WHAT TIME LOOKS LIKE

Interesting exercise.

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Bought the laurels above for almost nothing, played with them for a couple of years, and gave up.  It is too hot here for Mountain Laurels, and they all developed holes in their leaves.  So not a lot of money was lost.

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Neither was it with all these Agave.  They all come from one mother, which is in another place on the acreage.  These love the sun here.  Same pots on the columns; common Prickly Pear is in them now.  This pool environment has lots of spiky things, counterintuitively.

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The Holly bushes on either side of the entry gate must be about two years old here.  A plywood box covers the machinery for the pool.

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Above, the hollies make a tunnel over the gate.  Brick has been added to the entry, tile to the pool deck and a little silo to cover the pool equipment. Confederate Jasmine almost covers the back fence now.  It was completely covered about four years ago, so much so that its density absorbed garden space and we had to start over.

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This is Sidney’s Live Oak, planted in 1997, the year he died.  Look at the sandy soil.  It is only with a system and a well that we can have grass.

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Here is the adolescent live oak today.  Have more of these, it takes some work to photograph and crop to make a good comparison.

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DEALING WITH THE COLD

Finally, it is cold in South Carolina.  It has not been for long, and the length of the good weather at the end of last year was remarkable and unsettling.  Now over, we have to face the normal chill for a little while.

Our big chill is all my fault, not Glenn’s.  When living here alone, building this house, I chose not to include central heating.  The system I could have bought, it was the monthly bills that scared me.  And it is so moderate here,  I wondered about getting by with a gas log in one of the two huge fireplaces we have.   So that is what I did.

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It really has not affected us much.  There have been really only about four cold days where we did not care to go outside.  But outside is where all the appealing stuff exists, including our art work.  Creating my work is a pathway to feeling OK, and I need to do it.  Running will do that too, but running is tough in the cold weather as well.

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What work I have accomplished is changing.  Getting simpler.  Keep thinking about poetry and editing writing.  An image should contain only what it needs.  Nothing else.

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This piece is called  “Impulse”.  It is pretty spare, but the relationships between the lines are interesting.  I am using three legs in this series, lifting the window off the ground, and importing colors only through objects used.

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Chair legs, spindles and a child’s wooden block are the only recognizable images in the piece.  Other shapes are just odd pieces of wood we have around here. Yes, the piece leans in.  It seems to move.

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Other side.  This window has been several colors in its life time, and that is where the patterning is coming from on the right and bottom of the window.  It is so easy for me to reveal color; to apply it, the worst.

The piece above is entitled “Gravity 2.11.16” for the obvious reasons.  It is woozy in its stanze as well.  Space and time.  Unpredictable?  Maybe not, thanks to Einstein.

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Not a very flattering angle, but this image shows the depth of the piece.  You can see it is a visual cousin to “Impulse” as spindles and legs from the same chairs are used. Work tends to flow in this way.  If work is truly expressive of a temperament at a given time, examples will have common denominators.  Unless you are doing commission work.

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Above is a detail from a current commission.  Only thing in common with my work is the “waste” part.

INSPIRED BY MATERIALS

 

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Ronald Reagan’s Egg, 1987        Lee Malerich, 2016

The making of a work of art involves searching in many ways:  searching your soul, your opinion, your surroundings.  And then organizing this information in the way it must be.  The best work takes advantage of an expressive shape, and sometimes moves it into a foreign context.  This is what I want to do.  Connect unlike things.  Connection is powerful; I watch my 22 month old grandson connect and sort and arrange often.  It is his work.

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Lots of materials are given to me.  Some I buy, but won’t pay too much.  It’s a game.  I always wanted to do this while still teaching, but never did.  Give each student the exact same group of materials, and have them put them together.  Set the compositions up in a gallery and view the relationships and connections between the finished works.  There, the artist exists.  In that indefinable space.

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My search for materials is always exciting.  It is with the odd inspirational shape that the pieces begin.  My windows are the canvas, only they have more than two dimensions.  See the blue legs above?  A great find from last Sunday.  Have to hold myself back from cutting in to them.  Must live with them for a while to make sure they end up in the correct piece.

Not many of the shapes in the works have I actually owned beyond as art materials.  The piece above, Ronald Reagan’s Egg 1987, contains an exception and a story.

