Opening a Studio

Mending Wall 5, ©2012, 12" x 12," Watercolor, fabric, paper on panel I recently googled the history of Open Studios and discovered that the open studios, called salons, were started by a certain Madame De Scudéry in Paris. It was a place where intellectuals, writers and artists gathered for discussions.

More recent open studios, the article said, focus on the creative act of making and sharing. And while that definition applies to studios where people are making art in a common space, I like it: a place that focuses on making and sharing.

And that's exactly what I'm going to do April 12 and 13th, when along with 23 other artists, I'm going to be part of an open studio tour sponsored by our local Davis, CA gallery, the Artery.

I'm taking on the challenge because for a long time, I've really wanted to share my artwork in an intimate space; it's intimate work and the more impersonal walls of a gallery don't always do it justice. It looks good in a gallery, but in the home, it looks great.

When one of my friends pitched the idea to me, I bit.

I also decided to extend the open studio into my blog and for the next several posts, I'll introduce you to some of the work I'll be sharing in April.

The piece above is part of a series I worked on over the last summer. It's called Mending Wall, after a poem by Robert Frost.

Before I built a wall I'd ask

What I was walling in or out

And to whom I was like to give offense

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,

That wants it down.

In the series, I explore how I put up walls with people, when I take them down and under what conditions. Walls are needed in life; the trick is to figure out what to do when.

The process of putting the text and image together was not unlike building a wall. I used watercolor paintings of jade plants, which I had cut into squarish "stones" and blocks of text from some papers I'd found at my father's: 50 year old documents from his career as an English professor.

Lest I sound like I'm still in an English lit. class, I have to tell you that when I made the collage, none of this was conscious. I was spurred on by sensation and under the spell of memory.