This blog is my portfolio of artwork, a journal about my process of making art...and the things that I have no words for...

*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (
© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Blue Square Window

Blue Square Window, 12/27/2011 acrylic wash monotype, rice paper on canvas, 12 x 12 inches

I did this little painting on a whim yesterday...ooooooo, pretty...it felt good to spread out a bit, I've been so focused on The Sketchbook Project these days, everything is at a small scale for that so 12 x 12 inches seem HUGE. I'll post scans once they're finished, I have one more blank page to do some drawing on and some touch ups to do for at least one small painting, then I have my narrative to print (on opaque vellum) and will tip in the sheets onto the pages that I've left blank on the back sides of drawings...tho' I'd like to do some sort of background stuff for the blank page...a gray tone lightly smudged, I have two pages that are completely covered in the blackest graphite (9B)...I'm just trying not to impact the drawings on the other side (always difficult to draw on both sides!) And of course, the cover will be fun to do! I'm looking forward to doing that!

I'm doing okay overall, FMS flare-ups have settled down, but I've exchanged that for sciatic nerve pain (if it isn't one thing its another, right?) It was our first Christmas with the new family configuration...it was not without a few meltdowns during key moments, but it was do-able...my siblings and cousins came for dinner at my house, and it seemed she was with us in spirit, herding us through the process like she would with key phrases like "Dinner is ready, I'm not sending out engraved invitations." And: "Let's do presents now, then we'll have pie." Then the inevitable: "It's getting dark, you kids should go home." We all miss Mom very much, and my poor father in the nursing home adds another unexpected dimension to everything. Our visits never seem frequent enough or long enough, and although he seems to have adjusted to being there, (he's hard to find, he's always rolling around in his wheelchair visiting), it's just sad to leave him there. So much has changed...the adjustment to the new "normal" is an ongoing process. It's been a process in which I've done more thinking than doing anything...reading lots of books has been a quiet immersion that has been most enjoyable. I'm filling my Tumblr site with lots of photographs, yet lots of them haven't been processed either. I'm in a strange place, in between here and there, "what was" and "how it is"...and I know it's not over yet. I'm hanging in there while I muddle through this stage of life. I'm very grateful that I have my creative outlets to go to...even tho' I've "run out of steam", I'm still doing things and exploring. I think it's been a good thing to slow down, this past year it's been too much "go-go-go-go".

There goes the snowplow...it's snowing and blowing out there today, a lake effect result of the rainy front that blew through yesterday... the wee birds are frantic at the feeder, I'll go out in a bit to replenish the seed...I think I have a seed bell to add to the feeder, but I must come up with a way that it will not be carried off by the squirrels!

Happy New Year, and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Winter Solstice paintings

Winter Solstice No. 1, 12/11/2011
 Busy painting today...5 new paintings, all acrylic on Stonehenge paper with rice paper (8 x 8
 inches).

Winter Solstice No. 2, 12/11/2011

Winter Solstice No. 3, 12/11/2011

Winter Solstice No. 4, 12/11/2011

Winter Solstice No. 5, 12/11/2011
It's been awhile since I had a marathon painting day...I usually do a Winter Solstice series around now and give a few of the results for presents, the full moon that was out the last few nights inspired them...I'm pretty pleased with the results...a blustery little collection. I'm such a sucker for blue.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Doodling around...

A found painting at the bottom of an iron kettle...

   This was so darn pretty...on Thanksgiving day I had water with a cinnamon stick simmering in it on the stove...this old kettle has been a dear old friend for years...we've cooked many a chili in it over camp fires and wood stove fires...so seeing this amazing pattern this morning, I had to photograph it before I cleaned it up...

I've been a little busy...creatively coming along, doodling and looking, making plans for the future, but for now, laying low...I have hung up most of everything that came back from the gallery, or tucked them away if they're of the right size to tuck away...
Wall of a few paintings
 
I treated myself to an early Christmas present...
The price was right, so I got the big starter kit with all the goodies to do encaustics...I haven't done this since college...or the immediate weeks following graduation when I was melting wax in an electric frying pan I bought at a garage sale...so it's been awhile. Not sure when I'll start playing with this...it will need a designated work space where kitties can't get into it...as kitties are likely to do...
A work in progress...
 I've been working steadily along with The Sketchbook Project project...thought I'd share a couple of shots...
The back cover...oops, some stray blue paint...I'm working out how I'm going to decorate the outside...

