Friday, August 31, 2012

"Painting with Beads"

Before the richly saturated colors of Autumn transform the landscape, I am finding the last blasts of summer floral color against the endless green inspiring.
For talented tribal artists and artisans around the world, the primary colors in the form of tiny seed beads transform personal and utilitarian objects into portable works of art.
Nimble fingers sew, string, and embed red, yellow, blue, black, white beads into traditional geometric or organic patterns from nature that have deep significance to their cultural backgrounds. Others may just express the maker's sheer joy of beauty and the pleasure derived from art making.
Either way, I will consciously take inspiration from the women before me who "paint" so effectively with tiny glass beads.
And I'll hope to emulate their patience and humor as I begin my Fall designs in the stones, beads and silver that I have gathered for this purpose. Especially when less than nimble fingers let a loaded strand slip and send beads rolling across the studio floor!
Here's a glimpse of beaded treasure from my collection that will stoke my creative fires...


The Last Days of Summer...

Where have the days, weeks, months gone....
As we kick off the last official holiday weekend of the Summer here in the US, I am feeling a bit befuddled.
The lush green foliage is still abundant but tell-tale signs of an early Autumn are everywhere.
The resident wildlife is obviously confused as well, the hummingbirds are still about and a mama bear had two darling but very young cubs following her several weeks back.
The cats and I will take advantage of the perfect weather and relax outdoors surrounded by the chorus of crickets, cicadas and wood frogs ... Wishing you and yours a most enjoyable Labor Day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Deborah Garner at Gallery in the Woods, April Opening

The earliest Spring in memory followed the icy start to March.
Now, as the final days of this fickle month are here, we have gone from
the sweet songs of Spring peepers and flowering forsythia back to the chilly blasts of Arctic air.

The poor goldfinches are mottled in olive and yellow not knowing whether to fully commit or not…
The rest of us motley humans are committed, and not looking back, despite the low readings on the thermometer at night!

In that spirit, April 6th is the second opening for my painting exhibition “Glimpsing Apeiron” at Gallery in the Woods in Brattleboro,Vermont.
This first Gallery Walk of the season is always a party, as people turnout in droves to celebrate the longer days and local artists.

Besides my work, there are lots of fine arts and crafts to be savored and our opening’s live musical guests will be Jesse Lepkoff and friends playing sultry Bossa Nova from 6 pm - 8:30 pm. Many of the 40 or so exhibits around town will feature live music as well…

The oil painting shown here is a diptych that measures 6' x 4' called "Tsunami". It was being painted last year when the tragic tsunami struck Japan and was my reflection on the plethora of global natural disasters and mankind continuing to do business as usual, leaving the animals to attempt to migrate around it all.

It is featured in this exhibition and has received a lot of favorable attention,I'm happy to say.

If you find yourself in Western Massachusetts or Southern Vermont please come on out and support the Arts in downtown Brattleboro!
Hoping to see many familiar faces there!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

“Glimpsing Apeiron” New Work by Deborah Garner at Gallery in the Woods

March has slipped into these wooded hills dressed in white.
Great dollops of snow bend hemlocks and transform bare branches into lacy latticework.
Snowflakes spin and swoop in a dizzy dance in the restless air.
Chickadees and goldfinches compete with a huge flock of smoke colored juncos for seeds in the drifts.
After a mild season, most of us had our sights set on an early Spring as the calendar changed.
But March is always a tempestuous month and coolly says “wait and see”…

Tomorrow night in Brattleboro,Vermont is “Gallery Walk”, the monthly celebration of the arts. A snowy start just adds to the fun in these parts, where most have bemoaned the lack of the white stuff all winter.
My feature show “Glimpsing Apeiron” will open at Gallery in the Woods
(145 Main St.) at this time and continue through the end of April.

This always inspiring venue will also be hopping with live music by the Moondogs.
A good time will be had by all who venture out!

