san jose

Weekend 3/24/17

California can't seem to decide between sun and rain lately. Last week felt like summer with temps in the high 70's and we have been back to some rain this week. This poor state has needed it so badly.

For the last few weeks, I have been laying off social media and regrouping. There are just those times in your life when you need to do that. I have been getting a clearer idea of where I want to focus my art efforts and some include larger original work, special projects and teaching. 

 

Painting

Confusing and Absurd , gouache on paper, 2017

Confusing and Absurd, gouache on paper, 2017

You may remember the start of this painting from last month's Sofa Sketch on this blog post. I worked on it throughout the month and ended up really happy with how it turned out, visually and also because of the process.

I started with the calathea plant in the lower corner and added imagery behind it. If I couldn't think of anything, I put it aside. In fact the first 1/3 of this painting felt frustrating and slow, but the last 2/3 went really well and felt easy. I worked intuitively, really getting in touch with how I was feeling in that time. I see a new direction with this work. It feels surreal, the colors are very deliberate and it also tells a story. At the same time, it reminds me of some work I did a few years ago. I think that is one exciting thing about art. You keep growing, but parts of the past still turn up in what you make. 

With every painting I learn something new about what I want to keep doing with my work. I am seeing a bit more darkness in my work. Life is like that, the light and dark. I am seeing more absurdity, which again is a part of life. There's a lot in life that is normal, typical and predictable, but as we know, life isn't really predictable and I feel this painting process conveys that. 

I was meditating more in February and digging into my subconscious. When I have done this in the past, I have made some of my favorite work. This work felt more personal as I expressed what was happening with me and around me. In February, we experienced floods in San Jose, something that never happens. Nearby in the Santa Cruz Mountains, there were mudslides, washed out roadsIt left many with damaged homes and/or property and in need. You can donate to the San Jose Victims Flood Relief Fund here.

I have a show coming up at the Burlingame Library in August. I'm excited about displaying this work in a library, where stories are everywhere. It also connects me to my previous career in libraries. I am currently working on some larger paintings for that show.

 

Teaching

Student art, before she finished the pupils, but gorgeous all the same

Student art, before she finished the pupils, but gorgeous all the same

I loved how he painted his black cat.

I loved how he painted his black cat.

I taught at The Dancing Cat last weekend. I'm brought some cat-friendly plants so we can add some greenery to our paintings since it's spring. I painted the painting of cat eyes and plants to promote the class, loving the transparent layering in the upper left palm. I had spilled some paint in one of the corners, which made me come up with the dark background. Originally it was just going to be one cat's body silhouetted behind the plants, but the eyes seemed to make sense with the darkness.

 

Hiking

Last Sunday I hiked with a good friend on the Cowell-Purisima Trail. It was one I'd never been on. There were wild bunnies at the beginning of the trail and we saw a snake, hawks and tons of wildflowers.

 

Seeing

For years I had assumed that Cirque du Soleil was some gimmick or something like that. When my husband and I were offered tickets, I thought we had to check it out. After going, it was like how could a kid who loved gymnastics/art not love this as an adult? Their acrobatics were so impressive to me! It totally made me want to learn all those acrobatics (yes, I know I'm too old). Luzia was Mexican-themed, which made me like it even more. 

 

Watching

I've mentioned the show Abstract on Netflix before. It's the show that will make you feel like you've done nothing with your life, ha. The most recent episodes I have seen are Tinker Hatflield - Footwear Designer, Es Devlin - stage designer and Bjarke Ingels - architect. The show beautifully tells the stories of visionary designers and gives you an idea of what it is like in their heads. I love how with all three of these designers they thought they were on one path and through work and staying in tune with things, they were lead down another path that lead to their life's work.

I thought this animated video of Georgia O'Keeffe was pretty great. And the same channel had the following paint making video. I have watercolor paint by this brand and it totally reminded me of the Mr. Rogers crayon episode. 

Lay Low Art Show and Self-Discipline

I've been working very hard for months on a solo show at Seeing Things Gallery. It's been a wild ride of commissions, returning to teaching about 10 hours per week and creating new work for this show these last few months. I spent a lot of quiet time on a chaotic workload. I am happy the flyer is finally finished as the December 6th opening date looms closer. Please come by from 7-11pm!

Lay Low, new work by Frances Marin at Seeing Things Gallery

Lay Low, new work by Frances Marin at Seeing Things Gallery

For me, working on a show means digging into the fragile parts of my brain. It means negative self-talk happens, moments of insight create positive and productive work time and this up and down usually happens up until the night of the show, when I breathe a big sigh of relief. This show, more than any prior, was very intuitive. The paintings evolved and changes were made by gut feeling. I can often over-think my work, and though that still happened, I was more easily than ever able to quiet that side and just get to work. 

A big reason I was able to work on this show, commissions and teach part-time these last few months, is because of a very disciplined schedule. While I wasn't actively working every single second, 24-7, I was working pretty close to that. I missed shows that I wanted to go to (Mazzy Star?!), celebratory events with friends and overall most human interaction that was outside of my teaching job. I exercised almost everyday and only drank water, coffee and green juices. Spending a lot of time alone is great in some ways. I found the past resurfacing and made better sense of that. I thought a lot about changes I want to make for next year and beyond. I realized what was most important to me in all categories of my life. Spending a lot of time working alone can also be rough. There can be too much thinking and too much self. You realize how important it is to get outside and live life. 

While self-discipline has been a recurring thing in my life: it got me through college, put me in a swimming/yoga/running routine years ago, quit smoking, multiple detoxes/cleanses, it was this time that I felt it in a more true sense of the phrase. I'm excited to see where this goes.