Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Conversations: The Series

Welcome to summer....which has been bringing a surprising amount of rain to our part of the country! Seems as if it wasn't all that long ago, the topic of conversation at the bank, the grocery store and all around town was the need for rain....now it's just the opposite! Small rivers are flooding, but we are in good shape here on our section of the Missouri River, as the flows from the dams are no doubt cut back to make room for waters feeding in to the river downstream. Plenty of violent thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes in the area lately. I feel so badly for those who have lost property and livelihood in the recent round of storms.

June 1, 2014

Thought I'd share with you a bit more of the work from the exhibition that Johntimothy and I had at the University of South Dakota. Part of the idea of the show was to collaborate on some new pieces, which we pulled together only at the 11th hour....but not for lack of trying. All winter we had attempts at working on projects together that just never went anywhere....the magic wasn't there. But a week or so before the show was to go up, the latest round of screenprinted patterns that Johntimothy was creating called to me in a way that the others hadn't. Maybe it was the patterns themselves or the subdued tones that called to mind ancient wallpaper and faded memories, but suddenly I was drawing on top of these patterns and then we'd go back and forth with his printing and my drawing, adding layers, in a kind of conversation. We've worked on project numerous times before, but I have to say that these pieces are my favorites!
Conversations no.1

Conversations no.2

Conversations no.3

Conversations no.4

Conversations no.5

Conversations no.6

The image size on these mixed media works is roughly 8x8" and they lay on beautiful paper that measures about 15 x15". The circle and square format correlated with the rest of the works in the exhibition. The series is much larger than this and we are currently working on securing other exhibition opportunities for these collaborative pieces....even as we continue to create them!

Hope your summer is going well....filled with a mix of inspiration, relaxation and energizing rejuvenation!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Circles Within Circles

Our exhibition,  Beholding the Ephemeral, is over and Johntimothy and I have brought the work home and spent the weekend reorganizing the studio....for the next phase of work. We plan to continue the collaborative pieces, which are a combination of layers of patterned screenprint runs (Johntimothy) and drawing and collage (me). Now that we have them home, we'll get them photographed and I'll post some photos here. The next step is to try to find some new venues and travel the show, or at least parts of it. In the meantime, I've photographed the daily drawings from the second week of January and am sharing them here before posting them for sale in my Etsy shop, MissouriBendStudio. I'm posting here the close-up shots, so you can see the image better....remember that these are 4" circles on a 10"x10" page. The drawings are made with a combination of pencil and various inks. I don't know why they appear so dark here....the photos didn't appear that way before! They are on bright white paper!!

In case I didn't mention it in my last post, I'm having a 50% off sale over at MissouriBendMusings, the Etsy shop that was dedicated to the daily drawing practice. I don't plan to post anything new there, but rather find homes for the work that is there and phase that shop out.

January 8, 2014

January 9, 2014

January 10, 2014

January 11, 2014

January 12, 2014

January 13, 2014

January 14, 2014

The next phase of life is about to unfold, as I leave my library job in early August to go back to school to get a masters degree! I'm excited about the shift in focus with my future studies in Adult and Higher Education. I was very intrigued by the adult programming part of my job at the library and have decided to move in that direction. Who knows where it will take me....a new future awaits!

Of course, my studio practice is so much a part of me that it will always remain a solid core of my life....so we'll see how I am able to integrate everything. For those of you who have followed this blog for some time, you've seen how the frequency of posts certainly dropped off as I became more involved in my job at the library. I am hoping, even though I'll be involved in school, to have a little more control of my time and get back to giving the blog more attention along with reading the blogs of my fellow artists....I have missed the interaction with my friends across the globe!

