Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Hello Owl Crusader

I just started this new piece and am waiting for paint to dry, which is a test of patience. This is the very beginning of the piece and is the black board I posted in my post 'None More Black'. I know of a few elements that will be in the painting as I already see it finished in my mind, so we'll see how it turns out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Favorite Painting #1

St. Francis of Assisi in His Tomb, Francisco de Zurbaran, 1630AD, Milwaukee Art Museum

I have two favorite paintings ever. Today I'm sharing the first, St. Francis of Assisi in His Tomb. As a pre-teen I took a Saturday morning art class at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, WI and spent hours sitting on the floor in front of this painting. It's a massive painting, especially when you're 12. At that time it was in the corner of a small room and I liked having it all to myself. As an adult I've realized what an impact St. Francis has had on my life and how he makes his way into my work.

Amazing the memories you create and carry with you through life. Have you experienced a work of art that shook your core?

Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum:
Milwaukee Art Museum

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Confessed Bookworm

I've spent these last few days in deep research mode for my next painting. Whether I'm reading through a stack of books, watching movies, or spending 6 hours on a Saturday watching particular YouTube videos, I'm searching for clues to my next painting. It's like studying for a test with my note taking, post-its, and highlighted words. This process is manic and grueling but somehow fulfilling. I know ultimately it's up to the Universe as to what will show up on that board, but right now my left brain is trying to put the puzzle together.

There are three books on the creative process I own and cherish. Through them I've found structure and expansiveness, not only creatively, but in my personal life as well. Perhaps you too will find them inspiring.

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron

Finding Water by Julia Cameron

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paul McCartney the Painter

Back in my college days in Milwaukee, WI I frequented a bookstore on Downer Ave, picking up books that still inspire me over ten years later. The book I'm thinking of today is a book of paintings by Paul McCartney. Yes, Paul McCartney of The Beatles. He paints, and well in my opinion. His work is full of expression and color, inspiring me to expand the limitations I put on myself.

Years later in Arizona I worked concerts and had the opportunity to work with his clothes all day. This was before I discovered the power of the Beatles (I catch on a bit late sometimes...) so I saw him more as this colorful painter whose paintings captivated me.

At the end of the evening I took home the flowers from his dressing room that I placed there earlier in the day. Some of the flowers ended up in my painting, 11:11.

I was told he will never have a gallery showing, which is a shame.

I hope you enjoy his work:
Paul McCartney:Paintings book on Amazon

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roundabout Wings

Sapere Aude, oil on board, 2012

My paintings solidify in the most peculiar of ways. One idea leads to another and the result is often something I didn't expect or perhaps sort of expected, yet manifested in a roundabout way. Such is the case with the wings of 'Sapere Aude'.

Initially I thought she would have four arms, like Kali. However I wasn't sure there was ample space for so much information. Butterfly wings kept popping up in my mind and I kept setting it aside. It didn't seem to quite fit. I pondered for what seemed like an eternity but was probably really 15 minutes. Pandora was playing on my computer and a Deftones song came on. (Ideas tend to come to me easily when I listen to the Deftones. I don't know what it is. It's been happening for years.) Wondering what album the song was on I turned and saw the image of their album, Diamond Eyes. There staring at me was a white owl with wings open. My answer. She will get owl wings. I've been painting owls lately so this fits in perfectly.

Always be open for answers. You never know how they'll be delivered.

Visit the Deftones: Deftones website

Monday, February 6, 2012

Four Legged Inspiration

Queen of Hares, 2007, oil and collage on canvas, private collection

I have a small long haired chihuahua mix (well, 18 lbs small) and many people ask if I paint my dog in my work. I don't per se, but I do honor him from time to time. If you turn 'Queen of Hares' upside down you'll see her hair looks like my dog's ears. 'Talking God' initially had my dog's face and ears but it didn't exactly fit and was wiped away.

In this photo my dog is posing with the skull that inspired my painting 'Trinity'.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Measuring Time

Scoliosis Sanity, oil and collage on canvas, 2004, private collection

At age 11 I was diagnosed with scoliosis and put in a body brace that I wore for 23 hours a day for nearly four years. The doctor told me if I didn't wear the brace I'd be dead by age 21. Thus began my obsession with 'time', understanding the importance to live life in the present moment and not take anyone or anything for granted. A lot to take for a pre-teen. The clock began to tick. The brace eventually came off, 21 came and went and my spine remained the same. Now in my 30's I still experience health situations relating to my spine... things like the compression of my organs. And when you're trying to breathe, you know, that's kinda important.

