I think most artists would tell you that there is a build up of ideas, of creativity that happens within us, until either we feel as if we might burst if we don’t get it out. Or conversely, if we let it build up too long without ablution, we might deflate like a slow leaking balloon.
In her expressive abstract paintings, Colorado artist Conn Ryder releases her own emotional responses to the experiences of life.
Caught in that built up feeling is where I am right now. We spent last Saturday hiking in the Grand Tetons and Sunday driving up through the mountains, gazing at waterfalls, marveling at the enormity of the sky, and glimpsing black bears. The inspiration is building and I feel like I’m ready to burst. But other responsibilities have been getting in the way. It’s something I need to work on, to work out, to find a way to do it all, to get it all out.
Some people look at us and see what they want to see. Others look and see exactly who we are, loving and accepting us without reserve. These paintings by Cesar Biojo with their obscured faces remind me of the way we are not always seen clearly, even by those we love.
Being seen as we truly are is a rare gift, one that should never be taken for granted. But it isn’t always the fault of the see-er. We need to reveal our own truths in order for them to be completely visible to others.
hover over the photo above and click through for a peek into the artist’s studio
As artists, once in a while, we come across someone who inspires us, who thinks the way we do, who spurs us to greater heights– artistic kindred spirits, if you will. I’ve featured Bay Area artist Jeffrey Beauchampbefore just recently, but the invitation for a visit to his studio before we left Marin County was too good to pass up and his work too good and inspiring not to share again!
I had so much going on personally while we were in Marin, that it was a challenge just to find the time to go to Jeff’s studio. Something always seemed to be getting in the way and we ended up putting it off until my next to last week in the Bay Area. I gave myself two hours to meet with Jeff before another appointment that day. But soon after we began talking, I found myself wishing we had met up sooner and that I had been able to give him more time that day.
The way Jeff works is almost antithetical to my process– he often takes years to finish a painting, while I rarely take more than an afternoon. Immediately, I felt like there was a lesson in that for me. That I need to have a willingness to take my time, to be able to let go and let something be for a while so that I know for sure where I need to take it.
Jeff lets his work sit, he is able to wait with it, to let it speak to him. To continue to work and rework until it reaches its conclusion. In doing so, there is a layered depth to his work that creates stunning visual texture.
the view from the ark, oil on canvas, 96×72
walrus suffrage gains ground, oil on paper, 28×20
There is also a willingness to be constantly experimenting and evolving his process. For instance, Jeff has recently begun a series of works on paper, reinforcing and validating my own decision to work on paper. We reveled in the distinct pleasure to be found in ripping the tape borders off upon completion! If you work on paper, you know that feeling well! Jeff has found, as have I, that in theory works on paper seem like they would come more fast and loose, but the work is the work and often creating a finished painting on paper takes as much time as painting on canvas or panel.
Another constant in Jeff’s practice is continually looking to and learning from the masters who have come before. For instance, he began a painting based on a Claude Lorrain drawing, taken from one of the many books strewn about his studio. Beginning with a sketch, he worked into the painting below and completely made it his own.
lorrain inspired sketch
proper & common- some of my best friends are nouns, oil on canvas, 60×72
Another lesson I took away from meeting with Jeff was the importance of pursuing what excites you and moves you, despite what may be trendy or popular. Though his landscape work is popular and sells well, Jeff loves to paint monumental figures and quirky narratives. It may take longer for these paintings to find their collectors, but once they do, he knows that they are collecting the work out of a passion for the visual story he is telling, a connection that doesn’t always exist with even the most beautiful landscape.
Mr. F and I have settled into our new spot for the next three months– Idaho Falls, Idaho. While it’s a huge change from living outside of San Francisco, you may be surprised at how excited we are to be here. The little town may not offer as much as we’ve had in Marin County, but we are less than two hours from Yellowstone & The Grand Tetons, which makes our little mountain loving hearts go pitter patter for sure!
Living in Northern California for the last year, we’ve found ourselves missing the impressive grandeur of tall, rocky peaks. Eastern Oregon artist James Lavadour captures the abstract grandeur of the mountainous landscapes we love so dearly.
