A Knitting Victory!

Well – I got word today – I PASSED Level I of the Master Hand Knitter Program offered by The Knitting Guild Association!  I am THRILLED!  Very excited…!  I can’t wait to work on Level II!

Here are pics of my notebook and my mitten project:

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Landscapes (and Life) Through Lenses

I am an artist.

That’s the answer I give when people say “What do you do?”

But, saying you’re an artist is like saying you’re an office worker.  Or a human.  It’s a ridiculously broad answer – perhaps an answer that, for my part anyway, needs some retooling.  Really, when I stop to think about it, I’m an explorer.  It just so happens that the results of my explorations are ‘art’.

For the last 12 years I have been very interested in place and identity – the ways in which the places we work, play, live, and learn affect who we are, and the ways in which we – in turn – affect those places.  I have painted portraits of people in situ, their settings and their personae inextricably and obviously bound.  I have also painted a wide range of ‘scapes’ – city, land, sky, mind.  Most recently, most of my ‘scapes’ paintings have been of urban settings – or of the odd and uncomfortable, liminal spaces between the urban and the other-than-urban.

 

 

The Edge of That Place

 

Increasingly, however, I’m called to consider my own ties to place rather than the nearly complete lack of ties to place I experienced as a result of my childhood in a military family that moved quite frequently.  I have begun to think about the ways in which the artwork and crafts completed by members of my family for generations before me tie me to Appalachia and, far before the arrival of my ancestors, to places beyond the shores of what we refer to presently as The United States.

What has arisen is a series of works that are initially painted in a traditional manner – oil on canvas or panel – but are then converted to stitching (needlepoint) patterns.  I’m fascinated by what happens to the ‘feel’ of the work when the very masculine form of the initial artwork is translated into what has been considered a very feminine form (needlework).  This line of exploration has led me to consider the ways in which landscapes are gendered – and the ways in which artists’ depictions of them are gendered (and empowered – or not) as well.

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In addition to all of this, I’m led to think about the relationship between craft and place – and the gendered nature of craft – even in this day.  So, on I go – exploring.

The next time someone asks what I do, I suppose the best answer might be – “I explore places.”

We’ll see…

Muralpalooza!

I found out my mural has been selected as the new Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Grand Mural to go in their newly remodeled headquarters!  I cannot believe it! I am so incredibly excited and grateful!

Here is an image of the mural, a collaboration between the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte, MetLife, and the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.  To read about the mural selection and the mural itself, just click on the picture below:

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I competed against two other finalists for whose work I have great respect, and whose entries were very interesting and powerful.  That said, I am incredibly honored to have been chosen!  Ok – back to studio work for me now!!

Woohoo!

PLEASE VOTE! My artwork is a finalist for a GRAND MURAL in my city of Charlotte!

Wow!  I found out yesterday that my artwork is one of three finalist pieces in the running to become our Chamber of Commerce’s new GRAND MURAL!  Here is the artwork:

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CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR ME, Ladianne Henderson:  http://charlottechamber.com/index.php?src=forms&id=Mural_Vote

So, this artwork is about how alive my city feels to me.  I love where I live – and I love the people, culture, and businesses in my city.  I love the music!  I love the artwork – and I love the theatre.  We have an incredible array of artists in this city, and an incredible sports scene as well!  This city also has an incredible green canopy of trees, remarkable parks, and wonderful greenways.  We have wonderful old neighborhoods with lovely bungalows as well as incredible modern architecture.  We have great things for families and singles alike, and we are a place of diversity with a rich texture of cultures and people that come together to do all sorts of amazing things.

Ok – I’m gushing about Charlotte, NC, USA, but it really is a beautiful place and I am grateful to live here.  THAT is what I want my artwork to show…!

