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Thursday, March 26, 2015


Is It Really Spring?

Original painting by Pamela Hunt Lee
The Pond
48 x 30
Original Acrylic Painting on Canvas
Pamela Hunt Lee

It's Spring, and wasn't it just Fall?  How did Winter pass by so quickly?

Where I live, the water lilies have begun to bloom reminding me of this painting, The Pond, which depicts Cat Tails and Water Lily Blossoms.  

This aquatic plant, with roots growing in soil, leaves and blossoms floating on the water surface, can be a day or night bloomer.  Where I live the blossoms open in day light, close as the sun is sinking in the west.  This is a sure sign of Spring, the blooming of the water lily plant.

But really, it's Spring already?

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Open Studio Tour.

Visit An Artist's Studio.

A corner in my studio.  You can see a couple torn paper portraits sitting above the canvases leaning against the wall.

There are wonderful surprises in store for you when you visit an artist's studio.  I encourage you to go out on an organized Studio Tour or schedule a private visit.  Artists love love love to share what they are doing.  Just get us started talking about our work and it may be difficult to get us to stop!

Small canvas prepped with Dick Blick's Indian Red.

You cannot imagine what you might see in an artist's studio. Ok, you can imagine, however you will see things you didn't expect.  

Attaching fibers to the canvas.

The other day a woman came to visit my studio and very shortly after she entered she walked over to a painted, torn piece of paper I had tucked behind a few blank canvases, exclaiming, "I love this! I want this!  What can you do with it?"  The 'this' she held was one of my Indian Women portraits, one that belonged to the group painted last spring in a fast and loose way, as a tool, to get me to loosen up a bit with the faces....perhaps you remember since I published a few blog posts during that process.  In the photos shown here you see my studio, the torn face paper and how I brought this to a completed art work.  

What the canvas looked like after the fibers were attached.  I used these to emulate the feel of materials used in basket making.

The portrait attached to the canvas.

Completed Dolores Patencio Portrait after addition of glazes and other detail work.

I encourage you to make sure you have art in your life, and one way to accomplish that is to visit an artist's studio.  You will be entertained, surprised and may even see something you cannot live without.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hidden Identities.

The Third Painting in the Series is Complete.

Tools of the Trade
30 x 24
Mixed Media

This third painting in Hidden Identities was inspired by Aboriginal face and body painting, the use of circular shapes to tell a story and what might have been used as tools to apply pigments before we had brushes.

In my last blog post I told you how after a fairly intense wind, I collected sticks that had blown out of a local tree.  These were adhered to the canvas after applying several layers of pigment in a variety of hues, ending with an off white, and after scraping through the that top coat of paint to create areas of movement and depth.

Circular shapes were painted on and covered with washes to create an impression of antiquity.

Tools of the Trade

Glazes repeating the under colors were added as well as a bold black stripe behind the central area of the sticks. Third painting in the series, completed.  

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Monday, February 23, 2015

First Artists Inspire

Hidden Identities Continued

Blank canvas on easel.  Beginning a new work.

I believe that serendipitous situations have tremendous influence on art.  Contemplate this:  Last week I opened the January issue of National Geographic to find the lead article titled 'The First Artists' is all about the invention of symbolic expression, what it is and theories about how it came to be. This piece discusses ornamentation of body as well as cave art and amulets created by first humans.  This fits nicely with my newest series of work:  Hidden Identities.

Sketched on composition.

I devoured the article and then re-read it, and though I had already started this third canvas in the series, some of what I read influenced the direction of this painting.

Under painting.

More under painting.

Somewhere in the article there was talk about the tools used by the first artists, sticks being a part of those.  I found myself running out to collect sticks to introduce into the composition which was originally influenced by Aboriginal body decoration.

The addition of sticks to the canvas

Close up of the sticks on the canvas.

Cutting and scoring through the paint to reveal pigments applied earlier.

After initial addition of glazing techniques.

Unfinished painting on the easel.  More work to be done.

Though this work nears completion, it is not done.  Currently I am painting in a stripe of black through and behind the sticks which was originally intended to be a bold compositional line, however reading the National Geographic article and allowing new thoughts to work their way into the creative process has taken the composition in a little different direction....serendipity!  Perhaps this work will be titled:  Tools of the Trade.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

Artistic Expression.

Story Telling With Art

Peace War-War Peace
40 x 40
Mixed Media

The art of transforming ourselves with make-up and masks, a universal art form that existed long before we applied pigments to cave walls or boards or canvases has inspired a new series of works titled Hidden Identities.  This is the second in the series, Peace War-War Peace.

