How I found freedom from my dream

This past year has been a time for reflection and it’s brought big changes in my work. Looking back I see that I realized the dream of my youth.

What was that dream ?

Move to Paris and be an artist. Dreams are attainable. In 1988 I left the US with 400$ in my pocket and a one way ticket to Italy. During the 21 years I lived there I carved a niche in space and built a career.

Then one day I woke up and saw that wasn’t the life I wanted. I sold everything and moved to Paris. People said I was stupid to give away all that I had built and move for the unknown. I had everything in the material world that would make 90% of the people happy. Including a house on the Etruscan coast. Every summer I spent 3 months at the sea…

But Paris was the destination. And it’s been good to me.

Then last year the persona Angie the Artist seemed to vanish. Nothing worked, nothing sold. I was in the red and digging. I had to get a job. I was terrified. I had to get a facial🤣 and I sobbed for an entire day. Starbucks refused me. Amorino didn’t even respond. My ego was a doormat.

Thank God I was practicing Hatha and Nada Yoga everyday. The vritti were calm.

I wanted a job where I didn’t have to think. I cleaned a house and the lady never paid me. I didn’t want to teach English though I had a good CV and I’d been smart enough to get a teaching certificate. Just before the massive strikes last December I interviewed with Cap English.

Then the strikes hit.

They offered me classes the next day because many of their teachers couldn’t get to work. I walked 3 hours in the rain to teach for 3 hours then another 3 hour walk to get home…

I subbed in different schools until in one school the teachers begged me to take over because the former teacher left.

I never knew how much I would like teaching. I even forget I exist when I’m writing on the blackboard. I was liberated from the persona Angie the Artist because I was enjoying myself, thought I did have to think 😉. No time wasted declaring taxes, doing marketing. No pressure.

One day during the lunch pause I looked at a tree and thought how the tree was content. It didn’t need to be anyone. It didn’t have to pretend

I was liberated from a 30+ year ego trip.

And now I am free to paint, scuplt, and play music.

Reject n.1 :: live Auction, now!

In my last post I  mentioned the blue nude and its history.  Momentarily I don’t have time to divulge this story because I’ve got rejects. But here is a clue: the person who bought the painting is a man…

To celebrate 30 years of professional activity I’m going to auction off some rejects.

>>Live ebay auction now attn: opens in new window<<<

Reject #1

Reject #1 is absolutely useless. But it’s pretty, right? Like an eternal flower. Better than a plastic flower.

Reject n.1 is so light in weight it almost Continue reading

Open Studio in Sedona, Arizona

Two weeks from today, Saturday June 17th, my palette knife and I will be in Sedona, Arizona. Painting at the Carré d’artistes fine art gallery in the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.

I want to thank all the wonderful family and friends who contritubed to my Indiegogo campaign. You helped my buy my plane tickets and some taco lunches. I can’t wait to eat some fine Mexican food. Paris boasts great food but Tacos are hard to find.

This trip is a big deal for me. Not only the painting exibition but also my personal quest. In the past five months I painted 80 small format paintings for the gallery and 15 large ones. I’m ready to fly and enjoy the Southwest energy.

Here is an underpainting, how I start my paintings. It’s what you’ll see if you arrive early on Saturday. Not this exact image but it gives you an idea of how I work. I used to prime my canvases with a flat color then paint alla-prima. Now I do underpaintings. Lots of people wonder if this is watercolor. It’s not. It is very diluted oil. I like the drips.

Snoopy Rock underpainting
An underpainting, done in oil wash on canvas

My atelier today

paintingsofsedonabyangiebrooksbyYesterday I prepared four new oil paintings of the Southwest. The underpaintings look like watercolors. They are watery, almost drippy. The spots on the floor are proof.

I tend to paint high contrast. See the painting on the shelf, on the right? It’s unfinished. I need to add highlights and details. But it is high contrast.

While studying sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, one of my professers — the infamous Art Benson— suggested I photograph my sculptures and contemplate the next step. The photograph removed me from the slapdash creative moment.

It was good advice. At the time I didn’t  follow much advice.

As I look at the paintings here, on my blog, I see how to proceed in a new way. Less overall contrast could give a dreamy quality, almost illustrative.

I wonder if I am capable of painting with lest contrast. Hmm.

New Parisian Paintings and some numbers

This has been a good year. Here are some numbers.

  • From January to July I painted 168 paintings and sold 153.
  • I painted 4 mannequins. One sold.
  • Since August 15th I’ve painted another 102 small paintings. In November I’ll know how many of those have sold.

In August I began painting for Carré d’artistes Sedona gallery. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to paint desert landscapes. It didn’t seem to fit with the last nine years of urban landscapes. But painting the South West has been liberating, I am thrilled.

My technique has changed. Producing a massive amount of work, painting new scenes and the two months that I did not paint (from June to August when I painted the mannequins) are what boosted my technique.

If you haven’t seen my 15 second video tutorials yet, check out my instagram feed. See the links up on the right.

 

 

 

 

Three Graces and the Canons of Beauty

brooksby-painted-mannequins
Painted and naked mannequins in my atelier

Three naked graces arrived yesterday. I’d awaited anxiously for their delivery.

 Before I can paint them, I have to sand down the surface because mannequins are coated with some industrial super-paint. Nothing sticks to it. This makes sense if you consider how abused they are during their lives. Shipped around, dressed, undressed, scratched and scraped. The super paint, whatever it is, makes them easy to clean, but a bitch to paint. Nothing sticks to it. Not even spray paint.

howtopaintamannequin
Royal pain in the butt, sanding is.

I never realized how ugly mannequins are. This is what we women are supposed to look like. This is today’s canon of beauty. Mannequins. They have monstrously long legs, toddler-sized torsos, male adolescent shoulders, and feet fit for a fairytail princess. Not the feet in the photo, those are mine.

 

Canons of beauty change through the ages and contemporary beauty canons differ from place to place.

The first time I understood what beauty canon meant, I was in Piazza Signoria admiring Giambologna and Ammanannti’s fountain of Neptune.  Of course I’d never really looked at the nymphs. It was Neptune’s privates I admired. Those and his perfectly sculpted six pack abs. (I stole that line from a contemporary romance novel.)giambologna_e_ammannati_fontana_del_nettuno_dettaglio_03

My ex-husband, who stood next to me, said, “Guarda il collo di quello, è mostruoso.” Look at that one’s neck, it’s monstrous. He was looking at the nymphs. And probably watching me, while I stared at the rock hard privates.

We joked about the nymph coming to life. Rising from the marble basin and walking through the piazza. If she was human she would have been Frankenstein’s latest creation, the young Japanese tourists, who were photographing Neptune’s junk, would have run screaming, sure that Godzilla had returned.

Canons of beauty are not only monstrous mannequins. They touch everything and they evolve. What was beautiful yesterday is monstrous today.

The 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show - 2013

Ever been to a dog show? Dogs have character. Man bred and selected them to work. Poodles were hunting dogs. They were shaved in certain places so they could move easily through the brush. Their coats were left long in specific places to keep them warm. In the advent of the dog show, dog breeds were selected for beauty and their looks were distorted.

Now I have some serious sanding to do so I can grace those three monsters.