Daphne Hill, my long time painting partner, and I have a business together painting collaborative works. We've been working together as Hill&Stump for about 7 years. We paint florals and plants, some inspired by Southern California. Daphne has recently moved back to her childhood hometown in Tennessee to care for family there. So now we're going to work remotely, and get together a few times a year to finish paintings and do shows.
Above are some new starts (only the first pass) inspired by the Mohave Desert. We had a show at Bunny Gunner/Taylor Junction a few years ago, and we painted some Joshua Trees and Ocotillo, but those have all sold. A good sign! Hoping to do a show in the fall in 29 Palms. Below are sold paintings...
In a few days I'm flying to Sweden for a week, where I've co-curated a large group exhibition in Stockholm, and will participate in a pop-up in Linkoping. After that I'm headed to a two week residency in Northern France at the Centre Pompadour.
Goals for the residency... The planner in me is organized to create a body of work based on nests of French birds for an exhibition I've got in the fall called "Empty Nest" (both an environmental statement, because the birds are disappearing, and a comment on the wrap-up of the active motherhood phase of my life). I'm excited to meet other women artists and feminists (this is a residency for Neo-Feminists!). Lastly I'm anxious to experience another residency to gather practical and business information: How do they organize the residency? How do they make it financially viable? How do they interact with their residents?
I want to be quiet. I want to take long walks and do long sessions in which I just paint and listen to music. This semester has exhausted me--I've taught way too much in too many places, driving hours every day. I've barely had time to paint, even though I had several big exhibitions. I've sold a series of work, but also been disappointed in two big shows of nudes where I had no major sales. Which means I really can't make large scale nudes any more. I've got to face facts--making big work that has no potential of selling is a luxury I can't afford.
Will try to post from Europe. xox-a
The weather was lovely, mid-80s at the hottest, on hopefully what will be our last weekend without water. All I can do at this point is trash pick up--the entire front fence is now cleaned. (I have a thing about a house's front yard being presentable. Not that it matters in this rangy property, but still. I have a thing.) Big excitement was uncovering a scorpion the size of a small lobster. Too bad you can't grill 'em.
T and Kid.02 were more creative: they made a "wind break" for the ramada out of found wood and signs. Don't know how long it will last, but repairs will be creative. And I woke up on Mother's Day to this lovely greeting off the front porch, where I drink my coffee and watch for road runners every morning...
The new electric line is now hooked up to the barn, and the well will be repaired and updated this coming week. Halle-f****in-lujah.
Fun Saturday night gallery hopping in Joshua Tree. My guy bought me a small sculpture from local metalsmith Gubby Beck at the Art Queen. Ed Rusche was showing at JTAG--fancy prices for the desert, but nice to see. At Taylor Junction we met the brave owner of another property restoration project, the John Hilton House, just a few miles east of us. Jamie's been out here working for three years already. The original owners were artists connected to the Cowboy Artists of America, whom I'm familiar with through my grandparents. But that's another desert story. Ended the evening at the ever inspiring Furstworld.
OK, I know this is trivial, but color is very important to us painters. So from the beginning we've been discussing what color to paint the inside of the house (exterior, currently a desaturated pink, will have to wait). Window trim is/will be white.
Kid.02 likes faded, sandy colors and suggested these (the brown is the color of the floors):
When you live in the city there are lots of colors everywhere you go, which we normally don't even notice. In the country, going outside in the desert means beige and blue in the daytime. I think that's why dusk and dawn are so amazing there. And night is inky dark. I've only experienced living in a minimal color palette a couple times before, in the redwoods of Northern California (green and purple, a combo I find depressing), and in Turkey where the desert colors are also stark.
We couldn't go out to the desert last weekend, so am anxious to get back this weekend--a nice Mother's Day for me! The electricity on the barn has finally been turned back on after much effort on Ted's part, so the well may be working soon. All our trees are stressed because of the lack of water in the sceptic tank, which was pumped. So much depends on water: basic cleaning, basic repair, flushing...
I'm in the final weeks of classes at my various colleges, and it's momentous to think that this is my last semester of crazed running around. Next fall I'll teach at ONE school a few days each week, and the rest of my time will be spent on the Dairy. We are setting goals to have some things running by fall: hosting one or two unofficial residents, and maybe starting some classes. At least I'll be using the studios (in the house or in the barn) to make my own work (can't wait to see what the desert does to it!). I will also start to know the art community, both by attending and applying to shows.
I've been thinking about choosing to live in the desert... I grew up in just one house (in Chula Vista, at the Border), a testament to my hardworking mom who was a kindergarten teacher. Then I went away to college, not for the place (LA) but for the school. After that I basically followed various men, which is sad, but true. They moved or stayed, and I moved or stayed. Then kids, and you can't really move them easily. Now, for the first time in my life, I've chosen a specific place, found a property, and am making a business there. It's sort of amazing. I don't know if I'll succeed, and I'll definitely need to make a community there, because I don't really know anyone yet. By friends are far flung now, and my kids are growing up, so it's time.
Last weekend I took Kid.02 out to stay at the Dairy, and he was impressed, except for the lack of water. I told him we were going to work like dogs, and that's just what we did. He was a trooper.
On the way out of town we visited the Glass Outhouse Art Gallery, just east of downtown Twentynine Palms. It's a former rabbit farm turned outsider sculpture garden. The main attractions are a small chapel, an outhouse made of one-way mirrored glass (it's actually pretty cool to take a pee where you can see out 360 degrees, but no one can see in), and a community gallery. The owner, very friendly, was sitting with other artists outside and offered us free cold drinks. She hosts an opening every month.
You just never know what you'll find out here!
Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.