Yellow in the middle...

A drawing in progress

I've been doing a lot of looking...my camera is building up an archive of images...I can barely keep up with the digital sketchbook...thought I'd share a few things I've seen lately...

A found painting in a grape leaf
I'm coming out of a period of very bad FMS flare ups, I've had a devil of a time with pain management, but it seems the worst part has passed on, and now I'm at a more tolerable level, the usual day-to-day aches and such...the muscle spasms were so bad I felt like I had run a marathon...
it's over with, that's all that matters now... 
Just looking through the lens of the camera, I find the things I like...
The next group of photos is a story about a kitty...
"Popeye" arrived on 10/28/2011
This little kitty has quite the tale to tell...most of it we will never know...we suspect he had an altercation with a car a few weeks ago, we found him hiding underneath our porch on October 28th, half-starved and with an eye injury that was quite gruesome (poor little guy did not need a mask for Halloween, he was quite the scary sight to see!) There was no way to save the eye, but the kitty could be saved...I'll admit, I cringed a bit having to take in one more stray cat, but I couldn't turn my back on him.
One Eyed Popeye, pre-op
 "Popeye" is doing well, recovering from surgery to remove his damaged eye quite nicely...he gets the stitches out on Monday...
Post-Op Popeye...24 hours after surgery
After several days on antibiotics to fight a bad blood infection, he had surgery to remove what was left of the eye on November 15th, and has been recovering nicely ever since...the sweet wee boy has made himself at home...
Popeye can't wait to get out of his fancy collar!

Such a sweet little fellow, we're happy to have him in our family!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Sketchbook Project

I joined up for this year's project, missed it last year...if you haven't yet, the deadline is October 31st!

My theme is Monochromatic...I'm really looking forward to getting started, should be fun!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Finally...a new painting

Just a detail

It seems that I've gotten out of my funk...although I've been drawing through most of it, and mucking around with washes on paper, being like a kid with a coloring book, I began laying down color on a 24 x 24 inch square canvas that I had started prior to my mother's passing...and then painted it white along with everything else that I had in progress at the time (as noted in a previous post)...

Detail of the Brown Layer, 10/13/2011
 I started with my favorite mix of burnt umber and terra verte as the first layer, it was so lovely I let it linger like this for a few days...

The Near Black Stage 10/16/2011
 ...then I slathered on my favorite Paynes gray...to which my Fred exclaimed, "I liked it better brown"...well, so did I, the surface was just so beautiful as is...and I lost my confidence in it for a bit and left it sitting looking near black, the deep blue with brown showing through...

Then yesterday I went after it with my blues...

detail
detail

There's a story here...I'm getting to it...every painting has those tales of how they came into being...this one digs into my past...

In the many moons ago time when I was an art student at SU, I was an independent-minded type of student, willful, wanted to do my thing, to "get on with it" in a manner of speaking...I had a professor, Jim Dwyer, for figure drawing...he was very kind, had plenty of great stories, he was very engaging and offered a wealth of information and advice based on his years of experience, which I appreciated very much. I was mining my figure studies for larger works in my other studio classes, and tended to pull my best gesture drawings of the day out of the newsprint pad and work into them to create finished studies to tack up in my studio (which a figure drawing instructor from the previous semester encouraged.) Well, apparently, I did a bad for this particular gentleman's class...(I always got myself into trouble for not following directions! It's that willful, independent-mindedness, "get on with it" that gets me into trouble all the time. Drat.) At the end of the semester, when Jim asked for our portfolios of our best drawings, I brought these finished pieces created on top of the gesture drawings done in class...although he said that they were fine drawings, and appreciated my desire to take what I learned in his class and go the extra step into the journey of making art, he didn't want finished work for this final portfolio. So Jim firmly sent me out the door to go find the gesture drawings that I did in class...oy vey...I was mad...I had to go all the way back to the dorm to fetch them. I brought back the "good, but not as good" gesture drawings, so that's how I wound up with a "C" in my last semester of figure drawing. I was not a happy camper about that, but I got what I deserved...a lesson learned.

