Every time I begin working on a new series, I have mixed feelings. Being held by what I’ve already started mixed with being impelled by what I want to do next. Melancholy mixed with excitement. Curiosity mixed with worry. Delight mixed with feeling vulnerable. Do you ever feel that way when you start something new?
I haven’t yet exhausted my last series (The Mother Tree work) but I’m ready to keep growing and moving forward. I think to myself “I’ll go back to the Mother Tree or the Salmon Forest or the Ecology of the Unconscious.” Will I? Probably not — right now I’m exploring a new(ish) medium for me. My current mixed media pieces have a new look — still mine, but I think better. I love experimenting with materials, exploring different ways of putting marks on a surface, and new ways to express what wants to come out of me.
So, one of the questions I ask myself as I embark on a new series is, how does this have anything to do with the work I recently completed? Where is the thread of continuity between those other series and this one? I’ve been playing with printmaking for several years (in the big picture, that’s not long at all) and have barely started incorporating collagraphs, monoprints and relief printing into my mixed media paintings. Here are a couple of pieces that have some of my prints as part of the composition:
Right now, I’m playing with a small tabletop press (wishing it were alot larger.) I’m trying out techniques that are new to me, but fit my style and objectives perfectly. Chine colle´ is a way to use some of the paper scraps — prints, studies, watercolors, paintings and collage papers I’ve saved. I’m using the old textbooks and readers that have become familiar in my artwork, incorporating childhood motifs along with fish, birds and the occasional nuclear bomb or tree. My personal vocabulary of marks and shapes continues in my new pieces — spirals, circles, spheres, peculiar cross hatching, jabs, roots, geometric shapes and voluptuous strokes. And of course, I’m always passionate about Nature and that’s prominent in my new work: leaves, branches, grasses and other botanical images; water, waves, currents, raindrops; and animals both large and microscopic.
I’m curious to see where I go. That’s a great motivator. I’ll post more when I get something I like enough to say, “This is what I’m doing for the next show.” In the meantime, it’s just a direction.
For the last few months, I’ve been working in my studio on a new painting series with the working title, “Mother Trees.” And in the last 6 weeks or so, my work has become more and more intense. The exhibit I am preparing for opens November 20th and my work must be completed by the week before that. Ack! Sometimes it’s just really hard to make the time to paint!
Even though my studio is attached to 1+1=1 Gallery, I have to carve out my studio between running the gallery and mounting two exhibits, doing chores around the house, hanging out with Tim and having somewhat of a social life. I have to make painting a priority and sometimes … it just isn’t. And that’s okay.
I’m enjoying the way the season has turned this week — brilliant sunlight alternates with rainy skies and cold, dark evenings. In my studio the sun is lower through the skylight. On rainy days, I’m forced to use the overhead light. At night, I can see a few stars in the black rectangle above my work table. The colors of the season are turning up on my canvases. Darker colors– blacks, metallics, crimson, blood-red, forest greens. Richer for the changing light.
Some days the studio is quiet and I can hear the sound of rain or ravens on the skylight. Other times I listen to music. Depending on my mood it might be a soul/r&b-funk playlist or soulful cello or 10,000 Maniacs.
I’m a little melancholy. I think that has to do with the shortened days, the gathering dark. But even more — it’s sometimes the way painting makes me feel. It’s hard to explain the contradiction of feeling completely in the flow and soul-filled and satisfied, while also emotionally drained by the act of creating art. I’m working on a body of work that lives in my deep gut. It’s a story that’s part of my own story. I am full of feeling, yet I sometimes struggle to get that feeling out onto my paper or panels. Sometimes I step back and think I’ve just painted a bunch of crap. Like, who’s going to want to look at these? Or who even cares? Or I might finish a brush stroke and be reminded of some dark piece of my past and there it is again — the pull towards self-criticism.
Other times I am delighted. And I know there are people who will come to the exhibit, who will connect with what I’m trying to express, who will find their own beautiful rich stories in the work. And be delighted in turn.
I work in many layers. I work on multiple pieces in the same day because of the drying time between layers. It’s hard to do this with interruptions, so I usually work when the gallery is closed. Yesterday I was so tired in the middle of the afternoon, I took a nap on the floor in the basement, using shipping blankets for pillows and covers.
