Friday, December 30, 2011

The Gift of Space

Sometimes the best gift is one you give yourself. 

Before the holidays I had an idea for a blog post of what to get the artist in your life.  I was thinking of luscious paints, beautiful papers, brushes... you get the idea.  But soon realized that what I really wanted was a break - from commitments, obligations and all the busyness of everyday.
Shadow Drawing
Gesso, charcoal, graphite aquarelle on paper
30" x 22"

And that is just what I did this past Monday.  My family was out of town.  I cancelled plans. I did not drive anywhere and closed up my laptop.   I meditated, journaled, walked, listened to music, worked in my studio and watched a film.  The day was spacious. And just what I needed.

Artist Patricia Scarborough did post a lovely list on her blog with other worthwhile gift ideas that don't come in a box- and are appreciated any time of year!

What gift have you given or plan on giving yourself this year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On Edge this Season

On Edge, 2011
From Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits
Acrylic on canvas
10" x 10"
The title of this painting refers to the blades on these skates, but it could easily be my state of mind.

The holidays tend to put me in overwhelm.

I WANT to send out cards to family and friends near and far, find the perfect gift for everyone on my list, remember all the people who provide services for us through out the year, and be the perfect hostess.

This year in particular, however, finds me still reeling and recovering from the past months of treatments, and our sons' injuries.  I will reflect on how blessed we are to be celebrating this holiday together. We have so many wonderful people in our lives.  If you are reading this, please know that I am truly grateful that you are a part of my life and wish you and yours a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas, or whatever tradition you partake in- may it be peaceful and joyous.   Sending blessings of love, light and healing to all beings. May there be Peace on Earth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

This Artist as Collector post is from Tatiana Garmendia 
Ben Shahn
Since the studio is the public area of our apartment, I actually took down most of the art that wasn't ours this summer. This way,we're ready for studio visits. But we've kept some of our favorite pieces up in our bedroom. Of these, the one I look at before I go to sleep each night and wake to is probably the most inspirational and reminds me that all lovers feel as my husband and I do- like we're one. It's a litho by Ben Shahn of a couple kissing. I love Ben Shahn's wonderful scraggly line quality. 

Speaking of collections, I have a huge collection of prints, most of them from print exchanges.

I did the Cascade Print Exchange last year. The print you contribute gets printed in a catalog, is exhibited, becomes a part of the university's permanent collection, PLUS you get back the loveliest images. No cost, just SASE. If it sounds good to you and your readers, it's listed half-way down the page in that URL. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The newest addition to my closet, and to my Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits Series- my first pair of Dansko shoes.
 Dansko Slip Ons, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
10" x 10"

These were recently purchased from the Dansko Outlet, in nearby Jennersville, PA.  Don't let the word outlet mislead you- (though the prices are great). There were so many styles to choose from, all displayed in a friendly, serene environment, both inside and out. Natural wood, clean Scandinavian design, and with a lovely outdoor sculpture garden.  

These new kicks are a hybrid of shimmery slippers and comfy clogs.  Already put to the test with two full days of NYC gallery hopping last month, my feet came home as happy as my muse was fed. 

I don't love to shop (except for art supplies or books) but this was easy, and, I already have my eye on a pair of boots. 

Santa are you listening?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hawaii Calls- Artist as Collectors #6

A.Kimberlin Blackburn and I first met many years ago when we were given a show together at the Art Loft in Honolulu, which has sinced evolved into Fine Art Associates.  Kim has her own unique visual language, seeped in nature, mystery and lore.  She works with a variety of materials from paint to beads to fibre- all richly colored, textural and magical.

When I left the islands to get married and return to my Jersey roots Kim gifted Scott and I a wedding present; artwork of hers -my choice.  Fittingly, the painting that I chose is titled Hawaii Calls for You.  The right choice she said, as she knew that regardless of where we live, Hawaii would always call.

She was right. This piece reminds me of our friendship,  a place I will always love, and Kim's commitment to her own voice as an artist.

The power of art- to inspire, evoke and remind us of who and what we love.

What is hanging on your walls?

