Monday, June 30, 2008

Books, books, books

Here are some photos of the books I've been making. I finished an altered book, worked out the dummy on a flag book, have the basic idea and form for a small stab book (or series), and am still going strong on those embroidery books that I mentioned earlier.

Altered book.

One of the embroidery books.

I also worked a bit on some drawings that I will collage into encaustic paintings when I get back.

I had a bit of a detour on Thursday - Laura wanted to go to some openings in the city, so we drove back in that day and came back on Friday. We stayed at the beautiful brownstone in Harlem that she and her husband are remodeling, went to 3 openings (without air conditioning!) and then had dinner at a place called Hell's Kitchen.

The next day we went to an awesome art supply store called New York Central. I got some really great paper to use for books when I get back.

Then we went to PS1 to see the Olafur Eliasson show. He's the one that did the waterfalls around the city. He also had some work at MoMA that I had enjoyed.

So it was fun to go to the city again. It was a bit intimidating driving, though. Laura directed me. Actually, she mostly said, "It's OK. Just go!" Luckily I didn't have to drive very far - we just parked at her place and then took the subway, taxis, and her husband drove some, too.

Anyway, the time here is almost up. It's been really fun and inspiring. I'm almost ready to get back to the real world. I've got a lot of work to do when I get back!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Soaring Gardens, part 2

Laura, hard at work in the lower studio...
I'm still blown away by how beautiful it is here. Texas has its charms (well, maybe not), but natural beauty is not one of them. In the Dallas area, at least... So it's quite an experience to be around so much for so long. I have to admit that at times the nature can be a bit much, especially when it buzzes around your ears or poops on your head...

But I'm making work about the surroundings. I'm taking lots of photos and using them in books. I might also do a series of paintings when I get back.

Above is a book that I'm working on. I'm doing embroidery on mulberry paper, making small accordion books, and I plan to make a box to put them in.

I didn't really bring enough supplies. Since I was traveling so much before, I didn't want to lug around a bunch of extra stuff, so I had someone ship me a box of supplies that was waiting for me when I got here. I bought some paper when I was in New York, but I didn't really know what I needed, so I didn't really get enough. And there are really not art supply stores here. So I'm making due with what I have.

Laura, on the other hand, brought her whole studio! She lives in New York, which is only a 3 hour drive, so she rented a truck and brought lots of paint, large canvases, etc. She's here to work, too. She's on a mission. She gets out there early and stays up late working. I feel like a bit of a slacker, really. But I'm here for the inspiration and the experience. It will affect my work in some way, so I'm just soaking it in.

So I'm having a fabulous time and it's been such a great summer so far. I do miss my son, though. That's the only bad part. And today is his birthday, so there's extra mom guilt. But he's on his own Arkansas adventure right now, digging for diamonds and staying in a yurt! So maybe he's not missing me too much...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Soaring Gardens

View of the back of the house at Soaring Gardens.
The Studio at Soaring Gardens
I arrived at Soaring Gardens on Monday. It's about an hour from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and it's absolutely beautiful here.

You can also check out the Flickr set of photos that I've taken so far - I'm adding them slowly.

I'm staying at "The House" with another artist, Laura Iorio, who is from New York City. Nicole Pietrantoni from Iowa is staying at "The Church." We've all been enjoying hanging out and taking in the scenery. Laura is serious about getting a lot of work done and Nicole and I are here for the experience and to be inspired.

I am working, but mostly collecting ideas and images. I've been taking a ton of pictures. I'm going to do work inspired by the natural surroundings - mountains, trees, birds, deer, pond, chipmunks, woodchucks, squirrels, rain, flowers, etc.

I don't get cell phone reception and I have to come into "town" to get email, but that's probably a good thing.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New York City, Day 2

Cymbeline, performed "progressively" in Central Park by the New York Classical Theatre.
I had a super busy day yesterday. I took the subway and then walked through Central Park to the Met. It's a big place and I didn't get to see all of it. I concentrated on the modern and contemporary sections, but got side-tracked by some older things, too. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that they allowed photography. So many museums don't any more... Below are just a few of the things that I saw:

I think this was the only piece I saw by Robert Rauschenberg. He's one of my favorites, so I was a tad disappointed that they didn't have more.

I just had to take a picture of Damien Hurst's shark, mainly because there was a "No Photography" sign right next to it.

Detail view of Tara Donovan's amazing installation of mylar tape. She does cool things with straws, styrofoam cups, etc. Seeing something mundane and disposable arranged on such a large scale is quite impressive.

Jasper Johns' encaustic White Flag is pretty textural and amazing in person.

This is a detail of a large encaustic piece by Martin Kline. Very textural and dimensional.

Another encaustic piece, this one by Victor Brauner.

The roof garden featured some large metal sculptures by Jeff Koons.

After the Met, I rode the subway to Battery Park and met an online friend at the Battery Marine Building to see David Byrne's "Playing the Building" installation. The building is going to be remodeled soon and he's turned the empty large space inside into a musical instrument.

There's an organ in the center that you can play, and all the wires connected to the organ control motors on the rafters, compressed air blown into pipes, and hammers on radiators and pillars.

Above is an example of one of the pipes with air being blown into it.

