Archives for category: painter

IMG_7528.jpgAbove is what is called “a Work In Progress.” I thought it was far enough along to show. (What you can see of it, anyway.)

My daughter took this photograph while she was doing a video of me working on the painting. The camera went off and bam, not prepared, I have this to post.

It is the tenth Cross Painting, adding to the nine painting series shown in New York about a year ago. I thought I would even the series out to ten, as I am currently applying to a variety of venues for which I’ll keep the series in tact.

As you might know, a few weeks ago, Atlanta had a fire underneath a major intersection of freeway. The fire burned through the steel support beams melting the pavement, destroying the highway, preventing any traffic to cross over. The estimated amount of vehicles passing daily through this particular span of freeway is 450,000. Also worth noting, is the fact that this span of road is necessary for most commuters to get to and from work everyday. And this has caused commuter time to triple due to everyone taking surface streets to circumvent the accident site.

Virtually, Atlanta is crippled.

Therefore, for now, I am working at home. Not that I stay exclusively out here. I do brave the ungodly slowed-down traffic to do some work in my “real” studio at least once or twice a week. But, in this little home studio in the basement, it’s fine for the majority of work that needs getting done immediately. There is a minimum of clutter around. Just my tackle box full of paints, some favorite artist reference books I consider important to this project, an extra glass pallet and brushes, all of which I toted from my studio on the other side of the forbidden stretch of road.

I enjoy working at home, but I do believe I am better off if I physically separate work from home. Painting is such an immersive thing, both mentally and physically. I get Turpenoid all over my hands so that they tingle at night, even after washing them a million times. And I feel so dirty. Of course I work longer hours, being at home. But the time spent working, could be the time spent decompressing, as my drive home does for me. A nice ride to make my brain come to attention and get the darn Neil Young songs out of my head.

Let’s hope the road is fixed soon. And I can enjoy my spacious studio time on a steady basis again. But for now, I am lucky to have such a small, perfect space at home where I can keep moving on my work. Get it? Keep Moving?

My husband and I have gained some weight recently, and in spite our daughter’s pleas, ”Accept that you’re fat. Don’t buy a new scale,” we bought a new scale. A digital one to replace the one with the numbers on it. The old scale had this red needle that waved back and forth with uncertainty. We both felt confident we would know our true weight with the new scale. And surely it would tell us that losing weight would be easy.

It is a Weight Watchers scale. Well, having had a career in marketing before getting into the “art world,” there had to be some sort of catch. You know, “fish while the fish are biting.” Make people sign up when they know they’re getting fat.

Doug got on first. He had no idea he was that heavy. My weight, too, was way more than the old scale told me it was. Okay, we accepted it. Didn’t join Weight Watchers, but tried not to eat the fries.

The next day, Doug came down the stairs, exclaiming he had lost ten pounds! Oh, I guess Weight Watchers figured we would join after the first weigh-in. Then it would throw us a bone of encouragement the next day-hey this weight loss thing is a piece of cake! (so to speak)

My weight continued to drop one pound a day. Even though, on a routine trip to the doctor, the scale had me demoralized again. One day, our new digital scale read me the original first day weight again, and I yelled at it, saying, “What??? I thought I was losing weight?” And then, when I got on again, the scale read the lesser weight it had registered the day before.

Artificial intelligence is making its way into our lives. We are all nervous about it. We fear the power that computers may have over us. But none of us figured on it being easily conned. Like when I yelled at the scale, it was easily bullied. How about that?

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A friend of mine on Instagram recently asked me about my art rituals. The things I do to get into the frame of mind to work. I decided to write a blog post about it, since it couldn’t easily be put into a list. And being obsessive compulsive, I had to get it right.

Working at a studio 45 minutes from my home (although I have a second studio in my basement- another story-another set of rituals) I live in a culturally different place from the tattoo/piercing and cannabis servicing places – the little section of town where my “in town” studio is located. This space is in an old school house, built in the very early 1900s. I have an entire classroom to myself. I have painted the floors white to match the walls.

