Friday, March 30, 2012

Coming up next week, "The Story of Ziggy Starman"

Bending for Head Stretch

"Not moving Forward" Lesson

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Ziggy, me, and Roddy, our farrier
I apologize for not posting the last 2 weeks but I was out of town visiting my parents who, as many seniors,  have medical problems.  I will have a new post up by next week called "The Story of Ziggy Starman" Part I.  Included are some preview pictures taken by my friend Bill Kleinschmidt.  Part I will begin the story of how Ziggy came to live with me unexpectedly and my beginning learning curve of how to train a 2 year old horse.  He is now 15 years old and we are good buddies and riding partners.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Toil, Struggle, Great Lovely Trouble, as I Find my Way With Marina

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Left is beginning Marina Semyonova #2 progressing right
On left changing front figure and rt adding color and other form
Adding detail and close to finished on rt

The Teacher #2, Marina Semyonova  
Marina Semyonova was a Bolshoi dancer who I discovered while perusing the obituaries in the New York Times.  I find the obits introduce me to many interesting people I either knew little or nothing about during their life-time.  Marina was 102 when she died in June 2010 and was a well-known figure in Russia, a country that cherishes their dancers.  I grew up in the New York  world of ballet.  Many of my teachers at The School of American Ballet  were Russian.  I also studied with Andre Eglevsky on Long Island and was member of his company from ages 12-16.  I left the ballet at 16 because  my body could not take the rigors that a professional dancer has to endure. Throughout my work as an artist I have returned to the subject of dance many times.  Quoting from my good friend; dancer, choreographer, and artist, Ib Andersen, "The dancer never leaves the dance".  And so I find myself still very entranced with the art and movement of the ballet.  I googled Marina and found some amazing old  tapes of her dancing and teaching on U-Tube.  I downloaded them all and began a series of three 50"x38" mixed-media drawings.  When I started the Marina series, I was in a "media transition",
abandoning encaustic for acrylic grounds and mediums. I wanted to have more flexibility because my ideas were "flying" past what the properties of encaustic could handle.  My intention was to have 3 figures on each drawing of Marina moving through various combinations.  The old black and white tapes present her at various times in her life.  She is seen as a young dancer moving with strength and bravado; but what moved me was her role as the older middle-aged teacher in her frumpy black dress and pumps demonstrating how to fine tune the role of the Black Swan to a young member of the company.  Her expression and movements had so much passion, knowledge, and surety.  I felt that little tingle I sense when I am totally intrigued and inspired. Using the digital files I had downloaded, I stop-gapped the video at various movements  and worked from each pose to create a series of 9 figures on 3 drawings.  Through the last 2 years I evolved my layering techniques with Absorbent Ground, Acrylic Ground for Pastels,  pigment, spray paint, pastel, marker, and graphite.  There was a long learning curve as I used these materials together for the first time; experimenting, pushing limits, and often making a mess.  My decision to use strong color and pattern mimics the use of stage lighting and "other world" mood and atmosphere that enhances the magical world of dance to the audience.   The Teacher #'s 1 and 3 are completed, but Teacher # 2 (shown above in progressive states) is in the delicate state of almost done.  Each piece will be mounted on plexi-glass with a 2 inch boarder under glued with muted patterned material.  Teacher #1 is mounted on the plexi and showing at "The New Mexico Showcase" at the 516 Gallery in Albuquerque, NM until April 28th.  All the Marina work can be seen on my web site  Thanks for stopping by the blog.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Abbakiss and the Tiger, Teaching, and the Studio

Abbakiss Up at Play
Abbakiss and Cloud in Yurt
  I want to give credit to the artist Robert Longo for the tiger in my dream about Abbakiss.  Though I woke up in terror, the imagery was amazing.  In my dream I looked out the front window to the lower corral and saw, through some bushes, the curled up form of a tiger.  As I was watching, Abbakiss appeared at his usual trot.  I watched his little back end moving toward the tiger and could feel his curiosity.  Just as I was about to
Abbakiss and Cloud at Play

Teaching at The Albuquerque Museum (me, front right)
scream out, I woke up.  The images have been floating in my head all week as well as the abruptness of the ending of the dream.  So how did Robert Longo's tiger get into my horse pen??  Well I was teaching my weekly teen class at the Albuquerque Museum where our final 5 week project is in progress.  I googled Longo's site hoping to find his "Men in the City" work and found a series of very formidable tigers staring straight at the viewer.  The drawings are a rich dark charcoal, very detailed, and very "real". And that is how Robert Longo's tiger appeared in my dream.  Actually, I am very excited about the project my teens are executing for their final artwork which I named "A Visual Storyboard".  We are working on 4 ft square boards coated with gesso and Absorbent Ground that are the structure for unique self-portraits of each artist.  I took 86 photos as the group posed one by one with Robert Longo-like poses. The students were amazing as they struck their stances. We were very   excited as we examined the images. I am having the images printed out in black and white at an almost 3 foot size to be adhered to their boards as a starting point of the project.  The developing sense of the project comes from my own investigations and work with figurative elements, digital images, acrylic grounds and real people.  I often find my studio work seeping into my teaching projects and I love the migration of ideas from my studio to my student assignments.  My own work is progressing in my studio as I finish the last of my 3 Marina Semyonova pieces. Marina S. was a Bolshoi dancer who I discovered in the New York Times obituaries.  I often peruse the obits because I learn about great people who have left this world who I did not know existed.  I also googled her and found some amazing U-Tube videos that came from old films taken of her dancing and teaching.  I downloaded the videos and worked from stop-gap images.  These are the first large works (54"x 42") that I created working from acrylic grounds, pigment, pastel, marker,  pencil and spray paint.  As I experimented  with the grounds and media I began to find my way. These pieces began over a year ago and can be seen on my web site   The Teacher #2 is the last one I am finishing and an updated version will be on the site shortly.  This week has slipped away so fast and I hope to discuss more about my photography, digital integration of mixed-media and new ideas in the next posts.  Enjoy the weekend and watch out for scary tiger dreams.