Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Excuse me, is That the Telephone Ringing?

It's always wonderful to work on art projects with other artists, even ones you've never met!  Such was the case when I signed on to the Satellite Collective's "Telephone" project.  Although the original message was " Breton fisherman’s prayer: Oh god thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.", you might not have divined that when you saw the photograph that I was given, which is the first image in the video I made, which you can see here.

When I saw the image, I immediately thought of Shakespeare's Richard III, which deals with betrayal and has a very important line in it about strawberries.  Big Shout Out goes to Nathan Langston, who directed and conceived of Telephone for the Satellite Collective.  Another one goes to the art blog Hyperallergic for covering the event.

Another Big Shout Out goes to my students for the "Unleashing Your Vocal Power" workshop I did on April 11th at the Real Media Sound Stage Studio.  Big thanks to Richard Pelletier for the space and my agent Krystal at Portland Models and Talent for helping to promote it. 

In the workshop we first recorded a radio spot cold.  Then we talked about how doing voice over work is very similar to stage and film work because you really do have to be an actor.  Then we did some of Kristen Linklater's vocal work from her book Freeing the Natural Voice.  I told the students that even though the work seemed a bit "woo-woo" with lots of imagery and relaxation, it really worked.  This became evident when we recorded the same spots again.  I promised the students that I would make an MP3 for them so they could continue the work at home, but have been sidelined with terrible neck and shoulder pain resulting from an unknown cause but occurring after 3 months of physical therapy for having a case of tendonitis in my right elbow.

Now for all of you that aren't on Facebook, we finally adopted two little rescue dogs and picked them up last weekend.  Crash passed on November 11, 2013 and it's really taken us this long to get over that loss.  Here is Tucker, a silver mini schnauzer who is 8 years old.

 And his best buddy, Mica, who is 5 years old and ironically enough has papers!  They are very much a bonded pair with Mica being the most inquisitive and loving to follow you all around the house - a velcro dog !

They are very sweet doggies and are being very respectful of the kitties.  We're a big happy family in the evening in front of the fire.  The boys are very comfortable being couch potatoes and we're trying to socialize them with other dogs at a neighbor's house (Bill & MF's place) so they can improve their walking with other dogs around manners. 

They had lived in Arundel (small town west of Kennebunk) when their owner was forced to give them up because of health issues.  I'm so glad we could give them a forever home for her.  And a big thank you to Almost Home Rescue of Maine for helping us adopt them. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Back to Brushes

Yes I was....painting with them.  Maybe it was because I'm still processing photos from The Maine Dish - that I will post at some point next week.  I had one started on a canvas that had some encaustic wax on it (I had used the wax to make a print on mulberry paper then coated with wax adhere to the small 10 x 8" canvas.  Didn't like the way it looked, so I pulled it off and used just a frame so ambient light could filter through from the back.  I had started to paint a bit on it and then just let it sit.  I find I sometimes have to do that with real time paintings.

"Knowing without Knowing" 
© Ann Tracy 2015

As I was starting on the above, I began another painting on paper.  Used the same technique of  working it a little, then letting it sit and going back to it and came up with this.

Looking Back on Emotional Disasters © Ann Tracy 2015 

If you're interested in either of these small pieces, please contact me directly as the originals will be available only through the studio.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

How About Some Food?

Not to eat, but to see how different playwrights take one topic - food - and write 10 minute plays about it.  That is what the Snowlion Repertory Theatre's PlayLab group has done. And tonight they open, 12 plays by local playwrights - one of which I wrote and two I directed. 

I was lucky enough to direct plays by renowned lesbian playwright Carolyn Gage and actress-director-playwright Bess Welden.  The producing directors of Snowlion took the casting reins and once more I got lucky with Karen Ball and Julia Langham to work with in Welden's Madeleines and for Gage's Clarity of Pizza, Katelyn Cyr and Bridgette Kelly. 

I also lucked out when Langham was also cast in my play, Pasta and Poetry, a satire of food TV game shows.  Big Shout out to the other actors- Patricia Mew, Eric Worthley, Victoria Machado and Andre Demers - who are rocking it and Al D'Andrea for directing.  A heart-felt thanks to all of you for bringing the words on the page to life on the stage!

