I was invited by the wonderful Supria Karmakar to join in on this blog hop project.The project consists of answering some questions regarding art and my art process. The fun part though was to highlight three artists I admire who will post the following week. I always enjoy sharing the work of artists I admire here on my blog.
photo by Maike van Wijk
1) What am I working on/writing?
After finishing up the show that took place last month, I am currently in the stage where I am planning on what is next. For many years I have wanted to create large landscape paintings, but have not dedicated the time to do so. This is something I really want to do. In the past few years though I have been dipping my toes in creating abstract paintings. My thinking right now is to bring those two together and start a series of abstracted landscapes. I am excited at the thought of it. My family and I make the outdoors as part of our life as much as possible and attempting to capture the beauty that I see when we’re hiking is going to be very satisfying and challenging. Last month when I was in Utah, I felt completely humbled by my surroundings. I felt as if nothing and no one could ever capture the beauty of the land, the sky and the light. I don’t want my landscapes to just portray a place, but rather and in addition to, I want my paintings to evoke the feelings that fill me when I am outdoors. Reverence.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
My work is very much based on the personal, telling the stories from my life and my observations and so it is inherently mine and unique. My mixed media based paintings contain my own photographs, and objects that I find. My paintings are often a dialogue with myself and so through the years I have developed my own marks and metaphors that make up my visual language. I am so drawn to different media and finding the beauty in the natural world and I am not afraid to bring them together to say what I need to say.
3) Why do I do what I do?
Creating is what I do. Saying ‘I like to create’ is like saying that I have brown eyes. It is what I do and will always do, and it doesn’t matter what the medium is, whether it is paint, taking photos on my phone, my home, or with food. But why? I make images and I paint because it is about capturing the moments that make up my life. I have a need to document the experience of living, reflect on it, then create something new from the experience. My paintings are often a way for me to make sense of the world around me and find my place in it as well. It is an elusive answer though, similar to that itch that can’t be scratched. Each painting or creation I make is about delving into that mystery, and never quite coming up with the resolution.
4) How does my writing/working process work?
This is a harder question to answer than I first thought! I would say that part of my process has to do with keeping all my senses open and aware, even when I am not in my studio working. Actually, especially then. I feel that we can be sponges, absorbing information and inspiration through our daily lives. I bring all of that with me when I am in the studio and begin to work. Sometimes I will have something in mind, but often I work intuitively, following what is happening before me on the table. Creating layers and glazes, digging in, scraping back. I respond to the changes on my painting, the previous layers informing the next.
Writing is very much a part of my creative process. I write in a handbound journal and again it helps me hone in on what is important to me- what it is that I believe and think which then feeds into what I focus on in my work. Writing it down helps me figure out what I want to say. After each painting is finished I usually write on my blog about the painting, which is then the final part, the final processing, of the painting.
Thank you so much Supria for inviting me to think about these answers, it’s always a good thing to ponder such things. I really enjoyed reading Supria’s response to the questions last week and her answers resonated with me. Here is a little bit about Supria:
When the true essence of creativity flows from me, I believe it is my muse’s creation which is being portrayed and birthed into the world. My passion is mixed media works, in which I create using primarily encaustic medium, collage and/or altered books. Each piece I create, I see as a container for the unfolding of a story with layers of narrative which serve to delight, provide meaningful insight and/or provide the viewer a place of comfort and connection whether it be joyous or melancholy.
Now it is my turn to invite and highlight three artists to answer the same questions. The three women I chose go back to my Chicago roots, two of them from FUSEDChicago. I have had the honor of showing with all three of them at some point while I was living in Chicago.
My first pick is Angie McMonigal. I consider Angie a great friend and miss her terribly as she was my neighbor when I lived in Chicago and our kids would play on the sidewalk that connected our houses. How lucky to find out that your neighbor has two kids the same age as yours and is also a creative person trying to juggle our desire and need to create with raising young children? We bonded quickly and even did a collaboration- her urban photos and my mixed media techniques.
Although I grew up in a small town in rural Wisconsin, I was always fascinated by big cities; their towering skyscrapers, constant energy and seemingly endless options had me longing to be a part of that world. Since 2000 I have spent most of my time living in Chicago with my husband raising our two young children and focusing my creative energy on photography.
My work has been awarded and exhibited nationally and focuses on exploring the broader urban landscape, its architectural details and how we express ourselves within this landscape. The contrast between these expansive urban scenes and the abstractions achieved by isolating their details is of particular interest to me. It’s a study in various perceptions of common subject matter–a way to see the whole by appreciating its detail–how we reveal a detail of ourselves while moving through these spaces.
Angie McMonigal blog
Alicia Forestall-Boehm and I met through FUSEDChicago back in 2010, I believe. But our artwork had exhibited together a few times together before we even met! I think one show was even out in Oregon. One of the exciting things to me about Alicia’s work is seeing her follow a different path in her work- going from paintings to sculptural forms. Both bodies of work though have a connection and they are both unique to her vision. It’s been really wonderful to see her stretch herself and the really strong work that came from that.
My encaustic and fiber sculptures reduce larger images and concepts into elegant simplified forms. By paring down basic elements of color, shape and movement I am able to acknowledge another kind of space. Ultimately they become symbols of incompleteness that come together in works of art that are complete and whole. My work elevates the humble cheesecloth. When married with encaustic it becomes surprisingly malleable allowing for a broad range of sculptural treatments. The resulting works are abstract representations of urban history that often explores the physical and mental boundaries of public and private spaces we inhabit. I am currently working on an encaustic and fiber sculptural installation for a solo show at Art on Armitage in Chicago December 2014.
Alicia Forestall-Boehm’s blog
I saw Kari Hall’s work before I met her at a FUSEDChicago show and immediately thought, I need to meet this woman! I remember standing in front of one of her paintings and feeling like I was falling into it and just having to hold myself back from touching the rich surface. But beyond the beauty of how she handles the medium, you can sense that there is a lot of thought and emotion contained in her paintings. I love her work and am happy to highlight her here.
Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, Kari Hall earned a BA in Visual Communications Design from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It was there Kari was first introduced to encaustic painting and has kept her concentration on developing work in this medium. Her work has been shown in many galleries around the Chicago area such as the Zhou B Art Center, Fine Arts Building, Black Cloud Gallery, Union Street Gallery, and Morpho Gallery. Her art-making process is focused on a visual and emotional unfolding, personal memories and honest expression revealed through a landscape of color, light, texture, and dimension. She melts, carves, and transforms layers of wax to expose the depth of her life. Through it she is guided to a place, whether real or imagined, simple or complex. This process encourages a thought-provoking journey and allows her natural creative mind to spill open. When she isn’t in the studio painting, she is spending time with her husband, Drew, and Bloodhound puppy, Harvey.
Kari Hall’s blog
Hope you’ll take some time to visit these four artists here and be sure to check back with Angie, Alicia, and Kari next week for their answers.