Can you imagine flying to a Hawaiian island, then driving up to a small house on stilts and setting up a studio for 2 weeks? That's exactly what I did earlier this month.Read More
While I'm no longer sitting in front of a spectacular view of mountains and sea, I'm very happy to be back in my own studio with all the quirky accoutrements that make it mine. I'm amazed that it's day 21 of this challenge and I feel in many ways as if I've just begun.
After a day trip to the south shore of Kauai to visit family (and a delicious meal from my chef cousin), I decided it was time to keep it simple on the 30x30 challenge. A night of aloha can mean a morning of, well, you know! Sometime during the evening, my cousin Mike mentioned that on a clear day, he could see to Oahu. His remark stuck in my mind and manifested in these sailboats that I remember from the Honolulu harbor.
I'm fascinated by the way a location alters my approach to collage. The light, landscape and colors all change my choice of images and composition. While this is obvious for a landscape or plein air painter, because so much of my work is studio based, my recent changes in location brought this to my awareness. I began this collage sitting on the airplane, taking pages from the Hawaiian airline magazine. I ripped, folded and politely answered the unspoken question from the passenger seated next to me. A lover and collector of art, he was very understanding.
Yesterday, I made reference to days #9, #10 and #11 of the 30paintingsin30days. For my own vacation sanity, I've decided to create a new page in my portfolio just for the 30x30 challenge. You'll find them there...soon!
I took a break from 30x30 over the weekend to begin my Yoga Teacher Training program at Kaya Yoga in Davis. Not making a collage Saturday and Sunday felt like trying to keep my hand out of the proverbial cookie jar. And then, flying to Kauai on Monday, well how can you argue with that? Now, settled in our home away from home, the colors of #12 surround me.
I feel like someone with a diary--who hasn't made an entry in a looong time. Which usually means lots has been going on. In December I wrote about my fear of preparing for my open studio. Like many things one fears, it turned out to be far easier, much less stressful and a whole lot more fun than I imagined.
So much fun in fact that when my friend, Sara Post, told me about the Davis Art Studio Tour coming in April, I signed right up. I felt like a kid who'd just gone down a slide, saying "Wheee! I want to do that again!"
So here I go, the Studio Tour is a cooperative of 30 artists, and like a well oiled machine, each person has their part to play. I look forward to this collaboration; working with Linda Clark Johnson on the December Open Studio was a huge learning curve and definitely a friendship deepener.
In order to prepare, I've been making loose plans; plans that will become more detailed in the days ahead.
In the meantime, my family and I just returned from time spent in one of my favorite places; Kauai. I've established the habit of bringing art supplies along with me and I spent all the time, when I wasn't hiking swimming or walking the beaches, immersed in plant materials and nice gooey acrylics. I want to make sure that some of the Studio Tour artwork includes and reflects the richness of this beloved island.
I'll be sharing more about the Davis Art Studio Tour as the next couple months unfold. Now, up to the studio!
I recently visited Hawaii with my family. It's something we try to do once a year, so, with the aid of frequent flier miles, we headed off; my husband, my sister, my daughter and my daughter's boyfriend--and me.
I'd taken care to pack my new favorite art medium; a gelli plate; a kind of squishy gel surface that serves as a printing plate and allows people like me who treasure immediacy, to create monoprints using stencils, plant matter, and what have you, together with acrylic paint.
I'd ordered some new acrylics and as I packed, I made sure to put plenty of bubble wrap between them and my swim suit.
Each day at art time, I set up shop on the dining room table, which was spacious, overlooked the mountains and had plenty of light.
Wandering outside, I gathered a number of leaves with interesting shapes and began printing--and printing and printing.
Over the next several days, I played with the vagaries of acrylic pigment, strange flora and experimented to find the means to capture the outrageous color and patterns I saw everywhere around me.
I divided my days into warm colors, cool colors and days when I layered both together. Naturally, my guidelines only lasted a couple of hours until I threw them over and just started adding color by feel.
