☀︎What I Did This Summer ☀︎
Summer arrives each year with promises of time to do all kinds of things.
By mid-May, I usually have plans for reading, new art projects, vegetables to grow, performances at favorite places, and organizing things. One can well imagine that not all of these see the light of day.
As the summer comes to a wistful end, I note that the online exhibition “Divine Proportions,” in which I worked with Samantha Kelley, was published in early July.
We have discussed possible projects, but spent a good deal of time moving my entire art inventory from a storage room to a larger one. There has been construction at the site where the Gallery is located on Fifth Avenue, and it is an exciting development for us. In September, we will be inaugurating the Entryway to provide periodic exhibitions.
As for my other plans, some are still on the shelf. A useful summer? Yes. A fun summer? Partially.
My artist project for Summer 2023 has been to paint the Irish landscape. This acrylic piece called Dingle Peninsula depicts the beautiful patchwork landscape so common in Ireland, particularly the coastal areas. Hedges divide parcels of land, and many of these hedgerows also contain ancient stone walls. For fun find the sheep grazing in two of the parcels of land!
I collaborated with Darlene Altschul, a CA artist, to create a new Artistamp made from a painted collage previously included in a show at the NAWA Gallery, NYC. My Artistamps are in collections and archives in the US and in Europe.
Also, over the summer I worked on several projects, such as paintings and drawings that were included in several exhibitions in North Carolina and the Hudson Valley. I have two works included in the current issue of The New Croton Review, published by the Croton Council on the Arts.
(Wikipedia Definition of Artistamp: An artistamp (a portmanteau of the word “artist”and “stamp”) or artist’s stamp is a postage stamp-like art form used to depict or commemorate any subject its creator chooses. Artistamp are a from of Cinderella stamps in that they are not valid for postage.
In late April and early May, I went to the orchard at the Ann Lee Historic Site in Colonie to photograph it. It was glorious, and over two days I took a series of shots that I am turning into a sequence. I want to capture the exhilaration, almost giddiness, of being in an orchard with the sun shining (mostly) and being surrounded by a hundred scented flowering trees in every direction, some of them very old. The colors, the feeling, the scents, the clouds, the sky, the grass, the bees—I want the sequence to be total immersion, to put you right there to experience what I did. And apples, even proto-apples in the blossom stage––what more basic image for us humans, who in our subconscious minds might think immediately of the Garden of Eden? This was as close as I could get.
This summer, I decided to take a new direction in my work. I am doing pieces with more space and a neutral color palette with a pop of color. I have stepped away from abstracts to include many city scapes that have been influenced by dividing my time between upstate and NYC for part of the summer as well. I am working towards a quieter presence in my abstracts which is influenced by upstate.
I have been working on this oil since the beginning of the year. I wish to depict some characters related to my original Mexican roots. I will name it “Cuatro Temblor” (Four Earthquake in English, or Nahui Ollin in Nahuatl). You can see part of the hieroglyph in the left lower corner. The people in the reunion are listening to the wise woman--the one showing us her back-- giving instruction about the way of life.
Since the age of nine, I have painted still lifes. I have always been inspired by masters such as Jean Simeon Chardin, Pieter Claesz, William Harneett, and Francisco de Zubaran. Since I have retired, I am able to spend more time working on painting. For the Black Vase, I spent time just picking out the objects to use and on the arrangement. I added and took away different textures. As I proceeded to paint, I started making changes. Originally, I had the stripe drapery filling the background. However, I decided to add black drapery to balance the vase. I had a gold chain hanging off the vase and surrounding the apples but found it distracting. I decided to add a few grapes and postcards on the drapery to add interest. The drapery and the wicker basket have proved to be a challenge. I have scrapped off areas and repainted. I will continue to refine the shapes and colors as I continue. I have spent 2 months so far and should be finished in another month.
Most recently I have been working on photography. Often I capture anything that strikes me in the moment with my phone. It has been signs such is “Did you Forget” folded in half on a door, and “Slow watch for cat” posted in a yard. They brought a smile to my face. My husband and I have also been going on more hikes with our camera. I have been seeing nature intertwining with rust. This inspiration keeps finding me. Now, when I see a pile of rust in its home location, I capture it in the moment, and might not necessarily disturb it to use later as material in sculptures.
