Where There’s Smoke

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Samantha Fields talks about her process at the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, CA on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

Dana and I went to see the new MOAH exhibit “Made in the Mojave” with our friends Teresa and Mary last Saturday afternoon.  (Great new tradition, I hope!) I fell in love with Samantha Field’s work, especially these wildfire paintings, so I went back on Tuesday for her artist’s walk through.

She described how she does field research on storms and fires, how she preps each canvas with layer upon layer of superfine acrylic paint to create a smooth base. Some of the many photographs and sketchbooks she works from, including ones bordered by paint color samples, were on display.  She talked about the many layers of superfine paint with which she builds each image.

It was interesting, in spite of all the evidence, to hear some of the questions and comments from the assembled group that strove to confirm that making art is a matter of divine inspiration, inaccessible to most people.  I’m just an observer, but it seems that there is movement toward demystifying the creation of art these days. The curator, in her introduction to the exhibit, talked about the “makers” represented rather than the “artists.” I’ve heard this terminology before. We can all imagine ourselves making something.

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You think you know what you’re looking at in Fields’ work, and then a pair of headlights catches your eye. The world shifts. This, to me, is the secret of desert landscapes in life. You have to spend some time with them to understand them.

A few of us hung out after most of the crowd left to explore the rest of the museum. One young artist challenged Fields’ use of canvas rather than more modern, already smooth surfaces.

She explained that she hasn’t found anything more archival or flexible than canvas, even though she has to do so much to prepare it for her purposes. She once sold a large piece to a corporate client; it had to be taken off the frame and rebuilt in the space because of a narrow stairway. That couldn’t have happened with a rigid base.

Fields also told how a friend sold work done on a rigid surface. It went to a home in Malibu where the humidity caused the paint to bubble and slough off.  Heart-breaking!

“These,” she grinned, gesturing at her work, “Will be here in a thousand years!”

 

 

 

I Give Up!

I downloaded three apps and spent an hour of my creative time this morning trying to blur out the writing on the page next to my journal drawing of my new uke. Finally,  in frustration, I cut up a nearby junk mail envelope and used it to mask the writing.  Score one for analog? I doubt it.

Here is a photo of the actual ukulele. Also, an “I Give Up” to the temptation of a nice instrument. (I am surrounded by enabling influences!) I sold my Fluke months ago, so the money from that went into this. I love the slightly funky sound.

This is not to be misconstrued as any claim to proficiency on said instrument. I’m working on it, okay?

Anyway, I think the drawing conveys more of my feelings about the new uke than the photograph.

Blue Cream

In which she realizes she can use a colored pencil to shade a ehite object.

I love pitchers. I have more than makes sense.  I use the larger ones as vases. I have several shapes of white porcelain creamers, including this souvenir of my walk through Rome. It was €1.95. How could I leave it in Italy?

Bright Star

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I also purchased a little black notebook during our visit to the Keats-Shelley House in Rome. The lettering is actually white.

I carry a little notebook with me most of the time. It’s great for shopping lists, measurements, addresses of places I need to go (though these are migrating to my smart phone), and flashes of brilliance. (ha!)

Right now I’m using a little notebook with Apocalyst embossed on the cover. It was a crew gift from the kind of sweet show No Tomorrow that I worked on. (It’s streamable on Netflix right now).

Clickety Bird Mug

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I don’t really need another mug, but we had a nice chat with the owner of Recordis Barcelona and I liked this image a lot. Recordis Barcelona is a fine gift shop with locally sourced wares.  The owner would rather sell books and antiques. He said he turns on the music in his shop when he comes in, and when it stops 8 hours later he closes up.

I went back another evening, because the shop was just around the corner from our hotel,  to tell him about Ex Libris Anonymous because I figured he’d be charmed by the idea of making sketchbooks from old books. He gave me a vintage Spanish postage stamp.

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“It’s only from the 50s or so,” he said when I was thrilled with it.

It gained a crease during the next week of travel, but now I’m going to mount it in my journal using photo splits.

Tender is the Night

Yeah,  when I visited the Keats-Shelley Memorial House in Rome I bought a tee shirt imprinted with this quote from “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats. What would he think, I wonder, of us traipsing around in our underwear?

Big John Keats fan as a teen. I transcribed the opening lines of one of his poems onto butcher paper and hung them on my bedroom wall. 

“… I have fears that I may cease to be, Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,  Before high-piled books in charact’ry,  Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain…”

Ah tragic youth! There was also a quote from a play about Joan of Arc. Ego much?

Olives & Chocolate

Spanish Olives

#1 in a series of drawings I’m making of the souvenirs I brought home from Europe.  The olives we had in Barcelona had such a delicate, deep flavor…not too briny.  We especially love the anchovy stuffed olives.

I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, they’re amazing.  We’ve been putting off opening these, but their time will soon come!
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The chocolate is almost gone.  Luckily, it was another of the first things I drew.  The hazelnut creme eggs from Barcelona were the BEST.

It’s a very small sketchbook, about 4″x6″ to fit in a camera bag or purse.