5 Things Recommended - 3/6/2019


1- Suzanne Siegel is a very generous artist. She’s more than willing to share her techniques. I met her at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill Art Center last summer where she taught a class on using watercolor and gouache in new ways. I was hugely influenced by her ways of seeing, composition and improvisation. I will be attending a one-day workshop on Painted Paper Collage this weekend in Connecticut; a long drive but worth every mile. Check out her amazing sense of color and design at: http://suzannesiegel.net or @suzanne_siegel_studio

2- I always feel driven to make the most of every minute to “produce”. In my conversation today with Bryan Voliton (@bvoliton, @beachandmaindunedin, @un_manageables) we discussed the importance of taking time out of our work-week to think, read, research, explore. I have a friend who takes two hours a day to read. OK, so he is retired but even so he sets a good example. How about two hours a week?

3- Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has award-winning labels to go along with their incredible collection. But don’t just read the labels. As a museum educator at the MFA, I’ve shepherded many adults and students through the galleries. It seems the first thing that everyone wants to do is read. I’m guilty of this too. Instead, look at the work of art first. Looking can be a very active process of asking questions and LOOKING for the answers in the work itself. You might not get all the “right” answers. That’s where good labels can fill in with information. But I can guarantee that taking time to look will stimulate your thinking, build hypothesis, make connections to previous knowledge and other works of art. Artists are always looking at the makers who have come before. That’s why a medieval cathedral sculpture of a Bishop can look like a Kouri from ancient Greece. I don’t know for sure, but maybe that stone cutter saw a fragment of sculpture lying around and was inspired.

Head of a Youthful Bishop, Collection: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Kouris from upscavenger.com

4- Look up words. When I’m not in a rush (unfortunately, not often enough) I look up new words as I’m reading. As an example, I found the word, “eudaimonia” twice in 24 hours in two different books: Maira Kalman’s The Principles of Uncertainty and The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith. I won’t tell you what it means (Go look it up!) But, learning about the meaning of that word lead to me writing my first blog post which is now a regular activity in my life.

5- Give ideas away. It’s a long story but, basically, I encouraged my studio mate to take over the space we had been running as a gallery and turn it into his studio. (Look for my next blog post: Giving Up the Gallery; A Lesson in Personal Freedom and Vulnerabilty). What wasn’t working for me seems to be just the leg-up that @nickpetersondavis needed to fulfill a dream.

Mason Gehring