Thursday, January 29, 2009

Carol Dearborn at Washington Square Studio

My first showing of new work in 2008 opened at Washington Square Studio in Salem, MA on the stormy evening of May 9. 

Visit the Washington Square Artists section for more information and images on the Carol Dearborn exhibit.   

Washington Square Studio is housed in historic Federal Period buildings across from Salem Common, the Hawthorne Hotel and the Salem Witch Museum. Having lived on the Common many years ago, it was fun to revisit the grandeur of this public space around the corner from many of the Peabody Essex Museum's historic buildings, the Salem Armory (now Visitor Center) and the Peabody Essex Museum itself.

After a quiet winter of work, this was the first showing of new pastels as well as a series of large prints of my textile paintings from the Adirondacks Series.  Shown here are the new prints for the diptych Sunset on Silver Lake.

Despite truly awful weather we did have quite a few visitors, thanks to fine publicity organized by Washington Square Director Lisa Palance. Art Business News gave us the following write-up: 

Salem, MA

The Washington Square Studio recently hosted a reception for local artist Carol Dearborn.  In addition to her work with natural themes, she is also a portraitist in oil and pastel, working on commission and offering classes in portraiture as well as master workshops in collage and creative expression. Pictured from left are studio director Lisa Palance, Carol Dearborn and Nick and Susan Fader of Ditto Editions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Evolutions '08

The end of August found many preparing for Dick Buckley's annual Evolutions Labor Day Weekend exhibit, held outdoors in a private garden on Marblehead Neck.  The Boston Globe called the event "A 12 hour exhibit featuring the work of a dozen highly talented contemporary and traditional artists, plus live music and a screening of two short films."  

Balloons to put up on street corners, musicians, pizza and coffee, and plenty of bricks to hold your tent down in case of sudden gusts of wind.
This year the weather was perfect.  People came on foot or by bicycle and car from miles around to visit, art was appreciated and sold, friends made.  Above is my tent, with invitations for my upcoming October, 2008 show, The Spirit of Place at Marblehead Arts.

Jesa Damora with her magnificent large paintings  - "Ostensibly about flowers but actually about sex."

Gina, Alan and the boys visited and promised to buy a print on bamboo paper of Mountainside with Birches.

Thanks to Buck we also got great local press.  The following article by Larry Claflin appeared in the August 28th issue of The Salem News:

Art on the lawn:  'EVOLUTIONS' has grown into a 'wonderful gift to the community'

For those who have never experienced a lawn party on the exclusive Marblehead Neck, there's an opportunity to do so this weekend at Evolutions '08, two days of art, music and film planned for Saturday and Sunday.

The event, which is in its sixth year, is organized by Dick "Buck" Buckley, who has a studio in a converted garage behind the Ocean Avenue house where Evolutions '08 will take place.

The weekend will feature the work of 12 visual artists, including that of Buckley, displayed over 12 hours on the home's expansive, manicured lawn. The two-day event will include music by several singer-songwriters, and two short films.

The art, which will be shown and sold from tents surrounding the yard, will consist of traditional and contemporary, in many mediums and styles — such as photography, painting, ceramics, sculpture, drawings, mixed media, even stencil on mylar, according to Buckley.

"We offer a variety for people who come in. I don't want all seascapes; I don't want all abstract expressionist," said Buckley, who added that selecting art is as much of a challenge as recruiting artists who work well together.

"The chemistry between the artists is vital to run one of these things, and they really get to test each others' character, especially during downpours," he said.

Buckley's rain date for the event is Monday, but at press time, there was no precipitation in this weekend's forecast.

Buckley is a painter, photographer and sculptor who also works as a corporate marketing consultant and was the creative director at a large ad agency. He said he started Evolutions soon after he began renting from the late Clint Wells, founder of Wells Yachts, and his wife, Georgia, who lived in the main house.

The Wellses loved the idea, Buckley said, as do his current neighbors, who, he said, plan their vacations around the annual Labor Day weekend event, which brought in 1,200 people last year.

"It's fun for the attendees and it's fun for the artists," said Buckley, adding that many will sell their work without commissions, fees or gallery mark-ups.

"So people should expect to pay approximately 50 percent less than they would at a gallery," he said.

Sales aside, Evolutions is an opportunity for artists to network and have a good time, too.

"Its a great combination of having an art opening and having a party in the garden at the same time," said Kasia Mirowska, who runs Miro Art and Design in Marblehead. Mirowska, a native of Poland who currently specializes in decorative art and faux finishes on walls and furniture, is a four-year veteran of the show.

"It's really a nice occasion for everyone," echoed Carol Dearborn of Salem, another Evolutions veteran. "It's a wonderful gift to the community."

Dearborn paints in mixed media and donates 10 percent of proceeds to causes that promote global sustainability. She said she uses only recycled or non-destructive materials, and "works with spirit of reciprocity."

"It's one of the functions of art to be a voice of social conscience," said Dearborn, who added she's a third-generation artist to promote social change.

Buckley shares that altruistic attitude with Evolutions, for which he accepts suggested donations from participating artists and said he never makes money off the event.

"It feels like the right thing to do, especially to help these people out and get them exposure, Buckley said, explaining why he puts on Evolutions each year. "I truly care about this."

Reactive Innovations opens in Westford


Invited to submit work for the new headquarters of Reactive Innovations of Westford, MA, I was honored to have one original pastel painting and seven prints - of pastels and textile paintings - selected for the new spaces.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the company's new offices on October 22, 2008. Company President Michael C. Kimble, Ph.D., waits at center, above, to help his daughter cut the ribbon.  Martha Russell of AXA Advisors is standing to Mike's left.

