Big! Bigger!! Biggest!!!

Foca landscape 4 fishing day

What a misleading title.
But then again, I think these photos are misleading, too.

Foça Fishing Day 1

When I look at them, it makes me want to make BIG paintings.
Which is kind of interesting, because I NEVER want to make big paintings.

Foca landscape 3 fishing day

But I could see making these big. At least as big as a couch painting.
A COUCH PAINTING!

Foca landscape 2 fishing day

How big do you think these are, anyway? Come on, take a guess…

Lone Fisherman

Well, at the moment, they’re big enough – or small enough – to fit in a daypack.
Which is pretty convenient when you’re out for a walk in the woods, or a stroll by the sea.

Thanks to recent technological advancements, I am seriously thinking about making these big. At least bigger than a backpack. After that I’ll just need someplace to put them.

Any takers?

Foca landscape 1 fishing day

 

But seriously, folks…

Whenever I’m asked about who has influenced me, I always think of my undergraduate printmaking professor at Washington University, Peter Marcus, and my favorite quote from him: “Make it big, do it in color, and have 100 by Friday.”

Well, I might not have had 100 by Friday, but I certainly liked doing them big and in color. We were lucky to have a very large press (Peter liked doing large prints himself), and so I was doing prints that were at just about a meter tall – just as large as the press could handle.

Back then it was mostly technology that dictated the size of my work. Nowadays it’s storage space.

Confession: While it may have been storage space that got me started doing small works, it’s the idea behind them that’s kept me going. (My friend Hüsnü used to tell people I was a conceptual painter, after all… )

I like the idea that people have to stop in front of my drawings and get up close to them to see what’s going on in them.

Not that they always do.

In fact, they mostly don’t.

But I’m stubborn, and I will continue to try to get people to pause.

And pay attention.

Buddhist mindfulness, and all that.

Titles, a Thought Experiment.

Water Pastel 150116_bSwimming in the Aegean

Today I thought I’d post some more drawings. I’ve been really enjoying working with oil pastels again. I’ve been able to do that thanks to a big piece of turquoise fake fur that I’ve turned into a curtain to keep the cold air out of the studo. Its almost like looking out into the turquoise-blue Aegean… ok, not really…

But from the pictures here it should be clear that we are looking out at the sea – or at least at water: you wouldn’t know it was the Aegean (or any sea, for that matter) unless I did something like title the painting ‘Swimming in the Aegean’, or something similar.

In fact, I hadn’t thought about titles for these drawings until I went to save the digital photos on the computer, which prompted me to ‘Save as.’

So I saved them as Water Pastel (date, a-z).

And I got thinking about the problem of titles again.

I’ve always hated when paintings are ‘titled’ Untitled. It seems to me such a breach of responsibility. One could argue, on the other hand, that a title gives to much ‘direction’ to the viewer, instructing them on exactly how to look at the work. In fact, I vaguley remember there having been times when I have used the strategy of not titling a piece because I wanted to let people find their own way into a work. Most of the time, however, I like to give some kind of instruction – althogh maybe ‘instruction’ isn’t the right word – maybe a title is more like identifying a field – like in charades, when you say (or sign) ‘film’, or ‘book’, or ‘whatever’ to let the other members of your team at least know what ballpark you’re playing in…

In other words, instead of just calling the drawing up above Water Pastel 15.01_b, I could have given it the title, Swimming in the Aegean.

Would that have changed how you looked at the piece?

I think it would have. Although I hate people who go to an exhibit and go straight to the little title card hanging next to a piecce before they look at the piece itself, titles can be very helpful in providing information that can bring a new or different understanding to how you see the work. Sometimes in very surprising ways.

So, let’s try a little experiment:
Here are some of my new oil pastel drawings, with some new titles…

Water Pastel 150116_b
Swimming in the Aegean

 

Water Pastel 150116_a
First Swim of the Season

 

 

Water Pastel 170116_a
Surfs Up

 

Water Pastel 170116_b
Making Waves

 

Water Pastel 150116_b
Look Before Crossing

 

Water Pastel 170116_b
One Down…

 

Water Pastel 170116_a
Drowning Migrant

 

Water Pastel 150116_a
Lonesome 

 

As always, your feedback is appreciated.

 

Medium Practice (For Ayni)

This post is for Ayni, who liked my little notebooks and wanted to know if she could buy something and have me send it to the Netherlands.

Besides just being a wonderful person, Ayni will always have a place in my heart for introducing me to someone who could ask me “In what medium do you realize your practice?” with a straight face.