Anyway...Jim Dwyer passed away in April of 2011, and on this past Thursday evening, there was a little ceremony celebrating his life and art at the Delavan Art Center (where my artwork shows along with Mr. Dwyer's) ...many of us reminisced about our time spent with Jim, and what a kind spirit he was, independent-minded, a gentleman, and how he loved working with the kids, one memory recalled by a friend was a student asking in regards to abstract painting: "Mr. Dwyer, what do you work with if you don't have a subject?" Dwyer replied, "Subject matter limits what I have; with no subject, I have everything to work with." Which is a priceless one. Then another recollection was made that right around the time that Jim was getting ready to retire he said that "Just at the time I've so much to say -- nobody is listening." Which is all too true, I had noted many of the students in my classes were not as respectful of the elder statesmen teaching in the program. I enjoyed the classes with the professors nearing retirement than I did the younger fellas who were more keen on the current art world and self-promotion, they seemed more impatient with students, at times much harsher with their criticism...(much of this conflict and discord left a bad taste in my mouth over the years.)

Well, anyway...during the reminiscing the other night, a friend of Jim's got up to speak, and recalled a time when another artist visited Jim in his studio and contemplated a blue square painting that Jim was working on at the time...this other artist (who was a figurative artist, where Jim was geometric and color-oriented) declared: "It's a window." Jim looked at him and said "No, it's a fucking blue square." Goodness, I laughed so hard, it was the best thing I've heard in a long time. A shot in the arm that I needed because I've been so sad about losing my mum that it's truly been an energy suck...and so because of this amusing little story, I made my very own blue square...window, in memory of Jim Dwyer...and my mother.

The Blue Square Window, 10/23/2011

My mother would have saw a window, Jim would have most certainly loved it as a blue square made in the way that I wanted to make it (and not because someone else dictated that this is how it's done.)

Later: 

Well, shoot, I tipped in its side and now I can't decide which way I want to have the top!


...guess I'll live with it for a while one way, and then with it another way for a while...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Being good to myself...part 2


Detail of drawing 8/20/2011
Finished drawing, was seen in a previous post some time ago, picture quality stinks tho' sorry! I'll have to scan it next time.
 I feel bad that I haven't posted any new painting in so long...and those blank canvases are still blank, but they've been tucked away so I'm not feeling at all intimidated by their white accusatory glares...so as I am prone to do during these times, I draw, and my pencils are my tools (as I've said in Seth's blog today! http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/)

I'm trying to get back to a sense of normal...slowly it's coming...these drawings are keeping me occupied...and lots of photographs of stuff posted on my Tumblr page http://laurajwryan.tumblr.com/

Life has been interesting to say the least, going forward...I'm preparing for one more show with my Fred at the Onondaga County Central Library in the Galleries in downtown Syracuse, opening on October 1st, and it will be up throughout the month of October, ending on the 31st. Another fine opportunity to get my art out and about...and to get me out and about.

Another detail
Another drawing I worked on and finished shortly after my dad broke his hip, lots of sharp edges...I can't imagine why I felt like making a bunch of layers of squares...

A work in progress (same sketchbook)...this certainly has the look of agitation to it...
A "found" painting, spray paint over spray from one of my husband's shop projects on a piece of plywood.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Being good to myself...

A found painting, 8/21/2011...random spray painting done by my Fred, he was spray painting somethings for a project and I found his left behind marks on the plywood intriguing
 
A found painting, another view, 8/21/2011
A found painting, yet another look, 8/21/2011

Starting over, new blanks to work with...yes, that is a Pringle's potato chip can on the table, I use it to store my brushes.
 Last weekend I started to think about new work...anything that I had started prior to my mother's death, I painted over as the flow had been disrupted and I just lost heart to work on what I had put there, so, I made them all white again. I will probably add some fresh rice paper in areas where I want to freshen up the texture as now there is no longer the papery feel to the surface that I prefer to maintain under the thin washes of paint...

Oh, I've hit a rough patch...we all hit them throughout our lives, these last two years have been emotionally rough as my Fred lost both of his parents within a year of each other, and now this month of August, my mother, and in the midst of this while struggling to find equilibrium three weeks to the day of my mother's death, my poor father had an accident at home and broke his hip...accidents happen...we were just feeling a sense of "normal", feeling less apprehensive about dad being home alone as his attitude and forward thinking were making us feel confident that he was going to be okay as time went by, but now this new change, shift in gears...oh the poor thing, I feel so bad for him! The surgery went well, his hip is fixed, and now, barring any medical complications associated with the surgery, he should be moved on to the rehab unit as early as Monday and the next step, the long road to recovery.

