One purpose of art is to preserve experiences and mark time. That is why I like to paint everyday. It captures a moment or an experience for me in a way that builds a story that helps me understand what matters.
In a season of blessings, I want to share with others the creative experiences that I have had. That is why I am opening my studio to friends this Friday for an ornament decorating party.
If you are in the area and want to drop out of the shopping madness and into your own creative juices, let me know with an email (email@example.com). I appreciate the RSVP so I can plan ahead and have enough materials, cookies and cocktails* on hand.
All I brought home was some snake oil, a stack of cards, sore feet and aching eyes. But, boy, we had fun!!!
There were so many fairs going on at once, outside the BIG ONE at the convention center, that I had to make some decisions regarding my finances, my tolerance level, and Miami traffic. Untitled is by far my favorite fair. The tent on the beach glows with diffused light and the art work is smart.
Carl D'Alvia work (its a drawing of one of our sculptures!)
house flipping- a common sight in my neighborhood
burned out rubble of a neighborhood, spelling...
more commentary on Florida real estate?
In addition to clever drawings and sculptures, there was an abundance of good painting. I was intrigued by the works in umber and browns on top of neon yellows and oranges by Karine Hoffman of Galerie DIX9 in Paris. Very beautiful. Yet my favorite works were these crazy clever tight photographs of painted elements arranged with attention to the juxtopositions of shapes, the very edges of shapes forming new shapes, by Erin O'keefe. She calls herself an architect and a photographer and was represented by Denny Dimin of NYC. The work almost took off where de Chirico left off. Next door in SMAC, gallery from South Africa, were some thickly painted largely smeared portraits by Georgina Gratix of Mexico city. Enjoying her work was all about the viscosity of paint.
There was such an array of materials on display! Miami artist Michelle Weinberg had a rack of bleached jean jackets for sale and for use in a daily collaborative dance performance. She was in the midst of sewing her tattoo designs onto one of them when we stopped by. We had enjoyed her open studio at Fountainhead studios last weekend and it was great to see another side of her art practice.
a series of words cut through almanac pages give new meaning to the map
these porcelain models are absorbed on their cell phones
Topics such as immigration and technology pervaded much of the works on display. I love the use of different materials... especially the variety of the woven materials. There were woven photographs, woven furniture, recycled toothbrush heads, the plastic bags turned into dresses, and embroidery patches sewn to walls.
A good warning for some of us- but I avoided putting on the ear buds.
After Untitled we lunched with a view of the ocean, and then went into Scope. That fair was full of riffs and humor. My camera started to die, but I did get a few images... I had to wrestle past all the people striking selfie poses with the works.
I had a few "aha" moments... as an artist, as a teacher, and as a human being. I got to see in real life the paintings of Emilio Villalba from San Fransisco who I enjoy on Instagram. I saw art that gave me lesson plan ideas, such as the guy using packing tape on light boxes, Max Zorn in Stick together Gallery. And art that should have been what I was doing like the guy painting portraits out of his ice cream shoppe in BGArt Gallery from Santa Monica! For $80 John Kilduff would "serve up" a custom small 8x 10 portrait of you as an ice ream cone. Apparently he is the host of a TV series called Let's Paint TV. In other acts he paints while running on a treadmill or answering live calls on air. Basically it was a performance and a fun spot for creating a carnival atmosphere in truth.
There was serious stuff to think about such as a lot of art addressing gun control and school shootings. This exhibit gave me pause.
We left the fair in the late afternoon and then found our way, by a few clubs, to my favorite little hotel fair: Aqua. It was dark and the music was pounding. Our feet were starting to really ache. If we didn't laugh we would have cried. At one point we seriously contemplated how we could purchase a $4600 painting by John Sanchez for my son for Christmas. That's when I knew we should go home. Somewhere along the way we picked up the bottle of snake oil.
At the end of the semester we hang our annual juried student art show in the dining hall for one night only. I have the task of narrowing down to 25 works, something from my 72 students. Each of the four art teachers has 25 student works in a 100 work exhibition. I madly try to cut mattes for the chosen works late into the evening before the event.
When I shared pictures of this on social media I got a lot of love from fellow art teachers. They know the routine! We turn a sows ear into a silk purse and we make timid artists feel grand.
The music and the English department collaborated so we have a variety of performances and poetry readings through out the evening.
The work is hung on temporary walls transforming the usually busy cafeteria into a gallery.
I really am proud of the department and have total respect for my colleagues. They are passionate professionals and we work very well together. It has been a great year so far.
Gellatly, guest judge, with the art department
Here closes the books on another semester. Time sure does fly!
This has been a week of many, many, art shows... before I forget, even a mini one of my own. I was pleased to exhibit a sampling of my teacher portraits last Tuesday night. Sold one too! (thank you Jay!)
Added charcoal portrait of Jose, a maintenance staff genius at work
Four or five times a day I hear students call out, “Ms. Strauss, How do I make skin color?”
I have to patiently ask them to look again, look harder, and be more descriptive… What color they are looking for? Then, I must convince them that they will need at least 4 or 5 variations of the pigment to do the form justice…. Flesh tones are the hardest to match and they vary under different artificial and natural lighting options. My students should cultivate a curious attitude when studying skin.
It is hard for them to believe that I don’t have the hues pre-packaged like everything else in their lives. It seems like only yesterday, during the civil rights movement, that Crayola changed their “flesh” colored crayon’s name to “peach”. When did they remove their “Indian red” crayon from the market? No. Now we have to work more and look harder.
We can be afraid of what we do not know and that goes for mixing skin tones as well as for welcoming peoples from different regions of the world with varying pigments in their skin tone.
I started 2018,"The year of the Dog", painting peoples pets. It is a lot of fun and I am always game to do more. I am pretty fast and charge about $2 per square inch- working small. Let me know what you want and send me a couple pictures to work from. Here is one just finished. Between the time the commission was proposed and the time I delivered, the big black cat had passed away and a new kitten had arrived in his place. I thought this caught them both.
If you are out on a BLACK Friday shopping spree, think of this awesome gift idea.
When I was young, like 5 or 6, my mother filled a gift box full of office supplies and that gift kept my sister and occupied for months. Then she went to Filene's basement and filled a box with hats. We played with those hats until they tore apart. My sister went on to perform on the stage and I created small galleries in the neighborhood. We were able to play and express ourselves with quality materials. The boxes still stand out, decades later, as the best gifts I ever got. They implied imagination and provoked a creative investigation that continues to fill my days with wonder today! Get art supplies, office supplies, hats and shoes from goodwill, hardware from the hardware store, or anything that serves as an ingredient and not the whole kit. Too many gifts are closed end projects. Give the gift of inspiration! It is perfect for almost anyone.
The season comes with a lot of expectations, and that is how we get snapped. In my experience, any good hostess should have tissues, wine, band-aids and sweets on hand.
I am enjoying the caramel salted chocolates from Trader Joe's. That store can really make the season feel potent with festivities. I also like a good Pinot Noir. It soothes the tongue and fills the soul. Tangerines are an easy gift, each coming individually wrapped for the outstretched hand. In fact I carry some in the car for the homeless kids on the corner. I hope your holidays are not filled with tears and disappointment. If you are so lucky though, keep an ear for the weary angel that might show up unexpected at your door.