So, to answer that question in a size that will fit in an (albeit large) envelope:

2000 women installation shot

Not a great photo, but those are 2000 watercolor drawings of nudes from my installation ‘2000 Women’. Can Özgün of the British Council wanted me to do something special just for him – with the excuse that my other installation ‘Nü-Nar’ (Nude-Pomegranate) wouldn’t ‘fill the gallery space.’

Antalya nunar installation

I redid the ‘Nu-Nar’ installation in Antalya (sorry – another bad photo) – and I think it shows that Mr. Özgün was wrong about the space, but right about getting me to do some more work.

What can I say? I guess I am just one of those artists that needs to have a deadline.

By the way, I ‘recycled’ the ‘Nars’ for an installation called ‘Manav’ (Grocery) done in an empty shop that used to be – ta da – a grocery.

Manav (Deborah Semel Demirtaş)

I had to sew them all together to get them to stand up, but I could rip a couple of stitches and pop one in an envelope for you to hang up, Ayni.

Or, if you want something else to hang up, how ’bout a mouse?

super fare

Or maybe a bird?

pembe kus

Both of these were from an installation I did a few years back.

Ayna Bahce-Filmler_agactaki kuslar (Garden Filmstrips_Birds in Trees)

So, in what medium do I realize my practice? Trees?

Actually, I’ve got a couple of really nice sculptures made from trees, with a little rebar, but they wouldn’t fit in an envelope.

But I could send you a couple of little drawings of some cotton pickers…

Soke Pamuk toplayanlar 1

but you’ll have to get your own painting easel to display them on.

I suppose you could just hang them on a wall, like a ‘regular’ drawing…
Swimming

ishik

Although I’ve been told that these are ‘too dark’ to appeal to people.

What people, I wonder?

(Oh, and as far as medium practice goes, these ‘regular’ drawings are oil pastels that started out as photographs that I digitized and then altered in photoshop and then used the altered photos as sketches that I printed out on drawing paper and drew on top of. FYI.)

Lots of practice.

Kisses,

Deborah

Wisteria Books

So, I made these books last month, see?

little wc books 3 blittle wc books 3 f

Back when the wisteria was in full bloom here in Bodrum.

Here we call it “Mor Salkım” – in other words, “Hanging Purple”.

Boy, it was just hanging all over – I even followed Fadime’s advice and made some Wisteria Jam –

believe it, or not.

little wc books 4 flittle wc books 4 b

I just collected a bunch from my friend’s wisteria vine – which I sat in front of all day drawing,

back on one of the first nice days of spring/summer.

And I had such a good time making these little notebooks (fronts, backs, and in-betweens),
I thought I’d make some more.

So I went down to the seaside to draw.

little wc books 1 f little wc books 2 b little wc books 2 f

That was back just before ‘the season’ started.

That is the most deceptive time of year.
So many of us out there, artists, trying to figure out ‘what to make to sell to the tourists.’Frankly, I make some pretty nice stuff. But as any successful salesperson will tell you,
‘A good product is not enough.’

And as I could tell you, (and often have, probably), I lack the ‘salesman gene’. (I mean, check out
my Etsy Shop; no, wait: I haven’t gotten around to maintaining that since… wait, I’m thinking, since…)

Well, I guess I was just having such a good time making these little books, and I thought they were

SO NICE,

that I just ‘plum forgot’ that I’d likely never be able to sell them – or at least not at a price that
would make it worth my while to sit down and make ’em as ‘business’. Fun is fun, and making a dozen or so
little notebooks for no money is fun; but making like a hundred or so? No Fun.

So, now, I’ve got these little notebooks, see?

little digiprint notebooks 1

And I’ been thinkin’, I ain’t gonna make any more of them, see?

little digiprint notebooks 2

So – should I give them away as presents? (Could do…)
Or should they get themselves turned into an installation, somehow? (Could do…)

If I sent ya a notebook, would you write in it? (Maybe…)
Maybe even send it back to me so I could read it? (Maybe…)

Hmmm….

Number 10

It is the time of year where it is warmer outside the house than it is inside the house.

Still, it is not quite painting weather (the blessed shade is less blessed in April than in July), so instead of getting back to the Water Paintings (or following up on the urge to begin some Wisteria Paintings), I finished up another ‘Column Collage’.

