Friday, December 31, 2010

Tucson Artist Melinda: Snowblind Under Cloud Cover: Happy New Year!

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Young, hesitant flakes of white
fell silently on black fur--

I walked bundled, lured by the beauty to the north of us, in rhythmic steps,
Quieted
Embellished with a leash--

Loki, chaos of dogness,
eyeing the flight of pigeons grounded to drink the pooled water with gasoline rainbows, moved apace
(eager to stay warm)
Eager to complete his neighborhood perimeter check.

Snow blind, with a countenance like a child with a powdered sugar smile, my head was full of brown mountains dusted with snow.
If the clouds would keep their cover, black fur might turn to white--

This sight was dessert for our city, a Mt. Lemmon mousse atop a chocolate base,
meant to celebrate the end and the start of a another year.
And, like candles on a cake--
in a call and response from the desert floor,
prefiguring new beginnings.
Poem © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous new year. Hoping, perhaps insanely so, that 2011 will be a great year, a better year for everyone--filled with good health, better work situations, good times with friends, and lots of studio time.Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artist Melinda's Saga Continues: Notched Up!

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

The Bershires Notch #4
To take a cue from Linny's comment, I've notched up this painting several times and will be adding notches to my portfolio again, I'm sure. Here, I'm slathering on paint with my trusty cake decorator, using scraping tools, and pouring paint.

.....So, the next day of our trip back east, we visited the The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

I remember on our first visit there, that I was completely dazzled by William-Adolphe Bouguereau's Nymphes et Satyre (Nymphs and Satyr). Notice that this painting is 5 feet 9" by 8. 53 feet tall! It was imposing. I think that Mr. Bouguereau, the Academic traditional painter, must have been so as well. Being a member of the Academy during the rise of Impressionism must have irritated the heck out of him. Still, his work is stunning:
I was swept away by John Singer Sargent's, Fumee D'Ambris Gris. (3' 1" x 4' 6 3/4") We were allowed to take photos of anything in the museum. That was a thrill too.
Sargent's:Fumee D'Ambris Gris
Two closeups of Fumee D'Ambris Gris
Then this--A Bad Monet, I'm Sorry, But It's True and I Don't Even Remember the Title:
Not to fret, there was Monet's The Cliffs at Etretat and everyone's favorite, Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral, The Façade in Sunlight:
And, Oh My Gosh! There were women artists in the 19th Century AND in the museum. Look! A Mary Cassatt and a Berthe Morisot!
There were several wonderful Winslow Homers and fabulous Fredrick Remingtons. Here are two:
Don't you think these two painters really got the power of photographs and their high drama and high contrast elements?
I'm tired now after all that walking. Maybe you need some comic relief too. Here's a link to The Madness of Art's most recent video and a link to Mr. Bean vs Whistler's Mother from a comment made at Madness. Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
Happy holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

An Artist Walks Into A Museum and Other Studies

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

So, where were we?! Oh, yes, I was going to tell you more stories!

Before I do, let me write about the two studies I did today.

After the first study of The Notch, I decided that I wanted to explore the image a bit more. I liked the painting, didn't want to scrape it, but felt that I needed another approach. Here is The Notch #2, on a small 8" x 8" artists' board:
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

But,I hated this!

Went back and wrestled the darn thing for another long while, and painted differently: The Notch #3, on the same artists' board:
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Ah, that's better.

I'm still going to deconstruct this image (it's so much fun), and I'll post more as I push it further. It's still not where I want it to be.

Our trip last month was one of those incredible journeys that has left me with a bazillion ideas, memories and photographs for further inspiration.

A cloud had something to say and a young man was bursting with ideas--
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Spending time with such brilliance kept me on my toes and wanting to go everywhere and see everything I could.

Of course, an artist, wherever she travels, will be drawn to the local museums. The day we visited Mass MoCa was very cold and rainy. Inside, the place was teeming with irony, surrealism, postmodern and post-post modern intrigue, retrospectives and introspectives everywhere!

If you haven't gone to Mr. Artyfice's blog lately and read his (Untitled) Art Blog Post, well, please do. He tells our story better than I could have. Really.

