#34: The Aftermath – Paula

A thoughtful musing by a friend and fellow painter, Paula Martiesian http://www.paulamartiesian.com/ . As my current show (“Reaching for Beauty” at Coastal Living Gallery in Wickford, RI) is about to come down, that feeling of post-show depression is seeping in. How does an artist determine success, indeed? In reality–By just doing the work.

The Colorist - a Conversation about Painting

How does an artist determine success?   Sales? Critical acclaim?  Or is it something deeper.

Americans are taught to believe that success is measured in monetary terms.  If finance is the scale by which we measure, my exhibit was not a great success.  I sold a painting during the show and one before the exhibit opened.  A disappointment surely, but much better than not selling.

I received a fair amount of media coverage.  There was a nice mention in the Providence Journal with a photograph of one of my favorite paintings, Summer Shadows.  There was a wonderful quote in the Providence Business News – they called my paintings psychotropic – a word never before used to describe my work.  I also had coverage in the RISD XYZ alumni online news and lots of great feedback from friends and colleagues.

Weeds in Snow at the Bert Gallery Weeds in Snow at the Bert Gallery

And yet, the…

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#32: Vincent & <i>the Monkey</i>

#32: Vincent & the Monkey

A great blog post by Danny Gregory which fits perfectly with the depressing winter weather that has dampened my creative spirit recently… reminding me not to let the monkey get me down. Thank you, Danny.

Featured image

Danny Gregory

Long after his death, Vincent van Gogh has been diagnosed with everything from schizophrenia to syphilis. He may have been bipolar or epileptic, eaten too much paint or drunk too much absinthe. Did van Gogh hear the voice of the inner critic, that toxic monkey endlessly jabbering in his head? Certainly. He had plenty of problems and one or more of them led to the events of 27th of July, 1890, when he shot himself, in the chest, in a wheat field. He hung around for another day and a half, said, “The sadness will last forever” and died.

Van Gogh was 37 and he had been painting for just ten years. In that time he accomplished so much, producing hundreds of beautiful works of art that have influenced artists ever since. His life, short though it was, left ripples.

But what if he hadn’t cut his life so short?…

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#30: Happy Bday Courbet | The Premier Artist as Rebel

#30: Happy Bday Courbet | The Premier Artist as Rebel

A happy 195th birthday to Gustave Courbet, “one of the best, most audacious artists in his time, and a major player in the 19th century art revolution in France that moved the focus of art from institution to individual.” Reposting here, with thanks to Catherine Haley-Epstein for this great post. She notes: “Before Courbet, an artist was simply that – no fanfare, simply an artist/artisan. Remember it wasn’t until Impressionism that people started to marvel at the persona of the artists (i.e. Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin)…. Courbet paved the way for new perceptions of art and artists given his [insistence] on mixing personal politics with painting.” Read on, and don’t miss the last image in the post….!!

Mindmarrow

Gustav Courbet,  Self-portrait (The Desperate Man), c. 1843–1845 (Private collection) Gustav Courbet, Self-portrait (The Desperate Man), c. 1843–1845 (Private collection)

“…in our so very civilized society it is necessary for me to live the life of a savage. I must be free even of governments. The people have my sympathies, I must address myself to them directly.”
– Gustave Courbet, 1850

On this June day 195 years ago in France, Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet was born. Courbet was one of the best, most audacious artists in his time, and a major player in the 19th century art revolution in France that moved the focus of art from institution to individual. He can be described as the first artist rebel – before there was an Oscar Wilde, a David Bowie, a Rage Against the Machine there was Courbet.

What made him a rebel was exactly this – he chose everyday subject matter and elevated it to the size of paintings usually…

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#29. Island Inspiration (or, when you’re lucky enough to make art in paradise)

Desert-Island-Mount-003

1893 map of Mount Desert Island by Edward Rand (perhaps a distant relation?)

Islands. If you live on one, your life is defined by either “on the island” or “off the island”, and you most likely love your island. If you are lucky enough to have a special one you can escape to from time to time, and be inspired by, well, you’re lucky.

