Monday, April 30, 2012

Fill in the Blanks- Artists as Collectors

Painter Denise Bellon West is this week's guest blogger for our Artist as Collector series.
Whisperer (Denise's title for the piece)
Acrylic and mixed media on plexiglass
©2012Damon La Scala
I know that I have to have a painting when I need to catch my breath every time I see it. It stirs something inside me. It could be the colors or the feeling it evokes or whatever... This was one such painting by Damon La Scala. 
I’d had my eye on it for several months, maybe a year. It was at a design center in Denver where I used to get my framing done when I lived there.  It was a non-representational piece created by pouring paint on a sheet of acrylic and then backed with gold leaf.  All I could ever see was a tribe of Indians (I get weak in the knees when I think of the Old West and riding free on horses) splashing through the water. 
It always there waiting for me when I came in.  Eventually, I decided I couldn’t be without it any longer.  I had it framed, and it is now in my studio as a constant inspiration to keep me from putting too much information in my paintings. 
Let the mind fill in the blanks. Let the mind wander and dream. 
Let the imagination go free!

Denise Bellon West recently moved her home and studio from the mountains of Colorado to be surrounded by the red rocky monoliths of Sedona. Her passion for the West - and for life can be seen through her dynamic compositions, expressive brushstrokes and courageous color.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Last Sunday I went to see the show Crowns at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wilmington.  This lively and soulful musical producation by Regina Taylor is adapted from the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry, and directed by Kevin Ramsey. 
Self Portrait with Crown
Monotype with collograph
30" x 22"
I, too, was raised in the tradition of hats,  handed down from my grandparents- from the retail side of things.

My dad, like his father before him is a milliner. Fabulous hats of every color, shape and style hung (and still do in his one remaing Nobby Shoppes in Linden, NJ) in ribbons of color from pegs on the wall.  

Often to my exasperation, we couldn't make it home from a day trip without stopping at one of his stores to make a delivery or pick up. Funny how what hangs on the walls can shape how we see things today.  
My grandfather Joseph Hersh at his Nobby Shoppe 1936
New Brunswick, NJ

"From feathered hats to flowered hats, pillboxes to turbans, to hats for work and hats for church, there is a hat for every occasion, and a cultural and historical significance to them as well as "Mother Shaw" and her "hat queens" share in their stories. This soul-stirring musical demonstrates the handing down of culture from one generation to the next and celebrates the refuge, equality and healing that occurs in this place of spirituality."  

This is the final weekend of Crowns in Wilmington.  There is also an online auction of the hats created for the show that will benefit DE Theatre Company.  Worth a trip and a look!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dangerous Current

Some things just "title themselves", and somethings just fall into place. Perfectly.
Dangerous Current
from Ranch Camp Revisited Series
This is a double exposure shot I took on a big surf day out at Haleiwa Beach Park, one of my favorite places to surf- on MUCH smaller days (!) with an image of the Waialua Sugar Mill
back when it was a sugar mill, and not a shopping destination.

Originally taken as a black and white slide, I love how the two line up- just like that perfect wave, with an ominous warning to keep in mind.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Artist as Collector- Studio Wall

Artist as Collector can also refer to what we put on our studio walls for reference, ideas or inspiration.  Here's what one of my studio walls looks like at the moment.
I utilize an electric cable on my concrete wall to stick postcards - a changing exhibition of sorts.

There are also clippings from magazines of lighting, mostly because I am interested in how they hang- the one double page spread on left above is from a Hyundai ad (!)   of a victory celebration at Auburn University. I think it's rolls and rolls of TP, flying, hanging from beautiful!
I also love quotes, there is one from Steve Jobs in the top photo, and this is the newest addition to my collection. My friend Marian brought it back from Barcelona for me.
Good ole Pablo, he sure got some things right.

What's on your studio walls right now?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ranch Camp Revisited- Mr. Santiago

Mr. Santiago was my neighbor when I lived in Ranch Camp in Waialua, Hawaii.

A kind and photogenic local man with a great smile and an open heart, I took many photographs of him that also became drawings, paintings and prints.  His son David and family lived directly behind me, and David Sr. (I always called him Mr. Santiago) and his wife Candy, lived across the street from them.  
Mr. Santiago
Double exposure
Mr. Santiago kept his animals on land on the side and back of my house.  So every morning he would drive by my house to get to his pigeon coups, his horses, goats and anything else back there.
Mr. Santiago and his pigeon coups
If I happened to be outside, he would give me a big smile, a wave, tell me I looked beautiful and say God Bless.  What a way to start my day.

