I was honored to receive Artist of Year in 2017 from Nickel Plate Arts. In preparation for the upcoming banquet the Director asked me "What have you been doing this past year?" so she could share the information at the banquet. Sounds like a simple enough question but story telling and sharing images of my work always requires a great deal of thinking, planning and preparation on my part. So since I went to all that work I thought I'd share the information here on my website.
Over the past year I explored 2 new-to-me art forms, encaustic and mixed media.
Encaustic is a 2,000-year-old art form that utilizes beeswax. Using encaustic in photography adds a 3-dimensional quality, and aroma, and causes the art to be translucent as long as there is nothing behind the paper. For my projects I used Japanese papers, either bamboo or rice paper, and beeswax that was specifically prepared for encaustic work. Both the papers and the wax have to be archival, meaning they have a long life and are low acid. I chose to hang my encaustics rather than the traditional method of mounting them on a board as this allows light to pass through the now translucent art. The wax has to be maintained at a low temperature or it can cause toxic fumes. Just to be safe I wear a respirator. The whole process is very messy, takes up a lot of space and is quite fun. Each piece of art is a 1 of a kind as you can never replicate the way the wax adheres to the paper and the possibility of drips adds to the unpredictable nature of the work.
My mixed media work was inspired by a flower show at Nickel Plate Arts. I never want to be run of the mill, I’m always looking for a new approach. I took flowers and pearls and surrounded one of my photographs in a 3-dimensional piece of art. Once again, the process was quite messy, framing it was a nightmare, but I was quite pleased with the end result.
My art was on display at the Augusta airport during the Masters Golf Tournament. I was the only artist exhibiting in the terminal. The show was originally scheduled for April-June, but they extended it to September. I have also been selected to exhibit again during the 2018 Masters.
My art was on the cover of the September/October edition of Sophisticated Living. http://digital.slmag.net/i/1021022-sep-oct-2018
I have enrolled in a graduate art program. I’ll begin working on my Master of Art degree this Thursday through the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Which luckily I can all do from my home.
For me art is a path of self-discovery. My muses whisper gently in my ear and I follow their guidance. As long as I’m enjoying the process, I will continue my exploration.
I'm pleased to share that one of my images is on the cover of the September/October edition of the Indianapolis Sophisticated Living Magazine. This image is title Her Game is En Pointe. I used this image on my postcards when I attended portfolio reviews because I felt it summed up the story line for Ballerinas on the Green.You can download a PDF of the publication at http://digital.slmag.net/i/1021022-sep-oct-2018.
September 6th, 2018 is my first day of graduate school. I'll be attending the Academy of Art University (AAU) in San Francisco. My friends may remember that I was accepted graduate program at to the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City a few years ago but was unable to attend. Their medical department required a vaccine, the MMR, that I chose not to get given it's link to autism.
I hope to share my journey through this blog. I'll already have the hard part done, the assignments. So sharing them should in theory be the easy part.
Prior to school starting the university has several orientation programs. The 1st is a meet and greet where we all post in response to specific questions so our classmates can learn about us. There was a place to ask questions. I asked about working ahead as our family travels quite a bit. I learned that we can work 1 week ahead. Hopefully that will be enough. Another student asked about difficulty of classes and one mentor said the lighting class is always really hard. Good to be forewarned.
We then had to post all of our social media. This gave me an opportunity to scrutinize all of mine, and even prompted me to finally release some videos I had hidden on YouTube and to add a link to my channel on this website. Here is what I shared:
Social Media I use:
My YouTube page
My iTunes bookstore
The website for the golf course my husband and I own. I created 99% of the photography, on this website. I did not create the video.
I really look forward to following my classmates, instructors and mentors on their social media for a multitude of reasons, inspiration, connection, opening my mind...
I enjoy Instagram the most and often check it more than once a day.
I didn't see the 'post 3 things you like' until someone else commented. As I reviewed the social media and profiles of my classmates and professors, I liked the variety of subject matter, form and treatment. I like the fact that we come from such different places geographically. I also like the fact that many of us come from different work backgrounds.
Next was a general 'tell us about yourself' with some specific questions. Here is what I had to say:
I also had to create a profile at the school with photo and resume. I used this as motivation to streamline my resume from a rambling 3 page year-by-year document to a succinct 1 page with primarily shows information, which is pretty short as I only started exhibiting in 2016.
Wish me luck that I learn a ton and that I stick to sharing this path.
Someone said to me that this whole project is about the ballet. That is a very one dimensional view of this body of work. You could take any of the pictures of the ballerinas and put them on a stage or in a studio and they would be "traditional" and much less interesting. It's not just the ballet, the golf course, or the golfers. It is the combination of the three and the story telling that makes this project so intriguing to me.
This project combines two disparate worlds, golf and ballet. Yes they have a lot in common when it comes to the work that goes on behind the scenes, how simple they make it look, how lovely it is to observe, the fans, the galleries... But on an everyday basis, these two worlds do not intersect. Not even close.
Taking ballerinas and inserting them into traditional golf stories has captivated my imagination. On one level, the story looks so familiar, but on another it is a complete fantasy.
Add to that the lovely golf course environment, the lighting, the athletic golfers, this all makes for artwork that enthralls me and makes me be excited to get up in the morning and create more art.
So no, it's not just about the ballet, or the golf, or the golf course. It's about the storytelling, and the fantasy it creates, and at the end of the day, the mysterious artwork the combination created.
Golf & Toe Shoes
I had the idea that I’d like to photograph golf shoes and ballet shoes, then create a cuff bracelet that alternated, one ballet shoe then one golf shoe and back and forth. This has turned out to be an expensive proposition on my part.
Clay’s, my 15-year-old golfer son, has been dreaming of custom golf shoes for some time. So he got onto https://www.footjoy.com/myjoys-custom-golf-shoes.html where you can make these amazing shoes to your custom specifications and designed a pair. I photographed just his cool shoes with his monogram on the side and the Purgatory Golf Club logoed golf ball. I also photographed his new shoes with a decorated a couple of decorated toe shoes.
Toe shoes get beat up by dancers, and when they no longer properly support and protect the foot they are ‘dead.’ Sometimes ballerinas will sign or decorate these dead pointe shoes and volunteers sell them at performances to raise funds for the organization. Some cleaver moms and dance organizations have taken this to a new art form and sell meticulously decorated pointe shoes as artwork on Etsy.com. I have acquired quite a collection of these amazing tributes to ballet. Often the shoe follows the theme of a famous ballet, such as the Nutcracker Suite or Swan Lake. I have a whole board on Pinterest.com dedicated to decorated pointe shoes https://www.pinterest.com/TennaMerchent/decorated-pointe-shoes/
Here is a list of my favorite shops on Etsy that sell decorated point shoes:
The two pointe shoes in these photos are from https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColumbusCityShoeShop. The green one is in honor of the Nutcracker Suite party scene, and the red one Alice in Wonderland, Queen of Hearts.
Golf shoes stabilize the golfers foot during the swing, and also keep them dry on the often-wet grass. Golf shoes used to come with hard spikes but those have gone out of fashion as they are quite hard on the putting green, and now soft spikes are the norm. Moms have not taken to decorating abused golf shoes, although I have considered hiring someone on Etsy to do it for me, who knows, it might just catch on.