Dancing Down Stream 04/08/2022
Dancing Down Stream acrylic, cheesecloth mounted on polyester film
The streams are full of run off it’s pouring and as I look out the studio window twenty turkeys are strolling through the vernal pond that forms each spring. At one time I think there was a small stream running through the field but this landscape has been farmed since the mid-19th century. People have altered its natural contours to fit the needs of those that farm the land. Its still farmed last year it was planted to corn, probably this year too.
I am always looking at the land trying to understand how it has changed. Water makes its own path. From here it will make its way to the Susquehanna and then eventually to the Chesapeake. The watersheds are the circulatory systems of the landscape even the tiniest stream has a role to play. We have three watersheds that have streams with origins in our county. The Susquehanna goes south, the Mohawk/Hudson goes east then south and the third goes to north to the St Lawrence. All three start within five miles of each other. There is a great website STREAMER that will show your which direction any stream in the US flow and which watershed. It’s fascinating to trace the tiniest of streams on its course to the ocean. Next you have to get out and walk the path of those streams to see the subtlety and not so subtle change they make to the space they move through. That’s how Dancing Down Stream came to be I walked down stream in the water tracking with GPS.
The artist Maya Lin has create a body of work exploring the original water course through New York City. You can watch a video of her discussing her process for the excellent program ART21.
Dancing Down Stream is available for purchase click here: Leigh
Prep Work... 03/25/2022
I just finished reading an article about plein air painters planning for their safety while painting in a city. Buddy systems with safe phrases, scanning the area for routes to leave, back up batteries to keep your phone charged, whistles to get attention and dissuade someone threatening. It gave me pause in considering an expedition into the urban landscape. In my rural space I have tromped through the woods to find the source of a stream coming across bear tracks, slipped on wet rocks, climbing up and down ravines, hung work in over a stream and then walked a partially submerged wet log through spring runoff to retrieve it. All of this on my own with limited cell coverage I never felt endangered.
The interactions I have moving through the space of landscape are integral to my work and I haven’t given them up but, I have grown a little more cautious. Now, I have a friend who I paint with weekly but not for our safety but for encouragement and enjoyment. I still walk through the woods fields and streams on my own. I make sure my cell phone is charged, I sometimes bring hiking poles and have a four legged companion with me…The hazard that has given me the most to worry about are ticks. Those little buggers have put a real crimp in my interactions in our natural environment. As recently as four years ago I never had one on me or my dog. Last year I keep a jar with alcohol near by when I came home from walks through field and woods, I’ve already found one on my leg this year. It seems sudden to me that they have become a problem, so here is my new plein air safety gear:
Long sleeves shirts and long pants treated with pyrethrum. I tuck my pants into socks and spray my shoes and hat with repellent. New this year bug gaiters, I am quite a sight. I hate this but, I hate the idea of being stuck inside more.
I am not alone as an artist wandering the space of landscape, there is a long tradition. The artist Richard Long has made work based on his walks in landscape for decades. Two books that I have on my bookshelf that inspire Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solinit, and Earth Mapping Artist Reshaping Landscape by Edward S. Casey. The pandemic had many more people out walking about I hope that is one effect that stays around.
Click here Leigh for more information on the sculpture Bobbin
A Penny for Your Thoughts... 03/11/2022
The New York Times story by
Elisa Gabbert A Poem(and a Painting)About Suffering That Hides in Plain Sight on March 6th examines W.H. Auden’s Poem Musée Des Beaux Arts and Breughel’s Icarus. In which the two works of art both portray how we move through our daily lives while tragic events are happening around us. Her deep look at these two works seeped into my thoughts on how I as an artist respond to the crisis in my own work and the events of the last few weeks.
The adage that you don’t know what you have until it is gone became readily apparent to me since my last post. I was hacked in away that compromised access to my computer. I thought I had lost 13 years of work, and 7 years of photographs when my computer decided it was over worked it in the process of regaining control. Luckily, I had off loaded most of my files to external files before that happened it was a very stressful month. My crisis was small in comparison to the world and national events we are living with right now. The W.H.Auden piece has me thinking about what we notice of the world around us when we feel overwhelmed by our own lives. How do artists respond to the the events of our lives and the greater community of this world?
Most of the work I create is in response to the physical environment, encountered in nature, the impact we humans and other being have on the environment. I feel like I am always asking: Did you notice that…? Pay attention to what’s happening…
The crisis of humanity, the loss of friends and family, the loss of homelands is a difficult space to explore. A Penny for your Thoughts was created when my mother was diagnosed with dementia at 87. Eighty-seven pennies wrapped in a lace handkerchief suspended from a pink ribbon. The pennies are no longer accessible, they are wrapped in an opaque cloth.
I hope you might explore the work of artists who’s body of work reflects the human in the landscape of humanity. One I would suggest is; Mary Crenshaw whose work reflects her deep investigation of the visual impact of the changing landscape of human movement within industrial life and the brutish physicality of twenty-first century life. Her marks mirror the raw indelibile cuts, and rhythms of contemporary cultures impact on place. Both in capturing the energy and grit of an industrialized graffiti laden urban landscape to the transitional space seen at the speed of a commuter train. Her commitment to abstraction and ability to pull everything out of her spare palette transports the viewer into our own odyssey through a challenging and changing land. A world juxtaposed between deeply held traditions and the pressures to adapt to the swiftly changing face of a world population on the move.