Lovely news tho' my mother's paintings and other crafts that she entered into the New York State Fair won prizes! She rec'd 4 honorable mentions and a blue ribbon...scrolling through the photos I took at the house, I only have the one of the bunny (he's leaning up against the wooden box on the rug):
Janie's Bunny and other things she made, the bunny won honorable mention. Her traditional hooked wool rug with little chickadees won a blue ribbon (similar in style to the rug on the left with Paul Revere, only it is smaller.) She hand dyed and hand cut her wool for these rugs.



Our little gallery, Moonlighting had its closing reception last night, my Fred and I were unable to make it as we were just returning from my father's house and I am gimping around with severe sciatic nerve pain because of the disc in my lower back became irritated (apparently, I haven't been good to myself, so now I'm paying for it in spades!) It is bittersweet shutting it down, it was a good experience having a place of our own to hang our artwork, inviting people in to see what we've done, and enjoying good company...but in a way that is a little bit selfish, I'm glad we're done with it (more time to paint!) We learned a lot and it's time to move on. I feel badly that I haven't been able to be there this past month with all that has gone on, but there isn't much to be done about it. On Sunday our show at Szozda Gallery is closing, and of course, Hurricane Irene is stopping by with wind and rain to make for a spectacular ending to our beautiful art show...oy vey, right?

I've been on my porch all day, propped on pillows in a chair, watching the world go by with my dog Max, he's been gnawing on a bone that is making him very happy (he was so unhappy and out of sorts while I was away.) A flock of black birds have been shuffling themselves about the trees with much cackling fuss and when they take off in a group, the fluttering of wings sound like a storm surge blowing in...the incoming storm must be making them nervous. I've noted today that the barn swallows have finished teaching the last of their little peas from their brooding nests and vacated the barn and our sky it's sad to think that summer is over already, I have loved watching their annual air show, and seeing their fledglings lined up on the ledges, looking like round little peas fresh from their pods.

No rain as of yet, but there is a prevalent gray sky above.

I am being good to myself...being patient with how things are...I'm doing some drawings to satisfy the need to be doing something creative...when I have a few finished, I will share them...it is back to black and white to work out what I need to do next or to just go with the flow, I always pick up a pencil when I need to start over again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Loss...feeling lost...

My Mother's bed 8/2/2011
 My Mother passed away on August 3rd due to the inter-cranial bleeding from a stroke that put her into a coma on August 2nd, Janie was 80 years old. She got up that morning, made her bed, went about her daily routine until she complained to my father that she didn't feel well, and suddenly she fainted, and never woke up. Although it was very unexpected, I believe she knew her time was coming. She hadn't been ill at the time, she had been doing well since she had a TIA last January, a warning shot over her bow you could say, she had briefly lost her eyesight but gained it back quickly and resumed her life as a folk artist, painting was one of her joys in life. Her doctor was monitoring her and I believe she was due for an appointment in September...although some of us had noticed some forgetfulness and repeating herself during conversations, she seemed to be chugging along fine on her own steam, she was such a lively little lady no one suspected a thing...we knew if she didn't feel good she'd say so because she was a squeaky wheel when things weren't right in her world. My poor father has been left behind, and the rest of her family and friends in shock, who would've thought that she would up and die so suddenly, but yet, this would be the way she'd prefer it...to leave the world while still in motion, she would have made a terrible patient...




A is for Angels...this was in the Comfort Room where she spent her final hours...it was very appropriate as she loved angels.

We buried her on August 9th, and the sky opened up and poured rain almost all day long, it was pretty awful out, and I'm sure Janie would have been ticked off by the "shitty weather" on the day of her funeral.

The flowers from the funeral 8/9/2011
 We brought home the flowers and set them on the front stoop as we unloaded them from the cars, they looked so pretty there we left them as a tribute...

