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.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Glimpsing Infinity and Other Musings

One of the many things I meant to write about while I was working on the Anonymous: The Diary Drawings series (see recent posts!) was the idea of glimpsing infinity. I know, of course, that infinity is a notion, a concept and not quite something that you catch a glimpse of, but still....the idea resurfaces each time I sit down to draw. The notion of glimpsing infinity lingers with me, so I will attempt to explain and see if the idea or the experience resonates with you.

A drawing, or any artwork for that matter, is created through a series of decisions....sometimes split-second decisions, sometimes ones that involve more contemplation and thought. What occurs to me as I am working is that there are virtually unlimited possibilities from which to choose. Any mark that I make could be otherwise, its location could be otherwise on the page, which might be of a different material entirely. If you do a little thought experiment and multiply the many tools you might use to work with, by the surfaces there are on which to work, by the placement on the page, by the countless colors that could be employed, by the ideas in your head....well, it makes me dizzy! 

The idea that it's all been done before, that there is nothing new under the sun, doesn't quite hold water if you open yourself to all the endless possibilities before you. Multiply all those things above by all the different moments in time, by the various incarnations of the self that evolve over time....well, it really is endless. I can't buy into the notion that there is nothing new to say or any new ways to say something that's already been said time and again. The world is wide, the possibilities are infinite. There is always room for what you have to express, because each one of us embodies our own set of infinite possibilities. The marks and images that land on the page through the work of my hands are the expression of my experience....that's my calling...to make those marks. And your calling is to make those marks only you can make, through whatever means you have at your disposal....at any time and place in the sea of infinity.

Until next time....enjoy the possibilities!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Unfolding Story

Please forgive the long absence....I've been immersed in the studio most days working on finishing the pieces for Anonymous: The Diary Drawings. All 36 are now finished, mounted on foam core and, as of yesterday, in the hands of the fine folks at the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings.

In my last posts, I shared with you the most recent pieces along with my musings about the ideas behind the series. I just checked back on my last post and realize that I left off with number 15...wow, that was less than halfway through the series. Well, I won't post the next 21 from the series, but will give you a view of a selection of some of my favorites. Eventually this work will make its way to my website.

Anonymous: The Diary Drawings no. 18

Anonymous: The Diary Drawings no.19

Anonymous: The Diary Drawings no.20

Anonymous: The Diary Drawings no.21

One of the things I realized during the course of this work was that while I had these ideas about the content of the series....history and the anonymity that inevitably happens over time, these diary drawings were ultimately my diary drawings unfolding over the course of my recent days. I can see the references and symbols that speak to the events unfolding in my world, both the outer and inner worlds that ground me in time and place. 

And so, these drawings are really, in a sense, the "everyman" diary drawings....that is, the "every person", whether man or woman....we all experience events through the lens of our culture as well as our place in the flow of time. Each of us experiences hope and sorrow, the rush of experience and the press of our own immortality. Each one of us has our own story to tell. And so, these diary drawings are fragments of my story.

Anonymous: The Diary Drawings no.36

As I neared the completion of the series at no.36, I could feel the anxiety creeping up...the sense of loss and the let down that often looms after an intense period of work. I experience this even with approaching end of a book in which I am immersed. I pause more during the reading....I savor and try to forestall the inevitable. But there it is...no.36. The end. 

And yet....there is always more to the story. Perhaps another such series will soon be underway.

I'm so pleased to have been invited to be part of this upcoming exhibition of 18 women artists in South Dakota, Women At Work: South Dakota Artists. The show will open in the next couple of weeks, so if you are within a reasonable proximity of Brookings, South Dakota in the next couple of months, hope you will have a chance to see it. I'm honored to part of such esteemed company! 

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for your support and encouragement....and for checking in here on this blog. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Homage to the Forgotten Ones

Diary Drawing no. 11

Early February greetings! I've been squirreled away in the studio working on this diary drawing project, which has also been the subject of my most recent posts. I am now up to no. 28 of the 36 I plan to make, so I'll share them in small groups over the next couple weeks. 

Diary Drawing no. 12

Just to recap, these drawings are a kind of homage to the ordinary folks, countless generations of them, whose lives are lived in the richness of days punctuated by highs and lows, births and deaths, milestones large and small....just like ours. Over time and over the course of a deepening history, these lives become anonymous....forgotten. And yet, each one of us lives and breathes because of them, we carry their DNA and our lives are built on the experiences and memory of those who came before.

Diary Drawing no. 13

These anonymous diary drawings pay homage to those ordinary folks, living out their lives across the globe....countless generations of them. These are the "what if" diary pages of the people who have come before.....creating a trace where one doesn't exist.

Diary Drawing no. 14

This theme is not a new one for me, but one that has always been close to my heart. This notion of remembering and forgetting, as well the layering of history and the ephemeral nature of experience runs through all my work. A few recent additions to my bookshelves, which I'll share below, speak to these ideas in different ways.  Personal and collective history, the sense of place and a kind of grounding...the bittersweet nature of a life lived....these are things which unite us all.

Diary Drawing no. 15

Still reading Common People: In Pursuit of My Ancestors....fascinating!

Just started The Shepherd's Life....but was immediately immersed....beautifully written.

War & Turpentine is one of those books that is hard to finish...and I did reluctantly. It has been favorably compared with W. G. Sebald, one of my favorite authors. While I can see the connection,  this one is different. I wouldn't say it is truly a novel....more of a memoir and a memoir within a memoir. 

I'll leave you with a beautiful quote from James Rebanks taken from The Shepherd's Life:

"My grandfather was, quite simply, one of the great forgotten silent majority of people who live, work, love, and die without leaving much written trace that they were ever here. He was, and we his descendants remain, essentially nobodies as far as anyone else is concerned. But that's the point. Landscapes like ours were created by and survive through the efforts of nobodies."

That sentiment is the same one that underpins this these diary pages. Although they are a product of my own creation, they are a simple, quite homage and an appreciation for those who have gone before....the nobodies.