Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Famous Women Artists: They are Everywhere!

A few years ago I had the privilege of visiting the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Everyone knows Georgia O'Keeffe.

The architecture of the building was particularly impressive. Some of Ms. O'Keeffe's works were quite good. Thing is, I realized that a lot of her work was so innovative in approach that the more naive works added to her oeuvre rather than detracted from it.

So, today I painted one of my very own daturas from a photo I took last year while they were in bloom. Melinda Esparza: Datura in the Night of Yearning-Lost to the Darkness Swallowing up and Crunching Down Upon My Dream of You. Oil on panel. 8" x 8". I think I'll have to update this photo in the daylight to get a better photo of it.

What if...you are as good as the women artists listed below? What if, from now on, you lived your life with such conviction of this that your level of discipline and your audience reflected the knowledge you hold within your own hands?

Let's have a roll call, shall we?

Grace Hartigan

Deb Schmit

Peggi Nicol

Linny D. Vine

Donna Schuster

Yoko Ono

Euphemia Charlton Fortune

Jean De Muzio

Marion Wachtel


Jane Freilicher

Bonnie Luria

Joan Mitchell

Jeane Myers

Women artists of the 20th century in a bunch, Art Cyclopedia.

Louise Bourgeois

Karen Phipps

Eva Hesse

Marcia LaBelle

Frida Kahlo

Barbara Muir

There. Let this be a codification of who is who and how the world really does work. We move in and out of each others' lives, woven into the history that we are writing with our colors and words.

This gives me joy. I look at the list of famous artists and I see a group of dedicated, scary smart women, who, out of gracious mercy choose not to join together in any geographical location wishing to avoid a cataclysmic event that may cause disruption in the Force--the Artistic Force, which may cause weather events with colors and light never seen before. We wouldn't want to frighten the citizenry.

See yourself recognized and appreciated. See yourself and your work loved and supported.

That's a good life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Artist Melinda: Off into the Weeds, Back with Saddle Burrs

Update: I finally fixed this painting and might even like it! Yes, it's true. The open studio tour left me dazed and confused. I spent several days staring at mud, a few days asking what kind of weed is a actually a weed, and where are the hidden treasures in all of the brush. I came back with some stickery but healing aloe, something shiny I still can't figure out, and two paintings. Wished I'd had a saddle. Here's the thing, the stickery thing. If women artists are the most prevalent artists in any generation since 1850 (okay, kinda guessing on the year, but I'm close), why aren't we studying them more, quoting them more, experimenting more with their processes? Even male artists are quoting and emulating male artists of the 1800s instead of artists more recent than that. And, the ones who are mentioned most often shouldn't necessarily hog all of the notoriety. Even if one wanted to stick with the 1800s, there are: Julia Margaret Cameron, Elizabeth Adela Armstrong Forbes, Lilla Cabot Perry, Suzanne Valadon and Berthe Morisot. These artists are worthy of more looking! Then, there is the 20th century, and, oh yes, the last decade of the 21st century. You'd think we didn't have access to more sources. That's the bur. Well, at least one of them. Grace Hartigan's, The Persian Jacket, 1952: Grace Hartigan (included in the New York School of Abstract Expressionists): "Well, what we get down to finally is the ultimate point. What in the world is the reason for painting? Life is complete in itself. What can the painter add to it aside from presenting formal problems of my trade--space, projection, surface, contour and all those things. Rather, I think art comes out of an inability to understand the life that you are living and the hopeful desire that out of the chaos that is given to you, you try for a brief period of time to make some sense and order." Couldn't have said it better. One of the paintings I've sold recently is quite abstracted. This got me to thinking how right it felt to paint that way--and that someone responded positively to it. Here are two more experiments. The first is a landscape in which paint is for paint and image is a close second (oil on panel 5" x 7"). The second one might be a bit of channeling Grace as I think about our better angels of art or more graces (oil on artist's board, 12" x 12"). I'm gonna keep asking you, kindly and with gentle prodding (sans burrs), to seek out women artists, support them, talk about them, examine their process and dig a bit into the weeds once in awhile. And, those guys? Gotta love 'em. Gotta make 'em share the canvas...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tucson Artist's Open Studio---Lovely Spring Day

