February 2010

Romare Bearden at the confluence of art and jazz

"You put down one color, and it calls for an answer. You have to look at it like a melody," says jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in the 2002 art documentary, The Art of Romare Bearden, as he discusses how Bearden's art is like jazz in many ways.

Ultimately this call-and-response rhythm extends to the relationship between artist and viewer, as is the case with all meaningful art.

Ad Reinhardt and the mystery of color

Is blue the most spiritual color? Kandinsky said he thought it was, and I tend to agree, although I can't say why.

Color theory is something every artist needs to thoroughly understand. I know the basics - primary and secondary colors, RGB versus CMYK, complementary colors, and so on - but I want to delve into the deeper meaning of color, the messages that different colors convey to our subconscious and how they affect our moods.

The process is the thing

Art gets done when it gets done - the process is the most important thing. That's probably a good philosophy for life, too.

Working on my new mixed-media piece at Northwest Encaustic this weekend, I was stressing myself out. I had paid $90 to work there all weekend, with the idea that I'd have a lovely "masterpiece" to take home at the end. Their studio rental fee is only $45 a day, which I thoroughly appreciate!

But I had grossly underestimated how long it would take to finish everything. And I'd procrastinated on the woodworking portion beforehand for so long that by the time I got that done I didn't have enough time to do any of the other stuff that needed to be done before I headed to the studio.

Power tools are my friends

When it comes to power tools, I need to master the "guy vibe" - "Hey, what's that cool gizmo? How many volts does it have? How can I use it? How loud is it? What manly thing can I do with it next?"

Power tools are my bugaboo - but hopefully not my Waterloo. They are the reason I'm procrastinating on doing the wood-working portion of my latest mixed-media piece. However, I'm now to the point where I can't do anything else until that portion is done.

I need to drill holes, cut out shapes, and nail and screw stuff together. Simple, right? I know exactly where to drill and cut and nail and screw, as I have it all mapped out, but I'm afraid to start. I know this is absurd, but nonetheless I procrastinate.

Hopefully, writing about it will bolster my courage.

Back to art school at 50

Some might wonder, whatever possessed a 50-year-old woman with no money to apply to an elite fine art school?

Well, I like to think it was a belief in myself and my ability to create passably cool art. But to be perfectly honest, it was also a slow economy plus the fact that I'd been unemployed for, er, a while. That and a glimmer of hope that maybe I could get enough financial aid to attend.

If the Facebook ads are to be believed, Obama wants moms (and other women, I presume) to go back to school, right? Plus, having that BFA gives an artist "street cred." Not that I care whether or not someone thinks I'm a "real artist," but it helps. I might even go for an MFA later, too.