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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Series, Pairings, Growing...


First, I'm all business - if you want to see me impersonate cotton candy, put a robe on my head, and sing The Trolley Song within two minutes - please click on my audition video for 24 Hour Musical's One Night Stand and vote for me!  The last day of voting is Sunday March 11th at 11pm - which is tomorrow!  It's a fun contest for a wonderful show called 24-Hour Musicals.  You can read more about the contest here.

In the studio...

Today I am playing around with the idea of a series.

No, just kidding.  I'm trying to figure out how some of my art fits together.  In my most recent show through Beechwood Arts, the theme was "Pairings."  My pieces on display had elements of duality within them:
"Pairings" At Blue Lemon in Westport, CT
But I have also been playing around with diptych art:  "a picture or series of pictures (as an altarpiece) painted or carved on two hinged tablets"

This was one of my first attempts:
I'll spare you the story of how I used oil paint by accident and when Beechwood's curator came to see my work, the paint shmeared all over her gorgeous cashmere sweater...not the best first impression?
 Then I created this series that makes me feel very at peace looking at it - I like the sense of movement in the piece - when I paint, I paint with my body, and always try to feel the "giving" and "receiving" ends of the piece - where does the energy land?

 Then I did my usual "all or nothing"/"don't know when to back away" routine.  I drafted up a concept to the left...and then completely overdid everything.  I'm still figuring out how to salvage this...
Less is more, Amy, less is more!!!!!
I tried to stop myself early enough here as well...but the damage was already done.

My eye hurts...
 So, let me ask all of you wonderful people in cyber-space?  How do you know when to back away?  When is enough enough?  For art, life, everything?  I think I carry this trait everywhere.  (And inserting a gracious thank you to all my very patient Hampshire professors that currently have to deal with my total neglect for word economy and my thousand-page essays!)
To quote a line from my one-woman show:  "Whatever I do, I tend to do obsessively..."

But I do love the concept of a Diptych - how a continuous thought  can be cut off and segmented, and still be appreciated in parts, yet takes on a grander meaning when fully assembled.  
This is a gorgeous series on Etsy right now:
You can check out more of Shiela Gosselin's work here.
Brandon took a photo for me of a series in his office:

And so I am determined to get this series thing right!  What is hard for me to discern is how you know when pieces really "go together..."  Just because the canvases are the same size doesn't mean they should all be piled on top of each this trio was a potential thought:

 Which would make...

Then I tried again, with 8x10 canvases.  I'm still not sure if this is working as of yet...
I like how the sheer fabric doesn't hide all the painting I did beforehand.

I also used the lace as a "pocket" - sticking photos, buttons, etc. into the faces.

I feel like the girl in this panel gets lost.
 And drum roll...

 And I'm not giving up!  So I tried again...
When I'm unsure how to find my way through a painting, I just think giving and receiving.

Not quite I tried again:


Sometimes, like life, things come together as you don't expect them to.  Case and point:  A sheltered Jewish white girl with an exploding stomach who's never had a boyfriend in her life, and a computer programmer from Arizona.  Who she met online.  And sometimes they don't...

But sometimes...

They DO!  :)
One of my favorite (art) examples is my seasons series.  I created "End of Summer" quite appropriately towards the end of summer - when stuck in Yale Hospital for months.
End of Summer
I didn't have much supplies so it's not even on canvas.  

Eventually - very eventually - I was FINALLY discharged, and sadly, the seasons had already come and gone.  So I created another piece - in the hospital I was just finding my way with a paintbrush, and hardly knew what I was doing, (still don't) so I was getting a bit more comfortable with feeling the paint on the canvas and experimenting with texture etc.  And that is how "Winter Meeting" was born:
Winter Meeting
You may have noticed I love bringing my trees to life in my work.  That's because for me, trees seem like the most emotional and people-like elements of nature, who I often find myself confiding in or relating to.  I always try to stay open to their messages and absorb their wise lessons on change, growth, groundedness and transition.

I just wrote a poem about my connection to trees - one of many, which was published in the wonderful Tree Whispers blog, called Intrusion, which you can read here.  

I find a lot of inspiration from cartoons and was particularly inspired by Walt Disney's Flowers and Trees.
Since I always find so much personality and living inspiration in the trees around me, I love how Disney personifies nature so whimsically in this animated short - and in all of his Silly Symphony cartoons.  Just another great example of how all creativity is is finding the joy and vitality in everything.  Gratitude is stronger than any Duracell battery - when I start feeling the overwhelming blessings around me, I can just keep going and going and going...

I haven't been painting any trees with much personality lately, but this morning I got inspired when I saw an old background laying around...
Title:  TBA...(I literally just left the studio!)
I really love this.  It feels very me.  So maybe I haven't mastered the art of a series yet.  But I always do find my place with the trees.  Much, much gratitude for the beauty of nature today.

"Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven."

And studio needs a major clean-up job.  But first, my hands!
"Art gallery?  Who needs it?  Look up at the swirling silver-lined clouds in the magnificent blue sky or at the silently blazing stars at midnight.  How could indoor art be any more masterfully created than God's museum of nature?"
- I don't know who said that quote, but I've got some more proof of this statement in these gorgeous photos...

A bit of music...

I just wanted to share one of my favorite songs by Tony-Award winning composer William Finn, and also a dear mentor and friend of mine - more of that in a later post.  I performed "Infinite Joy" for my father's surprise birthday celebration last year.  You can watch me singing it (with my brother Matt playing piano) here.

Alright, I've got to go.  I have my opening reception for Canvas Talk:  A Forum of Dreams at 5pm tonight.  Wish me luck!  (And if you are a local, please do stop by the lovely Tusk & Cup Fine Coffee - it'll be a great night!)  

Oh okay, one more thing, because I realized I didn't leave you with anything fun to drool over!  I am totally making this babka/challah hybrid this week - Thanks Amy Kritzer - your blog is great for jew-food lovers worldwide!!!  Now, I wonder if that would pair well with this chocolate hummus recipe I discovered - if anyone is brave enough to try this out, please do let me know how it goes!

Oh, and I gotta balance this with something savory - so try one of these mac n' cheeses that are apparently better then a boyfriend.  Are they?  Well...we're talking cheese here...  :)

Alright, I've got all of my promotional materials ready to go...(again, thank you Brandon for being an awesome designer!)

And I'm off!  See you in Ridgefield tonight!  In person or in spirit, whatever works :)


  1. Amy your artwork is awesome! I really love the abstractness of the people in your paintings. You do really great work. Thanks so much for sharing your link at the Feature Fridays #Linky Party.

  2. Knowing when to ‘step away’ and when an art piece is finished really is a delicate balance, isn’t it? It’s always the question I have when I’m painting also. “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams
    Thank you for featuring my triptych!