May 14, 2021 Weekly Musings
Posted on May 14 2021
Featured image: Just Saying I Love You
Christine Alfery Selected For Publication of Circle Quarterly Art Review
Posted May 13, 2021
Circle Quarterly Art Review - Issue 6:
With 618 participating artists in our magazine contest, who submitted artwork in a variety of discipline, media and styles, selecting only a portion of the images was not a simple task. We announce that Christine Alfery is one of the artists, along with her artwork, that was selected for publication in the 6th Issue of Circle Quarterly Art Review.
Statement from artist:
I call my work conceptual abstraction. The process of isolating, separating certain parts of reality from all other things is abstraction. Expanding this abstraction, helping it grow into something wonderfully unique is what my work is all about. This uniqueness in my work comes from how I personally express myself. It is a one of a kind thing – it is not art where as one size fits all. It is conceptual abstraction.
Posted on May 12, 2021
Featured image: Ms Blue
When you place that first a mark on a blank sheet of watercolor paper or canvas and then place a color, a lot of color or even a little bit of color on that same canvas or sheet of paper, you are being very brave. Moments before that you had this hesitation, this pause, wondering, "What if it doesn’t work?" What if it is the wrong color? What if I mess this up? What if I have lost my creativity? There are a million, yes a million reasons not to take that first step. When I decided to paint this rabbit blue and then actually took the first step and painted the it blue, it was a brave first step. We all know rabbits aren’t blue, but when the mind is in its creative, imaginary mode, well, anything can happen. So, you take that step. Make that first mark. Place that color. And, then, you worry when you finish it– no one will like it – it doesn’t look like a rabbit. This is when you need to be honest with yourself.
At this moment I usually say, "What difference does it make if I make my rabbit blue, or green or red for that matter, if the work speaks for itself?"– Well, if the rabbit is red it might shout – your work will stand out all by itself and in the end, it may have nothing to do with you anymore. How delightful that moment is, when someone relates to a work like you did when you created it and drew that first mark and placed that first color.
Once your work is recognized as one-of-a-kind, all that worry and hesitation disappears. But being one-of-a-kind does not necessarily make the work art. If a work is “art,” then the work has a lot to do with what the concept of art represents.
For me, “Ms. Blue” represents my love of difference, independence and uniqueness. Ms, Blue screams all these art values. Ms,. Blue represents not only me but, also how I understand the concept of art. The simple orange mark, the green against the blue, a color blue I haven’t used very much, and then standing back and saying she is great, and she represents how I want 2021 and my 2021 rabbits to represent: freshness, rebirth and renewal. My rabbits are like the feeling I get when spring comes. Just a wonderful breath of fresh air. While the artwork, Ms, Blue, may be pleasant to the eye, it is what the work and the concept of art are that counts for me and Ms, Blue is all of that.
Posted May 11, 2021
Featured image: Hummer II
Heard and saw my first hummer for the season at the feeder today. Poor guy. He looked a bit scuffled – feathers amuck. It looks like he might have had a rough migration. But what a delight seeing him there!
The Seeds We Have Sown
Posted may 11, 2021
Featured image: The Seeds We Have Sown - Spring 2021
Over morning coffee as I was talking to God and sharing thoughts with Him, I thought about the work I created last week, “The Seeds We Have Sown,” and how loose and free and how easy it was for me to create. The entire process felt real and authentic to me. How comfortable I was painting it and what a lot of fun it was to paint! I asked, “Why is it that some of my work comes so easily like this one and others I struggle so with such as “Be Sure You Wear Flowers in Your Hair?”
I came to this conclusion. I've become secure with the type of mark making I used in creating the work,“The Seeds We Have Sown.” I'm very insecure doing figures. I think it's as simple as that. There is so much anxiety about where the mouth should go or if there should be folds in the dress. Should I put eyes in? And the hair – what about the hair? I know I am bogged down with how I think figures "should" look. Especially because I have been, for the most part, painting women. There is this thing about a woman being a perfect object within our culture.
Their makeup has to be just right, and no flaws in their skin. The eye shadow and color of their eyes need to match and blend. Women's figures have to be “sexy” hourglass shaped. Plus women, need to be superhuman if they are married and have a family. I, personally, know I am guilty of thinking those things and doing the super woman things. When a women gets lost in the objects of our culture, to make herself an object of our culture, she has lost what is real about her, she has lost her authentic self.
I am insecure with the figures I am creating because they aren’t feeling real or authentic, not only for myself, but also for the authenticity and reality of the work itself. My most recent creation, “Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair,” doesn’t feel that way. She feels real, she feels authentic – but I did have to rework her some.