To get to my studio, I switch my thinking over to work. I take the backroads, never the freeway. When I get there, I open the door, take the dehumidifier down the hall to empty it, since I have no running water, turn off the fume eliminator, and take my jewelry off. I place rings around my watchband, fasten it and put bracelets in a formica tan/brown patchwork salad bowl on my long table. This is the table where I sit to contemplate the work I am doing at the time. The work is always about 15 feet in front of the table, on an easel. There is a row of waist high big tables beside the easel, upon which I put the paints, glass palette for working in oil paint, many containers of acrylic paints, assorted meat trays and yogurt containers for mixing the acrylic paints with plastic spoons. There are mediums and brushes and a huge plastic bucket for water, which I keep on the floor. I have to go down the hall to fill this, if I am working in water based paints that day. I always stand to paint. I never use a stool or table.

I believe that I am a channel for the work I do. I believe it does not come from me, but from something outside myself. Therefore, to achieve entry into this parallel universe, I put on some music made by someone who also believes a “zone” has to be reached in order to do good work. The music has to be loud.

Then I start mixing. I start painting. Moving back and forth to and away from the canvas. Pausing, usually, only for a lunch I have made and placed in the refrigerator next to the microwave. Always with a Diet Coke. Sometimes I will sit at the long table and spend time looking. Sometimes I can look for an hour. Sometimes, I get up suddenly and paint a piece of paper and place it temporarily over an area in the painting, before I commit to painting that color on the canvas. Most of the time, I glue the magazine pieces on the canvas as if they are paint, sometimes painting over them, sometimes leaving them alone. Squeegy-ing the glue out from under the magazine paper with a small triangle. And wiping the remainder off with a baby wipe.

After cleaning up, (down the hall), I turn out the lights and start the long drive home. I usually am very tired, and for a while, there was a specific intersection in Atlanta where I routinely had an anxiety attack. For many years, I avoided this intersection by going miles out of my way. Or stopping to ground myself in some store for re-entry into the “real” world. Now that intersection has no power over me. I think, though, it should have a sign that says, “End of Right Brain Thinking…You Are Now Entering The Suburbs. Be Sure To Get Yourself Together. NOW.”

Copyright 2017 Hollis Hildebrand-Mills All Rights Reserved

IMG_6693.JPGOff and and running with my new painting series! It’s a series about memories of my clothes. I remember events in my life and the clothes I was wearing at the time. Doesn’t have to be a special occasion. It’s just a little filing system I have going on. Mention a time we were together or a place I visited and I know exactly what I was wearing.

I have finished the first painting. I was humbled and honored when, once again, Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine “liked” the painting on Instagram. I was thrilled! He has 160K followers! How could it be possible he really liked my painting? I continue to marvel at that thought.

Above is the first painting. It is 26″ x 36″. Acrylic, oil, paper, sharpie and charcoal on canvas.

A dear blogger friend of mine believes that every work of art needs to have a title. She is not the only one. A lot of people believe this is necessary to guide the viewer into the work. For years, I was vehemently against this, spewing on and on about how visual art is a visual thing and a title would be contrary to the experience, etc. But recently I had a change of heart. I thought, if I make up my titles at the computer when I am about to send my jpegs off to a juried exhibition or grant application, why not have a little fun with it? Not just “Yellow Flower” (as I am scrounging around in my brain for some written connection to what I am looking at on the computer screen.) I am making up the title anyway.

This first painting’s title is, “Dress Me, I’m Your Mannequin.” I got a smile at the computer! And maybe the viewer can see the abstraction with thoughts of hangers and clothing in mind.

 

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First off, I am very pleased I chose to exhibit THE CROSS SERIES. I think it was my best show. The nine pieces fit nicely in the gallery. The horizontal cross bars of the crosses lined up at the same level, to enable the eye to transition the corners of the space smoothly. I hung the paintings low, so as to illustrate the direct correlation between the viewer and the vertical section in each piece. I think it worked!

I enjoyed the feedback. Although I was only present for half the time during the run of the show, and I missed a very important members meeting, where I would have received direct feedback, the word of mouth was wonderful! Stefany Benson, the gallery director told me that she would overhear pieces of conversation, indicating only positive reactions.

One significant reaction was from one of two of the most important art critics in New York: Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine. He “liked” two of my posts on Instagram. I posted paintings on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, my Facebook page and on my blog here on WordPress from the show during the exhibition’s run, knowing my work would be publicized in the twenty-first century way. But I had no idea someone as important and influential would respond. When I thanked him on Instagram for “liking” my work on the two posts, he “liked” the thank you post as well, a post of a different painting from the series!

