Blankets of Color

by Cat B on April 7, 2017

April, already! These last two months I've made a practice of making a painted paper collage each morning when I come in to the studio. I use many colors to make "one" color and then try to juxtapose colors that might be unexpected companions. I try to make harmony out of disharmony and base everything loosely on a grid. I want these pieces to hold a sense of mystery and peace. I intend to continue this practice for all of 2017 even while embarking on other projects. I like seeing how each day is different.

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Sketchbook

by Cat B on February 24, 2017

More "Off the Grid" meditations, color, shape and whatever comes in the moment—how I begin my day in these deeply troubling times and this time in the sketchbook as I couldn't get to the studio. Meditation is a way to balance activism. It feeds the soul to make something out of scraps of paper, a reminder that we can always create good. And so I am making this my practice this year, I begin each day with a visual meditation to gather my energy for the hard work ahead and the magic we will and must create.

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Art Meditation

by Cat B on February 6, 2017

Hello! Like everyone else on the planet, I've experienced a little anxiety over the dire political developments. I want to keep positive so I've begun a morning art practice. It's like meditation. I come into the here and now and forget everything except for color and how things fit together. I continue until I find harmony using odd scraps of paper. I think of what Mahatma Gandhi said—that we need to be the peace we want to see in the world. Art helps. Here are the first three and I'll post more soon.



             

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The Women’s March / January 21, 2017

by Cat B on February 6, 2017

Oh, what a day it was here in Boston and all over the world! Here are the signs I made for the march. It was a thrill to be there and proof that we shall overcome. The women are united! So many great men are with us! Love will win!

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Merci, M. Magritte

by Cat B on September 6, 2016

I've made six posters for my current show, "How To Be Friends", with my friend Maggie Stern at The Arsenal Center for the Arts. Posters are designed to make us look and consider information and ideas. In mine, I'm hoping we might consider how we can live better lives. Three of the posters take off on René Magritte's famous 1928 pipe painting "The Treachery of Images"  which now resides at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In his painting of a pipe, he wrote the words "Ceçi nest pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe") making the point that a painting is not the thing itself but a representation of something—a conduit for perception, felt experience and ideas. In mine, I add a few words in homage to M. Magritte's wit and wisdom. MagrittePipe  

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“How To Be Friends”—Exhibit

by Cat B on August 30, 2016

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I've spent this summer working on a show called "How To Be Friends" for which I'm joining my wonderful friend, Maggie Stern, a very imaginative artist whose work is carried by The American Museum of Folk Art, The Barnes Foundation and many other museums and shops. The show is at The Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA just outside Boston and will be up from September 3rd to November 3rd. The opening is September 10th from 3-5 pm. The inspiration for the show came for me when I looked at what Maggie had been making for some months. They were playful scenes of people, animals, fish and birds made of painted wood, and also some stitched drawings of the same. She said her work is really about connection. It seemed only logical then to work on the idea of friendship which is not always entirely straightforward. At first, we'd been given a small space in the Center to show our work so it didn't seem like a big deal for me to complete my part of it for which I already had a clear idea. I began working in a relaxed way in mid-June amid happy thoughts of a laid-back summer stretching ahead. Then, mid-July, Aneleise Ruggles, curator of exhibitions at the Center, invited us to take over the whole spacious ground floor of the building. And we said yes, and without a moment's hesitation. Always good, I think, to say yes to yes. Of course, there was a moment or two of panic—the work I'd originally planned wouldn't fill this larger space at all. What would I make next? Could it be done on time? I got the inspiration to make posters, something I've already done, and started drawing and exploring ideas. I love posters because I can approach ideas in them and the making too with some ease. An added bonus is that they're affordable, a good thing too. Luckily, Maggie also remembered a set of four paintings I'd done a few years ago—"The Mahatma Gandhi Hat Company"—which is very much on our theme. I'm very grateful to The Arsenal Center for giving us the opportunity to both create and share work some of which wouldn't exist without this support. Here's a look at my part of the show waiting patiently on the stairs to be hung. Tomorrow I'll see how it all looks in the space when hung and displayed beside Maggie's wonderful work.

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New Online Class!

by Cat B on March 26, 2016

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I'm just home from a fantastic week in Seattle filming a new online class for Carla Sonheim Presents. The class is called MAKING ART A PRACTICE / In and Out of the Sketchbook. Here's the blurb—
"In MAKING ART A PRACTICE: In and Out of the Sketchbook, we’ll spend two days drawing in the sketchbook with a focus on color, line and shape then jump out of the sketchbook to do a bigger project. We’ll draw and paint the world around us— food, clothes and the objects in our homes, plants and landscape, and people. And we’ll do so in different ways—painting using only lines, making cut-paper images using only shapes, then bringing line and shape together in different ways. Our goal is to draw and paint in experimental ways and to get ideas for our own work. We’ll mostly work on a larger scale outside of the sketchbook and try things out. We’ll approach everything we do with a spirit of adventure and discovery! This is a new and different class to the first “Making Art a Practice.” If you missed that one, no worries—this class is for everyone. And anyone who would like to is invited to post work on the private Facebook page for this class. At the beginning of each week, I’ll introduce the class in the online forum and offer some examples from well known artists that might inspire us as we do the exercises. We’ll all share comments and I’ll offer feedback and a few additional ideas every weekday morning."

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Steve Sonheim has done an amazing job of directing the filming of the class. Drawing live on camera and talking at the same time is both fun and challenging. Steve always keeps us on track and heading towards the bigger picture. I'm so grateful to be working with Carla and Steve and really looking forward to this class. All are welcome.

Class starts APRIL 19th, 2016 and goes for six weeks.

The code to enter the Facebook page and full instructions will be given upon registration.

Sign up at Carla Sonheim Presents.

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Studio Days

by Cat B on February 24, 2016

My work continues on some new "records" for my Sun Records project, painted wood "vinyl" records that include words. I like to think we can put on the music that lights us up any time we want. We get to choose the messages we want to listen to.

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Work in Progress

by Cat B on February 5, 2016

IMG_0349 In September 2017, I'm having a show at The Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA with artist Maggie Stern. I'm continuing with the Sun Record series I began last year—33 rpm "vinyl" records with various (imagined) artists and the words to their hits song written on the "vinyl". What would happen if we actually spun good thoughts every day?

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Studio Wall 2

by Cat B on December 2, 2015

The corner of my studio wall is now filled with small Tantra homage paintings. Tantra, a tradition of both Hinduism and Buddhism, is a centuries old way or practice of connecting with the divine. Most of the visual practice is figurative though there is also a more contemporary school of abstraction practiced by devotees which I discovered, as mentioned in the previous post, in a wonderful book called Tantra Song. I don't have the deep Hindu references of the artists in the book but am a long time student of yoga and I wanted to simply sit down and make paintings as meditation. I tried to keep my focus on the Yin/Yang qualities I see in the original works—expansion and contraction, dark and light, old and new, balance and imbalance etc. The original artists created true harmony and sense of mystery. Their work certainly takes us to a higher place. For me other abstraction references also crept in—Sonia Delaunay sometimes, or Ellsworth Kelly, both old friends. I didn't plan, just sat down and began. I found it to be a beautiful morning meditation of immersion into simply sitting, getting inspiration, taking action, and seeing. And, yes, connecting with a deep peace. It was a wonderful month long practice and I hope to do it more, perhaps in different ways.

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