i have been working on a proposal for a doctor’s office, where dallas went yesterday, and said “you need some art!”. totally blank walls. so here are my two proposals – one for the office space (a very large painting: 48 x 72 x 1.5″) and 3 large (paper: 42.4 x 28″, image: 38.4 x 24″) eCollage prints in the waiting area. doing a row of the eCollages required quite a lot of trial and error. making images that were not meant to go together look good together is not as easy as you might think!
Category: Artist Submitted Post
Being new to abstract painting the year this painting was made; was a challenge to put it mildly, until then I only had been painting representationally. Recently retired I was ready for a new experience and I was not disappointed.
The first series of classes I found myself struggling where to put the paint on the paper; I was so used to painting my representational watercolors from photographs or a still-live.
But during the classes I found that there are many similar elements in abstract compared to representational painting: color, color-combination, shape, texture, space, value, just to mention a couple. Like in representational painting they all together are important to get a visually attractive composition and painting that attracts the eye of the viewer. When I see other abstract paintings I find myself exploring, why do I like this painting, are it the colors, the shapes, the composition, the marks; I explore the painting and try to learn something about myself that can help me with my own paintings. There is so much to learn.
One of the things I learned about myself during the classes was that when I am painting from an example I follow the color scheme of that example, but when free to choose, that I lean to bright and vibrant colors; which shows in the painting in this blog. I love to experiment with colors, different shapes and values to give the painting a vibrant feeling, make it come alive so people pause to take time to explore the painting.
Did you pause to have another look at this artwork?
When I first started Abstract Road, I had no idea what I was getting into. Taking my art designs to rugs seemed like a natural thing to do. Little did I know, it would involve a whole new market which I knew very little about!
The rug industry is quite a unique niche market which originated long ago among the areas of Persia, India, Nepal, Morrocco, Turkey and others. The history of rug making is an amazing look into the ancient culture and world of these people. All by hand, the designs and patterns unique to each culture, have been woven by weavers throughout history. This is the main reason I started this crazy venture. We must preserve what is the beauty of the past if we are to hope for a better future. A future that honors and preserves the artisanship of generations long gone. How can this be anything but a positive? We search for authenticity as artisans and as human beings. We gain big time, if we are lucky enough to find one or the other, or both.
I am a solo act, a solo importer. I live on a coastal island in Georgia where modern and contemporary art are not highly recognized, to date. I keep putting one foot in front of the other and brush off each “No”, believing that someone will see what I see, embrace the beauty of hand knotted and original works. I believe there will be a “Yes”! One day I want to look back and think, “Wow, I remember when I was down to zero in my business account and working out of my sunroom!”
For now, I continue to create. Operating capital is nice when attempting to build a new business in a niche market such as rug making and textiles. This worldwide pandemic has put a bit of a monkey wrench in my plans. I would say it has done the same to most everyone else as well. So we keep rowing forward!
My rugs were first introduced at Switch Modern in Atlanta, Georgia. Switch Modern is the modern design Mecca in Atlanta and NYC. That in itself was a huge gift and certainly a great venue to launch the designs! The rugs are back with me on the island and waiting for a gorgeous home. When they do, I will be back in the design saddle and creating 3 more rugs that you see in this blog photo! And so we keep on moving forward like they say in Nepal,
© Laura Parker | Abstract Road | All rights reserved.
© Laura Parker | Abstract Road | All rights reserved.
© Laura Parker | Abstract Road | All rights reserved.
i’m currently working on adding work to my sister’s website, www.cherybaird.com. looking AWAY from my work to her work let’s me cast a fresh eye on my own work.
after so many years of influencing each other, back and forth for a LONG time! (she got me interested in making art when i was about 11 years old).
of course, that is one of the nice things about artistvenu too. especially now that there are so many more of us here! all being productive, and generous with sharing our work. and getting meaningful feedback! (that’s the thing don’t like about facebook – a “like” is ok, but as marilyn (sort of) said, “meaningful feedback is like diamonds to an artist”.
i also appreciate the ease of using her website – hosted and with an easy interface developed by our old friend – artistvenu!
so check out her site today! lots of fresh work to peruse!
Have you been busy with other things? Children, career, houses, gardens, spouse, parents etc? Art is so unique, and not easily replaced with anything else. You have that desire to be creative, in any form it takes. It also enables you to escape a little bit, into your mind, your imagination, your loves. I think it’s necessary to put yourself first. There are ideas swimming around in there if you can just access them. And silence the critics. You can’t be both the critic and the artist. The joy of painting is its own reward. It will take time to find what really engages you, and you will need to try to paint/sculpt/draw frequently. Then you can start to see the path forward. Starting is hard, but not starting is worse.
Slowing down my process has allowed enough new interior space to allow grinding my own oil paint and to be more selective about layering. allowing all that surrounds us at this odd time in history a way into the images I am creating.
Killer Wasps Attack was from a headline I spotted online and here it becomes something from the terror in dreams. I mix the umber to create first a grisaille that will guide my color choices later. In this case the painting at this stage was enough and I stopped here.
It is 63 x 79 inches on Linen. It is not stretched yet as I await the fabrication of a stretcher frame, then it will be stretched and varnished.
The Power Of Love is a mixed media collage created in response to the posthumously published essay of Congressman John Lewis. In it, he reminds us that “democracy is not a state, but an act.” We are urged to “lay down the heavy burden of hate” and resort to love to foster good change in our society. While working, I was reminded of other icons from his generation, including Buddy Miles and Jimi Hendrix. The lyrics to Power Of Love and Lewis’ words played in my head as I create this collage.
