The New Year has come in with a roar of ice, snow, rain and broken pipes. It seemed fitting to learn to mix the colors of January, although washing paint out of my brushes has been difficult with frozen pipes! Above is the first spread of my new industrial sketchbook, through which I hope to learn to paint some of my many obsessions: backs of trucks, kiosks, factories and scaffolds and the ever changing sky which they reflect. To move myself from the digital world fully into the work of paint I have joined the #InsightCreative30DayChallenge2024, brilliantly guided by Cheryl Taves. I met Cheryl about 4 years ago when I visited her studio with friends on Vancouver Island. Her studio and process was a revelation, and I knew I wanted to continue a connection. Through her coaching at Insight Creative, the Sketchbook Challenge brings together artists from all over the world to create audience and accountability for taking risks and finding ones own vision. [Read more…]
New Minimalist Modern Art for Interiors
I have long been in love with the idea of the Kakemono, or hanging scroll, that brings elegance to a vertical space in the home. These new pieces are created with washes of ink with brushes and other studio tools. The washes and calligraphic markings are then blended and composed digitally in improvisational sequences that suggest landscape, the memory of place and the moods of weather. A muted monochrome palette gives them a photographic feeling, and as with photographs they can be printed in warm tones or cool. The Kakemono form lends itself best to paper or fabric. I like to use a fine-grained slightly iridescent canvas from Hahnemuhle.
October in the Pacific Northwest is a moody season. The rains have come, and the fugue state of grayness that leads to indoors brooding requires acts of increasing will to resist. Sunday I felt myself on the cusp of succumbing to what the Buddhists aptly call The Third Hindrance of Sloth and Torpor. Seattle’s caffeine economy is built on what may seem like indulgence: yet consumption of caffeine is actually the first step in Spiritual Effort. I dutifully poured three cups of tea and purified my mind.
Once prodded out the door and feeling clouds on my face I came back to life. The innumerable grays of our skies offer a perfect foil for color, and walking through the blur of crimsons, burnt gold and lichens filled me with calm elation. Still facing East after seeing SAM’s Hokusai, I prolonged the spell of the exhibit with a visit to the Japanese Garden. As I walked through the Japanese garden each tree and stone seemed redrawn in ink in isometric perspective, and I half expected my viewfinder to appear with parallelograms drawn across the glass.
When we are barraged daily with thousands of images seen online it is easy to forget the power of an image seen literally on screen, as in a painting on a folding screen of silk, from hundreds of years ago, holding history present with the physicality of thread. My favorite images from the Hokusai prints showed the ghost seepage of aged rice paste and seams where sheets of paper or silk overlapped. Seen close I noticed embossments of cloud forms I had never caught in reproductions, and this evidence of the physical making impressed memory on me as a bodily thing, amplifying the exhibit’s power. [Read more…]
Duo (Yes/And), one of the new minimalist prints just off the press and in my shop.
It was great to see old friends and new at the opening of Intersect at SAM Gallery. Thank you to all who came to the opening and also those who have gone at other times and sent me your lovely notes! The show continues Wednesday through Sunday 10-5 through the end of the day Sunday August 27.
The opportunity to talk about my work and explain my process at the gallery gave me a lot to think about. These last quiet days of August are a good time to reflect on what led me to work in this medium and to explain my “rules” for making the work. Also (in case you haven’t noticed!) Artificial Intelligence is making a lot of noise in the room and any artist, particularly an artist using digital technology, has to address the questions it raises.
I am excited to show a new abstract body of work created from my calligraphic brush painting. It is an honor to show with Alfred Harris, a longtime favorite Northwest artist whose work always surprises. I look forward to seeing you August 5th!
Waterfall 1/1, Mixed Media Archival Pigment Print on German Etching, 24 x 35
AUG 5 2023
SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
2 PM – 4 PM
Join us as we celebrate the opening of Intersect at SAM Gallery.
Artists Alfred Harris and Iskra Johnson combine techniques and materials which are altered, layered and built up to create finished works which harmoniously intersect in this collection.
Meet the artists at the opening reception of Intersect on Saturday, August 5.
Seattle Art Museum Gallery Hours: 10-5 Wednesday – Sunday. Located on the street level of the Seattle Art Museum, on 1st Avenue between Union and University Streets. 206.654.3120