We’ve talked to many people in our travels who feel a strong connection to the ocean, who feel the need to be near it always. The ocean has its undeniable beauty, for certain, but for us, it is in the mountains that our souls feel at home. To hike a ridge trail, looking out over endless peaks and valleys, to be above the clouds, watching birds soaring below and our spirits soaring with them. Lavadour’s paintings reveal in color and light that mysterious enchantment to be found among the mountains. I can’t wait to get out and feel their presence this weekend!
hover over the photo above then click through for a peek into the artist’s studio
We live our lives in and within structures. From the house we call home, to the universe itself, to our very bodies, structure has a crucial role to play in every aspect of our lives.
San Francisco artist Howard Hersh is exploring the dualities of structure simultaneously in his two series, Dispositions of Structure ( encaustics on panel ) and Skin Deep ( acrylic on birch and basswood ).
His series of encaustics on panel, Dispositions of Structure are paintings about structure— physical, social, intellectual structures as well as the natural architecture of the universe. Skin Deep, on the other hand, are structures about painting— explorations into the idea that of the existence of the painting not just as a depiction of an object but as an object itself.
The connections and fluctuations in his shapes, the way they seem to move in and out, backward and forward make me think of how dependent we are on those structures in our lives. Societal structures such as laws and mores keep us safe and our base instincts in check while we rely on the health of our bodily structures to keep us alive. One type of structure doesn’t do much good without the other.
To see more of Howard Hersh‘s work, please visit his website. Howard was kind enough to invite Mr. F and I to tour his studio. Be sure to click through the studio tour at the top of the page!
The days are slowly growing shorter. Kids are going back to school, the lush green of summer has begun to fade. The transition from summer’s ease into the bounty of Fall is here.
The paintings of Austin artist Patrick Puckett with their warm, autumnal palette and easy repose remind me of this final slowing down before the busyness of the cooler months begins.
Will this be the last al fresco dinner? The last beachside picnic? Soon we’ll trade these delights for briefcases and backpacks, for crisp, cold nights and warm, baked bread. Each season’s end brings a bit of melancholy, but with each end is a new and different beginning.
There’s an ongoing struggle between Mr. F and I. Or should I say between me and Mr. F’s inability to relax, to chill, to sit and do nothing. It seems like we are constantly on the go, even on vacation, we’re up with the sun to take full advantage of seeing everything we can see. Mr. F is a take charge, get things done kind of guy, whereas I like to enjoy each little moment. Fortunately, we manage to meet in the middle most days!
In these beautiful little paintings of simple lawn chairs, New Hampshire artist Cindy Rizza creates what seem to be reminders to take a seat, to savor a moment.
Wish I could tell you that we’re planning a chilled-out weekend but we’re currently on the road from California to Idaho Falls, Idaho, where we’ll be spending the next three months bouncing back and forth between The Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole. I guess we’ll relax when we’re old and gray!
As Mr. F and I travel, we are in search of a place to call home. In each new spot, we find something that we love. If we could, we would piece together our favorite breakfast place from Idaho, the farmer’s market in Southern Oregon, the hippie vibe of Joshua Tree, and the art scene of Seattle and plop them all down in the midst of high, snow-covered mountains to create that one, perfect spot.
The paintings of Tessa Greene O’Brien, with their pieced together, collage-like feel remind me of how every place is the sum of its parts.
I love the way O’Brien distills her abstracted landscapes down to simple shapes and forms. Every place has its issues, its complications, but just like falling in love with a person, falling in love with a place means you overlook the minor imperfections and focus on the larger beauties.
We’re currently in a state of limbo. That window when our time in one place is winding down while we’re beginning the journey on to the next. Right now, we have one foot in California and one ready to step into the car and head to Idaho!
Aquatints by Alyson Shotz. To see more of Alyson’s work, please visit her website. Or if you happen to be in the Bay Area, rush over to Ratio3 to see her work in the Zero to One on Paper show.
There often two sides to every story. And every place. As we travel and live in so many different places, we see the good and the not so good in each. In his Weaving Landscapes, Toronto artist Shawn Skeir creates dynamic, dual personality landscapes that read as two distinct glimpses of one whole.