Last night, I had to watch (Untitled) Movie again....I just don't have the words for all that I'm thinking.

Mass MoCa was more than I expected, let's say. There was the Petah Coyne exhibit, which left my brain frazzled.

I thought it beautiful, important, unimportant, tragic, funny, disturbing and so labor intensive that I marveled at the artist's work ethic.

The Sol LeWitt Retrospective and Wall Drawings came next. Oh, I mean after the Leonard Nimoy gallery of digital portraits (stunning, high resolution of nearly life sized portraits of people who posed as their inner selves). Back to LeWitt...Oh, how about just some photos:


They came with instructions.
College students recreated his work from those instructions.
Their process was mesmerizing.

Then there was the installation work of Tobias Putrih:


Are you getting the idea that Mass MoCa was stimulating, while it painfully excluded painting? Yes, me too. I didn't want to go, at first, because I knew if they had any painting, it would be somewhere obscure. I was right. On the other hand...this was so much better than viewing the same old, same old, work by the same old guys of the last century and beyond. Eeks. I'm in trouble now.

Even looking out of the window at Mass MoCa was aesthetically pleasing. Hey! They have the Airstream I've always wanted! This is a wonderful installation by Michael Oatman: "All Utopias Fell."

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

And, while I felt really silly doing this, I had to take a photo (or two) of the women's restroom.Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

As I exited the room, there was an exhibit by a woman artist who had photographed the same thing, along with the rest of the basement area of Mass MoCa.

There was only one glitch in our day trip to the museum...I could not play the guitar. The place was closed.Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

It's probably just as well. We were players in a play, actors/artists with an 'eye' for things, and not a bucket in sight.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

I am thankful for you.

I am thankful that Kate is still with us. Thank you for your good thoughts and wishes for her. More on this later.

I am thankful for painting supplies.

I am thankful.

What are you thankful for?!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

A quick study from a photo I took of Thompson Memorial Hall. 9" x 12" on artists' board.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Red Dot Conversation and Panned at 37, 000 Feet

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

The Notch, 9" x 12" oil on artists' board (not finished)
I have so many stories I'd like to tell and maybe I can get to some of them. Mr Artyfice is working on something that I hope he'll be able to post soon. He'll tell you an interesting one, too.

But first, let me backtrack for a moment. If you will, go to The Madness of Art and watch Jim's conversation with Dru about the use of the red dot--hilarious! Then, come on back..........................

Okay. Two days before our open studio tour, one of my paintings sold online. Smart move by the buyer, because it has happened in the past that people have jockeyed to get here first to buy a particular piece. Of course, I had just seen The Madness of Art's piece on this and later that evening, Edgar and I had the "red dot conversation." We had to mark the title card paid, but...we laughed ironically that we were now making some kind of art statement-----and we didn't know which one! Yeah, yeah, I know. The main one was: Sold. However, you know as an artist that money is secondary to the work and the hope that people enjoy it.

Hey, this painting doesn't look like Tucson!
You are correct, dear artist. We had the privilege of traveling back east a few weeks ago and found the most exotic lands.
We saw no evil there.
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Anyone know where this is?
Confession: I've always admired the work of my fellow artist bloggers and famous artists such as Wolf Kahn and Russell Chatham, and often thought they were puffing/enhancing the landscape to express their emotional connections. What I did not quite understand, until October, was that they were telling the truth about a magical land, the northeast! I thought it would be hard for me to find subject matter with strong graphical elements. Sheesh, was I wrong. My apologies for such naiveté and apologies to the famous women landscape artists of the North East whom I could not find today as I researched.
My eyes were full of color:
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

I sat on marble steps:
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

One more hint:
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

And, I was panned at 37,000 feet.
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

To while away the hours flying, I used my neocolors to paint the sky and clouds as we flew over the Midwest. I'm working diligently with my cup of water, Q-tips and small container of water soluble crayons on hand when the flight attendant (one of the most solicitous I've ever had the pleasure of knowing) kept coming by and glancing at my work. When I was done, she stopped and took a longer look. I posited, sky? She replied, "No. I see an ocean with the waves hitting the shoreline. Sorry!"

