Saturday, April 28, 2012

Abstract Art: Older Than You Think!

Am reading a very interesting book right now: The Cambridge Illustrated History of Prehistoric Art by Paul G. Bahn (Cambridge University Press). It's a fascinating look at what some refer to as "cave art," "rock art," and other descriptive monikers. Archaeology has always interested me, so this very comprehensive and well-researched book has been capturing much of my attention during what little spare time I've had lately.

Anyway, getting back to abstract art, the title of this post...we moderns tend to think of abstract art as a contemporary art movement arriving on the scene quite recently. But nay, not so! Abstraction has been around for, oh, about several hundred thousand years. Maybe more. As Bahn notes, "Apparently non-figurative art -- motifs which convey nothing to our eyes other than patterning -- has existed from the beginning: indeed, it often dominates the Palaeolithic period and its study is one of the long-neglected challenges of archaeology." The book has the photos to prove our earliest ancestors weren't entirely hung up on creating images of bison or people or birds on their cliffs and cave walls. Nope, "modern" art was being made even way back then, in the form of grids, lines, circular designs and other patterns or shapes whose messages or meanings, if they had any, are now lost to us.

Whether any of these markings -- representational or non-representational -- were regarded as "art" or something more functional by their makers still begs answers as well. But the fact remains: the earliest peoples created an abundance of non-representational carvings and drawings in their respective environments a very, very long time ago. I find it rather nice that "abstract art" can claim such an impressive history. Next time someone disdainfully wrinkles up their nose and states that abstraction is nothing more than "modern nonsense," I shall politely inform them that abstraction pre-dates Socrates and Jesus by millions of years. And now, if you'll kindly excuse me, it's time to go feed the trilobites.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Unpacking and Collapsing

Helped Dinah move on Tuesday. The old studio had a total of 29 stairs to climb. I lost count after 20 trips up and down with boxes. I figure I probably climbed as many stairs in one day as the number of steps on the Great Pyramid at Giza. On Wednesday morning I was so tired and sore I could barely move but we decided to push ahead anyway with getting my stuff out of my friend's garage and into the new studio. Mercifully, we have a mere 5 easy steps to climb at the new place.

So the last two days have been spent moving furniture and schlepping boxes, unpacking and pushing things around in our new location until everything finds a place. I just wish I had done a better job of marking all the cartons as to what's inside. Came home tonight and collapsed on the sofa. Tired doesn't begin to describe it. And there are still more boxes yet to go. But things are starting to come together now, however slowly. If I can finish up over the next three or four days I'll be painting again by this time next week. Yay!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Salvador Dali, I Love You

Wow! Saw the new studio this morning with its brand new all-white interior. It looks fantastic -- even brighter and more light filled than we had hoped. Our landlord's painters did a great job. I don't know how they managed to cover up that dark gray paint but they did. Thanks so much, guys!

After leaving our gleaming new studio I met up with my friends Pat and Sylvia for lunch and a little shopping. Pat, who's probably one of the savviest shoppers I've ever met, introduced us to a most amazing store. It's called Touch of Europe and believe me, it does not disappoint. Improbably located on the north side of Marietta's Roswell St. between the Big Chicken and the Loop, Touch of Europe has some of the most beautiful, unique, whimsical, elegant and delightful merchandise I've seen OTP.

Everything in the store has a European flair, from the home furnishings to entertainment accessories, bath and beauty products, gourmet foods, stationery, and gift items. So what has this got to do with art, you ask. Wandering around, I found all kinds of wonderful things that were art-oriented. If you're out on an Artist's Date, you'll find an abundance of inspiration here in the merchandise textures, colors and patterns alone. (Collage artists take note: if you use paper napkins in your work, you'll go bonkers in this place. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Sensory overload aside, my favorite find was a wristwatch with Salvador Dali's grinning face peering out from under the crystal. Its crowning touch was its two Dali-esque hands: they were shaped like his famous outrageous moustache. Had I been a more selfish sort I'd have put aside the gifts I had just selected for family members and treated myself to a new watch on the spot. But being the pure-hearted soul that I am, I managed to resist the overwhelming temptation to acquire the Dali. (Where's this will power when it comes to ice cream???) Instead the watch went directly into first place on my own wish list. Maybe my hubby The Wizard will read this post before my birthday gets here. :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

From Dark to Light

Rain and a respiratory bug kept me from getting outside with my camera most of this past week, so this Google aerial view of the new studio will have to sub for a street level exterior shot. Any ideas as to the building's location yet? Here's another hint: there's a police station close by.