I spent part of the summer preparing an author's edition of short stories I published between 2020 and 2023 in various magazines and literary journals. The anthology was published in July under the title, Formas lindas de matar and you can see it here.
Some years ago, I began painting figures in simplified environments. Varying horizon lines conveyed fields, skies and a sense of distance. This summer, I painted three new figures set against lonely landscapes. “Woman Watching” is the latest. I’ve always loved the modernist painter Milton Avery, and here I was inspired by his bold compositions, flattened forms and striking color arrangements. It’s a departure from my typically textured and gestural works. I enjoyed working this way and hope to explore more along these lines. And unlike most of the other works in this emerging series, “Woman Watching” is gazing away from the viewer – contemplating, imagining, or perhaps collecting her thoughts, content to stand and dream. There are no ready answers.
Right now, I am curating two events: River Poems 3 at the Herman Melville house on 9/9/23 and another one TBA in November. I really enjoy supporting others work and collaborating with other poets, artists, musicians, gallery directors and community members. To me, like the poet Audre Lorde once wrote, "poetry is not a luxury." It is how I make sense of my world. To me, poems are like prayers. I do my best. I tell my stories, and my greatest hope is that someone might think "I feel that way, too." On my best days, I still think that the right poem with the best lines might just help save the world and ourselves.
I have been working on two assemblages this summer. This is a work in progress of one of them.
This summer I have continued work on a series of portraits. Being that they often address personal issues…I have begun to label them self-portraits.
This summer, I created and printed a 5x7 card for my "Hands That Feed Us" banner project. The banners were installed in May on 5 buildings in the Marlboro/Milton area. I worked with a wonderful company out of Westchester to reproduce my paintings on weatherproof vinyl. They were spot on with the color reproduction. Having them installed was like watching a canvas being stretched. This was a pricy project but I felt like I just had to do it. Then I found out I was awarded a grant from Arts Mid Hudson to help defray the cost of the banners! (I have also written a grant through NYSCA to possibly help create more banners to hang in urban places throughout the Hudson Valley).
Phyllis Tracy Malinow
I have been creating mixed media rice paper sculptures which show development of my journey with mixed media rice paper sculpture, a new medium for me. This year and summer I’ve been pushing out the walls of the sculptures creating them. It takes months to complete these sculptures. Evolving Garden is my latest mixed media rice paper sculpture.
This sculpture series involves my transitioning and developing from oil painter and multicolored mixed media woodblock printmaker, to currently creating mixed media rice paper sculpture. My art is each one of a kind. The theme of this series explores the inner “compartments” spiritually as we evolve and struggle toward some kind of path through our ever complex, changing maze of life over these last years. As we embrace a greater journey of wholeness, hope, quality, health, kindness and peace shall surface.
I made some pieces for a fundraiser auction to benefit Eleanor, an historic 1902 sailboat on the Hudson, restored, maintained and sailed by a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer group, in which we’ve been active. I had been out of the studio for a while following May, and this assignment got me working again and a whole new body of ceramic work is resulting, (unrelated to the Eleanor project.) Doing another glaze firing this week.
As it happens I have been working on some small studies. I call them studies deliberately, because they are not paintings in the usual sense, but tryouts, if you will, or explorations, in a different vein from the bigger effort of a painting. It means, to me, that I have something in mind, a starting point. In the past I have done some studies based on the paintings of Tiepolo, keeping in mind the exorbitant celebration of space, and some drawings by Verrochio - where a few might have had contributions by Leonardo, who worked in his studio as an apprentice. Each time there was a fixed idea in mind. This time the idea was an earlier painting of my own from the 1960s - one that I consider my breakthrough painting. It was unlike anything I had ever seen, or anything I had done before. I knew it when I did it, because, newly married, my wife said "I don't know if I like this" on first viewing. It was the sense of space that was different - emptier and airier - and the classical balance, achieved through unconventional means.