Kelly and Cyr in Clarity of Pizza

Langham and Ball in Madeleines

Langham, Demers, Mew and Worthley in Pasta & Poetry
Tonight is opening night so I hope we have a huge house for the actors as they really deserve to share their work with an audience.  Here's a link to an article in the Phoenix by Megan Grumbling.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Warmer in Norway

Right now, it's 36 degrees in Moss, Norway and 19 degrees here in Portland Maine.  This. Is. So. Wrong.  I poked my head out the door to take this photo of JK shoveling, but then scurried back inside the house. 

Why the interest in Moss, Norway?  Because that's where Twitter artist David Sandum lives and produces his Twitter mail art shows to benefit different charitable causes in his community.  We used to do the same sort of fundraiser at Asylum Gallery in Sacramento in the day, where we asked mail artists to donate work and then would donate all sales to the Women's Wisdom Project which provided free art classes and lunch for women going through hardships like divorce, homelessness, cancer, losing a job, you name it.

Click on this link and you can see the original that I sent off to Norway.   It's called Toward Transcendence and is a multimedia piece.

But then I got thinking wouldn't it be nice to have an image of the Buddha in it.  I actually found an old photo from Hawaii of a Buddha and did some magic in Photoshop and it's now up at my art site at Fine Arts America.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ready for a Rant?

Ya know how when you look at a menu at a restaurant, you have certain expectations based on the description?  Ever been in a situation where you ordered something and expected it to come as described?  That was my situation the other night when JK took me out to dinner...after a fabulous read through with my casts and playwrights for the two 10 min plays I'm directing for SnowLion Repetory's "Maine Dish" show of 10-min plays by local playwrights during Restaurant Week this coming March.

It was snowing here in Portland but there was nothing in the house to cook, so we decided to try out C2 ... the restaurant at the Westin Hotel which bought out the East Ender downtown near the Art Museum.  I've had a bug in my bonnet for quite a few years now about how the Westin rehabs the old hotels it buys.  That came about after they bought out the St Francis Hotel in Union Square in San Francisco.  Instead of saving the beautiful period work in that old hotel, they redid it in a style I can only call "corporate design" - everything safe neutrals with no charm or class and looking like every other Westin you've ever been in. 

My entree came with a port wine sauce at dinner that night which was not as it was described in the menu.  I returned it saying that I wasn't fond of a port sauce on the meat and it wasn't described as such in the menu.  It took a while, but I finally got my meal and the very professional and kind Assistant Manager of C2 came over to apologize and tell me that they were comping our meal because we weren't happy!?!

Brava to her for knowing that they need to be good to the locals who eat there as well as the travelers who stay at their hotel!  I wish I had written her name down as she was doing the right thing and I wanted to praise her for this.

And now for something completely different, a photo I took in an Irish bar last year in NYC...

They put a painting behind a piece of stained glass with a light on it....clever way to add ambiance and use some local artists (I hope).

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Streets of Asheville

 I think I'm just a bit infatuated with Asheville, NC, but please don't tell Portland ME.  Here's some photos I snapped while we were there and walking around.


Lots of old brick buildings and lights all had these wreaths

Looking toward city hall and Asheville Art Museum to the right

Installation of Kitties

Mural on parking garage

It was foggy on Xmas Eve

I liked the painted awning over this store

Sista ironing JK

This panoramic photo is the original lunch counter at the old Woolworth's which has been converted into an artist's gallery.  You can read more about it and the artists by clicking here.

Coming up next, traveling from Asheville north east near the town of Boone NC, where we visted JK's brother and his family. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Is It the Holidays Already?

The end of November and going into December are a bit of a blur for me.  I hadn't realized how much work it would be to prepare for an Open Studio and Show at Running with Scissors, be a Christmas elf and get ready to go out of town for the holidays.  Yeah, I also regularly think it will take me a much shorter time to do something than it actually does.  The sad thing is that I've thought this for years.  I should know better.  Maybe this coming year I will finally learn this lesson - or not. 

I'm half standing in this photo while my Sista is seated while I try out a new Christmas present of one of those selfie poles with a bluetooth remote.   Isn't my Sista gorgeous?  That's where we went for the holidays - to her new house in Asheville, NC.  I posted some photos on Fakebook and those of you who are not there are supposed to be able to see them if I post a link to the album.  So try this LINK.   It's not working right now, but try back in a day or two to see if I can get it resolved.