Thanks guys! I felt your support and presence throughout the weekend. And, when I grew tired, I'd take a moment to remember your comments, your fantastic artwork and I was energized. I felt part of a solid community. An extra bonus: We even have snow lingering on the mountains! There was a good turn out and I was surprised. Tucson is really busy with art gallery openings, book festivals, sports events and a plethora of other fun things to do before it gets gawd-awful hot around here. So, it was great to see so many enthusiastic art tourists visit my studio, carefully and thoughtfully considering the work. We met some interesting, intelligent and artsy folk. I hope they'll come back again. Here are some photos of the day. Again, I didn't want to blow anyone's cover (Sometimes I think a lot of Tucsonans are in the witness protection program and don't want to be photographed.) Just kidding. I don't even ask visitors because I feel it would be intrusive. Maybe I can talk the next group into allowing me to photograph their backs as they look at the paintings! Hope you all had a good weekend full of paint, good friends and family.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tucson Artists' Open Studios Tour--Let the Visits Begin

The news around town is that there is a real "buzz" as the Tucson Artists' Open Studios Tour gears up for this Saturday and Sunday from 11 AM until 5 PM. I think that it's the increase in the collective heart rate of all the artists who are participating this weekend. Dear artist bloggers: I sense your kind support, knowing that you will be here in spirit. Wouldn't it be great if we could have a group show?! I would love that. Let's dream together on this and see what comes. I'm pretty excited about all of this because next week my college boy is coming home and he's having a birthday, too. So, I've got a mailart to share and a quick sketch I made from a screen capture as we webcam'd recently. This mailart piece is a bit out of character (more sculptural, really). But, here's why. This Plexiglass, paper with grommet and 'o' rings enshrine a story I made up one day while Ell and I were resting after I had set up camp in the forest. Ell was six years old. I was old. So, I told him we had to rest in the tent until Daddy got there from work. I began to stare at the clouds as they rolled by over our tent. They seemed to be speaking. I told him the story of Little Proud Thundercloud (M. S. Esparza ©). It stuck as a family story and now it is in plexiglass. Of course, at the time we didn't know anything about Iceland, but I think that painting the cloud to resemble the country pleased my world traveler today. It's approximately 8" x 4," plexi over paper, with tarp grommet, washers and 'o' rings and glue. And to all my visitors from far, far away (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom)--- Peace to you all and thank you for visiting. I am honored when you visit. I hope you'll always feel welcomed here. I hope you'll feel comfortable to comment any time you want to. In my dreams you all are here and we are laughing, sharing green tea, and talking about life, art, good things to make a better world. I'll try to take photos to share next week. Everyone, stay well, don't give up.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tucson Artists' Open Studios Tour

Sunset Ridgeline, 2010. 8x8 Oil on linen panel. Sold
The Tucson Artists Open Studios Tour is just a mere and frantic eight days away. There are two beautiful, gorgeous, exquisitely constructed canvases built by Deadwood Framing that invite me to paint large. They will have to wait until next week. But, until then... I've got this 8" x 8," oil on artists' board, abstracted painting for today that is a bit of an extension of the kinds of landscapes I've been painting lately. Until the next post, I hope you are living well, painting often, dreaming and walking with all beauty and excellence! I also wish all of you could stop by for some mesquite flour chocolate chip cookies and decaf green tea with prickly pear syrup and a nice chat. Some funnies (to offset the seriousness of the last post): Math joke Signs you are an artist: #14. "You chose to buy that new Russian Sable Number Six Round instead of a Big Mac, a Large Fry, a Milkshake, Dessert, and five gallons of gas." #17. "When viewing a sunset, you think in terms of cadmium yellow (light hue), salmon and gold, a tinted teal mixed with gold for the water...." #26. "You explain your deplorably bad housekeeping by saying, "It's a work-in-progress..." And, one from me--True Story: Instead of fixing our leaky roof years ago, we bought an Ettan Press and set mixing bowls out to catch the rain.