Monday, January 31, 2011

A Better Way to Get Tubed

Surf's Up
Handcolored Photo
February's issue of O Magazine is all about Creativity.

Breezing through the magazine I came upon a side bar of particular interest titled 7 Ways to Spark Your Creativity. (Who doesn't need a spark this snow covered January day?) by designer Anna Rabinowicz.

At the top of the list is a book recommendation, Not a Box by Antoinette Portis in which "a rabbit sits in a cardboard box and uses his imagination to transform it into a racecar, a mountain, a robot."

Our Rabbit, Thunder
using her imagination
Not only do I have a pet rabbit and I know how creative she is, but I figured I could use this approach to
see my upcoming brain MRI in a new way.

Old way: Claustrophobic tube with a jack hammer in my head. (VERY SCARY)

New way:  A very cool time travel, space ship ...
Some time to chill and not have a phone stuck to my head or my fingers dancing on the computer keys
Time to practice yoga/meditation off the mat (even though that was checked off my bucket list last week when I had an hour and a half breast MRI!)
A full body massage (ok that's a stretch)

The Quest, 1988
Oil on canvas
40" x 40"
Any other ideas out there?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mules and the MOST Unwelcome Muse

Wedding Mules #1
Painting #15
4" round, Acrylic on Canvas

What do my wedding Mules have to do with the most unwelcome Muse - The Big C, Cancer,
have to do with each other?

Nothing. absolutely nothing. I was very happy painting my mules,  and Koi Pond, and making stuff with wire and pulp.  I enjoyed working from life again, looking at color, shape, and composition and meditating on the present moment.

So this week's news that my cancer is back is not very welcome.
Wedding Mules #4
Painting #20
5" x 5"
Acrylic on Canvas
Nailed, 2004
8" x 9" x 1"
Nylon, encaustic, nail on wood

Sure, I did some of my most powerful work from that experience, but that was old news, and I liked it that way.

Apparently fate has other plans. So here we go.  Hope you'll check in and share your insight, your experiences and give me something to laugh about along the way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

How Low Can You Go

Apparently pretty low!. it's under 10 degrees here!

These sheepskin slippers are well worn, warm old friends and have been the mistaken play toy of Dini the Dog a few too many times!
Well Worn White
#14, January 2011
Acrylic on Canvas
10" x 10"
Say Who?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tiny Garments can tell Big Stories with a Collograph- Part 1 Video

Teen Mom project funded by the Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant at the The Garage to begin shortly!  We will be working together to create collographs.
Fear, Faith, 2001
Collograph with acrylic, graphite, collage
44" x30"

A collograph is a printmaking process. This particular form of printmaking is accessible, rich in texture,  and image development as it enables you to work additively or subtractively. For our upcoming project with the teen moms we will be using donated, discarded and recycled infant and toddlers╩╝ clothing as the “plates” or print matrix. The clothing becomes the plates as they are painted with a gel medium that hardens the surface and allows it to be embossed or inked and printed on a table top etching press. 

These altered garments can be a perfect vehicle for sharing stories and giving voices to the experiences of responsibility and lost youth, and the joys and challenges of parenting, at any age.

Here is a short video of preparing the clothing so that they will be the collographic plates that will be embossed or inked up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Passion is always in Fashion

My husband is passionate about squash (the game.) 

Here was my holiday gift for Scott... a portrait of his squash sneakers and a very special ball.
Comet (though it looks more like a planet!)
16" x 16"
Acrylic on canvas
Now that I am painting shoes my radar is keen for kicks of interest!  These were on a Squash player (off the court!) So British.

What is on your radar these days?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

See How Tiny Garments can tell Big Stories with a Collograph

Recently, Lisa MacMain and I met at  her house to sort through bags of donated baby clothing for my Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant.  We will begin working with the Teen Moms at the end of this month.  To get started we decided to have some baby clothing ready for the girls to work with.
These tiny garments will become the catalysts and vehicles for stories told through images and words.

We will be making collographs together.  Collograph is a type of printmaking.

The root of the word is colle` - French for glue.It is the glue, or in this case Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish that will seal the porous fabric of the clothing so they can be inked up or embossed and run through a press.

I plan on having some pieces of clothing ready for the girls to begin working with when we have our first meeting at The Garage on January 27.

Coating clothing with Gel Medium

This is only the beginning of our adventure together!

What stories would your favorite clothing tell? 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Reduced to Being an Artist

With this new year, I find myself taking stock of my work as an artist. 

This leads to introspection (and some dark corners!) and reflection.

I also am reading Alyson Standfield's book I'd Rather be in the Studio in which she writes about having a signature style, something that sets you apart as an artist.  Good business advise no doubt.

This thought has been lurking in one of those dark corners... what does a Nanci Hersh look like?

A visit to my sidebar page Art: Working Through it All, one can see my different series of paintings, prints, encaustic and mixed media collage pieces and the context in which they were created.

One of my favorite shows last spring was a trip to MOMA where I saw the work of William Kentridge. Recently featured on Art21, we see him working in his studio, designing and collaborating with theatre, and how his political and social views come into play.