My mission with my art has always been to aim as high as I can. My ability will restrict me to the level where I am meant to settle. But the attempt to create the highest art and stick to the purist art I am capable of, is my goal. Sales? At the closing, where I was present, brokers on video chat were roaming around taking video and discussing my paintings with their clients. Who knows?

But for now, Jerry Saltz has me feeling guilty for not working on my new stuff. Pretty much all the time. Isn’t that a good feeling?

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The view of my painting, “Gabriel” from the hallway. My solo show, THE CROSS SERIES, until May 21, 2016. Closing reception 1-4PM. http://www.ceresgallery.org
http://www.hollishildebrand-mills.com

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Another photograph from my solo exhibition in New York. This one includes two paintings on the right side of the gallery. Again the show is up until May 21st. If you are in the area, “The Cross Series” is at 547 W27 Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. Phone: 212. 947. 6100. The hours: Tuesday -Saturday 12PM-6PM, Open until 8PM Thursday. The gallery director is Stefany Benson. If you go to my show, please introduce yourself!

www.ceresgallery.org

 

 

               Copyright     Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2016     All Rights Reserved

IMG_5895This is not the first time I have associated with the shipping company, US ART. The art handling company has hauled off lots of my work to various shows, to all parts of Manhattan. Poughkeepksie, College Station, Texas and Tuscon, Arizona. The times I haven’t used their services have turned out in disaster. One of my paintings wound up at someone’s house in North Georgia, where, if I had not taped my business card to the back, I would have never seen it again. Another time, some toys were sent to me, my painting, gone.

US ART has gone a little overboard with my stuff. For good reason, I found out. Some of the drivers from the refrigerated blue eighteen wheeler wear white gloves to carry my work out. Some act very nervous, looking out the window at the truck below my studio window. Since I am in the habit of talking to everyone anyway, I discovered, while chatting up the packer, that my volcano painting was resting next to a Matisse. They take good care.

1. Gabriel.jpgAbove is the signature image for all publicity, concerning my upcoming New York show. I am exhibiting a select group of paintings from my series, “The Cross Series.”

The group totals nine paintings, each 4’ x 6’. The work is basically abstract, as you can see, with the cross as a grid, anchoring the abstraction.

As I say in my press release, “The cross is the most basic of symbols, primitive, in that it coincidentally represents vertical man/woman standing in a horizontal world… The possibly religious content of the paintings takes a back seat to the form. The cross does not merely belong to Christianity.”

Still, the icon looms powerful enough to be incongruous with the sometimes street art and wild posting-like abstraction.

It has been a long haul, my sweet blog followers. I started out doing a series of work based on my association with my clothes and my memories. I even completed several paintings and a few drawings, using this theme. And I am not ditching it. I have decided to return to it after my New York show. BUT, with a method of painting very much like the painting above. I think I had to do the “Cross Series” first and hit my stride, then return to a personal theme like clothing/memories. The work I previously did on the clothing series was far too figurative, not enough depth and a tad illustrative. I was unhappy with it and the work dragged on and on. No enthusiasm.

If you are in the area, the show opens Tuesday, April 26th. The reception for me is Thursday, April 28th. from 6-8 PM. It is at Ceres Gallery, 547 W 27th Street, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. It will be up for about three weeks, coming down May 21st.

I am in the process of working on my website. My website needs updating. It still has “Afloat” as my current work. I use collage in “The Cross Series” also, but with paint, (oil and acrylic) charcoal and pencil. It seems that collage has become my life’s work, having used it with video, paint or strictly cut paper from magazines.

I had a friend in art school who called me the Queen Of The Nonsequitur. I think my love of collage has something to do with that: mixing pieces normally not together, making things work.

Copyright 2016 Hollis Hildebrand-Mills All Rights Reserved

Photograph courtesy of Tom Meyer Photography

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Here is Orion Crook at the closing reception of his curatorial exhibition “Living Case.” His face is framed by one of the rings I used in my installation, “Afloat” in New York a few years back. He used these squishy rings I made in a different way, making them a part of one of his themes, art is life, subject to decay. They worked well with the partially rough and jagged walls of eyedrum.

The rings also gave a person slight disorientation while entering the gallery, as he put them on the floor as well. Not knowing where the ceiling, floor and walls were, as these rings ran throughout…over, under and around the gallery.

I am very happy to have been a part of such a refreshingly creative group exhibition, filled with music, visual art, living creatures, plants, lighting, costumes, neon and performance art! An asset to Atlanta’s “art scene!”