See you soon....hope you are enjoying the spring or fall, depending on your locale! Cheers!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Delicate Dots

Hello, I'm back to share the first daily drawings of January....well, these are the first week of the set made in a circle format (circle diameter is 4" on a 10"x10" sheet of BFK Rives). The drawings from January made in the square format are hanging in the show. The exhibition ends next week (already!) and eventually, I'll get them photographed as well. The drawings are all available for sale, as single days or even as a month (discounted!).  I'll be listing these over at my Etsy shop MissouriBendStudio. These are daily drawings and I would list them at MissouriBendMusings, which is the shop I created that is dedicated to the daily drawing practice, but I'm planning to consolidate and go back to just having a single shop to make life easier. There is now a big 50% off sale at MissouriBendMusings...be sure to use coupon code CLOSEOUT when making a purchase there. So, I hope to have these new drawings listed this evening....just finishing up the photos. The progression of the drawings, if you follow them week by week, is kind of interesting, as they become more complex over time. At the beginning, I was trying to just work with dots and circles, but eventually that system completely broke down and the each day's drawing took on a life of its own with its own personality. More drawings to come!

January 1, 2014

January 2, 2014

January 3, 2014

January 4, 2014

January 5, 2014

January 6, 2014

January 7, 2014

The drawings are made with pencil and ink....there is actually some color there (earthy red, warm grey, payne's gray), but it's not coming through so well in these photos.

Hope you have a great weekend....hope to see you back here, as I post more of the January drawings.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beholding the Ephemeral, An Exhibition

Well, it's high time I got back to you all with a report and some photos of the exhibition that Johntimothy and I have up in the John A. Day Gallery at the University of South Dakota here in Vermillion! We've both been hard at work on the show since January, each with our own daily practice of making new pieces for the exhibition and also collaborating on new possibilities for shared works. It was an intense several months, but we are both very happy with how it all came together in the end. It is very satisfying to say that the exhibition installation ended up looking just how we envisioned it! First the photos, then I'll share a bit about the intent of the exhibition and the work itself.

The top photo shows my daily drawings, made from January 1st through April 30th, hung by the month, calendar style. That image shows the drawings made from February through April....those are big walls! The two parallel lines of works seen in the distance on some of the other photos are Johntimothy's prints, engraved and printed each day from January 1st through most of March, I think. In the center of the gallery, we used the moveable walls to create an intimate interior space that represents our studio space at home, where the inspiration and the work of making takes place. We have transported tables, shelves, pinboards and various other items from the studio to this mock studio space that forms the heart of the exhibition. On the outside of the moveable walls are hung a series of 14 collaborative mixed media works....all a combination of screenprinting and drawing. 

Below are two truly ephemeral pieces...made with pastel directly on the wall on a square and a circle of chalkboard paint. Johntimothy's piece is on the left and mine is on the right. Tomorrow, part way through the exhibition we will alter the pieces....I'll work on his and he will work on mine and they will slowly morph, perhaps disappearing entirely by the end. Of course, after the show is over they really will disappear as we return the wall the white. 

I just realized that maybe the way to tell you about the ideas that went into creating the exhibition is through the artist statements themselves that were hung on the wall. I'll start with mine, then the statement about the collaborative works, the mock studio set-up and then Johntimothy's statement to round things out. Probably isn't a better way to sum it all up....

Patti Roberts-Pizzuto

On the daily drawings from January through April
As a life-long maker of art, I have come to view my work in the studio as a spiritual practice. I find that my creative process through drawing, painting or sewing, is one that allows me to distill my experiences, coming to a richer understanding of what it means to move through life in connection and conversation with a larger whole.

We all live out our busy lives in a particular span of time, following our ancestors and paving the way for future generations. Our days are fleeting, the years passing quickly by as we immerse ourselves in life unfolding moment by moment. In the overflowing fullness of life, so much is lost….we forget over time and we lament that which escapes our grasp.

I am haunted by time, its current inescapable, carrying me far too swiftly down the river. This, in part, is what calls me to be a maker. The creative practice provides a way to slow down the current, to leave a trace, a marker of the moment and a record of the day, which is captured ever so briefly in the process of making.

I began the drawings in the exhibition, one each day, on the 1st of January and ended with the last day of April. The idea was not too make “Art”, but to let whatever artfulness was possible, emerge from the discipline of a daily practice. The drawings are entirely intuitive, and were made in the space of time carved out for their creation each day. I fought the urge to belabor them, as the goal was to be present in the moment and not to have them become precious. Hanging the drawings in a calendar format provides a visual reminder of their origin in a meditative daily practice. One drawing leads to the next….the unfolding of time, an accumulation of days.