Look, See by Jenn Wiggs 2020
A tree-like Figure in the center points to the right side of this landscape, to something we cannot see. An abstract rain cloud seems to be raining into the picture. Another cloud above the figure is shaped like a cowboy hat, a note of comedy. There is feeling of a graphic cartoon. The shapes seem to be laid side by side. It would be difficult to just imagine something like this. I saw this in another one of my paintings, so I re-created it.
The area in the bottom center is the source for the painting. The first painting was made as an imaginary landscape, drawn in india ink wash with a brush. I enjoy these free drawings; just letting it happen. Sometimes areas are cropped down and developed into something else. Letting go means passages of just brushwork, changing patterns and shapes, moving through the space of the page.
Look, See is a humorous painting, also an enigma, a puzzle for the viewer. I do like the strangeness in it, reminds me a little of some of Philip Guston’s figures; I’m not making a direct comparison merely adding my thoughts. I remembered the other night that I made a tree figure in graduate school, some 30 years ago, this is not new subject matter for me. I’ve made other tree stump images over the last year, their forms are interesting, they feel like figures and letter forms both, so a rich subject. And maybe they allow me to express some of my anxiety of the current time. You may have noticed on the radio and TV people using the word” look” as a preface to what they are about to say. I find this annoying and used it in the title as a tongue in cheek reference. The viewer isn’t sure what to look at or see. Which maybe is the point. The title is also a play on words, looking and seeing.
Updated September 11 (Originally published March 4, 2019) Blog from Abstract Road
“At the Edge of the World” … Abstract Road Comes to Life
I cannot describe the joy I feel, seeing my design come to life, as a rug! I have seen in in my mind for about 15 years, to date. I have a love for fabrics and weaving, although I began my artist journey as a 2D fine artist, dealing with mixed media materials.
This past December I visited Katmandu, Nepal, where I met my rugmaker at Ujwal Carpets. It was such a natural fit, and we spent the day together visiting the many factories that are involved in making a custom, hand-knotted rug.
First, we visited the factory where the cleaning, washing, drying, and trimming takes place. Next, we went to where the wool is dyed. I met the “Color Doctor”, as he is called in Nepali and in English. He had hundreds of books, which contained hundreds of single threads of color dyes. I asked the software engineer from Ujwal, “What if something happens and they are destroyed?” He smiled and said, “We have it all on hard drive”. They know their stuff and have grown up in the rug making industry in Nepal.
Lastly, we visited the weaving factory where the weavers were all working on numerous rugs at a time. They were working as teams and some solo.
This piece, “At the Edge of the World”, is currently being made by a married couple. They must be patient, because there are a lot of details in this piece. It is a mixed media piece on thick paper, with graphite pencil, charcoal, ink, paint, and much carving into the paper. Not an easy task for a rug maker!
To sum it up, my trip to Nepal was full of joy, surprises, learning, and lots of love. I felt as if I had been there before and was returning to visit old friends.
As we strive to become a functional and peaceful “Global Village”, I find it extremely important to preserve the heritage and artisanship of the people indigenous to each country. That also means fair trade, fair market, and profit for all involved. We give, and we gain. We listen and learn, we begin to understand.
It’s deeper for me as an artist. It’s not about the bottom line, mass produced, turn around profit and sales. It is about preserving the integrity of each piece, each artisan, and each collector who appreciates the value of the craftmanship that goes into the work.
From Nepal they say,
In early April of 2017 I set out to do an Artist Exploration Residency for 2 weeks with Proyecto ‘ace in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I was obsessed. My obsession started with learning about the School of the South, propelled by artist Joaquin Torres Garcia. The moment I saw his work, I knew I had found something special. His symbols painted or carved in stone, were the thing that locked me in.
Hence, I ventured down to Buenos Aires with a budding series, “Shared Symbols”. I wanted to know, was there a common thread between North America and South America?
The flight to Buenos Aires was hell, I thought I was dying and laid down on the tiny bathroom floor, my luggage was lost, and it definitely did not feel familiar. (No one but the really ill lie on an airplane floor). A few buses later, I met up with my host and director of Proyecto ‘ace, Alicia Candiani. She and her husband walked me through the city blocks to my apartment.
The next day I trained it to my destination, Proyecto ‘ace, and found my studio up a beautiful, spiral staircase. My place in the sky. What a trip!
I spent a lot of time going to the many Contemporary Art Museums in Buenos Aires, so I could absorb the energy, culture, and art history of the times. Dream came true, and I was able to get to Uruguay by ferry to see the Joaquin Torres Garcia Museum in Montevideo.
It took 3 cabs to get me to the Contemporary Arts Museum, but I was determined to see the works of the School of the South. It was a holiday so a telephone or a cab was an insane request. Oops, looking like a true Westerner at this point, I just smiled at whoever spoke Spanish to me. Awkward moment and a bit anxious, with good reason, as it was getting dark. And then, there he was, a smiling cab driver who stopped and returned me safely to my city apartment.
I was to return to Proyecto ‘ace this past May 1, 2020, to continue working on the “Shared Symbols” series. Obviously, Covid grounded us all. No one in and no one out. No international travel. (Wait, WHAT???)
I was in touch with Alicia, the director, and we both recognized it was not possible .
We were both disappointed, but we knew we would adapt somehow. Proyecto ‘ace is an international artist exchange, designed to include artists from all over the globe.
If you made it through this blog you are a champ! I just wanted to share a bit of my imprinted memory of actually seeing a glimpse of what was called, “The School of the South”.