Care Dimensions Commission: What is a Blank Canvas?

The three 62 x 31 x 3 inch panels in the studio, September 2017.

A blank canvas is many things to an artist.  It’s a challenge and an opportunity. Having ordered the three panels from my friend “Ron the framer,” I secured the base sheet of pulp to the surfaces and am ready to begin the painting (left). This is both an intimidating moment and one of pure thrill. I love the challenge of working in multiples and on a large scale with imagery that needs to work harmoniously, as one unit, in tandem with its neighboring paintings. The subject of each painting needs to flow back and forth so that one compliments the others, all the while holding its own identity. This is a far more challenging task than when working on a single image that does not need to share space with other work.

Me taking photos of the wall for which the three panels will be installed. October, 2017.

Because I work with architects and designers, the blank canvas extends to the intended space where the work will be installed. Often, this space is the construction site-full of dust and debris.  I honestly love visiting the site, donning a hard hat and photographing the soon to be completed wall.  The busy workers, noisy power tools, and smell of production are reminders for why I enjoy making site specific work.  I love the companionship of working with people who see a vision, a future space where one does not currently exist. In many ways, this is what I see as an artist looking at a blank canvas: a future space where one does not currently exist.

Next post: the beginning stage of the paintings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” Leonardo da Vinci

Video of my new painting, Rocks and Water as Metaphor for Life’s Journey.

Rocks and Water: Art historical inspirations.

I am often asked “what influences you as an artist?” The answer depends on the subject I am working on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this Rock and Water as self-portrait painting, I considered the sculpture of Doryphoros (the spear barer) by Polykleitus.
In this classical Greek work, Polycletus does an outstanding job with the zigzagging lines that flow up the sculpture. Notice how the feet are going in one direction, the knees in the opposite direction from the feet, the hips follow the knees and are contrasted with direction of the chest, etc., all the way up to the head, which follows the direction of the feet-where the sculpture begins. Brilliant. I tried to do something similar with this painting: the rocks are rough, the tide pool smooth; the next set of rocks is rough again, the shoreline is smooth; the waves are rough, the ocean water is smooth, the sky is rough again-same as when the painting begins with the rough rocks. Thank you Polycletus for being such a great composition teacher.

 

 

 

The other artist I was influenced by as I worked on this painting was Winslow Homer. His seascapes are churning, rough, jagged. I love the blue/greens he uses. He gives seascape painting a good name. I love anything he does where it concerns water. I tried to make my waves the same blue/green color and make them churn as he does.

 

 

 

Finally, I have to say JMW Turner’s Slave Ship with its boiling water and death defying waves is just awe inspiring. The way he makes a yellow sun appear angry and how the ship is tossing in the wind is one of my favorite moments in art history. Very happy the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston owns this famous painting so I can visit it often.

Register for a Papermaking Workshop

Have you ever wanted to learn to make paper, expand your artistic practice to include handmade paper in variety of colors and textures, or make a set of handmade paper stationery and matching envelopes? What about giving Mom a special gift for Mother’s Day by treating her to a paper making workshop? Better yet, join Mom and make it a mother daughter/son event.

Sign up for the workshop below that best suits your interests.

Introduction to Papermaking: Saturday, May 13, 10:00-4:00, 120.00.
This 6-hour workshop will introduce students to the fundamentals of the papermaking process. The workshop will be held at Meg Black’s fully equipped papermaking studio located at 48 Prospect St. Topsfield, MA. The studio is complete with a Hollander Pulp Beater, paper making molds, deckles, raw and beaten fibers, and hydraulic paper press. Students will be introduced to both historic and contemporary techniques of papermaking, which fibers are suitable for the papermaking process, and will become familiar with handmade paper artwork, both the artist’s as well as that of other artists who work in this exciting and unique medium. Limited to 8 students. 120.00 includes all materials. Refreshments served.

What to bring to the workshop:
1. Waterproof boots or shoes and old clothes. Do not wear crocks-they are slippery in water and you will get your feet wet!

2. Collage elements such as any artwork you are comfortable tearing up and
re-working, yarn or pieces of cloth, flat found objects natural or synthetic, scissors, a
sketch book to write notes in, pencil to write with, magazine images, personal photographs for collaging.

