#37: Pay attention. Be present. Allow transformation.

#37: Pay attention. Be present. Allow transformation.

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reminders posted on my studio wall

The opening reception for “Allowing Transformation” is Saturday, Sept. 12… 5-7pm, at AS220’s Project Space, 93 Mathewson St. Providence RI. Check out my last post for more info and if you happen to be in town, stop by.

The show was installed on Sept. 1st– I was humbled and impressed by the precise, professional and perfect installation of my work by AS220 gallery director Neal T. Walsh and gallery assistant.

They spent over three hours hanging the show, measuring (to the 1/8 of an inch) so that the large four-panel paintings, as well as the works on paper, all 30×22 and suspended by rare earth Neodymium magnets, were hung right. 

In fact, there are three AS220 galleries, showing 5 different artists, and Sept. 12 will be a busy AS220 evening. Don’t miss it…

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September artists @ AS220 galleries: L to R: Karen Rand Anderson, Dan Crenca, Ryan Dean, John Housley, Tim Heibert

#36: Another show, new work, and a revival of “Cleaning Up the Studio”

Since it’s been so long since I posted (three months, what?!?) I have to review how to create a blog post (WordPress keeps telling me it’s a piece of cake.) Like many things, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” {insert your own concept here}. In any case, as this sultry New England summer muddles along, I’m moved to begin writing again, and sharing art events, thoughts, possibilities.

I have another show coming up right over the horizon. “Allowing Transformation” new work by Karen Rand Anderson,  at the AS220 Project Space, 93 Mathewson St. in downtown Providence, RI will be on view from Sept 1- Sept 26, 2015, with an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 5-7 PM.  AS220 is a complex and amazing successful, artist-run, non-profit organization that has played a key role in the revitalization of downtown Providence. Check it out. 

Waterfire in downtown Providence

Waterfire in downtown Providence

FYI– also on that Saturday eve, Waterfire will be in full swing downtown on the Providence River, and if you have never had the opportunity to experience it, well– maybe now’s the time. Just for the record… the restaurants in Prov are only getting better and better, and a new favorite is Red Fin Crudo & Kitchen. It’s conveniently located right down the block from The Project Space Gallery, and I imagine it’s where I will be headed after the opening…

Here’s the Facebook link to the event “Allowing Transformation” at the AS220 Project Space. If you’re in the area, please stop by. And maybe check out Red Fin.

“Finding Answers in Shadows” 22×30″. mixed media on 300# Fabriano paper. ©2015 Karen Rand Anderson

#33: Reaching for beauty in troubled times

It’s just too sad, the world.

Preliminary sketch in my 11×14″ sketchbook of “Reaching for Beauty”

Lately I’ve been trying to fend off massive attacks of feeling rather worthless in the face of what’s going on in the world— I mean, the nasty stuff. The unbearable tragedies. The unforgivable actions of hatred, anger, violence. The incomprehensible behavior of those we call terrorists. The inexcusable shootings, kidnappings, rape, and other things too awful to mention. And of course, the other nasty stuff, like outbreaks of disease, hunger, and what-have-you.

As an artist, I am not trained to deal with global tragedy. As an overly sensitive soul, I have a hard time even processing it. As a relatively privileged and fortunate person, I grapple with guilt at how I can “help.”

My simple response has been to reach for beauty, and to make art that might offer some solace in troubled times.

To that end, my recent show “Reaching for Beauty” is now installed at a lovely little gallery in historic Wickford, RI: Coastal Living Gallery. Some new work, some not so new work, some little organic sculptures, some interesting thoughts. I am reaching for beauty these days, as the long cold winter and the incredibly sad state of affairs in the world have taken a toll on me. If by chance you find yourself in Rhode Island, please come join me for some joy, lots of color, and the opening reception of my show “Reaching for Beauty” on Saturday, April 11, 4-7 pm. (Awesome views from the deck, right on the water, in Wickford, RI.) Show runs from April 1-April 28, 2015.

p.s. To read a recent article and interview about my work, click here. As the author says, “A single artist might be powerless in impacting the world, but an individual can be profoundly changed by beauty.”

36x36", acrylic on wood panels. © 2015 Karen Rand Anderson

“Reaching for Beauty” 36×36″, acrylic on wood panels. © 2015 Karen Rand Anderson

Coastal Living Gallery

83 Brown Street North Kingstown (Historic Wickford) RI 02852

Located behind Beach Rose Café on the pier.

