If you follow me on Facebook you've met Stanley. He's a bird that started visiting me regularly in May. One morning, not unlike Edgar Allen Poe I heard "a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.' Fortunately for me it was a bright May morning and Stanley was helping me greet the day. Unfortunately it was 6:30 AM. I thought it was a new neighbor's child. The next morning the same thing happened and when I went to my living room to investigate this is what I saw!
Stanley became a regular at my window. Somehow he figured out my schedule. For a number of days I would just enjoy seeing what he was up to. He would jump up on the window and tap, stare like this, or do his little mating dance. I kept my phone ready for his morning photo shoot and started posting video and photos on Facebook. Needless to say the response to this very odd bird was immediate and strong!
Friends encouraged me to create a series of paintings of him but I couldn't see venturing back into realism for an entire series or taking my relationship with Stanley to such a formal level. But when a bird starts to fling himself at your window to get attention and you're an artist... I took up the task of painting Stanley. Here are a few of the sketches I've done. They'll be available for sale in early October and I'll introduce the whole body of work at my Holiday Preview show on November 16. ANYWAY, I'll update you here as the series progresses, but if you want to hear/ see it in real time follow me on FB or www.instagram.com/marygailking/Instagram. You'll get a better sense of the whole relationship. It's pretty interesting. At least it is to me!
We're in the midst of a sultry summer here in Southern California. One day has quickly slipped into another and we're almost to mid-July. Here at the studio we've been busy creating, enjoying the fruits of the season and generally throwing ourselves into summer.
We didn't have Paint Night on July 4 but did have a field trip to the Ojai Lavender Farm. It's a small family owned farm nestled in the Topa Topa right off of the 150. You haven't missed all of the fun though!
This coming Saturday July 15 learn how to use the dazzling effects of gold leaf as an element in your paintings. We'll paint an image incorporating gold leaf and embellish a frame to take it home in. Impressionist Painter Mary-Gail King and Master Framer Gerald Zwers will be your instructors. Materials are included. Register Here:
Paint Night An Artists' Night Out
Paint Night this summer has been a blast and the fun continues.
July 11 Pygmy Goats
July 18 Jeff Gold Music
July 25 Courtney Michaelsen The Reptile Lady
The Other Mozart is a one woman play showing at the Rubicon Theatre from June 10-June 18, 2017. With a relatively short run you'll want to get tickets right away. I'd love to see you at the closing reception on June 18 immediately following the 2 pm matinee. The paintings are in the new downstairs gallery.
When I first heard the story of Mozart's sister, the saddest thing about it wasn't that she worked in obscurity but that none of her music survived. Her story is a familiar one. Women's work has often been seen as less important than men's. Even now women often don't get the recognition or compensation men do when working in the creative fields. In creating new work for The Other Mozart I wanted to explore feminine creativity. As the work unfolded I rediscovered that creativity is about human potential which encompasses all genders. I’m following the path that is unfolding effortlessly as I paint. My intention is to honor human potential which is genderless of, to coin a phrase, gender-filled. The creative force within us has innate power.
Below are the three new major works I painted for the show along with the statement for each one.
As paint ran across canvas, these paintings began to resemble a forest backlit by bright sky. Immersing myself deeper as I painted, I imagined myself chasing inspiration just as I captured fireflies as a young girl. Inspiration appeared like flashing, bright green dots. There is a green circle placed very close to the bold pink stroke that anchors the center of Witness. In an impressionist painter’s world the addition of geometry was a bold move. After placing it I walked around Witness studying the dot like a cat pacing back and forth looking at potential prey. I saw more dots as I moved to The Kingdom of Back and Phoenix. They sparked the fire that consumes the later pieces.