Charlie slept beside me. So, sleep definitely helps. I went back up to the studio and worked hard. Dancing. Flow. I didn’t want to go home for dinner.
Now I’m adding layers to the stories of forests. Of what’s beneath the soil surface, of roots and generations, of mother trees and child trees and grandmother trees. Of what First Nation people have always known that ecologists are just discovering. Of the way we are all connected. Of the way knowledge passes from one tree to another to another and how humans betray that story with our destructive ways.
Today I paint between customers.Beneath my feet Charlie lies ever watchful for me to decide to take him for a walk.
This afternoon we are listening to Van Morrison sing In the Gardenfrom his album, No Guru, No Method, No Teacher. I paint inside the music. Inside the words, in the garden, I feel the presence of Nature inside my heart. I am trying to say this. I am trying. To. Say. This thing. Ignited in the daylight and the darkness and with all of Creation. In the garden.
The streets are always wet with rain
After a summer shower when I saw you standin’
Standin’ in the garden, in the garden wet with rain
You wiped the teardrops from your eye in sorrow
Yeah we watched the petals fall down to the ground
And as I sat beside you I felt the great sadness that day
In the garden
And then one day you came back home
You were a creature all in rapture
You had the key to your soul and you did open
That day you came back to the garden
The olden summer breeze was blowin’ against your face, alright
The light of God was shinin’ on your countenance divine
And you were a violet colour as you sat beside your father
And your mother in the garden
The summer breeze was blowin’ on your face
Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden
And you went into a trance, your childlike vision became so fine
And we heard the bells within the church, we loved so much
And felt the presence of the youth of eternal summers in the garden
Alright, and as it touched your cheeks so lightly
Born again you were and blushed
And we touched each other lightly
And we felt the presence of the Christ
Within our hearts in the garden
And I turned to you and I said
“No guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father in the garden”
Listen, no guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the Son
And the Holy Ghost in the garden wet with rain
No guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the Son
And the Holy Ghost in the garden
In the garden wet with rain
No guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father in the garden.
I haven’t written or posted much on my personal blog this year. There are many reasons, but the biggest reason is that 1+1=1 Gallery is now over 2 years old and is going strong and requiring a huge time commitment from me. I love having the gallery. I haven’t been happier for many years and it feels like I finally — in my 60s — have found what I am on this Earth to do.
One of my challenges continues to be finding balance in my life. Most folks who have started their own businesses know, that you pretty much have to work 60 hour weeks or more in the beginning. It’s equally as important to me to create my own art, have a successful gallery and teach art to children and adults.
I am gradually figuring out how to say no. How to be more focused when I am working as a gallery owner vs. working as an artist. How to spread out and limit what I want to do with what I can do. It’s working pretty well. You may not see new posts here often, but when I do post, it will be because I have something to say.
On running an art gallery: the most labor-intensive task is definitely managing the gallery. When we started, we were just the two of us — it was a way for us to show Tim’s exquisite furniture locally and for me to get the word out that I made art for my whole life. If I wanted to take the day off to hike in the mountains with my camera and Charlie, I just put a sign on the door, “Closed for the afternoon to go make art.” We weren’t worried about being fair to 14 other artists, which is what we took on when we moved to our current location. We are expanding to representing a total of 18 to 20 artists in the next two years. That’s a lot of responsibility to promote and sell their art, and to help them in their careers. We’ll be looking for a gallery manager next spring!
1+1=1 is not just a fine art gallery. We are a gathering spot. A warm, welcoming space where visitors feel included no matter how much or little they know about art. A place where children and adults practice creative expression in classes and art gatherings; a place where new artists have a chance to be exhibited and learn to work with galleries and promote themselves professionally. And lastly, a place where locals can listen to experimental music and jazz performances in an intimate atmosphere.
I want to introduce a friend of mine, a sister artist and one of the artists represented by my contemporary fine art gallery, 1+1=1 Gallery.