Email me a jpg and a few lines about what art is in your collection and why it inspires you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trite as Flesh

... a memorable phrase from a 1987 film I recently viewed titled I've Heard the Mermaids Singing by Patricia Rozema
Koi #1
Acrylic, collage on cradled board
11" x 14"
Private Collection
Sheila McCarthy plays Polly, a self effacing woman, who finds a job through a temp agency at Gabrielle's art gallery.  Polly admires and secretly loves Gabrielle as she is everything that Polly is not; sophisticated, wordly, and savvy- especially in the art world where Polly is now privy to in a limited way.

Always with camera, Polly joyfully takes pictures of whatever and whoever she finds interesting or intriguing. Too insecure to call herself an artist,  she boldly makes a move, only to be hurt by Gabrielle- hence the title of this post.

The film is offbeat in a charming way, as well as thought provoking.  None of us aspire to be trite in our work. Quite the contrary.  But our work has a life of its own, regardless of labling or judgement. That in itself, has value.

Trite as Flesh- also sounds like a great assignment for art students.

What does Trite as Flesh look like to you?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Among Friends- Artists as Collectors #6

Artist and guest blogger Jennifer Hodis from Pasadena, CA writes:

©2011Carolyn Jean
Collection of Jennifer Hodis

"I've known Carolyn (Ryden) Jean since art school, throughout our kids pre-school years
and into her life as a single woman. She paints lovely things in a fresh and
confident manner. She uses canvas paper and simple materials like
masonite and cardboard. She is affordable and I love supporting her as well
as having reminders of her and our friendship on many walls in my house.

But I really wish I could paint like her!"

©2011Carolyn Jean
Collection of Jennifer Hodis

©2011Carolyn Jean
Collection of Jennifer Hodis
"New work my friend Carolyn sent me- I love the "Let go", we are all trying so hard to loosen up! 
Who of your friends inspires you? 

Shadow Drawings of Nets

Watching the process and evolution of an idea is fascinating.  Often we get a glimpse of an idea, we follow it, not sure where it will take us.  We even question the validity of the path, but we continue.
And the path, is rarely a straight line. But the journey is the adventure.
Shadow Nets #10/11
Charcoal, graphite, gesso, Stabilo aquarelle
on paper
30" x 22"
©2011Nanci Hersh
What began as an idea- my cutlery out of wire, pulp, encaustic and collage, then a dream about butterfly nets, then I began to make my own nets, then photograph them, and now the drawings from their shadows.  ah, the shadows. I do love shadows.

Utensils, 2006
form Inherently Found Series
Wire, pulp, encaustic, collage
Sometimes you know where you are going and you still end up somewhere different.  Sometimes you don't know where you're going- or even where you are- but you still keep going. 

But always, you must follow your heart.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Week's Art Happenings

Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits
Selections from
Inherently Found Series

In addition, my work is up through the New Year at Willow on State, Kennett Square.
Another First Friday Art Stroll in Kennett this week.  - Hard to be two places at once but I am happy to meet you at either of my shows at your convenience- we can grab a cup of tea or coffee afterwards!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Look and Look Again

"Only buy what you like. Go to museums, read about the artist, learn, travel. But mainly just look and look again."

Sage advice from Rosamond Bernier in her memoir, Some of My Lives.

Mona Lisa at the Louvre
Here's to looking, learning and traveling!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Art & Soul on Purple

Dropped off my Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits off at the Tideline Gallery, Hockessin, DE earlier in the week.

I love how owner, Patty Daniels hung the show. Fun & Organized- boots in one column, dress shoes in etc....  I  need her in my closets at home! 

Plus, I love how the purple is the new black here- goes with them all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grateful for Paradise on my Walls- Artist as Collector #6

Gratitude is a part of my daily practice.  For people, for places, for experiences and the ability to express my self and connect to others through my art is such a gift.
Our extended Ohana
Pegge's granddaughter Natalie, Griffin, Pegge's grandaughter Elly, Nate

In her recent post as a guest blogger here, Karen F. Rose wrote about having a piece from her friend and mentor Mary Hatch.
Like Karen, I worked for another artist managing the Pegge Hopper Gallery in Honolulu for many years. 
Surrounded by Pegge's beautiful paintings and drawings, I learned so much from Pegge about a committed art practice and managing a business.  Pegge and I continue to be dear friends and our families are still a part of each other's lives as well.  On a recent "big" birthday Pegge graciously and generously gifted me a painting of my choice.  This painting is a cherished part of my collection. Pegge's draughtsmanship, sense of color and design inspire me daily and the painting is a reminder of our friendship and one of my favorite places on earth.

