I'm reporting my tests of full-spectrum light bulbs for the benefit of other artists -- as well for art collectors and interior designers who want to display art. Both LED bulbs and compact fluorescent bulbs are cooler than halogen, important to me in Georgia's hot summers. I was searching mainly for full-spectrum bulbs to light my painting area. Found those, plus some good LED bulbs for displaying art.Read More
The exhibition of acrylic paintings by Enid Williams continues at Piedmont College through Friday, April 3 (closing at 5 p.m.). If there's any chance you can see this exhibition, by all means do so! I had a wonderful experience at the reception, looking at the paintings and listening to Enid Williams talk about her paintings and process.
Do Enid Williams' paintings achieve her aim?
Before going to the reception, I had checked out Enid Williams' website. One phrase from her artist statement caught my attention: "As an artist, I am interested in slowing the viewer's gaze...." So when I entered the gallery at Piedmont College and began to look at her paintings, I wondered if I'd experience them as holding my attention enough to slow my gaze.
Indeed that happened! The smaller paintings (on 12 by 12 inch panels) held my attention well, and I appreciated the sense of depth, especially when part of the background was incised with lines that cut back to the white gesso. The larger paintings, also on birch panels, I experienced as not only holding my gaze, but actually expanding my sense of time and space. Indeed, it gave me a fuller sense of space-time as the unified experience it really is. (I believe our ideas of space and time as separate are a kind of cultural overlay that has its uses, but also limits the fullness of our becoming.)
I felt a surge of congratulatory appreciation for Enid Williams. Here's an artist who set an aim and has clearly achieved it! This lifted my spirits.
Yes but what about spirituality?
As her talk began, I looked at the paintings behind her -- now from a longer distance. I thought "Yes, these paintings achieved her aim, that's great. But they're not really spiritual. Too bad." Then I realized how ridiculous this thought really was. Here's an artist whose paintings affect the viewer's experience of time, making it deep and slow and also playful and expansive. And I'm saying they're not spiritual? Come on, Cathy! Get real!
So this is why I urge you to see these paintings in person whenever you get the opportunity. If you can get to Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, by the afternoon of April 3, that's a sure bet. The Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art is on Georgia Street in downtown Demorest, GA. Regular Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Plenty of parking is available in the visitors' lot right behind the art museum.
To see more about Enid Williams' paintings on exhibit:
Of course there's much more to see in these paintings by Enid Williams than my own story tells. She deliberately uses her vocabulary of circles plus a subtle use of color to invite a wide range of personal interpretation. Your story will be unique.
I admire the way she combines gestural spontaneity with careful craftsmanship. This level of craftsmanship, especially in preparing the birch panels, requires a lot of patient labor. It's the only way to go (in my opinion) yet isn't always what artists do.
Enid Williams has a lot of interesting things to say about her work. I remember her saying she enjoys putting a bit of irony and humor into the painting titles. I think of myself as kind of a "word person" so it surprises me that I just wanted to gaze at the paintings and enjoy the way they transformed my sense of space-time. I had to nudge myself to look at the title cards. I think this shows the power of the paintings as paintings; to me, going way beyond words is what it's all about.
You can see more photographs of the exhibition and reception posted by Piedmont College at Flickr. There's also a delightful interview with Enid Williams by Kenya Chaney, posted online at the college newspaper. If you can't get to this exhibition before it closes April 3, you can keep in touch with the artist by contacting her via Enid Williams.net. There's also a blog showing some Enid Williams paintings from 2013. Clearly Enid Williams spends more time painting than updating her blog and website. This is too bad for us but not something I would want to change.
New Consensus on Guidelines for Fair Use of Visual Art
Great news for artists! The College Art Association has completed a well-documented process of elucidating what fair use really means for visual art. These are important guidelines for any artist, curator or art teacher to read. The document is easy to obtain, free of charge. Download a copy in .pdf form of the Code of Best Practices for Fair Use in the Visual Arts.
For more on the process by which this document was achieved, see the Fair Use page at the College Art Association website. This page also includes several valuable links to more information. For example, at "Fair Use: You Be the Judge," you can think through sample scenarios posing questions about fair use. There are also links to FAQ, an infographic on why consensus on guidelines has been needed, and a PowerPoint presentation.
I definitely recommend taking the time to download and look through this PowerPoint presentation on Fair Use. (The link is toward the bottom of that main Fair Use page.) There are some fascinating surprises in it. If you're an artist, I guarantee you will feel both freer and more thoughtful after watching it! It gave me a huge boost on my top current project.
Artists - Use Your University Libraries
I ran across this information in the Georgia State University Library blog, filtered for "Art." Am I glad that I needed to find out the library's hours during spring break! I'd never clicked on the library blog before.
If you're an artist in the north half of Georgia, shame on you if you don't explore the art books at the Georgia State University Library -- or at least, at some college library nearby. I happen to be an alumnus of Georgia State (graduate school in psychology) so I can check out books there. There's no way I could ever afford to own all the art books that can inspire and help me, so this is a fabulous privilege.
The Power of a Good Art Library
There was even a day back in January where a traumatic family event had me wondering if there was any use at all in making art. Painting seemed like such a futile activity in the face of my family's new tragedy. Art seemed like nothing to me.
I had to return some books to the GSU Library, though, so I went, pretty much in tears. Some survival instinct took me to the section first on aesthetics (the philosophy of art). Right away I found books on why art is so important -- making art, looking at art, encouraging art. It was as if these books were putting their arms around me and offering me comfort.
I spent a few hours there at the library and when I left, having found fresh books to study at home, I felt renewed. I was sad but I felt that I could go on. Art mattered.