Off to a good start…

It is very difficult to say which medium I prefer to work with – paint or clay. When I am painting, I lose myself entirely, and relish the rigorous mental demands which painting requires. I find that this sometimes surprises people. Contrary to the popular notion of painting as a relaxing pastime, I find myself totally exhausted after a day in the studio.  After a month or two of painting my fingers start itching to get hold of some clay and create something I can hold and touch and manipulate. It is a much more physical and tactile experience.

The New Year seems to be bringing some much-needed attention to my two-dimensional work. Within the past few weeks no less than four of my paintings have been juried into various shows around the country. Compared with the cumbersome slide entry process of the past, the opportunity to enter juried shows by email has made the entry process rather painless.

White on White

My acrylic painting White on White from the Chez Grace Paris series was selected for exhibition in the international small format competition The Richeson 75. The paint was barely dry when I spontaneously decided to enter it into the competition which drew over 500 entries worldwide. White on White will be on exhibit at the Richeson Gallery opening February 11 and will appear in the catalogue of finalists.

Rafting on the Jordan

Several years ago I did a series of six gouache paintings highlighting different parts of Israel. I love gouache as a medium, so versatile yet so under-appreciated. Yes, these are my feet as I kicked back on a family rafting trip down the Jordan River, which is actually deceptively treacherous. On a whim I entered this painting in a competition calling for River Art. Not only was it juried into an exhibition opening February 11 at West Shore Gallery, but it won Best of Category, and will be appearing in a book on rivers published by Sunbury Press! The only snafu is confusion over the title of the piece, which appears as Not a Care in the World instead of Rafting on the Jordan!

Break of Dawn

Break of Dawn is a large acrylic painting that has attracted quite a lot of attention. I would really love to do a whole series on pillows floating through black space. Lenny Campello recently juried this painting into the annual international show at Gallery West in Alexandria.

Waiting

During my extended stay in Paris in January 2010 I was fortunate enough to meet fellow artist Yael Braverman who taught me her unique copper etching techniques. One of my first etchings entitled Waiting will be on exhibit next month in New York City at the Fifth Avenue gallery of the National Association of Women Artists. 

It’s a good feeling to have one’s work out there, if only to clear the decks and make room for the next round!
 
 

Happy New Year or rather, “Feliz año nuevo!”

In the spirit of ringing in the new, I have put the Paris art scene on temporary hold in favor of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Three weeks ago I had never heard of this charming destination, described as a Mexican version of a Tuscan hilltown. Now, after spending a week there, I can’t wait to return. Certainly it is delightfully picturesque, blessed with superb weather and home to thousands of ex-pats from North America and Europe. But it is also oozing with art from every cobblestone. This is largely due to the efforts of one Stirling Dickinson who wandered into the sleepy town in 1937 and established an art institute in a former convent. The rest is history.

                         

Over the years, San Miguel de Allende has become an international art center, attracting hundreds of artists from all over the world. These newcomers have contributed a distinctly European art sensibility alongside the existing Mexican craft scene, resulting in a very interesting and textured visual feast. The countless galleries and art co-ops co-exist with local artisans peddling their traditional crafts such as the exquisite bead work (below) and finely detailed wares. For the tourist looking for art, the options are vast.

               

The offerings in the fine arts are incredibly diverse. I came across still lifes of clay pots against adobe walls; huge abstract canvases ripe for a NY penthouse; discerning abstract panels with thoughtful titles; powerful and humorous paintings in the primitive vein; large, sophisticated expressionist narratives; photorealist masterpieces and oversized contemporary ceramic sculptures. And if jewelry’s your thing, Pepe Cerroblanco’s designs at the Fabrica La Aurora art center are irresistible.

Art in San Miguel is a SERIOUS business, and so I was rather surprised by the generous and friendly sharing of information I encountered in the art community. But the highlight of my art experience came when I wandered into the brand new super-modern boutique hotel Matilda, only to come face-to-face with a sculpture by one of my favorite living sculptors – Mexico City-based Xavier Marin. What a treat!