Our new studio's interior has just been repainted. Originally, the walls were a charcoal gray so dark it looked black, and a mid tone gray. These colors just gobbled up every bit of light in the space. Dinah and I wanted light and bright so we chose Home Depot's Ultra Pure White, the brightest white we could find. The painters finished up over the weekend, and we'll get our first peek at the transformation tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see it! We're moving in this week; after a 14 day hiatus, I'm soooo looking forward to getting back to making art!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Whole Lotta Movin' Goin' On!

I mean that, literally. Moi is moving her studio. Am up to my eyeballs in boxes and packing tape. The new location offers much more room (my current studio is just too small) so now I'll be able to work on multiple large canvases simultaneously! My new digs overlook a lovely park, there's a 50 cents per can Coke machine right outside my door, it's beautifully appointed and is smack dab in the middle of a tree-filled historic area. The location??? I'll be posting photos later this week -- see if you can guess where it is. Hint: It's not where you think!

Now on to the other momentous news:

Yours truly is now represented by Woodstock Art and Glass Gallery in beautiful downtown Woodstock, Ga. This beautiful gallery carries a fine selection of contemporary art, jewelry and glass. It's in a fun location, surrounded by intriguing boutiques, shops and eateries -- a great place to indulge your taste for fine art, good food and shopping. Check it out if you're in the vicinity!

Our first First Friday Art Walk on Marietta's Square rocked! Despite the fact that it coincided with Easter weekend and spring break, we had a great turnout. Rebecca Salcedo and I have created a mini-gallery of our work at DuPre's Art Forum, 17 Whitlock Ave. We met so many nice people, two of whom were lucky winners in a drawing for some of our artwork. Rebecca and I will be repeating this giveaway for all the upcoming Art Walks. So be sure to stop by our space to drop your name in the entry box every time you participate in an Art Walk on the Square. (Every First Friday from 5-9 p.m., April through October.) You need not be present to win.

If you can't attend but still want to participate, just email me through my web site, None of your personal information will ever be shared with outside parties, I promise. What you will get -- besides your name being entered for the drawing -- is a free subscription to my quarterly e-newsletter for art lovers. In it you'll discover little-known back stories about famous and infamous artists, tantalizing glimpses into some of art's biggest mysteries, a dose of artful humor, plus lots of helpful tips to make viewing, collecting, and caring for art more fun and enjoyable. Of course you can always opt out from receiving it, but it's great fun to read, plus it makes you a scintillating conversationalist at cocktail parties.

On the exhibition scene:

Two works I completed recently have been accepted into the World of Art-2012 juried exhibit, opening April 16 at the Mable House Arts Center, 5239 Floyd Rd. in Mableton. The awards reception is April 21 from 7-9 p.m. The exhibition is sponsored by the South Cobb Arts Alliance. Admission is free. The two works are both mixed media collages but are polar opposites of each other. One implies an upbeat spirit and expression of joy, while the other was created during Japan's recent earthquake and tsunami tragedies. A view of the latter appears above, at the start of this blog post.

Another can't-miss exhibition opens Fri., Mar. 13 at the Roswell Visual Arts Center, 10495 Woodstock Rd. in Roswell. One of three exhibitions commemorating 100 years of collage that the Atlanta Collage Society is sponsoring this year, it's a little different than most. Artists were challenged to use at least one of four materials found in the work of the masters of fine art collage: Picasso, Braque and Matisse. We had to incorporate caning, wall paper, faux finished paper and/or newspaper in any work(s) submitted. The first three materials weren't impossible to get. (Thank you, Veva, for supplying the chair caning!) But the newspaper??? This could not be just any newspaper, mind you. The contents had to be published in French.

Let me tell ya, when you live in semi-rural Georgia, obtaining a French newspaper is about as likely as winning a tractor pull with a Prius. Thank goodness a fellow artist who is French stepped forward to lend a hand. Valerie persuaded her mom, who lives in France, to mail us pages from Le Figaro. Oui!!! Mama provided enough pages to supply me and two other newspaper-deficient collagists who were in the same boat. Thanks to our French allies, I can proudly say the 24x18" work I submitted, titled Moon Fishing, incorporates all four of the required materials. Moon Fishing was a real challenge to design, create and complete. It stymied me for weeks after obtaining the required elements as I wrestled with integrating such disparate materials successfully. Despite that, I'm very satisfied with the finished work, even if its creation gave me fits.