a couple of hours at the computer to create labels, a price list, etc. and the go back to finish setting things in place for the opening reception, Friday, November 6, from 5 to 7.
I'm looking forward to seeing all of you there. The show will be up until the end of December so if you can't make it to the opening I hope you will have time to stop by and see it. - Carol Egbert
This past week I worked on a piece to send to my daughter Liz for her new apartment. She needed something to cover a green wall that seemed a big overwhelming, so the work had to be large, neutral in color, and something I could easily send.
I decided to paint on a length of an old bamboo blind that I had started to work on a couple of years ago. It never seemed to go anywhere, so I was happy to cut it into a manageable 3 by 4 foot size and begin again. I continued to use acrylic paint and also integrated some interesting papers that I bought in Korea years ago.
The finished piece was easy to role up and ship. It is now on the way to its new home in California. I hope the green wall will be more appealing with "Blind Love" hanging on it! Barbara Bartlett
Cynthia Emerlye: I have been working on a download-able PDF catalog to put on my art website. This will make it easier for shopkeepers to order my cards and bookmarks directly. After a few days of work, I am nearly done! This beats creating a printed brochure every year. Now I can keep the catalog on a Photoshop file and easily alter it when I create a new product. Changing it online is a cinch and costs me nothing (since I manage my website myself.)
Here are the bookmarks currently in my catalog. Soon I will show you the link to my completed catalog. Happiness is learning how to use internet tools!
Two weeks ago when I went out for that last plain air session with Sandy, this is the painting I started. I worked on it in the studio yesterday and thought I would share it with you today. Compositionally, I'm not sure how successful it is. I wanted to show the emptiness of the pasture and the changing colors of fall. But it turned out kind of a half and half piece--the bottom half, empty pasture and the top half, busy fall scene.
I've thought of lopping off some of the grass at the bottom--just re-stretching the canvas--but that feels too much like cheating! So, here it is just as I planned it. Successful or not!
Feeling the need for some art stimulation, last Friday I decided to take a field trip to the Hood Museum of Art. (Remember those school trips on noisy yellow buses?....well, this was much more enjoyable!) I'd read about the exhibition "Modern and Contemporary Art at Dartmouth" and was curious. It was well worth the visit with some extraordinary works on display!
My favorite piece was right at the entrance, a massive (about 8 feet high and 14 feet long, I'd guess) wall sculpture by African artist El Anatsui. It was made with aluminum bottle tops that had been cut and flattened, then painstakingly held together with copper wire. I've never seen anything like it! The artist made use of the two sides of the bottle caps, one side silver or gold, and the other, some variation of red) to create beautiful stripes mimicing fabric native to his region. The entire piece hung in huge undulating folds and seemed to move out from the wall.
I can't imagine the patience and vision that went into creating "Hover". How many bottle tops were collected and how could the piece have been constructed with such delicate materials? How was the artist able to evoke such emotion in me when he used such simple materials? Even thinking about it now fills me with wonder and I'm so grateful to have access to a wonderful art museum so close to home. Barbara Bartlett
Cynthia Emerlye: The classes I taught at the Vermont Art Teachers Association Conference went well this past week. One of the projects I talked about was the book I've been working on for a while called "In the Land of Knowing." Shown here are a couple illustrations from that unfinished project, some of which have been made into greeting cards. The wonderful artists at the conference have helped inspire me to continue working on this long-term adventure. Thanks to you all, Vermont art teachers!
It has to be October. Not just the frosty mornings, but the appearance of orange paint in my studio marks this month. Every year around this time my work table becomes covered with pumpkins..... wooden, cardboard, paper.... painted in bright variations of this otherwise seldom used color.
As chairperson of our church's annual Pumpkin Fest I really like to bring an artistic feeling to the experience. It's actually my favorite part of organizing the event. I don't think it really qualifies as art, but it's not "non-art" either. Painting huge pumpkins and curving vines in making a wall mural pumpkin patch seems to satisfy some creative urge in a time filled with other demands.
So I indulge myself, looking forward to the week following the Fest when I can put the orange paint away and get back on track with what feels like more serious art. Whatever that is.......
Cynthia Emerlye: Since the bookmark display case I use holds eight, my designs are in series of eight. I was missing one, so today I took a piece of one of this year's paintings and cropped it into a bookmark to complete my colored quotation series. Just tidying up the shop, so to speak.
We five Upper Valley women invite you to follow our musings, process, events, and new work. Please scroll down to see more about us and to check our announcements for upcoming art events. To view our individual profiles or websites, click on our pictures.
Here you will find some of the scheduled events we are participating in. For more information on any event, search "labels" for announcements.
Painter from Woodstock, Vermont
Visual Artist & Kirigami Papercutter from Pomfret, VT.