The Kingdom of Back
Moving deeper into the paintings I immersed myself in the dark acoustic world of Susan Marie Reeves. I tumbled Mozart and Reeves together in a uniquely 21st Century appropriation. The Appalachian music that influences Reeves originated contemporaneous to Mozart’s music. That and my own mind are the thin threads that tie Nannerl’s story to that of a woman who lost her lover in a forest.I became obsessed with Reeves’ song Black Devil. Its tragic theme reminds me of what Nannerl lost. It’s a story of a woman whose lover tries to save her from a tornado, only to lose his own life. In the painting, The Kingdom of Back, I channeled the whirling, passionate twist of the tornado which I see as the crucible that represents the act of creation. Nannerl’s first love, music, died just as tragically as the man in the song. The dialog between masculine and feminine is eternal. One cannot exist for more than one generation without the other. It can be a wild dance. Sometimes one of the parties doesn’t survive. Therein lies a tragedy. The Kingdom of Back was the imaginary world Amadeus and Nannerl created for themselves as children. The name is an homage to that story.
In Phoenix I allowed myself to follow the path of destruction that is often central to the act of creation. My forest was obliterated by golden powder and black inks. Red exploded across the canvas. In the end Nannerl and her music were lost. Politics, tradition, and masculine pride all buried her in expectations. The woman who acquiesced to those things suffered personally. We as a society lost the possibility of seeing what Mozart and his sister could have created had we let them live in the Kingdom of Back forever.
Spring has sprung with a vengence. It's hard to describe the infusion of inspiration that has hit me this season. I have three new shows with new galleries in the next two months in addition to the usual Studio Channel Islands events. I'm painting up a storm for those and re-exploring the world of Abstract Expressionism.
As a professional creative I have a style of painting I'm known for. I've passed through the world of traditional watercolor, mixed media, and oil painting and am currently revisiting the world of pure non-objective abstraction. I take joy in the act of painting in all of its forms and am constantly looking at ways to integrate genres and techniques into my own lexicon. It may be confusing to watch but somehow it works.
I hope you'll join me in the adventure. I'll be hosting classes and workshops as well as showing in those new galleries!
Abstract Expressionism Workshop
Join Mary-Gail King of Studio Channel Islands and Jana Brody of the Squire Foundation for this dynamic workshop focused on large scale abstract design and techniques.
We'll focus on using acrylic paints and mediums in unusual ways to give excitement and a unique look to your creation. Focus is on your creative expression and design.
If you've worked (or played) with me before you're used to the creative "riffs" I try to foster when I see where you look like you're headed creatively. Between that and bringing an open mind with eyes wide open expect a jump forward in your creative life!
Materials fee of $15 in included in the pricing
Register for Abstract Expressionism Workshop
As always Paint Night is on Tuesdays from 6:30-9. This month we'll focus on Abstract Expressionism. Come get a taste of the genre and get some insight into what I consider the bedrock of all art.... Design, design, design.
Register here for Paint Night
Clarity and Intention
At this point I have three programs.
1. Painting and my own creative life are at the heart of it all.
2. I host classes and workshops designed specifically to help others find their own creative passions so they can live a richer, fuller life.
3. I teach art marketing which uses the skills I've developed over the course of my lifetime to help others put their own art into the world and replicate the system I've created to ensure success.
BTW, I'm teaching two Art Marketing 101 classes in March.
The first is free. It's Intro to Art Marketing. You can register here:
The second is a four week intensive course where you'll come up with a basic business plan.
I've gotten training from many companies in the last five years and received solid marketing and business training along with gaining invaluable relationships and leadership skills. You have to walk the walk before you can talk the talk!
Robert Allen and Niurka resonate most closely with my heart and my personal values. I have continued to do business with both of them over the course of the four years and expect to continue.
I'll be back in Santa Barbara in March for a workshop and exhibit with NY Abstract Expressionist Peter Bradley sponsored by the Squire Foundation. As many of you know, these intensive workshops led by master artists often yield exceptional work. I hope you can come see what we do and consider purchasing some of the new work we create for your collection.
Peter Bradley Workshop Critique and Exhibition
Sunday March 12 from 2-5 PM at CAW 631 Garden St, SB
Non-Vehicular Relationship, 54"x72" mixed media
With abstraction in mind I thought I'd share one of my recent forays into the genre.
I started Non-Vehicular Relationship in my studio when a young guitarist who modeled for me played many of the songs I grew up with from the 1960’s and ’70’s. Paul Simon, the Beatles, American Pie, Stairway to Heaven, etc. were all part of her repetoire along with contemporary pieces I couldn’t name. Her music started to roll around in my head for the next week as I began this painting in the studio.
