This talk was given at the Art House Friday March 7th 2014 in Craftsbury Vermont




   Thank you all for coming. I am delighted to be here at the Art House, and I am particularly grateful to Sarah Mutrux for curating the work so beautifully, thank you.


Tonight, I will speak of the images in the show, of my creative process surrounding this work; and I will also address pieces of my journey as an artist, and other sources of inspiration.


  The work you are seeing here, at the Art House, belongs to a series of watercolors, which can be divided into two parts: this image, and the first one were created in the spring of 2012. The next images were made during the fall and winter of 2011.


In all there are about 40 images related to this series.

At the time, I had been folding Origami. I began to wonder if I could get the Peace Crane’s beak and wings to come out in specific colors, and I wondered what the pattern looked like on the inside of the Peace Crane. So I unfolded it.


  This is the Peace Crane.  The crumpled top corner is the beak. The horizontal triangles are the wings.  I loved this moment so much, I never refolded the crane but I kept the little piece of paper as a memory of the beginning.


  This image came a little bit later, it was an attempt to fold a crane in watercolor paper, but the paper is too thick. The folds lost clarity, and the more random patterns began to interest me.
The image is a peace crane, a kite, water, early sails and structure.


  Here the image is on brown Origami paper in colored pencils.  I folded and unfolded a little boat. So the lines and squares are the patterns of the Origami boat.  The circles and other shapes remind me of fish on the ocean floor.  I was working on a very complicated fish puzzle then, and I think it came thru in the work.


  This piece is 4 inches square. I was thinking from inside looking out. The squares and folds are the lines of a window or a room. The image of the sails is the view I was dreaming of.  In the winter watercolors I sometimes used a yellow crayon, which creates a somewhat unpredictable pattern in the water.


  In this particular piece the words fail me most. The profound depths of the colors move me in ways I cannot describe.  This work now lives in a private collection, but this is the first image in the catalogue. In this way, this body of work can continue being seen as a whole even when the work finds new homes.

The next three images are all very small, narrow, horizontals. They are about 4 x 10 inches each. 





I love working in different sizes, but the scale of things is what I love most.

To be able to show the vast expanse of Lake Champlain, the huge winds and the immense sky, and to feel the freedom of such thoughts in such a small piece of paper feels like pure wonder to me.




Here the sail takes over, and the red takes on a new meaning.  I was seeing the clash of Samurai swords. The long diagonals are bloodshed, and war. And yet I felt an overwhelming sense of freedom when making this work.




This is the last of the 2011 images. 

It was shown in Burlington Vermont in the summer of 2013 for Art + Soul, a Fund Raiser to benefit the Echo Center. I found it fitting this piece would be used in part to help protect the lake that inspired this work as well.


In the next part of this talk I will share moments of my journey as an artist, and other sources of inspiration. Then I will return to the later sailing images.

  In recent years I have began including photography as one of my means of expression.

I moved to the United States in1990 from Switzerland where I was born and raised. In 1996, after living in Vermont and Colorado for a time I made the move to New York City where I lived until 2002.  Then I began commuting between Vermont and NY. During my commutes I began photographing the sunrise almost daily. When I finally moved to Vermont full time in 2010 my relationship to the outdoors and my photographs became one.

My training as an artist began with Susan Jane Walp. She was my teacher and mentor for many years. I met her while attending the Adult Degree Program of Vermont College in the early 90’s.  Later she encouraged me to make my way to the New York Studio School of Drawing Painting and Sculpture. Susan’s encouragements and her love of still life have stayed with me all these years. And it is in large part thanks to her, that my work as an artist grew.

   This photograph is of a rotating still life. I was trained as a sculptor, and we worked from the model. To work all angles we turned both model and sculpture often. So to create still lives on rotating sculpture stands, using mirrors to reflect objects, felt like a natural progression. These still lives were set up to draw from, but I also loved photographing them. You can find drawings on line as well www.carolinetavelli-abar.com/images/persephone-drawings

The New York Studio School also had a large influence on my relationship to scale. Working very small and very large became a great source of pleasure, inspiration, frustration, and a challenge I love to this day.

