Monday, November 24, 2014

Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate You Own Work

A couple years ago I was ask to give a talk on how to critique your own work.  While I've been doing this for myself since graduate school I had never given too much thought to what that process was or how you might share this important information with other artists, especially artists who have not had this formal education.

When I originally began looking into this idea of critiquing yourself, I invited a group of artists who I respect, to respond to some questions.  I will not be following that exact program here but I want to give recognition to them for the wonderful information they shared.  Please check out the links at the ends of today's blog.

Why critique?  The answer is simple.  If you don't look, compare, evaluate, ask yourself the question "what If?", how do you know how you are progressing.  What is the criteria for what is your best work?  How does your work hold up from all the other people working in your field.  If you say "Who cares?" then I would say you're missing out on a huge amount of information.

I love the process of working, stopping, sitting and looking at what I have done.  I like to leave a piece hanging in the studio and sneak a peek as I pass by.  Often I have the experience of thinking a work is finished only to find that after a couple of days I begin to see areas that still need attention and I would not have that opportunity if I don't taken the time to look.

All of this looking isn't solely intellectual.  Much of it is finding my way into the piece to see how it sits on my interior self.  Of course these sessions of looking don't just happen at the end of a work but occur all throughout the process of creating.

Generally speaking I don't ask many people into my studio when I am working.  The one exception to that is my husband Tom.  Tom is an artists and after all the years we have been married and worked alongside each other we have a great deal of respect for one another's work and understand that the creative process is delicate and that the artists needs space.  While Tom is willing to talk to me about my work it is at my invitation.

The creation of work is a process of decision making.  This is another reason to take your time and be aware to how you are feeling.  Staying in the moment and allowing your creative intuition to work for you is a wonderful thing.  Jane Allen Nodine shared that she tells her students  to "listen to the work.....what is the work saying to you?"  While the students find this humorous early on, they come to understand that this is about their intuition and how it is informing the work.

Almost all of the artists who responded to my questions mentioned some form of studying or looking at their work both during the creative process and at the point when they are trying to determine if the work is finished.  If you don't do this I believe you would gain greatly by incorporating more looking into your process.


Jane Allen Nodine   - South Carolina 
Kathleen Loomis – Kentucky
Jeanne Raffer Beck– New York
Judy Langille – New York
Pat Pauly – New York
Leslie Riley - Illinois
LeslieAvon Miller - Washington
RebeccaHowdeshell -  Texas
Tom Dimond – South Carolina

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I will be writing about self critique for several weeks.
Please come by again!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Move Is Complete

Back in July Tom and I decided to move.  We had lived in our home in Clemson SC for over 39 years and it was the time to try a new environment.  We have now moved just a few miles away but it's fresh and when we get all the boxes emptied it will be great.  I'm not going to share a picture of our new home today as we are saving that as a surprise for our son and daughter-in-law who live in California.  That will be revealed when they come home at Christmas.

So here is a brief photo album of the move.

                                      


We sold our house after 3 weeks.  It was in a neighborhood just across the street from Clemson University so very nice for folks who work at the university or downtown.  We will be closing on the house soon.  We purchased our new house a few weeks earlier as it was a great fit for us and we didn't want to lose it to another lucky family.  That had not been the plan but it has worked out nicely.


                                      


The first rooms I cleared were the studios which was a hard thing to do but necessary to make it "real".  This is a shot of the day the movers came and were packing the furniture.  Sort of sad to see this fine old house stripped but it will soon be alive again with a new family who has 2 young children.



The movers could not get all the way up the driveway at our old home but it all worked out.


                                      


Charm and Jackson made sure their toys were packed and ready.  With help from some of our friends we moved the smaller boxes ourselves.


                                      

After they packed their toys they got packed.  We purchased our new home from a friend and she was graceous and gave us a key so we could visit the new house before we actually closed the deal.  This allowed us to introduce the cats to their new home and they made the move very easily. 


                                      

It was hard to leave our old garden with it hosta, Japanese maple, butterfly bushes etc. but the new yard is interesting in a new way and naked lady told me had always dreamed of traveling.




The new house has a huge deck on the back and lots of trees.  In the next picture you can just see a glimpse of the two palmetto trees in the front yard.  I feel like I've moved to a park.



                                      


The movers have finished unloading here and ready to leave.  The palmetto trees are in the upped right corner of the picture.




Here my car is loaded with 7 crates of Christmas stuff!!!!  I will be going through these items and hope to be able to let some of this go but how do you let go of all the ornaments made by your child or that you made or were given to you by friends and family?




Our new home is almost the exact same size of our old home but the sizes and arrangement of the rooms is very different.  I had 3 indoor studios and part of a separate building at our previous home.  Here, Tom and I each have one smaller space inside and a two car garage which will be turned into a studio.  We will make it work.




This is the garage as of this morning!  I can't believe all the stuff we have.  Most of this came our of our old studio which had an attic.  Scary.  I saw things come out of the attic I had thought were long gone.  Sort of like the line from a movie....We're here!




The house has three bedrooms.  We will be using one of those to store artwork.  Here are a couple of shots of some of what is being stored.  We have our work as well as work we have purchased and collected over the years.



Some of this work is mine as I do occasionally frame work but most of these pieces are Tom's.    I store my fabric work rolled up and it is being stored in 2 very large/wide closets.  We hope to begin to hang some work this week.


                                     


I feel guilty for not sharing a few images of our new place so here is a quick shot of one of the windows.  We put pieces from our ceramics collection in them last night and they look great.....and they are safe from kitties.


I'm happy to say I have managed to start one new piece and complete one new work during all of this.  I'll share the completed one soon.  

