I’ve been heavy-duty into the grunt work of my grant work (har har), and I know I’ve been slacking on the blog front, so I thought I’d share with you some of the things that have been exciting me lately.
1. Larissa Grima. I found her work by following the “prismacolor” tag on tumblr. She has such a beautiful quality of light in her work that I aspire to recreate one day. I especially love her use of cut-outs in her journals to reveal little pieces of the pages beneath. And I need that white pen!
2. The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing on Location Around the World by Gabriel Campanario. This 300+ page book examines the unseen city spaces through the eyes of these cities’ resident artists. Full of lovely illustrations of varied techniques, surfaces, materials, time-limits and skill-levels. For my own work, I’m paying special attention to the line weight used and how that influences perspective.
3. Jane Davenport. Specifically her quote (which I may be paraphrasing) “Life’s too short for crappy paper.” So true. No more crappy paper for Liz. Treat yo self!
Jane also is the master of achieving quality of light through layers. And she is a fellow art supply hoarder, which makes me feel normal about all of the pencils I currently have traveling around with me (count: 200+).
4. Iced Coffee. Massive, massive quantities. I’ve been making mine super-chilled by putting it into a martini shaker (which is, ideally, already frosty). Pair that with a groovy playlist (see: Kravitz, Lenny) and I’m in the zen zone.
5. WBOR. Our summer programming has a few gaps in the schedule, so I’ve had the luxury of being able to purge my demons in 1-to-3-hour chunks of impromptu DJ-ing. This summer has been moody and my tunes have reflected that.
On deck: Cocteau Twins- Four-Calendar Café, Gillian Welch- Time (The Revelator), Jeff Buckley- Grace, Neutral Milk Hotel–In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, Ryan Adams- Live at Carnegie Hall, Roxy Music- Avalon, James Taylor- Sweet Baby James, Elton John-Honky Château and, as always, The Cure’s Disintegration.
6. Prismacolor Verithin Pencils. I don’t use these nearly as often as I should. They provide a layer of color that won’t mask the color beneath it, which I’ve found has greatly improved the range of light and shadow I can create. They also erase pretty well, which makes them great for sketching, and even though their leads are harder than Prismacolor’s Premier line, they still have a smooth application. My usual colored pencil style is heavy-handed, and I am learning to be patient by layering with these pencils.
7. Nude eyeshadow. I’m also a makeup hoarder now because makeup is really just an extension of the art supply obsession. This Blushed Nudes palette by Maybelline is 10 bucks at Target and has offered me a change from my 50 Shades of Dana Scully 90’s coppery/brown thing I’ve got going on lately. How Gillian Anderson is so beautiful is the true X-File here, people.
8. Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. I’m not sure why this isn’t higher up on my list. This show only has two seasons (both of which you can find on Youtube) and I binged watched in a few days. Think Project Runway but with art. I watched it as I was trying to critique my own work, and it definitely helped me get back into the professional, conceptual artmind that has gone a little fuzzy from not being in class. It’s an easy, indulgent way to be exposed to a lot of different styles/working techniques.
9. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. I’ve been going to the BCMA the past few days on my breaks from the reference desk. For one thing, the library is not air conditioned and I’ve been dying. For another, I’ve been feeling kind of meh about my art, having crashing waves of self-doubt and a consistent impulse to compare myself to others.
The art museum has offered me a reset button and a clarity about the purpose of art and how I should be thinking as an art student. Art doesn’t exist for me to compare my own work to it and say “Damn, that’s really good, mine is nowhere near that good, nor will it ever be.” Instead, I’ve got to start looking at it like “Damn, I can do that if I give a little more patience, practice and effort to myself and to my work.” Easier said than done, I think, but we shall see.
The current exhibition at the BCMA is “Night Visions: Nocturnes in American Art: 1860-1960.” All of the work surrounds the theme of night and the transition of light to dark/dark to light. It’s an impressive collection featuring work by Andrew Wyeth, Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams and Edward Hopper to namedrop a few of the big ones. You can preview some of the works, including my favorite Wyeth, here. The show runs through October 18th.
10. And last on my list (but first in my hearrrrt), my friend and fellow artist Julia. Thanks to her for rescuing me all summer, sending me rap jams, and making me feel like a person. My favorite words from her: “No one ever told me anything that sent me flying.” The thing I admire the most about Julia is that she lives with fearless intention, indulges impulse, and commits to herself.
She just flies, and so will I.