Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 has been a busy summer, for me. I am currently showing work in a small North Eastern Connecticut gallery, called Silver Circle in Putnam CT. I traveled to Ireland and England to paint and now heading back to teach Drawing and Painting at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Traveling dictated the media I used for painting and I have been doing a lot of painting in water color! Enjoy the new work.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why I love Design

Design causes us to think, feel and respond. It presents us with new ideas,
perspectives and causes growth. It purposefully changes consciousness.
I love the challenge of integrating imagery and typography to a formative
aesthetic with the expressed purpose of communicating and intentionally
directing thought.

As visual creatures humans have created a unique practice using type
and image with design. Informed design is a powerful visual methodology
synthesizing communication, psychology and visual perception. Design
has the power to clarify or obstruct information. Letter forms as basic
abstract marks, function as semiotic signs while simultaneously transmitting
visual information.

How wonderful that black and white letters on this page create both
visual form and communicate meaning! Marks becomes words. Words
with agreed upon meaning combine and carry messages. Type and image
unify to heighten communication, whether the message is intentional
or not.

The meaning someone ascribes to what is designed creates and directs
their thoughts. This is important because thoughts govern actions. The
actions of one, influence the actions of many. Actions reflect personal,
cultural, social and political values and beliefs. On an individual level, a
series of actions, moment by moment and day to day, make up a life.
The lifetime of many create a generation for a specific time and place.
Many generations form the history of humanity, and are shaped
by design.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Creating work that sells

My painting subject is usually abstract landscapes. This past summer I worked in traditional water color media and created a "sale-able" piece for an auction to help the homeless.

I purposefully drew it realistically and painted in every detail, true to form. I enjoyed doing it and it turned out well. I went down to the local big box art supply store and picked out a frame suitable for the kind of work it was.

It gave me pleasure to stretch the 300lb Arches water color paper. I sanded down my old drawing board to fresh wood, laid the crisp rough paper in the bath tub for 60 seconds and then stapled it to the board to dry. When the paper was dry I drew every detail of a large bouquet of just picked, vibrant Lilies given to me from my friends garden. I painstakingly observed the colors of the flowers and built up the color intensities, layer by layer.

The composition was carefully considered as I placed a butterfly at the upper corner of the first rule of thirds intersection. I enjoyed adding salt to the loose background to create an interesting texture.

All in all it was a good exercise, and when I painted it, I try to capture the life or spirit of the subject. I stopped short of over working it and many people thought it was a very successful piece.

But, I don't quite feel that way about it. It was not spontaneously created or allowed to develop freely. Although it might not look like it, it was planned to the hilt and this planning I feel took some of the "spirit" out of it. This is a very different method from how I normally work. A friend said I should paint another one to sell, and another, and another... I could, but money isn't enough of a reason for me and I have been resistance to do it just for the money. I suppose if I was starving, my attitude might change in a heart beat. I felt somewhat disindigenous doing this...not sure why. I am talented enough to mimic any style or genre, and when I paint for myself, I find other artist to be appreciative. But when I do something like this, I find other artists bored and layman appreciative. What to do, what to do? Earn a live and cater to the masses or please myself? Maybe the trick is to do both.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I have published a book with 96 of my ink brush paintings. Please take a look. It was a challenge to self publish on Blurb, but well worth the effort.

Ink Brush Paintings of Rebecca Moran

Sunday, October 20, 2013

East Meets West: A Panel Discussion

I was invited to participate in an Artist panel discussion at LQM Gallery, 165 State Street in the Harris Building Atrium in New London, CT, yesterday. The topic was "East meets West: A Prospective." It was a wonderful exploration of women artists and cultural impact.

Four Chinese women painters; Yuling Guan, Zhang Shuyun, Ben Ni, and Xu Chunli are part in the International Contemporary ArtSpace International Residency program hosted by the gallery. The American women artists, also painters included myself, Afarin Rahmanifar (hosting), Leeah Joo, Bridget Grady, Judith Osborne and Blanche Serban, were invited to speak at the panel.

