In Flotsam & Jetsam

The Work Described:

Item 1, primary, a 3-D piece:

Two modest older three dimensional gentlemen, both a bit chubby, stand together in conversation on a narrow platform.  They appear amused:  one is clearly pleased & smiling, perhaps having just shared a joke or told a humorous story.  The other listens, a bit bemused, but enjoying the moment.
The figures are realistic, but rustic & rough, with faded metallic surfaces.
They stand in front of a two dimensional galaxy of shooting stars, or perhaps it is a greenboard extensively marked up with complex curves & intersecting lines. The platform could be a station for some unspecified transportation system, or it could be a strip of beach.  It is dotted with odd dark elongate half dome “boulders” that on close inspection appear to be weather worn:  multi-colored, with shallow fissures, and lumps. The surface of the platform has a hard to see design: it takes a very close look to find the two figures stand on a row of dark strange faces…

Item 2, secondary, digital photography:

This photo of a mixed media sculpture, taken in late afternoon light that is almost orange in tone, casting long deep shadows. The light from the left illuminates and shines through scratched & broken sections of acrylic onto three concrete figures standing in a conversational group among an unusual assortment of objects. Is this odd scene a sculpture park?  Who are these people & why are they here?
The lighting is dramatic. While the left side of the photo is so bright as to be nearly white, the far right is the dark side:  sharp black shadows of the figures are thrown up against a dark background lit up to a deep orange and patterned with a spider’s web of shadow created by the “wall” of cracked scratched acrylic.

Item 3, tertiary, mixed media based on a lino cut print:

Two rather mysterious softly outlined figures, a man and a woman, stand together amid a whirl of leaves and rippled lines:  the air currents are as visible as the figures or the leaves which fly loose from the tree at left.  The figures are transparent, gentle, & ghostlike;  they stand barefoot on or in an area of soft brightness that is more cloud than ground. The colors are soft, the tones are dark greenish black, soft yellow to a peachy or coppery color.  The print shows the texture of the thick paper.

The Work Selection:

My selection of work for Flotsam & Jetsam was not based on extended consideration:  there was not very much time to choose once we decided to change our work for a March show.

And I was so pleased with my new metallic look resin figures that I wanted to show them off.

I liked the idea of sharing my newest figures with others.  And I liked the challenge of getting my new piece properly mounted & complete for the show (although the timing for completing the presentation along with my commitment to cook a RW Monday dinner was terrible!!!).

The other two pieces were selected to be compatible with my newest Conversation (number VI).


March at Elevated

My own three pieces in this show are: Galactic Conversation, The Grandparents, & Conversation in the Shadows.


Mixed media & the Start of an Exorcism Series

Rubens An Exorcism via the Drawing Board The finished work: after playing with some digital collages (prototypes for the design), I used my water soluble graphite stick & disk to paint in the dark ground and the tree & sky background.

I had scanned a some images in the Rubens’ book, and isolated the three figures I wanted to use from the black & white photos of his paintings.

I sized these for my work, printed them, then added these using matte medium to my graphite painting, making this mixed media collage. Then I went to work with watercolors to tint the figures. I have left the background only partially tinted: just a hint of color.

I am amused, at least for today, and that is satisfying! And now I have framed this piece as if still on the drawing board, with the title:  Rubens: An Exorcism via the Drawing Board. I have left in the paper clips, used acid free paper tape on the corners, etc. but all after carefully flattening out the paper, using framing spacers, etc.

Rodin Hand of God draft 2

The Rodin book with “Hand of God” drawing added (artistic license :-)


Select the image to see the rest of the story….

The photo now added is the start of a new work based on another 1939 era art book by the same British publisher, George Allen & Unwin, LTD London. These books are hardbound with plain cloth covers, just the artist’s name in large letters across the very top, and the full name along the spine. They include some biographical material, but are largely made up of black & white photographs of work, with a few color plates. These belonged to my maternal grandfather, Robert Sivell.


It has been a year, and !