Trudy Skari is seriously cool
Trudy works intuitively, quickly, and with her whole body, heart and spirit. Her ceramic sculptures seem to come from some other-world, a dream world, a world of childhood memories or a place in nature that lives inside her. Having studied psychology, philosophy, then depth psychology and world religions, Trudy is greatly influenced by mythology and Creation stories from around the world. Her other influences are Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and the open prairies of Montana.
Like someone who does gestural life-drawings from a model moving through quick poses, Trudy uses scraps and bits of clay to sculpt an implication of a flower … or the essence of a rabbit, bear, fox or dog.
She constantly learns new ceramic techniques and experiments to push herself and her art beyond the obvious. I love her work! I love having it in our gallery and looking at it — deeply — every day.
Each time I look at Trudy’s sculpture of the goddess, “Pele´ Eats a Fish,” I see some other aspect of the feminine, some other level of meaning. Trudy told me she was thinking of titling the piece “On Her Day Off Pele´ Eats Sushi.” This makes me think of how we all have different aspects of ourselves co-existing inside of us: masculine and feminine; adult and child; light and dark; serious and funny; out-there and in-here …
Wouldn’t a god or goddess also have co-existing personality aspects? Wouldn’t Pele´– goddess of volcanoes and all things explosive, also have a softer side when she’s taking the day off? And wouldn’t a softness also have a bit of harsh-reality tossed in for balance? So … on her day off, maybe Pele´ wears curlers in her hair, cooks (the spatula) and dives deep into her ocean world to catch and eats fish. She even looks fish-like. And so beautiful in an earthy, watery way.
Trudy Skari, Artist Statement:
I find that the objects I make are sometimes part of an unspoken narrative. Rather, they reside under or beside the formulated word or thought. At times the piece goes dallying around in some poetic realm and finishes sentences I was not aware I had uttered. The realm of image is forged in a different light than the realm of word. Like the visible spectrum the imaginal realm has a range that is just outside of the awareness to human senses but wide open to human insight, consciousness and our desire for making meaning.
Animals so are present in our understanding of how we navigate the environment, they protect us from our rigidity and ground us in our mammalian firmament. They are however always other, even if we anthropomorphize them to aid in our understanding. My attempt is to create an animal-ness that functions on a level of knowing and not knowing at the same time. It all works best when a balance is found between the gesture and the intent.
Trudy is represented in Helena, Montana by 1+1=1 Gallery. Her ceramic sculptures will be available for viewing during regular business hours at the gallery located at 434 N. Last Chance Gulch. Please call 406.431.9931 for more information about Trudy’s work.
More of Trudy’s artwork available at 1+!=1 Gallery. If you are interested in any of her pieces, call or email [email protected]
Thank you to everyone who has become a collector of our art, who has come in to 1+1=1 Gallery to look, appreciate, help, buy, and just visit, get/give hugs. We couldn’t have done 11 months without you!
Now we are asking for your help and support again. This time we need cash flow to remodel our new gallery down the street.
Imagine one of my framed prints on a wall in your house … above the fireplace, in your dining room, or on a wall in your bedroom. Somewhere you can see it often, experience the symbolism and the personal meaning that only you get from living with a piece of art. Can you visualize it? Are you interested?
Now you can purchase one of my prints — for the month of September only — at a big discount. All of the framed numbered prints we have at our gallery (see thumbnails or Flickr album link below) are on sale — 20% off just through September 30, 2014.
The black stained all-wood frames are made by Tim Carney and professionally assembled by a local framer with glass, hanging hardware and archival mats.
We are moving at the end of September to a bigger, better space at 434 North Last Chance Gulch. After we move, prices have to go up because our rent and all of our expenses are increasing.
We take credit cards through Square and are willing to ship.
Come see the prints in person, at 1+1=1 Gallery, 335 North Last Chance Gulch.
Below are the available prints. We only have one of each on hand, so hurry! Please visit the above link to see more details.
Here are some pre-remodeling views of our new space:
1+1=1 will be open our usual hours until September 19th. After the 19th, we’ll have odd hours because I’ll be working with Tim (and whoever shows up to help) to remodel the new space. I can be reached by phone (431-9931) if you want to come shop at the gallery at 335 North Last Chance Gulch. I’d love to see you at either place. Or email me if you want to buy one of the prints. Thanks again for all of your support!
