Saturday, June 27, 2015

Lani's Penny

The world is enormous with billions of people cruising around on its surface so I find it fascinating when a person crosses your path that you instantly become pals for life with.  Lani is one of those rare people.  And it is a mathematical fact that if Lani is rad then her dog, Penny, will also be rad.  Well, I can attest that Penny is indeed an amazing creature.  Lani asked me to paint a Penny portrait and I said hells yes.  As always, the journey began with research.  And coffee.

The wheels begin to turn...

My museum gig provided me with a very unexpected direction:  A Sotheby's African, Oceanic, and Pre-Coloumbian Auction Catalog.  I instantly knew I wanted to collage some of the images from the catalog into the Penny portrait.  Why you ask?  For three reasons:  1) The artifacts are sacred, rare, beautiful, and valuable just like Penny is to Lani.  2) The rich earth tones of the pieces are similar to Penny's coloring.  3)  My pal would never in a million years guess that I would use ancient African artwork in the portrait.  WILDCARD!


First move was to build a panel and then...SURPRISE!  A turquoise under-painting?  Why yes!  (I wanted the background to be a cool brown to contrast Penny's warm brown fur.)

It was challenging to choose from so many amazing artifacts.

And the painting begins...

Stage One

Stage Two

Stage Three

 Ta-duh!  Here is the final portrait...

Penny, acrylic, 18"x14.5", 2015

Final stage:  Penny girl gets shipped to Phoenix.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rocket Sloth

The Rocket Sloth Story

Once upon a time I got a speeding ticket.  I painted a rocket sloth on the ticket.  It is now on sale for the price of the citation ($171.50).  The End.

Rocket Sloth
13"x4.5", acrylic on speeding ticket, 2015

Monday, June 8, 2015

Days Twenty and Twenty-one: The Final Chapter


I thought it was pretty extraordinary that this plant was engineered to hold the morning dew in perfect droplets on each of its serrated edges.  High-five to you, Universe.  The Rensing homestead has many worn edges, cobwebs, and my favorite…moss and mushrooms.

Blanket of moss on the driveway wall.

Tiniest red baby mushrooms in all of the land.

I was hellbent on finishing this painting series before I left.  I wanted to have one neatly packaged project to take home but I was rushing it.  I wanted this experience to be over with because it has been very challenging.  From the first week it was obvious that my expectations were very different than the reality of this residency and I've been stumbling over that ever since.  

Residencies are a gift of time to devote completely to your chosen art form.  They are not strictly self indulgent non-stop blissful blocks of time - each one has its own unique challenges.  The benefits of a residency have to outweigh the sacrifices that have to be made such as financial strains, being away from loved ones, etc. and as I sit here on my final day at Rensing with my bags packed, the sentence that keeps bubbling up in my mind is:  "I left my life for this...was it worth it?".  The knee-jerk reaction is that yes it was worth it because it made me realize how exceptional my daily life really is.  

So the series is not complete but I am ok with that.  Below are the finished four pieces and the final two are well into being 3/4 of the way completed.  I am looking forward to seeing this work in my studio - away from the environment that created them.  I am glad the final details will be done at home...unhurried.  I've been thinking of a name for this series and Someone Else's Homestead keeps surfacing.  The subject matter is pulled from another person's personal space, my part was selecting the objects that appealed to me.  So am I telling someone else's story through their objects or am I using their objects to tell a story of my own?


in-progress sewing machine detail

in-progress tree stump behind sewing machine

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Day Nineteen

Basket painting-finito!

Snake in tree-check!

Little mushroom-yes please!

Baby goats-you better believe it!

This little dude is a rock star-hells yes!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Day Eighteen


Sibling love.

Epic.  Still.  Life.
At 7:30am Ann and I were on our way to the weekly Pickens Flea Market.  What does a local flea market say about a town?  Is it a representation of that community or is every flea market in this country similar?  These market experiences are more than the objects that are for sale - it is the human exchanges that make the visit rich or sour.  Today's experience inspired me to assemble a still life of all the objects I've accrued during my stay here.  It is my interpretation of Pickens, South Carolina through found and purchased things.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Days Sixteen and Seventeen

Day Sixteen:  This week has turned up the heat, I am hellbent on finishing this series before I leave Rensing.  It has become very important that this work be site specific and what that means to me is that the ideas were cultivated here, the subject matter came from the property, and the work was completed on site before the end of the experience.  Two panels down, four to go.  Yikes.

I was gifted a genuine goat bell from Rensing's director.  It is exactly like the ones that make up the beautiful symphony of goodness that I've heard for the last 2 1/2 weeks.

Day Seventeen:  My brain is mush.  I spent the entire day in the studio and happy to report that the chair painting is finished.  Well…96% finished, I am sure I'll do some touchups when I see it first thing in the morning.  I have three more days before I ship out my supplies and have three more panels.  Eh-ghads I feel the (totally self-imposed) pressure...

To earn my keep here at Rensing I have to put in 8 hrs of work a week.  Today that entailed planting peppers.  I planted tomatoes and beans last week.  The weather has been perfect, I've seen some stellar earth worms in the garden, and I've been using a 50 yr old trowel that I'm pretty sure is super lucky.  Grow babies grow!

You can do it baby plants!  I am rooting for you!