This is the hubby and me in front of some public sculpture in downtown Asheville.  I'm quite impressed with the culture and food in this town.  Really does compare well to Portland ME.

I'll be posting more shots of us here in Asheville and up near Boone NC where the hubby's brother and his family have a home in the mountains.  It's about 2.5 hours NE of Asheville.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blogging for Peace

Peace is Possible

It will start with mothers giving their sons some different ideas about masculinity and the culture becoming less misogynist - but it can be done.  For a more scientific look at the question, get this book from your local library - Women, Power and the Biology of Peace by Judith Hand.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Statements and Weekends

Artists are always asked to write Artist's Statements for various shows and projects.  Although I'm  a former journalist, blogger and playwright, you'd think this would come easily to me - WRONG!  This is why I'm drawn to websites that can generate them for you.   A reference was made to it by Jillian Steinhauer on the Hyperallergic blog.  She calls it the best statment generator and I have to agree with her.  Bravo to  Belgian artist Jasper Rigole who created it, who’s part of the art group Voorkamer.

The following is what I got from this great site to create artists statements:

Ann Tracy (°1951, Waltham MA, United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By experimenting with aleatoric processes, Tracy absorbs the tradition of remembrance art into daily practice. This personal follow-up and revival of a past tradition is important as an act of meditation.
Her artworks appear as dreamlike images in which fiction and reality meet, well-known tropes merge, meanings shift, past and present fuse. Time and memory always play a key role. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language, she wants to amplify the astonishment of the spectator by creating compositions or settings that generate tranquil poetic images that leave traces and balances on the edge of recognition and alienation.

Her collected, altered and own works are being confronted as aesthetically resilient, thematically interrelated material for memory and projection. The possible seems true and the truth exists, but it has many faces, as Hanna Arendt cites from Franz Kafka. By contesting the division between the realm of memory and the realm of experience, she formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition that is behind the seemingly random works. The thought processes, which are supposedly private, highly subjective and unfiltered in their references to dream worlds, are frequently revealed as digital collages.

Her works feature coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections which make it possible to revise art history and, even better, to complement it. Combining unrelated aspects lead to surprising analogies. Ann Tracy currently lives and works in Portland Maine.

So here is a new piece I made for the weekend parking lot art festival we had here at Running With Scissors.

And this is the piece that sold during the Maker's Meal on Thursday night.  It's an image from my iPod, manipulated ONLY in camera, then printed on mulberry paper and coated with encaustic wax which gives it an amazing translucency.  

Friday was the Damnationland Premiere of Sui Generis, the short film where I played a detective in one scene.  But I couldn't stay to see all the films as I needed to get up early to get to the studio and get set up for our afternoon parking lot sale.  We even had food trucks here!  I did sell 3 prints on paper and then a print on canvas.  Everyone got great deals and I got to give my art good homes - win-win!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pettiness at the Prado

Before I go off on our 2nd day adventure in Madrid, here's a few photos I should have posted before.

Street where our hotel was located.


Just up the street was this little plaza.
 But as we were checking in, they sent a welcoming committee to greet us apparently !  Sigh it was too big as a quicktime file so you'll have to go to Flickr to see it.  You'll also see the photos I posted along the way to Instagram & Facebook.

JK enjoying a mojito, which are popular in Spain now.
The next day, it was off to the Prado.   We hailed a cab (much easier than in NY) and saw this as we were driving
This was the first "No Matador" photo we saw in Madrid.    

Even if it didn't have a special exhibit of Goya and how he influenced many other artists, we would have gone.  It would have been like going to Paris and not seeing the Louvre.   It was truly an amazing exhibit showing work by Goya side by side with the artists he influenced - even Picasso, but mostly his Blue Period.  

I was surprised at how silly they were about letting people take photos with no flash... a big NO.  I could take photos in the Louvre, but not the Prado? After marching around the Prado for several hours we were tired and thirsty and we had spotted a Ritz hotel when we first got there.  So it was over to the Ritz for a drink - if we couldn't stay there, might as well have a boom-ba!
They had a charming garden patio type bar and eating area.  So we plunked right down and had a glass of Rosato and they brought over potato chips to munch on.  Who knew the Spanish were wild about potato chips?