What inspiration do you draw from your walls?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tending to Art - Artists as Collectors # 4

This week's Their Art, Your Walls post is from guest blogger and artist Karen F. Rose:

I am so pleased to have a Mary Hatch signed original digital print "Tending Alice's Garden" as part of my art collection.
Tending Alice's Garden
For years I admired Mary's paintings and when I found that she was looking for new painting assistant, I jumped at the chance.

While I was teaching a computer graphics painting course, I worked for her stretching canvas, updating computer files, packing and delivering paintings to galleries.
An accomplished and well respected painter, she took an interest in digital art and soon began to create original digital art pieces. 

I like to think we learned from each other.
When I moved from Michigan, she was very gracious to gift me one of her prints. 
Seeing this print each day reminds me of our love of art and our friendship.

Is there a gift from a mentor or teacher gracing your walls?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who Knew - Artists as Collectors #3

Just got back from a quick two day trip to NYC to meet up with some friends and see some art.
Bob and Meg
a Duchanp hanging in a stairwell
Megan looking at a John Chamberlain
with a Warhol of Mick Jagger to her right
Headed over to Gagosian Gallery uptown to see Howard Hodgkin when Megan and I discovered that also at Gagosian was a show titled Collections from the Private Collection of Robert Rauschenberg.  A great find for my new series Their Art/Your Walls- Artist as Collector. Apropo, and what a treasure trove!  3 floors of drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures of his friends like Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, John Cage, along with Duchamp, Matisse, Beuys, Morandi, and some Warhol to name drop a few.

Many of the works were signed "to Bob." Two of which were from dancer/choreographer and close friend of Rauschenberg's, Trisha Brown.  Megan reminded me that Brown taught dance while we were Pratt Students. That class fulfilled the one gym requirement for our undergraduate degree. I don't remember her so much as I remember trying to pirouette across the gym floor without hitting a wall!

How many people can say that Trisha Brown was their gym teacher?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Kitsch vs. Art- Artist as Collector #2

Rabbits have been a part of my life and art for many years.  Because of that people have given me rabbits, rabbits and more rabbits. Kinda kitsch, but fun.
Sheep, on the other hand are on my walls because they are art.  

I first saw the work of Theodore Waddell at the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery many years ago when the gallery was in New York City.  Scott and I bought this small drawing when we were in Seattle just after we were married. Excited to find an exhibition of his work at the Linda Hodges Gallery, I noticed it leaning against a wall and brought my husband back to see it.  It became a wedding present to ourselves and now hangs in our dining room.

Ted Waddell, 1989
Winter Sheep Drawing 3A
Oil/graphite on paper

 Betsey Reagan is a friend with a unqiue and quirky view of the world. Like Waddell, she is adept at depicting a range of animals, but sheep permeate her work. Anthropomorphic, they help us see ourselves with humor and irony.  This detail, illustrates her subject and her own unique way of working with plaster and oil. In this case, on a small found college banner. A gift and a gem.
Betsey Reagan, 2002
Dolly Goes to College
Oil and plaster on Pennant
Art or kitsch,  what do you collect?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Their Art, Your Walls- Artist as Collector

Willow on State, Kennett Square offers artists a discount when they purchase another artist's work from their gallery.  Great idea. Incentive, encouraging, and helpful.

I have traded, bought and been gifted the work of other artists.  I am also honored when a colleague hangs my work on their walls.  So I thought it would be fun to share with you over time different artists and a selection of what they have chosen to hang on their walls.

I'll start. This is a shot from my home and a triptych in my collection.
Eileen's triptych, my favorite chair,
a Hot Pepper Magazine rack by Shari Epstein, and a small painting
on cradled panel by Laura B. Ferrara that
I picked up from the Pyramid Atlantic store in Silver Spring, MD.