The 1012 show 1It has been a year since my last art show at 1012 Coffee Bar, so it is that time again! I just hung the show, with much invaluable assistance from Michael, and while it may get a little re-arrangement, it is mostly there! I have one more piece I want to take up, but I am too tired to go back today!

Update:  I found two MORE pieces that I want to hang in this show… good grief!

Tommorrow I will think about scheduling a little reception for friends… but for now I am just relieved/pleased to have the work properly presented & on display. Some of it was ready to go weeks ago, but I was working on some pieces, and the work list, from my arrival home yesterday until I headed uptown at 10:00am today. I am tired!

Photos & samples online don’t do it justice, so head up to 1012 to see it for yourself!

The 1012 show 2
The 1012 show 3


Artist’s Statement for COMMUNITY REFLECTIONS at the TKLofts

The exhibit COMMUNITY REFLECTIONS involves some hard truths. Residents of the Tashiro Kaplan lofts are part of a wider urban community; they see and experience the consequences of poverty & pain in the street every day. The harsh reality of homelessness and drug addiction is far more visible in Pioneer Square than it is in my comfortable community, but violence and suffering are here too. How can members of this community experience the danger, feel the fear, see the pain, and remain open to the humanity in everyone? My work is about trying to make sense of this chaos in our world. I am learning to use light and translucency to extend the depth of my work. This may represent the light we need to shine into the shadows of our difficult interactions with other human beings.

Sandra StowellI make art to satisfy myself, and to share my experiences. Art is self expression: a visual journal of my experiences and emotions. At times I want to communicate the sense of mystery and delight I feel when I look around at natural and man made objects. At other times I may express the angst & pain I observe around me, or experience in my own life.

I am a mixed media artist with a particular interest in printmaking, drawing, and sculpture. I use pencil, water soluble graphite, charcoal, colored pencil, pastels, Conté crayon, ink, paint, along with found objects, silk threads, cheesecloth, beeswax, driftwood, and more. I save and use my own work as elements in both physical and digital collage; I use a computer, scanner and archival ink jet printer as artists tools to modify and create new images. I especially enjoy the layering and combining intrinsic to print making and collage. As I work, I draw upon a backlog of my own drawings and prints: I may incorporate or transform older work in new projects.

I don’t start with a detailed plan, rather I explore an idea & appreciate the element of surprise. At some point a plan “happens” and I find myself working toward a finished piece. I love to improvise (think Jazz). I try to balance a need for control, which requires technical skill and practice, with a sense of play and exploration. Despite an emphasis on play, I take my explorations seriously. I am not interested in following techniques and trends in the art world, however I love to see the work of other artists and to explore new techniques. It is a delight when I encounter a technique that will help me express my own visual “thoughts”.

My grandfather was a painter and I liked to draw as a child, but disliked art classes did less drawing. I abandoned a college art major for computer science. “Making things” still happened, but only as a weekend hobby until I moved to Port Townsend in 1998. Making art became important and satisfying daily work, and I have an art studio next door to my home. I surround it with assemblies of found objects and odd creations: my yard art.

I have benefited from regional art classes as well as painting and sculpture classes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I participate in a weekly art seminar that has fed the artist in me for many years. I am a member of Corvidae Press, a fine art printmaking guild, and participate in our annual print exchanges. For four years I have participated in the Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project. I enter work in regional juried art shows, when the wind is right!


COMMUNITY REFLECTIONS July 3rd – 21st, 2014 List of Artwork by artist Sandra Stowell

My work in this exhibition is not for sale. It is experimental, and most pieces are, I hope, prototypes for larger more durable work.

