A View inside my Studio

It’s a Saturday, P1020635when we were expecting six inches of snow to be on the ground, but no such luck. While I’m ruminating on deeper subjects to write about here, I thought I’d give a glimpse into what’s on the walls and under way in the basement.

I am usually working on more than one piece simultaneously.  It’s a bit like cooking a complex meal.  You are aware of various things simmering, waiting to be prepped and you jump in when something is needed. You are aware of the sequence of steps you take as they overlap and build towards some kind of conclusion. You act on impulse, you act on experience. P1020647

The two large pieces might eventually be stretched. And the small ones on the right are a continuation of the “Grasslands” series.  (bonus- I recently got a new cart to store painting supplies and it rolls around so nice and is just the right height for me)

Working with oils asks for patience and a lot of reworking the way I use it.  The larger pieces with so many stalks and movements in space also call for keeping it all straight in my conscious mind. I am creating a maze of overlapping elements, and also monitoring the overall movement/balance/spatial qualities/color…etc…etc.  What appears to be spontaneous and instinctual can also ask for many small decisions- over and over.

Over-under-over-under, repeat.

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…

making an impression…

the lovely Griffin

 The lovely Griffin etching press that I was able to buy years ago (with a professional development grant while teaching ) has been patiently waiting in my basement studio for me to return.

plate ready to go

This past week, I had to crank out an edition of 15 prints for a show/print exchange at Pierce College in Tacoma, WA.  I had been meaning to get back to this, but as so often happens, a deadline does the trick.

So… now the ice has been broken and I can keep at it during the summer.

Making a ‘series’ of monotypes is a bit of a contradiction, since each print is unique and can’t be replicated.   What we’re talking about is making 15 individual paintings and then squashing them one by one onto dampened paper under pressure.  The other exciting part of this is that I will get 13 random little prints sent back to me.  What a great idea, and only possible when working in this medium.

laying the paper on the plate

After this brief interlude, I’ll get back to prepping for the 2-day studio tour in June.  Maybe do some prints to expand on the ideas for the new series of grass/weed imagery.  It was a very nice interlude, indeed.

New Work – Sprouting up

My strategy in this year has been to back off the unnecessary and clear my head….decide if I wanted to keep painting, decide how I would go about that, decide what really intrigued me enough to make work about it.  The Creative Capital workshop seemed to help propel me past my earlier funk, and gave me the courage to just do what mattered to me.  The result has been more drawings, and the beginning of an exploration of things that evoke the quality of being grounded AND tangled…in fact, they are about grass and reeds and such things.    Here are a few of the smaller pieces, hanging on the wall in the “done” section- yay!   

Putting it on paper

in the last few weeks, I’ve found my way back to drawing and am playing with various ideas about tangled-ness.   Grasses. Vines.  Sometimes it moves more toward the more complex and sometimes less is more.  But only if the “less” still embodies more.

"Nest" charcoal, graphite ©2012 Nanci Erskine

Is it just me, or is it getting darker in here?

Now that I’m noodling around more in the studio …drawing more, aimlessly trying things…. I’ve been painting these little gems. Almost like more fully exploring small areas of former paintings. (see industrial landscapes). Lots of layering, painting under, then over. Carving out deeper spaces….. my kind of fun.