Thursday, August 5, 2021

Just Beyond Yourself by David Whyte

Blue (M.A. Reilly, August 2021, Redemption Bay, Seward, Alaska)

I love the idea of self-forgetting and all of the possibilities that get folded into it such a state. It's what I experience when I am involved in something intense, like making images, painting, teaching, or deep learning.  This poem by David Whyte reminds me of the importance of movement. All things living move. Some mornings I wake and wonder, what road beckons?  What path just beyond myself--be it made of dirt, asphalt or water--do I now need to know? 

Moving beyond myself--the often too-comfortable place--is in fact where I most need to be. 


     -- by David Whyte

Just beyond
It’s where
you need
to be.
Half a step
and the rest
by what
you’ll meet.
There is a road
When you see
the two sides
of it
closing together
at that far horizon
and deep in
the foundations
of your own
at exactly
the same
that’s how
you know
it's where
to go.
That’s how
you know
it’s the road
to follow.
how you know.
It’s just beyond
where you
need to be.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Concertina Journal

4 Panels in Concertina Journal 

I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to begin painting in a concertina journal in order to see how ideas flow from one page to the next. Although the work is abstract, is there a recognizable narrative that moves across the panels? Working with a limited palette creates a sense of cohesion through color. I also was cognizant of establishing lines, although not consistently. As I worked I began to see a landscape emerge reminiscent of photographs I made some years ago on a foggy and rainy afternoon in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina.  The colors on the panels are quite different, but the movement of fog across the mountains feels similar.

All of the colors used on these panels are derived from 2 colors (cadmium orange, phthalo blue) and titanium white and mars black acrylic paint. Additionally, I used black ink, newspaper, matte medium, LYRA graphite sticks, and white marker on the panels.

Below are the first 4 panels. I plan to continue the work in the journal. Seeing them separated provides a different understanding then seeing them aligned (top image). 

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 3

Panel 4

Friday, July 2, 2021

A Look into an Art Journal: Using journal pages to experiment and try out motifs, colors, marks

I thought in this post I would show a few pages of current art journals where I try out ideas, colors, shapes, movement, collage, brush marks, companion pages, rough painting, mark makings, mixed colors, abstracts, and the use of mixed media.  What these pages have in common is that they are unfinished and did inform more finished works.

I plan to begin working in a concertina journal tomorrow to explore how ideas cross pages. 

Two journals I am working I often at the same time. The larger journal shows a 2-page spread (you can see earlier work on the pages below) and a smaller square watercolor journal with very heavy paper.  Working back and forth across the two pages and in another journal helps me to be patient. 

A page in a 8 1/2 x 11”  watercolor journal. This is the facing page to the page below. 

Facing page to the one above. I like the blocks of color on this page.

2-page spread: limited palette with collage papers. These pages are too light. Hard to know where to look. I am drawn to the the block of dark blue on the bottom left page.

A large watercolor sheet and a smaller watercolor journal. In both I play with a similar color palette. 

These are two pages page where I got lost and could not find cohesion. I do wonder if sections of these two pages might work better.  I do like small sections, like the horizontal white lines. 

A journal page where the color mixing got away from me. Way too busy.  I have let this sit. This started loose and then got very, very tight.  I do like the black mark making on the upper left side.

Trying out dominant, vertical orange mark with very limited palette and lines. This is a motif I keep returning to. Experimented here with making marks into the wet paint. 

Collage page on a paper with found papers including dress pattern, tissue paper, primary yellow, primary magenta, white and black. Not my usual colors. I love the little block of pink. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Abstract Expressionism : A Dozen Compositions

Ink on a Pin

I have been painting a lot the last week—whenever I get a chance.  I was fortunate to take a lesson with Louise Fletcher and her approach to abstract painting helped me to paint looser, embed collage elements.  

Here are a few. 

Abstract 1

The Start to a New Day 

Abstract 2

Summer Storms

Upper West Side

Abstract 3

Abstract 4

Panel 1

Panel 2

Panel 3

Panel 4

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Abstract Study #1

All day Sunday, I worked on a painting I have been itching to paint. This is my first abstract expressionist painting, although I have been imagining this while sleeping. I felt compelled to paint. 

The painting uses 2 colors and black and white paint. I spent time mixing colors from the 4 paints, returning to painting throughout the day and in the evening. The work was created in a journal and each panel is about 11 x 14, although I trimmed the width of each panel. 

This is the finished work:

Abstract Study #1 (June 19, 2021)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Baker’s Dozen: Collages

A few collages. I’m not sure why I love this method of art so much, but I do. 

Once by the Sea (found and torn papers, acrylic paint, markers, pen, acrylic medium)
Early Winter (found and torn papers, watercolor, photographs, acrylic medium)

Dust of Snow (pan pastels, photographs, pencil, watercolor, paper) 

Sisters (handwritten journal, Stabilo pencil, acrylic paint, gesso, found and torn papers, markers, acrylic medium)

#19 (found and torn papers, gesso, acrylic paints, handwritten note, acrylic medium)

Winter Dusk (found and torn papers, acrylics, gesso, watercolor, photographs, acrylic medium)

Let Her Paint (found and torn papers, crossword page, Tombow Markers, gesso, watercolor, photographs, acrylic medium)

And Full of Sleep (found and torn papers, watercolor, acrylic, gesso, photographs, acrylic medium)

A Thousand Years of Dreaming (found and torn papers, watercolor, acrylics, gesso, photographs, acrylic medium)

Dreaming of Kurt Schwitters (found and torn papers, newspaper, acrylic, gesso, acrylic medium)

Notes Made Late Afternoon (found and torn papers, watercolor, pen, pencil, photographs, acrylic medium)

The Alphabet is No Language (found and torn papers, watercolor, acrylic, type, photographs, acrylic medium)

Christmas in Harlem (acrylic paints, roller, gesso, Photographs, acrylic medium)

#PoetryBreak: Farolitos

Contemplative (M.A. Reilly)


  - by Arthur Sze

    (from The New Yorker)

We pour sand into brown lunch bags, then place
            a votive candle

inside each; at night, lined along the driveway,
            the flickering lights

form a spirit way, but what spirit? what way?
            We sight the flames

and, swaying within, know the future's fathomless;
            we grieve, yearn, joy,

pinpoints in a greater darkness, and spy sunlight
            brighter craters

on a half-lit moon; in this life, you may try, try
            to light a match, fail,

fail again and again; yet, letting go, you strike
            a tip one more time

when it burst into flame--        now the flames
            are lights in bags again,

and we glimpse the willow tips clutch at a lunar
            promise of spring.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Newark in Bloom

This past week I made a few images in Branch Brook Park of the cherry blossoms.  Below are some.

Blossom 2 (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossom 3 (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Cathedral (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Lake (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Grove (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Reflection in Lake (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossom (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Dangling (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossoms 2 (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Cherry Blossom Trees (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Sunlight (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Water Drop (4.21, Newark, NJ)

The Photographer (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Out Walking (4.21, Newark, NJ)

Blossoms on Branch (4.21, Newark, NJ)