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in the company of women:artists

December 5, 2008

You come to a new state, geography, climate, culture, it takes a while to make sense of it. “Make sense,” as in not be a shock to the senses, to feel natural. As a photographer, an introvert, a detail-obsessed observer, I watch, and note the time when watching feels like it has become seeing. I don’t know if I’m there yet, but I think it takes a long time. This is about two local women artists who are there.

I have the pleasure of knowing Lucie Wellner, who has lived in the hills around Syracuse all her life, and is seeing them richly and laying them out before others in watercolor paint. I have never been close to anyone who paints seriously, all the time, so it was a joyful little shock to see the process one day when we all went climbing at Courthouse in the Adirondacks. While we sweated up the rock in August heat, Lucie created art. (Someone else might have been artfully climbing, but it wasn’t me.)

Courthouse, Adirondacks

Courthouse, Adirondacks

Lucie paints at Courthouse

Lucie paints at Courthouse

it's tough to get there!

it's tough to get there!

We all slogged an hour or so to get here, the last part up a steep, muddy-slick hill. But its remoteness, silence, and view were heavenly. It’s interesting to think back on the different energies at work in the same place, Lucie calmly focusing on the hues and gradations of light, and the rest of us alternately energized, frustrated, happy, or tapped out from various routes. By the end of a few hours I could muster only a nap in the sun with Bud. Lucie had a painting.
What is left out of the image, the part I know but you didn’t until I told you, interests me, too, and is always the lost secret of so many photographs and artworks.

Lucie shows her work this Saturday and Sunday at the 38th Annual Plowshares and Winter Peace Festival in Syracuse and always on her web site.

Gardeners, go and spend some time with the one called, “Constant State of Mourning.”

I’ve recently met Jenny Pope, who sort of came out of the blue and turned into a personal inspiration, not only because I love that her art is driven from ecological concerns and research, a lifetime fascination with animals, and a huge dose of humor, but because she decided to shuck the day job and be an artist full-time. That’s a bold decision, and she’s making it happen.
Here’s her latest work, a color-reduction woodcut featuring her Poodle and some sneaky starlings.

Elliot in the Middle by Jenny Pope

Elliot in the Middle by Jenny Pope

Jenny will be showing work in Ithaca at the Holiday Artists Market on Dec 13 at 100 W. Seneca in the Women’s Community Building, where the ReCraft Fair will also be.

These are two women artists inspiring me to see closely, make art about what you know, and love what you do. Who’s inspiring you?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 6, 2008 9:40 am

    I marvel at the ability of painters to see and to render. Color reduction woodcuts? I wouldn’t know where to start. Thanks for posting this as I’d forgotten about the tips you gave me earlier.

  2. December 10, 2008 9:20 am

    You have found some amazing inspiration – and you’ve reminded me that it’s high time for me to find inspiring influences closer to home. And to maybe get the paints back out. I left my favorite friend and artist back in Seattle… check out

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