Instagram triads...

 

I've taken a break from Facebook for a while because it was all getting to be too much for me. The chatter, the opinions, the commenting, the liking, the disliking, the posting, the friending, the sharing... I'd become overly involved and overly invested in all of it.

It's been about a week since I signed off, ostensibly until September but it may be longer. The quiet and peacefulness since then has been wonderful.

I'm still on Instagram and have no intention of taking a break; it calms instead of agitates me. And, really, what's not to like about slowly scrolling through images that show how others see the world and what they deem important enough to document and share? I come away feeling inspired and enriched rather than frustrated and depleted.

Anyway...

I often scroll through the photos I've posted, too - usually  to remember what prompted the photo, or to critique the lighting or composition. But today I was struck by how the photos often relate to each other in surprising ways and, though they are posted in sequence, the rows of three that are displayed - and therefore the groupings of three - change each time a new photo is posted. It's fascinating really... the little stories they tell  - or don't tell - as a result. This element of chance allows for some surprising synchronicity.  The triads have subtleties in  their connections, and the stories they tell simply because of their proximity haven't been planned - they just happen. Here are the triads that captured my attention today:   

Today I was left with the realization that while I think what attracts my attention on any given day is an isolated, specific event, there really are no isolated, specific events - at least not in this artist's work or way of being in the world. I may think I'm aware of all the connections I make, but, obviously, I'm not. 

That gives me immense pleasure. 

Immense, immense pleasure.

 

 

In an ant's house...

 

One of my clearest early memories from childhood is of  trying to climb up on a monstrously huge chair in my grandparent's home. I'd somehow manage to get one of my chubby toddler knees up on the edge of the its seat and then, after numerous tries, insert my fingers into one of the many tufts on its arms and slowly pull the rest of my little body up high enough to get another chubby knee on the seat. I'd eventually establish myself there properly, immensely proud of conquering what seemed like Mt. Everest to my child's mind.

Years later, visiting my parents, I asked my mom about "that HUGE chair". She pointed to a small, tufted chair in the corner of their library. It wasn't at all what I remembered...

Mt. Everest (34 inches tall)

Mt. Everest (34 inches tall)

*

When I was six years old and my sister nine, she showed me a crayon drawing of a horse she had done. I distinctly remember thinking that it was truly the most perfect drawing of a horse either of us had ever seen - it look soooo real! I looked at it in amazement and then said, "It looks really great right now, but in a few years it won't." 

I have no idea how I knew that, but it was true. In a few years it looked like a child's drawing of a horse. But then... Wow!

As we grow and change, so does our perspective. Chairs that were once enormous become, as if by magic, petite. Drawings that seemed photorealistic are transformed into primitive and awkward expressions of reality.

I try to keep that in mind as I work in the studio.

I think it's important to revisit old work. I want to see what I can glean from remembering how I felt when I created it. Does it still speak to me in the same way? Have I grown beyond it? Is there something left in the idea that might enhance the work I'm doing presently? Is it a sentinel that points me in a new direction entirely?

I also try to keep it in mind as I wend my way through the the world outside my studio - a world that seems an increasingly bizarre and foreign place. It's a challenge to not feel panicky because right now we are in the midst of all the chaos.

But time will pass, things will level out, and, hopefully, our perspective on our present angst will change enough to allow us to learn from it. And maybe, just maybe, our new perspective will grant us a clearer, kinder, and more compassionate understanding of what our purpose is for being here with one another.

In an ant's house, the dew is a flood. - Chinese Proverb

 

Becalmed...

 
Becalmed . folded drawing with watercolor pencil and graphite. 8 x 9 inches. 2016. Karen Anne Glick

Becalmed. folded drawing with watercolor pencil and graphite. 8 x 9 inches. 2016. Karen Anne Glick

be·calm

bəˈkälm,bəˈkäm/

verb

past tense: becalmed; past participle: becalmed

  1. leave (a sailing vessel) unable to move through lack of wind.

    synonyms: motionless, still, at a standstill, at a halt, unmoving, stuck

Becalmed  (detail)

Becalmed (detail)

We are stunned. The world seems to be spinning out of control. 

We are becalmed.

Time for some deep, deep breaths.

Time to be calmed.

All will be well.

Eventually...

 

Quiet Places...

 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately: 

We who live in quiet places have the opportunity to become acquainted with ourselves, to think our own thoughts and live our own lives in a way that is not possible for those keeping up with the crowd. - Laura Ingalls Wilder

I love the quiet intervals in my life. I love the spaces that allow me to stop and breathe and take in all the wonder that surrounds me.

