Friday, December 24, 2010

Hey, I Know That Place

This is a 3'x4' acrylic painting I did in college, my daughter, Carly, has the painting with her now at college. The painting was inspired by a trip to Florence I took my sophomore year. I just came across an essay she did about it for her Art History class a couple years ago and I'm sharing it with you.

Do you have a piece of art you grew up with and if so how do you feel about it?
 "Florence", 3'x4', acrylic and sand on canvas, 1980, Terry Strickland

Hey, I Know That Place
by: Carly Strickland

     The painting illustrates the Florence cityscape on a 4’ by 3’ canvas.  The buildings are made of pastel geometric shapes, a sharp contrast to the deep navy sky, and there is little in the way of three-dimensional illusion.  They have multi-colored windows and rooftops. They are crammed together properly showing the tight conditions of the city as well as creating an eerie two-dimensional, abstract design.  The artist chose to not use any lines, and instead relied on distinct and sharp color change to distinguish the different structures.
     The city crouches in the bottom half of the canvas, pressed down by the midnight blue sky.  The two pieces, the city and the sky, are anchored together by one dark building front and center.  Only two mathematically precise domes are brave enough to venture into the heavens.  They are the most detailed and the most realistic objects in the composition.  The larger of the two has circular windows around the top, as well as a delicate bell tower peeking out from behind it, identifying it as the Santa Maria del Fiore.
     The radiating chapels are shaded with a zigzag pattern, and not with the mathematical precision of the larger domes.  This confuses the eye, and they cease to be domes, but half circles.  The zigzags are the only organic shape in the paintings and distract from the geometry of the piece.  The acrylic paint used is mixed with sand, for a impressionistic look, but with a fraction of the paint that it would take to achieve the same texture with only paint.  The shadows of the sand create a flurry of movement in a serenely still image. Event the solid blue sky is moving.  The artist’s brushstrokes create a wave like pattern, reminiscent of the ocean.
    This piece properly depicts a city I’ve never been too, but can only imagine. The city is old and settled into place like an elderly man and his worn out, plaid armchair. He’s anchored in, and none of his grandchildren had better try and take his seat, or they’ll get a thump to the head. By no means is it dead, though. There’s still a huge amount of movement between the tourists, art conservationists, and the locals; whom I imagine complain about the other two.
    The painting hangs in my living room.  My mother painted it when she was in college and has been displayed in every home we’ve lived in.  Now it hangs in my college apartment, inspiring me that, yes, some day, maybe I can be great like her.  Maybe I can have a career making the art that I want to make, even if I have to start with a low paying job designing surfing shirts.  It reminds me of the effort I’m going to have to make, and it’s not going to be easy. 

     When I was a child, I didn’t realize it was a landscape.  It didn’t look like any place that I’d ever seen.  I first accepted it as an abstract.  Once my mother tried to explain it to me when I asked, but instead of “Italy,” I simply heard, ”Somewhere that’s not here.”  Images of Arabians, the French, and people in togas flooded the streets in my mind.  It became a made up place, a silly place where nothing was really the way it should be.
     The image of the main oculus has haunted my nightmares.  Its glaring pink eye has always been a source of unease with me.  It looms over my city of many cultures, keeping watch and order.  Did it watch me too?  It wasn’t until I came to college that I fully grasped the location of the piece, even after I had dismissed the Arabs.  I was bombarded with images of Florence.  After a week of being in class, nodding to myself, “I would like to go there someday,” I came home and sat on my couch.  My eyes drifted to the painting, and I said, “Hey, I know that place…” There’s no rush to go there, it’s come to me.
    As long as the sand and paint stick to the canvas, it’s going with me wherever I may settle. It’s my little Italy, and reminds me of everything I believe art stands for: knowledge, spirituality, the classics, love, and beauty.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gadsden Times

Here is a blurb about my gallery talk at the Gadsden Museum of Art that ran in the Gadsden Times. I received a laminated copy of it from a local bank's public relations department, seems it's been a public service tradition for decades at the bank. It made me smile.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Mad Science" and "Enlightenment" appear in Direct Art

"Direct Art" Magazine, more a bookazine than a magazine, has chosen my paintings "Mad Science" and "Enlightenment" to appear in it's Volume 17. It's available in bookstores now or through the Direct Art website. I'm  excited to have my work published with this eclectic group of 24 artists which includes digital media and mixed media.

About the magazine from it's website:

Direct Art was founded in 1996 and has emerged in the last decade as a leading alternative fine art magazine. Direct Art’s mission is to display the work of the finest, most interesting and talented artists from around the globe. Each issue is packed with new artists. Selected annually from an international talent search, the work of these artists makes Direct Art unique and unlike any other art magazine. 
"Mad Science" (19x24) (from our collection) is oil on canvas over panel and part of my Incognito Series. The series is an exploration of dreams followed and futures imagined. It's an interesting idea to me that a costume can reveal OR disguise. These paintings are adventure and magic, a confiding of our secret selves. They are answers to the question "So, what do you want to be when you grow up?" Thanks to my husband and model, a great visionary, for being the mad scientist in the basement and inspiration for this painting. 

"Enlightenment" (24x24) is oil on panel and part of my Building a Life Series. A quest for enlightenment must include a questioning of traditional thinking and a search for something deeper than what's apparent on the surface. That's a rather intangible idea to communicate in the visual world of paint. Chiaroscuro and an expression of wonder were the perfect instruments to communicate this concept. I love the symbolic nature of light and darkness; its near perfect analogy for opposites and its power to evoke the struggle between good and evil. The sheer drama of it is tantalizing and seductive!

