my mom asked if i'd be interested in meeting her artist friends mel and bea strawn. of course! so we went to visit their home and studios. you can read more about the strawns here. see their website here.
this is bea's studio.
she's working primarily with wood constructions, mainly wall hung. the current series is fans from reclaimed wood. in addition to layering paint and sanding it off to create depth, collage elements are also sometimes included. it's always interesting to see how other artists build and use layers. i was also interested in the way she discussed repurposing older work- some items that started as arches became boats. love the organic evolution that happens, and it's something to keep in mind before i just toss my old work.
mel is from boise originally, and had his first show at the boise art museum. it's been a while since he's lived here, but a fun connection. he wasn't going to let me in his studio because he's preparing for a show & it wasn't clean, but showing him a photo of mine took care of that.
mel has his mfa in printmaking. he is known as a pioneer in digital art and combines his early prints and drawing with technology. the print in the lower left of the photo below is a lithograph done years ago. during our visit, i saw a detail of this print digitally altered and made into a solar etching and a painting based on the same print. it was fascinating to see the interplay of drawing, digital work and printing and the endless possibilities created.
i've read several books on digital printmaking and have a press that i haven't used much. i'm excited to play with my press and become more comfortable with the printing process. it was very cool to see how work evolves from drawing or painting through digital imaging back to a very "analog" printing process. although mel also uses a printer when it suits. so many possibilities.......
having the opportunity to visit with the strawns was wonderful. bea had showed my mom some brush strokes and asked her if she'd been practicing. my mom said no and bea said "that's OK, you're internalizing". which struck me so much as it's what i know i do when i'm not actively creating.
their daughter was also there, and she showed me some wonderful botanical illustrations on maps- the plants were drawn on their geography of origin and sometimes included fun touches like a pickle on the dill image. more inspiration. i wish i'd written the artist's name down.
the thing about visiting an artist's studio is that it somehow equalizes things. in my experience, artists who are about the art are generous with people who are genuinely interested. these people are so accomplished but i never felt lesser. there's a passion for what we do that equalizes, if we're open to it. i learn in every class i teach. bea asked me about my process in one of the paintings i showed her. (!) there's also the fact that being in a familiar messy studio puts me at ease and makes me feel like i know what i'm talking about.
grateful for those chance encounters that have a lasting impact. grateful that i'm home all week with studio time. glad i bought more ink for the good printer. it's going to be fun to see where this goes-