Shattered1. Four Watchers, 70”x72”. Fabric, photo transfers, & ink. This curtain screens but lets in the light, and it changes with the light. The center area represents the connections made & broken by power lines, phone lines, & building rooftops in the city. The rats go everywhere, and see everything although we only seem them some of the time.
2. The Fight I & The Fight II, each 20” x 24”. In each piece, an observer watches with angst the tension between a female & male figure. Someone will get hurt. These works are translucent, designed to hang in front of a window or other diffuse light.
3. The Ancestors, 16” x 20” plus frame. The watchers in this 2-D mixed media work are strong and tense, but they are not anxious as they watch the bones of a human figure returning to the earth.
4. Shattered, 6” x 6” x 18”. Plexiglass, inkjet prints, tape, LED lights. The two fighting figures are in Pioneer Square, represented by the iron & glass Victorian pergola which has been shattered and restored several times.
5. Community of Shadows, 18” x 22” x 26”. Lightbox, cardboard, plywood, spraypaint, vellum, inkjet prints, markers. Translucent abstract and representation 3-sided figures populate a lit stage. This piece is both dark and light, and it is not clear why these figures gather here or how they relate to each other.

In Pioneer Square02 In Pioneer Square03 Community Stage The Watchers, variations

Working with translucent material …

Observation #1 Observation #2 Pio community prototype 1


These two pieces are photographed in a window, so with daylight behind them. I added the borders digitally.

The plan is to show these somehow framed and hung, with backlighting…

Unfortunately they were exhibited hung against a wall, and so did not display as planned!


Disappointing News

I am disappointed (*@#%!!) that none of my four entries to the current exhibit at Northwind Arts Center were accepted. I will probably never know why, and it is a pity that none appealed to the jurors, who run a very nice art gallery here in town: the Simon Mace Gallery. I am sorry/disappointed that they did not like my work.

I entered three new assembly/sculptural pieces. These, while not exactly momentous, please me. I though/still think they have merit. But maybe they are a little to “crafty”, and read more as assemblage than sculpture, although I make most of my “parts” myself. I don’t think the Simon Mace Gallery every shows assemblage work, nor do they tend toward small works in general.

My other piece was again “pieced”, with collage elements, although all original work, not found imagery. It is a small work, that is best enjoyed close up. But I love it, and am especially disappointed that it was rejected. Aaargh!

It is hard to dismiss the disappointment, but … thank goodness it is: 1) sunny today, 2)  am just back from a wonderful 3 day camping trip, and 3) I just got a little present in mail. So I can just get over this silly disappointment and move on (I hope)!


Quote of the Day (said about my work!)

They All Came

They All Came

On Monday I received a wonderful, unsolicited comment / compliment from a fellow artist, about this work, when I left it at Northwind Arts Center for juror review:

“that is a very powerful piece”

I couldn’t ask for a better compliment: so sincere, and so satisfying! I am happy!

I certainly hope the juror agrees!  If so, this will be on exhibit in March in the show “Earth Matters”.


Thinking about … ambiguity

While considering entering a new juried show, I reviewed paintings by the show juror, Michael Paul Miller. His oil paintings are stunning: his subjects are attention getting and his technique is exquisite. All his work shown at Saatchi online is gorgeous & very impressive. The work is described as post-modern realism, dark and often depicting an environmental apocalypse.

I was much intimidated! But I sent the link to a friend, along with the show statement and 3 works I am considering submitting (advice solicited re: frames). This was her response:

The juror’s work does not intrigue me at all.  It is so obviously and literally and constantly  dark.  But I think he would learn from your work.  Your work is not propaganda from either the light or the dark side. 

Wow, what a compliment! My work does not have the meticulous technique (and never will). But perhaps I don’t need to be intimidated by that fact. Although I am guessing that Miller’s gorgeous paint work, with a clear and assertive message & subject matterwork, will always appeal to more people than my ambiguous messages, my work does allows the viewer room to create an individual interpretation and response.

They All Came to the Funeral

It is so not easy! I certainly prefer to think that my doubts, agonizing, reworks and difficulties make my art better. And that the end result is worth something to others, not just to me. Self-doubt hovers in the wings every step of the way, and I waver between triumphant satisfaction and complete confusion: do I “waste” my time? Well, no I do please myself, but I want a bit more than that!   Click on the image to view all three possible entries for this next juried show.