My intent was to enjoy my time in Hawaii and explore the island through paint, paper and leaves. I learned to tolerate the uncooperative elements and to welcome the surprise that the textures of the leaves created when they met the squishy plate.
Often there was an extra treat; the print on the cover pages I was using would transfer to the printing paper, adding yet another layer of meaning.
I honestly didn't believe that these experiments would lead anywhere. I made a bunch of prints; grist for the collage mill upon my return, I thought. However, one fine day when the rest of the family was out exploring the island, I found myself exploring the web and discovered the perfect Gelli class.
I'm so excited because starting today, for a week, I'll be exploring Gelli printing in Carla Sonheim's Gelli Print Printmaking course. I'm using some extra professional leave to get a few more hours in the studio and look forward to sharing my progress with you. Gelli ahoy! A hui ho!
The other day my sister Amelia and I spent our last morning of vacation exploring a small store in Kauai, which sold beautifully crafted jewelry and sarongs. Brilliant colors and patterns wafted in the temperate air, rivaling the nearby hibiscus. The store was called "Live a Little," ever a good motto for me.
We spoke with the owner, an enthusiastic and friendly man slightly younger than I. We exchanged first impressions of our home states and he told us a story of his first trip to the mainland in 1992.
He'd landed in L.A. during the Rodney King riots of 1992 and he described for us the empty freeways, the closed shopping plazas and the unsettling quiet. I was both surprised by his candidness and embarrassed, hearing about this disturbing welcome to California.
Later on that day we were wandering through a small town when we suddenly heard a man's voice yodeling and looked up to see the same store owner waving to us with the shaka sign, a common greeting gesture in surfer culture. Surf boards were strapped to the top of his car, which was headed for the beach.
When I looked up this greeting, I learned that in Hawai'i, it expresses a spirit of friendship and understanding between the many cultures living in proximity there--in other words, the spirit of aloha.
I did some more looking and found that "aloha" not only means hello and goodbye--but also refers to a means of solving a problem, accomplishing a goal, or finding a meeting between mind and heart.
This seems like a gentle and ease-filled way to go about meeting my goals; bringing together my mind and heart, finding my way to my Source.
That's what I'm striving for this year. All too often, 'Mind' heads off in the direction of her choosing and 'Heart' sticks around wondering "What just happened here?!?" Or, vice versa.
The collage at the top of this post was made during my time away. I was thinking of the coming year and wanted to express my deep wish to spend as many hours as I can in the studio; making. I chose the hands of this older woman to signify the power that aging brings, the skillfulness brought to bear on materials and the absorption that is possible when you've given yourself over to your heart and mind's desire.
Thank you everyone who sent their thoughts and concerns about my dad. Your comments touched my heart and brought ease. I wrote it while waiting with my family for a flight to Kauai, a place that my father had introduced us to seven years ago and to which, paradoxically, we were returning shortly after his diagnosis.
|Buddha's Dream, ©2010, Hannah Hunter, Collage|
Since I've been here absorbing sun, waves, and floral abundance, I've had time to think about my own art work. Often, when I'm thinking about a post, I'll pick an event or a thought that is clamoring for first place in the forefront of my mind. Pathos, pain, and or redemption claim my attention. Taking a break helps me to focus on quieter voices.
I finished this piece several weeks ago. Originally it was three separate 12" x 24" panels. After studying them out of the corner of my eye (best way so they don't know I'm watching), I decided to connect them. A risk.
For many years I've wanted to create tryptchs, having become enamored of them when I first discovered Jan Van Eyck's "Dresden Tryptych" in an art history class many years ago.
Periodically, I'd give it a try and find that I couldn't extend my attention sequentially over a series of surfaces. Perhaps it was because I was giving most of my attention to my children. Or, perhaps it was because I simply wasn't ready.
Whatever the case, I've discovered that in the last year I've been able to create and sustain a flow of attention across several surfaces. Is it because my children are grown and launched into their own lives? Or is it because I've grown? One of those proverbial chicken and egg questions.
No matter what the reason, I'm delighted and all the more so because this opens up a whole new suite of possibilities which I look forward to exploring in this new year of ours.