I’m still here!
As Christmas nears and I’m finally settling back into life with Mr. Forager, I thought I would check in with you, dear Artsies, and let you know what’s been happening over the last few months.
First of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the sweet and thoughtful comments, messages, and emails. They truly were a balm for my soul and often came at the times when I needed them most.
Going home was harder than I ever imagined it would be. My mom’s initial reaction to the super strong doses of chemo left her body incredibly weak and thin. I wish I could say that improved while I was there. The stress of watching my mom struggle, of watching her decline, and being away from my dear husband made for an emotional few months.
I think Mr. F and I underestimated how difficult it would be for us to be apart. To go through those emotions each day may have been a bit more bearable had I been able to go home to my own bed and the arms of my husband every night. So mid-November, we decided to set a date for me to return home. My mom and I had already talked about it, she knew I couldn’t stay forever. Just as I know that she won’t be here forever.
The week before my flight, Mom’s oncologist determined that she needed to halt chemo treatment. Although it was working to a degree, the chemo was doing her body more harm than good. So we made Thanksgiving a very special day, surrounded her with her favorite foods and people and traditions. A CT scan was to be done on the next Tuesday, and I left the following Friday. Unfortunately, the CT scan showed an inoperable mass on her liver. My mom is left with two options for further treatment and the option to stop treatment altogether. The odds aren’t good for either of the treatment options. Depending on her decision, I may be headed back to Florida early next year.
But for now, I’m back in California with Mr. F. Enjoying our time together and waiting. Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers!
Hope to be back in full swing soon. Hope your holidays are filled with love!
Hiya, Artsies! Artist Candice Smith Corby recently took a group of students on a little artsy tour of Venice and is here to share her experience with you! I’ll be checking in and letting you know what’s been happening in my world soon, I promise. Without further adieu, here’s Candice!
I was delighted when asked to do a guest post for the Artsy Abroad column!
Recently, my colleague, Bill Pettit, and I led a cultural and artistic tour in Venice, Italy. We’ve been partnering up over the last couple of years through our arts collective, The Bottega, to offer fresco painting in Italy for students, as well as collaborate on projects that revolve around our shared interest in pigment and material origins. With the sea being so influential, we decided that watercolor painting and the cuisine of the Veneto region would be ideal themes for our workshop in Venice. It was also a great opportunity for us to share what we love- art, travel and good food!
Venice or La Serenissima as it is lovingly known, is magical and undoubtedly one of the most serene cities in the world. There are no cars on the island and you quickly become accustomed to a more humane speed of life than we are normally used to. The pulse of the city, which actually feels much more like a large close-knit town, is dictated by your own heartbeat. Everyone walks, especially Venetians, and even though the Grande Canal is a highway of motorized boat traffic, the hundreds of small interlacing canals are quiet and much less travelled. The combination of silent footsteps, a slower pace, and an ancient city plan with its small-scale architecture, makes it easy to suspend time.
In addition to sampling the local flavor of Venetian dishes and expressing a particular moment through paint, we also wanted to offer an experience beyond a typical tourist’s visit to Venice. Piazza San Marco was certainly on our list but the surprises found around an empty corner or the restaurant where all the gondoliers seemed to be having lunch were our favorite finds.
We avoided the crowds and chose canals with their small bridges to sit and paint the light as it changed across the water’s surface.
The act of observing with all of your senses while you are painting alfresco can whet your appetite and we enjoyed finding a nearby bàcari for cicchetti and a Spritz to rejuvenate ourselves. [A bàcari is a small wine bar to have cicchetti, which are little plates of yummy food. A typical drink is the Venetian Spritz- made with prosecco and a splash of Aperol.]
Our workshop also allowed us to share our personal research and experiments on historical pigments, which often have direct links to ingredients in the kitchen; such as the way chicken bones can be fire roasted and ground to make a bone white pigment. With the sea nearby, we chose to show how the ink sac from a cuttlefish (or seppia in Italian) has been used for Sepia ink for hundreds of years and is also commonly used as a food colorant. We spent the morning visiting and painting at the famous Rialto markets where we also gathered ingredients for a communal dinner. Later that night, Bill and I made our guests various dishes such as fried anchovies and sardines, octopus salad, and of course Risotto al Nero di Seppia.
In addition, artist Luca de Gaetano who teaches at Boston University’s Venice studio arts program graciously invited us to spend an afternoon talking about natural pigments including cochineal, verdigris, and saffron, while doing an egg tempera demonstration.
Our last day was spent visiting a couple of the other islands in the lagoon. Although we ended with Murano, famous for its glass-blowing factories, we began on quiet Torcello. The original inhabitants of Venice settled here and you will find their marvelous Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta preserved there. It dates from the 6th century with glorious 9th century mosaics that feel oddly medieval and contemporary at the same time. As we all painted in the courtyard, each of us immersed in the pleasure of looking, we were acutely aware of the layered centuries that surrounded us.