 

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Ronald Reagan was in office at the time when he sent 249 other artists and me wooden eggs.  Five from each state.  We were to use the egg and work in our characteristic way to embellish it.  We were given two.  The exhibit was to accompany the annual egg roll which was celebrated each Monday after Easter on the White House lawn with children.

I was a stitcher at the time, and you can imagine my terror of having to do something with this surface.  Spray painting them both black first seemed to be a smart thing as a stitching frenzy began.

Ended up stitching on my typical surface, cutting the stitched part off the frame and gluing it in a certain area of the egg.  Then over and over again.  A satin-stitched egg.  Don’t even have a picture of the thing except in a flashy newspaper article done in “The State” on the five  artists in SC that contributed.  That was worth the trouble.

On a rampage through my studio for some elusive thing last week, I found the black egg that (laid) unused in a drawer.   A yellow sticker on the flat bottom read “1987”.  Raw material!

And an egg was currently a symbol/shape that I had been using, only the black egg was bigger.

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F. Scott, 2015

This piece featuring the wooden roadster sinking into a surface has two eggs in it: one representing East Egg from “The Great Gatsby” and one representing West Egg.  Just love it when the Universe provides the correct materials.

CONFUSED LOUISE?

Some works fall a bit out of the norm for any number of reasons.  They could fail.  They could examine a compositional point that the artist has nothing more to say about.  They could feature one of a kind materials.  They steadfastly refuse to be grouped.  Some of these satisfy those guidelines.

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This was the first piece in the series on which I am currently working; the first to use an upright rectangular window frame and chair legs.  I thought, when working, that it was beginning to look like a mantel.  It looked like a fake mantelpiece we had in our family room way back when. Associated with that mantelpiece is a great story.  We adopted our Siamese Polly from a house in Blackjack, Mo.  Brought her home.  Later, my mother bought our fake family room mantelpiece from the same home.  Polly and the mantelpiece were reunited, and she happily surveyed her domain from the top shelf of it.

Another personal thing about this work is the use of the croquet balls and goal piece and wickets. A guy tried to give me this stuff at a flea market.  I refused and paid him.  Why would you go to all that trouble and just give stuff away? Anyway, one of the only things I have which belonged to my dad, who died so long ago are croquet wickets made out of old wire hangers.  Fashioned by him.  This piece reminds me of that.  The name of it is “From Blackjack to Florissant: Polly and her Mantel”, 2015.

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The piece above, “F. Scott”, 2015.  This piece was created in response to the fine little wooden touring car the universe sent to me.  As in the people that Fitzgerald writes about, this car is poised to crash and burn.  A slice of the passenger side of the car has been whacked off.  I also had fun playing with white painted lines on some of the elements, which is unusual.

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This piece is more about formal composition.  It is all about circles.  And it tilts to one side.  Unnerving.

This piece is about 6-8 inches shorter than the norm.

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The following piece was reviewed for my current exhibition at USC Sumter.  It was created very early in the chair series and I wanted to see if the chair could be cut up and basically reconstruced  within three rectangular windows.

http://theitem.com/stories/evocative-creative-usc-exhibit-also-timely,257175

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LOUISE-MUSE

Dear Louise, some of the pieces have more complicated bases and therefore are not as simple as those in the last post.

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Flood,  2015.  From the side, this piece looks fairly simple, and very different than most. It was created during the time of our recent thousand year rain in Columbia.

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Pushing the bases beyond any kind of norm is really fun.  So is using hardware in an unusual way.

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Male/Female,  2015

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In this piece shapes were composed on a plane to have enough diversity to anchor the window. Then the bookends were placed for added strength. Wooden figures found at the flea market populate it, a bent wood section of a chair encloses an alligator reaching for a shape at the top, while two croquet mallets without their heads frame.  The longest diagonal line is actually a hardened wooden vine from our woods.

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Above and below are two sides of a piece currently on exhibition (but to come back in ten days) for which I have forgotten the name.  It has a complicated base that contains the front two legs of a chair, plus the front seat base with holes for wicker.  A portion of that base with holes is also the crown of the piece.

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Confused, dear Louise?

JEEZ LOUISE

Some of the new work is more simple.  As always, more views of this work can be requested.

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Curveball, 2015   39″h x 23″w x 10″d

Worked a long time on this one.  Hoping less is more.  Spent time adding and subtracting, trying and rejecting.  I see this as if not one more or one less element should be included.  Haiku.  Maybe another view is in order here.