3. A sense of adventure and a vivid imagination.

Click to Register for the Workshop

 

 

Pulp painting workshop: Saturday, June 3, 10:00-4:00, 120.00.

In this 6-hour workshop students will explore pulp-painting techniques using cotton fiber, linen, and overbeaten abaca. The workshop will be held at Meg Black’s fully equipped papermaking studio located at 48 Prospect St. Topsfield, MA. The studio is complete with a Hollander Pulp Beater, paper making molds, deckles, raw and beaten fibers, and hydraulic paper press. Painting “tools” including spoons, turkey basters, squeeze bottles, syringes, brushes, and plastic cards will used to “paint” handmade paper. Each student will create a piece of paper art approximately 18 x 24. Limited to 6 students. Refreshments served, bring your own lunch.

What to bring to the workshop:
1. Waterproof boots or shoes and old clothes. Do not wear crocks-they are slippery in water and you will get your feet wet!

2. Collage elements such as any artwork you have done that you are comfortable tearing up and re-working, scissors, flat found objects that can be immersed in water, a sketch book to write notes in, pencil to write with, magazine images, photographs.

3. An open mind and sense of adventure! This will be a lot of fun.

Click to register for the Workshop

Sail Boat Triptych, 16 x 10 inch frame. 85.00.

This triptych features three 4 x 4-inch prints inspired by the sailing regatta in Marblehead Harbor.  Custom framed by the Art of Framing in Middleton, MA.

sail-boat-triptych-custom-16-x-10-inch-frame

Sail Boat Triptych, 16 x 10 inch Custom Frame, 85.00.

 

Small Works for Small Spaces

sail-boat-triptych-iiSail Boat Triptych, 15 x 7 inches.  85.00.

Happy Birthday DADA!

Mary Melilli, Graphic Designer, calligrapher, and Chair of the Art and Design department at Salem State University, and  I collaborated on a painting inspired by the DADA movement which is “celebrating” its 100th anniversary this year. This artistic and literary movement arose as a reaction to the atrocities of war and the absurdity of early twentieth century culture. The Art + Design faculty at Salem State University continue this lineage of provocative art making and create diverse works of art that generate questions about our contemporary society, the role of the artist and the purpose of art in the twenty-first century.

http://essex.wickedlocal.com/news/20161016/on-exhibit-endicott-features-magic-of-william-meyerowitz-while-salem-state-turns-to-dada-art

Fall 2016 Preview: Wall Art for a country family room

I just completed this triptych of wall reliefs for a lovely family room, complete with comfy chairs, over stuffed pillows and tasteful accessories.  I plan to add another Spring image to make this a polyptych, once we get through another New England winter!

Boxford Pond Installed

Visting an Art Museum 101

Pathways, Boston Public Gardens

Pathways of the Boston Public Garden, by Meg Black

Many years ago when I began teaching I excitedly told my Introduction to Art Education class that we would be visiting an art museum as part of our course work.

 I was met in return with long faces and frightened looks.  It turns out that many of the students did not want to go to the museum because they didn’t think they knew how; and were fearful that their classmates would recognize this lack of know-how and belittle them.  I realized that my students needed a 101 tutorial on how to visit a museum.
As I prepare for my upcoming Open Studio event to celebrate the completion of the recent commission I was awarded through the state of New Hampshire, I realized that, like my students, my guests may benefit from a brief tutorial on how to attend such an event.

An Open Studio event brings the artist and the public together, and in this case, to celebrate a milestone in the artist’s career.  It is an opportunity to expose the community to what we do and make.  We can educate them on how and why we function as working artists.  We can answer technical questions and those related to price and materials.  We can even dispel a few myths and misconceptions.  And, we can open the door to new markets.

The completed commission, six large scale paintings of the state tree (the birch) to be installed in the Philbrook Center, (the licensing building for the state of New Hampshire), will be on display at the Open Studio.  During the Open Studio event I will also demonstrate my artistic process and serve refreshments.

For the next few weeks, I will continue to educate about the Open Studio event.  And in the end, I will invite you to my Open Studio event where you will know what to do and how to do it!