Archive for the ‘Visual Art’ Category

Birthday present - for both of us

Saturday, February 9th, 2008


Birthday present

Originally uploaded by Kate O’

Around the middle of December, Karsten was getting ready to start making visual art again after a long, intense period of house renovation, and in the middle of a period of exhaustion and depression, he needed a comfortable project to ease him back into it. Unfortunately, he’d also gotten his mind set on oil painting, which is a medium he’d done almost nothing with since art school.

I’m no artist, and I know almost nothing about oil painting except what I’d learned from Karsten while he’d been doing research, but I do know projects and I know how complexity compounds difficulty in execution. And I know Karsten, and how ready he is to feel bad about himself when something he tries doesn’t go quite right.

So I was worried that he would take on a painting project that would require a lot of skill with oil paint and he’d get frustrated and disappointed in himself. I tried to help him think of something that would reduce the variables in the process: we talked about copying an image from somewhere else and doing it in solid tones. The thought was that not having to work from an entirely original concept seemed like it would reduce the risk of losing faith in his own artistic vision due to medium complications, and not having to make elaborate color mixing decisions seemed like it would reduce the complexity of the painting and leave him to get familiar with other elements of technique, such as the application of the paint itself.

And then I happened across a print in a Chiasso catalog (which is seemingly no longer available). It was orange and white, like the colors I’m starting to use in my new home office concept, and featured a simple silhouette of a vine. I really liked it, but I thought it lacked a sense of animate life and needed a perched bird to be truly perfect. And I saw a wonderful multi-effect opportunity emerging.

When I asked Karsten if he thought he could paint the picture for me, he was unsure if he was up to the challenge. That was his fatigue and depression talking, of course, and I did worry that he might not be ready to try it, and that if he tried and felt like he failed, he’d be crushed, but he agreed to give it a try so I crossed my fingers.

It took several weeks, and I got to peek at it during the process, and it was always just as wonderful as I hoped.

He presented it to me a few weeks ago, and I have it sitting on a shelf in my home office, waiting until we finish painting the walls from their current dirty-pepto-bismol-pink to a simple crisp white before we hang it.

You can see how it fits in with some of my office accessories in this picture.

I just love it. It’s about the best birthday present I can imagine, for so many reasons — not least of which is that Karsten now has so much more confidence about taking the next step with painting. So maybe it’s sort of a present for him, too.

Twitter Updates for 2008-01-05

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Wage does it again.

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Chris Wage is a freakin’ photography genius (even while drunk enjoying an adult beverage or two):

I LOVE that picture. It makes me feel like I’m back in that moment, in the late hours of the party with the die hard revelers still going strong, laughing it up with great friends. What a great moment.

Cross-medium inspiration

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

I’ve been getting creatively inspired a lot lately. I already talked about going to hear the Peter Plagens lecture at the Frist and how creatively inspiring that was, but then on Thursday night we went to the Société Anonyme show at the Frist with Brad and Jed, and Brad spent a good chunk of time explaining why “Tu m’” was, as he put it, the Rosetta Stone of modern art. So I listened and I looked hard at it, and I saw it. And I kept coming back to it as I circled the exhibit. I’d look at other pieces, the Mondrians and the Miros, and then I’d make my way back in front of the Duchamp piece that did begin to feel like the punchline to the whole show.

All day Friday, I kept thinking back to that piece. I’d be working on the budget at work, and I’d think about the genius of using a tool to say I don’t want to use this tool anymore. And I’d think about the shadows from the bottle brush, and how much there is going on in just that part of the work alone, not even to mention the rest of the composition.

I’m not a painter or any other kind of visual artist; I’m a writer. And lyrics are my primary medium. But looking at visual art can inspire me in ways music doesn’t reach. (I bet Randy at Ethos totally gets what I mean here.) It’s like rewiring my brain; all the lights seem brighter and the circuits seem faster. And I see dimensions of things I’d been blind to.

Whether that translates into more and better songwriting, I have yet to see. I’m writing here and there, but nothing yet has screamed epiphany. But even if it’s not about that, even if the net effect is just to reset my powers of observation and make me live a little more in the moment, hey, that’s powerful stuff, I’ll take it.

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Watch out, Chris Wage!

Monday, September 10th, 2007

I got a message on Flickr a while ago about a picture I took of the Tennessee State Capitol building — that the online guide Schmap may want to use it and would I indicate my approval or not. So I said that’d be fine with me. On Saturday I got confirmation that the picture was indeed included and was now live on the site. From the message on Flickr:

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo has been selected for inclusion in the newly released third edition of our Schmap Nashville Guide: Tennessee State Capitol Building
www.schmap.com/nashville/sights_downtown/p=18858/i=18858_3.jpg

I do like the sunset colors on the capitol, but I don’t even think it’s a very good photo — it’s only a crappy Treo-quality picture, after all. But I did take the stupid picture, despite what the photo credit shows:

schmap-detail-screen-shot.png

Guess I probably should sort that out. I bet Chris Wage would never let crap like that slip.

Our new meerkat painting!

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

Our new meerkat painting!
Our new meerkat painting!,
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Sorry, I’ve been meaning to post an update on the animal art auction and have been too swamped. Or lazy. But swamped makes me sound more important, I think, so I’ve been swamped.

Anyway, we won a painting! And not just any painting: a meerkat painting!

Karsten loves meerkats. All along, I was hoping we’d find a good painting done by meerkats. But the first few we saw were kind of disappointing. Cute, of course — it’s impossible to imagine meerkats painting without being nearly cuted to death — but each of the surfaces had very little pigment on it, so there wasn’t much to be cuted by.

But then we saw this one, and we both agreed it was wonderful. And the colors in it even complement the shabby chic aesthetic we’re going for in the bedroom. So we bid on it and guarded it throughout the evening, and we won it! For a lean $52 (the auction sheet stated its value at $90ish, and just for the frame and matte I’d say that’s about right).

So if you click through to the rest of the pictures on flickr, you’ll be able to see more of the animal art that was up for auction. It was really a fun evening. If it happens again and you’re local, you don’t want to miss it.

Balloon release! Art event at Image Distillery (at the Shell station)

Monday, March 13th, 2006

Balloon release! Art event at Image Distillery (at the Shell station)
Balloon release! Art event at Image Distillery (at the Shell station),
originally uploaded by Kate O’.

Thanks to for encouraging me to take a picture at this art event the other night. It gave me something to post in Metroblogging Nashville, and I’ve been a neglectful blogger over the past 10 days.

But anyway, this was a way cool fun night of art happenings.