Such richness there. Such a gift to give myself.

The time to refocus.

To reconsider.

To wander with the full intention of repairing my body, mind and spirit.

Enriching my studio practice as a result - which brings me such immense joy.

As time allows, I'm continuing to explore the simple idea of what happens when paper is folded:  

6.22.2016.  Paper Folding I - with Perforations

6.22.2016. Paper Folding I - with Perforations

I'm intrigued by the way the lines create quiet places within the work which is, in itself, a quiet place - with only the soft whisper of perforations to listen to. 

 

Folded Drawings...

 

There is so much I have to write about that my thoughts are tumbling all over the place. I really have no idea of the best place to start in sharing all that has happened since I last posted...

So... I've decided to start with today and work my way backwards. Maybe that will work, maybe it won't, but beginning somewhere is what is most important - in any endeavor, so here goes!

We've been traveling a lot and I'm still not back in my studio, but one of my favorite stops in all this going hither and thither was The Drawing Center in New York where I took in the current exhibition - Drawing Dialogues: Selections from the Sol LeWitt Collection. One of the works that really drew me in was by Dorthea Rockburne  - titled "Drawing Which Makes Itself, London Drawing #3, 1973". It was a square of heavy white paper with lines created by folding. The light in the gallery added another dimension, shifting the emphasis on the various lines as I changed my viewing position. Simple. Perfect. Magical.

This afternoon, thinking more about that piece, I decided to fold some of the small (4x6 inches) pieces of heavy watercolor paper I had brought with me. Ms Rockburne had folded the paper in one direction if I remember correctly - back to front - so the lines were into the paper. I did the same, but was really intrigued to discover that made the lines on the reverse raised  - as if on top of the paper - and, so, quite prominent! After a few different foldings, I decided to see what would happen if I smudged graphite over the lines as I've done in some of my embossed drawings, but since I didn't have that with me, I used the matte eyeshadows from my makeup bag. 

The few little samples I made have gotten me really excited to work more on this idea when I get back home. I have some lovely BIG sheets of paper that should work nicely. It will be fun to see how different papers react when folded both in and out and if I will find the same pronounced lines as I did in these small experiments. 

Here are a few photos of my experiments. The third one shows the lines when the paper is folded inward. The last photo is of two of the experiments placed side by side - which opens up even more ways to change or expand the work.

2016.folded.drawing.3.jpg

I'm looking forward to see where these will lead.

"Drawing is the bones of thought." - Dorthea Rockburne

 

Dreams DO come true...

 

You know how I've been whining about wanting to run away from home? Not pretty.

Well, joy of joys, my dream has come true and my sweet husband is coming with me! I am soooo looking forward to new and different sights - even if it's just for a bit. We won't be gone long, but the point is: we're going. When our daughters were little we learned that sometimes a weekend at a hotel with a swimming pool just two miles from home can be just as refreshing - even more so, perhaps - than a trip to some exotic island far away. 

I'm bringing some basic art materials with me and can't wait for some quiet time to document my impressions each day. I don't know about you, but for me, a BIG part of running away is the pleasureof cutting the cord to social media and all things related to computer technology - I'm as excited about that prospect as I am about just going. And it will be good to have the time and space to consider future options  - both personal and professional. I know how lucky I am to have options. Not a day goes by that I'm not filled to brimming with gratitude. 

Another dream came true for me recently, too. One of my works was selected to be exhibited in Landscape: A Sense of Place at Site: Brooklyn in Brooklyn NY, 25 May - 25 June 2016. It's been a goal to have work shown in NY, so it felt really, really good to get notified on the selection.

So... as I head off to parts unknown, I will leave you with a nine patch quilt of images from my week - posted to Instagram:

Life is good.

 

Running away from home...

 

Maybe it's Spring Fever. Maybe it's having moved 29 times and then staying put for 16 years. Maybe it's finding myself soon to be in the second half of my 60's, my children both soon to be in their 30's and my sweet father nearing 100.

Whatever it is, it's making me antsy. My feet itch. 

I want to run away from home. 

And go somewhere far, far away.

She Lived on the Fjord.  digital drawing printed on matte paper with embossing and perforations.12 x 16 inches. 2012. Karen Anne Glick

She Lived on the Fjord. digital drawing printed on matte paper with embossing and perforations.12 x 16 inches. 2012. Karen Anne Glick

Figuratively, of course. 

Probably. 

I think.

At least for today.

(Wink.)

...Sigh...