Perhaps because it was our final day together, or because the sunlight was perfectly warm, and perhaps because we all realized how lucky we were, this was the highlight of our tour. To quote one of our participants–
“I see it as a movie, with disparate characters, a lot of philosophy, wit and humor,…culminating in Torcello, where the meaning of life, destiny, faith, and human interaction at its best was evident in our conversation, silent and vocal communication. What a gift!”
While next year the world famous Biennale will be part of our itinerary, we’ll continue to take you off the beaten track, letting the magic of Venice slow you down to paint a sunrise over the lagoon, listen to un-ending church bells, and discover your own newfound delicacy from the sea.
Thank you so much, Candice for sharing your Venetian experience! I don’t know about you, Artsies, but I’m ready to book my 2015 trip this minute! For more information on The Bottega and next year’s trip, check out The Bottega website and look for updates on their Facebook page.
Images courtesy of The Bottega and Emily Cure.
If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you may recognize the work of our December Featured Artist. Not only have I featured the work of Anna Kincaide on the blog several times, but she’s also one of the artists I selected for my Artsy Forager print collection for Mantle Art.
I have always had a fascination with the glamorous era of Cary Grant and his contemporaries, where Anna draws much of the inspiration for her fashion forward paintings. The way she isolates her figures against color-blocked or patterned backgrounds kind of make them feel like they have been lifted from the silver screen or fashion magazine and found themselves in the midst of a painting. Which, if you think about it, is not such a bad place to be!
To see more of Anna Kincaide‘s work, please visit her website. Her prints in my Mantle Art collection are perfect for gift giving, too– you can even choose a custom frame right on their site! Easy peasy. Follow along on Artsy Forager social media to see more of Anna’s work all December long!
All images are via the artist’s website.
November might just be my favorite month.. shhh, don’t tell October! So it’s only fitting to give you one of my favorite artists as the Featured Artist for the month of November! California artist Marsha Boston is a painter after my own heart, exploring the wonders of plant life and how we might live in harmony with our botanical neighbors.
A while back, Mr. F and I listened to a fascinating BBC story on the concept of “rewilding“. Listening to these experts talk about the positive changes that occur when once developed land is allowed to return to its wild state definitely led to some interesting conversation and thoughts about how we impact our environment now and how we might in the future. Mr. F observed what an incredible amount of hubris it takes on the part of man to think he can do better than nature. Marsha’s work is often focused on how we define our relationship to nature. Are we here to serve or be served?
To see more of Marsha Boston‘s work, please visit her website. Her beautiful paintings will grace the Artsy Forager Facebook cover and I’ll be sharing more of Marsha’s work on other Artsy Forager social media all month long. Make sure you’re following along!
All images are via the artist’s website.
by Stephanie Clark
The scale of the Spiral Jetty tends to fluctuate depending on where the viewer happens
to be. Size determines an object, but scale determines art. A crack in the wall if viewed
in terms of scale, not size, could be called the Grand Canyon. A room could be made to
take on the immensity of the solar system. Scale depends on one’s capacity to be
conscious of the actualities of perception.
From the center of the Spiral Jetty
North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
North by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northeast by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northeast by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
East by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southeast by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southeast by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South by East—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
South by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southwest by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Southwest by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West by South—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
West by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northwest by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
Northwest by North—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
North by West—Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water
-The Spiral Jetty (Arts of the Environment, edited by
Gyorgy Kepes, 1972) as written by Robert Smithson from
The Writings of Robert Smithson. Edited by Nancy Holt,
After driving from New Mexico to Colorado, and through the night into Utah, the morning was clear as we made our way through golden fields. Hawks flew overhead, landing on fence posts. We drove onward onto graveled dirt roads, stopping the car to run on these roads and stretch our legs and arms in the expanse surrounding us. The September sky was crisp and clean.
We drove on as the red road curved.
We saw no one.
Finally, in the distance a blueish gray line paralleled a pink line below it. Spiral Jetty was just below these visible lines. It appeared small from our aerial view. We parked and the three of us parted ways, bounding up the hill above, or toward the salt flats below. Everything was bright as the sun radiated off of the films of salt that covered the land.
“Mud, salt crystals, rocks, water”, as Robert Smithson described in his 1972 essay on Spiral Jetty, were in every direction.
Our dog ran far into the distance. A red dot running as if she were born to, yet at some point, the smell of salt became noxious for her senses. The salt was much too potent for her keen sense of smell. She came sprinting back to me and we walked Spiral Jetty together slowly and calculated.
Darting back up the hillside, I set up my studio on the rocks near the car—which provided some minimal shade from the glaring sun. Here I painted.
Figures appeared on the salt flats below. Appearing to be hiking in from another field. After some time three travelers appeared also via car. One man and two women, all from Belgium were curious about us. They were impressed by how very much our dog appeared to “enjoy art” and upon us asking revealed that they were taking a land art tour of the Southwest. I mentioned Erin Hogan’s book, Spiral Jetta, which was a resource for us as we planned our trip to Spiral Jetty and previously to Marfa, Texas.
