Friday, April 18, 2014

Buffalo 1915

The photo I used in this piece is from April 18, 1915 in Buffalo, New York. The pipe smoker standing in back row is my great grandmother. She was celebrating her 21st birthday with her sisters, cousins and friends. All were cross-dressing for the party and were having a great time. Prints of this piece are available from Society 6.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Meet the Sprites

Sprite Series, mixed media on board, 4”x5” each

Just in time a series of sprites (15 in all) made on little cards from scraps of pieces from the Collagescape series.  These little creatures will be sent out into the world via the US Postal Service later this week.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blue and Purple

Wherever you go, there you are, mixed media on canvas, 11”x14”

For all the map pieces I have done, I realized this is the first bigger piece where the dominant colors were blues and purples.  It was a break from my current series to return back to the world of maps and map quilts.  This piece was commissioned for a private collection.

Friday, April 11, 2014

March Mailness

Just a few of the goodies that arrived in the post office box recently:
  1. One of the “Poesia” pieces sent to me by Eduardo Cardoso in Portugal.
  2. A card that is like a condensed history of Canadian postage arrived from Kerosene in Québec.
  3. Diane Keys sent this abstract card from Illinois.
  4. Another nice piece form E. Coles in the U.K.
  5. And finally, Mark Dean’s Electronic Beer Mat (both sides shown) arrived from France.  I amazed when pieces like this get through the mail intact. 

I’ve been swamped (in a good way) with projects including commissions.  I need to get back to all these artists and send out some more mail art myself.

And a reminder, the mail art show Mail/Art/Book is up until April 27th.  You have a few more weeks to check it out.

San Francisco Map Collagescape

San Francisco Map Collagescape, mixed media on board, 12”x12”

The other morning I woke with a start and an idea in my head.  Most of my ideas come first thing in the morning.  There needed to be a piece in the Collagescape Series with a strong map element. After years of doing map-based work, it would not be one of my series without at least one map-themed piece.  So here it is, the map of San Francisco given the Collagescape treatment.  This piece has already been sold.  But you will get a chance to see it in person at the Collagescape exhibit opening in August.

This image is available as a print as well on another products from Society 6.

The Italian Job

Italian Scrapbook (Album dei ricordi), mixed media on canvas, 11”x14”

A new piece that is like an encore to the travel series I did for the 2012 installation Imagining Val Travel.  An all Italian-themed travel pieces that includes: stamps, maps, vintage postcards, old photos, opera ticket stubs, a pasta package and some items more than 50 years old from a scrapbook I use as source material.  This piece was commissioned for a private collection.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Desert Bloom Collagescape

Desert Bloom, mixed media on board, 12”x12”

I had visited Joshua Tree National Park a few times before I had my first spring experience.  It was after one of the very wet, El Niño winters in the 1990’s.  I already was in love with the place but spring — spring was something else.  The desert blooming is still hot and dry.  The background colors are the regular shades of brown.  But as you walk along and look down there are little specs of color everywhere.  Some flowers are like miniscule drops of color.  Yellows, reds, whites, blues, purples and oranges are all there.  In high tech terms, think of wildflower pixels.  The only really big flowers are the creamy whites of the Joshua Trees when they flower and the flourish of red atop the blooming ocotillos.  Tall and spindly, the ocotillo is like the drag queen of the desert that makes an appearance every spring.

With these bright little specs of color against the desert background I wanted to create a collagescape that attempts to capture the visual experience of the park on a spring day.  Desert Bloom will be shown in my Collagescape exhibit opening in August.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire, collagescape, mixed media on board, 12”x12”

I was inspired by Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada before I even knew where it was. It’s a place I saw in dreams for months prior to my first visit.  It’s a lightly visited state park about 90 minutes north of Las Vegas.  It’s a magical place.

I’ve painted the park a few times and included it in the 2011 Project as well.  Now it’s time for a collagescape, a very orange piece like the park’s dramatic rock formations.  It almost looks like it is– on fire! Valley of Fire can be seen in my Collagescape exhibit opening in August.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Glowing Review

Starlight Night, Lake George, 1922.

Today’s visit to the de Young museum reinforced my belief that you always have to see art in person whenever you can.  The big exhibit right now is Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George.  They could give the show an alternate name like You think you know Georgia?  This is not the Georgia O’Keeffe that most people are familiar with.  It was years ago when I first discovered there was more to O’Keeffe than her well known work from New Mexico.  Her earlier work from upstate New York and Canada is often overlooked.  The Lake George work becomes quickly recognizable yet the subjects are not as often associated with her.  There are verdant Adirondack landscapes and still mountain lakes, leaves, apples, and “exotic” alligator pears (avocados).  The exhibit has pulled in pieces from private collections and many smaller museums.  Paintings rarely that are brought together for a show.  The Licking Cow from the Denver Art Museum is worth the price of admission.

What was most exciting is seeing paintings in person that, while nice, just don’t look as good online or in any art book.  And even though the show’s catalog is well done – we have not achieved a printing technology that does Georgia O’Keeffe’s work justice.  As a painter, seeing her explore the same themes but with a varying palette was, yes I’ll say it, inspirational.  Color, color and more color and in many directions.  So many of the paintings glow.  They are like beacons that pull you across the room.

Time is running out, you have until May 11th to catch these gems in person.  And now, I have start a petition to rename New York’s Lake George.  It’s named for the English monarch George II.  It’s time we changed the name to Lake Georgia.