MDI, shorthand for Mount Desert Island, Maine, is technically an island, although it’s attached to the mainland by a causeway. Geographically it’s a land unto itself, and when you drive over that causeway, you are leaving the mainland behind, and you get that sense of “ahhhhh.” Historically, it’s a fascinating tapestry, ancient Abenaki Native American history mixing with 17th and 18th century French and English exploration and settling, and early 19th century establishment of island life. (Way too much to address here.. but if you’re curious, click on the links … Great stuff.)

photo of an old print I have, a schooner sailing in Somes Sound … (my reflection is in the glass)

So much has been written about MDI and so many paintings have been produced here that it’s almost redundant to try to capture it in a little blog post, but I have a few choice things to show and tell. (Over thirty years-worth, actually… but that’s a different story.) My recent penchant for focusing on landscape is directly related to my love for this place, especially Acadia National Park, which is located on Mount Desert.

“Fall Blueberry Bushes, Beech Mountain” 12×12″ mixed media on panel ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

Naturalists, artists and writers were drawn here in the early/mid 1800’s, including Thomas Cole and Frederic Edwin Church,  inspired by the incredible beauty and rugged terrain, and wealthy seekers of summer idyll followed soon afterward, building lavish “cottages”.  Artists, writers, and nature-lovers (and tons of tourists) are still drawn to the natural beauty here. The magic is palpable on this island…

"Cairn Shadow" 36x36" mixed media on wood panel. © 2014 Karen Rand Anderson

“Cairn Shadow” 36×36″ mixed media on wood panel. © 2014 Karen Rand Anderson

There is an Artist-In-Residence program at Acadia that offers you (as an artist) “the opportunity to pursue {your} particular art form while surrounded by the inspiring landscape of the park.” For more information and to find out the details, click here. (Though I have not been an artist-in-residence at Acadia, I know several artists who have.)

Mount Desert Island (“île des Monts Déserts”, or Island of the Bare Mountains) is a place that instills creative inspiration in anyone who has the opportunity to explore it. Choose your path…

There is so much more that I could share, but I’ll just say– if you ever get the opportunity (apply for a residency!!) come visit. Hike, paint, write, photograph, whatever.  Lucky me

"Gray Day at the Beaver Pond" 12x12" mixed media on panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

“Grey Day at the Beaver Pond” 12×12″ mixed media on panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

 all photos of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park by Karen Rand Anderson

#27. How To Be an Inspiration Machine

INSPIRATION… Some mighty useful and charged-up thoughts from Leigh Medeiros at All CreativeLike. Here’s one that sparked me: “Pay attention to your thoughts, then choose to speak and share only the ones that are purposeful and considered. The power of words cannot be underestimated when it comes to inspiration. Being a conscious editor – of our written and spoken words – is key.” A really great post which I wanted to pass along to you!!! (Thanks for your wisdom and continuing inspiration, Leigh!) To see more about Leigh and her amazingness, check out my blog post about her: #5. Getting All CreativeLike

All Creativelike

9391593778_d2b6961ca7_bAh, inspiration. That abstract yet ultra-important thing that activates your heart space and jump starts your creativity.

If you’re anything like me, you make it a regular practice to seek out stories of inspiring people – people who endure challenging things with immense bravery, or who come up with clever solutions to impossible problems, or who entertain us in the most unique, uplifting ways.

When it comes to artmaking, inspiration is most often found in the works and words of others.

It’s the turn of a phrase, the pinpointed observation, the juxtaposition of two colors coming up against one another, or in the brilliantly executed pirouette. Any of these things, and many more, help us get our creative juices flowing, so it’s not a stretch to say that if it weren’t for inspirational people, our lives and creative practices would be very much diminished.

So what does it take to become an inspiration? How do we act in ways that…

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#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

#22. Look/see: The art of Sumo Bunni (and family)

Image

“Alter Ego 1″ 48×36”. acrylic on canvas, 2013.