COLLABORATIONS—Johntimothy and Patti

Conversations no. 1-14
We collaborated on the body of mixed media works hung on the interior walls of the exhibition. While this is not our first collaborative experience, it may be the most rewarding. This conversation was carried on between the layers of overlapping screen print patterns that Johntimothy created and responses made through ink and pencil by Patti. The pieces evoke a kind of yearning, as if memories had been rekindled or lost moments recovered from the abyss. The pieces represent a kind of call and response based on our shared explorations of time, memory, the lost and found.

Objects from The Studio
The studio itself forms the core or center of the exhibition, as well as the heart of our ongoing collaborative spirit. This is a reflection of our home studio, where the reflections and conversation take place, as we share ideas, feedback and inspiration.  In our studios, we surround ourselves with the objects and ephemera that hold meaning….they become the keepers of memory and silent partners in the collaborations that unfold. Our home studio is a source of sanctuary for us, as well as a place of discovery….what you see in the exhibition is a small sampling brought out into the world to be shared with results of our daily practice and our ongoing conversations.

ARTIST STATEMENT -- Beholding the Ephemeral 
Johntimothy Pizzuto

“Contemplation on Logic and Intuition” consists of 62, 4” circular and 62, 4” square intaglio prints. This series represents two ways of creating prints in order to explore my understanding of western and eastern modes of making art. The square reflects the “western” rational way of being and the circle reflects the “eastern” intuitive path, also described as wabi-sabi.

Dürer’s “Melancholia”, references a western perspective of the artist’s struggle for enlightenment and level of attainment, a logical approach. The circle embraces the Japanese wabi-sabi aspect of encompassing the random and unusual, and hence a more directly abstract type of imagery. Beginning with a blank set of copper plates, one square and one circle, and engraving into both each day, the objective was to work each image toward total black and then deconstruct each plate and image back to a blank state or white. Thus, the viewer has a glimpse into the process of building, destroying and reconstructing an image over the course of time. Questions and reflections during the course of work focused on how not to make art at the same time as making art. How to let go of preconceived notions of what defines and makes a print a work of art, while maintaining a clear focus on solid craft. The square plate obviously started with a composed image, while the circular plate was built upon chance.

The ephemeral nature of the work was addressed through the process of engraving into the plates each day, focusing on the changes being made and the practice of letting go of the preciousness of the image or marks on any particular day. Engraving and mezzotint were chosen for their qualities of deliberate mark making which requires the artist to slow down to really observe and listen. During the time it took to create this work, I had to remind myself that it was an exercise in discovery on many levels. It was an exploration into the two ways of working, a western/rational and an eastern/ intuitive path, while simultaneously holding these two very seemingly disparate ways of creating art in equal measure.

We are grateful to Alison Erazmus, the amazing Gallery Director at USD, for the opportunity to have such an exhibition, as well as for her encouragement along with way! We had a wonderful reception and are happy so many folks attended, even though the semester was over. At this point, we are still working on new collaborative works and I will share those with you, once we have some photos of the pieces. We are both excited about the direction these new works are taking us and look forward to the possibilities. 

In the meantime, I will be listing individual daily drawings from January and February (I started out during the first two months of the year making 2 drawings a day...a square and a circle, but only showed one set for each month) in my Etsy shop. I'll start photographing this week and will let you know when I begin listing them!

Well, this is a rather long post....thanks for hanging in there, if you've gotten to this point. I have other exciting news to share, but I'll save that for a few days from now when I'll be back to tell you about a new path I am taking!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fits & Starts

Greetings! Spring is here, at least on the calendar. The reality is that it feels like spring only in fits & starts, as the temperatures fluctuate and we cast our eyes on the forecast, waiting for the steady upswing in temperatures. There are some days pushing 80 degrees, with the ones in between sometimes in the upper 30s or 40s. And, with so little snow (the big secret from this tiny southeast corner of South Dakota is out!) this year, we are desperately in need of moisture. I'm anxious to get moving outdoors, working in the garden beds and shedding the winter weight gain. Soon....

