Thursday, September 24, 2015

Nicholas Simmons

The art world lost a very talented, kind and generous artist this week. Nicholas Simmons will not soon be forgotten.  He often took time out of his very successful and busy life as Watercolor artist, teacher, musician, and family man to visit my blog and comment on and encourage my efforts. I was always so impressed by that humble generosity.  He will be missed by so very many.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

New addition to Souq Series

I guess I should probably call it the Bahrain series!  This is based on the image of a sacred tree here in Bahrain called the Tree of Life.  It is a mesquite tree in the middle of nowhere out in the desert here in Bahrain. Surviving against all odds.  It is a national monument and it is forbidden to trim it or desecrate it in any way.  It has a little fence around the base and has some awkward branches that lay along the ground.  I would love to trim it up and make it more visually appealing but it is not my tree.  It is beautiful in its imperfection though I guess as is life itself.  I have added some other local Arabic images such as the decorative windows and camels.  The tree is actually printed on a piece of Butterick dress pattern paper.
  There is a local shop that is showing my Monotypes of Bahrain:  Alaa Aladeen Handicrafts   15741 - Phoenicia Center, Building # 56 Road # 306 Shop # 5 Adliya Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.  (The shopping center across from the Ferrari building) Wani Waseem +97333892837  

Can't get past the beginning!

This is a small 9X9 oil study of my grandson Griffin, on linen.  Strangely enough, I have had trouble moving on with this as I love it just the way it is.  I had such a different vision of how it would end up but I just really like the image as is.  I am thinking maybe I will just leave it alone and start over with the same format and then move on with that....  The reason I started with the red background is that the photo
I'm working from had the backlight of the sun making his ear light up with the translucent red that I find so appealing.

When you try to go back to a style you have grown out of...

This is the third attempt (still in progress) at a portrait commission that is supposed to be a companion piece to the little girl "Rachel", the older sister of this sweet little Sarah at the same age in the same dress.  I have had to
contemplate  the complications of this situation for several reasons.  The first being that I have worked
very hard to move past this style of working exactly from a photograph...(the biggest problem with this particular example is that I can't seem to download a clear rendition of the reference photo so am working from a quite fuzzy photo, which would work very well with my current style where I like to
abstract things a little more.  I'm really having a hard time with this simple portrait that I would have in the past dashed off in a matter of hours.... I have been struggling with this for months.  I recently came across a photo of my own of the subject that I can get a very good rendition of the image to work from but Sarah is not in the same costume.  I may start over and try to get the details from my own photo and just paint in the dress.  Frustrating, as I know I can do so much better even in the old style if I had a better photo reference.  Maybe I will just do both in my new looser style and just gift it to their parents.
That would be so much easier! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Last Three from the Souq Series

#9     "One Hump or Two?"
The Last three in the Series of  The BAB Souq.  I think these last three are my favorites.  I don't know though I like them all for different reasons.  I actually eliminated the real #7 and that made all the numbers off a bit as I did 12 prints in all.  #7 just lacked too much. Although, you never know I guess. I just have been into more detail and busy-ness lately. #9 is an encore of my original favorite camel photo that I fashioned my original camel stamp from which is also included in this print.  There are some of the Bahrain Postage Stamps featuring among other things a photo of the King.  I also like to include the local paper written in Arabic which I cannot read so I try to put it in such a way that the viewer understands that the artwork is not about what is written in the article. 
  "With Blessing"#10, is two views of a blind begger that is a constant in the Souq. The Arabic writing says "with blessing".
  #11 "Open"  is another breakdown of some of the graffiti I found.  I love these cartoonish images and the cartoon key going into the real lock.  I should just keep going on this series as I like each new one better than the last.  I guess that's a good thing.  I've been told that the BAB fest will extend into April.  My show was only for a week though so if you happen to go you will see a new artist each week. Be sure to check out the Festivities from 4:30 to 10 PM Thursdays thru Saturdays in the archway of the BAB Building, Gate way to the Souq.  My Last print workshop is next Friday and Saturday, the 29th and 30th of March.
#10   "With Blessing"
#11   "Open"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pop Up Gallery In the BAB

 This is the "Pop Up Gallery" in the middle of the BAB Building where all the Monotypes I have been working on are now on Display.  I love the concept of this movable gallery.  It's very open and sits in the middle of the walk area and invites you to walk through in a way that a more conventional gallery space does not.  It's hard to photograph but it is shaped somewhat like a big spider.  You can just walk through or walk around inside to see the art.
  If you are in Bahrain come check out the BAB at the Souq.  Festivities are Thursdays thru Saturdays 4:30 -10:00 untill the end of March

The sign you see is the info about me and the work. The red lettering
is the logo for the BAB renewal fest (its in Arabic)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

