Little Tremors ~ Lisa Onstad, 2018
Acrylic, 24 kt gold leaf on panel, 12 x 13 inches
Little Tremors, a piece from my new body of work Earthquake Weather is hanging this month at Waterstone Gallery. During the month of June I’ll be exhibiting 21 new paintings at the gallery. These vibrant acrylic paintings were inspired by a trip I took to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument last fall. I was struck by the rich, natural palette of reds, ochres and blues of this majestic and mysterious landscape.
My art group is reading Lewis Hyde’s The Gift, which has been described as a “manifesto of sorts for anyone who makes art”. Hyde talks about the importance of inner gifts becoming visible, shared and accepted, but not as a commodity. The gift must pass through many hands – be on a continuing journey, in order to retain it’s power to touch and move people. I sent this little painting out into the world recently, as an anonymous gift for someone I’ve never met, who is going through a hard time. In his book, Hyde retells many folk stories all with a common theme – giving, often spontaneously to those in need, which keeps the cycle of giving in forward motion. Although I don’t know how my gift was received, I do know that I have already been rewarded with the gift of art, many times over since I gave away that painting – I connected with some like-minded artists in a recent workshop, saw a truly inspiring show of paintings and sold a painting. It doesn’t hurt to make a little money with your art!
This weekend while visiting family in Berkeley, California – I took a side trip across the bay to sunny Marin County. There, I saw an intimate show of works on paper by Richard Diebenkorn. Hosted by the College of Marin and organized by the Diebenkorn Trust, the exhibit consisted of small collages, drawings and gouaches never before shown. Growing up in the Bay Area with an art-loving mother, I was exposed to Diebenkorn’s work at a young age. I loved his bright colors, and later as a beginning painter, I was influenced by his compositions – especially his Ocean Park series. His work still speaks to me today – he is an artist I will revisit again and again.
“There is nothing I cannot paint over” – Richard Diebenkorn
Finally finished! This painting took me 7 months to get right. It went through several distinct phases – 1.Something new 2.Trying to make it work 3. The Ah Ha moment. Oh, and in between phase 2 and phase 3, I hid it behind a stack of old paintings so I wouldn’t have to look at it everyday and wrestle with ideas about how to resolve it. I like the end result, but I am intrigued by it’s first life….hmmm maybe time to try something new again.
Shh, don’t tell anyone…but I’m just a little obsessed with instagram. Let me tell you why – on my morning walks I stop and look. While making my morning commute, I slow down and see. A bright flower in someone’s garden or the edge of a building catches my eye. I quit thinking about my list of things to do and start noticing the world around me in that moment. I start thinking about color and composition and I get out of my head. Best of all, I get to share what I notice with others and catch a glimpse into someone else’s world. And maybe someday details from my instagram pictures will end up in my paintings.