Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nancy Ewart's paintings

Visting Open Studios in San Francisco is one of the periodic pleasures of life in San Francisco: you can get to see more contemporary artworks in the course of a weekend in October or May than you can see anywhere else in town, plus which those of us on a fixed weekend can avoid the usual museum entry fees.

After visiting a small coven of artists at 689 Bryant this month, to my great surprise I came home with a painting, actually a collage which you can't see from the photo, entitled Black Sun, White Line:

The artist is Nancy Ewart, who writes an art column for the S.F. Examiner and who also writes her own art blog called ChezNamasteNancy. If you want to know what's going on around town for art shows, museum exhibitions and gallery events, these are the sites to visit.

Nancy is also a very talented painter, and shows regularly at Open Studios. Concerning her erratic career as an artist, (and whose isn't), she writes:

I came here in the 60's to study art (at the SFAI) but I always knew that I couldn't do it full time. I've always painted, done calligraphy, make small books and written. For a while, I even wrote an astrology column and read tarot cards,  but I had to make my living in other ways. For years, I worked for small presses/small newspapers, all the alternate media that SF used to have.

When that dried up, I went to work for UCSF. I got a history degree along the way and did a couple of years work toward an MBA but had to stop, due to the cutbacks in funding for higher education and the demands of my job.I retired a few years ago after 30 years in the salt mines and every day since then has been an exciting adventure. When I retired, I thought I would finish off that long-delayed second (third?) degree but the twists and unexpected turns of this stage of life have meant that I've changed my plans  - often and without regret. I paint more and have started a career in arts journalism, covering all the arts and museums in the Bay Area and sometimes beyond that my energy, interests and time will allow.

Concerning my new acquisition pictured above, she emailed me as follows:

The piece that you have was inspired by the NASA website which I look at every day. I love the images of the cosmos which are both graphically beautiful and scientifically fascinating. It's amazing to think about the wonders of the universe and I can't wrap my mind around the billions of galaxies that are out there. When I make art based on cosmic images, I prefer to use strong graphic shapes and bold colors; otherwise, it can be an amorphous mess. I also like to use layers of mixed media; "Black Sun, White Line" was painted on hand made paper, textured with several types of gel medium including my favorite one which contains pumice stone. Paint and oil pastel rubbed into that surface creates the most amazing textures and while it's not anywhere near the awesome wonder of the universe, it gave me great joy to make.

Nancy's paintings show in my mind perception an almost unique way of thinking about color, as you can judge for yourself  in this picture entitled Number 8:

Nancy is currently working on a series of paintings which she as she says are "based on images of the Elgin Marbles - sculpture from Ancient Greece which is the foundation stone of our culture." You can see them yourself right here.


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