Later, as I listened to the soundtracks from my childhood on Pandora it felt like scratchy sounds muddled up in my head wanted to come off my brush. If we’re of a certain age we know the sound of a skittering needle or dj scratching vinyl. The painting started as unstretched, unprimed, rough canvas. I added inks, powders, foils, etc. in random ways as it lay crumpled on the floor. At a certain point it was a messy as a littered highway and I had no idea what I was doing. I proceeded to use larger and larger brushes to cover the rough canvas that wanted to suck up everything I tried to put on it. There are gallons of paint and handsful of dried pigments embedded in this surface. I beat them in with a broom, hosed the canvas off on the asphalt outside my studio, wadded them up on the studio floor to add a little texture and then dried them on a chain link fence. I just knew I had to finish the painting but I couldn't. I was lost and confused.
Then I went on a road trip and traveled back to the South where I spent much of my time growing up. I revisited old, forgotten relationships. Some had changed beyond recognition. The people we leave behind stay the same in our minds when we’re gone for decades. Some of that can be good. Sometimes we have to renegotiate. I spent a little bit of time in cars with Uber, my brother and sister, my mom. I even hitched a ride with a Toppers pizza delivery woman. We had the kind of deep conversation about dysfunctional families you can only have with a stranger. BTW every family is dysfunctional in its own special way!
When I came home my crumpled painting was still unfinished. The romance of time and distance were erased and I realized that the lack of focus and the confusion I felt as I painted WERE the point of the painting. The dashes made of foil were the dividing lines on the road. The black splats were the highway I could see through the rusted hole in the car beneath my six year old feet.When I came home I went to my fallback when I paint. I set about making the whole thing beautiful. It glows now showing bits and pieces of the ugly scars beneath the surface. It hangs a beautiful, well finished canvas on the wall of this gallery.I’ve dealt with my junk. I have fond memories of growing up and have faced many of my demons. The painting makes me smile now because of the name and fills my heart with gratitude. I figured out how to get out of the car and walk away...
I've just hung the show Endless Summer in Santa Barbara at Gallery 113 in Santa Barbara. The show is part of First Thursday and I've dedicated it to Diane Nelson Gold who recently passed away.
Diane was diagnosed with cancer in April of 2016. She died in December and left a beautiful legacy. Embrace life full on. Paint like it's the last time you'll ever pick up a brush. Spend time with the people you love.
Details on the featured artists at Gallery 113 can be found here:
Gallery 113 Featured Artists
1114 State Street, Studio 8, La Arcada Court, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Gallery Hours: Monday - Saturday 11am - 5pm Sunday 1 - 5pm
I'll be gallery sitting:
Thursday, January 12 from 2-5
Saturday, January 14 from 2-5
Sunday, January 22 from 1-5
I'm also happy to take the trip up to Santa Barbara from LA or Ventura Counties with you for an Artist's DAY Out or meet you up there! (No purchase necessary!)
I was approached last week by the New West Symphony to take part in a project. Yes, they called me. Who gets a call like that?!!! They are inviting a handful of artists to create work inspired by Gustav Holst's The Planets orchestral suite next month. Be sure to get tickets right away and tell me when you're coming so I can look for you at one of the performances. Here's the link. I should be at all three venues and I'll keep you posted on details. I'd love to have as many friends as possible come!
I'm pretty excited about the project. I get to choose any planet I'd like...when I heard Mars I couldn't resist. It's big, rich and glorious. The music actually inspired some of the theme music John Williams wrote for Star Wars. It's remarkable how modern it sounds even after 100 years. He wrote it from
A piece that has that kind of cultural impact for generations is pretty special and to have the opportunity to take on a commission for a symphony orchestra is remarkable. So I've gotten started with a vengance and the whole thing has captured my imagination like few other subjects ever have.
As much as I love landscape I've discovered something that is probably pretty obvious to anyone who has explored space. There's no horizon line. Nope. None. And that has set my imagination free like nothing else ever has.Even as an artist I've tied myself to so many "shoulds." I should paint things people can understand. I'm not a real artist unless I can do everything. If I show people how I really see they won't "get it."