You know what though? I wouldn't have it any other way.

I've represented time in my work in the past by painting clocks and rulers. I'm now expanding my thoughts on 'time' which you will see in my future work.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fishes Galore

Today, a quote from a true visionary:

...Desire is the bait, the fish is caught, and then the chef cooks it. Ideas are like fish. They just come to you sometimes, and when you're really lucky, you fall in love with them and know exactly what to do.

David Lynch, Interview Magazine, Feb 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

None More Black

It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.
~Nigel Tufnel, Spinal Tap

You know you're going to have a good day when it starts out with a Spinal Tap quote.

Today's photo is of the board and frame for my next painting and I'm sharing this with you because it's possibly the most exciting part of the process. Once the paint is applied it can feel like work. Right now in this moment it's a blank board, a clean slate, and the possibilities are endless. I can do anything I want. And I think that's something people forget about in their lives. Everyone has the power to change, to pull out a fresh clean piece of paper, and to create the picture of the life they want.

I've slowly started to gather information for this piece... time, beakers, 'Time in a Bottle'... which very well may be the title.

Speaking of time, I will be in Flagstaff tonight for the Random Hearts group show at West of the Moon Gallery from 6-9pm to represent my painting '3 Years, 9 Months, 8 Days'. Perhaps Flagstaff will be the inspiration to this new piece. Stay tuned.

*I've been asked where images of my past work have gone - If you're looking for my past work (pre 2010), Google my name and you may find some.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

B. Love Money White Chocolate

I woke up this morning with the idea to write a blog post every day for the month of February. I realize it's already Feb 2 and I've missed a day. I don't know why I'm compelled to do this as I'm usually quite reserved, however it's a new year, a new month, and today happens to be Candlemas, so this is for Brigid.

The image that popped in my head right away is 'B.Love Money White Chocolate'. It sold in 2005 right after completion. B.Love is the rabbit and in real life (because I always paint about my real life) he is my dear friend Bryan. Ever since this painting he refers himself to B. or B.Love. B.Love drinks iced chai lattes at Starbucks and now lives in Austin, Texas. He also introduced me to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

All of the detail was completed with cotton swabs. I don't think I used a paintbrush much at all.

If you look closely you may be able to figure out the story. Raspberries hang from the sky because at the time my friend Anna was baking a delicious raspberry chocolate torte. Food often inspires me, that is true.

B.Love was completed in a week and was one of four of my images that appeared on cards at Hot Topic in 2007.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sapere Aude in progress

My uncle recently passed away and he enjoyed deer hunting in WI. Yesterday I tried piecing together my next painting and knew I'd paint a female with deer antlers in honor of him. I went to bed, head still reeling wondering what this new painting would be, upset at myself because I didn't have a direction. I laid there on my back and noticed my arm was turned up as though I was giving blood. I thought about how I gave blood every few months and the image of the painting came to me abruptly. The ideas floated in fast and choppy and suddenly I had a puzzle to solve, before I go to sleep of course. I sketched her out in my sketchbook, insisting I sleep and address the painting in the morning.

Here she is in progress after a few hours, already named Sapere Aude, Latin for 'dare to know/dare to be wise'.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview with Lisa

The Noise - Flagstaff, AZ
It’s The Arts
Clair Anna Rose
January 2012

Blood, Bones and Heart

The paintings of Lisa Albinger have me staring for a long time, studying, trying to figure out what each detail means. The artist combines mythologies of the world along with her own. Her paintings are poignant and thought-provoking. The kind of picture that when you look into it, you move into it, and want to know more of the story underneath the paint.

Tree of Life portrays a symbol that has been used in so many belief systems, but while many other cultures show a full, blooming tree with roots that encompass the world, Ms. Albinger’s Tree of Life seems slender, stripped of its branches and wrapped up tight in bandages, two delicate wings sprouted from its sides, while one thoughtful eye looks out to the viewer from an eight pointed star that seems to rest on top like a crown. I must know more, and ask the artist to share her story behind the painting.

