Thursday, October 09, 2008
Design Board: New Ways to Look at Art and the World
(Click on image to enlarge. My studio space at the MacNamara Foundation.)
When first arriving at the MacNamara Foundation, each artist was assisted in setting up his or her "studio" space. Every need was met....even ones not yet anticipated! It was amazing. I felt unworthy and nervous with a staff just vying to bring electrical needs, lighting equipment, and just about any supply on hand. It seemed "too much". It was too much, overwhelming. I was asked if I "needed" a design board.
Needed? As a parent, I spent too many days explaining the difference between a "need" and a "want". There was nothing I needed! I'd been granted six weeks in which to create art...uninterrupted...in a paradise location. How could I need anything else? Well, the photographer and painter got these boards....and lights for them...and have been pinning up their work ever since...sharing their creations...standing back to consider changes. I've been shoving my work into the large (extremely nice!) drawer.
Well, today I got two large panels....a design wall! I pinned up everything except Crazy Blues. I've never worked in this manner. I've never had the luxury. Of course, now all my embroidery looks rather poor in comparison to the surroundings. This feeling has haunted me often. My work seems unsophisticated and lacking. Maybe it is. Generally, time goes by and I look again and think, "It's not that bad!"
Well, just as an experiment. I'm going to force myself to LOOK at my work...every day...until the end of the month when this paradise comes to an end. Maybe I'll improve? Maybe I'll learn to be satisfied? I really don't know. I'd love to hear from those who use design boards. How has it affected your work?
It has been very interesting being around the other artists here. The photographer, Lisa Robinson, is quite accomplished and working with large format images, digital scans of the big negatives, and creating a series of cynotypes from many of the natural wonders here on Westport Island (like a dead bird, a dead snake, the bones of a mouse, all sorts of feathers, a dead frog, various plant pods, grasses, the skeletal autumn leaves...we've all been collecting things for her!). Lisa has just had a book published called Snowbound. It is glorious, a new way of looking at the world.
Well educated and quite fluent in what I'll call "art ease", Lisa can describe her work, her thoughts, and her vision in most amazingly brilliant ways. She's currently working to capture the etheral essence of fog. Through her eyes I've been made aware of climate, atmosphere and the need to express not only physical artwork but the proper words to describe it. I have so much to learn. Fortunately, there's lots of "teachers" here in the form of professional, working artists. With my new design board, they'll likely be more, interesting conversations.
Above and below are two images I took as a result of Lisa Robinson's inspiration. The fog truly is mysterious and beautiful. Ordinarily, these days were ones in which I'd have left the camera at home!
Posted by Susan Lenz at 1:55 PM