Detail of Peace War-War Peace

Once again I approached the canvas with an idea, the idea of representing opposing themes of Peace and War.  You may ask why?  What inspired this theme?  

The day I completed the first canvas in this series, Yellowhammer Dreams, I stood at my kitchen sink cleaning brushes and saw out the window a scattering of feathers on the lawn.  Apparently a dove had given its life to a larger creature.  Because the previous work utilized feathers I was out the door to collect these distinctly marked beauties.

Detail of Peace War-War Peace with Dove Feather.

Immediate thoughts that the dove represents peace filled my mind, causing the opposing thought of war to surface. I recalled that within my recent research about tribal face and body painting I had read one theory that Plains Indian Warriors frequently used a hand print on their faces to symbolize success in hand to hand combat.  The artistic brain started to fire.

Detail of Peace War-War Peace

Back into the studio, blank canvas onto easel, layers of paint applied with drying time between, more layers of paint, allowing the pigment to become thick and cracked, a texture that is reminiscent of how these materials dry as a result of movement of the face and body.  I cut and scored through the layers to add texture and line, then painted my hands and pressed them onto the canvas,  added raffia and the dove feathers.  Over a period of several days this work came together in an intuitive way, inspired by historical face and body painting, telling the story of Peace and War.

Peace War-War Peace
40 x 40
Mixed Media

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Face and Body Paint

Oh, The Places We Will Go.

48" x 96

This may have been something Dr. Seuss said, but it is oh so true when it comes to the art brain....oh, the places we will go.

48 x 96

Recently I rehung a painting of mine that had been in storage due to its size.....48"x 96".  It's big.  After installation it was seen by someone who requested I create something similar, a painting inspired by the style and materials.

I am not sure what happened inside my brain.  Maybe it had something to do with my recent focus on the Indian Women Portraits, but swimming to the forefront of my conscience came the idea of creating a series of work based on Tribal or Cultural Face and Body Painting.  I am not even going to try to make the connection, or explain it, so however loose or disjointed it may seem, I was off to the computer to research. Oh, the places the art brain will go.

This is what I have come up with, what will lead my series:

The art of transforming ourselves with make-up and masks is a universal phenomenon.  Before we sought to vent our artistic impulse on a cave wall, we painted our faces and bodies, providing the power to change ourselves and demonstrate our humanity.  For thousands of years, cultural groups from all over the world have participated in ceremonial face and body painting for a variety of reasons. 

In this new series of paintings titled Hidden Identities, layer upon layer of pigment mimics the application of mud, clay, and pigments created from plant material.  Scoring through the paint and the thick cracking texture are reminiscent of how these materials dry as a result of movement of the face and body.  The addition of other natural materials will vary from canvas to canvas to assist in telling a story, relaying a thought, providing a historical link.  Each painting will be different from the next yet all will follow the theme of Hidden Identity, Spiritual Connection and a Bond with Nature.

Out came a gallon can of paint,

a mess of raffia, 

and a collection of feathers.

A Flicker hit one of my house windows several years ago, dying, giving up its magnificent plumage.  I always save this type of thing, so the feathers had been sitting in my studio just waiting to be used in some way to honor the bird.

A canvas was under painted.

Additional color was added.

Layer upon layer of paint was applied.

I cut through the pigments with a variety of tools allowing the various colors to show.

Raffia was added.

The feathers of the Flicker were tied onto the canvas.

Yellowhammer Dreams
48 x 60
Mixed Media

Glazes were added and the end result is this painting: Yellowhammer Dreams.  Native American legends of Northern California and Oregon relate that the Yellow-Shafted Flickers or Yellowhammers are believed to bring good luck and healing;  hearing their cries means that you will soon receive a visitor, and in some Northern California tribes, dreaming of a Yellowhammer is a sign that a person will become a traditional healer. The first in the Hidden Identity series is 48" x 60", created with layer upon layer of pigment reminiscent of the colors used in traditional face and body painting.  The addition of raffia and Flicker bird feathers was inspired by the connection to nature and the idea of extraordinary characteristics borrowed from the bird. These materials also lend line, form and movement to the composition.   The intent with this painting is to capture the texture of face and body painting, to emote the feeling of hiding behind the paint as well as the spiritual connection to this bird.