That night, we decided to find the House of Mushrooms, since it had such good reviews in Trip Adviser I think.
Unfortunately they only had one mushroom dish on the menu - mushroom caps stuffed with ham, garlic and cheese - which were very good.  We ended up wandering over to another cafe for more tapas to finish the night before we headed to Sicily, Palermo to be exact the next day.  
Truth in advertising - not sure which day I shot this.  But we should have gone in for a glass of Rosato and a tapa, next trip!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

From Maine to Spain!

There is nothing like a travel adventure to make you look at the world and yourself a little differently.  When I received the news that I was a finalist in the Julia Margaret Cameron Competition that was certainly a feather in my cap.  But when I was invited to exhibit that fine art photographic collage at the 3rd Biennale of Photography in Malaga, Spain (a place I had never been) I was over the moon and began plotting a way to get to the artists' reception.  At first we hoped that Mimmo, (a foreign exchange student who lived for a year with my husband's family in Wisconsin in 1969-70 who is now a dear friend) would be able to meet us there.  But as luck would have it, a work situation interfered and he was unable to get to Malaga but suggested that we come visit him in Palermo.  
It had been four years since our last visit to see him when I first when to Bacau, Romania to judge the Gala Star Solo Show Competition.  That was the same year the volcano in Iceland was spewing such ash into the atmosphere that flights over Northern Europe were cancelled.  JK's tickets to meet me there (and then travel to Venice to meet Mimmo) where cancelled and we ended up meeting up in Venice through sheer determination.  I was able to get on the first flight that was cleared to get out of Bucharest and JK ended up in a circuitous route going from Sacramento (where we lived at the time) to New York to Casablanca to Rome to Venice.  I had injured my knee in Bucharest and hobbled my way around Venice which wasn't ideal as walking is really the only way to get anywhere.

Luckily we didn't have as many strange events happening this time.  We used points to upgrade to business class on Delta and were sorely disappointed after having been spoiled by Lufthansa accommodations, especially by the food.  BIG Delta FAIL as it was terrible.   Only got about 3 hours of sleep on the plane so we were jet-lagged when we arrived about 9:30 in the morning.  Luckily at the Madrid airport duty free shop I spotted a bottle of Havana Club rum from Cuba - one of my favorites.  Granted it wasn't the seven year old, but it was a reserva and better than the aged rums we had tried to find in Portland after our first trip to Cuba.

By the time we got to the hotel, we knew we needed to stay up most of the day so we headed out after unpacking to explore our neighborhood, the La Latina district of the city where most of tapas bars are located.  Since it's an old part of the city with buildings dating back to the 17th century and some to the days of the Moorish Muslim Empire, they were a bit of a maze - like downtown Boston.  
Coat of arms for the city showing a bear with fore paws on a strawberry tree

Apparently the Spanish, like New Englanders, paved the cow paths that wandered everywhere.  So, like cows, we grazed our way around.  A tapa here with a drink and a tapa there with Sangria and agua no-gas until we were exhausted and figured an hour or two disco nap wouldn't hurt.  So after a short siesta, we ventured out to have even more tapas for dinner.  In JK's research, he discovered a restaurant that translated in English was House of Mushrooms.  It was a grotto like place with only a few tables but a piano player squeezed in amongst the tables. They only had one sort of mushroom, large caps stuffed with garlic, olive oil and Iberian ham - deliciouso!  they also have a roast pig that is very good and we might go there again when we go back to Madrid for a few days before we fly home.
Graffiti Madrid

In Spain they talk about staying out so late they "kill the night", at least according to our Cuban photographer friends.  So we decided to give it our best shot and walked over the Plaza Mayor.  It really reminded us of the plazas in Cuba and shows how much Cuban architecture was influenced by the Spanish.  But we each had only between 3 to 5 hours of sleep, so after another glass of fabulous Spanish Rosato -all the ros├ęs we had there were wonderful, some better than others but all very quaffable - it was remembering our way back to our hotel.
More graffiti in Madrid in La Latina district

 The small hotel we stayed, at Posada de Dragon, was very Spanish in that they served a small buffet  breakfast until 11 each morning.  Matter of fact I could easily slip into the Spanish way of life staying up to 1 or 2 in the morning, sleeping in to 10, lunch at 3 and dinner at 9.  Maybe I was Spanish in another life time!  Another great feature of our Dragon hotel was that it was a bar/restaurant as well.  We could always bring a nightcap up to our room.