The new work on canvas and paper continues to explore abstraction, energetic line and dynamic color. To me it reflects the animating energy of the Universe. The Greek philosophers termed this primal source “apeiron” and defined it as “that from which all being comes and into which it returns”. This seemed to eloquently express what I aspire to describe in my paintings.
During the show I look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new folks who feel art is essential, even ( or especially) in challenging times!

To see what else is happening in Brattleboro on any given day, checkout for the inside scoop!
These guys do a great job keeping up with all the creative arts in the area.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The End of an Era ... Irma Bailey

Who would have ever guessed back in 1981 when a humongous motor home with plates from New Mexico squeezed down Divinity Ave. in Cambridge, Massachusetts and somehow, miraculously, found a parking space, that lives would be changed?
At the helm, a mountain of a man, a gigantic personality with an intellect to match, chain smoking cigarettes and deftly summing up all the individuals who crossed his path with precision.
Beside him, in the passenger seat was his sweetly smiling, petite wife of many years.
They appeared out of nowhere, no appointment was on the docket and I, as the new buyer for the Peabody Museum Shop at Harvard, was soon invited by soft spoken Irma Bailey, wearing her weight in precious Native American turquoise and silver jewelry, to come outside and “take a look”. Her blue eyes twinkled as I was encouraged to open drawer after drawer of stunning coral, turquoise, and silver necklaces, belts etc. It was like entering a vault of incredibly beautiful treasure.
Thus began three decades of friendship and mentorship. Wayne Bailey had lived and worked closely with over 30 Native American tribes, respecting each and respected by all in return. He was incredibly knowledgeable about tribal traditions and soon was sharing information with anthropologists at the Peabody. Ten years later Wayne had a heart attack while on the road in Massachusetts ironically enroute to see my partner and I.
Who would have imagined in less than a year Irma would secure a driver and get back out on the road she loved, to create special fund raising events and exhibitions at museums all over the country. She had over two dozen shows at Harvard and was loved dearly by staff and all who met her. She blossomed in her seventies, encouraging everyone she met to do what they loved. Despite failing eyesight and physical problems due to her age, her mind was sharp, her spirit indefatigable and her sense of humor irresistible.
While entertaining friends in Albuquerque on January 5, 2012 Irma had a massive stroke and surrounded by loving friends she left us on January 9th. She wished no fanfare, just a graceful exit.
Her spirit is now free of the shackles of old age and she lives forever in the hearts of legions of admirers and close friends. She has also proven to be an inspiration as she set the bar high...
May we all aspire to be as open-minded and open-hearted as this remarkable woman, who changed the world of all who knew her by simply being herself.
Well done, Irma! Yours was a long life, well-lived…
Thank you for graciously sharing it with all of us! May we follow in your footsteps!

Photo by Jose Falconi

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hats Off to the New Year!

It is a crisp, clear night, here in the hills.
A fresh layer of snow covers the now frozen ground and softly reflects the waxing moon.
The fire cracks and pops in the woodstove from still damp wood, lately gathered in.
The holidays are behind us, a new year has been delivered and it is back to work.
My first project involves documenting a charming assortment of headdresses and hats from tribal peoples around the world.
Before me lay peaked caps with long trains sewn from black cotton and lavishly embroidered in red, gold and green silk floss. Satin stitch and petit-point create the Tree of Life, solar wheels and stylized ram’s horns, all vitality symbols, all charms for the new life that will wear them.
These handsome headdresses are made by mothers in Kohistan, N. Pakistan. The long train protects their newborns from the chill winds and the symbols welcome them to this world with hopes for a strong and vital life-force. Supplementing the embroidered designs are old coins, tiny white seed beads, metal circular charms and shiny buttons to deflect misfortune and attract wealth and prosperity.
I marvel at the creativity and skill of their makers and think of the love that went into each stitch and collected ornament of this traditional tribal culture now living in the 21st Century.
New life, new beginnings, New Year…
May their world and ours be blessed in all the days to come.