Whether you are furnishing your home with one-of-a-kind necessities, looking for something cool and unusual to give to a loved one, or trying to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift, you’ll find a variety of unique, affordable wood art at this exhibit.
Opening Reception Friday April 4th 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. Please join us to meet the artists!
Gallery location: 335 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena, Montana. (between the Painted Pot and the Turman-Larison Contemporary.)
Exhibit: Home is Where the Art Iswill be open from April 4th through May 7th, just before Mother’s Day. Come to the opening reception April 4th or come early in the month, to get first pick of the exhibit.
Sushi plates and chopstick sets made of domestic hardwoods
Shayna, Jaime, Cari and I gave some of our horses to Whitney, who is ready to give birth any day now. Her little boy will be born in the Year of the Horse. He will have a herd of wild horses to remind him of his naturally wild joy. With a mama like Whitney we know he’ll grow up snorting with laughter, jumping with glee and letting his wildness out into the world. (*See bottom of this post for some interesting predictions about this baby — and other babies born in this year of the horse.)
“Last night was like a symbolic circling of all the mares … lending the strength of those who have gone before, to the one ready to walk through that door that you never, ever can cross back through … the becoming of motherhood and the strength and grace of sisterhood … so special to me” — Jaime Terry
We made horses. We laughed. She contracted. We played. Relaxed. Listened to her talk about the baby, the baby’s name, the nest she is preparing. Talked about lack of sleep and future lack of sleep and hope for sleep. And about other things. And nothing at all.
Our hands busy with scissors and paint and buttons. Good food. Good wine. Good company. It’s what women do. We nurture each other with food and listening and love and open arms. A circling of the mares.
We decided to do this every month. Something artsy. Something to connect us. To each other. To our souls. To the Earth.
Please join us at our next Girls Art Night with Brown Bird Studioon the last Thursday of each month.Like our gallery’s facebook page or sign up for updates from 1+1=1 Gallery, and we’ll remind you a few days in advance. Put Girls Art Night on your calendar for March 27th at 6:30 pm. 335 North Last Chance Gulch, Helena.
Our evening gatherings are all about being relaxed and nurturing our inner artistic souls.
Whether you consider yourself artsy or “crafty” or not, I promise you will have a good time. And don’t forget we’ll share food, music and laughter too. The cost is free or minimal, depending on the materials we use.
A perfect horoscope prediction for Whitney’s baby (knowing Whit …): People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty. — from The Guardian (UK) “8 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Year of the Horse.”
Cootie Catchers (aka salt cellars or fortune tellers) are perfect for a unique Valentine card that becomes a game. The basic shape is an origami fold. Make these with inexpensive copy paper in different colors. To make a cootie catcher into a Valentine gift, instead of writing “fortunes” on the inside, write little love notes or positive messages like the ones you find on Valentine candy hearts. Examples: “Be Mine” … “Call Me Later” “I-Luv-U” “Kiss Me” and “Hugs!” and “Sweetheart.”
Cootie catchers are easy to make and can be adapted for any age from 3 up. For toddlers, you might want to fold the shapes for them, letting them decorate the paper. They can tell you what they want you to write on the inside. This is a fun way to remind your little ones of all the positive messages you give them every day.
For older kids, try suggesting they use rubber stamps for the numbers or letters on the outside of the folded shapes. Or they can think of Valentine-related symbols such as a bumble bee (bee-mine) a heart, a flower or pair of lips to use instead of the traditional numbers on the outside flaps.
Remind kids to stay positive, and keep a great sense of humor. Your kids may surprise you with the fun sayings they come up with for their cootie catchers.
One of the kids came up with a cool idea: on the inside flaps she wrote things like, “Hug the person to your right” and “Your Valentine is on your left.” A perfect party cootie catcher!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
pink or white printer paper
rubber stamps and stamp pads (optional)
scissors (to make letter-size paper into squares)
markers, colored pencils
HOW TO DO IT:
Instead of trying to formulate instructions that make sense, I am sending you to momsminivan.com because she has not only complete instructions, but detailed photos and a video on folding. Check it out here. And here’s how to play cootie catchers:
Practice opening and closing the cootie catcher. Open it first with your forefinger and thumb on each hand together. Then open it with your two forefingers together and your two thumbs together.
