New still life photographs: Future Perfect

Imagine you’re a three-year-old lying on the floor of your childhood home. You look up. The walls are raked with light. There’s a hallway made of planes that leads to another room. And the room beyond that has a different tone because of the way the sun is positioned in relationship to the house. You become aware of yourself as a sensing, physical being located in three dimensional space and you feel a sense of wonder.

"Patient," photograph

“Patient,” photograph, Future Perfect

Future Perfect is a new series of still life photographs in which I aim to reconcile physical and digital realities by building imaginary spaces using sculpture and digital photography.

"Novitiate," photograph

“Novitiate,” photograph

Each piece begins as an abstract painting of a botanical subject. Then I make a three-dimensional object based on the painting using wax and wood and photograph the object on seamless white background.

Yellow Chunk

“Yellow Chunk,” photograph

My goal is to make evocative images with a grounded, tactile quality that are also idealized.

“Volunteer,” photograph

Future perfect is also a grammatical tense that suggests an action yet to be completed, as in “I will have done this,” or “You will have done that.” It as an optimistic construction that allows us to communicate thoughts about an anticipated future that has yet to coalesce.

Check out the Future Perfect gallery on my site to see all current images.  This is a new series that I’ll be adding to in the new year.

 

 

 

Boulder Open Studios 2017, October 7-8 and 14-15

You’re invited!  My studio will be open to the public during Boulder Open Studios.  Stop by from noon to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8 and 14-15.  The address is 1650 Yellow Pine Avenue, Boulder, Colorado 80304.

See "Novitiate," photograph during Boulder Open Studios 2017

“Novitiate,” photograph

 

See the first finished images from a new series of photographs titled, “Future Perfect.”  Minimal and bright, I’ll write more about these later, but for now just come and see!  Also on display: encaustic monotype, painting, and sculpture made of wood and wax.

 

The Boulder Open Studios Tour is one of Boulder’s best known and best loved visual arts events.  In an area with few established fine art galleries, it gives local artists an opportunity to show new work and connect.  It gives collectors a chance to meet artists and see new pieces before they go into a gallery.  For young artists coming up, Boulder Open Studios is a chance to meet working artists, see how people set up their studios, make work, and gather ideas.  I’m in it for the feedback.  It’s interesting to watch people interact with your work, see what they linger over and hear questions about it.

 

 

Correction

Alas, there was a mixup in printed guidebook this year and the image associated with my name in the guidebook is not mine.   If you’re looking for Jessica Tyler’s work, check her page out on Boulder’s Open Studios website.  The most reliable guide to Open Studios is the interactive website, not the printed guide nor PDF.

Boulder Arts Week 2017

Join me for some springtime art and cheer!  I’m hosting an open house at my studio in honor of Boulder Arts Week 2017 on Friday, April 7th.  Boulder Arts Week is a once-a-year celebration created to highlight the arts related goings-on that typically happen in Boulder in any given week.  While some artists create special events for Boulder Arts Week, others use it as a chance to let people know, “Hey, we’re here!  Check us out and see what we have on offer all year round.”

 

Boulder Arts Week Open House

Friday, April 7th, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

1650 Yellow Pine Ave. (downstairs)

Boulder, Colorado

encaustic monotype

“Bewitch,” encaustic monotype on rice paper mounted on panel, 8″ x 8″

Pine tree, mild winter, Flatirons Vista

Early 2017 has been mild here in Colorado (no snow or ice to speak of in and around town this week).  But even though the ground is dry, the light in the image below still says winter to me.  One of the reasons Colorado’s cultural scene is less developed than those on the coasts, I think, is because the sunshine here motivates you to get outdoors and explore.

Pine tree, Flatirons Vista South, Boulder, Colorado

 

One of my favorite trails right now is Flatirons Vista located on the west side of Highway 93 just south of Boulder.  It has two concentric loops that cover grassy and wooded terrain.  I like it because it’s less crowded than some of Boulder’s other trails, and because the trees smell great.  I also love the variety of views.

Trinity ES&C

Looking southeast toward Trinity ES&C, a gravel mine off Highway 93 in Boulder, Colorado

Look east to see a gravel mining operation and its industrial, sculptural forms.  Look west for mountainous views.  Also, there’s a lot of pleasing texture between the grass and trees which I find kind of mesmerizing.

Flatirons Vista South

My dog Hazel cruising along beside me, Flatirons Vista South, Boulder, Colorado

Anyway, while it’s a treat to be able to get out and hike trails that’d typically be covered with ice this time of year, there’s a relentless quality to the early heat and activity that has me feeling stretched.

Reclaiming Orange, by Betsy Gill

Betsy Gill is a painter and maker of found object art pieces.  She has a knack for producing interesting and cohesive shows of her own work in alternative spaces.  Her current show, Reclaiming Orange, is on view by appointment at her studio in downtown Boulder, Colorado.  Betsy chatted with me about Reclaiming Orange and the self-produced art show last week. What follows is a little of what she had to say.

Fantastic by Betsy Gill

“Fantastic,” found objects mounted and framed on view at “Reclaiming Orange,” a self-produced art show by Betsy Gill

 

What is Reclaiming Orange?  How did your idea for this show come about and evolve?


I was contemplating the idea of a show based on the color orange and thinking it would be fun to create what I saw as a 3-dimensional collage of orange in my studio. I realized, in light of current events, there were some negative associations with orange, but didn’t want that to deter me. Thus, the title Reclaiming Orange was born and I decided to donate a portion of sales to Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center and Planned Parenthood.

Reclaiming Orange by Betsy Gill

Arrangement, orange themed books on table with upholstered chairs

 

My starting point was a couple of large orange canvas paintings and found art I had already done. I then created a new collection of found art pieces with the theme in mind and started collecting anything I had that was orange — cards, books, furniture, accessories, etc.  A friend described it as “your life in orange.”