Eileen Foti is a gifted artist and master printer.  She is also a good friend, so fortunately, I acquired this triptych through a trade.  Adept in all printmaking, it is her impeccable drawing and lithography skills that shine through.  Titled Caution: Hilo, the work is from her Images of Extinction series, and was her response to seeing so many things on her travels that were facing extinction. This work is about both a plant and a bird endangered from the Big Island of Hawaii.  
Caution: Hilo, 1999
Lithograph with gold leaf and colle`
Hauntingly beautiful, as well as quite personal, this 3 piece "altar" hangs in our bedroom. It also serves as a reminder of the power of art to celebrate, preserve and remember.

What do you have on your walls? Please send me a jpg and a few lines...

I will post it here weekly.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

O. Fork

O. Fork. Can you believe it's November already?!

I started making forks, spoons, and knives out of wire dipped in a vat of over beaten flax or abaca several years ago. After they dried and were coated with encaustic, they look aged, yet alive, like an old relic. 

After my grandmother passed, I inherited her set of sterling silver cutlery. This got me thinking about what we do and what - to do with things that may be of value, but not necessarily something we asked for (sterling silver, those old books, cancer, you get the idea) that comes into our lives one way or another.

10 Cups of Tea
Wire, pulp, encaustic, collage
19" x 3" x 3"

The tea bags were from the daily cups of tea I make my husband every morning. Our ritual.  Honoring the present, and another way of marking time

However, just as I was getting ready to deliver the piece to Willow on State for my current exhibition, I added the finishing touches. The small pages between the prongs and the O. on the tea bag tag.
Now,  it's complete.
10 Cups of Tea (detail)

10 Cups of Tea (detail)

Originally, I titled the piece 10 Cups of Tea, now I am thinking I like O. Fork.

Which title do you think fits this piece best?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pages from the Past with a Story of its Own

Reading a recipe is the start of a narrative with a life of its own.  Another page from the Ladies Luncheon book I picked off the curb when my neighbors moved away, another idea to chew on. (ok, ok)
Acrylic, collage on paper
7" x 5"
More on view at Willow on State in Kennett Square, PA.  

This piece is floated on archival white mat board and framed with a blonde ash molding.  Pages from the past offering up a recipe for the imagination.

Tip: For a good read along these lines The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Only in Art- Fancy Cakes without the Calories

Wayne Thiebaud, 1963
Oil on canvas

I have always been seduced by Wayne Thiebaud's paintings and prints of cakes and pies, his lush color and graphic composition. There is also a sense of nostalgia in those rows of desserts that remind me of the NJ Diners I would frequent growing up.  The ritual of sitting down to a meal and the narrative that goes along with that particular time and place has been a part of my work over the years.

Fancy Cakes
Digital print on hand made paper
with inclusions
14" x 11"
This piece Fancy Cakes, is currently on exhibition at Willow on State in Kennett Square, PA.  A mixed media piece with handmade paper incorporates images of a set of stirling silverware  I inherited from my grandmother and an old Ladies Luncheon cookbook I found.  Both of which, speak of a time when a women's place in the home feels a bit out of touch, but really, not that far away.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Matter of TIme

Time is a funny thing.  It seems like it's moving way too fast, like when you are having a great time or on vacation.  Or way too slow, anticipation, waiting for .... whatever that is.

A Matter of Time
Encaustic, collage on hand made paper
with inclusions
6" x 4"
Time is often a reoccuring theme in my work. Passing of time, collecting moments, waiting, aging.
This handmade paper collage with encaustic was created one warm day as I was farther along the healing process from surgery... a matter of time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Body as an Open Book

Body As an Open Book is from a series of mixed media prints using photographs of my body that were taking before and during treatment for breast cancer.  It is currently part of my exhibition at Willow on State in Kennett Square, PA.
Body as an Open Book
Digital print on hand made paper with collage
10" x 22"

It's easy to feel like a specimen rather than a person as you move through all the stages from diagnosis to healing.   And, there is no recipe for getting through the physical and emotional trauma of any life altering experience.