Mike chose the original pastel, Mount Washington in Snow,  as well as two prints in the Clouds Series - Blue Sunset Clouds and Russet Sunset Clouds - for his personal executive offices.

Mike liked the fact that I had invented the textile techniques used in the originals of this Adirondack Series, saying it echoed his company's innovative vision. Shown here are Fallen Tree and the Sunset on Silver Lake diptych he chose for the reception area.

He was also aligned with my mission of reverence for the natural world and choosing sustainable business and life practices.

Another print, Blue Waves in a Yellow Sea, was selected for the inner reception area.

With the Peruvian mountainscape Near Umantay behind them, friends (from left) Martha Russell of AXA, Miriam Hawley of Enlignment and Gina LaRoche of Inspiritas and Seven Stones Leadership celebrated the big day.

Earth Water Sky IV

As I worked on the panels I was thinking about framing methods. It looked as if each one was going to be more than 85" H, matted. How to make the framed pieces light enough to transport?  

They'd have to be under Plexiglas, but we'd need to deal with the static generated when paper comes into contact (or even near) the plastic.  

Susan Fader of Ditto put me in touch with another artist making large pastels, Michael Ramseur. His paintings of the looming presence of Danvers State Hospital are all the more powerful by their enormous size, some 12' long or more.  Michael was familiar with the issue and suggested multiple layers of Krylon spray.  

Multiple was right!  I probably used up five cans of spray on the three panels.  Unfortunately, spraying a pastel even lightly causes the medium to shrink and harden, a choice I'm always loathe to make with smaller pieces and only resort to if storage or transport require it.

In this case the whole surface darkened a bit and the pastel concentrated in the valleys of the paper's texture; however there was no choice.  

Secretly I was vowing to paint in oil from now on, though the medium of pastel is so luxurious and beautiful I doubt I'll keep that promise...

Earth Water Sky III

Another way to manage changes to inaccessible areas is to lay down waxed paper - this makes it possible to step or put weight on the painting without smudging.

I also found that if I stood on the arm of the couch and made a digital image I could reduce the composition and come closer to the overall effect of stepping back at a greater distance.  The reducing glass was too small for this usage.

Still, I had no real idea how things would look when the panels were at 90 degrees from the floor and at the other end of a big room - my studio is only about 18' long and not wide enough for all three to hang up together completely successfully.

Earth Water Sky

I began this piece in August 2008 at the suggestion of Susan Fader of Ditto Editions, my amazing fine art printers.  She said, "Why don't you buy a roll of paper and make something really big?"  Since I was preparing for a new show in a month this seemed like a good solution for a large room needing a strong statement at one end.

The subject was a series of lagoons at the foot of Ausangate, a sacred mountain or Apu south of the Peruvian city of Cusco, where I had been earlier in the summer to study.  A large triptych might give the sense of being inside the vast space of this landscape.  Most of all I wanted to convey the primeval life and power that surrounds this holy mountain.

At the beginning of each workday I lit a candle to open sacred space and used the mesa to activate cekes to this Apu.  There had been a strong connection established during the trip and I hoped the energetic pathways were still awake.

Never having worked this large in pastel before, I had to figure out how to do it as I went along.  Unlike a painted mural, I had to work flat on the floor and find ways not to smudge everything as I walked over it.  After sketching out the basic composition I began working from the top down on each panel, sliding foamcore under each section as I worked on it.
Another challenge was the amount of pastel dust I created... I ended up sweeping regularly, mopping the floor with damp cloths and taking plenty of algin, aka Solaray Detox.   

Earth Water Sky II

I was also using large amounts of pastel, but fortunately I had bought a lot of supplies when our local framer, The Art Corner discontinued them.  Sometimes you make these leaps of faith (storage?) and it pays off...

Compositionally, I wanted the three finished panels to work alone or together, but if together, not necessarily in any order.  Since it would require a large public  or private space (more on this later) to display them, I also wanted to make them legible together or on three separate walls of the same room.

The only way I could monitor progress was to clip each panel-in-progress and hang it high on the wall or by the rafters.  

Needless to say, puddies were banned from the studio for the month.

Monday, January 26, 2009

This Sunday 2/1/09 Dick Buckley has a new show, Women/Sisters/Friends, opening at Marblehead Arts.  Buck used a photo of Gina and me for one invitation and another one with Gina, Jane and me appeared in Sunday's Boston Globe.  Go to Globe North for the photo at top, if not the correct article...

We three were also in Thursday's Marblehead Reporter:  

"Marblehead Arts Association exhibit opens soon"  

"Women/Sisters/Friends is an extraordinary solo exhibition of photographic portraits by Richard Warren Buckley, who will be exhibiting this body of work beginning Saturday, Jan. 31, through Sunday, Feb.22, at the Marblehead Arts Association, 8 Hooper St. in Marblehead.  The opening reception will be held on Sunday, Feb 1, from 2-4 p.m.
Buckley was the 2008 winner of the Marblehead Festival of Arts as "Best in show" in color photography as well as the winner of the "People's Choice" award in the same category.
Among the women who sat for the portraits to be found in the Women/Sisters/Friends exhibit are Carol Dearborn and her sister Jane.
If you're a lover of black and white images, or might be considering portraiture, don't miss Women/Sisters/Friends."

Gina is founder of corporate leadership development company Inspiritas.  In addition, she and Jen Cohen have recently founded Seven Stones Leadership.  Check their Online Store to see some of my paintings and photographs.
  Jane is multimedia artist, actor and writer Jane Bernhardt.  She has recently written a wonderful book on spiritual messages, We Are Here.