Posts from the ‘Art’ Category
This is the painting I have been working on for quite a while now. Sometimes you create a piece that just sings from start to finish, and you don’t encounter too many problems. Other pieces…like this one…you seem to fight with from the start.
I added, took away, changed the composition, re-did the lighting, etc. So she’s done now, and I have very happy and enthusiastically moved to my next painting. Which, fingers crossed, will be a much better behaved painting.
Here is the second in the Chemical Plant series I’ve been working on, tentatively entitled “Chemical Queens”. This one, “My Burn-Off Baby” specifically is about the chemical burn-off anyone in the South Texas area has experienced. You wake up in the morning, the air spells like poison, waste, or worse and you wonder what chemical plant is burning what today. If you look above the plants, you can see the burn-off clouds rising into the air. It is also a reminder that these plants have, can and will explode sometimes. There was an infamous explosion of the Phillips Chemical Plant in 1989, I was in 1st grade and you could feel the shock of the explosion in the surrounding schools. Many men were injured and four were killed during the explosion.
I can’t speak to what sorts of chemicals Phillips was making that day, my father fortunately was working for a different plant. But, the types of chemicals he makes with equally deadly results make really, really normal stuff like…household paint, plastics for Tupperware and different hard containers that store foods, drinks, etc. Things we as Americans use in excess on a daily basis. All those little things we use every day trickle down. Yes, they create jobs, that we really need right now, but in a magical world full or fairies and happy bunnies, these necessary jobs would be less damaging to the environment and the hard-working employees.
These paintings are strongly influenced by the Rococo art period, and art movement full of decadence and over-the top luxury (thing Marie Antoinette…pre-decapitation). I see similarities between how we as Americans consume today, and how the French royalty of the time consumed then. And I’m pretty guilty myself, I NEVER remember my reusable bags at the grocery store, and anyone who looks at the floor board of my car knows I have an out of control La Croix habit. But I’m trying to get better about remembering what I buy, what I consume, trickles down and can have a positive or very negative effect on the environment and people.
This is going to be a long post. It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and I wanted to get into collagraphs! Collagraphy is a printmaking technique introduced to my by the fabulous Margaret Craig. You basically build up texture on a plate and print from a raised plate. The “Burn-Off Baby” above was printed in white ink on black paper. Here’s the plate I printed the it from:
You can see that everything is still really flat, but the thing I love about collagraphs is they pick up the most subtle of texture changes. It reads where a thin sheet of paper overlaps another piece of paper. It also allows me to play with shape, which has had a really great impact on my painting (as well as printmaking). I like the blurry look of collagraph prints, they feel like memories to me.
Well if you’ve gotten this far, thank you so much for reading!
After a recent visit back to my parents home outside of Houston, Texas I was struck by the strange beauty of the landscape…which is saying something if you’ve ever driven through that area of Texas. The landscape is flat as a pancake, and the horizon is filled with gigantic chemical plants puffing and spewing smoke. But at night, these huge plants create twinkling, alien landscape that (if you can forget what they are) are really spectacular. The way I saw these plants, that night, signified the very complex relationship people growing up in such areas have with their surroundings.
It’s very important to me, that although I’m commenting on the toxic beauty of chemical plants, I mean no disrespect at all to the men and women who work their. My father supported our family by making cyanide and ammonia at one of the Houston chemical plants, and the plant he worked at gave me a partial scholarship for college. These jobs are hard, dangerous work but offer people a way to support their families.
But…they are making very poisonous (both to the environments and to humans) chemicals. Chemicals and products modern Americans use in abundance everyday. Growing up from a very young age around these plants, we almost ignored them. We grew used to the strange smells in the air that was caused by chemical burn-off, and the occasional plant explosion (or drills) during school. I led a pretty normal, happy childhood. It was only upon leaving for quite a while and then returning to this area of Texas that I really noticed the landscape, and thought about what it was so many of us were living around.
Basically, I’m saying it’s complicated. I don’t think things are ever as one-sided or clear as politics seem to make it out to be. But, I do think this subject is something to be thought about and discussed. So, thanks for letting me blab about it here.
This will be the only time you will ever hear me say this, but…this painting was inspired by Texas. Being a bit of a arty-farty-weirdo, Texas and I have a hate-love-hate relationship. But, its history has some interesting characters. This is a painting of the Texas heroine Emily Morgan, often called “The Yellow Rose of Texas”. After hearing about her story and determination, I thought she might make a cool painting.
So here’s your herstory lesson for the day: Emily was an indentured servant of Captain James Morgan. Emily was captured by Santa Anna’s troupes 1836 (during Texas’ battle for independence from Mexico). The story goes, that during a key battle Mexico’s general Santa Anna had forgotten to post guards or any defense of his camp. The Texas army came in and won the battle in less than an hour, it was a huge turning point in the war.