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The two curved parts which make up the base are from the same Captain’s chair.  Primary colors dominate.  The longer I have this piece the more understandable it is to me.  It sits outside of my usual composition.

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Animal Shadows, 2015   (still in an exhibition:  approx. same size as others; the crown makes it slightly taller)

Another thinly orchestrated piece.  The curvy loop is a metal tine from an old hayrake.  Perhaps influence from my husband’s work.  A bent wood chair leg makes up the crown.  Part of a find of an old wooden croquet set provides color here.  All gone now, it was a thrill to use those pieces that reminded me so much of my childhood.  Hardware from the window used in a different way fixes some shapes in place.

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Pattern, 2015   39″h x 23″w x 10″d

This piece is simple on one side, not so on the other.

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Had fun with the dremel tool making fake wood grain.  Another bent wood element is present here, along with a “chip” off my husbands old wooden scrub brush, repeating lines in a different way.

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Thinly Orchestrated, 2015    (on exhibition, similar size as others)

Fine contrasting colors of aqua and orange make up the base; most other elements are a washed gray.  The focus is a kind of crescent shape, repeated in different ways.

Lastly, dear Louise, an image of “Play” in situ.  Beautiful morning.

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FOR YOU, LOUISE

And any interested parties.

I am going to group recent work in “families” where a common aesthetic consideration can be observed.  Then we both will understand more about the work.  It is important for an artist to write about their work as it installs information in another part of the brain.  And formalizing thoughts into words does the same.

“Artist Statements” are about this but are usually so dry.  So.  I have three recent works that utilize the same straightback chair, and therefore “feel” similar to me.

Any work of interest to you can be recorded with much more detail and posted.

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another play 1

Play, 2015

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Replay. 2015

Funny, this process is already working.  I had thought each of the above examples featured the same small straightback chair as a base for the composition.  They do not!  But each pairs a chair and a similar window, table legs, whimsical parts of playthings, wooden beads cut in half, and primary colors.  The piece just above shows the first time a large circle was drilled into something to become a motif.  The (is it Chinese Checkers?) board that is part of the base has two circles drilled out, plus a small wooden cylinder that repeats a circle in a different way.

These three works depend on symmetry more than most.  Usually discouraging it with my students as the easy way out in composition, I embrace it here, although the first of the three is the strictest (its name is not posted; it is on view at USC Sumter currently and I cannot remember its name).  Even within the strict context, elements are not repeated symmetrically, but are placed to move away from it.  And of course, there is no symmetry present when viewed from various angles.

Duck heads, duck bodies in profile, headless ducks and wings are common to the second two.  Halved croquet mallets are common to the first two.

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First starting to work with chairs in this way was when I made a gift for my grandchild celebrating his first trip around the sun.  For a work for a child, there was necessary whimsy.  That feature has stuck around in these later works.

 

 

 

FAVORITE TOOL?

Climbing and tripping my husband up on a little rise in the earth to attend the opening of the “Envisioning O’Keeffe” exhibition at Columbia College the other night, a friend questioned me about my favorite tools.  Gobsmacked, nothing came out of my mouth.

You know, she said.  When you were creating all your textiles, the needle was your favorite tool.  What is now?  Now that you are working differently?  I still had nothing to add to the conversation.

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The needle was certainly my friend when it came to applying stitches to this crazy quilt of a fabric base also created by a needle in the sewing machine.  It was a means by which a message came forth.  And once in a while a needle would last for years. I would notice that.  In the piece above, my notation says that “Film Noir” was the 39th piece done in 1998.  Whew.  If a needle survived a couple of years, that is a lot of stitching.  Then, it simply snapped, which always was a surprise:  What the hell?!

Not having my mind on the means, but only on the satisfactory end, tools do not mean much to me.  Would that I could snap my fingers and chair rail would merge with window edge.  When my husband and I were dating, he would talk about “faith in tools”.  He is ga-ga about tools.  Observing this in him, our contrast is great.

One of my girlfriends is much the like Glenn.  I have seen her work through a tiny tooled process when pruning shrubs  here with great interest:  How can that shuffle possibly make the slightest difference?

And then there are the “Car Talk” guys.  They celebrate an opportunity to buy a new tool.  Not me.  That just makes my overhead higher.

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Above is my piece for the “Envisioning O’keeffe” exhibition.  The piece, called “College Bound” tries to discuss what I know about Georgia O’keeffe’s brief history at the institution of Columbia College, as well as my own.  The best thing about my history there is that it got me here to South Carolina. That is huge.