Because the pieces are only 10 cm wide and about 70 cm long, with a lot of detail throughout, they don’t really lend themselves to being viewed on the computer. But I can show you the top, the middle, and the bottom separately…

The TOP:

Suburban Wilderness topWhat we’ve got here is: some sequins cut from an old exhibition poster, part of an oil pastel drawing of sky, some black paper I cut in fringes to match the fringes from a picture of a ‘puffy pillow’ from an old exhibition (Nu:Nar) and in between a watercolor drawing on very thick tracing paper, some more sequins, the edge of the ‘puffy pillow’ picture that shows the beaded seam on the edge over the gold leaf, a bird I cut from a business card (original bird was a painted piece of wood from another painting -the collage got an addition of a yellow breast), an ink-jet print of a photo from Avanos that I printed on Japanese rice paper (and glued down backwards), a bit of a garden watercolor, a bit of a watercolor and ink drawing of an old Chinese cauldron, and a bit more of a watercolor and ink landscape.

The MIDDLE: 

Suburban Wilderness middleAnd what you’ve got here is: more of that bit of watercolor and ink landscape, some photos of some very damaged pavement photocopied (the photos, not the pavement) on light blue paper, a little bit more garden landscape, a drawing based on another drawing of a Hittite clay object from the Museum of Anatolian Civilization in Ankara, a red flower from part of a design for a mosaic tabletop, some bits of an old drawing (red and gold leaf) and photocopies of old sliver leaf-coated drawing paper from another piece (from nearly 20 years ago!), a map of Long Beach (I had planned on using in a collage for the installation Homesickness, but never did, and the back of the poster that had the sequins on it.

The BOTTOM

Suburban Wilderness bottomAnd finally what we’ve got is: some more map, some more birds, some more poster-back, some more pavement, a bit of watercolor ‘gift-wrap-paper’, a pastel drawing of a bit of oleander, a photocopy of bugle-beads that were sewn onto an earlier painting (from 15 or so years ago!), and (‘a partridge in a pear tree’ – no, just kidding) a glimpse of the uncovered surface of the marble-patterned paper that everything else gets glued onto!

This post is titled Number 10 because this is the 10th of the ‘Column Collages’ I have been making using the paper leftover when I cut the paper for the Water Paintings. I titled this one ‘Suburban Wilderness’ – Suburban because Long Beach (and Bodrum) is suburban – otherwise it would have been titled Urban Wilderness – because ya gotcha animals, ya gotcha pavement cracks, etc.

Sometimes I wonder where the images come from – and sometimes people ask me what I was thinking about when I made something – and I think the answers to these questions are : ‘I got a lot of stuff hanging around’ (in other words, the images are all recycled from someplace else – so that I can save resources by using up all the paper I have collected over the years); and, ‘don’t know, whatever…’

More long, tall art

As is wont these days, I will begin with full disclosure:

These pieces are from last week.

Column Collage_Early Gardens         Column Collage Hittite Mommy

Since then, I’ve spent my time on

1. ‘engaging in paid work’ (boring);

2. developing a project (not boring, but definitely more left-brain than studio work);

3. visiting (sometimes I like to do that); and

4. (starting yesterday,) being cold.

But I must have hit a button on the computer that allowed Facebook to reassess its mystical algorithm, because I’ve had some people noticing the last couple of art-related posts, i.e., the top parts of these 2 pieces – ‘Early Gardens’ and ‘Hittite Mommy’ – both from my ‘Column Collage’ series.

Because they are so long, along with the full piece, I like to post the parts, so that you can see the details.

So, below, here are the top (again), middle and bottom of ‘Early Gardens’, followed by 5 segments (from very top to very bottom) of ‘Hittite Mommy’.

 

Column Collage_Early Gardens-Top

Column Collage_Early Gardens-Middle

Column Collage_Early Gardens-bottom

and…

Column Collage Hittite Mommy Top

Column Collage Hittite Mommy second from top

Column Collage Hittite Mommy Middle

Column Collage Hittite Mommy second from bottom

Column Collage Hittite Mommy Bottom

As always, feedback is welcome 🙂

 

La Mer

La Mer

Back we are, at Kissebükü.

But are we on the shore under the umbrella, or are we on “La Mer”?

A8 La Mer

I had a very hard time with this painting. It just did not know what it wanted to be.
As a result, it went through several stages before it was finished (and silly me forgot to photograph them!).
Finally, it is finished. If you consider a painting without a title finished.

Personally, I think titles are very important for giving insight into what is going on in the work. In this case, I am having a very hard time finding a title, because I am still not sure what is going on in this work! I’ve given it the tentative title of “La Mer” – for “La Mer: The Boat” as well as for “La Mer: The Sea”

70x70cm, oil on paper.

If you think you’ve got a better title, please share it with me.

Thanks!

 

 

Romantic Beach Scene

Kissebükü.

I like that; it sounds like “kisses”.

So, this is Kissebükü, with some people.Kissebükü - Romantik

It looked rather romantic to me, so I’m calling this “Romantic Kissebükü”.

 

70x70cm, oil on paper.

Any questions?