Q: What’s on the easel today?

Diciembre 9, 2023

Ready to begin!

A: I’m ready to start a new 26” x 20” pastel painting that will be number 28 in the “Bolivianos” series.

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 588

Diciembre 6, 2023

Screen shot from “Barbara Rachko: True Grit” Photo: Jennifer Cox

*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

The structure of the hand is not… “just anything;” the fingers have certain characteristic relationships, certain ranges of relative movement, certain kinds of crossing, torquing, jumping, sliding, pressing, releasing movements that guide the music to come out a certain way. Graceful work uses those patterns and instinctively moves through them and out as we find ever-fresh combinations. The shape and size of the human hand brings powerful but subtle laws into every kind of art, craftsmanship, mechanical work, and into our ideas and feelings as well. There is a continuous dialogue between hand and instrument, hand and culture. Artwork is not thought up in consciousness and then, as a separate phase, executed by the hand. The hand surprises us, creates and solves problems on its own. Often enigmas that battle our brains are dealt with easily, unconsciously, by the hand.

Stephen Nachmanovitch in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

Comments are welcome!

Start/Finish of “The Moralist,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 26” x 20”

Diciembre 2, 2023

Start

Finish

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 587

Noviembre 29, 2023

With friends of fifty years!


*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

My general preparations include everything I do to be healthy and ready for surprises, with a full palette of resources available. I need energy to acquire skill, energy to practice, energy to keep going through the inevitable setbacks, energy to keep going when things look good and I am tempted to sit back and relax. I need physical energy, intellectual energy, libidinal energy, spiritual energy. The means to tapping these energies are well known: exercise the body, eat well, sleep well, keep track of dreams, meditate, enjoy the pleasures of life, read and experience widely. When blocked, tap into the block-busters: humor, friends, and nature.

Stephen Nachmanovitch in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

Comments are welcome!


Q: I saw your book of photos. Very nice. How do you keep track of inventory? I have struggled with that. (Question from Laura Fischer Saxon via Facebook).

Noviembre 25, 2023

Barbara’s portfolio book

A: Every time I finish a pastel painting I order an 8” x 10” c-print at Duggal Visual Solutions. I started doing this in the 1980s when I was a portrait artist and the company that represented me needed photos of my work to show to potential clients. I’ve just continued making 8” x 10”photos all these years in order to document my work!

Pastel is an extremely slow medium so even though I have been working more than 37 years, the two pastel paintings in progress now are numbers 160 and 161. The portfolio book also has early press clippings, reviews from before the internet (when everything was on paper), and a few photos of early solo exhibitions in the 1990s.

BTW what a great question! No one has ever asked me this before!

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 586

Noviembre 22, 2023

Starting a new one!


*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

The page is your mirror. What happens inside you is reflected back. You come face-to-face with your own resistance, lack of balance, self-loathing, and insatiable ego – and also with your singular vision, guts, and fortitude. No matter what you’ve achieved the day before, you begin each day at the bottom of the mountain. Isn’t this true for most of us? A surgeon about to perform a difficult operation is at the bottom of the mountain. A lawyer delivering a closing argument. An actor waiting in the wings. A teacher on the first day of school. Sometimes we may think that we’re in charge, or that we have things figured out. Life is usually right there, though, ready to knock us over when we get too sure of ourselves. Fortunately, if we have learned the lessons that years of practice have taught us, when this happens, we endure. We fail better. We sit up, dust ourselves off, and begin again.

Dani Shapiro in Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Comments are welcome!

Travel photo of the month*

Noviembre 18, 2023

Balboa Island off Newport Beach, CA

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 585

Noviembre 15, 2023
Barbara’s Studio
Barbara’s Studio


*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

Improvisation, composition, writing, painting, theater, invention, all creative acts are forms of play, the starting place of creativity in the human growth cycle, and one of the great primal life functions. Without play, learning and evolution are impossible. Play is the taproot from which original art springs; it is the raw stuff that the artist channels and organizes with all his learning and technique. Technique itself springs from play, because we can acquire technique only by the practice of practice, by persistently experimenting and playing with our tools and testing their limits and resistances. Creative work is play; it is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves. Artists play with color and space. Musicians play with sound and silence. Eros plays with lovers. Gods play with the universe. Children play with everything they can get their hands on.

Stephen Nachmanovitch in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

Comments are welcome!

Q: What’s on the easel today?

Noviembre 11, 2023

Work in progress

A: I continue working on “Narcissist,” soft pastel on sandpaper, 20” x 26”.

Comments are welcome!

Pearls from artists* # 584

Noviembre 8, 2023

Barbara’s Studio


*an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the object it loves.

Carl Jung quoted by Stephen Nachmanovitch in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

Comments are welcome!

Q: When you’re not creating art what’s your next favorite creative activity?

Noviembre 4, 2023

Hudson Yards, NYC iPad Photo

A: I love taking photographs with my iPad Pro! It has a 12.9″ screen so I can see every detail of the image. It is equivalent to using an 8 x 10 view camera with the advantages of being relatively lightweight and portable; does not require a tripod, a hood, or other special equipment like individual film holders; and the image appears right side up on the screen. It’s a perfect camera!

I have owned and used many film and digital cameras, but my iPad Pro has been my favorite for several years now. It’s great for my specific needs. I take it all over the world!

Comments are welcome!

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