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

World Wide Blog Hop

The past 12 months have been a swirl of activity which is still in progress.  The year began with lots of work in the studio.  This was followed over several months with three shows, teaching 2 workshops, attending 2 workshops and then making the decision to sell our home of 39 years!!!  That certainly put a new slant on my activities.

With that decision made 98% of my studio and art activities ceased to focus on preparing to put our home on the market while looking for a new location.  I was so pleased when I received the invitation from Judy Kirpich to participate in this blog hop which was initiated by my good friend Kathy Loomis.

Both Judy and Kathy are friends whose work I admire as well as how they have pursued their interest and passion for art and both have very popular and interesting blogs.  Check them out at:



Blog Hop Part 1

The first part of this "hop" is to respond to 4 questions:

1.  What am I working on?

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

3.  Why do I do what I do?

4.  How does my process work?


Mystical Notion - Terry Jarrard-Dimond

On first glance you might think these are simple questions but I don't find them so simple.  Let's see...

Well as I mentioned earlier, I'm not actually working on anything right now except re-establishing a studio.  For about two years I have been exploring work that has been stained, painted, printed, drawn upon, heavily stitched - both hand and machine stitching.  I also use both piecing techniques and appliqué.  While this work looks different from my work of previous years, for me it is always about discovering the unknown.  I begin the trip and through the process of making one decision at a time, I uncover a work.  The work continues to have the feeling of landscapes which might be an earthly landscape, spiritual landscape or dream landscape.  

I think it is difficult to identify how your work is different from others working with the same materials but I'll say my use of shape and interest in the relationships of shapes is what makes it identifiable.  Placing shapes in a space comes very natural to me and I get great pleasure from moving things around until I'm satisfied with what I see.


Midnight Garden - Terry Jarrard-Dimond


I am a doer.  I am compelled to make things and hopefully what I make is art.  This began when I was a child.  I made all sorts of things, I drew and painted and found the most pleasurable part of my day in school was when we were allowed to cut, paste, draw etc.  I did not think of this as a career path but rather just something I loved to do.  I have had periods in my life when I wasn't making much art but never when I wasn't making something.

My process is rather standard.  Usually I make something in response to something I have heard, seen, discovered, dreamed.  I often pin things up and ruminate over them for long periods of time before I know why I'm interested.  Once I understand my interest I figure out how to use that image or idea as a jumping off point to making work.  I generally work on only one thing at a time but while I'm working I usually begin to "see" the next work.


Black and White Fan Calligraphy - Christina Laurel

Blog Hop Part II

An important part of this project is to introduce readers to quality blogs that might be new for you so let me introduce Christina Laurel.  Actually I wrote about Christina earlier this year in an Artist Profile:  http://studio24-7.blogspot.com/2014/01/christina-laurel-she-lives-and-breaths.html.  You can find Christina's blog at: http://www.claurelartist.com/blog.html

Christina works primarily in paper and her work can be 2-dimensional, three dimensional or just recently she has begun to explore installation work.  Her esthetic is very elegant and has an asian flair which surfaces both in some of the papers she chooses to incorporate in her work as well as some of the shapes and forms she uses.


Ether Reality - Christina Laurel

Perhaps like many of you, she has had a life long love and interest in art but due to the twist and turns of life she did not complete her art training until just a few years ago when she earned her degree in studio art from the College at Brockport-SUNY.  She is wasting no time in pursuing her passion and has just recently returned from a successful 6 week artist-in-residence in Paducah Kentucky sponsored by the Paducah Arts Alliance.  During this residency she explored constructions and approaches for installation as well as meeting with people from the area.


Christina at work.


Christina is an excellent writer and her blog postings are thoughtful and interesting.  I first met Christina when she viewed a showing of my work at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville SC.  She told me she was going to write an article about the show and I was blown away when I read her poetic description of my work.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Books for Your Library



During the past year I was very pleased to have work selected for publication in two books:  the ultimate guide to Art Quilting and American Quilts The Democratic Art.  

The ultimate guide to Art Quilting, written by Linda Seward, is an amazing compendium of processes  used in the creation of an art quilt.  The book is heavily illustrated with the use of photographs, drawings and diagrams.  I recommend this book for anyone from beginner to experienced artist who is looking to add "something" new to their studio practice.






The second book, American Quilts The Democratic Art, is authored by Robert Shaw and is actually a revised and updated version of his 2009 book of the same name.  This volume covers the history of quilt making in the US as well as the social background of the times.  The book is filled with high quality photographs of the entire spectrum of quilt making from Colonial times to the present.  The book is inspiring both in the work that is presented and the stories that go with the work.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

What the Arts Teach

This week a friend posted a link to an interesting article listing the top ten skills children learn from the arts.  I read the list and agreed totally.  

The skills listed are:

Creativity

Confidence

Problem Solving

Perseverance

Focus

Non-Verbal Communication

Receiving Constructive Feedback

Collaboration

Dedication

Accountability

What a great list!  All of these life skills packed into cutting and glueing paper, splashing paint and squishing clay. Don't forget how much fun this is for kids either.

The best part is that it don't have to stop with children and it doesn't stop with children.  I've witnessed the light in people's eyes during a class when "they get it".....meaning that they have solved some art problem or had a meaningful critique.  I've seen people hone in on their work and how the successful completion of a work gives the maker confidence to make another piece or put their work out for others to enjoy by entering a show or having an exhibition. 

I could give examples of how artists demonstrate all the listed skills in order to pursue their passion and live their lives.  Whether they learned these skills in art class or not these are skills that can be applied to every aspect of life.  Remember this the next time your school board suggest the cutting of art and music classes  as a way to lower costs.  Speak up for quality education and quality of life.  There are benefits far beyond standardized tests.


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