Category Archives: inspiration

Periphery Project

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The last few weeks, I finished walking the stretch of South San Francisco shoreline and started back at Hwy 92, heading south from there. I’m still kind of catching up here with the images, and after this I think I’ll try to post at the end of each week with my favorites from that week’s walk. I’m still fumbling around in the studio, establishing my parameters with new work, and learning how these walks are influencing my painting and drawing. I’ll try to post later this week and let you see what that looks like (hint: it’s a mess). Until then, some photos…

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The photograph above was taken from the empty Candlestick Park parking lot, facing northeast…

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RIP Candlestick. I did not grow up going to games there, so I don’t have any attachment to the place or structure, but it was fascinating and a little sad, standing in the adjacent field, watching the demolition. Every now and then, a cloud of white particulate would rise from the center, like smoke. This area next to the bay is going to change a lot in the next few years. For now, it is an exceptionally quiet stretch of Bay Trail. A little unnerving, really, with a sense of abandonment.

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Back in Foster City last week I walked a few miles of mud flats and tidal inlets.

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Some sections of the trail seem bland and unexceptional, but I am always surprised by the texture and color that are there if I slow down to notice.

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And of course this, constantly, overhead. Airplanes tracing diagonal likes across the sky. This week I’ll be picking up where I left off and walking in Redwood City. Have a fantastic week!

The Periphery Project

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For the handful of you that follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my #peripheryproject hashtag… and probably wondered what I’m up to. I’m so excited to tell you about this project! You all know that I paint. And those of you who know me personally know that I walk. A lot.

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As of this year, I’ve been painting for 25 years. I’ve been reflecting lately on the continuities in my practice over the years. I’ve been examining what has worked for me and what hasn’t. I’ve been making art long enough now so that I’m finally starting to really feel that I know what I’m about, and what my work is about and what keeps me coming back to it. Like many other people, I don’t process much of anything without moving. And let’s face it, art practice takes a lot of processing. So when I walk, it really feeds my practice. Walking, for me, is like art fertilizer.

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For the past several years, most of my walking has centered around where I live, and I’m lucky to live in a beautiful place, with lots of open space–fields and bluffs stretching to the ocean. And the work I’ve produced for about 5 years has centered on the light and atmosphere here, and those walks. I’ve written about this here quite a lot. Consistency and repetition are important. I like to visit my subject (location) repeatedly, from different angles and times of day, in varying light and weather. I want to get to know it, to discover it’s secrets, and feel that I have inhabited it, and it has inhabited me. This is where so much of my work has come from, for at least the last 20 years. This is one of my consistent threads, one of my continuities.

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Which leads me to The Periphery Project. In 2013, I ordered a set of Bay Trail maps, and thought to myself, “how cool would it be to walk around the entire San Francisco bay?”. This year I decided to finally start. So far, I’ve been walking each week, several miles each time, and I figure it will take me about two years to walk around the bay. The trail is not contiguous; there are stretches that are not accessible. But even so, it covers 270 miles of the bay shore. I think I need to buy myself new walking shoes!

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Each time I go out, I take photographs. The photographs serve as a record of what I notice, and even though I don’t directly use photos as the subject matter for my paintings, they do influence my compositions and color choices and at times certain shapes or geometries from my photos will make their way into paintings. They are complimentary; the relationship is reciprocal. I am already starting new paintings in the studio that are inspired by what I’m seeing along the trail. Stay tuned here for more about this project, and you can always follow along on my Instagram, for trail pictures, as well as works in progress and whatever else I’m noticing and photographing in my world.

*All photos taken on the western shore of the Bay Trail between the San Mateo Bridge and Oyster Point with my iphone.

Looking Forward 2014

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This morning I walked past my open green waste bin and the discarded flowers that lay at the top caught my eye.  I threw them out last night and they were rained on a bit.

If my last post was about looking backward, this one is about looking forward. January has been such a lovely month.  I don’t really do new years resolutions, but I usually do a big studio clean, take inventory of my life, and make some plans, set some goals.  That sort of thing.  So in that spirit, I’ll share some of my thoughts/aspirations for 2014:

  • Steer myself out of ruts, and try new things.  Small things, certainly.  Large things, hopefully.
  • Draw more.
  • Stay present.
  • Take some road trips with my son.
  • Read more books.
  • Slow down and notice beauty in unexpected places. See above photo.
  • Write more.
  • Experiment more in the studio.