The garden
 This is the house that I grew up in, my father built it...of course with the help of several local craftsmen and laborers...it is a sweet little house, tho' at times I wonder how five of us lived in there without killing each other...I was outside most of the time, a roamer from dawn to dusk...I came home for meals and when the street lights came on...my mother had an iron school bell to call me home with when I was needed...I could hear it from a mile away...if not more. I've been told on more than one occasion this past week how much I resemble our Janie...I am, after all, Laura Jane...what a rebel name...yes, I am my mother's daughter, and there were times we didn't see eye-to-eye, there were times it seemed we couldn't exist in the same space because we were too alike and sometimes that isn't a good thing, but as we've aged we've gotten on better, and I loved calling her up and letting her talk because she was such a treat to listen to, a chip off the old block of her father, Gordon...I'm just the latest version of them both and Great Grandma too, but with a good blend of my father to balance things out just enough so the chip isn't so jagged that I'd miss the block too much...

Impatiens in an enamel coated metal colander, she planted these special this year and was very pleased about how well the flowers were doing in this arrangement...

I saw this the morning after she passed...a sweet little still life in the garden
 

The porch, with all of her things...
Although she's gone, she is everywhere we look in her house. Goodness knows, I will miss her every day for the rest of my life...I've had to "talk" to her a few times to ask her "What did you do with your wedding picture, Mom?" I found it tucked away in a photo album, the frame must've gotten broken...it took only patience to find it, and I found a second copy of it in a paper bag in the hall closet, full of photos from her mother's house after her father died...I am the finder of lost objects, except when it's my own things...(I do find them eventually in the last place I look, just like everybody else.) The photos that I found are treasures that will be comfort to us all...





My mother was a folk artist, she painted many beautiful things, usually on old wooden boxes, boards, bowls, benches, stools, chairs, and other odds n' ends that she'd find...and she won prizes at the New York State Fair. My sister and I will make certain that her entries are delivered this week as scheduled, she would've wanted us to do that...


Her final piece.
This is the last piece she worked on, it is the lid of a picnic basket, featuring historical buildings in our home town Lyons NY where she lived all of her life. All that was left to do is to finish the Wayne County Courthouse, and I've been asked to finish it for her...I couldn't work on it yet, but I will make a special trip home to take care of it...I need a little time to fill the hole left in my life, get back to something resembling "Normal"...and help my siblings settle our father into his new routine without his Janie, this isn't going to be easy, we're playing it by ear, hoping he can stay at home for as long as he wants to and for as long as he's able.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"It's Elemental" at Szozda Gallery

detail of Evening, Blue and Gold, now at Szozda Gallery

It's a "Night 'n Day" arrangement, I really love these together

Just before the reception

Wednesday before the lighting was finished.

Four in a row
Fred Wellner, Animus Ferrum, 2010, acrylic on canvas 20 x 20

I'm exhausted! We've been in the middle of a heat wave (along with everybody else it seems), tipping into the high 90's and touching 100 (which is a rare thing for Upstate NY), so the turn out at the opening wasn't as good as hoped, but better than I expected because of the heat. It was a good time overall, I talked to a lot of people about my painting process, inspirations, and of course, the weather...more pictures to come as I've been promised a few from friends who were snapping shots throughout the night...Caroline did a good job hanging and lighting the show, and the space is lovely, my Fred and I feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful venue and advocate for our artwork! The exhibition is up until August 28th, and our book, Elemental is for sale there as well. We've had excellent press the week leading up to it, and we will be doing events throughout the month, possibly a demonstration of our painting process in the gallery, possibly a collaborative effort melding both of our processes together...it might be messy, but it would be a good time.

We still have the rest of this month and next month left on our lease on Moonlighting Gallery, and have our monthly reception on Friday night, July 29th, I have a couple of small new pieces that I kept aside for that, and I have some older ones to fill in the gaps that I left behind. I thought I'd mention here that we've decided to not renew the lease (for various reasons), which also includes disbanding the partnership (amicable), but I'm remaining positive about the overall experience. We learned a lot by doing than by not doing, so it was worth the investment of time and money to do it. It's going to feel good to slow down for a bit and plan for our next project...one being a book of our drawings. I wouldn't mind exploring a new shared space at another time, making it more like a working studio space than a gallery space, a place to work on larger projects and room for storage, but nice enough to throw a reception and invite people in to come see what we've been doing lately...I see it as an investment...but right now, I want to put my feet up and rest, and dream about new paintings...have you ever noticed that paint doesn't work well when it's way too hot...or is it just the heat exhausted artist having trouble applying the paint? Maybe both.