Friday, June 19, 2009

on the easel, eggplant brunch

I've something new on the easel.

As it often happens in my collaborative process with hubby Genna, he recently offered me up a batch of new underpaintings at which I turned up my nose, and now I'm eating all of my critical words. Genna makes my oil wash underpaintings only once a month or so, lots at a time. Two times ago, there came a whole set that seemed almost unbearably 'prime'...basic yellow, blue, and red.

On closer inspection, they're loaded with goodness. Lots of sublte, dark, shifting patches of purple and teal, punctuated with tasty little orange blobbies.

I put a big one on the easel on Thursday, 36" high and 60" wide. It's deeper and richer in tone than alot of what I've been working with lately. Several of Genna's recent 'batches' have been really crisp & tart. Here's the new piece at the beginning:

The image I chose for the new 3'x5' was this one:

I thought that the deep wash would work well in an image with lots of architecture & landscape...lighter on the figures. About a third of the way through, I was struck by how much I subconsiously pick up and use the colors of the underpainting. This far in, nearly every color I had applied was a nearly perfect match for a patch of underpainting. I can't remember ever having used that eggplant color before. Thus is the beauty of working with a partner! I never know what I'm going to get and what I'm going to do with it.

So now it's Saturday, and I'm wrapping it up. The last few hours tends to be spent in what would look like walking around drinking coffee to the untrained eye. I leave the room, positioning the piece so that it's visible from the hall. Then I wander from my desk to the computer (soduku and email) to the kitchen (coffee and peeks in the fridge), around and around, sneaking glances at the new piece out of the corner of my eye. It's important to sneak up on it so that I can see what it really looks like.

So, a few more subtle adjustments and this one should be finished and framed before we leave for DesMoines on Tuesday. She's "Poughkeepsie Brunch", oil on linen, 36" x 60"...

Oh, one more from the 'prime' set:

Gee's Bend Homage: Easy, oil on linen, 36" x 60"

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

bearden/kahlo inspiration

Last Friday night was the opening reception of "Reaction", new works by the Visual Artists Alliance of LaGrange created in reaction to a work of art by a favorite artist.

Each artist's work (20 artists, 40 works in paint, glass, collage, clay) was accompanied by a small reproduction of the inspiration piece and a statement explaining their inspiration.

The show is taking place at the Cochran Gallery on Lafayette Square, downtown LaGrange. The gallery usually showcases the collection of local collectors Wes & Missy Cochran, who have a world class collection of graphics (focused heavily on Andy Warhol) and works by African-American artists. My favorite of their collection is a fantastic 1975 aquatint/photoetching by my American Idol, Romare Bearden, entitled The Family. Here it is:

The Cochrans graciously agreed to allow me to hang the Bearden next to my offering for the show, Alfresco, Family Table...

She is an oil on canvas, 55" x 72". I made her in collaboration with Genna. My thought process was that the juxstaposition of Genna's flowing style and my broad, crisp panes of color create a similar feeling to Bearden's collaged (or in this case, collage like) images.

Our featured work for the show was created by my VAAL co-director Cora Wooley Waterhouse. Her painting is Adaptation:

Inspired by this photographic portrait of Frida Kahlo by Nikolas Muray:

I loved what Cora had to say,

"Photographs of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo remind me of my own Hungarian grandmother, Anna Schreier. Both women were proud and exotic, brave and deeply independent. Last year for my birthday, my daughter gave me a book of fantastic photographic portraits of Kahlo taken by Nikolas Muray, one of her many lovers. I chose the cover photo as inspiration for my self portrait.

For my piece, I wear a heavily embroidered vest, homage to my Hungarian mother and grandmother. The necklace is a favorite of mine, found in pieces at the old LaGrange Antique Mall shortly after we arrived here. The azaleas and maple leaves for my hair are from my own beautiful springtime yard. There is no place that blooms more beautifully than Georgia in spring.
I painted myself on a camouflage fabric ground. The idea that a fabric can help a person blend into their environment adds a wink of irony to my Adaptation and gives a nod to the patterned wallpaper background of the original work."

Kudos, Cora! Check her out online at

If you're planning to be in the LaGrange area, you can see the show Wednesday-Saturday from 1-5pm at the Cochran Gallery, E. Lafayette Square until July 2nd.

Monday, June 15, 2009


My very first exciting! Welcome all.

I'm Signe. I'm a thirty something (5) painter,

married to a fourty-ish (one) potter. My husband Genna (here he is, isn't he cute)

and I are partners in a co-operative gallery and travel widely showing our work and servicing galleries that feature our work. Genna's beautiful and talented daughter Nastiya is with us in the summers. Here she is,

Beautiful, no? She's also very smart & talented. She lives in Ukraine with her mom and just completed her second year of study in interior design. She also draws, paints, and can do every handcraft the first time she picks it up (knitting, pottery, beading, sculpture, etcetera, etcetera. It makes me absolutely green with envy how 'intelligent' her hands are!).

Anywho, this blog won't be about my family...just thought you'd like a little backstory. Visit me here to see 'what's on the easel', to hear about our art festival exploits, and to keep track of our newest inspirations. Looking forward to it!