In the meantime, life in the studio has also come in fits and starts. As I've probably mentioned, my husband, Johntimothy, and I have a show together here at the university that will open in just a few weeks. We've based the exhibition on the notion of a daily practice and have both been making new works each day. His is based in printmaking and the process of taking a plate through an amazing array of changes, so there are over 100 prints based on the same two plates. I have been making daily drawings in the same format, so whatever time I can muster in the studio is dedicated to making sure I get my drawing finished. The pieces are all based on a 4" square or a 4" circle diameter format on 10x10" paper. Mine will be shown in a grid, like a calendar and his will be shown in a linear format, reflecting the sometimes subtle changes in his engraved plates, day after day. We are also collaborating on some works that will be in the exhibition, so that process is becoming more intense, the closer we move to the installation. All this is to explain my absence....well, my presence here in the blog world only in fits and starts. My library job takes up a lot of my energy and I find that I want to spend more time reading than ever before....as we all know,  there are not enough hours in the day, that is, if you value sleep as much as I do. If anyone unlocks the secret of being able to do it all, please pass it on!

Once the exhibition goes up, I will have extra pieces that I will share here and in my Etsy shop for sale. But for now, everything is still under wraps! However, as I look around the studio, I see so many pieces....a lifetime of work, much of it from the recent past, staring me in the face. I've just listed the framed piece below in my Etsy shop, Missouri Bend Studio. This is no. 6 from the Nocturne series, made a couple of years ago. The piece has been in a few exhibitions, but here it is, needing to find a loving home. The work is fabulously framed by Mary Selvig in Sioux Falls....when it was shown at the Bemis Center in Omaha, I swear as many people commented on the framing as they did on the drawing itself. I've listed it with the shipping included (the trusted folks at FedEx do a fine job of packing and shipping) within in the US. If you are interested and overseas, please let me know and I will get an exact shipping cost to a particular location and adjust the price accordingly.

Well, hope you are enjoying a lovely spring where you are....or autumn, as the case may be. Here, we are just seeing signs of leaves on the trees....flowers, not yet. Soon.....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Portals, Gateways and the Next Big Thing

The Portal
(collage & embroidery on Japanese paper dipped in beeswax, 13 x 9 3/4"

Maybe it's the winter blues, maybe it's a stage of life, but I find myself with a restless energy wondering what's next. I'm sure many of you can identify, especially if you are in your mid-50s and still in awe that you could have come to be such a ripe age, wondering what you are going to do when you grow up. Sometimes I look around and see that I have all the trappings of a grown up, including a wonderful husband (although no children), a too-big house full of too much stuff, more than enough responsibilities, financial worries, never enough time...the list goes on. But I certainly don't feel like a full-fledged adult. I haven't gotten it right yet....there is still something else...the next thing.

My father had a saying that has stayed with me through the years and which I find resonating even now, providing a push of courage to keep moving forward. He was fond of saying, at just the right moments, "It's never as late as you think." In some circles, these are known as the encore years and people often switch gears at my age and even older, to give themselves to another career entirely. 

I think this is why the notion of portals are coming to mind. Gateways, entrances to the next thing. A curiosity to discover more, to continue learning and to grow. I'll be posting this new series at Missouri Bend Studio . In the meantime, I am summoning the trust to move through the next portal, just to see if I can become more fully me.  

The Portal (detail)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Food and Food for Thought

There is nothing like a newfound interest and passion in the middle of the cold, winter days to warm the heart and make you look forward to the day. A few weeks ago, my husband and I wandered into a delightful new-to-us bookstore in Rapid City, on the other side of South Dakota....the side with mountains! I came away with a book that I savored to its last page and one that sparked and cemented my new interest in reading about food....that book was The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik.

My husband and I enjoy fine food and a fabulous meal, and that pursuit along with experiencing wonderful art, are the top two pleasures we seek on any trip we take. I love it when you meet a book by chance and it shifts your focus and your life in new ways...this book solidified my yearning to know more about the history of food, of the changing tastes over time, and in the culture of eating and the metaphor of "the table" as a symbol of our shared humanity. Even if it is not a literal table, the hunger for food and the notion of "the meal" is something we all experience. The book was a true delight...I closed the book on the last page a few days ago, satisfied and hungry at the same time.

