Friday, August 13, 2010

Joanne's Still Life Gallery

"Apricot Jam" 22"x18" prismacolor on paper
In previous blogs, I have talked about how food and art come together naturally for me. My art has always been about food, in particular fruit. I have used fruit symbolically in my work for many years. Food, fruit, kitchen, nourishment are all about what I do as a wife and mother. It's my work and my pleasure to nurture those I love, including me. I rejoice in the work of a woman, in nurturing living things around me; my husband, my two sons when they were with me, friends and family, plants in house and garden, various cats I've had in life, and now friendly microbes. "Apricot Jam" is a tribute to my mother, Ismae and my grandmother, Annie, who taught me and my sisters how to can fruit.

"Backyard Labors" 22"x 18" prismacolor on paper

Fruitful, is term used in scripture and it has a lot of meaning for me in my art work. My first serious pieces of art were done in colored pencil in the early nineties. I loved working color pencil back then because they were "interrupt able". With a houseful of teenagers and my work teaching art at a junior high, color pencil (Berol Prismacolors were best) was just the thing. I could just abruptly leave the pencils with no tools or mess to clean up and come back later. However, those color pencil works took months to complete. "Backyard Labors" is a self portrait of me and my first year at gardening. After living in apartments for many years, we finally got a house and this is the result of my first gardening experience there. Those objects are sitting on a director's chair in the back yard and that pink fabric was my gardening sweatshirt.

"Unexpected Light" 24"x20" prismacolor on paper

I wore that polka dot apron for years and had another one like it only red with white dots. Those two aprons ended up in a lot of my still lifes. The apples are bruised and dinged which was how I was feeling at the time. During this hard time I cling ed tightly to my faith in Jesus Christ.

"Divided" 20"x16" prismacolor on paper

I did a few commissions for other women in my neighborhood during the early nineties, but I don't have digital pictures of those works. I would go into a friend's house and she would collect some objects that meant a lot to her and we would arrange those objects in a pleasing manner and I took pictures then retired to my home studio to do the work. By the time I was ready to quit junior high school teaching (burn-out) for a while and go back to school myself for a master's degree in art, those colored pencil works proved useful and slides of them got me into graduate school. "Divided" is a visual statement of the end of my second marriage. It's a sad piece, beautifully done.

Graduate school full time was a joy. I was 54, single again and with student loans to keep body and soul together I embarked on a new path. I wanted to keep using still life objects because they could express so much for me, but I wanted to work faster and better and not quite so realistic. I wanted to learn how to really paint. I worked watercolors, oils and acrylics. I took figure painting classes and loved it but the figure just wasn't my mode of expression. I took landscape painting and could do it but landscapes although so necessary for Utah artists to survive financially, just wasn't my expression either. I tried other subjects and no subjects but kept coming back to still life with a nutrition flavor.

"Mixed Nourishment 3" 36"x24" acrylic and oil on stitched fabric and stretched paper

In graduate school (BYU) I learned to work in series. The idea was to get a good idea and work it with variations. If the idea was good, it would motivate others until the idea played itself out. "Mixed Nourishment #3" is the third in a 15 painting series about food and nourishment. I thought that with this series I could add more meaning by hand stitching or sewing my own grounds rather than just paint on plain canvas. So, I collected cotton and linen fabrics from my own home like used dish towels, sheets, clothing, drapes and cut them up, reassembled them stitched them up and then glued the finished "skins" to stretched paper on stretcher boards. This provided the painting surface. I also collaged images when needed like photocopies of utensils or pages from old copies of Book of Mormon. I painted acrylic first then finished with oil paint. I developed a very complex and labor intensive process but I thought it added more meaning. I mean, that woman's work is labor intensive if she does it right, Sewing represents the work women do to hold a marriage and family together. I thought it appropriate. However, the work did go a lot faster than my old color pencil process....more complex and interesting but faster. That's what I got out of my 3 years of graduate school....wait, I got a lot more than that but for my art work this is what emerged.

"Green Series #4" 22"x28" oil on canvas

"Green Series #5" 22"x28" oil on canvas

The "Green Series" had originally 8 works all the same size and similar subject matter. Green is one of those colors that has endless variations and I wanted to explore some of those variations. I have 4 of the 8 left.

"Nectarines" 22"x28" acrylic and oil on stitched fabric and stretched paper

"Nectarines" is one of 6 part series exploring illusionary space and flat space on highly surface. I only have this one left.

"Safe Place" 30"x30" acrylic and oil on stitched fabric and stretched paper

This large work was the beginning of a 55-60 work series called Safe Place. I used stitched fabrics and collaged paper parts and started painting with acrylic then finished with oils. I wanted to symbolically create safe places for children and adults. I used fruit, the figure of a house, fences, trees, grids, moons and suns. Sometimes pages of scripture were embedded into the paintings and glazed or painted over. Most of this series are sold. "A" Gallery in SLC did most of the sales and I don't know who bought them. Not all were this big. Most of this series were small like 9x12. It was a fine series and I had a good run of it. The next painting is also part of that series.
"Safe Place for Seven" 16"x22" mixed media

In most of this series, there is a part of the painting that is threatening and is contrasted with the safe and comfortable parts. In the above painting, I drew with silver pen images that look high tech. I was looking a the underside of a mother board.

"Cherries 1" and "Cherries 2" 12"x16" mixed media

These two works are my most recent and were inspired by a bumper crop of great cherries in June of '09.

"Daughter of Ever" watercolor 12"x16"

This is the only watercolor on this gallery. I've done a ton of watercolor still lifes but most of them are gone; gifts or sold.

This last one is small and I did it for me and my third husband. It is a mixed media as well but on a small metal plate. I glued the stitched fabric to the metal and it is not framed.

"Marriage" 10"x10"

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