Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not an Illustrator, Not a traditionalist, All about Listening to the Paint

Now, don't get me wrong, I admire the traditionalists, and after working on an illustration for a family friend for two weeks, I have enormous admiration for the work of illustrators. It's just not for me.

I learned that illustration is remarkably demanding. And, while the recipient of the work was quite pleased with the outcome, I kept looking for
C O L O R!! Once again I realized how very invested I am with color and paint. Duh, eh? Bet you could have helped me out with this.

There was also a local call for artists on the subject of red at a respected gallery here. I am not one to submit work to galleries very often, but this one intrigued me. The gallery wants to exhibit work that will augment an upcoming performance of the play, Red, by John Logan, about the life and work of Rothko. Of course, I had to start painting with a lot of green....More about that next week. I've also submitted another painting to the call, and another work for a show in New Mexico. Whew!

Abiquiu Ancestors: Opening Sanctuary 30" x 30" Oil on canvas Image © 2012 Melinda S. Esparza

This painting is getting some attention today as it waits patiently to be finished soon.

Abiquiu Ancestors: Opening Sanctuary (detail) 30" x 30" Oil on canvas Image © 2012 Melinda S. Esparza

Not quite done, but getting closer:

Abiquiu Ancestors: Opening Sanctuary 30" x 30" Oil on canvas Image © 2012 Melinda S. Esparza

Do you have some thoughts on Rothko to share? I watched a documentary last night about Henry Geldzahler. Have you ever wondered why certain artists were heralded more than others, and women artists were virtually left out of the heralding in the 1960s. Well, wonder no more. Henry Geldzahler wrote about his artist friends, and the work he enjoyed most. Simple. There you have it.

And because of his position as Curator for American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he was able to push the careers of his artist friends. Who Gets to Call It Art?, by Peter Rosen, is the name of the documentary. See for yourself. I'm not specifically against this sort of thing. It seems to be a natural enough behavior. The problem I have is its exclusivity and exclusion of a wider range of artists--in any era.

Just got the link to the National Park Service's page on Artists-in-Residence at the Grand Canyon last week. Yep, I'm there and feeling pretty excited about the whole thing. My hiking boots are broken in and my packing skills are honed...

It's been a busy time offline and I've missed you all. Are you doing what you want to do in your studios? Oh, I really hope so!

I'll be back--soon.


Anamaria do Val said...

Thanks for this great post, Melinda. Very interesting links, good information and incredible paintings! I enjoy very much your art, I feel strength and TRUTH when I look at your paintings. Congrats!

Melinda said...

Oh, my, Anamaria. Thank you so much for your warm and gracious comment.

Believe that your paint tells who you are. Be present for the conversation so that the translation is clear to your audiences.

If we can be strong in our work, tell the truth of our lives in paint, we can become so in every other area, yes?

Virtual hugs to you.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

What a beautiful painting, so exciting to watch its development, and your whole post made my day. So I guess it's important to befriend the influential huh? But that seems more like work than art -- which I know is work too. Congratulations. A great write up on you, and that sounds like a super time you're going to have. I love what you said about your ancestors. Very moving.


Donald Diddams said...

Whew... a great post and that painting is becoming a real stunner!!

I don't want to get started on how "real" artists get annointed as such. Art should be about feeling, inspiration, and expression -- and everyone should be invited in. Instead we seem to have the need to confine it with politics and money, make it exclusive -- and often justify that with some sort of elitist intellectual gibberish. Gibberish that is so unlike the heartfelt story you tell of your ancestors, your relation to the land, and how your express that in your painting.

As you say, the problem is exclusivity and the exclusion of a wider range of artists. Yes, probably throughout history.

See I got started anyway... Can't wait to hear and see the stories from the grand Canyon!

Melinda said...

It was pretty stunning to see how it all came together in the '60s with one guy who loved art. It was great that he helped those he did, but I wish he'd expanded his range to include more women and other important artists of that time.

Thank you for your kind words. It means a great deal to me. Art is so much work, and hobnobbing is often too demanding, especially if all you want to do is WORK!

It's hugely exciting about the artist-in-residence thing. I can hardly wrap my head around it right now.

Thank you, thank you!

Melinda said...

Hi, Donald,
You can "get started" anytime! I so agree with you and you summarized the problem succinctly. It's a real pity when wonderful artists struggle their entire lives in total obscurity. I think being online helps a bit, but still, without the 'who-you-know' element the trend continues.

I'm glad that you liked my statement. I love dirt/land, and I think about my ancestors often. I think I'm expressing the DNA that connects me to them and painting a little of their voices.

I'm hoping to tell and share some good stories from the Canyon.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful comment.

cohen labelle said...

Wonderful, Melinda, a feast for the eye!
You do know who you are. I applaud you for that! Let’s say you are a traditionalist at least in this respect – following in the footsteps of those with immense courage!
Yes, pretty exciting the artist in residence gig! wowee!!!

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

Great work here Melinda and did I mention colour!!!!!!! I'm sure it's size would up the wow factor with the addition of being there!
Very exciting and your excitment is really coming through and I am very excited for you =:-p

There are those who believe that art and the art world it swirls around in is but a game of fraud where the most fraudulent always come out on top. History often lends credence to this. It takes courage and soul to make art honestly. Often such things are too raw for the anointers and those who gullibly swallow their pronouncments. Those who bare their souls in their art must develope yet another skill, that ability to shut out the white noise of the fraudsters chattering and get on with the making of art.
Alas it is believing when mundane things like rent and food keep tripping you up that is often the most difficult to bare...


Melinda said...

Thank you very much, Marcia. I really like your definition of traditionalist. I'll go with that (even if I don't feel courageous)!

Yes, it is so great to have the gift of time at the Grand Canyon. In my mind, I'm already there...

Wish you could stop in during that time.

Virtual hugs to you and yours.

Melinda said...

Dear Jeffrey,
You have written wise and profound words. I do agree with you. Perhaps we can take comfort in our distance to the rarefied atmosphere of the inner circle-- knowing that we are free to be our true selves without being pushed to compromise for fame or money. There are many artists who rejected that path and later became more appreciated. We can hope for later recognition in the future, if we can just get people to care for art and actually SEE it, don't you think?

This platform of democracy, the internet, provides us with a voice, with community, with a vehicle to connect us to those who can appreciate our work. For that, I am most grateful.

I am grateful for your online friendship and your thoughtful comments too.

Virtual hugs.

p. s. Yes, sometimes we make sacrifices to paint, and we put aside the quest for outrageous fame to seek a footing on the first step of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Wish we could make more steps available for everyone...

Linny D. Vine said...

Melinda, this LARGE and COLOR-filled painting is soooo beautiful! The Grand Canyon is going to love having you and your brushes at it's side!!!

Melinda said...

Thank you, Linny!
I'm so glad you like this. It's not done yet, and I must admit, I've taken it to the edge and nearly dropped it. I hope to pull it back from the ragged precipice of artistic doom and make it good again soon.

I surely hope the Grand Canyon approves of my presence. Nature finds a way, you know, when it doesn't....!

It's always a pleasure to get a visit from Linnyland!

Virtual hugs to you and yours!

Betsy Grant said...

As usual your work is stunning. I wanted to let you know I am making and posting new music videos almost every week on my blogs which you might enjoy. Visit me sometime.

Melinda said...

Thank you so much, Betsy! I will definitely visit you soon. I hope many others will get by to visit your blog too!

Wishing you all the best with your music.