the studio tour approaches- better get those elves busy!

Special events volunteer job finished – check!
Finished helping a former student with her 5th grade art students’ “trash animals”- check!
Garden pretty much planted – check!
Studio intern on board – check!

studio tour painting, Nanci Erskine, grass paintings
a peak at a corner, before this one got stretched. This piece will be in the Studio Tour exhibition at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, opening June 14th

Now, on to getting paintings finished, framed, perhaps some pastels drawings….maybe some prints made… (just met a printmaker from MO, who can show me a new non-toxic process)

I’m lucky this year again to be sponsored by Legacy Land Trust for the FREE weekend artists studio tour. June 22 and 23rd.
AND I’ll be donating 10% of the proceeds from the weekend to the land conservation efforts of this small but mighty organization.

And…I am looking forward to having some help with studio/documentation/database tasks.
If you come by for the tour weekend, you will meet my intern, the amazing Ali. If you speak Mandarin, she will also make you feel right at home!

in a row

OK you duckies, get in a row….

It always takes a bit of an adjustment. A reset,  after finishing up some sort of art event- coordinating one, participating in one, or being one in the case of the recent two day studio tour in town.

This feels different from working towards a large solo show for two years, and shipping it off, and all the activities tangential to that. The lull that happens after that intense focus and effort is the kind that leads to wondering, “what next?”  (Or just needing a realllly long nap.)

Now, it’s more a feeling of needing to get the ducks in a row. Follow through on some tasks. (OK, bathroom, I know your walls are waiting for some plaster and a coat of paint…)

Art decisions are sometimes thrust upon us.  In the case of this year, I will not be spending any time coordinating and hanging a large silent auction benefit art show because the non-profit in question is putting it on hold to reevaluate its relevance.  So I lose income but gain a whole lot of time that is relatively stress-free.

I know I am engaged in the current work, and also know I don’t want to make large pieces.  At least for now.

In the case of goals to be working towards, there is a small show locally in a theater in September, and then a large open void.  Hmmmm, what will come next?

It seems that I have actually been the one selling/marketing my own work for the last four years.  Perhaps I should get more serious about that and make it possible for folks to purchase on-line.   Although some would frown on putting prices on a website or blog.  But I have no gallery to compete/coordinate with, and frankly I’m past the point of caring what most people do.   But what if I enter into a future agreement with another gallery?  Well, I’m not actively looking.  At least not for a venue out of state.  So, perhaps that’s a non-argument.

My life has downsized, my needs are not huge, and I mostly want to see what I do find an occasional audience . . . and if I am fortunate… a home.

Wonder if other people’s goals start to change after reaching 60 or thereabouts…

ideas (and other things) fermenting…

Now that I am painting a bit more, I find myself being pulled towards a change in the subject matter and destination in the paintings.   I was realizing that when I made a rather abrupt shift a few years ago, it was in part driven by what I wanted to investigate, but also the sense that my earlier paintings were not….. here it comes….. “marketable” – at least not in these parts or wherever there were galleries that had taken on the work for brief periods of time.  Hence, I have a lot of compelling, award-winning, critically acknowledged paintings that are still in my basement.

I think I got off-track –  trying to anticipate what would be agreeable in certain venues- ie: health care/hospitality/ etc.  Rather than just doing my true work.  Sometimes they blended with one another- but I have often found myself in this odd territory between traditional landscape/representational painting and contemporary/non-objective/conceptual work.   Perhaps this comes from my strong inclination to manufacture spatially convincing, believable worlds that are beautiful, fictional and technically challenging, and hopefully a bit unsettling or mysterious. Whatever it is, there is bound to be a shift in the work when you move, even if it’s just a couple miles to a studio at home.  Once I am finished with the busyness of summer, and other commitments, I am looking forward to more consistent time, buried in the basement, seeing where all this will lead.

Oh yeah, and there’s a gallon or so of sauerkraut for Reuben sandwiches later!

ruh roh….

Does this ever happen to you… you bring some piece of work home and it gets stored, and then you bring it out, and it gets the thrashing it deserves?

I think I’ve been mulling over the work that I did this past year or so, and feeling like it lacked some kind of courage or freedom… like everything was too controlled and contrived.  Starting a new painting in a new environment (see previous post) ie: my basement…. I am probably now being influenced by the fact that I have more physical space to move around in.  Maybe before, I was thinking about being “tasteful” or something equally insidious…

Can’t quite put my finger on it, but I either need to start over, and get a new direction, or give this one a bit more ooomph!    So I went and started painting into it again…. not a new phenomenon- I am historically someone who reworks things … alot.

I think I miss the sinister, moody and seductive qualities of my earlier industrial paintings.

And maybe there’s a way to find that but with vines/botanical instruments, we’ll see.

I want to try and get back to just painting what interests me, not what I think will appeal to anyone else.  Now that I have a stretch of the summer with no commitments, it could happen.


Get this Straight….

OK, is it just me, or do the pre-made medium stretcher bars always seem to warp?  I have had bad luck in the last couple of years with fairly large canvases that I stretch and prime looking really wonky when they go up on the wall.  We’re talking about maybe  1/2 inch or so out of square- but I can see it.  Then sometimes the dang thing is even bowed in or out on one edge.  This never used to happen to me- and I suspect the wood is inferior, unseasoned, whatever.

Now, only the heavier ones will do, I suppose, or I will try painting on wood panels instead. I used to love working on masonite and wood.

happy thanksgiving accidents

during the last week or so, I have been more in my painting life, which has felt just perfect, thank you. Today, I was working away  on one painting, thinking it would be nice to have some more dense areas on either side to compress the space more into the center…. if you’re a visual person, you’ll understand what I mean….and at the end of the day, put up a diptych that I had been conceiving as having a congested tangle of vines in the background of the center linking the two halves and making what felt like a counter movement to the rest of the work.

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Well, come to find out, I had switched the two pieces, and they really linked up better with the busier, denser places on the far left and right side now.  Then the center is the open space.   Still in a somewhat early stage, but …

WAY BETTER!  Who knew?  But it was a nice serendipitous moment.  The kind that comes when you are just acting on impulse…  the good kind.

Which version do you like?  It’s early in the working life of this piece, so I expect lots of changes!