This panel provided a unique opportunity for Chinese women artists and American artists to get together with the help of a translator to talk about specific details of their work and life as American and Chinese women artists. Each artist had work hung in the gallery so we could ask questions specific to the work as we experienced it.

Visual art is truly a universal language. I was amazed at how many similarities we all had as women artists. There were more similarities, than differences. Topics we discussed centered around types of opportunities women in China had for exhibition, what was the inspiration for our work, and how was being in America for the first time influencing their art practice.

I brought two paintings into the gallery to share. One was a small plein air work done on site in Nantucket, MA and the second painting was a work on Yupo, sumi ink and oil paint. My painting done on Yupo with oil was of great interest to the Chinese artists, because it came from my mind rather than direct observation. Based in Lyrical Abstraction, I pay great attention to the brush stroke and use intuitive color to create form. I'm also interested in capturing the energy of an object to elicit feeling. My approach is very much in keeping with traditional Chinese ink brush painting and Taoist philosophy.

"Fern" 18"x 24" Yupo, sumi ink and oil

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Professional Practice for Studio Artists

Finally, the semester is ending for the two universities where I teach. I have worked hard to implement a new course, called "Professional Practice in Studio Art" and am looking forward to the winter break to do some painting.

What an eye-opener it was to teach THIS class! I'm grateful to have been asked to teach it, but part of me was dubious. How could I teach something so ambiguous, with so much variety, with no formal path, and a subject that I had so much resistance to? I took it on, because I knew I needed to understand it better, too.

I have my ideals after all. And, mainly I felt if my work was good, it would be recognized as such. Therefore, I did not have to pursue or plan out my career as a professional artist. The people who wish to exhibit my work or buy it or give credence to who I was as a professional artist, would magically appear. I would not lower myself to climbing the art career ladder by stepping on others or chasing the ones higher up in status than myself AND further more, it was distasteful to do so!

Because of teaching this class, I realized I didn't have to act like a soul-sucking, hungry, used-car salesman, whose only values were how much money and status could be garnered for my work. Lo and behold, there ARE socially acceptable, ethical and moral ways to promote oneself as an artist! And, teaching this course opened my eyes to new ways of going about that.

This newly offered class took huge amounts of time to research, plan and create a syllabus for, including weekly hand-outs on weighty topics, and self-assessment tools. Additionally, I decided to invite as many other artists in to talk to my class about their professional practice, as agreed to come.

The best part of the class was having an honest dialog on what to do, where to go, how to behave, who to talk to, and why it was necessary to do to promote oneself, with the artists who were actually doing it. I got the chance to observe first hand how other artists approach this process. The artists I invited were generous with their time and willing to discuss with me and my students, their life and work and how they grew to become professional artists. The artists who came in were Tom Hebert, Muriel Miller, Neal Parks, Afarin Rahmanifar, Richard Cutrona, Jane Rainwater, and Brad Guarino. I will give a short summary of their talks in future posts.

It was extremely productive for students and myself, to hear how others make sense out of being an artist, how to define professional, and what goes into a viable art practice. The challenge was to communicate this to students who want to make creating art their life's work, when I had so little information about doing this, myself.

I have to admit, I relied heavily on an artist run company, called GYST or (Get Your Sh*t Together) for much of the information presented in the class. The information from GYST is wonderful, insightful and invaluable for teaching this course. I didn't have to "re-invent the wheel" as artists who collectively created GYST did a comprehesive job encompassing the issues and concerns of artists. To quote from their web site, the mission is to offer "strategies, traditions and practices used by artists to fulfill their career goals". The personal and professional are wrapped up together. Issues range from myths and fears about being an artist, the artists relationship to money, power, prestige, to the physical logistics of presenting work, writing artists statements, presenting and communicating with the viewer.This is of course, on top of the whole process of actually creating the work.

Now, to put into practice my own instruction. I will be teaching this course again, so if any artists out there in the virtual world would like to share with the next generation of artists your experiences, drop me a note.

Saturday, August 4, 2012