World of Art: The Hyde Collection: Modern Nature

The elegant, Italianate villa that holds the Hyde Collection. What a gift to the region!

The elegant, Italianate villa that holds the Hyde Collection. What a gift to the region!

Yesterday we took a drive to Glens Falls, NY to visit the Hyde Collection. It was a perfect New England summer day.

Our mission was to mail a small original painting to Utah, and to send a giclée print on canvas of Raven Nest to Maine, then see to the show.

The Hyde Collection is a jewel, tucked away at the foot of the Adirondacks. There’s a virtual tour available on line, with excellent information about the collection.

The Hyde has a small, but absolutely astounding world class collection of art, elegantly housed in the former home of the founders, Louis and Charlotte Hyde. The permanent collection consists of approximately 3,000 paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts, including furniture and textiles. From classic Greek statues to Rembrandt, Degas, Picasso, Keith Haring and David Smith etc., each of the rooms has treasures to see. The gardens are  lovely too.

Dancing with the Dancers.

Dancing with the Dancers.

The specific exhibit we were  going to see was Modern Nature, Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George. A delightful surprise was that MANY of the paintings were new to me, despite my decades of fascination with Ms. O’Keeffe’s work. Unfortunately no photos were allowed.

A misty morning on Lake George painted by Ms. O'Keeffe

A misty morning on Lake George painted by Ms. O’Keeffe. I got this photo from a review on the Huffington Post by John Seed where you’ll find great images from the show.

We share many of the same interests. Rocks, ravens, bones and interesting forms…  trees, desert vistas; the cool, green mountains of New England; the sculptural forms of plants and flowers.

A friend asked me if she was an important influence in my art. No artist in the 21st century can deny any influence. My world has been steeped and saturated with art since I discovered a coffee table book on art history when I was  three or four years old. Somewhere along the way I encountered O’Keeffe.

It was interesting to closely examine her technique. Her layers of color were surprisingly thin- the texture of canvas was visible, without affecting the paint.  How does she get that smooth blend with such a thin coat? Did she use a lot of turpentine? A magical mix of medieval mediums? Maroger? A secret blend of linseed oil and frankincence? Somewhere I read that she had a very special humongous brush that she kept hidden.

Have I always been drawn to her work because she is speaking a visual language that I understand? A deep craving and connection with the mystery of Natural World? Perhaps it is the serenity she expresses in her simplified interpretation of form.

 

Advertisements

From the studio:

River Nest, acrylic on canvas 58" x 40"  This painting took a year to finish, but how many years have I spent studying the light on rocks and the curving flow of water?

River Nest, acrylic on canvas 58″ x 40″
This painting took a year to finish, but how many years have I spent studying the light on rocks and the curving flow of water?  River Nest is on its way to a new home in Denmark in a few weeks. I will miss it!

People often ask how long I’ve been working on a particular painting… It’s sort of a silly question.

I remember my doctor telling me that the surgery on my carpal tunnel would only take 20 minutes or so, which made the price seem exorbitant.  But she had spent 20 years perfecting her technique, which made the price seem insufficient.

I’ve always painted and sculpted. In childhood I painted with pokeberry juice; drew with charcoal sticks from a campfire and sculpted with rain-soaked clay dug up in the back yard. And eventually of course, with all of the student-grade art materials my wonderfully supportive parents helped me procure.

Now I paint with professional materials: light-fast watercolor; archival acrylics & oil paints. I use the finest papers and canvases that I can afford.

As a third grader making  a Halloween sculpture  with materials from my mother's  garden.

As a third grader making a Halloween sculpture with materials from my mother’s garden. Everyone else was making jack-o-lanterns. I had to experiment with different mediums!

My sculpture is created with clay prepared with specifically developed scientific formulas and fired in a high-tech kiln.

How long have I been working on my art?
How long have my eyes been open?
How long have I been studying shape, form, light and color, even before I realized I was doing it?

That’s how long I have been working on every painting, or sculpture that I create today.
My entire life!

 

Whirlwind of Art: Summer Aartz

Proud young artist!

Proud young artist!

Parents ask how it happens.
How So many children walk out of my studio at the end of four jam-packed days of  Summer Aartz camp with SO much wonderful art. The answer is that it isn’t hard and it isn’t easy. But it is intense.