But I found, that the more I made work about it, the more control I felt I had of the situation. Focusing on process. finding images and various materials that intuitively felt right with each piece helped me find distance, healing and even the lighter side of life.

What connection do you see between my body and the elements incorporated into the piece?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Up & Running at Willow on State

Our show is up and running at Willow on State in Kennett Square, PA.   
We have the honor of having our work featured at two First Friday Kennett Square Art Strolls this fall season.  If we missed you this past Friday, October 7,
November 4, 2011 is the next one. Nathan Laing, Maya Winters, and myself will be there along with FishCastle; original music by Cyril Caster and Catherine Braik Selin.

Featured at the gallery are mixed media prints, collages and sculptures from my Body as an Open Book, and Inherently Found Series.
Prints, paper, dried pulp on wire, encaustic, collage
Flotsam & Jetsam speak of what we inherit,
what we hold onto, and what clings to us

Nathan Laing of Habitat Studios has photographic collage prints hanging upstairs of the gallery and Maya Winters has her allegorical paintings on the street level.

Nathan Laing at Willow on State

Maya Winters at Willow on State

There are also alot of great hand made items- jewelry, pottery, altered books and vintage and retro collectibles. Owners, Sandy Mayer & Hillary Sculthorpe bring their own unique eye to pull together an exciting new vision for Kennett Square.

See you on the 4th.   Be there AND Be Square (couldn't resist!)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Art of the Studio Visit

Last week, Sandy Mayer and Hillary Sculthorpe, gallery owners of Willow on State, an exciting new space in Kennett Square, PA came by for a studio visit.

Hosting a visit with gallery owners, museum directors, curators, collectors, other artists or friends, is an opportunity to show or sell your work, as well as get feedback on where you are at any given point.

It also motivates you to clean your space, curate your work, and consider how you speak to other about your work.  A great clarifier.

Hanging Spoon with Net
Wire, flax, encaustic

Net Drawings, 2011
Acrylic, graphite, collage on paper

Untitled (for now) installation with Nets (wire, overbeaten flax,  collage and encaustic)
I seem to be channeling Lady Haversham from Great Expectation
by Dickens

Detail of hanging Nets
Exhibition at Willow on State coming soon... keep you posted.

Do you have a tip or favorite story from a studio visit you have had?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sure Sign of the Season

This recently commissioned painting is a sure sign of the season - Fall Soccer.
Jake's Cleats, 2011
acrylic on canvas
10" x 10"

Cleats, cleats and more cleats- at least around here. With the start of school comes fall soccer and with each season the feet get bigger and the cleats get brighter.

Hello soccer, good by open weekends.  Wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Carolyn's Roopalees

Author and photographer, Carolyn Viens recently commissioned me to paint her Roopalees. 

“I found my Roopalee sandals shortly after I moved to Singapore, in a tiny little shop in Little India. The Indian women wear these sandals along with their gorgeous multi-colors saris and bangles.  I discovered Asia with my Roopalees, roaming through the side streets of Saigon, the back alleys of Kuala Lumpur and the beaches of Bali.  Nanci’s painting perfectly captured the comfort, beauty and uniqueness of my favorite  sandals along with the kilometers they covered in my explorations” 

Carolyn's Roopalees, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
10" x 10"
Girls just want to have fun.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sole Sister

Adventures and inspiration are never far away, especially if you are on foot and take the time to explore.

Helen, my friend visiting from Australia and I spent an afternoon in Old City, Philadelphia.  It was there at Three Sirens that we found some far out shoes and and met Aubrie Costello- a "Sole Sister."
Aubrie, it turns out, is not only a super friendly sales clerk, but a wonderful artist. She also, paints shoes and incorporates them in installations.  I shared with her my Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits Series, and she in turn, showed me her work.

One of her pieces, Ladies in Waiting is right behind the register.
Ladies in Waiting, detail
©2011Aubrie Costello
New finds, new friends and new muses .... what's your favorite recent discovery?

Red Hot Red #3
Acrylic on canvas
6" x 6"
from Walks thru Life: Shoe Portraits