What is Quartz Inversion?
No, it’s not a quart of milk standing on its head. It’s the point at which silica crystals in clay change their molecular structure during the rise and fall of temperatures in the kiln. Heat serves as a catalyst for permanent change. Very cool idea. I think of it as a metaphor for most things in life. The transformational power of art can change us at the very core. Our actions change the earth every day, for better or worse. The choices we make, the thoughts we have, and the words we say change us in every way at every moment--from the inside out. I like to think that I go through a quartz inversion on a regular basis....and once quartz inversion occurs, there is no going back.
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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Repetition, Redundancy, Repertoire.....

66 Buick / Sunny Day

What's the difference between developing ones own artistic language and repeating oneself? Damned if I know. I've been working on this in the studio and some days, I just think I am singing one note over and over again. Other days I feel like I am creating a cohesive series of related melodies. It's absolutely imperative to repeat oneself in order to develop ones imagery and to move it to the next level, wherever or whatever that is. The trick is to take some detours every now and then. Risk taking, experimentation, and letting go are all so essential. Today was productive as far as quantity goes, but I'm still not sure if I sang that same old tune, or if I composed a new related melody. It will take me a couple of days to decide whether today was productive in terms of quality.
320 Court Street / Provincia di Ragusa

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keep walking....

Each day I try to find a quote or saying that seems fitting to my current state of mind. Lately, I've been focusing on "perseverance" and that the most important thing is to keep working, without regard for the outcome and with no expectations. Approaching the studio from that place I am never (well...,almost never) dissatisfied with what comes out of a day's work because I know the most important thing is that I get to the studio as often as possible ~ every day would be ideal. So here is my quote for today:

"If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking." ~ Buddhist proverb

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sometimes a little means a lot....

Work in progress: "We Are Leaving Rome"

I haven't had much time in the studio this week so I'm really happy to have done a bit of work today. And I'm really loving these little 4X4 panels. They are very unintimidating even when I'm experiencing the dreaded "blank canvas" syndrome. I always seem to be able to pop something out and at least feel like I made some progress. I hate feeling unproductive, but with these small pieces I can keep myself working regularly and consistently because they don't take as much time as the bigger projects do. Making art is just like working out ~ if you stop exercising for a while, you lose your strength and muscle tone and can sometimes even experience a physical setback. Well, you can lose your "muscle tone" in the studio as well. The longer you stay away from work, the harder it is to build up those muscles again. Just like with exercise, even a little bit each day is better than nothing.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The good, the bad, the snow, and everything in between....

I had a great day in the studio on Wednesday during that blizzard we got hit with. I'm getting to really love these "sick" days I am taking off from work and spending in the studio instead! It was a perfect day. The snow was falling steadily and I got to work some time in the late afternoon after spending most of the morning looking out the window watching the snow accumulate on the branches of the trees outside. Armed with a hefty supply of Oreos and white wine, I had no reason to leave the apartment. The conditions were just right for a productive day of work. And so I began a new series using color photos from the 1960's instead of my usual black and white ones which date from the first half of the 20th century. After three or four hours I stopped working, just about the time the snow started to abate. Although I wasn't quite sure if the panels were "done" at that point, I let them sit on the dining table for the next several days where I could consider and decide whether I needed to work on them any more. After rotating them in every direction and juggling them around in every combination, I decided they worked quite well together and came to that moment when you tell yourself to leave well enough alone. Every new piece teaches me something and shows me what I need to work harder on the next time around. With this triptych, the lesson learned was that I needed to stop playing it so safe with color. Maybe it was the reflected white light of the snow casting its muted glow on to my work table that caused me inadvertently to make these pieces so mid-range in their tone. Or perhaps, and more likely, it was my usual reluctance to take risks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Minimum / Maximus......

The day was pretty productive, as far as quantity goes. Worked on 6 small panels and tried playing around with my brand new Silver iridescent oil stick. It's yummy, but as I have said before, it's a bitch to get a good photo because of the reflection it creates. I think I these pics are a fairly good representation of the surface, even with the glare. They're quite small and simple, and I'm using fewer elements in these small panels. The bottom line is, even though so much of my work has always been highly decorated, I still feel that under all this collage-ing lives an artist who is inherently minimalist.
I love work that creates the biggest bang with the simplest compositions and fewest colors. I've recently been looking at an artist named Lawrence Carroll who's book I discovered, in all places, in the bookstore at the Morandi show in Bologna last fall. His compositions employ only the most essential elements and his palate is very limited. His work really drives home the concept of 'Less is More".

So with these collages I'm teetering precariously on that thin line of 'what to keep and what to throw out'. Perhaps the answer to that question lies in knowing what not add in the first place......

Friday, February 5, 2010

And now for something completely different....

I always try to make the most out of sick days by getting some work done in my studio. Today was the third day of this horrible head cold, which I think is feeling worse than it actually is due to the approaching snowy weather. The barometric pressure always plays with my head and makes me feel like there is a giant balloon being blown up inside my skull.So I took the day off from work and got an early start in the studio. The first couple of hours were a complete disaster and were an indication that, when you really are sick it's best just to rest and not try to get anything done. I started on two small panels which turned out to be total messes.

Tossing them aside, I got dressed, went outside for some provisions, including some Mucinex (for $27!!!!), put my laundry in, and then climbed back up the four flights of stairs to wait for the mucus to start pouring out of me. When that didn't happen, I got tired of waiting and started on a couple of new panels. They actually turned out OK, although somewhat different from what I've been doing. I've always been awed by artists that can create masterpieces from one single color or tone, so I tried my hand at some (mostly) monotone pieces. I'm not completely disappointed with the results. Actually, quite the opposite. Although I'm not sure these two are total successes, it was good to take a slight detour and risk doing something a little different. What tends to happen with me is, once I get on a roll with a series that is going well, I end up hitting a wall and lose my spontaneity. I always gotta keep things fresh by throwing a curve ball to myself every now and then...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Well the Etsy page is finally up and I've posted five listings! It takes forever to set up the page to list items, but once you get all the basic info in the rest is a breeze. The photography is a big pain in the ass and doesn't look all that great, but at least I've made some inroads. Now all I have to do is keep working, and posting items. I am finally getting past the block of not wanting to let go of my work. It's ironic that it has taken my most personal and intimate work to teach me a lesson in 'giving it up'.
Check out the page! QUARTZ INVERSION ON ETSY

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

All Grown Up......

I found two inspiring and very à propos quotes this morning:

"My breakthrough came very late in life, really only starting when I was fifty years old. But at that time I felt as though I had the strength for new deeds and ideas."
::: Edvard Munch :::

"Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50."
::: Edgar Degas :::

What a great way to start my day........

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gold Rush ~ or ~ Technical Difficulties

I found a really fun color oil stick by R&F ~~ Iridescent Gold. It looks great on my work, but it is a bitch to photograph. The gold seems to reflect any light that hits it making all photos look either over-exposed, off color, or it just creates too much glare.
Now this pair doesn't have any gold in it and, although the color is a bit wishy washy, it photographed truer to color. The surface texture of encaustic makes photography tricky to begin with, and adding metallic to the surface just creates another challenge. However the gold adds so much depth, warmth, and atmosphere to the work I don't want to give it up just because of a few bad photos. More colors to try ~ Iridescent Pearl, Iridescent Bronze, and Iridescent Silver. The last time I loved something "iridescent' thus much, was in High School when It was the color of my lipstick......