Skewing The Masters: A Peek Into Process

So, I am SUPER HAPPY to now be a member artist at Ciel Gallery, a fine art collective in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Immediately after being accepted as a member, I found myself in the throes of preparation for their May exhibit:  Skewing The Masters.  The exhibit challenges the artists to take masterpieces and turn them, twist them, and completely skew them.  For one of my pieces (I’m feeling ambitious this morning…we’ll see…hopefully I’ll get more than one done), I decided to use Paris and Helen of Troy, a piece by Salvador Dalí.  I have loved this piece for…well…not really forever.  Actually, my mom and dad have a copy of this work in their house – and I looked at it the whole time I was growing up – and didn’t think a thing about it.  Here’s an image of that piece:Ladianne_Dali

Recently, however, I really began studying the lines when I was at their house.  So, for this exhibit, that’s the piece I decided to start with.  I am an illustrator – so I opted to turn his drawing into an illustration, and then pushed it further by turning it into a coloring book page.  Then…I went further still and decided to sew the illustration using free motion embroidery on my sewing machine.

The process began with a sketch – my interpretation of the piece with kids as the characters.  Here is that sketch:IMG_6541

Next, I inked the lines of the sketch.  That piece of the process is here:

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Next step was to turn that line drawing into an Adobe Shape vector image.  Then, from that I created this coloring page:

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Finally, I started sewing.  I outlined the image I’d transferred to the fabric, then I started coloring it in using various colored threads. IMG_6578IMG_6588

IMG_6593The final product is here:

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Fun process!  And I feel the final image invites all sorts of conversations around all sorts of topics…  Pretty cool.

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I will readily admit I am madly in love with unruly lines. I love the energy captured and stored in a varied line pinned to a piece of paper or a canvas. That is one of the things that makes handling features in portraits such a great place for exercise for me.

This is me in ‘artist does serious self-portrait’ pose. You can see where I most enjoyed letting my pencil run wild…

All That Lies Beneath

When we tore down our old barn a couple of years ago, in preparation for the new building we’ve yet to erect, we found an incomplete skeleton – perhaps of a rat?  I was fascinated – I had always assumed there were a million black snakes living beneath the building as we have had no shortage of those around the knoll on which we live.  But – no snakes.  Just this skull and couple of bones.  I took photos of it, and loved the way the textures of the dirt and leaves and detritus fell into a swirl – lifting and falling in a dance of stillness that isn’t ever really still.

When my new support samples came from RayMarArt.com, I had to try them.  So, since I have been really looking forward to working through this skull and bones image, I decided to pull from the set of samples that came.  I used the #15 Belgian linen, double primed, museum quality panel for this.  I truly wasn’t sure how the tooth of the linen would work – and whether or not I would like it.  But…I love it.

So, in oil, in double primed Belgian linen panel, here is “Skull and Bones From Beneath The Barn” 6″ x 8″.

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The Studies: Winter at Williams River House

In 2012, when I went with my partner to the Williams River House inn in Chester, Vermont to get married, it was scorchingly hot.  Unusually, horribly, uncomfortably hot.  The heat laid on top of Vermont like an oppressive blanket.  Nobody was happy about the heat, and nobody was used to it.

North Carolina offers an abundance of marvelous, beautiful features, including beautiful summers that occasionally offer the most humid, sauna-like conditions one can imagine.  Apparently we had taken that to Vermont with us.

Recently, the owner of Williams River House, Mark Martins, posted a photo of a view from their back porch – the same porch on which I got married – in winter.  I was fascinated by the photo for its palette, and for its view of a place I adore in a season I’ve not had the pleasure of enjoying there.

I asked for Mark’s permission to paint the photo and permission was graciously granted.  This painting is the result of his photo and that interaction.  It is oil on canvas sheet, roughly 8.5″ x 11″.  What a joy to paint this since we don’t often get winters like this in North Carolina – not even on the little knoll where I live, tucked up on a hill that feels like countryside but is, in fact, hidden in an outer fold of the city.

IMG_0405 Williams River House in Winter