After eating grapes, I looked at the vine and thought, the movement of a bare branch is absolutely stunning. So I started to draw the shape of the vine and used the negative space as a jumping off place for the textures and patterns. My new series, Spontaneous Combustion, incorporates both my love of nature and my love of design. The details force the viewer to come in close. Leaves and flowers abound mixed with all sorts of patterns that intertwine inviting you to keep searching for more surprises.
Beate Minkovski contacted me to ask if she can feature me on Women and Art. https://www.facebook.com/womenandart/ The caliber of artist on this page is awe inspiring and of course I said yes. I am honored to be in such good company, thank you Beate!
I created all of the pieces below by drawing with an X-Acto knife into boards made of clay and black ink. (Scratchbords by Ampersand.) When I draw into the layer of ink. the image appears in the clay. If I like, I can paint with colored inks at the end of the process. I do not sketch first nor erase adding to the spontaneous energy created with my art.
Check out the article at https://www.facebook.com/womenandart/and discover other fabulous artists.
Collector friends of mine recently returned home from visiting friends in South Africa. They contacted me to create the perfect gift for their hosts based on their favorite flower, a Protea. Etching just enough lines to form structure, texture and movement, and adding color sparingly, the Protea is elevated from a beautiful flower to a beautiful work of art.
Finally able to show my art with long time friend, Len Upin, what a treat! Our work compliments each other so well, both creating images that are powerful when you stand back, yet even more so when you come in close. The humble lines creates energy from piece to piece as does the juxtaposition of Len's larger pieces to my smaller ones.
For those of you who haven't heard of Renee LaVerne Rose, it won't be long before she becomes a household word. Renee is a powerful supporter of artists worldwide, Director of ACS Gallery, Chicago, and Founder, Publisher, and Editor-In-Chief at ACS Magazine. Her ability to understand what drives an artist comes from her passion for creating her own art. Renee's generous spirit is what led her to interviewing me for ACS Magazine's September/October issue. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks, Renee!
My mark making took me on a journey from creating what I thought would be a vertical piece, to one that worked best horizontally. The only thing I planned was to use both found objects and abstract designs...from there I just trusted what would happen as I dragged my X-ACTO knife across the board. From a composition standpoint, I wanted to keep the eye moving yet invite the viewer to stop when landing on something interesting. Subtle textures support the bolder shapes as they glide across the page. The hint of a dragonfly's wings, circular shapes forming a wasps nest on the lower right, even little people that I love to draw, hidden in the gap above the shell like structure on the left. I enjoy completing a piece that looks well thought out even though I simply allowed it be flow.
Upcoming Artist Talk/Workshop at Zhou B Art Center
When I first began working with Scratchboards I used to concentrate primarily on images from nature. Lately abstract imagery has become my focus. Moving On is a combination of my fascination with natures' intricate designs and my love of repeating patterns to develop complex structures. Drawing with an X-ACTO knife into boards made of clay and ink enables me to create stark contrast and movement. I am doing a demonstration/workshop today, Wednesday, July 6th at Zhou B Art Center in Chicago, from 6:30-7:00 pm. I don't plan my art so I'll be just as surprised as you watching this piece evolve before our eyes.
(Some of my inspiration: wasp nest, bottom left and leaf eaten away by insects, top right.)
None of the 46 artists included in LEXICON, me being one of them, gave any information on our art to the folks who visited our exhibition. For a twist, they used Post It Notes to give their perspective on what was going on with our art. Some of the comments were really insightful, some were just plain fun. Jenny Lam, curator of the exhibition, created a wonderful environment for the artists to express themselves by participating in the show, and for people viewing the art to interact directly with each piece. You can view the show through Saturday, July 9th at Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th St., 2nd floor, Chicago, IL.
Hope you enjoy viewing the pics from my solo exhibition, same difference, at Art NXT Level/33 Contemporary. The space was perfect for my art and folks really enjoyed 'playing' with scratchboards as they strolled through the gallery. (Courtesy of Ampersand Art Supply-thank you!)
The best part about being able to show with Sergio Gomez, besides the fact that he is so easy going and a visionary, is that I was able to show a full range of what I do.
My upcoming solo exhibition at Art NXT Level/33 Contemporary from April 15-May 13 includes three different studies of how I approach line. I am presently working on a series called Spontaneous Combustion. The image at the top is an example on how layering organic lines across a page can actually make the image inhale and exhale. Part of the forty pieces within the show are from my Environmental Movement series, (image on left), which is heavily inspired by Eco-Psychology, the study of emotional connections between individuals and nature. Lastly, Interaction, (image on right), is composed of tightly rendered characters layered on top of each other. At first glance you can't see that they are people interacting, but upon closer inspection, their personalities begin to emerge. All of my art concentrates on line and its ability to draw you in.
'Out With a Bang' captures the spontaneity of my line making as I simply face a black board and begin to draw. The patterns covering the background have a pulsating rhythm that pushes the larger white images right off of the surface. Everything was drawn with an X-ACTO knife into a hard board covered in a layer of clay and India ink, (Ampersand Scratchboard). The very last step was to paint with colored inks over the detailed abstract designs.
After coming upon a fully intact birds nest outside of our home, I marveled at how such a tiny creature can create something so complex? I searched around for similar materials and the idea of deconstructing a bird's nest was born. I thoroughly enjoy pushing the boundaries of any medium to discover what happens, so I added elements like natural materials, a small painting on canvas and drawings throughout the scratchboard surface. I am constantly thinking about the hierarchy of layers, in this case I covered the background with subtle black lines drawn with an X-ACTO knife and filled in with black ink. As I began to build this piece, I imagined the viewer looking down into it, just like I had done when first discovering the bird's nest. The entire scratchboard forms the top of a 32" high pedestal which is 22"x22" around.
My new series, Spontaneous Combustion, is a journey into Lyrical Expressionism. I am discovering all sorts of new things about both me and my medium, Scratchboard. Every time I make a mark it leads to another mark. And while I don't plan any of my art, at least I have a basic idea of what the form of a flower looks like. In this instance, it is a complete leap of faith. Layers of shapes and patterns spill across the boards creating a rhythm that appears to inhale and exhale.
This single Orchid Bud, no larger than a dime, really intrigued me. There was nothing particularly grand about it when viewed through the naked eye, but once I placed my magnifying glass between my eye and this bud, something truly unexpected occurred. An undulating structure, more brain-like than flower appeared, filled with an array of colors that weren't there a minute ago.
After hours of capturing the twisted layers that formed this tiny bud, I finally had it framed and put on display.
Normally that would have been the end of it. But not in this case, in this case I knew that there was more to the story.
Back to the drawing board, I introduced the evolution of an orchid, contrasting the buds tight shapes with the suggestion of a fully realized flower.
It's fascinating to me that roots hidden deep below the surface of the Earth can mimic what rises above them.
Complicated systems of 'branches' weaving in and out, soil still clinging to their armature even though the roots were removed from the ground weeks ago. The only thing that has shown signs of passing are the leaves, still attached but twisted into something very different from their previous incarnation.
I am not sure how many hours went into this piece. It's been breathing in my studio for a while. There are always questions lying somewhere in my subconscious, do I leave out some of my subject, if so, how much? Does it tell the whole story without the whole mushroom? Is it necessary to add color? Is it more powerful black and white? What about the background, add a soil like texture to contrast the smooth lines? Every artist constantly deals with editing questions along the way, knowing that each choice takes them down a different path. Since I don't sketch my art first, I never really know which direction I am going until I know that I have arrived.