Infused with Love by Betsy Gill

“Infused with Love” by Betsy Gill, acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 48″

 

What does the color orange represent to you?


The color orange represents vibrancy, vitality, creativity and passion to me, all of which I feel are especially important now. The show was a way to celebrate all those things in community with others. I also created an interactive art project on one wall in the studio where people could write what orange means to them.

Betsy Gill

Betsy Gill, center, and friends wearing “Reclaiming Orange” t-shirts

 

You had a terrific crowd at your opening.  What are some of the things you did to market the show?


I’ve built a mailing list over many years of people who’ve been to my shows in the past and/or expressed an interest in my work who I sent postcards to. I also have an email list I sent the show announcement to. I am new to using social media, so for the first time created an event on Facebook.

Betsy Gill

Betsy Gill and friend, “Reclaiming Orange”

 

What is the best thing and the worst thing about producing a show of your own work? 


The best thing about producing a show of my own work is being able to shape it and bring it to fruition in the way I envision. The hard part is being responsible for every aspect of it — creating the work itself, hanging the show, planning and implementing the marketing, hosting the reception — all of which take time and money.

Found objects at Reclaiming Orange

An underloft arrangement of found object pieces and frames at Betsy Gill’s studio in Boulder, Colorado

 

I'm a Fan by Betsy Gill

“I’m a Fan,” found object, mounted and framed

 

 What advice do you have for artists seeking to self-produce a show in an alternative space?


A lot of work goes into something that may be limited to a short span of time and a limited audience. I hope to extend the reach of the show through social media.

Betsy Gill's Studio

Orange clock in windowsill on a snowy afternoon, Betsy Gill’s studio, Boulder, Colorado

Artists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Here are a few images from Artists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, a 1974 exhibition catalog of botanical illustration.  I’ll be honest.  In another era, not that long ago, I’d have found this book of black and white portraits and botanical plates a bit of a snooze.  But . . .

Cover, Artists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

“Artists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew” published in 1974 by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation presents the work of 39 artists “whose work and lives span the period from the beginnings of Kew to the present.”

 

Today I’m finding the Hunt Institute’s effort charming because its portraits of artists – visual and written – suggest a care for art and the humanities that is in short supply these days.

 

Behold the story of Mordecai Cubitt Cooke.

 

M.C. Cooke’s early interest in botany derived from his mother, with whom he spent many hours collecting flowers.  An early interest in botany did not turn toward a specialization in fungi until 1847.  Before gaining recognition as a mycologist, he had served as an assistant in a drapery firm, taught for some time in a national school, and was a lawyers clerk.  In 1861, he became an assistant in the India Museum.  In 1880, the museum was dissolved and the collections were sent to the Royal Gardens at Kew . . .

Novelistic, right?

Kew2

Mordecai Cubitt Cooke, born in Horning, Norfolk, England, 12 July 1825, died in Southsea, England, 12 November 1914

 

Here’s another profile, short but sweet, about Victoria Gordon.  “Her media, in order of preference, include pencil, water color, oil, and pen and ink.”

Victoria Gordon

Victoria Gordon, born in London, England, 1938

 

But my favorite image is this dust jacket design by John Hutchinson, below.  Jumbled, asymmetric compositions almost always appeal to me.  But it’s the nugget of white space at the top of the page that makes the whole piece sing.

 

Dr. Hutchinson served the Royal Botanic Gardens from 1907 until his retirement in 1948.  Initially an apprentice, in 1936 he ws appointed Keeper of the Musuem of Botany.  His reputation as a botanist, monographer of the genus Rhododendron, and a specialist on African flora is international . . .

Kew3

Dust jacket design, pen and ink and watercolor

Chaotic times call for calm enjoyment.  I’m hooked on Gilmore Girls this week, in part because of this bit on This American Life, Just What I Wanted, and am finding it just my speed.

 

How about you?  What are you enjoying these days?

 

 

 

 

Palette Contemporary Art and Craft in Albuquerque

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.

abq

Looking east toward Albuquerque and the Sandias from the Vulcan Volcano Loop Trail, Petroglyph National Monument, New Mexico

 

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.

heaven2

“When Heaven and Nature Sing” is a show of thirty-six paintings from my series of One-Hundred Flowers, up at Palette Contemporary Art & Craft in Albuquerque, New Mexico through the end of the year

 

The aesthetic at Palette is modern and bright.

heaven9

“When Heaven and Nature Sing” at Palette with art glass in foreground

 

And the gallery is strong on art glass, a lot of which has a retro-futurist look and feel.

heaven5

Another angle

 

heaven6

Center row from right to left, “Pickle,” “Superkitty,” and “Bean”

 

heaven4

Center right, “Soothsayer”

 

Surprise!  Kurt commissioned a local bakery to make a batch of frosted cookies in the shape of “Sun Pop” for the opening.

cookies

Cookies frosted to match “Sun Pop”

 

Sun Pop

“Sun Pop,” encaustic and ink on panel, 5″ x 4″

 

Call or email Kurt and Ariana to ask about Sun Pop or any other painting in the show.

 

Brushy/grassy

Here are few images from a new series of monotypes.

brushy4b

“Strike,” encaustic on rice paper mounted on panel, 8″ x 8″

 

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.

brushy3b

“Thrust,” encaustic on rice paper mounted on panel, 8″ x 8″

 

My palette for these is minimal, mostly indigo, plus some black, sepia and a few other colors.

brushy9b

“Meander,” encaustic on rice paper mounted on panel, 8″ x 8″

 

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.

brushy5b

“Swoop,” encaustic on rice paper mounted on panel, 8″ x 8″

 

 

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