  This image is actually a photograph, of the room I filled with drawings during Vermont week at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson around 2002, but it illustrates the massive scale the Studio School had taught me to love.

After the Studio School in 1998 I remained in NY and took a Studio in Long Island City. In the mornings I worked with a private art collector organizing an amazing collection of self-portraits, and in the afternoons I returned to my studio to do my own work.

The collection work I saw each day left an indelible mark, and I began experimenting with self-portraits to process what I had been seeing at work.

  This charcoal, INK, and conte crayon drawing is one version of myself. Self-Portrait also became the place I found refuge. After 9/11 nothing seemed real anymore, but to look in the mirror and find myself brought solace.

  As time went on my focus shifted to other images. However, I never lost my love of portraits. This image is a photograph, now a days it might be called a selfie. But then I used photoshop to play with the lines.

My friend Jennifer Perellie, a wonderful make up artist here in Vermont, had painted this amazing tattoo like shape on my face, and after spending the day walking around Montpelier like this, I went home and played with my camera.  The mood of the image fit my mood at the time.

Commuting between Vermont and New York from 2002 to 2010 was an amazing time. I had begun working for another art collection, and being immersed in this extraordinary print collection both in its depth and variety, took my own work to many new places.

  I explored combining mediums, like here: silver leaf, red ink, gouache, acrylic and charcoal; working as much from my imagination as from the house across the street.

Having now worked for print collectors for so many years I wanted to experience the process first hand. So I took a class with David Te Selle at Studio Place Art. His teaching style, and his esthetic were extremely rewarding. We worked on waterless lithography, a non- toxic printmaking medium, using glass or metal plates.

 This drawing is on glass, it never became a print, but it is part of the series www.carolinetavelli-abar.com/images/glass-drawings

  Here this print is of an actual sculpture of a Buddha sitting in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I brought with me the tiny 7x5 inch metal plate and drew where he sat. David Te Selle later worked with me to print the artist proofs. At this time no edition exists. But there are Six Proof in different shades of gray and light, that create a small set titled the Six Meditations of the Headless Buddha

And this year I was so happy to join with Card Isle. They are a new kind of greeting card Kiosk. One of the Buddha prints now comes as a customizable greeting card www.carolinetavelli-abar.com/cards

  It is now around 2005. I have been commuting between Vermont and New York for a few years. My work has grown tremendously, and it is about to take a new direction.

This image is the beginning of a series, which will culminate in a 7 foot by 9 foot collage composed mainly of my own drawings.

Here I used images from one Art Magazine, and rewrote the news. The collage became double sided. I did not notice it was shaped like a girl cutting thru things. I went for a cup of tea. When I came back to my studio and saw her, I gasped.


This is the back of the previous collage


 


She is traveling on the little carriage at her feet.

Each piece, a ripple effect

Women of time coming out in force to claim their birthright

We are part of the world 
of the arts 
of this moment.

So for many months I sorted thru my work. I created three piles in my studio. Drawings that would go to the dump so the paper might be recycled. Drawings I would keep and protect, and finally drawings that had something just right but the rest was not working. Those last drawings became the source material for the collages. 

And this is the front of Seven feet by Nine feet and Three feet deep.

This was, in a way, the end of a time. My schoolwork was far behind, the collection work was in full swing, and my images had gone thru many stages. 

The next step I could not have predicted.




Burlington Taiko and Stuart Paton would change my way of seeing once more.

They define Taiko in this way:

Taiko—Japanese for "big drum"- is a relatively modern revival of ancient Japanese drumming traditions.

I have dedicated several pages on my website to a small portion of the work I would do in their company. For well over two years I would draw in their Dojo as they practiced. My images changed several times over, and the story of their music became all encompassing. The piece above is done in the Dojo as they played, and then the blue and black wash were added in my studio at home.

