Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Work, My Lists, and Water

As I See It
acrylic/mixed media on wc paper-12" x 16" image

acrylic on paper 11" x 14"
The above two pieces were completed within the last week, give or take a day or so. Lately I feel like my art making has a lot to do with problem solving. Here are the various conversations: "I want such-and-such so how do I get that?" "Will this combination of materials give me the look I want? "What happens if...?" "Should I try doing...?" Fill in the blanks! Lots of times it's just this question: "How do I do that?" Whatever that is. I have no way of knowing what other artists do; if they struggle like this and are both repelled and excited by that struggle. In any case, the ultimate test for me is whether or not the finished work survives for any length of time. Do I hang it up, leave it out and want to look at it while I nap on the bed in the studio? Or, does it go in the Closet of Shame right away to malinger for a while before I give it a merciful death?

The first piece is this new idea that I have about what I see. I've thought this out. Here goes. I started out my painting life as a pseudo plein air painter. I learned from reading books by Kevin Macpherson and by watching Peggi Kroll Roberts videos. Can't go wrong with any of that but you walk away with a certain attitude and style. What happens when you want to add to that learning? To go beyond somehow? What if your learning shows you other ways to make art? What if you love paint and paper and Matisse and Shirley Jaffe and Ellsworth Kelly? Then what? Regroup is what. Figure out what you like and what you can do and what else is possible. I am a list maker. A gatherer of images and sketches and ideas. A thought gatherer. I write things down and get a feel for things and look at my surroundings conceptually and broadly. And I am simple and an introvert and I don't do complex or difficult. All of that has to show up in my art making. 

So, the first piece is gathered up images from my travels up and down highway 26 through the town of Linden. There are ladders and the almond plant and the tracks and hills. All of it boiled down into colors and shapes. My list of Linden. 

The second piece is my broad and conceptual idea of our water facility at the base of Hogan Dam. We (CCWD) let out water recently from our reservoir in order to fulfill whatever contractual obligations are owed farmers somewhere else. I think. Ten days I heard of water running out of the lake. I pictured the opening of the pipe and water and fields and a cloudless, non-rainy sky.

Hope everyone is having a good week so far. It's Tuesday!


  1. Hi Libby, this post explained a lot to me about your current style of painting. Just yesterday I came across some cards I purchased from you when you were doing scenes and buildings in a realistic style and they were beautiful. I am so much not an abstract thinker, but I do enjoy seeing what you are painting now. I especially like "As I See It" and appreciate the explanation. It's really captivating! And "Release", to me, is a painting I could meditate on. Love the texture and colors. I know art should need no explanation, but I found reading the background stories of these paintings helpful. I love watching your journey as a painter and wish I had as much dedication to my art as you have to yours! Have a great day!

  2. Judy wrote a great comment.
    I also remember very well the start of your journey into finding out what made you tick as an artist. Still not finished by any means. You are back to the shapes which I interpret as related to your earlier on quilt making - but in paint, and on a far more intellectual/sophisticated level.
    I just enjoy seeing an artist find their voice.


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