I have students from ages 7-17. The common denominator is art.
In each session the sequence of projects is somewhat variable, although Day One is always Mud Day.  Here’s what we’ve done this year:

Day One On the first day we Clay-DAyalways work with clay… Otherwise I’d never be able to get the work through the firing process in time. In the morning we make small sculpture, pinch pots, coil vessels… I demonstrate a technique, then they use it to create whatever they choose. In the afternoon we make clay wall pieces- 3D drawings. A full day of MUD!

Needle felting!

Needle felting!

felt-bunning-drawing

Wool felted drawing, 9″ x 12″

Day Two
This is variable… Some years we’ve made books, giant masks, 3D paper sculpture, collages… This year we spent the morning exploring needle felting. With special felting needles students created 9″ x 12″ brightly colored drawings on felt. The results were fabulous, whether the young artist was 7 or 16 years old.

In the afternoon we used watercolors and then drew with charcoal. A busy day!
Meanwhile the kiln has been loaded and set on the lowest temperature to quick dry the clay work. I stay late into the night, slow-firing the work to avoid explosions and cracking.

Day Three
We began our 16″ x 20″ acrylic painting by preparing the mat board with a base color, and working on a preliminary sketch.  We also did a basic drawing exercise, learning how to assess forms to be able to draw WHATEVER we choose. For example, can you draw a llama using rectangles, cylinders, ovals, triangles and circles?

16-x-20-painting

16″ x 20″ acrylic painting

In the afternoon, when the kiln finally cools enough to take the work out, we glaze the pinch pots, coil vessels, sculpture, bowls, cups, etc. That night I load the kiln again and fire it.

Day Four
First thing, we put a base coat of black gesso onto the clay 3D drawings. Then we  complete our 16″ x 20″ acrylic painting on archival quality mat board.

Clay drawing, painted with acrylic

3D Clay drawing, painted with acrylic

Then we paint the clay drawing. After lunch we just have time to make a beautiful bas relief in heavy artists foil.

Bas relief in heavy foil.

Bas relief in heavy foil.

Lest you think the day is ALL WORK, the schedule also includes a snack break, after which students have the opportunity to recite a poem or rhyming words to earn a gummy worm. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a worm shaped, gum drop sort of candy.

At our favorite ice cream shop: the Inside Scoop.

At our favorite ice cream shop: the Inside Scoop

Then, after an hour or so more of work, we take a nice walk, have a picnic, swim, and stop for ice cream on the way back.

Our grand finale exhibition is always amazing. Each student has produced wonderful art in a wide variety of art mediums.
It’s so difficult to choose which images to share with you. If you’d like to see more check out: Summer Aartz photos.
(It’s a Face book album, so you have to be a FB member to see them.)
We all go home smiling!

Peter-grand-finaleIMG_3788

IMG_3809

Joseph Raffael

Ammonite by Joseph Raffael

Ammonite by Joseph Raffael                                   The scale of his watercolors is impressive.

Now that I’ve delivered the work to my show at Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro, VT. I can get back to some other art I’ve  been wanting to share.

I’ve blogged about Joseph Raffael before, but this artist does NOT disappoint. Earlier this spring I went to NYC again to see his work at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in Chelsea. It is a celebration of his 80th year. We caught the show just before it closed.

Somehow Raffael captures the light, energy and spirit of the objects he chooses to paint with glorious luminosity. Of course, I love the subjects he chooses. A childhood family mantra expresses this fascination with the details of the natural world:

Sorry I can't find the title to this painting.

Sorry I can’t find the title to this painting.

Then we gather as we travel,
Bits of moss and dirty gravel,

And we chip off little specimens of stone;
And we carry home as prizes
Funny bugs, of handy sizes,
Just to give the day a scientific tone.

The poem is from Robinson Crusoe’s Story by Charles Edward Carryl. Any one of my five siblings could recite it at the drop of a paintbrush.

Detail of Shell painting

Detail of Shell painting

It’s in the minutia that Raffael triumphs. He creates his luminous, precise realism with tiny, sloppy brush strokes and daubs and drips of juicy color. Here’s a detaill from the painting above.

And meanwhile, back in the studio I am working on the details and minutia of the world I live in, recreating rocks and creatures on canvas.

Contrast, color, texture and detail…

Towhee with Petroglyph original acrylic on canvas ©lizamyers                    9" x 12"           original available for sale $525 + shipping

Towhee with Petroglyph original acrylic on canvas ©lizamyers 9″ x 12″                                             original available for sale (framed)
$525 + shipping

The Midnight Hour- When the Night Owls Dance!