The key I believe is to let go of the idea that things are perfect. I found two drawings online that illustrate this point for me. What happened between the first set of drawings by 2-4 year olds and the second drawing of two people dancing by an 11 year old?
The answer is so in my face! It's the exact same problem with my insecurity with painting figures. Painting figures feels the same way as being an object of our object culture - my figures have to be perfect. I do not have the comfort zone with the figures as I do with the other subjects that I create. I am not as secure creating them as I am with my other subjects. Solution? Just keep painting them until I feel secure.
I look forward to when I can paint and draw like a 2–4 year old again. Get that loose. That will be a yes, yes, yes time for me.
The seeds we sow should not rob us of our authentic selves and who we are. We should not be a slave to object culture for it's a form of chaining us to another and our authentic selves get lost. The art we create is the same. It should not be tied up in knots to be part of something that we are not. That is the key issue for me as I learn how to be freer with my figures and my marks that make these figures. I would love for them to be childlike again.
Posted May 12, 2021
Featured image: The Choir
There is a reciprocal relatedness between our souls and nature, between our communion with the stars the tides, the creatures of the earth, the earth, ourselves and one another.
I listen to the choir sing to me in the early mornings over coffee. They always sit on the crooked branches in a particular tree. They gather and then flock to the feeders, singing the entire time. This relatedness between my soul and nature and the choir greets me every morning and is a blessing.
Uniqueness Has Many Colors
Posted May 13, 2021
Featured image: Yellow Tulip
Recently when going through the plethora of store catalogs that I get not only online but also the actual catalog, an ad caught my eye. It was from an online catalog called, “Artful Home.” Its headline read: “An Elegant Palette of Neutral Hues.” The subheading read: “Expressive Neutrals.” The text read: “in subtle undertones or bold black and white, these works of art lend graceful sophistication to your home with the elegance of a neutral palette.”
So, I ask, "Why does the word elegant define neutral?" As an adjective the word "elegant," according to an online dictionary, is: “pleasingly graceful and stylish in appearance or manner.” … “(of scientific theory or solution to a problem) pleasingly ingenious and simple. “the grand unified theory is compact and elegant in mathematical terms.” Words associated with the word elegant, neat, simple, effective, ingenious, clever, intelligent.
So as I understand this, the word "neutral" when linked to "elegant" is simple, neat, effective, ingenious, clever and intelligent, as well as graceful and stylish.
I have a problem with this just as I have a problem with the word "universal." They seem to garner thoughts of a “gray” middle. The grey middle that pleases all and offends no one. The pleasing grey middle that is filled with harmony and balance. Harmony and balance, for some reason, in today's thinking seem to not include individualism.
For me, if the middle is filled with harmony and is neutral and elegant and simple, how do we visualize this middle? What color is it? My guess has always been painted gray and blended with the stark, bold black and white edges of this scene.
Rather than thinking of the middle as having colors that blend and gently, gracefully, simply, elegantly, blend, mix, mingle, combine with each other to form gray, why not think of the middle as a rainbow of color, individual colors, unique colors, one-of-a-kind colors that bump up against each other and respect each others space and value and don’t try and blend into a monochromatic neutral in the middle?
Think of the middle as baroque, filled with a wide range of style and forms that are contradictory, but that appeal to the senses and is very dramatic, sensuous, rich, vital, filled with tension and movement, and exuberance. The edges of each independent space in my imagined middle are not blended and blurred and melting into one pot of grey. Rather, the edges are both smooth and jagged, symmetrical and asymmetrical, balanced and topsy turvy.
The key to my middle is to recognize difference and respect it when it appears and is standing next to you and your space. The idea that I need to change my individuality to conform to the middle just does not make sense to me. The middle is not neutral, but can be universal if and only if, we recognize difference and respect it when it appears standing next to you and your individual, unique space.
Why is it when we, as unique individuals, think differently than others, we are labeled as an outcast, as someone who doesn’t fit? Why is it that uniqueness is not respected and honored? I ask this question because I know as I live my life and make choices in my life that do not “fit” in a grey neutral space I am treated as weird, different, and as an outcast in an unkind way. In the arts, the words outcast and different were born as a badge of honor in the past. Now, it doesn’t seem that art and artists are as respected when they think differently. Rather, they are asked why don’t they fit in? Why do they not blend with others? Why are they not grey?
I approach my art like I approach life - art is a process, life is a process. Art, for me, is not goal oriented. Did I paint xyz today? Did I make xyz today? If I link my work to a pressure filled goal and not towards the process then I sincerely believe my work is not authentic, not real and doesn’t represent my uniqueness and individuality.
The middle is not grey and not neutral. Celebrate your many colors and the colors of others.
Traveling Gypsy, 22 x 30