What is is about the cuteness (or weirdness) of bunnies? According to painter Shari Weschler Rubeck  (aka Sumo Bunni)—“In 2011, the Bunni became my story teller and continues to do so.  He or She is in a mood, communicating a specific experience.  [The Bunnies] are metaphorical messengers who relate to us easily.  They beg for us to look at ourselves and perhaps find humor in the serious.”

bunni in waiting

“Bunni in Waiting” 48×36″ acrylic/airbrush on canvas. 2011

robot swimmer

“Robot Swimmer” 10×8″ watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2012

When I first saw the strange and magical work of Shari and her sculptor husband Christian Rubeck, at Gallery Z in Providence RI, I did a double-take, slowly perusing all the work at least twice over. The room spun with bizarre and wonderful imagery, peppered with off-beat humor. It took me a while to figure out that the pseudonym Sumo Bunni was actually the artist Shari (thank you, Facebook) and now I get it.

hide

“Hide” 22×16″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Long Hare" 40x30" acrylic on canvas. 2011

“Long Hare” 40×30″ acrylic on canvas. 2011

Shari’s massive body of work is comprised of several recent series which relate to one another in, well, odd ways. Best to put it in her words: “Life experiences, human psyche, curiosities of animal nature, elements of theatre, dance, backstage goings-on and pun drive my imagery.  Working in series that often materialize simultaneously, my imagery is primarily figural in nature.” She has a background as a dancer, which is apparent in the imagery and narrative in her work, and a BFA in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art. 

"Ram Head" 64x46" acrylic on board. 2012

“Ram Head” 64×46″ acrylic on board. 2012

There were so many of Shari’s paintings and drawings I wanted to post here, it was tough to pare it down to just 8. Or 10 or 12. But to see lots more and and figure out the Sumo Bunni mystery for yourself, visit Shari and Christian’s website, ArtInMind.org (FYI- Along with some other venues, Shari has a show coming up this year at Chez Pascal,  one of Providence East Side’s BEST restaurants.)

"Sharp Intrusion" 43x28" acrylic on canvas. 2013

“Sharp Intrusion” 43×28″ acrylic on canvas. 2013

"Rabbit Robot" 10x8". watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

“Rabbit Robot” 10×8″. watercolor/graphite on paper. 2012

"Power Trip" 20x14". watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

“Power Trip” 20×14″. watercolor/graphite on Yupo paper. 2013

weschler rubek

Weschler/Rubeck show at Gallery Z, showing some of Christian’s sculpture and Shari’s paintings, 2012

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

sculpture by Christian Rubeck

p.s. Shari and Christian have two awesome artist offspring, Skyla, 11 and Desi, 9. (It’s a family art affair, and they recently had a show titled “The Rubeck Four” at Coastal Living Gallery in the quaint village of Wickford, RI.)

Desi Rubeck, "Goose Eye"

Desi Rubeck, “Goose Eye”

Skyla Rubeck, "Bluebirds" and "Wooden Dog".

Skyla Rubeck, “Bluebirds” and “Wooden Dog“.

All images © copyright protected by Shari Weschler Rubeck, 2014

#21.Clean sweep: reblogged from Danny Gregory

Oh boy!!!!! A terrific post about “cleaning up the studio” and the rest of life from the amazing and remarkable DANNY GREGORY. Some deeply inspirational ideas and hot tips on everything from old art supplies to outdated software and stagnant work habits.

A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King

~Emily Dickinson

Danny Gregory

watercolor stages

Because it’s finally March and spring is allegedly on the horizon, I decided to clean up my studio. I swept the floor, wiped down all the tables, emptied the trash cans and water buckets, and vacuumed the chartreuse carpet the dogs nap and chew dried bulls’ pizzles on.

Then I decided to go deeper. Remembering the old carpenter’s homily, “Look after your tools and they’ll look after you,” I pulled all of my art supplies out of their drawers, boxes and Ziplocs and gave them a proper going over. I scrutinized each tube of watercolor and acrylic to make sure the lids were firmly screwed on, rolled them up from the bottom, and separated the ones that seemed too hopelessly hard and dry. I filled all the pans on my watercolor boxes with fresh paint and left them to solidify. I examined every brush and gave them a wash and…

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