The reason behind Santa Anna’s strange, distracted behavior? Ms. Emily Morgan. No one knows for sure how the cunning and charming Emily distracted Santa Anna from paying attention to his troupes, some say she drugged his food, others say she used her womanly wiles to enchant the general. Either way, it was her who helped turn the War for Independence in Texas’ direction.
Unfortunately, during her capture by the Mexican Army, Emily lost her papers that declared her “free”. So even after helping to win the war, upon Emily’s return she had to fight for years to win back her freedom from slavery. Total and complete BS, but she eventually declared free again, and was able to return to her family in New York. That is determination for you.
She’s pretty much a bad-ass. If I had learned about her in Texas State History in school, I might not have fallen asleep so often!
Would you like a mini Sarah art to hang on your refrigerator or office bulletin board? I have a bunch of extra postcards left, so send me your address and I’ll mail you one. Please send addresses to: foxsar at gmail.com (I wrote it funny so the little internet robots won’t use my e-mail for their prescription ad dumping ground). I promise to not sell your address to any advertisers or anything crazy like that. First off, I have no idea how to do that, and secondly, I’m pretty disorganized so I will most likely loose said address after postcard mailing.
Hello! It has been a really long time since my last post. The last month or so I have been really trying to push myself out of my comfort zone art wise and do some different work. The process has been….well to be honest pretty ugly, I made some bad, bad paintings (none of which I am brave enough to post here yet). But! For someone who is a little bit of a timid painter, making an ugly painting with gusto was just what I needed. Those hideous, time-consuming paintings opened me up enough to create the painting above which I am really happy with. It is called, “Run!”. The newer works I’m trying to create are a little less straight forward, and delve move into deep-seated feelings and fears, in a bit of a surrealistic setting. One of the main feelings Run! deals with is anxiety…something I’m not familiar with at all (sarcastic tone here). I’m also trying to incorporate pattern and kind of build on the pattern and decoration movement of the late 70′s and early 80′s, which I have always loved. Anyways, enough art mumbo-jumbo!
Here’s the painting I finished right before Run!, it is called “Forgotten Daughter”:
This one dealt with loneliness and memory.
In other arty news, I’ve got my first, First Friday gig this weekend. First Friday is this big art night in San Antonio, it’s a blast. Lots of art, people, music and drinks. I’ve been as a visitor a few times now, but this is my first time to show some art. I’ll be showing at the house right on S. Alamo with the music and Chinese lanterns out front (just in case anyone reading this is from San Antonio ;). Wish me luck!
Okay, well maybe not a major award, but a little prize! I got a contributor’s award complete with $200 check from the San Antonio Art League and Museum yesterday for my entry “Bee Mother” (please excuse the blurry photo). My husband kept saying, “It’s a major award!” a la his most favorite movie, A Christmas story:
There was, alas, no leg lamp. But it was so nice to be featured among such a talented and diverse group of artists. The show is going to be up until the end of May, so if you find yourself in San Antonio check, check it out!
So…I’ve been thinking about going back to finally get my Masters of Fine Arts degree in painting. This week has been busy getting together a portfolio and sending it off to two important arty people for a critique. It has been nerve-wracking to say the least. I got my first set of feedback yesterday and it was worse than I expected. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of the whole critique, because ouch!, who really wants to rewrite that for the internets.
Art is such a dysfunctional occupation in some ways. Artists typically are the most sensitive of people (I know I am), you put your heart into your work, and yet to be an artist it seems you have to put yourself and your work out there to be torn apart either in critiques, reviews or shows. Why do we do this to ourselves, people?! I yearn for my high school art days and the oreo type critique: Positive, An area to be improved, Positive. Even if you have to stack all the oreos to get your whole “improvement” sections in there, it might lighten the blow a bit. Geeeez….
So I’m giving myself a day to lick my wounds, catch up on some internet marketing type things (has anyone ever used BlueCanvas, or RAWartist portfolio platforms?? I’m trying both right now, I’ll let you know how it goes), and post my newest in progress piece. This is a different direction for me. I’m trying to push the whole surreal thing a bit more. We’ll see how the painting turns out, but I had a lot of fun with the drawing. Does anybody else have tips on how to bounce back after a rough critique?
This is one of the most personal paintings I’ve done in a while. Since it is the internets, I will not go into specifics, but basically some health business. I am very happy with the final painting. The cloud formations in the back were made by throwing salt onto wet acrylic. I love the texture it made! I’m trying to throw a bit more “chance” into my paintings, like I do in printmaking.
In other news, I sent my portfolio off to two professors who are taking a look at it. There is NOTHING more nerve-wracking and confidence-wrenching then getting together your work to send to an important arty-person. No matter what my work looks like, or how much I’ve grown, this process always leaves me thinking “this all sucks!?! What on earth are you doing with your life? AGHHH, why did I pick art devote my life to?!?” Yes, I am a drama queen sometimes. The best way to overcome this unbearable self-deprecation (for me), is to put on sparkly, high heels and have a dance-party-for-one to old-school Beastie Boys. I promise, it works.