Terra Incognita
Am writing a book about the life and times of a contemporary artist in a not so contemporary world; a 15 year stint in my personal world.

Living in the outreaches of the far northern extensions of California has proven to be quite a series of experiences and one, which will forever change my perspective.

What little civilization is practiced there has been both a source of fascination and horror to me, determined by the particular given circumstances. Teaching art on the college level has been equally challenging and boring as there are literally no resources from which to draw upon. And people come to live in the farthest reaches of northern California to escape the world rather than to embrace and function in it.

So one finds classes full of students who are not interested in examining contemporary culture or participating in it, but rather have created individual illusions of culture and wish to stay firmly and safely exiled in a pretend world. They seek out art as a means to reinforce that imaginary state of mind.

Among this hermit set, favorite artists include Thomas Kinkade and the preferred imagery consists of predictable clichés; birds and flowers and trees. It is enough to make a serious artist throw up her hands and cry herself to sleep at night.

I, on the other hand, eventually needed an exile from exile. Desperately.

And so now I have become a floating émigré, seeking worlds rich in cultural qualities and still hoping for a studio and home that will provide some peace and solace. With the income of a teacher and artist, it will require some serious creativity to find that new place; however, I remain undaunted.

The book is nearly finished. Yesterday was a rainy one and so I took the time to fully examine its’ contents. In doing so, I found that it has assumed a nice and shapely form; speaking my mind and still managing to maintain a inspired format. It should be ready for public consumption shortly and I am pleased.

My plan is to publish in the fall. However mundane, it is important to me that the work which I have done and the life which I have lived over the past 15 years has some significance and can be somehow interpreted in a creative way. Despite the draining and negative circumstances of this very long phase in my life, I have to believe that it has also been somehow useful and that my time has not been wasted.

On the upside… having taught the ever-popular watercolor painting course for so many years, I often seek to uncover artwork wherein the medium is used contemporarily and imaginatively. This is not an easy task as the medium is generally employed in endless pedantic representations of the overdone nature themes.

If you have ever seen one too many watercolors of birds and flowers and trees, then you will appreciate this refreshing take on the medium of water-based pigments. The imagery reminds one of the popular Japanese style of cartooning and yet possesses ancient qualities in execution and use of the wash. I am drawn in by the simultaneous sense of history as seen in the technique and the blend of modernism in this subtle approach.

Entitled “Watch Out”, the work was done in 2002 by an artist in Beijing named
Liu Quinghe.
You can see more of the artwork online at Red Gate Gallery.

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