This piece practically made itself, and required many tools.  Even a needle.  These shoes were worse for wear and yawned in the middles.  I made neat zig zag stitches to hold their sides together.  In the image below you can see the tiny tails at the middle of each shoe.

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Perhaps finding elements for a piece is the most pleasurable for me.  Broken scissors, a line of copper from the sash of a window with the nails still intact, antlers sacrificed from the house, a wooden spoon that cradles and contrasts with the line of the shoe:  this is what gets my blood racing.

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Above is the piece in situ.

Finally, after much thinking, I have an answer for my favorite tool.  Along with all the skills with wood I have learned from my husband, my answer is “gravity”.  Gravity is my favorite tool, and being cognizant of it makes lots of jobs much easier.

What is your favorite tool?

VILLAGE SQUARE

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We had to get there in the car; it was out of our daily orb.  Way past the high school on Dunn Road.  An exotic place then.  Much later, its sign is on the DE-cline.

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Funny that it seems normal to see this memory only in black and white.  The media, such as it was was just that.  The clean design of this architecture almost demands it. After a while, shopping centers had to be covered, and this jewel was lost.  The grab for money was on.

Those globes hanging from the front facade of Goldies, was it?  This height of style impressed even a ten year old.  During the sixties, when this country was different, even in VERY middle class suburbs, the design style was fresh.  People were working, taxes being paid, accommodations growing like weeds to embrace the boom. Nearby McDonnell Douglas was literally reaching for the moon.  Our needs in this place?  Bona Venture Art Supply.

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The Gateway Arch on the riverfront was finished in 1965.  Simple and moving, this was the image for our city.  Every week the Post-Dispatch had photos of the progress.  Creeping cranes were invented to put these aluminum clad blocks in place.  Eero Sarrinen led our way.

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Lambert Airport finished in 1956 and designed by Minoru Yamasaki, was influential for many later international airport spaces.  Softer arches than the later Gateway braced the glass clad and flowing interior space.

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The colors of those plastic chairs would pop your eyes out in this black and white world.

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Henry Moore figures frame arches of water which perfectly reflect Yamasaki’s roof design.

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We were living in Art.  Why did it take so long to notice it?  Bauhaus, anyone?

ALL ON SC 261

It was Glenn who noticed the first little store on the way to Kingstree.  In the area of South Carolina where there is not much, little communities occupy the landscape on the way to the beach.  I knew a fabulous woman from Kingstree; she imported Kingstree barbecue to Columbia every year for a party.  Lord knows what she did as a child there in that town. There is little industry in the area other than a bicycle plant (interesting in these outsourcing days), and there is a factory with smokestacks across from Garrett’s residential living center.

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This former little service store sits right on the two-lane.  Somebody is living in it.  Made of cinder blocks, with cinder block columns, we found others just like this on SC 261, and a few very close to each other.

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This little store is made of the same cinder block, but designed a bit differently.  It looks as if it might have more easily accommodated gassing up a car than the first example.  And it had at least one more life as an antiques store.   Who owns these things?  Could one “squat” there?

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The example above suggests that it might have been what we call here a “red dot” store.  Notice the bars on the windows, they are there for a reason.  The dots here are long gone.  The red dots symbolize sunup and sunset, and it is between those times when liquor can be sold.  Those daily times used to be published in the paper too.  Not sure about that now.

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It is believed to have its origin in the South Carolina Constitution of 1895, article 8, section 11, which prohibited alcohol sales between sundown and sun-up. The red dot designates the sun and identifies the store as one that sells alcohol.  This red dot store in Hampton, SC could have been more clever in its design.  The beautiful facade creates two red dots in its ornamentation. and correctly captured, no other red dots would have been necessary.  Perhaps it would have been confusing to customers.  No need to confuse customers.

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Love the colors of this little store. Red squares instead of red dots!  Again, it is made of cinder block, but has wood columns in the front.  The two red window coverings are hinged at the top, and the building was added on to at the back.  Whatever service was preformed in this place was painted on a board above the tin, now removed.  Sent this image to an artist friend.  It would be a perfect addition to her series of paintings of old buildings in Orangeburg county.

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Janet Kozachek.

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Nature always wins.  Most of the roof is gone in this little store, and the woods is filling up the interior space.