Yellowhammer Dreams
48 x 60
Mixed Media

This is where my art brain has gone, to Hidden Identities. Check back to come along, there will be more, and it should be most interesting.

 To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE

Monday, January 26, 2015

Facebook and The Artist. Important Info.

You need to read this if you are an Artist using Facebook.

Many of you who follow my blog are artists, and if you are using Facebook as a tool, you will want to read this.  Yes, it's long, a couple of letters, but it gives you great, accurate info about the changes to Facebook that take place Jan 30th.  Read on.....

Letter from the President of American Women Artists: Facebook changes will impact the way you use social media for art marketing

Dear AWA members,

For many of us, Facebook is an important (free!) marketing tool for unveiling new work or launching invitations to shows and workshops.  All that may be about to change with their new Terms of Service, which go into effect January 30, 2015.  

In response to the new service terms, I've seen many artists post (or repost) statements of copyright ownership which they claim will to go into effect along with the new Terms of Service. I asked my son, who is a practicing attorney in California, to give us the legal perspective and definitive last word on Facebook and Copyright in his article below.
Beyond the copyright issue, Facebook's new Terms of Service will change the way you use social media to operate as a small business and market your art.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook now wants all small business owners and entrepreneurs (like us) to pay to promote things like new work for sale, workshops, shows, etc.  By the end of January, Facebook's algorithms will supposedly be filtering out promotional announcements so that even though you post it to your page, if it's determined to be promotional, it will simply disappear from the newsfeeds. 
Artists occupy a unique niche in the Facebook world - often times we're just sharing a work-in-progress or a newly finished piece.  It remains to be seen just how Facebook will phase out our "promotional posts." After all, how would Facebook be able to identify us as professional artists when we could just be avid hobbyists, right?

Yeah, well...about that: most of us self-identified as professional artists when we participated in the well-timed "Three for Five" challenge.  By posting three works a day for five days in a row, we publicly established a comprehensive body of work while identifying five fellow artists as we called upon them to participate as well.  You can bet that by now, Facebook has a pretty good idea who we are.
Keep us posted as the new Terms of Service go into effect and let us know how your Facebook marketing evolves. Over the course of the coming year, we'll be exploring how artists can use other social media avenues like InstagramTwitter and Pinterest as part of their marketing plan.  We'll also have a tutorial on how to get yourself on Wikipedia.  

Best wishes for an artful and productive new year!

Kathrine Lemke Waste
President, American Women Artists

Are Facebook Copyright Proclamations Necessary?
by J. Jackson Waste, Attorney, Baker, Manock and Jensen, Fresno, CA

You've probably seen and perhaps re-posted the latest copyright protection announcement currently making the rounds on Facebook:

Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I do declare the following: On this day, 30th of January 2015, in response to the new Facebook guidelines and under articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data, drawings, paintings, photos, texts etc... published on my profile. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times. Those reading this text can copy it and paste it on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. By this release, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or to take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The actions mentioned above apply equally to employees, students, agents and/or other staff under the direction of Facebook.

The contents of my profile include private information. The violation of my privacy is punished by the law (UCC
1 1-308-3081-103
1 1-308-3081-1 and the Rome Statute). Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are invited to post a notice of this kind, or if you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you have not published this statement at least once, you will tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile update.

This statement is pure hogwash. Don't waste a minute of your time posting it on your Facebook page. 

Most of the law cited in the provision is completely inapplicable.  The "Code of Intellectual Property" appears to be a set of French statutes, and the Rome Statute is the treaty which established the International Criminal Court and which has nothing whatsoever to do with your Facebook pictures.You continue to own your intellectual property, but the act of posting your pictures on Facebook grants Facebook a license to use those photos.

Facebook's terms and conditions - that text-filled screen where you probably clicked "agree" without reading when you made your Facebook account - is the agreement that governs your interactions with Facebook.  This cannot be altered by posting a proclamation on your wall.  Facebook's "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" provides as follows:

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.[1]

In other words, by posting a photo to Facebook, you agree, in effect, that they have a license to use that photo for as long as that photo remains on Facebook.  This agreement cannot be changed by posting any magic words about copyright ownership. 

So you can feel free to ignore the last portion of the scurrilous copyright notice, which ominously claims that "if you have not published this statement at least once, you will tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile update."  This is about as serious as an old AOL chain letter promising ten years of bad luck if you don't forward to twenty people. 

If you want to protect your intellectual property online, the best bet is to consult with an attorney who can help you develop a coherent, legally effective strategy for protecting your online art in the digital age.