I swiftly ordered two more books that just arrived in the mail today and I am torn as to which one to delve into first!

I haven't read any M. F. K. Fisher and if one is interested in gastronomy, as I now am, she is a must....the hefty volume is a compilation of all her essentials books in one. Now, that should be a feast!

This book, Provence, 1970, which has gotten wonderful reviews, caught my eye and I couldn't not buy it. A moment in time in the South of France when M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard and three other notables in the world of food, found themselves together sharing meals, stories and ideas. This appears to be another book to savor. 

I am finding that reading is just such pure pleasure....and in fact, provides food and nourishment of another kind. All my reading informs the work that I make and I find myself torn between reading and making. While I am still in the studio each day, making the daily drawings, a found text poem and pursuing other work, I think longingly of the books upstairs waiting to be read...a glass of wine at my side.  I have a sense that this new subject of inquiry will shift the work in the studio, but I have no idea what form it will take....kind of exciting!

In the meantime, here is a new piece to share. This appears to be very much a part of the Notes From The Ancestors series, but rather than having it framed, I am mounting it on an 8x8" cradled board so that it is ready to hang. Somehow, I'm not sure whether it wants to be a continuation of that series or the start of something new....I still don't even know its title. It is most unusual for me to introduce a newly finished work and not be able to tell you its name. There is a spoon and a tiny table down in the corner....is this the start of something new or just a bridge between the past and the future? I guess I'll know soon.

Hope you are having a good start to your week! Any reading recommendations you'd like to share? See you soon!

Friday, January 31, 2014

A Week of Dailies

Wow....the last day of January has nearly come and gone! This year is moving quickly and with January under our belt, it seems safe to look longingly, at least with one eye open, for spring within reach. Although it's been cold, this has been a surprisingly non-white winter for us....I know that much of the country has been digging themselves out from under inches and feet of snow for over a month. Here, we've gotten nothing....oh, a snow shower or two, but nothing that amounts to anything. The other morning we got up for yoga and it was 47 degrees with light rain, but by the time we each left for work a little over an hour later, the temperature had dropped to 25 and there was a nice coat of ice on the roads! A roller coaster of a winter, to be sure.

Meanwhile, here in the sanctuary of home and studio, I spend my time away from the library reading and making my daily drawings and found text poems. Thought I'd share this week's daily drawings....these are the small 6x4" drawings on Japanese paper that get dipped in beeswax. These may or may not find their way into the exhibition that Johntimothy and I are working toward with our daily practices, but I think they just might. They will remain single pages and perhaps be kept together in small folded paper holders, like the loose pages of a manuscript. The other daily drawings I am doing, which I'll share eventually are on 10x10" Rives printmaking paper...it is interesting to see them develop as well, usually informed somehow by what happens each morning with these tiny drawings. I just sit down and let my hand lead the pen where it will....the drawing unfolds before me....like in today's daily poem!

Found text poem, Jan. 31, 2014

January 25, 2014

January 26, 2014

January 27, 2014

January 28, 2014

January 29, 2014

January 30, 2014

January 31, 2014

Hope you've had a great start to the year! There are still a couple of hours for the 40% sale in my Etsy shops. The coupon (use coupon code FINDINGAHOME) is set to expire February 1st, which amounts to midnight EST. If you are interested, check out my shops MissouriBendStudio and MissouriBendMusings If you are reading this before next Saturday, February 8th, 2014 and miss that deadline, but want to take advantage of the 40% discount on artwork, I am extending the same 40% to my blog readers, so use the coupon code: BLOGFRIENDS, which will expire February 8th at midnight EST. I am happy to have these works go to loving homes, so look forward to hearing from you!  All the best to you for a happy and productive February....see you soon!