It was really amazing. We stood in line and played a duet that was pretty awful, I'm sure, but it was really fun. There were a few people that were able to play some semblance of music. I felt really fortunate to be able to see it and interact with it.

Then we went to Brooklyn to meet up with another online friend. He took us down to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge to see the Telectroscope, a viewer that allows you to see through this newly discovered tunnel to London that uses elaborate mirrors or something.

This is the viewer - you look through a large window and you can see a screen with the people in London, who are standing in front of a bridge in London (the Tower Bridge?).

Here's Chuck attempting to engage the Londoners in a game of rock-paper-scissors, or roshambo, as they call it. There was a bit of a lag, so it didn't work so well. The woman on the left was talking on the phone to someone in London. Adam, the scientist, was skeptical, and suspected that the people were not even in London, much less at the end of a tunnel.

Then we ate some yummy pizza (although Chuck assured me that it wasn't that great), got some yummy ice cream, and then headed back to Manhattan to go to the New Museum. They didn't let us take pictures there, though.

I headed back to the hostel and attempted to get some sleep.

Today I'm going to head to Chelsea to see some galleries. I might also try to get Shakespeare in the Park tickets for tonight, too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Adventure Continues

The blur that is Joanne Mattera...

I'm still processing all that I saw and learned at the Second Annual Encaustic Conference. Joanne Mattera and the staff at Montserrat College of Art did a fabulous job of organizing the conference and keeping it lively and interesting.

I need to read through my notes and sit down and do a more thorough wrap-up later.

I also spent a day in Boston roasting in the heat and taking in some mercifully air-conditioned galleries. I will also try to do a summary of what I saw there.

But right now I'm in New York City!

I took a $15 bus from Boston to New York (how is that possible?) and arrived in Chinatown. Then I took a $20 white-knuckle cab ride to the hostel where I'm staying.

OK, so it turns out staying at a hostel is a lot like camping. I hate camping. But it's cheap, so I'm going to make the best of it.

So after checking in and getting settled in, I started wandering around. Central Park is just a couple blocks away, so I started there. I was thinking maybe I'd walk to the Met, but realized that Central Park is BIG! So I thought I'd try to find where they perform Shakespeare in the Park and maybe take in a show, but I couldn't find it.

I decided to just head back to the hostel, grab something to eat, and do some laundry. But as I was walking out of the park, someone handed me a flyer and said, "Come to our performance!" Turns out it was a Shakespeare play by the New York Classical Theatre, and they were doing it right there. It was a "progressive" performance, where they would move all over the park and perform scenes in different locations. At the end of a scene, one of the characters would say, "To Britain! Come on! It's just across the bridge!" Or something like that. It was really fun.

So today I'm thinking of hitting the Met and MoMA. And then tonight I'm meeting some internet friends at David Byrne's musical building.

Hopefully it won't be as hot as it has been.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Encaustic Conference

Gwen Plunkett and Kate Miller

I'm having fun and learning a lot at the Second National Encaustic Conference.

Linda Womack is doing a much better job blogging about it.

This is the only picture I've taken so far!

I'll try to take more tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Deanna's Excellent Artistic Summer Adventure

I've been busy getting ready for my summer adventure. I'll be gone for almost a month! In a couple of days, I'm headed to the east coast for the start of my adventure:

Part 1 -
The Second National Encaustic Painting Conference near Salem, Massachusetts. I went to the first one last year and had an amazing time. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the artists that I met last year and meeting new ones.

I'll be staying with Kate Miller and Gwen Plunkett, who I just met in February when they came to Dallas for the College Art Association conference. We hit it off and I'm glad that I'll be able to spend some more time with them.

I'll be staying on a couple extra days after the conference. Gwen and Kate have both signed up for post-conference workshops and I may try to get into one of those or I may just do some sight-seeing. Or I may try to recreate my "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" adventure to Provincetown.

Part 2 -
New York City! Since I have a few days between the conference and the start of my residency, I thought it would be fun to spend some time in New York visiting museums and galleries. Alas, since my search for a Park Avenue penthouse to crash in for free turned up empty, I'll be staying at a cool-looking hostel. I've been to New York twice but was with people who weren't so into the art scene, so I'm excited to get to do anything I want and go anywhere I want! Joanne Mattera has already sent me a Chelsea gallery guide, and of course I'll be visiting museums, too. And looking for good pizza. Art and food. It's all about priorities.

Part 3 -
Artist's Residency at Soaring Gardens in Pennsylvania. I've already booked my ticket on the bus from NYC to Scranton. I'll rent a car in Scranton and then attempt to find Soaring Gardens, where I'll be staying and making art for 18 days.

So now I'm busy trying to figure out how to cram a month's worth of stuff in one small suitcase. I also want to have someone ship my art supplies to me, so I don't have to lug them around.

Thanks to everyone who has "invested" in my residency. I'm overwhelmed by your generosity and I'm really excited to share what I learn with everyone.

I got a new laptop (Betty, pictured above), so I'll try to blog about my adventure as I go along, depending on internet access, of course.

I have a link on the blog now if you're interested in signing up for my mailing list. When I get back, I plan to start sending out a regular (hopefully monthly) newsletter. So please sign up. But don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while - I'll be adventuring!