Hear the Music


explodes on the page, the drummer a thin pencil line in the center, and the drums but a row of black markings. It is sound, it is story, it is music and drawing.  These drums and musicians will play a huge part in my life for a very long time.


In this image different focuses get combined

The way the music notes read
the Joy of sound
Another kind, of drum
And, another kind of drawing begins.
This, is an iPhone drawing.

   As is this one.

I have been traveling for many years now. My iPhone is becoming very important not just to call home, but with its camera and with the various applications it’s becoming a miniature studio. It takes the place of the cocktail napkin and of the sketchbook, but with the sophistication of the brush application it is so much more than that.

This is also the beginning of a new adventure that will affect my sailing image as well.

These next images are about process, and a return to the sailing pieces here in the gallery.


In this iPhone drawing I became aware, that I could create and save multiple versions of the same piece. So unlike with drawing on paper, when I go too far in the Brush Application the drawing is not lost, I can simply back track the computer moves; and save versions as I go, much like in Photoshop.

I would work, and save versions, until I got a final image - like here.




During this time I was also working on my sailing images. I began photographing them, and importing the photos into the Brush Application. There I could test the placement of the colors and the colors themselves.


This is one such test.

You can see the actual piece here in the Gallery




The test image is me trying to figure out what color I want to use next. So I photograph the Sailing Watercolor, and work out my options in the brush application. Once I find the non-choices, it’s easier to commit to the watercolor itself. This way of working gave me a new kind of freedom.

The next six slides will show the progression of one sailing image and the way the colors grew.


First the paper is folded. It’s a slow process much like drawing for me. After each fold, the page is reopened, and a conversation begins from one fold to the next. The image is resolved in the folds first.

The paper is so thick, and the creasing done with such insistence, the folds become raised. 


Then the watercolor is carefully applied. It can now pool between the raised lines. 
 
A new image appears each time more watercolor is applied. The image grows in stages.

   



The iPhone and brush application are used when I am not sure of the next step, or if I want to try out ideas. Much like sketching.
The process continues. The conversation sometimes changes when some of the white lines are painted over.

Here is the final version. In 2013, I entered a reproduction of this piece into a juried competition for Fletcher Allen’s Yearly Calendar. It became the image for the month of August. They also printed a beautiful card.
Both this piece and the one before it remind me of my father. He flew and built a new kind of handglider in the early 70’s - While I was preparing for my Pecha Kucha talk last year at the Fleming Museum I became aware that the roots for my Sailing pieces could be found in my childhood memories as well. The Pecha Kucha talk was recorded by RETN. It is now on YouTube the link can be found here: www.carolinetavelli-abar.com/-pecha-kucha----


These are my father’s stickers for his Delta. We loved those stickers as children. They ended up all over everything! I can’t help but see parallels with my sailing images.


During the making of this particular piece I was preparing for a show at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe Vermont. I had entered as a poet. My focus shifted in the sailing work as well.

Several poets, including David Budbill whose work I love, came together to create a group poem called a Renga. It is similar to a Haiku but longer. Each person gets a grouping of lines but no one see the whole poem, only the lines just before one’s own. The section of the poem we were working on spoke of fall, but the word rust was in use, so to alleviate my frustration, I put it in the watercolor instead. The title of this work is one part I wrote for the Renga.

Glorious Red Oak 
As I bask in the torrent 
Your leaves fall as rain

There are three slides left for
tonight.

  In this image I experimented on a
much larger scale to see what would happen. I began to feel as if I were creating a sculpture. The watercolor acted like little building blocks, or balancing weights. 

This is the biggest sheet of paper in the series 42 1/4 x 37 1/2 inches.


  
Each time I see this piece 

I feel brightness, 
a sense of joy, 
and 
I think of spring.



And here we are, 
at the end of the talk.  




Thank you all very much for coming out tonight

And thank you, for your visit on the web :)


 
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