Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday with a Thank You

Eons ago I was an art student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY who had the idea of putting up a notice on the board at Pearl Paint down on Canal Street in Manhattan. I figured what better way to learn about being an artist than working for one. So I put it out there in the preeminent place to buy art supplies at the time. 
Shortly after, I received a call from sculptor Ed McGowin who said he was looking for an assistant.
Often I was alone in his studio in Soho working on whatever task he had set out for me,  while other times I was able to learn the lessons that I was not being taught in school that go with being a professional, dealing with dealers, networking and balancing work with teaching.  I watched Ed and his wife, Claudia DeMonte live life large as artists.  Much of Ed's work at the time was creating a physical place or space for a narrative to unfold, either under his given name or any of the 11 other names he legally had created art under. For more on that check out his Name Change Series. Ed continues to work with a variety of materials and media, aesthetically and conceptually. Recently, I came across these 8" x 10" photos he sent me years ago, and I realized how fortunate and grateful I am to have had this experience. Our time together, while relatively short compared to my undergrad and graduate school years has left an enduring impression on who I am as an artist.
Love Story, Inscape  1981
11'h x 10'w x 8'd
with interior tableau, mixed media
I had the pleasure of reconnecting with Ed and Claudia, albeit briefly at the opening Reception in April 2014 of Claudia's exhibition La Forza del Destino at the June Kelly Gallery, NYC. The gallery was filled with well wishers, artists, collectors, critics and former students like myself who have been fortunate to have been mentored by these two generous creative people.
With Claudia Demonte at Opening Reception of
La Forza del Destino, April 2014
June Kelly Gallery, NYC
Ed and Claudia are artists, activists, world travelers and collectors of Outsider Art. Claudia's project Women of the World "posed the question- What image represents "woman"- and invited women in 174 countries to create a work of art that expressed her view of the essential quality of woman." The work was exhibited and then documented in her book titled Women of the World, a Global Collection.

This post is not so much a "throwback" but an opportunity to reflect on the power we all have to teach, to touch and to thank the people who inspire us to be who we are.

Thank you Ed and Claudia!

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Philosopher, Poet, Author, Essayist

Monday, August 25, 2014

Request for Attention

Milton Avery, 1960
Dunes and Sea II
oil on canvas, 131.8 x 182.9 cm
Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art
"His pictures were always polite, but they were polite in a way that a man with a gun might be polite. There was plenty to back up his request for attention."

In the book, Steve Martin's narrator, Daniel Franks is describing the work of American painter Milton Avery. While Avery's quiet muted palette and seemingly deceptive simplicity have appealed to me,  Martin's insight into Avery's allure is what packs the punch for me. like wow. 

I am drawn, moved, and inspired by great lines.

As with German artist Egon Schiele's electrifying lines, you can feel the flesh, the posture of the model, as well as the angst of the artist. 

Egon Schiele
Nude women dressing
Drawn to line that evoke a feeling, contour the flesh, or lead your eye- or your heart on a journey

Sidewalk sign at Wild Birds Unltd.
in Hockessin, DE
following the news of
actor Lauren Bacall's passing.

or a memory...

Life Drawing, 1991

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Throw your dreams

Happy Tuesday... loving summer, rain or shine. especially both.
Heartsong, 2014
encaustic, collage on board
all rights reserved

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977);
author, diarist
Heartsong, 2014
encaustic, collage on board
7.5" x 7.5" Framed

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Asking the Right Question(s)

On the final evening of our summer family vacation to San Diego, CA we took our dinner to beautiful La Jolla to watch the sunset over the water from the cliffs. We happened to look down at the beach at a couple just as the guy was "taking a knee." 
It's safe to assume that she said "Yes!"
Within moments, they were kissing and everyone on the beach was cheering. We all "knew" what the question was.  It's not always that obvious- or simple.

Asking the right questions can bring clarity and understanding to any situation. Whether you are working with a gallery, or hiring a professional to work with you on a new venture.
Carlos capturing first layer of a new painting
This summer I began working with Carlos Hervas to create a short video that I can use to introduce people to my work.  Carlos is a professional video producer and director of television productions at the University of Delaware.

"Who is your audience, i.e. who are you making this for?" was one of the first things he asked me when I asked him about working together. That question feels like a compass that clarifies each point along the way.

He has come to my home studio twice so far to video while I work. This last time he put a microphone on me and asked questions to get me going or dive a little deeper.
A new piece often begins with a new find... I found this net
on the shores of Munson Island when I was in the Florida Keys
with my son Nate earlier this summer 2014.
The skills of writing- and speaking about your work is a powerful tool for artists.  I am finding that I really enjoying the process of working and having to talk about it, in large part to Carlos' thoughtful and insightful questions.

For some great info on where to begin on creating a video about your work, I highly recommended ArtBiz Coach, Alyson B. Stanfield's Blog Post and interview with R. Daniel Foster- it was what got me started!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Life is Not a Spectator Sport- Some Travel Tips

Taking a break from my busy summer to check in. I have been painting, teaching, and traveling the past few months. My family and I have been to wonderful places and shared some great experiences, but let's be honest. 

Mama Panda at the San Diego Zoo
Traveling can be challenging and not with out its mishaps and challenges.
What could be better than being a pink flamingo, you get to eat lots of shrimp
and don't need kool-aid to flaunt your freak
 Our most recent trip to San Diego is a perfect example. Of course if you check out my FB page you will see lots of happy faces but just to keep it in perspective I will share an email my husband Scott sent out to family and friends with the subject line The Dight/Hersh Vacation Chronicles

Or, what not to do when having a family vacation:

1. Do not book two seats for the same person on the same flight (We inadvertently booked two seats for Nanci, none for Nate. Didn't realize this until the night before when printing boarding passes. It required an hour on the phone with multiple airline management to correct).

2. Do not show up to the check-in counter 40mins ahead of flight time with luggage to be checked. (We hit massive traffic. Must be there 45 mins before flight time, no exceptions. Only solution, two of us catch the flight, two of us race to try and catch the next flight with baggage. Bye-bye Nanci and Griff, see you when you get there).

3. Do not skim board on water that is too shallow. (Nate had the board catch the sand and jolt his ankle and foot, end result, two fractured bones).

4. Don't have a need to get ex-rays done while traveling. (Entire day spent in calling, where to go, do they take insurance, etc...thank goodness we weren't traveling internationally).

5. Don't try to go on planned events with crutches or a wheelchair. (Need I say more).
Or have your older brother push you around.
6. Don't trust all websites for selecting places to stay. (Our B&B was a bit scary, hence we decided not to stay. Cost us one night's fee for cancellation, not to mention, have you ever tried booking a hotel on the fly? We needed to find something reasonable for that night and the for the following 3 nights).

There are other pointers I could share, but I think you get the picture. By the way, Nate will be out of commission for approximately six weeks. I can't wait to get home and back to work!

Scott and Griffin at La Jolla
(I could live there) just saying.
Nanci's note to Scott: Look at the above photo and tell me you mean it!