A little over a week ago I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the opening of When Heaven and Nature Sing at Palette Contemporary Art & Craft. Albuquerque is a high elevation city set in a geologic bowl. It is bordered by the Sandia Mountains to the east and a row of defunct volcanoes to the west. The city has an old town, and a downtown populated by mid to tall-rise buildings, but its creative heart feels spread out among its many square miles of low-lying strip malls and residential neighborhoods.
Palette Contemporary Art & Craft, located at 7400 Montgomery Blvd. NE in Albuquerque, has the hallmarks of a coastal urban gallery – white walls, high ceilings, polished floors – minus the big city attitude. Gallery directer Kurt Nelson is as personable as they come and his assistant, Ariana, will chat football with you as easily as she’ll chat about the art.
The aesthetic at Palette is modern and bright.
And the gallery is strong on art glass, a lot of which has a retro-futurist look and feel.
Surprise! Kurt commissioned a local bakery to make a batch of frosted cookies in the shape of “Sun Pop” for the opening.
Call or email Kurt and Ariana to ask about Sun Pop or any other painting in the show.
Here are few images from a new series of monotypes.
Monotypes are one-off prints with a painterly quality. (I think of them as a print/paint hybrids.) The process for making them is immediate and cathartic.
My palette for these is minimal, mostly indigo, plus some black, sepia and a few other colors.
See these and more at the Fifth Annual Petite Holiday Fair at my studio this Saturday, December 10th! Join me from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, 1650 Yellow Pine Avenue, Boulder, CO.
While not much of a churchgoer, I do attend a service at my neighborhood church on Christmas Eve to sing the old songs by candlelight. Joy to the World, is a regular on the roster. The refrain, “and heaven and nature sing,” always gets me wondering . . . What is the relationship between heaven and nature in the song? Can you explain it using color?
One Hundred Flowers is a series of paintings based on botanical subjects where I aim to balance abandon with order by putting loose, gesture drawings of organic, botanical forms through a series of refining steps.
Within each individual piece, I tend to go for analogous or tonal colors. My goal is to arrive at a finished piece where the original subject is distilled to an essence, clarified, and transformed.
But the series as a whole contains a mix of analogous and complementary hues. The thirty-six pieces below are available at Palette starting today through the end of the month. Call or email gallery director Kurt Nelson for more information.
I know it seems dark, but I’ve taken to reading Chris Hedges in the last year. Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and activist. His views about the future are apocalyptic. I like him because he writes about things that interest me – the environment, the absence of the sacred in modern life, and women’s rights – in a sober voice that doesn’t sugar-coat. Why are people so angry? His take, as I see it, is that there’s a spiritual crisis at the heart of American discontent. The old Horatio-Alger-type stories people have told about the U.S. for generations no longer ring true, and a coherent, new story about who we are has yet to form. This idea excites me because it acknowledges spirit. And because it points to art and culture as a possible way forward. If you’re just getting started with Hedges I recommend Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt illustrated by Joe Sacco. Here is a preview.
Here’s a short bite from Hedges on the role of art in rebellion.
There is a ton of Chris Hedges stuff on YouTube and he has a regular column at TruthDig. If you’re like me (left-leaning with an interest in storytelling) some of it will inspire you. Alas, some of it will probably also drive you nuts. I take it in because his words sound real to me in an era when a lot of communication feels manipulative or superficial.
“We are going to need those transcendent disciplines that remind us of who we are, why we are struggling, and what life is ultimately about.”
– Chris Hedges
How about you? What have you read or watched in the last week that made sense to you?
The way I feel about my work changes over time. For example, this piece, Shangri-La, made me uncomfortable when I made it. But I kept it anyway and today I am into it.
Shangri-La is the mythical land depicted by James Hilton in his novel, Lost Horizon. Here’s a clip from the film adaptation (which I like very much) that gets at the essence of the place:
I am on pins and needles with the election happening this week.
I foresaw a time when man exalting in the technique of murder, would rage so hotly over the world, that every book, every treasure would be doomed to destruction. This vision was so vivid and so moving that I determined to gather together all things of beauty and culture that I could and preserve them here against the doom toward which the world is rushing.
― James Hilton, Lost Horizon
Here are three pieces of student work in encaustic made at my studio in Boulder, Colorado by three different artists. I’m excited to share them with you because of the range in sensibility they show. When I teach encaustic it is my goal to help artists new to the medium find their own personal way into it. Interested? My next workshop, Basic Encaustic, is slated for Saturday, November 19th.
Private Lesson: This artist came to the studio with a strong sense of subject and composition inspired by her work in encaustic with another instructor. We worked together to fill the technical gaps in her encaustic education and she left the studio with the beginnings of a new series based on botanical imagery that showcased her intuitive, fluent paint handing.
Encaustic Transfer: The two things that stand out to me when I look at this aritst’s work are the understated palette – look how the red works almost as a neutral here – and the atmospheric approach to mark-making. The red and black marks on this piece that appear to have been drawn on to the panel were made using encaustic transfer techniques.
I add workshops to my schedule by request as my schedule allows so if there’s something you are interested in that you’re not seeing on the schedule, let me know and I will see what I can do. Private lessons available by request.
Today: pulling together images with postcard-potential for my upcoming show, When Heaven and Nature Sing opening on December 2nd at Palette Contemporary in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This piece is called Deep Dark Secret.
Artists Living with Art by Stacey Georgen and Amanda Benchley is one of those books you just enjoy having around. (I am bummed about having to return they copy I’m reading to the library and may just have to spluge on one of my own.) A picture book for adults, it presents photographs of art in artists’ homes alongside stories about their collections.
Like the illustrated books I remember from my childhood with detailed interior scenes, this is one you can pick up and browse and re-browse and continually discover something new.
Featured artists are: Tauba Auerbach, Francesco Clemente, Chuck Close, Will Cotton, John Currin/Rachel Feinstein, E.V. Day, Carroll Dunham/Laurie Simmons, Eric Fischl/April Gornick, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Mary Heilmann, Rashid Johnson, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, Helen Marden/Brice Marden, Marilyn Minter, Michele Oka Doner, Roxy Paine, Ellen Phelan/Joel Shapiro, Ugo Rondinone, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Pat Steir, Mickalene Thomas, Leo Villareal and Ursula Von Rydingsvard.
Photographed by Oberto Gili whose work has appeared in popular home design and fashion magazines like Architectural Digest and Vogue, each piece has the look and feel of an art-themed magazine spread. Bound together the essays have a diversity and a creative field that is exciting to engage with.
I was going to review an art book for you today, Artists Living with Art by Stacey Goergen and Amanda Benchley, but the fall garden has me under its spell. So here’s a picture of some waning tomato vines instead. It’s super-windy right now and the sky has that weird, intense yellow-green color that we sometimes get before a storm. It’s about to turn cold, I hear. Are you ready for the change? I am. Almost.