The more I paint as a professional the more I know this. What I think matters. What I feel matters. When I expose my feelings I open other people up as well. My vulnerability opens up possibilities that wouldn't exist if I wasn't willing to be seen. When I see deeply I help others see in new ways. When I engage my imagination others do as well.
I've totally immersed myself in the symphony. I'm feeling a bit dark at the moment. If you listen to the Mars movement you'll see why. I was, and am, attracted to the drama and grandeur of it but it does stir up a strong sense of angst in me. I've found myself avoiding people a bit even...I'm also reading Steven Hawking's A Brief History of Time before bed which has me dreaming in space/ time. I'm ready to delve into Greek mythology and remind myself of the stories I learned as a young girl. It's time to channel some archetypes.
Being a knowledge fiend but knowing that I didn't have time to search for images and also get started with painting I got my cousin Ben Green on the job. He spent a precious Saturday morning curating images from Nasa sources and giving me some basic insights into the "look" of the planets, moons, astroids, etc. It would have taken me a month to get through all of that. Pays to have a good researcher in the family. I got a crash course in the solar system. Thank you Ben!
I glanced at what I downloaded from Ben on my phone and tried not to absorb too much information before setting out to create mock ups for future paintings. The little jewels I painted were a pleasure to create and much more than just practice. They are the beginning of something very special.
I forsee creating a long term project from this tiny beginning. This has captured my passion and my imagination as no other project I've ever done has. The synthesis of music and painting along with the landscape of space is compelling to me.
As I began this project the thing I found the most remarkable is how I felt when I began to paint landscapes without horizon lines. I basically blew the lid off of my approach to painting "things" "out there" when I painted space. It's hard to describe but, in the past, the horizon line has created a sense of separation for me. Earth from sky, sky from ocean, it's all been distinct and delineated. Space...is free. I feel I can paint without boundaries...Color, texture, sensation are all that exist. This is a joy!
So, save the dates: Performances of The Planets by the New West Symphony are March 27-29 in Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Santa Monica. My, as yet uncreated painting, Mars (oil 30"x30) will be on display. I'm looking forward to seeing you at one of the performances! I've finished a number of the small works. They are all here in my store and available for sale.
Here's a little bit of insight from Wikipedia, "The Planets", Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst.*
To a large extent Holst was inspired as much or more by the mythological aspects of each planet, thus the symbolic meaning attributed to each movement. The symbolism is inextricably bound up in the sound. For me that will express itself in abstract, gestural paint dominated by color and texture.
With the exception of Earth, which is not observed in astrological practice, all the planets are included in the symphony.*
Mars, the Bringer of War
Venus, the Bringer of Peace
Mercury, the Winged Messenger
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
Uranus, the Magician
Neptune, the Mystic
Their free lectures and "meet the artists" events are worth putting on your calendar. Check out my previous blog post: Fuel for the Creative Fire.
I've done other work with the New West Symphony. They are a pleasure to work with. Their dedication to creating and supporting classical music, outreach to the visual arts community and service to the public are evident in everything they do.
Their free lectures and "meet the artists" events are worth putting on your calendar. Check out my previous blog post: Fuel for the Creative Fire.
I'm listening to Mars again and it is absolutely amazing! My painting for the symphony will be 30x30 which is smallish for what I'm feeling but this is just the beginning....If you could see my face right now I'm smiling as wide as I can while I listen to storm troopers tromp around the planets. Boom boom BOOOOMMMM!
This is a diagram of the sixty photos Voyager took while on its trip around the solar system 25+ years ago. Might be a decent layout for a series...I see a lot of square formats. It's interesting that the pattern of photos shown in the diagram among the planets Saturn, Venus, Earth and Jupiter looks vaguely like a symphonic hall. And, of course, the fibonacci sequence crosses over all of the patterns related to this subject....music, movement and visual patterns. Look at it all spinning!
On that note ;) here's a link to something that blew my mind. Look for the spiral pattern of the letters that correspond to the musical chords on the keyboard. Yup, there's that shape again. Spacey ;) Sylvain Lalonde's Fibonacci Sequence in Music. Genius.
Living More Creatively
Subscribe to my newsletter for the latest in art news, classes, gallery openings and more.