Blog

Well that went by quickly

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(To start by stating the obvious) November is at an end already. I’ve been doing my best to fit in creative time when I can. Most days it’s just a bit of drawing in my sketchbook. Here are a couple of the images I’ve created over the past month.

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I noticed that the heads on many of my figures were starting to look a little skeletal, which lead me to do some skull studies as research. I’ve also continued to play around with narrative images, inserting figures into cityscapes and landscapes composed of elements from various parts of Scotland.

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At the moment I’m in Glasgow, where my husband is scheduled to receive his stem cell transplant tomorrow. This November has been anything but normal, but I am feeling hopeful about the future. Fingers crossed that we are home and he’s on the way to a full recovery by the end of the year.

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Art Every Day Month 2016

Two Figures, Armless

Two Figures, Armless; mixed media on paper. Available.

Art Every Day Month is here again! I’ve been participating for most of the past 11 years (the first time was way back when I lived in Switzerland).

This year is going to be a stretch for me, but it’s also a good way to challenge myself. In a few days my husband will be checking into the hospital in Glasgow for a stem cell transplant to treat his relapsed Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I’ll be away from my studio in Edinburgh for most of the month, so most of what I make will probably be in my sketchbook, and I probably won’t get around to posting it here every day. But I will push myself to make at least a few marks on paper each and every day this month. I think it will be good for my sanity to do so.

The above piece is a study for a series I’m working on which is tentatively called Person in Place. I’m setting out to explore relationships between human beings and location. Location can refer to one’s position on earth, or it can be relative, such as one’s physical proximity to another person. I’m drawing on imagery and narrative from a variety of sources, including photos and histories of immigrants at Ellis Island (where my great-grandparents passed through), figure drawings, my sketches and photos of cities and countries, and other sources. This series will be exhibited next August in Edinburgh, so it has a fair amount of time to evolve and develop as I play with the theme. We shall see where it ends up.

Art for a cause

Victoria Street

Victoria Street Edinburgh. Available.

If you subscribe to my newsletter or follow my Facebook page, you may already know that my husband’s leukemia has recently returned. The first time he was sick, in 2013, I really struggled to keep making art during his treatment and recovery. This time around, I am trying to make art a priority as much as possible. I am sneaking in short sessions in the studio whenever I can, while still fulfilling the role of caregiver to the best of my ability.

The Street to the Castle

The Street to the Castle. Available.

I’m keeping myself motivated with a pledge to donate at least 10% of all my art sales through the end of 2016 to charities which serve blood cancer patients (through research, stem cell donor registries, and other support). If you’d like to see what work I have available, check out my online shop.

Tuscan farmhouse yellow

Yellow Farmhouse Tuscany. Available.

So far I’ve raised almost £500 through sales and other donations, which feels amazing and makes me want to keep going. Scott and I are reading up on various charities to decide how the funds will be split. Some will definitely go to DKMS to help with the costs of registering new potential donors (myself and many friends included).

Cocooned

Cocooned. [SOLD]

We also want to direct some of the donation towards whichever registry managed to find Scott’s donor – so far we have been told that a match has indeed been found for him (a huge relief), but we don’t have any more details yet. Once we find out, I’ll share them in a future update.

Biergarten at Chinese Tower

Biergarten at Chinese Tower. Available.

Scott will be receiving his transplant in Glasgow, where he’ll be in hospital for at least four weeks (and possibly much longer). I’m currently trying to figure out what type of art I want to make while there in my temporary accommodation. What supplies should I bring along? What subjects could I tackle?

Missing Faces

Hold Me 2

Untitled work in progress, mixed media.

I love painting and drawing faces. Portraiture has always been a big part of my artistic practice. So why have faces been missing from so much of my recent work?

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Untitled work in progress, mixed media.

It’s possible that I was too focused on faces, to the point of not paying enough attention to other parts of the composition, the body, the scene. These faceless pieces feel like a challenge I’ve set for myself to see if I can still create interesting art without relying on facial details and expression. I’m finding them intriguing, and I’ve had some positive feedback from others so far, as well, so I guess I am doing something right.

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Untitled work in progress, mixed media.

I’m certainly not done with faces forever – in fact a number of my current works in progress are very face-focused – but for now I want to continue to explore these faceless figures, too. My husband thinks they look like robots. To me they evoke those little wooden artists’ manikins, or possibly some of the mannequins found in Giorgio de Chirico’s work.