7 & 8 in the Souq Series

#8     Queen of the Corner

I never really understand why I cannot get the photos in the order I want them to be except accidentally.
  Falconry is quite popular here and I have been keeping a falcon series in the back of my mind to do.  I need to get more photos however before doing that particular series.  #7 is just a nod in that direction.  They often have someone standing out in public places, especially festivals, dressed in traditional Arab attire and holding a falcon.  These are hired people as the owners are not likely to stand around for you to gawk at their falcons. They do however give in to charity pressure and lend the use of their falcons for public display.  There is also a poem in this painting by Qassim Haddad from his book of love poems. I really like the look of the Arabic writing as it is so pretty but if you don't read Arabic you really never know what you are putting into your artwork using collage pieces from the newspapers etc.  I usually place the writing upside down and or backwards so it's meaning is irrelevant and it is the pattern that shows through but I really don't like the idea of putting negative stuff in my work. I figured I couldn't go wrong with love poems so I bought this book and  have been tearing pages out of it to use in my art work.  I hope he doesn't mind.      
  #8 is another ferrel cat from the Souq; actually a really pretty cat with brilliant green eyes and quite the brave and casual display of confidence laying out on a very prominent and busy corner of the sidewalk.   The fur was a little bit dirty looking but otherwise a pretty healthy if a bit thin looking cat.  I was able to get some good photos as the cat seemed comfortable and unconcerned with passersby.  I sort of imagine and  whole community scenario  of cat-dom in the Souq akin to Watership Down. This cat, I imagine, would be the queen of the Souq.
  The Art pieces just got picked up today by the Museum staff due to some delay that I didn't quite understand but am assured the show is being hung as I write this so if you went there early today expecting to see the show, I apologize, however if you attend the festivities tonight I'm sure the show will be up and staff on hand to answer any questions. The show will be on display in the main BAB building until the 25th of March.  My last workshop on printmaking is the 29th and 30th of March.
#7           Poetry and Flight
Remember, Thursday thru Saturday 4:30 to 10:00 for all the fun, art, food and music in the BAB AL BAHRAIN Souq.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

5th and 6th in the Souq Series

#5            Graffiti in the Souq
#6        Inshalla, Anything you want in the Souq 
This is the next two in the series.  I am framing and wrapping for pick up today.  This has been a fun
series to do because I had my work cut out for me with such a specific theme yet there is so much material to work from.  I have taken hundreds of photos in the Souq and it is hard to paint them all when there are so many other things I want to paint.  It gave me something creative to do with my photos.  My Bahrain friend Hesa who is curating the show has been writing words for me in Arabic
so that I can copy them onto my paintings and prints.  This word "Inshalla" in #6  means "God Willing" which is used here very frequently.  It's kind of funny because they say  that if someone
uses "inshalla" three times or more in promising you something, then the chances are it's not going to happen.  i.e. "Inshalla, someone will be there tomorrow to install your cable inshalla. By 9:30 Inshalla."
Pretty much means no one is coming tomorrow and if they do they won't be there till 4:00.  You might
get your cable by the end of next week... Inshalla.  ;-)
  Another interesting thing about the alphabet is that spelling is not important as its all about the sounds that the symbols represent.  Words and phrases can be written out as they would sound in English or it can be written in the Arabic word.  So this word I have written in #6 is actually the Arabic word Inshalla and not the English phrase we would say, God willing.  The fun thing is that if you know the Arabic alphabet and the sounds the symbols stand for, you can read signs that are translations of English words by sounding out the symbols such as in brand names etc.
# 5 is one of my favorites so far  as the graffiti in the souq is very creative and fun.  I took a small portion of what was drawn on this wall and re drew it in the upper part of the plate before I printed it.
The Akua color inks are very thin compared to the Akua Intaglio inks and can be used like watercolor paint to make details with a brush or pen.  The Akua Color is what I used to draw the woman. 
  There are 11 prints in all that I have done for the show so maybe a couple of more tomorrow... Inshalla.  
  The Show will be up in the BAB building from the 14th of March until the 21st.  The special
market with Arts and crafts will be open Thursday through Saturday from 4:30 until 10. Music, Food, Workshops, etc. all kinds of fun stuff every weekend in march.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

#'s 3 & 4 In the Souq series

#4   Hand pulled Cart   Mono type with Chine' Colle' 
#3  9 lives in the Souq  Mono type with Chine' College'
The top print is the 4th in the order of pulls and
the Cat print is the 3rd in order using the ghost from each previous print and adding more ink and textures etc.
  Just to refresh your memory on what "Mono type with Chine' College'" is... It is basically making a mono print with collage pieces except the collage pieces are actually applied at the same time as the ink onto the paper through the press process.  Once you have reached this step it is possible to add more ink but not more collage pieces because it is difficult to stick them over the ink. The collage piece sticks directly to the paper and the ink prints over that.

The show of these pieces and the rest that I am working on will be up in the BAB building in the Pop up Gallery from March 14th - 20th.
All images on this blog are copyrighted unless otherwise noted and not to be used in any way without the written consent of Tonya Vollertsen.