This body of work began sometime in the mid 1990's, as an experiment, seeing if I could adhere a dress to a canvas and create a painting over all the textures. "Dress painting" is a term I came up with to explain these when I simply couldn't think of anything better. Over the years they have evolved, with new elements of collage being added. Dress patterns, photographs, and embroidery all appear from time to time, as well as lino block prints, rubber stamps and gold leaf. I will use this space to explore the beginnings of this series, as well as showing my latest work. If the piece is available for sale you'll find the price at the bottom. Free shipping in the U.S. Contact me at email@example.com to purchase.
I've been looking a for reason to start a series of bad girls. Just the idea of bad girls, what is considered "bad" vs "good" and who gets to decide amuses me a bit. Then, out of the blue, the idea of "Bad Girlfriends" takes over. Tightens the focus for the series a bit, excludes the idea of little girls, unless your idea of a bad girlfriend includes a petulant pouty grown up who is acting like a little girl. That's a definite fit, and may well be used in the future!
So, what pulled the trigger to get this series on the easel? I was accepted to exhibit in Jazzfest in New Orleans. I can't think of a better place to introduce the Bad Girlfriends. Here are the first two.
A cocktail dress adorned with Octopi, the background features the same pattern on the warm tones of dress pattern tissue. Red roses are scattered across the top.
The dress is covered in silver leaf and photo transfers. It has a shine that falls somewhere between the tin man and the lovely flicker of silver gelatin prints. If you are related to me in any way you may recognize someone on this dress. The lime green background is overwhelmed by vintage camera prints, and the spots and sparkle that comes with too many flashbulbs going off. The documentrix is she who always has the camera phone out, stealing your soul, one digital click at a time.
I'm just too busy making new work to be able to find time to blog about new work.
And I've found this work rhythm that really fits. But it all seems to be in studio, carving lino, pulling prints, putting together new ideas, painting, assembling. All that stuff.
The other stuff, the book keeping, the show scheduling, the website-etsy-blogger-twitter-newsletter stuff.
That stuff just isn't getting done.
But the work is getting done, although I rewarded myself for a couple good shows with a full day in the garden. I've pushed a little paint, and I'm about to pull a few prints. I actually have the blocks laid out, the paper cut, and The Talking Heads on the CD player. But I thought I'd come in and say hi.
The good news is, I have a couple of great shows lined up that I'm excited about.
On April 11, 12, 13 you can find me at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival. This is the first time I've been in this show for several years, as I usually head to Texas. So I hope to see some Atlanta folks! And then, you can find me in New Orleans for Jazzfest on April 25th, 26th, and 27th.
And I have to tell you, I'm pretty Jazzed about that one.
So I've had this bathing suit piece sitting in my studio since, oh, July.
It started ok, but quickly lost momentum, and eventually got bogged down in an ugly spot. The only thing that looked good were the midnight blue rings. Raindrops, puddles from a sprinkler perhaps? So, I put it aside, face against the wall as I worked on other things. Yesterday, the time had come, I put it on the table, and started painting over the ugly bits.
You hear lots of different advice on getting out of a painting rut, but my preferred tactic is to paint my way out. I am an intuitive painter. By that I don't mean, I just "follow my heart, and let paint fly." It's more of a process of adding and subtracting, working with the limitations set by the piece, the limitations set by the last decision. And somehow, it just comes together. Buried in the red background is an octopus. and the girl doing the cannonball? After several months of not really painting anything remotely realistic, all I had to go on was, "Gee, I wonder if I can still do this."
Being a full time artist, living this life, travelling across the country in hopes of a good show. It's always a leap. Sometimes you just have to tuck your legs up and go.
Oh, and "Leap" finally gave my new direction a title.
Brave Girls, Bad Girls, and Bad Girlfriends.
Vintage bathing suit, acrylic, and linoleum block prints on canvas.
Some of you may know that once-upon-a-time I was a printmaker.
