Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Walk, A Gathering, A Cup of Desert

What do you do when the economy is tanking, fuel is too expensive for traveling and politics resemble a mangled car wreck from which you find observing it too difficult to turn away? Take a bucket and a pair of tongs, wander over to the nearest prickly pear patch in the evening sun, harvest some fruit (tunas) as the ancestors, the Tohono O'odham, did long ago. Put them in a pot, boil them into a softer mixture, mash them until they release their dioxazine purple/permanent rose-like liquid. Add lots of mesquite honey and some lemon juice. Have a small cup of desert.
The Moleskine journal paper seems to be the most ideal surface for Caran d'Ache that I have found. I'm really enjoying the way the water soluble crayons hug the paper, producing a soft, blended, painterly like surface. Image: 4 1/2" x 6 1/2," on moleskine paper

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Landscape du Jour and Dream of the Blues

A quick study showing process. J. H. Thomas has an interesting approach on landscape painting that fascinated me. My response was to take a 5" x 7" canvas panel and try his method. I'm not sure if the painting is done, but I'd like to think so. I started with a thick covering of cerulean blue and titanium white, followed with the major shape of the mesa with indian red. Later, I added the mixture of alizarin crimson, french ultramarine, etc., for contrasts. I did use a palette knife and brushes. I miss playing my guitar lately. "The Marshall is supposed to be 200 watts, but mine's never worked right; it peaks out at 80."--Stevie Ray Vaughan Yeah. This is how I feel. My amp is an old Legend...but, when it works right...80 watts is enough.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In another life...

Take a day off. Go have some tea. Think about clouds, next painting, next mailart, next days. From San Xavier Mission on the Tohono O'odham Reservation, a small pastel on canvas, (5" x 7"): From the Ettan Press, a monotype (22" x 17") with gold paint:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Art as Metaphor

We all know this, art is metaphor, but we still have strong preferences for the way in which that metaphor is painted. I'm eager to see the film Silvina has posted on her blog and thought of some of the ways I've painted portraits in the past. David's blog has some wonderful portraits in watercolor and acrylic that then led me to Barbara Paints with more fabulous portraits. If we constrain ourselves to one genre, or 'ism', we do so out of choice today. That is the positive side of Post Modernism. What we often call 'ugly art' may send us running, but it really provides a broader base from which all artists can work. Here are the three paintings I've got for this musing. The first is my attempt at photo realism of our family friend of long ago: 36" x 36," oil on canvas. The second is a looser, more impressionistic portrait of Mr. Arty Fice himself, also from a few years back: 24" x 36," oil on canvas. The third is a self portrait (I don't really look like this, except in the morning). This is a narrative piece about the day I was biking with my dog. He bolted, his leash wrapped around a mailbox and I went flying. I suffered a traumatic brain injury that rendered me dog-like for quite some time--couldn't write, couldn't read, couldn't speak well (only in telegraphic sentences, as they call them). Are these valid paintings? Is one better than another?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ironing with Ray and Women at Work

I am so inspired by the community of artists blogging and want to add my own comment with a mailart piece. It was because of Lisa at onpainting that I thought this mailart would fit in with the current discussion on women in the arts.

The text for this piece:
Here are some symbols for you to ponder in a way that will stimulate emotional filtration. The joy of ironing provides a moment to consider the ironies of life. Irony being: the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning. We see this in calling war, peace, etc.. So, I was ironing with Ray the other day thinking about the pressing issues that face us all in this new century, remembering how far women have not got...I'm still ironing. Waiting for God to show..Loving the few moments I have for art, the smell of clean laundry and the fresh ink from my press. Press...Pressure to keep up~cold press~hot press~Permanent Press~~Never needs ironing--but enjoying the irony, especially sardonic irony from political comedians. Then I thought about~~~missing you~~and~~~I became upside down and a sad iron~

So, I feel like Mrs. Pott's~~old, wondering if I can finish all my work and keep in touch with you. I'll ask then.....Is she also thinking about painting or pressing...Press: Ettan Press Co.~~What are your pressing issues???

Trying to iron out the wrinkles becomes a sculpture, an abstract that seems, or is like the perfect French seam, an elegant line like a woman's breast or delicate line like the rolled-like hem that is the butterfly's body beneath its winged fabric. Let us seek the gathering of spiritual, artistic and optimistic community, not in the pocket of the cruel, not merely basted in, but toward a clean finish that always supports directional stitching.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Traveling with the Tablets

Years ago, I wrote a short poem for some exchange students from France: Here it is:
O the encounters of brave travelers-- 
Teenagers flying above the clouds bouncing toward futures 
Ricocheting with the shots of good fortune and
Blessings of strangers/angels in Cowboy's grinning hats slinging rays of sunlight 
or smoothing moonlit nights of softened light 
Night of Tucson chirps 
despite the howl 
Of dogs of war--and clich├ęd wanton greed--lassoing 
The world out of linguistic conversations of hope and Sanity 
Cuidado jumping cholla 
Cuidado ricocheted words 
Cuidado and Vaya con Dios muchachos 
Cuidado et bon voyage 
© Melinda S. Esparza 

As my college student returns to his school so very far away, I recall the mailart tablets I made and sent to him this year. These took much longer to make. I wanted him to have before him a reminder of the most important things. The painter, Fritz Scholder, once said that we kept the Tablets, but lost the Ark...But, I think we carry both within. What do you think?