Looking forward…

Blog Makeover, and Other New Stuff

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I’ve been fiddling with this blog pretty much non-stop for a few days.  Isn’t it so much nicer around here?? I didn’t even like to look at my blog before, but now I love it. I figured that if I’m going to be sharing and writing here more, I’d better make it a space that I actually like.

I’ve also added a lot of content on the periphery.  Here are some changes that you might not notice right away:

  • I’ve listed upcoming teaching gigs in the navigation bar.
  • There is now a drop-down menu above that acts like a mini gallery page with some examples of my work.
  • Click on the “Hang Gallery” button in the sidebar to see where you can view or purchase my work.  Hang Gallery is also listed in the navigation bar under “Representation”.  By the way, they are some of the most friendly, kind gallery people I have ever met.  Worth a visit if you are in San Francisco.
  • I am very excited to share all of the links and book suggestions listed under “Inspiration” in the navigation menu.  I am obsessed with process, so I love to peek into other creator’s lives and I gain so much insight from reading about the psychology and process of creating.  Make yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy these links and books.  If you have favorite websites or books to share, leave a link in the comments.
  • “New Work” in the sidebar will take you to my website.
  • Click on “About” to read a little about me and what my work is about.

And yes, more is coming.  I will add content to “Projects” as that takes shape.  I have packing and shipping information that I’d like to add to the sidebar.  I also have a writing project that I’m working on, but that will have to wait a while…

As always, thanks for reading!
Lisa

Studio Shots

It’s been such a gray and rainy spring! But that hasn’t stopped the work in the studio… in fact, it’s been a wonderful year for the plants this year. Above, some mustard gone to seed.

The hummingbirds have been busy disguising their nests with this moss that grows on the old plum trees behind my studio.

This lovely thing fell to the ground during the last wind storm. I’m looking forward to drawing it.

This pile of embroidery thread is waiting to be woven into some paintings… paintings that are only in my head at the moment. I’m looking forward to the hours of summer, and seeing if some of my new ideas work.

Inspired

A shot of my pin board in my studio. It’s a combination inspiration board/storage area for masks and stencils. I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration outside lately. The coastal wildflowers are in bloom here on the central west coast, and I savor them in all of their spare beauty. I’ve been drawing the wild horseradish that grows everywhere right now. Also, finding inspiration online, and I thought I’d share a few links that have me thinking and looking closely.

http://butdoesitfloat.com

http://lisasolomon-musings.blogspot.com

http://dearada.typepad.com

http://www.planetaryfolklore.com

http://www.theselby.com

Inspiration

“I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day.”

Anne Lamott

This quote is from an essay in the current issue of Sunset Magazine called “Time Lost and Found”. I love Lamott’s writing, and have read and re-read her book “Bird by Bird”, her book about writing. I think that virtually everything she says there can be applied to any creative endeavor, and her writing is so honest and real- it makes me laugh and come away with new insight every time. This essay made me stop and think about what I can give up in order to paint more.

Hunting the Unseen

A few days ago we had a low, low tide- the kind of low tide that only comes once in a blue moon (literally, this time…), and so we all bundled up and headed for Maverick’s beach by the harbor. The sky was dark, the clouds low and threatening. It was windy. But I was so glad we went out.

There is so much beauty in these gray and blustery days, and this particular day, we had the pleasure of seeing what is usually hidden by the sea. We walked on rocks usually submerged. We could see the kelp anchored to the rocks, starfish clinging, and crabs backed into the deep cracks, staring out at us, as if we had crashed their party, and they were utterly annoyed. The beach becomes unfamiliar, foreign, and all the more beautiful for it.

It occurred to me that this is often the work of the artist- hunting the unseen; making it seen. Finding unnoticed beauty, and bringing it to the light. And sometimes a low tide is just what we need…

Here’s to 2010, a new year, and a new decade. May it bring you all light, love, and prosperity!