I would pull small editions of linocut prints. I used the reductive process, carving a block, printing from it, and carving the same block further. I was always searching for the perfect print, and constantly rejecting a print that had a blemish, a dot of dust, a dry "sparkly" area.
But now? Oh yes, printmaking is obviously in my blood, because I am back at it. Linocuts have become a very strong part of my dress paintings, and now, my new body of abstract work.
But now I get to ignore the rules. I can apply ink thickly and painterly, or dry and almost translucent. I can shift colors with no worries of an "edition". And blemishes? Bring it! Crinkles and folds, sparkle and all.
Yeah, I'm kinda having fun with this. And the abstracts have their very own shows coming up!
See you in Miami at Coconut Grove - Feb. 15, 16, 17
And in Atlanta at the Dogwood Festival April 11, 12, 13
Truth be told, I have been working like a field hand. Well, not really, but you get the idea. I finished my last show for the year, took a couple of weeks to regroup after a lot of travel, and opened my commission drawer.
My commission drawer is a new thing this year, every so often someone would send something, I'd take notes, put all the precious bits with the notes, and put it in the commission drawer. When I finally opened it, it was a bit of an archeological dig. The deeper I went, the further back in time I was for promised delivery dates. Fortunately, you are all very patient.
But, after a starting process that was like pulling the cord on an ancient lawnmower, I am moving forward. The table above shows the five pieces that will be done before Christmas, and there are still a couple in the drawer for the first of the year. Hopefully I shot this photo with enough discretion that no one will spot their gift!
Have you ever considered a commission? Feel free to contact me, and be patient!
It feels like forever since I've been able to shout "New Work!" and really have much to show for it. But I've been busy, and sometimes the new pieces sell before I've had a chance to put them up, and, and, and...
Ok, enough excuses. Here is what I've been up to in the past few weeks, in addition to the (elle)ements. Don't know what an (elle)ement is? Check that out here.
Here we go, the new girls. Dresses on canvas, linoleum block prints, and acrylic paint.
Approx. 24" square. Framed $895
Approx. 24" square. Framed $895
Captain Invisible started out as an "Attagirl" A tree climbing tomboy. But the more I worked on her, the more I thought she was actually a bit of a superhero too. She may be invisible, but only when she wants to be.
Approx. 24" square, framed. $895
Watergirl is one of my nicknames. One I gave to myself. So I guess that puts this in the self portrait category. Made with three canvases, a dress, a bunch of linoblock prints, and paint.
Goody Two Shoes
Approx. 24"x32" (I think) framed $1100
Approx. 20" x 24" framed $750
And a few new abstracts, these are all 8" square. On canvas.
All of these new pieces are currently bumping up I-75 in a motorhome, headed to Sausalito, California. By way of Dayton, Ohio, and Chicago, and a few other places. Here is a link to that whole story... www.mybrotherinlawsidea.blogspot.com
I never know just what to say when people ask me how long it takes to do a piece. Sometimes the execution goes fairly quickly, sometimes not. Or if it's like this piece, the idea lodges in my brain and stays there for months, slowly inching to the surface.
But I like her, I've always had a soft spot for black sheep. Especially the ones that leave legendary stories that families talk about for years. Linoleum block prints on tissue, acrylic paint, a vintage dress, and a lot of little silver beads stitched through the canvas are all that make this piece.
Three separate canvases framed together as a triptych, about 28" x56" framed.
I am a professional artist happily married to another professional artist! Scott and I met in the South of France, and have built an interesting life here in the small town of Jackson, Georgia. We travel a lot and exhibit in Fine Arts Festivals throughout the U.S. When we aren't doing that we are usually puttering in our studio in the back yard, working in the garden, or fiddling with any number of other projects. Our lives have been made even more fun by our collection of goofy critters, which includes three cats and one spoiled dog!
I have two blogs which I try to tend to regularly, Dresspaintings, and (Elle)ements. The dresspaintings are "the big girls" multi paneled mixed media paintings, and the (Elle)ements are little elements of the big pieces. 4" square canvases containing fragments and bits of stories from "the big girls." I hope you enjoy them all!