"Enlightenment" is currently showing at Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

Interested in signing up for my email newsletter? Subscribe Here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Principle Gallery at Boston International Art Fair, November 2010

Those signature pumpkin colored walls looked great! Wish I could have been a fly on the wall to hear the comments about my male nude in this more traditional show. ("The Ascent" far right)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gadsden Museum of Art

Here are a few pictures from my show at the Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL. The work is up through December 2010. The show has included a two day workshop and gallery talk. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On" video

This is a short video/slide show of my painting with details and some images of the work in progress. This painting is at the Gadsden Museum of Art, until the end of Dec 2010, and then will be heading to Peterson-Cody Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico for their February Group Figurative Show. ENJOY!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I've Gone Full Circle

This is the poster I designed in 1981 for my senior show in college, "The Woman's Eye" at Women in Art House, Orlando Florida. It's humorous to me now with it's "Age of Aquarius" feel, and yes, it was actually done with ink and rub-on type, and sent to a print shop for duplication...ah those were the days.

I was a graphic design major at the University of Central FL, and as such was required to only produce a portfolio. I was working on my BFA, also doing a lot of painting and photography so I thought it would be fun to do a show, but being a graphic design major I didn't have access to the gallery on campus.

I had been showing with the "Women in Art" group which was a non-profit that held shows at a house turned gallery space in downtown Orlando. My show was a two person show with sculptor Ellen Gilland, who did life-sized figurative works, she had the floors and I had the walls.

Being in the Women Painting Women Show at Robert Lange Studios in Charleston, SC. and being on Expedition with 11 other women artists brought to mind my senior show. The WPW show was the first gender specific show I've done in 29 years.
It seems I've gone full circle and it seems that women are still talking about some of the same issues we were dealing with in 1981. It surprised me then to hear about sexism and it still does. Back in 1981 most of the artists at Women in Art House were older than me and talked about not being able to get shows in town. They'd started this group as a way to garner attention for the women artists in Central FL.

A few of my male colleagues at school had dubbed the "Women in Art" group "Lesbians in Art", which I just took in stride, just as I did any other nonsense. I didn't have time for that! I was a newlywed with a portfolio to prepare, a show to hang and a career to launch!

Which I did and never looked back, my career and life was in full swing! But... sometimes, as with recent conversations with other artists about their struggle to find their place in the art world, I remember those women in Orlando and I more fully appreciate what they did for me and my generation.

I hope my daughter's generation of artists will experience more equality and that my generation has helped shine a little more light into a few dark corners. Eartha Kitt has good life advice that I think is pertinent to young women artists. 

The river is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it's going to go and where you'll wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don't let anyone deter you from that.  ~Eartha Kitt 

And when you hit a boulder just flow around it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big Picture is in the Details-WPW on Expedition

We were 12 artists on Sullivan's Island, SC, getting to know each other. We were strangers in the beginning, but that all changed!
I wanted to add a bit about what the rest of the WPW on Expedition trip was like after the opening at Robert Lange Studios. There was painting during the day and sometimes in the evening as well. The living room was transformed into a studio.

 Here's my oil sketch of Lauren.
A small burnt umber rub-out sketch that I did during one of the evening sessions.
The foyer was full of gear. Luckily it was a very big house.

The first morning we painted at Magnolia Cemetery. It was chilly and I was more concerned about about staying warm than looking cool. I simply must figure out how to look good while plein air painting before the next trip. Gotta invest in some cool hats like Mia Bergeron.
This is my first plein air painting, I spent most of the time trying to figure out how to see with the glare. I ditched the white apron, which was bouncing glare on to the painting. Other plein air painters in the group said, yes that's why plein air painters wear dark colors. Who knew?
Alex Tyng suggested that the light changes too much after about two hours so it's best to do a couple of paintings rather that one that you just keep changing. I felt like I was chacing the light. So, rather than cart all my stuff to another spot in the cemetery I simply turned around and saw an interesting pattern of light on a Celtic cross headstone. This was my second plein air painting. I think this is a more successful piece.
 This is Alia El-Bermani with her painting that day.
Another day we painted at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. I love red and couldn't resist the bridge with the bright green duck weed in front of it. My friend, Birmingham artist Justine Rynearson had suggested to me from her experience to look for contrast in the environment, that you could get lost in too much green. Good plein air painting advice and I heard her voice as soon as I saw the red bridge.
Sadie Valeri, Rachel Constantine and Mia Bergeron choosing their views, tough choice when every view was breathtaking!
 Rachel Constantine and Kate Stone painting on the bridge.

I had learned something the day before about where to set up. Try to find a place where your easel is in the shade and will stay there...that's the tricky part. This spot turned out to be a good one although I did struggle a little with the light aand shadow leaf patterns playing on the panel.

Meanwhile back at the house...we had a great view from our backyard. This is one I did at mid-morning and here is my great set-up that day. I had to strap the umbrella I'd borrowed from the deck to the chair since it was trying to blow away. The only issue was that I couldn't stand up cause the wind would have taken the entire chair away. I was thrilled to see that my linseed oil fit perfectly into the drink holder, ah...simple pleasures.
For this one I painted the water, waited for the color in the sky to deepen, then painted it as fast as I could adding extra colors into the sand and water. Here I am working on the sunset piece, still chilly and bundled up.
One night we were guests at the Isle of Hope home of Charleston artist Shannon Runquist. Shannon and her husband Lars cooked an amazing southern meal complete with steamed oysters, grits and shrimp, boiled peanuts and banana pudding for dinner.
All during the week we put on display work we'd done during the day. It was like magic to see the work pile up!
Our last night on Sullivan's Island, Rob and Megan Lange, and Carrie Schwab from Robert Lange Studios came by the house to say goodbye.
Whew, what a week! My previous posts about the WPW show are here, others on the trip are listed on the WPW site. Also check out another artist from the Women Painting Women Show, Sara Scribner!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...