Monthly Archives: June, 2016

Letters okeeffe-opening-the-curtains-of-her-studio-1960-gelatin-silver-print-18-x-12-in-georgia-okeeffe-museum-ctony-vaccaro

A subscriber wrote to say, “I’m in the process of planning a studio to be attached to my new home. I’m checking on what to build; either one of those glazed patio enclosures that are usable all year around, or a traditional frame room with skylights and windows onto a wonderful view. What do I need to think about? I want to get going on it. I can’t wait.”

Letters robin-timms_on-the-trail

Robin Timms of North Vancouver writes, “I am hoping you might provide some words of wisdom as to how to make my approach to obtain some critical input from galleries. I am thinking of sending out this letter… and would welcome any advice.”

Robin’s “gallery letter” opens with a detailed artist statement followed by a request: “As an emerging artist, a practical next step in my painting journey is to seek realistic, honest and knowledgeable advice from those experienced in putting gallery shows together — to understand whether my work is gallery-worthy, or whether it even ‘holds’ together as a series.”

Letters peacock-room_Whistler

The psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow in his studies of “self-actualizing people” made some interesting discoveries about the fathers of eminent offspring, particularly sons. It seems that certain dads are perceived as “not successful.” These dads are not necessarily losers, but rather men who risked much and fell short. Maslow’s inference was that sons may succeed because their fathers failed.

Letters robert-motherwell_

Yesterday, a young artist messaged: “I recently received my submission review for a juried exhibition, which was terrifying and exhilarating. Until now, it’s been the general public, family and friends’ feedback that have been hardest to sift through. Would you suggest I keep entering juried shows? Or should I use the juror’s crit to make new work before submitting to more?”

Letters Nocturne-in-gray-and-gold,-Westminster-Bridge-by-James-Abbot-McNeill-Whistler

One evening when I was turning out the lights and shutting down my studio, I glanced in the darkness in the direction of my easel and had an alarming thought. I realized that all over the world, all kinds of regular people might be doing something similar. Before going to bed they might be casting their eyes around their homes to see that everything was okay. Some of those eyes might catch for a moment on one of my paintings. There are a few out and about.

Letters edward-hopper_sketchbook

Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll prescribes a generic, blank notebook to organize productivity in a system he calls, “Bullet Journal.” Believing that pen and paper are mightier than an app, Bullet Journal’s simplicity and artfulness has beguiled some techies and planner junkies. A YouTube video explaining just how to do it has clocked over a million views.

Letters joseph-beuys_performance-coyote

I’m laptopping to you this morning from the Tate Modern in London, England. I’ve a confession to make. While I dearly love seeing quality paintings, and love even more trying to make them, I’m a bit of a junkie when it comes to contemporary installation art. This place is screaming with the stuff. Glazed gallery goers, their minds numbed by the visual challenges, wander in the ambience of this renovated power station on the south bank of the Thames. To the many who snicker and snort, it’s sort of an intellectual curiosity and freak show.

Letters Gramercy_SGTrio

On my birthday in 2005, I walked into a vintage keyboard shop in my neighbourhood and eyeballed a Wurlitzer electric piano. Portable and lightweight with a built-in speaker and removable legs, the Wurlitzer seemed like a sensible choice for a birthday folly. The next day I returned with my bank account drained, but the Wurlitzer had been sold. In its place was a 1973 Fender Rhodes stage piano — a different indulgence entirely. Not electric and made of wood instead of plastic, the Rhodes had 73 felted hammers that struck metal tines connected to an electro-magnetic pickup, like an electric guitar. Twice as heavy, she came home on a dolly — and up the stairs mostly on the shoulders of the guy who sold her to me.