Twyla Tharp had it right when she wrote:

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. 

So, anyway, if you need me tomorrow?

You'll find me in the studio.

 

Coming 'round right...

 

I have loved the twists and turns of my creative journey, but little did I expect another turn that would land me where I find myself now. But turn I have and, as the Elder Joseph Brackett wrote in his Shaker song Simple Gifts,  I've "come 'round right."

"What happened?"

Well... Do you have some time?

My work of the past few years grew largely from the 297 small quilted drawings I completed as part of a daily practice I began in March 2012. I made one each day, burnt myself out, and wasn't able to finish the full year as I had hoped I would - in spite of how the work captured me in a way nothing else had. Each day was magical.  I learned to listen, allow, trust, honor, and let go. Those words defined the year, becoming my mantra. They guide me still.

Nine of the quilted drawings mounted on stretched linen and exhibited together as  Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.  Each is 17 inches square.

Nine of the quilted drawings mounted on stretched linen and exhibited together as Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. Each is 17 inches square.

I was surprised by how those  little quilted drawings, and the stories and haikus I wrote to accompany each,  garnered so much  attention and opened new doors. They gave me the opportunity for new sales, publication, collaboration, and exhibition. It was gratifying to know that my work had reached so many people and that it would grace the homes of the many collectors from the US and around the world who had so kindly purchased it.

"And then what?"

As one would expect, I moved on to other work. I needed to flex and stretch.

I had longed to work larger, so I did. I wanted to simplify, so I stopped layering and machine stitching the pieces and, instead, fused the fabric to raw canvas and stretched the work over stretcher bars. I combined hand stitching with the machine work, and began adding printed elements, drawing, and pieces of discarded oil painting.  Some examples from this time:

Requiem for Fukushima -  the largest piece I've done. 42 inches square. fused, machine stitching, stretched

Requiem for Fukushima - the largest piece I've done. 42 inches square. fused, machine stitching, stretched

A Migration of Souls -  22 x 28 inches, fused, hand embroidery, stretched

A Migration of Souls - 22 x 28 inches, fused, hand embroidery, stretched

Ja Vi Elsker -  17 x 17 inches, incorporating digital printing, ink drawing and pieces of discarded oil paintings, stretched

Ja Vi Elsker - 17 x 17 inches, incorporating digital printing, ink drawing and pieces of discarded oil paintings, stretched

Oran Mor I -  22 x 28 inches, fused, with hand stitching, drawing, watercolor pencil, stretched

Oran Mor I - 22 x 28 inches, fused, with hand stitching, drawing, watercolor pencil, stretched

My work became simpler in expression, and my palette more subdued. I was intent on eliminating the decorative and extraneous. My visual vocabulary was becoming stronger and I was confident in the choices I made to bring a work to completion. I had few sales, but I continued to exhibit, even having my work be part of a show in Finland.

And so it continued until events in the last year and a half kept me from the studio for an extended time...

"And then what?"

Well, I thought about the work from a distance. I took joy in tending to family members and our family pet who needed me, grateful that I had them to love and be loved by.  I tended to some unexpected health issues,  grateful that I found a way to heal. 

And in between I whined about not having studio time. 

A certain numbness and lethargy set in.

The dreaded doldrums...

Eventually life settled down and while I had time to be in the studio, I found reasons not to go. So, so, odd - I felt exactly like I did in March 2012 before I started the daily practice. And here it was March again - only this time I was 4 years older. I began to think about how the daily practice had revived me 4 years prior. I began to think about them a lot.

Which brings me to the "coming 'round right" part of this post.

"Finally!"

I'm doing small abstract textile pieces again and I'm feeling revived and refreshed and excitied again. Gone is the rigid daily schedule though. Gone are the three layers that defined the earlier works as quilts.  Gone is a reliance on machine stitching. Gone. Gone. Gone.

The new pieces consist simply of fabric pieces sewn to raw canvas and then to heavy watercolor paper. Instead of a reliance on machine sewing, I work simple stitches by hand.

Here are the first three I've completed thus far:

10 x 10 inches

10 x 10 inches

10 x 10 inches

10 x 10 inches

9 x 12 inches

9 x 12 inches

While the way I worked originally might have changed, what hasn't is the joy and fascination I feel as I work with these. I still follow my intuition and really, really listen to the work as it develops. But this time I listen with a more mature ear, I compose with a more confident hand, and I use color with a heart deepened by the experience of being away. I see these works with new eyes, but I know without a doubt that I've come home again and that I've  "come 'round right".

It's a wonderful place to be.

Again.