Friday, June 28, 2013

Know That You Are Lucky by Kathan Brown

I recently finished this newly published book and loved it. It is the autobiography of Kathan Brown, founder of Crown Point Press in San Francisco, who writes about her experiences with the Press, with artists who've created editions with her there, and the ups and downs of "putting one foot in front of the other."

Brown writes so openly and warmly - as if she is in a room and having a conversation with the reader. I came away from it with huge admiration for her and for her kind of creative world.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Think Like a Mathematician

The recent edition of Mathematics Magazine, published by the Mathematics Association of America, features my cover art! It is the fourth cover I've done for the MM and I'm proud. The milk carton, clock and hot cup of coffee refer to one of the articles published inside and the background grid with dots refers to another.

I enjoy the challenges of creating these covers. I'm forced to think and envision in ways that are different from my usual artistic practice and, since I'm creating mostly with photoshop, I learn more about that way of working, too.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Resuming My Saturday Morning Walk-About

It's been a long time and I don't know why I stopped. This morning's walk in the neighborhood was delightful.

A red hot poker plant stars in this neighbor's new native garden. 

Friend Loren is out with Brooklyn and Rita, supposedly on a walk...

Scott's new picket fence is stunning, even before completion. In the background, Loren and pals have headed to a yard sale down the way.

Friday, June 21, 2013

First-Day-of-Summer Dinner

Can't beat this! Fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden, hot red pepper flakes and feta over wheat pasta to commemorate summer. And why not gin and tonics, too? We'll eat in our courtyard surrounded by blooms and a perfect SoCal evening of blue skies, gentle sun and winsome breeze. Cheers to all!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tomatoes, Art and Art Tomatoes

Add a bit of salt and eat!

Inspired by the beautiful tomato, I created a quick mixed media piece as an exercise in the studio:

Homage to the Tomato, 2013
mixed media on paper
7" x 8"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another Layer, Drying in the Sun

Joe has painted another layer of black on the edges of the presentation boxes for the Memory Loss series... the last layer for the sides. Now, the tops. The life of an artist's husband is not all glamour.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wood, Paint, Nails, Glue and Formica Transformed

Twenty-two Presentation Boxes In Process
Over the past few weeks, Joe has been constructing twenty-two presentation boxes from scratch for the Memory Loss series. The mixed media works on paper will be attached to them so that they'll stand out from the wall when exhibited like a painting on canvas, rather than framed under glass. It has been quite a big project.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bad Boy, part 2

Here is Fischl's description of how he paints, from page 152 of his autobiography:

"...I start with a large mess and work to refine it into a coherent image.... Along with discovering that I [am] an elbow painter and need to work large in order to get my paintings to flow, I had to accept that I am impatient and need to work quickly."

A couple of pages later, Fischl elaborates: "The creative process remains as baffling and unpredictable to me today as it did when I began my journey over forty years ago... When I'm working well, I'm lost in the moment, painting quickly and intuitively, reacting to forms on the canvas, allowing their meaning to reveal itself to me. In every painting I make I'm looking for some kind of revelation, something I didn't see before. If it surprises me, hopefully it will surprise the viewer too."

Every creative person works differently. I think it is always interesting and instructive to hear how others work. Many, like Fischl, employ a "searching" process, filled with questions, discovery, constant evaluation and shifts in direction during the process.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Printing on Fabric

Last December, friends Pat Sullivan and Roger O'Leary-Archer joined me for an all day fabric printing session in my courtyard. We had a lot of fun and got some interesting results.

Pat prints fabric for a pillow cover.

Roger loads a block with red ink.

Roger prints strips of fabric which he'll sew together later.

Finished prints dry on the line.

More prints dry.

The protective table top fabric acquired interesting patterns, too.

Inks and blocks are ready for clean up.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bad Boy

I've just started reading artist Eric Fischl's recently released autobiography (co-authored by Michael Stone), Bad Boy. I expected to find it interesting and maybe a bit revealing, but not personally relatable or instructive because male and female artists typically have very different experiences and because his work - narrative and figurative - is very different from mine.

But I'm finding so much more! Fischl is very articulate about his struggles to find his artistic voice and he writes about his misfires and progress in a very open and forthright manner. In the early pages, he writes about growing up in a difficult family situation, thus laying the framework for what will eventually become his artistic focus. There is so much here for any artist to find thought-provoking.

Here is a tidbit for my talented community college students: Eric Fischl's first exposure to art was as a community college student. He took an art class because he thought it would be easy but, instead, it opened a whole new world to him.

More, later.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hello Again!

Leaving (detail), 2013
from the Memory Loss series
ink, watercolor, paraffin, relief print, screenprint, collage on paper
12" x 12"

It is nice to be back!

Much has changed in my art world since I last wrote in August. I quit teaching in December, after thirteen years in the printmaking classrooms of Long Beach City College. Now I focus that attention and energy on my own art work. And it feels like such a sea change! To have so much more time in my studio for thought, experimentation, problem solving and follow-through is invaluable.

I've recently completed the Memory Loss series, eight mixed media works on paper. Using torn leaves as metaphor, this series is a tribute to my mother, Marian Hughes Shuff, who suffered from memory loss in the last years of her life. The Memory Loss series can be seen on my newly updated website,, within a few days. I hope you'll take a look.

Inspired by Zarina, 1   2013
edition of 12
linoleum print with chin colle
8 1/2" x 8 1/2"

You'll also see there a series of three linoleum prints with chine colle called Inspired by Zarina. The artist, Zarina Hashmi (who goes only by her first name) was the subject of an exquisite exhibition, called Paper Like Skin at The Hammer last fall. I saw it in December and was mesmerized by it. I'm so glad to note that the show moved on to the Guggenheim in New York and then to the Art Institute of Chicago. Zarina's work deserves a lot of attention.


One thing that has not changed since my last post in August is Sophie's role as Guard Cat. He is still as vigilant as ever.