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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Guadalupe Arenas IV

When Art Becomes Work

My work continues on the portrait of Guadalupe Arenas which is the truly wonderful part of being an artist.  It's the work in front of the easel, the drawing in the sketchbook that we artists are driven to do, that we love to do, that captivates us, entertains us, frustrates us and brings us satisfaction.   I don't think one of us considers this WORK.  However if you are a serious artist there are other tasks to accomplish and some of those are considered WORK.  


Currently painting the diamond pattern on the snakes in this portrait of Guadalupe Arenas.

One of those tasks is the submission of our creative efforts to juried exhibitions.  A Call and Prospectus is received, read, reviewed, work chosen to submit.  Typically time is spent in front of the computer working with photos of the submitted work.   After all is done, sent off, it's time to sit back and wait for notification.  

Last month, because I am a member of the Artists Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum I was invited to submit to a juried exhibition titled:  Artistic Expressions of the Coachella Valley. Yesterday I was notified my work was accepted.  A collaboration between the University of California, Riverside-Palm Desert and the Palm Springs Art Museum Artists Council the exhibit will run from March 3 through April 22, 2016.  Additional time will be spent delivering the work, attending the opening (March 3, 5-7PM, UCR Palm Desert Center), retrieving the work at end of the exhibition.  But for now, it's time to submit to another exhibition and then spend time in front of the easel doing what I love to do.

Madame Butterfly
40 x 40
6000.
Accepted into 'Artistic Expressions of the Coachella Valley', an exhibition at UCR Palm Desert which runs from March 3 - April 22


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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Guadalupe Arenas III

The Use Of Symbolism In Art

Following in the tradition of Symbolist's, this painting of Guadalupe Arenas surrounded by snakes, eagles, and soon to appear lizards makes use of unrealistic forms to bring the subject to life on the canvas and in the mind of the viewer.  

Since my last blog post about this painting I have spent many hours adding detail as you can see in the following photos:







Borrowing subject matter from the baskets created by Guadalupe Arenas, her serious look, and the palette are all symbols of a life led in harsh conditions while creating beautifully spectacular baskets.  Is she strangled by her situation? Certainly Arenas created her baskets as a means to finance her life while living in a harsh desert environment. The choice of the deep reds and golden tones mimics the actual materials used in her basket work. The soft,more feminine tones, inspired by the fact she was female, provide a sharp contrast to the rest of the symbolism.

The painting is not complete. I will continue to post photos as the work progresses, so please check back or follow my Facebook page:  pamelahuntlee  

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Guadalupe Arenas II

Inside the Creative Process

A portrait of Guadalupe Arenas was started a few weeks ago. Similar in design and composition to Madame Butterfly, this new painting is progressing and I thought I would share a few photos.  This first is the completed Madame Butterfly....

Madame Butterly
40 x 40
Acrylic on Canvas
6000.

The portrait of Guadalupe Arenas will have a similar palette and composition to Madame Butterfly, however the design elements will differ. Arenas wove eagles and snakes, as well as lizards into her carefully crafted baskets so those creatures will be represented.




The larger pigment areas of the canvas are applied.

An eagle shape, reminiscent of that used by Arenas, appears.

A darker area toward the bottom of the canvas is added.


Work begins on the snakes.

Additional work on the snakes.

This final photo is how the canvas looks this morning before I pick up the brushes and pigments to begin working again. There is much much more detail to be added that I am carrying around inside my head and appears in the sketches, so check back to watch the progress.

These portraits bring focus and attention to the women who lived in harsh conditions during the late 1800's into the early/mid 1900's, making the transition from traditional tribal life to the European influenced way of life. The beautiful vessels created under the tutelage of their mothers were originally utilitarian in use but became collector items during the Curio Trade in the early 20th Century. Guadalupe Arenas, member of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians,  was one of the basket weavers whose work has become highly prized and is included in private and museum collections.  

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Guadalupe Arenas

The Beginning Of A New Portrait



Welcome to 2016, a new year, and the beginning of a new portrait.  This painting is inspired by a chance meeting with a woman who owns two baskets woven by Guadalupe Arenas, and having the opportunity to see several baskets woven by this woman who lived and worked in the Coachella Valley during the late 1800's into the 1900's.  Her work is respected, revered, valued.  It is a wonder to see the intricate, tight, carefully crafted baskets she created which are rich with careful design.

Guadalupe Arenas Snake and Eagle Basket 

Large Storage Basket, circa 1910.
Guadalupe Arenas Snake Basket

After being invited into the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum to conduct research, I was able to come up with three photographs of Guadalupe Arenas which became the inspiration for the face on the canvas.


Guadalupe Arenas

Guadalupe Arenas

Guadalupe Arenas


These three photos seem to be from different time periods, so the challenge is to meld them into one representational, stylized face.  Having already selected my palette, it was a matter of layering on color, shadow, and some definition before moving on to other areas of the canvas.  This face is not complete, but it is a beginning.





Desiring to create a similar composition to my last painting, 'Madame Butterfly' (seen hanging on the wall in the photo above), I sketched onto the canvas with thin pigment various elements Guadalupe Arenas used in her baskets.