Monday, January 20, 2014

More Notes From The Ancestors

I've been missing the drawings from The Notes to the Ancestors and just finished making another one....these are quiet pieces, my way of making a connection with our collective history. I am keenly aware of all the knowledge that falls away, the memories and the wisdom that is eclipsed over time. What would the many generations of our ancestors say to us, if we only had the means to communicate?
Notes From The Ancestors no.16

Notes from the Ancestors no.16 detail

My husband and I have a major  show together at the Main Gallery at the University that will open in May and we are both creating work based on a daily practice. This is a big experiment for us to work this way. We each have different processes (he is a printmaker), but we are both working in the same format, so that there is some consistency. We are trying to keep the idea of the practice itself, and the daily ritual of it, foremost in our minds, so that we are not trying to make "art" per se. There is a fine line in the intention, but a definite distinction. The pressure is off and we concentrate on our daily process and we'll see what comes of it. Each of us makes two pieces, one in a four inch circle and one on a 4" square, both in the center of a 10x10" piece Rives paper. We just began on January 1st, so we are only a little bit into this practice. I will wait a bit before sharing any of the pieces, but wanted to let you know what I'm up to in the studio these days. It is an interesting process and we both find that the dailiness of it gives us a clear focus. 

In the meantime, our winter here in southeastern South Dakota keeps us guessing, day by day. Yesterday we had a lovely sunny day with the temperature climbing to 63 degrees. Most of the day today was lovely and warm and I began to doubt the forecast of afternoon snow, but sure enough....it's a winter afternoon with intermittent snow coming down. Craziness!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Daily Practice Unfolding

The year is starting off well and I attribute my more upbeat outlook to the effect of my daily practice. I am someone who thrives on little rituals...they ground me, providing a kind of rhythm to my day. I've maintained a daily drawing practice for a few years, although not always super consistently. In fact, my Missouri Bend Musings Etsy shop was created as a place to share and make available those daily drawings. I fell away from the selling component of the practice and shifted the daily drawing practice to something more private. At its core, I find much of my art making is really a spiritual practice and the efforts required to market the pieces really take away from what the making of them provides me. Although the little drawings I make now on 6x4" Japanese paper do not require a significant amount of time, there is something about letting a simple drawing flow onto the paper from the movement of my hand and a drawing tool, that provides a release. The act of making them acknowledges the creative spirit and leaves a trace, the marks on the page a quiet form of thanks for the day at hand. Below are the drawings from this past week...on 6"x4" Japanese paper, each of which have now been dipped in beeswax. The little row of dots at the top is my way of marking the date: left to right the number of dots corresponds to the month, day and year.

January 7, 2014

January 8, 2014

January 9, 2014

January 10 ,2014

January 11, 2014

January 12, 2014

January 13, 2014

I've also made little found text poems over the years and my first blog MissouriBendPaperWorks was dedicated to that daily practice. Again, it was the effort of photographing and posting that bogged me down. So...I'm back to making those again as well....another daily practice. There is something quite delightful about taking random words and phrases cut from books and arranging them in a new way....somehow the "poem" that comes from each day's exercise is a little revelation. I've posted a few over on my Facebook page and I'll do the same here on occasion. These are the two from yesterday and today. The words of just glued to a sheet of 6"x 4" drawing paper.
January 12th found text poem

In case you can't read it:

live a long journey
slip into the universe
leave a trace
in the sand

January 13th found text poem

Today's was rather humorous....

So, I just wanted to share with you that I'm back to incorporating these daily practices into my life and more fully realizing how much grounding they do provide. Periodically, I will share a few of the things that I make as a part of each day's unfolding and encourage you to find a way to slow down, mark time and leave a trace of another day spent in the dance of life. I'd love to hear from any other artists who include a daily artistic practice....what do you do and how does it enhance your life and the way you move through your days?

Oh, I nearly forgot! Suddenly today I decided that there is a mountain of work sitting on my back table, which comprises the contents of my two Etsy shops, MissouriBendStudio and MissouriBendMusings. Many of those pieces are now older and would love to travel to a good home....it's a BIG 40% off sale in both shops! Use the coupon code: FINDINGAHOME to receive the discount and I'll thank you in advance for giving my pieces a loving home.