Posts Tagged ‘ abstract art ’

Update with the class, January, 2015

I have noticed that lately I have not updated about the class for some time. So, I figured that doing so was needed. Today, I am digging through old photos on my hard drive to find a good image –a figure– to draw from, to use as a source image for a new work. Among the images I am working with is this image of my partner, shot with a digital camera, reclining in bed. This is my pencil rendering: KODAK Digital Still Camera There are a few things currently leading me to change approaches with the class. As I have talked about in other blog posts, over the past fall I was able to travel with a colleague from the Office of Mental Health to The Living Museum in Rockland Psychiatric Center, and the original Living Museum in Queens, NY, at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. During those times I met with clients of both hospitals who participated in Living Museum activities, as well as had lengthy face-to-face meeting with Chris Randolph (director of the Rockland Living Museum) and Janos Martin (director of the Creedmoor Living Museum). Both Chris Randolph and Janos Martin were very helpful and encouraging, –and excited that a peer run program may be coming to CDPC. CDPC is a much smaller psychiatric hospital, up the Hudson River, in Albany, NY. Both of them, however, recommended that one of the first changes I needed to make to my own program at CDPC was to change my teaching approach. I needed to model on my emerging program on the principles important to the Living Museum programs and other peer programs like it. I had been, as a teacher, essentially approaching the class as a teacher-directed lesson. I had been teaching the class by choosing the topic. I then led the class in developing that particular skill I was teaching.

My own (very battered) personal paint box.

My own (very battered) personal paint box.

This was a method that worked well at the not-profit class I was assisting with. Most of my students seemed comfortable with the approach. However, there’s a great deal of merit in the idea of letting mentally ill people direct their own projects. The idea is more than just window dressing, it’s essentially to giving people their own agency to direct their own interests and own their own ideas and projects. My conversation with Dr. Martin, especially, hammered home the idea that this is essential to the therapeutic push of peer/consumer led programming. Perhaps my own illness make me a slow learner, that I need to hear the same impassioned argument made twice to cede a bit of control. But this is the direction I am going. I am determined to have a program like a Living Museum program at this hospital. I would like to turn more control for the program over to peers. So far, my students have been responding well to the changes and are excited. We have a couple big projects coming up: I am doing the Art on Eight exhibit with another talented artist (currently hospitalized) –which is exciting–, and there is a cultural fair I am priming students to develop ideas for. It’s an exciting time for me, making art and teaching at the hospital.

The artist at his easel

The artist at his easel

Another New Work (Time Spent With Lesser Evils)

So, I started a new abstract piece, I just realized now, I had started it November of last year.

For a while I had considered it done, and gave it a place on my wall in the kitchen.

It started life, almost a year ago, looking like this:


Eventually, a portion of the canvas looked like this:


Then it sat on my wall for many months. Very lately (as in last night) I decided I needed to re-work it. Although I considered it done, there were places the while of canvas peeked through the paint. It was too reliant on a yellow ochre and red scheme that my paints trend towards without my total consent. Parts of it had gotten too blended with umber and red. I wanted to work it again so I did.

Here’s the re-finished, finished painting as of last night, drying:


I am still unsure whether or not to call this one done. Am I done beating up on this canvas? I don’t know yet. I am going to give it a couple days.

I also did not name or date this piece. I am trying to come up with a fitting name. Normally I reference something going on in my life in titles. So, I’m thinking about that bit of it…

PS: just for fun. An old iMac sits several feet away from my easel, and became collateral damage in the process of painting last night:


Update: as of 12/27, while I was scrambling to have things to exhibit, I decided on a title of this piece. A frind had suggested time ought to be a theme. The challenge with titling abstract works, is you want to be creative without being over-the-top. You also want it to logically register to whoever is viewing a piece. It’s hard to choose a title that makes sense with the content of an abstract piece. A friend suggested “time” as a theme. I ended up calling it “Time Spent With Lesser Evils”

My Lost Children

Many, many of my works of art were damaged or lost over the years. In this post, when I am able to recover an image of a piece of art I created that was lost or destroyed, I will post it here.

Oil on Canvas, met a bad end.

A lot of my work has been lost or destroyed, or simply left and neglected. This particular work is significant, because it was destroyed so dramatically. I managed to anger a past partner to a degree she attacked it with a kitchen knife while it was still drying on the easel. C’est la vie.

Abstract sculpture

If you look between the candelabra, and the edge of the dresser, there’s a white abstract sculpture made out of pottery that didn’t survive being fired (to the far right, it looks like a skeletal hand). The piece is clay, and some kind of glue. I made it in an independent study art class. It’s a “found object” sculpture. By the time I moved out of my parent’s house, it was broken and battered in so many places I threw it out, rather than take it with me.  The image was taken on a Pentax 35mm SLR that was the camera I used when I took photography in high school