Parallel Paths: Connecting With the Source

I’m continually inspired by Fabienne Verdier’s art; there’s a large section of her work on my calligraphy art & materials board on Pinterest. She studied for ten years with an old master in China and creates marvelous calligraphic large paintings with huge brushes. Like me, she wants her work to energize, uplift, and give people a glimpse of the unboundedness that is hidden inside us:

“I read a lot of Chinese poetry and philosophy, and about how the human being and the universe is one. I love that idea. So I learned that there is another form of expression. It’s not about expressing our neuroses in art. I think that in art we should offer the public a new melody. I really want to offer the public a sort of great inner experience and to help them re-energise.”

My own process is meditation-based. I’ve been meditating for over 45 years and making art for forty, so my work get infused with it. She says:

“It’s a long, long meditation. The resulting abstract painting is spontaneous, but this spontaneity is not just gestural. It’s issued from another process. And this process comes from Chinese thought.”

Excerpts from an interview with Fabienne Verdier by Jesse, “Fabienne Verdier’s Geography of the Spirit,” https://www.indesignlive.sg/articles/fabienne-verdiers-geography-of-the-spirit . January 31, 2013.



Art & the Mystery That Underlies Everything

“Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” Rene Magritte

Y E S ! It’s that mystery that underlies everything in this world and all of my artwork. I love finding quotations like this one from the great Magritte. I loved the 2018 show of his work that was at the San Francisco MOMA. Sherri Silverman

Sherri Silverman in the interactive section of SFMOMA’s Magritte exhibit, 2018.

Sherri Silverman in the interactive section of SFMOMA’s Magritte exhibit, 2018.

Early Memories of Art-Making, Childhood & Beyond

I was in my studio the other day, thinking about my early memories of making art. One of my earliest memories, mentioned in my art bio, is of wanting people to see my paintings in the back of my closet when I was a few years old. Here are some more of these memories.

After my family moved to Jacksonville, FL, I remember making little pots out of clay I dug up somewhere in the neighborhood. I buried them in a sandy slope that got a lot of sun to "fire" them a bit. 

I remember making a bow and arrow out of tree branches I found on a wild, vacant lot on the St. Johns River. Playing in nature, making things from what I found there, was my solace and hideaway.

In my Art Bio I also mention that a classmate talked about how I bore down hard with my red crayon when I was five. I remember using that red crayon for a black line drawing of a rose that the teacher gave us to color.  

I remember creating a drawing of a sapling tree in elementary school. It was displayed at the school system's administration building and then went into one of my mom's drawers and disappeared. 

I remember making ceramic ashtrays in our one semester of art in seventh grade. I wanted to keep mine, but they were all sent to a hospital for patients to use! My teacher apologized to me, since she knew I wanted to keep mine.

I remember making line drawings with black ink on notecards and coloring them with frosted pink nail polish.

I remember doing a lot of doodling in junior high school since classes moved at such a slow pace and bored me. Too bad they didn't have accelerated academics and studio art classes for the “smart” kids. We weren't given art classes, and there were no AP classes. When I was in senior high school, I got another six weeks on art in my humanities course.

When I was first in grad school in 1971/72,  I remember covering a large corrugated cardboard box with a collage of colored paper, turning it into a piece of furniture for my apartment. 

None of these artworks still exist, and there are no photos of them. All that’s left are these memories, but their basic impetus has become my career and vocation, in spite of its not being supported until I took charge of its direction in the late 1970s and began making and showing my artwork.

Sherri Silverman

 

Brancusi on Abstraction and Essence

"They are imbeciles who call my work abstract.
That which they call abstract is the most realistic,
because what is real is not the exterior but the idea,
the essence of things."
Constantin Brancusi

I spotted a similar quotation from Jerzy Kosinksi on artist Carin Gerard’s Instagram account, @carin_gerard_art: “The principle of true art is not to portray but to evoke.”

So wonderful finding quotations like this that are in alignment with my own approach! Another reason I enjoy Instagram. This is so very Asian in approach—-the essence, the feeling of something, its energy—- not a photographic depiction of its exterior appearance.

Sherri Silverman

Materials Focus: Metallic Leafing, Gold Sumi Ink

I love using sumi ink and metallic stuff. So when I saw an artist colleague @jimitick, who specializes in sumi ink enso drawings, using gold sumi ink on his Instagram posts, I asked him about it. It's wonderful: https://amzn.to/2Izv8Bo Now that's part of my metallic repertoire, along with dry pigments, oilsticks, watercolor, gouache, metal leaf, and glitterglue tubes. 

Almost everything metallic in my studio's supplies except my oilsticks, which are really messy.

Almost everything metallic in my studio's supplies except my oilsticks, which are really messy.

I've been using metallic leaf with Japanese Nihonga techniques but need more practice. I also want to explore other leafing/gilding techniques. Recently I learned a new technique for applying metal leaf from Solange Roberdeau at ink.paper.plate in Point Reyes Station out in West Marin here in northern California. I loved that she learned this technique from Robert Kushner while working for him--and that he suggested she teach these workshops. She now teaches this course all over including in my old home Santa Fe June 13; register online. Contact her on Facebook or Instagram for other locations and dates. Solange took this photo of us working on our art pieces in her Contemporary Gilding class.

That's me intently working away on the far right. Photo: Solange Roberdeau.

That's me intently working away on the far right. Photo: Solange Roberdeau.

Here's what I made that day: 

Acrylic, copper leaf, and embroidery stitching on cardstock. Sherri Silverman. 2018.

Acrylic, copper leaf, and embroidery stitching on cardstock. Sherri Silverman. 2018.

Two Flowers, Two Stripes. Acrylic, copper leaf, pencil, and mica powder on cardstock. Sherri Silverman. 2018.

Two Flowers, Two Stripes. Acrylic, copper leaf, pencil, and mica powder on cardstock. Sherri Silverman. 2018.

Ideas about Plants and Art: Azuma Makoto and the Japanese Approach

"Japanese people believe gods exist everywhere in nature, so we approach it with awe and reverence."

"When I confront plants, instead of looking at their color and form, I try to listen." 

Azuma Makoto in Architectural Digest

 

I love finding verification of my attraction to Asian ways of perceiving and creating! Such beautiful expressions. Art as essence and honoring. The divine is everywhere. Sherri

 

Find Azuma Makoto books with his spectacular flower arrangements. 

Source: archdigest.com

the effect of making good art! inspiration from paul klee

"Someone who lived beneath him used sometimes to hear a strange, phantomatic pit-apat from Klee’s studio above. Meeting Klee in the corridor, he asked if he had noticed it. 'So you heard it?”' said Klee. 'I’m terribly sorry. I was painting away, and it was going very well, suddenly I couldn’t help dancing.'” Paul Klee (quoted by John Russell)

creativity is joyous: inspiration from alice walker

"It’s really ecstatic. I just feel such joy that I feel transparent; and if there is a time when it’s a struggle, I have learned by now that you just stop and do something else, and if it never comes back, whatever the thought was, let it go...something else will come. It seems to me that creativity, creation itself, is joyous, and if it’s not really, you’re up the wrong creek."

Alice Walker