Salon at the Triton… 6-8 pm…..time to dress!
Traditionally, the edge of a canvas is not painted. It was probably easier to roll up this way or maybe it was just because the edges wouldn’t show under a big heavy frame. Frames have been optional for a long time. Modern work required a modern way of thinking about exhibiting pieces and frames seemed old fashioned, fussy and pretentious.
Today anything goes as long as it is in keeping with the work. It should not take away or contradict the piece and if you’re savvy (or lucky) it can contribute and reinforce the work.
I do a painted edge, I feel it finishes off the work in a slab o’ painting kind of way which looks great in a simple floating frame or on its own. I tried a solid grey for the edge of this painting, Shards – Point Alones (formerly know under the working title Point Alones Abalone) but it looked fake, like masking tape, too plain against the mass of detail on the painting. I knew I didn’t want to do more abalone as the scale was off but I was excited about employing the pottery shards again. It seemed to be the perfect accent for such a subtle focal point.
There are lots of ways to make a signature, and I’d like to think attention to details like this might be one of mine.
Yes, all work and no play makes my eyes fall out of my head. An antidote to obsessive detail work is the great outdoors! So while my abalone painting may not be conforming to my dreamed up schedule, my body and soul is much happier with a well deserved break!
All of that enthusiasm for life goes unseen into a painting like this but it’s what carries you through it!
Here I am driving myself crazy! Each shell is shifting universe of light, changing every second. Much too subtle, much too elusive. It’s easy to get lost chasing the detail and miss the magic. Hoping to catch a rainbow…
You never know what you’ll find at an estate sale, especially one of an artist.
It’s fascinating to see how artists lived and worked and what they’ve left behind, objects too curious or inspiring to throw out, books they’ve read, souvenirs from trips they took, art left unfinished or unclaimed. It’s actually very comforting when I see the tell tale signs of a life filled with inspiration, travel and engaging work.
Objects I collect from these artists hold a special significance for me.
A four inch turquoise cross cast in resin by a San Jose man who collected and polished natural stones.
A 16 x 20 inch palette knife seascape, oil on canvas marked Cincota from the estate of an unknown Los Gatos artist.
A book worm infested volume of Seed by Charles G. Norris, about the early agricultural days of our valley – artistically eaten away.
I love how some passages are gone for ever while others are revealed.
A collection of small sample prints of an abandoned house and a field of flowers by the same unknown Los Gatos artist.
A vintage scapular of our Lady of Mt Carmel from her collection.
A pile of abalone shells used to decorate San Jose artist, Flo Hopkins Gray’s garden, which I use as bowls in my studio.
A painting of violets by Florence (Flo) Hopkins Gray, oil on linen, 10 x 8 inches who was a very prolific San Jose painter.
The day I went to her estate sale I was overwhelmed by room after room of her work, as well as the art in the garage and the overflow into the garden! I was impressed with the quantity as well as the quality of her work which she largely did in the sixties and seventies. I remember I was wearing a green mohair sweater, one my Grandma Ruth had made for my father, and I fell in love with this little painting that seemed to match me and my love of violets. I was honored to have a piece of Flo’s work and it sits on my mantle where I can see it all the time and it reminds me to keep painting and carving out that life I love.
One day this will be me. What will I leave behind for strangers to sift through? I wonder what will they make of my bits of detritus, my treasure?
Abalone and Float found a new home today!
It was lovely meeting Kristen and Isabella as they came to my studio to pick up the painting, I really enjoy getting a sense of who my clients are and how they relate to the art. I hope they also enjoyed getting to know me in the context of my studio and how I work. We spoke of my motivation in painting abalone, which beyond trying to capture their iridescence and texture, is a love of the marine environment and a commentary on its over harvesting. Kristen knew abalone from growing up in the Bay Area, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. “I even know the smell of it” she pointed out, the comment poignantly underlying her intimacy with abalone and how evocative it is for her. Abalone symbolizes place for her, a piece of California she can take with her any where in the world.