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I’m raising money for leukemia research! At least 10% of all my art sales through the end of the year will be donated to blood cancer charities. If you’d like to help me out, you can shop my available work online here.

New work

In the Water by Julie Galante

In the Water, 16.5x15cm, mixed media on paper. [SOLD]

I’ve been pretty quiet for the past several months – not just here but all over the place. I wasn’t making tons of art, at least not finished pieces, but I was mulling over lots of ideas for what I want to do next. An artist friend of mine said she calls this a chrysalis period.

You and Me

You and Me, 32x24cm, mixed media on paper. [SOLD]

So here I am, emerging from the chrysalis. The new work I’m creating weaves together many different ideas and subjects. I’ve been thinking a lot about migration and our relationships with places, and with other people. I’ve been incorporating imagery from old family photos and history, public archives, and my everyday life.

Hold Me

Hold Me, 15.5x15cm, mixed media on paper. [SOLD]

My oil paints are still on the shelf, as mixed-media supplies have taken over all of my working surfaces: inks, watercolors, gesso, acrylics, pencils, pastels, conte, charcoal, and a bunch of other things. I do love my art supplies.

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Untitled (Italian woman at Ellis Island). [SOLD]

Expressive inky layers

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I’m still here, working through the exercises in my expressive drawing course. Overall I’m still really enjoying it. The exercises are confirming my love for working in mixed media on paper, so much so that it might be another month or two before I go back to oil painting.

These first two images are experiments in creating narrative scenes. Using imagery from a variety of photographs, sketches, and previous exercises, I combined unrelated pictorial elements to make these scenes. I started with no particular themes or ideas, but as the images came together I found myself spontaneously thinking up narratives to go with them. I really liked this, and would like to incorporate it into future work. How delightful is the idea of a piece that inspires stories to be written in the viewer’s mind? Sounds like something to strive for in my art.

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Below are six partial faces. I am so bad at knowing when to stop, and it’s twice as hard when the goal is to create an image that is incomplete. There’s something I like about each one of them, but they could all probably use another pass. Perhaps I’ll come back to them later.

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All of these pieces are primarily ink and ink wash.

Art Every Day Month, day 30

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A work in progress for you today, the very last day of Art Every Day Month. Today my expressive drawing course is tackling architecture, which is a different challenge than we’ve had so far. Mostly we’ve been looking at organic shapes until now. How to maintain expressiveness while communicating straight lines and right angles?

I ran out of daylight on this one, so I’ll have to come back to it tomorrow and hope that the light conditions are similar. It’s the view out my studio window, a view I never get tired of. I’d like to build up more layers on top of what I have now, and create some areas of detail and others of lost edges and haziness.

Thank you so much to all of you who have been visiting and commenting here during Art Every Day Month. It has been a lot of fun, and I feel so much warm, fuzzy appreciation for all of the kind support you’ve offered me. I plan to continue to post about my progress with expressive drawing and everything else I get up to in the studio, just not quite as often as we head into December.

Art Every Day Month, day 29

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The end of the month is sneaking up on us, I fear. Today I took an unsuccessful piece from earlier in the month and worked a portrait on top of it. I enjoyed the process but I think I took it a little too far – it was more interesting when more of the earlier image showed through. Plus I was a little too aggressive with my mark-making, shredding the paper in places (like around her cheek). We’ll just call it another learning experience, shall we? I could have avoided the tears if I had just put it aside and worked on something else in between some of the wet layers. Always good to have several pieces going at once, isn’t it?

Art Every Day Month, day 28

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Today’s assignment was to draw a series of Muybridge poses using layers of gesso and marks-all pencil. I tried it twice, but I’m still disappointed with the results. Both would have been better if I had overlapped the figures more, been more forceful with the pencil marks, and been more expressive with my mark-making. Probably if I spent more time with them, I could bring them to a more satisfying place, but I’m not sure whether it’s worth the time. Perhaps I should just move on to the next exercise.

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I think I’m disappointed with these in part because I was so happy with the portrait exercises from earlier in the week. I feel like I’m going backwards somehow. Perhaps it just means that I need to work on my figure drawing skills more. It’s always good to look for opportunities to develop as an artist.

Art Evert Day Month, day 27

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OK, I don’t really know what’s going on here. There are bits I like, here and there, so overall I’m going to consider it a successful experiment with a new technique. This week my online course is all about pushing things further by building up layers. This piece has many layers of inks and ink washes. It might be worth re-attacking at a later date with different materials, or maybe it’s just going in the recycle bin. Time will tell.