With the Cootie Catcher closed, have someone choose a number or symbol from the four outside flaps. Open the Cootie Catcher once for each letter in the symbol (eg if they choose a heart, spell out h-e-a-r-t) or count the number they picked. Leave it open at the end so they can see four numbers or symbols inside.
Next, have them choose one of the four inside flaps they can see, and close-and-open the Cootie Catcher that many times, again ending with it open.
Last, they should choose one of the four flaps they now see, and you lift up that flap to show their love note or personal message.
Make Valentine-y Prints Using Fruit and Vegetables
All you need for Valentine printmaking is some fruits and veggies and a few other things you probably have around your house. Think about handing your Valentine a bunch of flowers you made yourself!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
pink or white printer paper
vegetables such as a bunch of celery, apples, brussels sprouts, carrot, potato and lemon
a printmaking roller
little plates to put the sponges on
red, pink and black stamp pads
very sharp knife and a cutting board
HOW TO DO IT:
Place a moistened sponge on a small paper plate. Squeeze a little red tempura or acrylic paint onto the sponge and spread it evenly with the roller. Cut the celery bunch about 3 or 4 inches from the root end, leaving the stalks all together. (Save the stalks you cut off of the root end.) Holding the celery bunch together tightly, press it onto the sponge and get some paint on the ends. Next, stamp it on your paper. Don’t squish it around or you will smear your design. Lift it up and Voila! There is a beautiful “rose!” Make a bouquet of roses.
Cut a brussel sprout in half horizontally. Make a clean cut! Now, press it onto a red stamp pad (paint is too much for a brussel sprout print) and get it good and red. Next, stamp it onto your paper and lift it straight up. You will have a miniature rose. Make a big bouquet of mini roses!
Use the stalks of celery you cut off of the celery bunch, to make little squiggle designs. Use your stamp-ink-pad for these. Play around and see what you can make with these.
Cut an apple in half vertically to make a heart shape. Try cutting an apple in half horizontally for a circular shape with a perfect star in the middle. Use the paint-soaked sponge for the apple prints.
Cut a lemon in half and dry it well on paper towels. Use your ink-stamp-pad to ink up the lemon and press, press, press.
Cut a potato in half and using a sharp knife, carve the flat side into a heart shape or any other simple shape. Use this as a stamp, with either the stamp pads or in paint-soaked sponge.
Compost the veggies and fruits after you finish.
Thumb Print Hearts Make Cute Valentine Cards
What is easy, simple, and uses something you have on you ALL the time? Hearts made with your very own thumbs. Big grownup thumbs or tiny toddler thumbs make super cute Valentines. This is a popular card making activity with the littlest ones. (I used washable red ink stamp pads for obvious reasons. heh)
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
white or pink printer paper
washable red stamp pad
markers, colored pencils, fine-tip permanent pen
heart shaped paper punch (totally optional)
HOW TO DO IT:
Press your thumb onto a red stamp pad and get it good and inky.
Make two thumb impressions, at slight angles to form the shape of a heart. Play around with your own ideas.
After the thumb prints dry (takes a minute) draw on them with markers, colored pencils or sharpies.
Cut the hearts out and glue onto paint samples from the paint store.
We also used a heart punch to embellish these cards.
Some of the kids who came to this workshop decided just to draw their Valentine’s cards — and I just say there were some really cool cards being made at that table! They used the markers and printer paper we had to exercise their creativity. Three-year old twins and their sister made these:
And Then There Was Aidan — He Went All Out(side-the-box)
I love, love, love how this happens! Aidan made a cootie catcher, but the thing that really caught his imagination was the idea of printing and getting messy with paints. I had three planned valentine techniques and Aidan made such a beautiful — creative — Valentine using the materials and tools I had available but his very own multi-layered techniques. If he had given me his Valentine I would have proudly framed it and hung it in the gallery. Check it out below. Can you tell how Aidan made his valentine? (I’ll give you a hint about one little part of his design … below the picture)
(hint: Aidan used the outside of the celery stalk, lengthwise, to make the cross-hatched pattern in the middle. The rest of his techniques you’ll have to figure out yourselves.)