“Many times paintings unfold as I'm painting them,” Ms. Albinger tells me, “and while working on the head, a little bug flew into the paint, ultimately dying of course. Always a bit sad to see, because what can you do in that moment? So the wings were painted in honor of the bug. The mummy wrappings ... perhaps it's ready to unveil a new world, a new direction ... and then the painting I did after this, Talking God the figure is exposed. Initially I wanted Tree of Life to have a visible heart but it didn't work out that way. Talking God got it instead. The term ‘tree of life’ means a lot to me, as it is my favorite Frank Lloyd Wright window design and I'm very connected to trees. I love to represent people as trees. We have so many similarities. My figure is grounded and rooted to the ground and very stable. Shouldn't we all be that way? The ‘star’ head represents the four elements, and the power of the sun we're so blessed with in Arizona. My work is very much about personal power and how we choose to use it.”

Knowing she would grow up to be an artist when she was five years old, Ms. Albinger never even questioned it. “I couldn’t imagine not being interested in art, it’s in my blood, it’s my vitality,” she says. “In school all I could think about was being an artist and knowing this whole ‘high school life’ was so trivial. Years will pass and homecoming kings will get ugly, but I will still have my art.”
Using oil paint, cotton swabs and paintbrushes the artist creates these haunting and dream-like scenes. Ms. Albinger tells me that now she is finally painting the things she’s been feeling and wanting to be painting for years. “I found myself stuck in a web of mediocrity and I traded in what my work was for what I wanted it to be. Maybe it’s because I have my red hair back.”

In her new style Ms. Albinger finds herself painting blood and bones, combining imagery of alchemy, sacred geometry, animal lore and symbols. “Our physical bodies are amazing as is our connection to the universe,” she tells me.
“The creative process never shuts down during the day,” Ms. Albinger tells me of herself. “It can be maddening at times, which is why I need my hermit time. I could be out to dinner and notice the juxtaposition of the food on my plate … overhear a conversation, picking up a few words which inspires a painting, see the way the light casts a shadow of a particular object … my mind is constantly taking in seemingly uninteresting bits of information and storing them for future paintings. My life does show up in my art. I won’t separate the two because then I’d be painting a shell and god knows I’m a cornucopia.

“Inspiration hits at interesting times … last week while I did yoga I did a twist and bam! I figured out the missing puzzle in my painting,” she continues. “I had to quickly jot down the thought before it escaped me. Thanksgiving week I found a piece of plastic with 8 points, almost like a star. I thought hmm, interesting, maybe this will inspire a painting. Sure enough, it’s the ‘head’ of the image on this cover. Initially I thought a face would appear in the center but an eye did instead. My job is to just be a vessel for this information. Often it isn’t until the painting is finished that I know what it means, sometimes longer.”

Music and movies are usually the background soundtrack for Ms. Albinger as she creates, lately favoring Florence & the Machine and Blind Divine. “I’m a big Woody Allen fan and I often play a movie of his as I paint and laugh,” she says. “A costume of his in Love and Death inspired the attire of the bird man in my painting Isle of Wind and Wellspring. I’ve also played the 1975 movie Grey Gardens numerous times while painting which inspired the red hooded bird woman in Golden Nativity. I often give little ‘shout outs’ in my work to my inspirations. It’s my way of honoring their presence in my life.”

This January Ms. Albinger’s work can be found at Mountain Oasis in Flagstaff, and in Sedona another set of paintings will be at Lanning Gallery in Sedona, showcasing pieces that exemplify the evolution of her work.

“Paintings range from a 2005 collage painting to my recent owl with its heart in a bird nest, named Love Nest. ‘Wisdom’ is written on its forehead, an homage to the Greek Goddess Artemis’ own pet owl,” she says. “The theme throughout the birth of this piece is ‘home is where the heart is,’ as it was started in Oregon and finished in Arizona after my recent move. I’m creating a new sense of home and determining geographically where my heart is. Nest equates home, hence the heart is in the nest. My favorite number is 23 as is seen in the tree branch. The full moon is another element I often include.

“I believe my heart issue last year was trying to tell me I should ‘follow my heart’ and move to where I’d be happier, so I returned to Arizona. This painting was the final push to make me make that move. Finishing it here felt like myself and the painting had come full circle. Now the painting is in a gallery and her life will go on. I miss not seeing it in my studio. Also available at the gallery are Feast of Fate & Fowl and Isle of Wind and Wellspring, who are sisters because they were done one right after another and share the same color palette for the most part. They speak of rebirth, bridges to cross and celebration. Much of my work celebrates transitions. I love transitions and find myself in them consistently. I embrace change. The word ‘bored’ isn’t in my vocabulary. There’s always something more to do, to be, to learn.”