In another interview, William Kentridge spoke with Melissa Chiu of the Asia Society about "reduced to being an artist." He said that when he first began, he wanted to be an artist but thought that you had to be an oil painter to be an artist. He wasn't an oil painter, so he went to Paris to study theatre.
Within 3 weeks, he realized that he wasn't an actor.

Kentridge then said that "... every clear decision I had made was wrong, and the only things that saved me were things I hadn't decided, but which I discovered I was doing after the event"  (note: this is quoted or paraphrased as best as possible!)

Perhaps answers to questions about my own work lie may lie, not in clear decisions; the what or how but from the ongoing process of showing up in the studio, moving forward - even when I run the risk of not always seeing the clear path. The trust is in the doing.
Body as an Open Book, 2005
Digital print on handmade paper with collage
10" x 22"

What are your thoughts on having a certain style, or is that irrelevant if you just keep working?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Made Plans

and then it's Snow... delayed opening for school, shoveling, and all plans go out the window - or at least shift.

But, hey... sometimes you just have to STOP and be in the moment.

and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Stepping Up with OnetoOne

Loving my Apple OnetoOne Sessions... now I know (at least with some help!) to create a video and share it on my blog.... here is Santa's Gift as promised.

Expect great things....

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waking up to White

Woke up to white this morning and still coming down.

There is nothing plain- or simple about white.  Try choosing a white mat, or selecting a paint chip for a room color. Warm, cool, tints of pink, yellow, shades of blue... they are all in there.   Look at Monet.  Years ago, I saw some of Monet's winter paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago. White has never been the same.

Claude Monet, 1895
Sandviken Village in the Snow
73 x 92 cm
Art Institute of Chicago

White has been on my mind,  and on the canvas. My daily paintings this past week have included paintings of white Ugg boots and old sheepskin slippers with white trim.
Warm in White I
Acrylic on cavas, 10" x 10"

Warm in White II
10" x 10", acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Interview with my Change Partner for the Leeway Art & Change Grant

Another new beginning- a very exciting one!

In November I was notified that I received a Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant . The grant funds women and transgender artists in projects that create social change in their community.  Art as social action as been a growing passion of mine over the years.

This particular project is a series of collaborative printmaking workshops with teenage mothers who meet at The Garage in Kennett Square.

We will be using recycled infant and toddlers clothing as the print matrix to be inked up and then printed.  These collographic plates (the clothing itself) and the prints pulled from them will serve as a vehicle for sharing stories about experiences of responsibility and lost youth, and the joys and challenges of motherhood at any age.

Sailor Suit II, 2002
Collagraph with acrylic & graphite on paper
30" x22"
Yesterday I met Lisa MacMain, a creative and passionate woman, who is the graduate student that initiated this group of young women from the community.  We chatted, brain stormed and planned for the subsequent workshops that will begin later this month.

Here are somethings that I learned about Lisa (for one she used to have her own Art Studio), my Change Partner.

1.  I love that you have an art background... how and when did the transition to social work occur? 
I come from an artistic gene pool; for many years i had an art studio where I created mosaics and sculpted one of a kind santas. i also have a passion for textiles.  I am fascinated with "outsider art" that is created by untrained artists and love to use found objects to create one of a kind pieces.  

2. Where are you going to school? 
I am about to graduate from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work with an MSW (master's of social work) I am also working toward a M.Div. (master's of Divinity) at Palmer Theological Seminary. I am a 1986 graduate of Elizabethtown College with a bachelor's in elementary education.

3. You said that you started out as an intern at the Garage... how did you originally hook up with them?  
My internship at the Garage is a requirement for my master's in social work.. When I graduate in May 2011, I am going on staff with Young Life, a worldwide, non-denominational Christian ministry that reaches out to teenagers.  YoungLives is the branch of this ministry that serves teen moms. 

4.  What can you tell me about the work you are doing with the Teen Moms at the Garage  .... and do you have a name for your group? 
I absolutely LOVE my work with the teen moms of Kennett and feel privileged to be working with this amazing group of young women. I was given 5 names when I started in September 2010 and the group has grown very rapidly to 20 young women with babies that range in age from 2 months to 4 years. I help teen moms get connected with social services, do counseling and plan social events, run discussion groups and a mentoring program.   On the third Wednesday of each month we have "Club" at the Presbyterian Church of Kennett where we have dinner, speakers, games, door prizes, a spiritual talk and free diapers. 

How have you used your art or your work to connect to others in ways that have created change or transformation?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Accountability with a single step

Blue Slippers & Pendant
Daily Painting #12
Acrylic on canvas, 10" round

This holiday season I gave my husband a Photo Calendar with quotes. Fitingly, January's quote reads... 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"  Perfect since my daily paintings these days are of shoes...

So for my 2011 journey I have my list of goals, intentions and so on.

But none of it will mean anything UNLESS I stick to these 3 things:

1. Schedule my week/ days

2. Stay on task (!!!)

3. Work/paint/make stuff EVERYDAY

There I put it out there.

Day 1, so far so good!  I did my daily paintings, now according to my daily schedule, I am off to swim (think health, fitness, sanity)

Later I will post my special gift from Santa!!!