Aha. I see. Well, I replied, that's good that you interpret it personally. Edgar whispered that he thought she should not quit her day job.

More soon! Should I offer a prize to the first one who guesses where we were? Now, Barbara....you already know, so I hope you'll wait this one out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Report: Good times

What a weekend! I thought it was going to be pretty quiet in the Old Pueblo, just because the entire town seems quieter since last year.
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza



Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

However, we had a great turnout at the open studio tour and I want to thank everyone who visited, especially my dear artist blogger buddies who held good thoughts for us as we welcomed people in to see the art. On Sunday, our family friend, and my music mentor, Ruben, came by and we had a brief jam session. It was great fun. Many wonderful people came by and a few enthusiasts bought some of my favorite pieces. As usual, I didn't take photos of the visitors because I was running my mouth or concerned about legendary Tucson shyness.

I'm ready to get back to work. I'll bet you're ready to see some new work. What have I got?

Well, I've got four sketches from my journal, a teaser really and a motivation for a future story about a recent journey. I'm hoping, more developed work soon to come.
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Stories to tell!
Hope you all are painting up good storms.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tucson Open Studio: Artists, Good Weather, Good Music, Good Food

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Update: If you'd like to read the Zocalo Magazine that has nearly dedicated its entire November issue to the Open Studio Tour, please click on this Zocalo link. It will take you to the online version.

Well. This is it. I've been posting the Tucson Artists' Open Studio Tours link for weeks and we are only a few days away. I'd like to give credit to one of the sponsors here in town that I love to visit and buy from--Sarnoff Art & Writing.

The weather is pretty swell. I've tested my recipe for mesquite flour, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and I have some of the finest prickly pear cactus syrup ever (no modesty on this one) for the green tea. I've finally got it just right.

Here are three more paintings that will be exhibited the weekend of November 13th and 14th. Two of them are 8" x 8", and one (Gray Day on the Rillito) is 5" x 7".
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
Motorcoach Moticos August 2010

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
After the Storm 2010

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza
Gray Day on the Rillito

As an opening of welcome, I've consulted with my music mentor, R. P. Esparza, and he has given me permission to play one of his songs as a treat to share with my artist blogger buddies who cannot attend, but will be here in spirit--and those whom I'd like to welcome.

Imagine, if you will, that you're out in the desert, only dirt roads to drive, a sunset that makes a dramatic composition of hills, ocotillos and cactus, a moment in which you are transported to this dry and gentle environment, listening to this contemplative tune.
Martay Blue © 2009 R. P. Esparza
Enjoy!

(desert photos from one of my day trips © 2010 Melinda Esparza)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tucson Open Studio: Poem, Painting, Monotype

Thinking about the moon a lot. And, the night sky:

Ease of Night Light

O Luna, nightlight for the worried insomniac,
Your golden shape floating like a banana boat gliding across
The darkened sea above.

Why do you sneak out so late?
To whisper lovely, impossible secrets in the ear of the weary?
To soothe a restless heart with a thousand questions?

I think I hear one of your poems in a language of color
And mist--
The values, a softened gray, layering the plane.

My head is bowed, but my eyes swim in your neon glow.
"Waking is the dream," you speak, "Fall up into my orbit and let go."

"And I, decorated for travel, will melt unruly monsters, like a dollop of honey
on a warm, indigo plate."
Poem © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

In a way, this 8" x 8", oil on artists board, painting reminds me of some of the recent night skies.

This monotype is one that I worked on a year ago, but never uploaded here. I thought those of you who've been following my blog would want to see something new as I go through the works for the Tucson Artists' Open Studios Tour. Is she a nighthawk?
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Now, for a bit of shameless self-promotion: One of my favorites! The painting that made it into the Tucson Museum of Art's Arizona Biennial '09
Sabino Hill on a Snowy Day
Image © 2010 Melinda S. Esparza

Wrangling the warm clothing this week. More soon. Have a great week!