After being in the bright sun and intense heat from early morning until mid-afternoon we decided to move on. The colors of the salt flats had shifted displaying more pinks and washed out Payne’s grays than the deep silvers and slate blues of the morning.
We moved on.
Thank you so much, Stephanie, for sharing your experience of painting at Spiral Jetty! I think I’ll start planning my own land art tour ASAP!
Images by Stephanie Clark and Andrew Yost.
I’m sure you didn’t think I’d be back so soon and this is just a momentary pop-in. But I couldn’t let a new month dawn without bringing you a new Featured Artist! When first we met October Featured Artist, Raquel Edwards, it was almost exactly three years ago and she was exploring beauty through the lens of a camera rather than a canvas.
Artists are driven by the need to explore and express and Raquel is no exception. Switching from photography to painting, she’s now discovering new techniques and means of visualization digging into the nature of cognition. The shapes she presents are somewhat familiar, yet just foreign enough that we can draw our own conclusions as to the meaning of their presence.
To see more of Raquel Edwards’ work, please visit her website. One of her gorgeous encaustic paintings is gracing the Artsy Forager Facebook page all month long and I’ll be sharing favorites of Raquel’s work as often as I can on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest.
All images are via the artist’s website.
This morning I awoke before the sun in San Francisco and boarded a one-way flight bound for my Florida home. I’ve shared previously about my mom’s cancer diagnosis and the battle is taking its toll on her. She needs me more than this blog does, so I will be away for a while.
I’m so grateful to each of you who have taken on the role of caregiver for a parent and have reached out to me and told me what a cherished and important time it became. Those stories give me strength and courage to know that I am not the first to walk this line, nor will I be the last. I hope that when this chapter is complete, I can be a help and hope to someone else at the beginning of this journey.
I’m going to miss blogging and sharing artists with you every day, but this is just a temporary break and I hope to be able to use this time not only to focus on my mom, but to dive deeper into painting ( having Mr. F ship my paints to Florida! ) and work through my feelings by creating. The two paintings above are little studies I’ve done for my mom since she began chemo. Inspired by advice from M.A. Tateishi, I wanted her to know how much she was on my mind and heart and provide her with something tangible to hold and connect with me while we were on opposite coasts. Maybe when we are together I can convince her to paint with me!
I’ll be checking in when I can here and on the Artsy Forager social media channels. If you’re on Instagram, I’ll see you there! Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers, dear Artsies. I’ll see you again soon.
Being out in the woods or hiking in the mountains can be an intimidating experience. It is when we are in the enormity of the wilderness that we realize how very small and insignificant we are. These paintings by Spanish artist Paco Pomet seem to have that same feeling of being in the midst of an overwhelming landscape.
Mountains take over offices and pink clouds engulf a riverscape as Pomet uses carefully placed color to emphasize the distinction between man and panorama. Each painting has an incredible sense of scope and depth, so that the feeling of the immensity of the earth is readily apparent.
To see more of Paco Pomet‘s work, please visit his website.
All images are via the artist’s website. Artist found via The Artful Desperado.
In our travels, Mr. F and I have seen some beautiful sights from the highway. During our time in Yosemite, we often found ourselves driving through the park from the valley up to our campground after nightfall. There was something that completely enchanted me about the mountains silhouetted against the night sky and the way the headlights lit up the trees to a surprisingly bright green. In these paintings from her Roads and Carousel series, UK artist Sarah Shaw captures that magic to be found in the night.
These paintings seem to glow with that mystical light that happens when the landscape is lit artificially, spotlighting small sections and leaving others to blackness. How true that seems sometimes in life.. we focus our light, our attention on what is in front of us, the needs of that moment, while the periphery waits in silence for its turn.
To see more of Sarah Shaw‘s work, please visit her website.
All images are via the artist’s website.
Isn’t it funny how selective our memories of childhood can be? How some moments seem so vivid while others are barely recalled? UK artist Hannah Lewis Davies‘ paintings explore those fleeting memories as well as the imaginary worlds we create in childhood.
I have a feeling that being with my mom will bring back a lot of childhood memories. It’s funny that what I remember most about my mom from childhood aren’t necessarily memories of her specifically, though she was a constant, caring presence, but it’s more her things. I remember being fascinated with her jewelry and shoes. It was the 70s and my mom had amazing taste in shoes! Wedges to die for! And there were the books and clothes, especially one filmy peignoir that I would wear and imagine myself as a princess or an actress accepting the Academy Award. Without even realizing it, she set up a world that opened up my imagination– one where I could discover and reinvent myself, surround myself with beauty, go on adventures. As an adult, I’m still striving to do all those things, but she planted the seed.
To see more of Hannah Lewis Davies‘ work, please visit her website.
All images via the artist’s website. Artist found via Saatchi Online.