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Daily Dose

January 19, 2017


My presentation went very well.  I was fairly nervous, partly because I always feel that way when speaking in public, but also because I wasn't sure how my work would be received.  All of the other presenters' work is edgier/esoteric/message-y.  Very intellectual.  Not that I can't get very philosophical about my art, because I can; it's not too much to say that art has changed my life and my relationships.  But I only had 5 minutes to present 20 images and speak about them, so I kept it to a basic description of how I am trying to create a body of abstract work that relates to my landscapes.  I got a great response, from other artists and also several writers who were in attendance.  

Also, I was delighted to get so many responses to my last series.  Thank you all SO much!  A common response to the wavy-line one I didn't like was it needs something horizontal to keep the eye in the painting.  I agree!  Not sure I'm going to "fix" it, since I really hate to backtrack... it might just have to stay heavy and dark-feeling.  It could work for someone!

Here are some particularly great responses, names removed, I thought the rest of you would be interested to read:

'I really like this set.  I also appreciate how you are experimenting with the tension between abstract and representational and playing with the nuances that flow between.  I love how you started with an idea of cliff faces.  I really like all three and agree that the last one which you call most “complete” has progressed beautifully!  I’m not sure if you allocate a certain amount of time for a particular theme  Ie. experiment and paint as much as you can in X amount of time?   In that case, for the time spent, your cliff face triptic is wonderful.  Knowing your work, I do know that the potential exists to develop the theme a bit more – especially if you want to pursue the cliff theme. Your signature work with light and shadow are a triumph.  The final work, I believe still awaits the painterly hand to add the soul of depth created by your nuanced magic with perspective.  You may not have time to do additional work in residence, but this could certainly evolve.  Your work has always drawn in the viewer’s eye.  As you once said,  (to paraphrase) each time you look at the work, you see something new, a new shadow you hadn’t seen before, or the shading of light on a cloud.  I know this is an abstract, but I hope that your painting will always tug the viewer into deeper mysteries of reality or memory or imagination. 
Fabulous work Rachel!  You are amazing and reading your posts is one of the high points of my day!"

and another, amazingly insightful response:

"Well,  here are my thoughts on your pieces today.  At first glance I really didn't care for the first two.  I couldn't really see anything in them.  As far as their story is what I meant.  The last picture,  the lighter one - really struck me.  I really liked it!  As I looked at that painting I was surprised by the way it made me feel.  When I looked at it, I saw the yellow towards the top of the painting as the suns reflection from the top of the freedom tower,  surrounded by Blue sky and white fluffy clouds.  Since the bottom of that painting is heavier it reminded me of a day when heroism and tragedy collided in the most profound way but as you looked up you saw strength,  hope,  resilience,  good overcoming evil.  It was like being in an old warehouse and looking at the freedom tower through a dirty,  old,  broken window.  I loved it.  
 The middle painting the one you like pretty well,  reminds me of the rocks (the cliffs) and when you look at cliffs you see many lines and colors.  I liked this one.  
The first painting -  it is heavy.  Like I said,  I really didn't care for it too much at first but I kept coming back to it.  It is heavy like an explosion where everything is headed in its own direction with no pattern what so ever. 
What I love about art is the way it makes you feel, the way it can transport you.  And it's not the same for every person.  Some people may see nothing more than random brush strokes with no purpose and then some see  a story and let their imagination run."  

and from one of my biggest fans:

"Hi Mama ,I think they look great! I think that the middle one should be called, 'Rugged Rainbow '."

I had a studio session similar to yesterday, in that my first painting just didn't cooperate.  Worse, actually, because I consider it a complete failure.  After wiping it down THREE times and starting over, I bailed and moved on to another canvas.  I approached the same idea with the lessons I'd just learned and was very happy with the results!  Whew.

It's Open Studios tonight, so we all get to go around and look at one another's work.  Should be fun and interesting.  

Warmest regards,


P.S.  A big Thank You!! to one of my readers, L.K., who sent me an AeroPress with which to make coffee. A fellow espresso enthusiast who did not approve of the Starbucks hack.  A Fiend in need is a Fiend indeed?  Hehe!  Now I have to learn how to use it.  :D

Seriously.  Wiped down three times and re-painted and I STILL hate it.  I expressed my feelings in paint on the wall below it.
THIS is what I was going for!  I wrote a big "YES!"  underneath it, just so studio visitors are clear. :D
This is an idea that's been percolating for a while.  I always get such a positive response to my sketches, I am going to experiment with making them into paintings.  I want to keep the fresh sketchy look but make them texturally interesting.  I want it to look purposeful, like a completed piece.
View from the college up the hill, where I visit the gym every morning.


A chronicle of my residency at Vermont Studio Center in Johnsons, VT.  Will include art, ramblings and coffee critiques.



Not sure yet!  Maybe I'll get inspired while visiting someone else's studio.

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