Considering how it all comes down

May 30, 2013 at 9:00 am | Posted in Art Studio | 1 Comment
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Swirling by Joan Desmond 2013

©2013, Joan Desmond, Swirling.

Fresh from the Studio

April 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Posted in Art Studio, Considering Ideas | 1 Comment
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by Joan Desmond 2013

©2013, Joan Desmond. Acrylic on canvas, 10″x 10″.

This means it may or may not be finished. I wouldn’t usually display such a work yet, but this one feels pretty close to finished. Anyway “finished” is a concept that needs discussing so I’m posting it.

When is a piece of art finished and ready to jump off the easel? Hah, the answer is… relative, vague, unclear, depends on the artist, what was for lunch, or maybe on an evening glass of wine. Generally, it’s a cumulative decision based on experience and that sense that anything else would be extra. It has something to do with accomplishing the idea you began with but also being mindful that a work develops its own direction as you progress. But that’s a whole other conversation.  Mostly, the work has to “pop”, stand on its own.

“Finished” is also intuitive, if you listen, the painting says, “That’s enough, put down the frigging brush!” It’s much better to stop before that point so the thing doesn’t look tight; something I still struggle with, as I like to push design and color to the edge.

What works best for me is to leave it sit out for a time period and just glance at it in passing. Often, if it’s not finished, my eye will keep coming back to something that bugs me, some unwanted tension. The perspective of time, which sometimes means six months and put it out of mind until you have more insight, is invaluable.

Then again, some works can come together in a day, title and all. This one is yet untitled. It reflects a stronger direction toward movement in my art, so perhaps something about dancing or rhythm. I’ve also been thinking about marbles. Go figure.

Looking Back

May 14, 2010 at 7:49 am | Posted in Art Studio, Considering Ideas | Leave a comment
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Mountain of Memories – River of Dreams* -J.Desmond

We see letters and shape them to words. Through associations, voice and tongue, we give them meanings that resonate within us and bring us home. They are easily accessed.

As easily approached are visual representations of object around us. Yes, that’s a bird, a tree, a mountain in that painting. Immediate understanding comforts us.

But do we remember how to ken depths of color? How to lose self in blue, when to tread lightly on orange, or get carried forward in red?

It takes time to follow a curved line along its path, responding viscerally when it zigs and springs, curls or flows. To let texture reach out for our touch we have to grant permission.

The language of abstraction is elemental and may be felt in our bones and ancient memory. It can open endless perceptions if we allow ourselves that vulnerability.

But that is the more difficult and nor so easily accessed.

*an earlier mixed-media work

Echoing Color

May 3, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Posted in Art Studio | Leave a comment
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Rolling color


2 mixed-media collages – May 2010-Joan Desmond

and enough texture to fall into- from the studio.

More On Green

May 1, 2008 at 11:38 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Phyllidos Owl

In the black space of night the deep rhythmic calls of owl bounce round. Unseen, only those hoots, and perhaps the swoosh of quick wings mark its presence. Even in the day it stays hidden, merging into the tree.

The Green Made Me Do It

April 16, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Considering Ideas, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Viridis Praying Mantis

I take it back already, the part about the collage series being about animal masks as this collage depicts an insect. There are a couple of birds also… so let’s just say the mask collage series is mainly about fauna, no frolicking fauns to be found-but mostly fauna, one flora, and one harlequin. The harlequin fits into what category?  Into masks and art.

I’m dancing around words here working myself up to discussing the color green. In the distant past, green was not my favorite hue. This didn’t apply to green in nature. Nature was the natural home for green, deep forest green in plants; pine green in trees and vivid grass green. Visually I would roll and delight in nature’s green. But no icky green in clothes, man-made surroundings or furnishings for me…and I had difficulty using green in paintings. Weird! Perhaps the aversion developed because my mother had a thing for the color green and persimmon orange and would use them together freely whenever she could.

Geez, maybe it could have been used to explain away my teenage rebellion “She had artistic sensibilities and was forced to live with a huge, olive green, sectional sofa…and orange pillows, a difficult combination for her, so she became quite irrational”.

If only life was that simple. Although now I understand how colors affect us emotionally, psychologically, and physically.

At some point in my art development I confronted green in my work realizing that dancing around that was ridiculously limiting. I did an all green painting. It was awkward and the resulting work was unremarkable but it pushed me unto a new level. Which is the whole point here. Creative growth demands that we push ourselves out of our comfort zones, whatever they may be (as I imagine some must be snickering about the color obsession here).

If we are to progress and fully engage our imagination we need to continually explore alternative perspectives. Don’t think that this applies to artists exclusively. Creativity is a natural brain function for all, but that’s another bit of writing.

While making this collage the combinations of green patterns in the various papers delighted me. I’ve learned to embrace the green! That is, I pushed my limitations and welcomed what propelled me onward toward greater understanding.

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