Open Tuesday – Friday 9:30-2:30 and by appointment, chance & special event. 401.612.6121

www.coastallivinggallery.com

#28. Post-show challenges (or, getting back in the saddle)

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“New Territory” 53×65″. mixed media on Fabriano paper. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

There’s a huge sense of relief after delivering a body of work to a gallery, and leaving it there with the gallery director… the next time you see the work, those paintings (or whatever it is) that you’ve pretty much lived with every day for months— are all installed in a stunning space, beautifully lit, waiting to be seen and experienced by others. [I’m truly fortunate to have my work currently showing at The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art, at the University of Connecticut. The Gallery is dedicated to the memory of the late Alexey von Schlippe (1915-1988), an innovative and accomplished painter, born in Russia, and former Professor of Art at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point.] 

When people begin showing up for the opening, with wine in hand, saying complimentary things, congratulating you, it’s a grand feeling, for a couple of hours.

It is wonderful, if stressful, to spend months getting ready for a show, have it be installed, and then have a big opening. You see old friends, talk about your work, get congratulated. And then…. it’s over.

There is a post-opening grayness that settles in a day or two later. Getting back into the studio and trying to pick up where you left off just doesn’t happen, at least for me. That said—I’m immensely grateful and happy to have my recent work hanging in a beautiful gallery for six weeks, and it is a great feeling. (Of course, it would be icing on the cake to have the work sell.) But—getting back into the saddle is a challenge. Time to make new art. In order to make it happen….(it’s inevitable….) it’s the perfect time to… clean up the studio. ’Nuff said.

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#24. Abstraction is in the details (or: painting pieces of paintings)

Painting a piece of a painting…? I’ve played with this idea in the past (not very successfully)– to isolate a small section of a painting, and reference it to make a large painting. If only I could magnify the immediacy and verve that live in those sexy little sections that were produced through spontaneity and intuitive mark-making, and create BIG paintings echoing those same qualities. Sounds easy. Ha.

So my last post showed the large piece I recently finished— “New Territory”.

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“New Territory. 53×65”. mixed media on Fabriano paper. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

What I didn’t say about it  is that it’s actually referenced from a very small detail from another painting, “Shadow Walk”, 36×36”, mixed media on wood panel. See the loose reference? This detail is about 4×6″. (I left out the dead tree in the 53×65″painting.)

Imagedetail, “Shadow Walk”

Here’s the quick journal sketch: Image

 And here’s the original painting:

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Shadow Walk, 36×36″. mixed media on wood panel. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson

I still like the detail best.

 Abstract expressionist Franz Kline  was able to maintain that freshness from small sketches to gargantuan canvases.  He loved the quality of the mark-making in his small quick brush sketches, and in 1948 when his buddy Willem de Kooning turned him on to the Bell-Opticon opaque projector, he discovered he could project those small energetic strokes as enlarged abstract gestures. He grabbed a big brush, some black house paint, and used the projected images as templates for some very big paintings, which became huge calligraphic statements on the canvas.

ImageFranz Kline in studio, 1954.  Fritz Goro photo.

When Kline first projected one of his small ink sketches onto the wall, this is what he described:

“A four by five inch black drawing of a rocking chair…loomed in gigantic black strokes which eradicated any image, the strokes expanding as entities in themselves, unrelated to any entity but that of their own existence.”

Sounds like abstract expressionism in a nutshell.

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Franz Kline (American, 1910-1962). Untitled II, ca. 1952. Ink and oil on cut-and-pasted telephone-book pages on paper on board. 11 x 9 in. (28.1 x 23 cm). © 2010 The Franz Kline Estate / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

 Here’s a short, jazzy little video from the MoMA about Kline’s painting process. 

Keep in mind that the bigger you go, the more you spend— time, materials, energy. Bigger brushes=expensive; bigger canvas or panel= way expensive; more paint (oil or acrylic) = way, way more expensive.  Klein used black enamel house paint because he could get it inexpensively, and loved the workability of it. [Oh well, I’m a coloroholic, I’ll  admit it. Also I use water-based materials. No more toxic stuff in my studio] So, big for me is say, 60 or 70″. Big for Kline was, well, REALLY big.

While Kline sometimes used a projector to magnify his images, I take small digital detail pics with my iPhone and then make awkward sketches of them in my art journal before attempting to translate the image into a larger scale. I wonder. Should I find a projector?

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detail, from “Vermont Reflections” On it’s way to becoming a big painting…. maybe.

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“Vermont Reflections” 24×24″. mixed media on canvas. ©2014 Karen Rand Anderson