For comments and Information click:Leigh
Daily Play Painting Sketchbook 02/09/2022
Last week I talked about Play to Learn but, most adults have forgotten how to play. AND MY COLLEGE age students could not even identify play beyond games with a win or lose outcome. That is not play. As William Kentridge said; “Play is open ended, it allows for risk taking, for failure.”
For many this idea is difficult to implement it requires time to make it a habit and it is easy to say to oneself that I don’t have time for play I have responsibilities, to family, to my job to everyone...but myself. I can be victim to this mind set and have been working to reset, to bring more play into my daily studio practice. That is why I did the Stitch Challenge jumping into something unknown without expectations of finished product, just experiencing open ended playful making. I also joined a painting challenge, creating a painting in 20 minutes everyday for five days no judgement no expectations, just paint. I am giving myself the gift of play, because Play leads to discovering something new. There it is Play is open ended.
The artist Nina Katchadourians playful approach to making art inspires me to ask everyday, What can I do with this...stick, fabric, color? That I haven’t done before.
EXHIBIT OPENING February 10, 4-5:30PM
Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall
6 Sullivan St. Cazenovia NY
February 10th through March 20th, 2022
Take Me to the Studio 02/01/2022
Snowbird acrylic Arches BFK Rives 24x18”
Sometime ago a friend gave me three buttons each with one word: PLAY, TO, and LEARN. I love these buttons because no matter how they are arranged they speak to the core of my process for making art.
Play to Learn - To learn Play - Learn to Play
The South African artist William Kentridge said in Art 21’s documentary Anything is Possible “The “seriousness of play” is about “staying in the looseness of trying different things.” Play is serious business as an artist. Play is open ended, it allows for risk taking, for failure.
What if … is the question artists ask themselves daily. Artists learn early on that they must be willing to take risks with their work and sometimes that means failure. When you visit a museum or an exhibit you see the end product of many years of trial and error. Artists except those trials as process, you know it as learning. It can be both thrilling and devastating. Failure is informative, knowing what doesn’t work is part of it, failure also allows us to analysis the problem to seek better solutions. Maybe this shape doesn’t work in this place but is the answer to the piece that has been in the back of your mind for months.
In Snowbird I played with creating a surface that was fracture then drew on themes frozen surfaces and dormant plants. There was lots of experimenting in this process, breaking rules of how to use materials. It’s the what if in making art that keeps me excited to be in the studio.
For more information on Snowbird contact Leigh
Exhibit OPENING February 10, 4-5:30PM
Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, 6 Sullivan St. Cazenovia NY
February 10th through March 20th, 2022
1/24/22 Take Me to the Studio
Water Flow (Detail)90x60" Stitched with ribbon and beading.
This past week I participated in a stitch challenge organized by TextileArtist.org. I am not a textile artist, I would say I am an artist that uses textiles. I participated because it pushed me out of my comfort zone. We were asked to create 2 panels of painted marks on fabric, one densely marked the other with more negative space. Then cut up the two panels mix them by stitching the fabric back together creating a new design unified with embroidery stitching. The stitch work was my real challenge.
The use of textiles in art making is not new, but in the past it was marginalized as “women’s work”. This article from Artsy highlights artist who have lead the way as artist that use textiles.
10 Textile Artists Who Are Pushing the Medium Forward
Water Flows 90x60" on cheesecloth acrylic mixed media is available click here:Leigh for more information.
The dyptich Up is Down was created on one of those misty gray winter days that defied your ability to tell up from down. It was a strangely beautiful abstractions of space. I thought of it while reading How a Gray Painting Can Break your Heart by Jason Farago 1/16/22. It is about a painting “In Memory of My Feelings — Frank O’Hara,”by Jasper Johns.I wish that I could get to NYC and Philly to see Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror the two-part retrospective of his life’s work currently at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But, The New York Times periodically does a focus story on a single work of art and I think these are fantastic. They are a reminder of why giving a work of art time and a second look is important. If you have a chance read the article by clicking on the the link:
In Memory of My Feelings — Frank O’Hara
Up is Down is available click here Leigh for more information.
Refrigerator Poetry Online
Refrigerator Poetry September 2021 Exhibition refrigeratorpoetry.com/exhibitions/
New Optics January 2-25, 2020
The Painting Center
547 W 27th
New York New York
Artists of the Mohawk Hudson Region
ARTISTS OF THE MOHAWK HUDSON
OCTOBER 11 – DECEMBER 4
Opening Reception Saturday, October 12. afternoon
The Hyde Collection
161 Warren Street,
Glens Falls, NY 12801
Tuesday: 10–5 | Wednesday: 10–5 | Thursday: 10–5 | Friday: 10–5 | Saturday: 10–5 | Sunday: 12–5
Walk the Meadows and Marshes
Opening Saturday August 31
Artist reception Saturday September 7 4-6PM
Broad St Gallery
20 Broad St
Hamilton NY 13346
Opening Installation at Cazenovia College
Please join me for the opening of Purlieu
Thursday, February 14, 2019 4-6PM
Cazenovia College Art Gallery
Reisman Hall, 6 Sullivan St., Cazenovia NY
February 14-March 9, 2019
Monday-Thursday 1-4 p.m. ,7-9pm, Friday-1-4PM,
Saturday and Sunday 2-6PM