The final crunch of Hope Entwined V was  an all nighter. The sunrise, filling the windows of my studio, was lovely. acrylic on canvas,  30" x 72" © lizamyers

The final crunch of Hope Entwined V was an all-nighter. The sunrise filled the windows of my studio as I put on the finishing touches.            acrylic on canvas,
30″ x 72″ © lizamyers

I love that quiet moment before the dawn when black and white shadows begin to transform into color. But many people think that I am seeing it from the wrong end… after working into the wee hours, or through the night. I have watched the sun rise after standing at my easel all night long too many times to count.

Why do I stay up into the wee hours? What is the appeal of the dark of night?

"Becalmed"  acrylic on canvas  42" x 54" Another product of many midnight hours.

“Becalmed”
acrylic on canvas
42″ x 54″ ©lizamyers
Another product of many midnight hours. And a few sunrises as well.

There is no rational logic to it, but it has been the way I work since… since… forever, more or less.

Undoubtedly some of it comes from years of squeezing studio time into whatever time was left after teaching all day. That’s the life of an artist!

It’s also because I’m just stubborn. I’m always entranced by the possibilites of one more shadow to add, One more highlight.

But also there is something liberating about the tranquility of  those hours- from about 1 am to 5 am.

Are you a night owl?

Getting the word out!

I have an exhibition opening this Friday night in Brattleboro, Vermont. The Gallery in the Woods is eclectic and lovely. All of the work is top notch. I’m very pleased to have been invited to exhibit there. It isn’t in the woods at all, it’s at 145 Main street, right downtown.

This is First Friday in Brattleboro so there are many art venues open late. The opening is from 5:30 – 8:30 at the Gallery in the Woods. And bonus: this weekend Brattleboro celebrates the Strolling of the Heifers event, a uniquely Vermont event. I’m looking forward to being there.

With all of the opportunities to communicate on line, you might think that mailing cards would be a thing of the past, but for me SNAILMAIL is still a good way to get the word out about upcoming exhibitions and shows of my work.

This is the invitation for my exhibition at the Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro Vermont opening on June 7th.

This is the invitation for my exhibition at the Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro Vermont opening on June 7th.

There’s something special about both sending and receiving  a tangible postcard with a well printed image of my artwork.  That way patrons, clients, friends and family have a tangible representation of the work, plus all of the info right there.

The tough part is selecting which of the images to use on the announcement. I create my own cards, doing the layout and selecting the colors. I have them printed by a company called Overnight Prints. They are prompt and reliable.

I’m fortunate to have a good friend (my husband) who creates the mailing labels for me and steadfastly helps me attach them to the cards. When the stamps and the labels are done, and the email is sent I can breathe a sigh of relief and get back into the studio!

As much as I like snail mail cards, it is also effective, and more environmentally correct to send out an e-announcement. If you’d like to be on my e-list just send me an email at liza@lizamyers.com or put your email address in a comment on this post.

Did I get the word out?

Hope to see you at the opening!

 

Abstraction, Serenity and Color in the Quarries

Don Ross at the Jackson Gallery opening in Middlebury, Vermont.

Don Ross at the Jackson Gallery opening in Middlebury, Vermont.
Behind him: Marr and Gordon Quarry, Reflection. 2012. 29 “x 43.5”

 

I recently saw an exhibit by photographer Don Ross that opened a new world to me.

What more can you ask of art?

Don’s photographs are  powerful, evocative, poetic.
Walking a fine and delicate line between abstraction and stark reality, Don shares an elegance and mystery which made ME see differently.

Quarry

Rock of Ages Quarry, Abandoned Section 2012 43.5″ x 29″

Industrial debris usually makes me cringe. Scars made by humans mark mountains and litter the landscape around the globe. They are often are irreparable, insensitive and just plain ugly.

Not so in Don’s Quarry series. His work fills the gallery with a haunting geometry, somehow finding serenity and beauty in an industrial landscape. The photos are quite large, with a strong presence.

The way into the future is on a path created by seeing differently:  looking at the same old stuff and putting it together with new insights, new connections, new possibilities. Like Albert Einstein and Andrew Goldsworthy.

We need more artists like Don Ross.

Don Ross Quarry 3

Marr and Gordon Quarry, Detail 201 43.5″ x 29″

If you missed the show at the Jackson Gallery in the Middlebury Town Hall, fear not, you have two more chances.
It will be on display at the Castleton Downtown Gallery  May 15 – June 15. The opening reception is  on May 31 6-8 pm in the Center Street Alley. Free and open to the public.
Or this summer at the Marble Museum in Proctor, Vermont. Check their website for dates.

Or check Don’s website to see more of his ethereal and glowing work.