Monday, May 17, 2010

May Days in the Studio

"The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh."

-   Philip Larkin, The Trees

 There is nothing like the days of May, blowsy, mild and open like a peony bursting into blossom. I have to step around the alstromeria and creeping hyacinth growing around my studio stairs. As I walk up, I feel a giddy sense of anticipation. I'm  'beginning afresh' in the studio; larger collage works on panels (12" x 24"), letting myself loose after a series of tightly composed smaller works. The colors in the new work echo the garden colors: red fingerprints the color of cyclamen, bits of sari fabric capture the glow of alstromeria and paper strips the inimitable gold of California poppies.

All this in preparation for an upcoming exhibit as part of our town's monthly "ArtAbout", a festive occasion that takes place once a month. Local artists take over different businesses for an evening and fill them with art. Musicians congregate and the town echoes with the sounds of blues, jazz and the occasional outburst of loud rock from nearby fraternities. It all adds up to a lot of people on the sidewalks, moving from one venue to another, eager to see the night's offerings. I'll be showing my work June 11th at the USE Credit Union, which serves the local universities.   I wish you all could be here so I could meet you in person and talk of art and all things visual. In lieu of that, I'll keep you posted about more works coming out of the studio heading towards the ArtAbout.

Pictured above: Pattern Redux, © 2010, detail and Red Chrysanthemum, ©2010, detail


  1. What an excellent way of getting your art out there and meeting people--I would love something like this.

  2. I'll try to make it to town for the Art About.
    Love the flowers surrounding your studio. It's like walking up to the Princess Tower in some fairy tale.

  3. Your photo is beautiful. What a sight to see the pinks against the greens. Your artwork of cyclamen colors so nice with the photo. Wish I could be there in June.

  4. Hannah...ArtAbout sounds wonderful! What a great concept. Pretty sure my little community couldn't find the art or the people for a monthly commitment, but maybe annual?...Hhmmm Thanks for sharing, you've got me thinking!

  5. Love the concept of ArtAbout! Down here in Westerly RI, we have something in similar lines... Art stroll every first wednesday of the month... where the downtowns a buzz and all the artist studios open doors to visitors. And I love the poem you started this post with.. 'begin afresh, afresh, afresh'..

  6. The ArtABout is a great concept. I know that some of the artists I've spoken to are hesitant about mixing their art with the various businesses--but in fact, I think that is a necessary rough edge that happens in the course of introducing more people to art. Tracey, I'm glad I got you thinking. Lynn, I love the concept of the fairy princess tower and Joyita, don't you think we have to begin afresh each day? Beth, of course--I wish you could be here too! And Diane--thank you for your enthusiasm! I appreciate it so much.

  7. Your photos are captivating and the poem is wonderful... I would so enjoy the opportunity to see your work in the ArtAbout...sounds like a great bridge between art and business.

    Enjoy the daily 'afresh afresh afresh' in your studio ;-)

  8. Hannah, I would love to come see those collages of yours IN PERSON. They do have great design, though, which looks good on my monitor.

    I am a member of a local Austin group that shows in banks, credit unions, and various other businesses around town. I think the idea is to cover the town with art, right? And sell some along the way!

  9. Thanks Lynn, that is indeed the idea. As I said, I think part of the ArtAbout or similar programs involves education about art along the way as well!

  10. Hannah, I love the ArtAbout concept. We have something similar here in Philly but only once a year for one day. The photograph is very springy! May is my favorite month. I LOVE your new collage work!

  11. renewal, cycles, begin again, start over fresh- as artists we need to replenish and regroup- great collages here.. I love the poem too.

  12. I think that is so much of what I've been doing in the studio-renewing--and Iona (merci33 above) talks so beautifully about this notion of beginning again in her post on "Following the Moon":

  13. Sounds like the mild days of May at this end of the world except it is Autumn and I also wake with that giddy sense of anticipation. Your collages are lovely especially the first one. Love it!

  14. Hannah, I am love, love, lovin these collages and really looking forward to the show!

  15. Thank you both Robyn and Sara. I can scarcely imagine Robyn, how it must be to be immersed in autumn and yet approaching the World Cup, which in this hemisphere is so indelibly linked to summer. Yet waking up with giddy anticipation knows no seasonal limits...

    Sara, your last collage workshop opened so many doors and windows. Grazie mille.