It is not my desire to recreate her designs exactly but to use her snakes, eagles and lizards, with my own interpretation.


With these portraits I want to bring focus and attention to the women who lived in harsh conditions creating beautiful vessels under the tutelage of their mothers. Baskets which were originally utilitarian became collector items during the early 20th century disappearing into private collections. Guadalupe Arenas was one of these basket weavers whose baskets are highly valued today. 





 This last photo shows some of the under and back ground painting that has been applied to the canvas.  Work on the portrait continues daily.  Welcome to 2016 and this new portrait.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Color.

Rose Quartz & Serenity

Madam Butterfly
Acrylic on Gallery Wrap Canvas
40x40
6000.

Have you already heard about this? Pantone selected two colors of the year for 2016...yes, Rose Quartz and Serenity. So who is Pantone?  Color Authority.  Owned by Washington, D.C.-based Danaher Corp., Pantone creates a system that helps manufacturers define color precisely. Every year the company polls decor and fashion designers, manufacturers and retailers about colors they plan to use and based on the information gathered, pick the color for the coming year.  This is the first year Pantone has selected two. Rose Quartz and Serenity.

The 2016 PANTONE Color of the Year

Take a closer look....one might say baby pink and baby blue, however Pantone says more of a Rose Pink to convey a rosy warmth balanced with the blue to invoke tranquility. No baby stuff here.

Be watching for these colors....everywhere.  You will see it in home products, clothing, personal products.  Here are just a few.

Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer, Pink
Image result for pink designer clothing men

Interestingly enough, when Pantone announced their decision to name these two colors for 2016 I could not stop connecting my most recent painting, Madame Butterfly, to the decision.  

Madame Butterly

Truly, I did not know of Pantone's color selection until just a few days ago.  No one did.  I firmly believe (and have written about this before) if the mind is open it can tap into thoughts that circulate through the universe. It's not a conscience thing; it happens with spontaneity and is absolutely unplanned. This goes along with my last blog post about using your creativity, allowing yourself to be open and flexible.  Do things a little differently.  

Madame Butterfly


When I approached this particular painting I let it grow and change in a spontaneous manner.  I had not planned on using this palette.  It just happened as the painting progressed based on what I thought looked best.  A lot of intuition.  I never use pink..oops...Rose Quartz.  I typically do not use pastel colors.  My palette is usually bold, fully saturated color. Being open allowed the universe to dictate a very different palette and one I now see is coming into use everywhere.  Rose Quartz and Serenity.  

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Get Creative.

Use Your Creativity


Every one of us, yes, every one of us is creative. I cannot tell you how many times I hear, " I could never do that.  I don't have a creative bone in my body.  I can't even draw a stick figure."  This couldn't be further from the truth.  Everyone is creative and just needs to learn to tap into that creativity. And when you do, you are entertained, happy, and can create a positive situation for everyone around you. Here is an example:



An old time friend invites me to build a gingerbread house every year. She makes the gingerbread, cuts out the pieces, gathers together all the candy and other decorative items, and helps put the house together. This friend is creative....and generous too (she does this for over 70 people).  She doesn't believe she is creative however.





It is a gift to be able to spend time in the studio of the Gingerbread Lady (some people call her that) letting your creativity flow, sharing friendship and a few nibbles of sweets.  Her creativity allows others to use their creativity and have fun in the process.





What ever you are doing, let it be infused with creativity. Think outside the box.  Do it a little differently than you normally do.  Expand your idea and do it in a different way adding flair and imagination. That's creativity.  It can be in the garden, in the house, at work, where ever you are and with what ever you are doing.  





It's a busy time of year with loads of opportunities to change the way you typically do something. Change it up by using your creativity.

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mamie Gregory IV.

Madame Butterfly

original painting by Pamela Hunt Lee
Madame Butterfly
40 x40
Acrylic on stretched canvas
6000.00


An exceptional basket weaver, Mamie Gregory was a Panamint Shoshone who lived from 1867 to 1947.  Born at Indian Gardens near Darwin in Death Valley, CA (one of the hottest places on earth) she is known for her elegantly created storage vessels.  

Madame Butterfly


As a young adult Mamie married tribal member George Gregory, whose name was adopted from his employer, and moved to the old mining town of Coso Hot Springs.  Working for a dollar a day she cleaned houses and took care of the laundry for neighbors.  She walked 5 miles to work each morning, returning home at night to weave baskets and prepare the materials needed for this craft.  All this in a dry, arid, harsh environment.

Madame Butterfly



Utilizing a high stitch and coil count, Mamie's baskets went from utilitarian storage baskets to smaller gift baskets coinciding with the Curio Trade of the early 1900's.  Now highly valued, her remaining baskets are housed in private and museum collections.  And they are spectacular!

Madame Butterfly


Frequent use of a butterfly design on her baskets earned her the title, Madame Butterfly.  The grace and beauty of her designs (which included lizards, spirals, and other shapes as well as the butterfly), the careful craft and excellent weave earned her the distinction as one of the world's finest basket weavers.

Madame Butterfly
40 x40
Acrylic on canvas
6000.00


Joining the other paintings in my Indian Women Portrait series, this painting is designed to honor Mamie Gregory and her elegantly created baskets. 

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