His father- Granpa Santiago, on the other hand, when he was alive, would drive by in his old beat up jeep, look at our small plantation house that we were in the process of renovating, and yell with a snarl, "You paid too much!"

May be true, but I loved my little piece of paradise.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Art Collecting and Dancing After Hours

Delaware based photographer Dain Simons is this week's guest blogger for Artist as Collector series.
Mixed media collage
10" x 8"
collection of Dain Simons

One theme of art that I collect is hospital/surgery based images.  A few years ago I was a guest at a wedding in Washington DC, and after it was all over, I and another college friend decided to go to the hotel bar in the basement to continue celebrating.  There happened to be a "Goth music" themed DJ spinning Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus etc.  

Shoegaze dancing and buying art was not what I thought I would be doing just a few hours after my friends wedding - but there was an artist couple, with a table set up in the dark environment.   Intrigued I looked closer, there were probably 45 8 "x10" sized images mounted on thick boards laying on several card tables. The base of the images are pages from medical books that then get painted on at the whim of the artist.  When he finished, he would mount the worked page with scotch tape onto the inside of a book cover (after being detached.)  Further working of the piece happened to hide the mounting process pretty well.

The artist is Steven Archer, he lives in Baltimore and seems to keep pretty busy.  He is also part of a band called Ego Likeness with his wife, writer and musician Donna Lynch

Here is an interview with the artist.

When Dain Simons is not shoegaze dancing or buying art, he is shooting art (mine included) as well as other subjects, teaching classes or managing Cameras Etc. in Newark, DE.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ranch Camp Revisited- Remembering Lamb

From 1992-94, I took hundreds of black and white slides of my community while I was a graduate student at the University of Hawaii living in a small home I had purchased and renovated in Ranch Camp, old plantation neighborhood located at the base of the Waianae Mountain range in Waialua, Hawaii. 
Lamb in my Front Yard
No Surf in Sight
The sugar mill has since been shut down and is now an industrial park for the North Shore with surf board shops and mom and pop enterprises.   Many of you may remember Lambchop- my "famous" surfing rabbit....  here - as a double exposure, he is on top of his cage out in my front yard with a plumeria tree and the moutains in the distance.

Rediscovering these images is like a wonderful treasure hunt - and one I will be sharing on this blog as I have them scanned into jpgs.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Artist and Collector

Painter Lora Banks is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector Series.
Forest Song
Oil on linen
24" x 18"
collection of Lora M. Banks
Lucky for me, Joseph Daily had grown up with my cousins. I was introduced to him a few years ago, and since then have had the honor of visiting his studio in New York and taking a fantastic work shop with him in Philadelphia. 

When I first saw "Forest Song" on his web site, I remember thinking to myself that I could never own a painting like that.  Then when I saw the same painting in a show New York, I knew that I had to have it.  I had never spent that much on a piece of art before, but to me it was totally worth it. Now I consider my self both an an artist and art collector.  

Lora Banks is a painter living and working in Philadelphia.  Her luscious oils can be viewed on her site
Lora M. Banks or on Daily Painterworks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mose Tolliver on her Wall

Carol Lesher is this week's guest blogger for the Artist as Collector series.
Mose Tolliver
collection of Carol Lesher
I came across this paintingon eBay when I was browsing around looking for a nude for my bathroom.  Well- when I saw this piece, I just had to have it.  It is a painting by Mose Tolliver, an African American folk artist who painted in a very primitive style.  

Not the traditional nude you might expect, but something I really enjoy!
I hope you enjoy it too.

Carol Lesher is a contemporary landscape painter who has a really cool studio and gallery in historic Kennett Square, PA. 

Carol bought her Mose Tolliver on eBay, I knew someone who had found a Milton Avery at a Garage sale.

Reminds me of  the indie film Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock? about a semi-truck driver who buys a painting for her friend for $5.00 and after some expert opinion spends her time and energy proving to the art world that she owns an original Pollock.  Hey, y'never know!

What is your best find in an unexpected place?