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About Traditional Art / Professional Member Clara LieuFemale/United States Groups :iconnew-sculptors-guild: New-Sculptors-Guild
Sculpting has no exclusiv medium
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Emerge No. 5, detail

The large figure drawings have been photographed and posted on my website, the prints and photographs are at the framer, and my studio is set up and ready to go for Waltham Mills Open Studios this weekend.  For the first time in months I don’t have any pressing work that needs to be done immediately. I’m taking some time this morning to breathe momentarily before the wave of installations, opening receptions, and gallery talks begins next month.

My advice column “Ask the Art Professor” has been on hiatus for the past two months while I prepared for my exhibitions.  Now that the exhibition work is complete, I’m going to work on getting the column up and running again. I have missed working on the column, so it will be nice to get back to writing.

I’ve also made two local contacts who have agreed to provide consultation on my idea forcreating a series of video tutorials. One meeting is with a small local production company, and the other is with someone who has worked in public television. At this point I’m just interested in knowing what my options are, and what kind of logistics might be involved. I probably don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but it’s very refreshing to enter a new field which is completely unknown to me.

Emerge No. 2, detail

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Waltham Mills Open Studios is just a week away, so I am starting to prepare for the event.  Last year I wrote a blog post, titled “12 ways to prepare for open studios” that makes concrete suggestions for artists getting ready for an open studios event. I revisited my list to be sure that I am on top of every detail.

I’m always thinking about ways that I can improve the open studios experience, both for myself and my visitors, so this past week I’ve been brainstorming some potential strategies.  There is one aspect of open studios that I’ve always found to be at times awkward for both the artist and the visitors.  Inevitably, there are moments when your studio is empty, and then you get one or two visitors who walk into your empty studio and you’re just standing there by yourself, watching them as they enter. This can awkward for the artist, because you don’t want to come on too strong and force a conversation your visitor doesn’t necessarily want to have.  On the other hand, ignoring your visitors doesn’t seem polite either. From the visitor’s point of view, this situation can be uncomfortable because you can feel pressured to make conversation with the artist. When the studio is empty, and it’s just you and the artist, you can’t just wander at your own pace the way you can when the studio is full of other people. In the past, when I’ve visited other artists’ studios at other open studios events and this happens, it feels like the artist is watching me and I feel pressured to linger longer so I don’t offend them by leaving too quickly. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve visited an artist’s studio, and realized within minutes that I’m not interested in staying.  If the studio is crowded, it’s really easy to slip out quickly without feeling like you’re going to offend the artist with your very brief visit.

So I’ve been trying to think about what activity I could be actively engaged in during the event that wouldn’t require too much concentration on my part, that visitors might be interested in seeing, but that would also keep me accessible to my visitors.  Then it occurred to me that I could demonstrate printing some mezzotints throughout the event. I have yet to edition these mezzotints, so it’s something I need to be working on anyway. This would allow my visitors to watch me in action, and provide some insight into how the work is made. Printing the mezzotints is a purely technical process; I don’t have to concentrate very hard to do it and I know I will be able to talk to people and answer questions at the same time.  I can also stop and easily pick up from where I left off. (by comparison, I could never do this while I was drawing)  It’s an experiment, I’ll try it the first day and see if it works!

Studio View

In progress

This sixth and final drawing that I’ve been working on recently has proved to be more work than I initially thought. With the exception of the central standing figure, the other figures in this drawing are extremely light and suggestive. I thought for this reason that it would be less work. On the contrary, I discovered that the quickest way to get the subtleties I was looking for was to “overdraw” the figures and then scrape them down. It was really difficult to directly smear the etching ink in a subtle manner, so the only way I could get the lightest tones was to scrape with the x-acto knife. I’m sure I spent more time scraping than I did actually drawing with the etching ink.

I did finish this drawing today, which felt terrific.  This means that all six large scale drawings for my upcoming solo exhibition at Simmons college are 99% complete.  I have just enough time to review each drawing and make slight tweaks, but the work needed for this show is pretty much done.

November is going to be an avalanche of events; I’m participating in Waltham Open Studios on Nov. 1 & 2, and then I have the Simmons exhibition and the solo exhibition at Framingham State immediately afterwards. My calendar is a little scary looking, but it’s nice to know that the work is finally done.

In progress

Brainstorming a series of fine art tutorials has me thinking a lot about this idea of accessibility. One of the aspects of the contemporary fine art world that has always bothered me is how incredibly exclusive it is.   In my experience, so much of the fine art world behaves in an elite, condescending manner towards the layman. Take contemporary art galleries, for example:  the last time I was in New York City walking around art galleries in Chelsea, one thing I noticed was how cold and unfriendly the people working in the galleries were.  I walked into one gallery where the two people at the desk wouldn’t even make eye contact or greet me as I walked into the gallery. In the past, when I did make an attempt to talk to someone in the gallery, I felt like I was intruding on their space, and how dare I try to speak to them. Can you imagine any other business or store treating a visitor in such a manner? All of these qualities sends a harsh message to the average person that the contemporary fine art world is off limits to them, it’s a closed world that they cannot enter.

Drawings that Work: 21st BCA Drawing Show

Many other fields, like design and illustration, across the board aggressively make themselves accessible to the general public.  There are millions of professional blogs, TV shows, online tutorials, social media sites for these fields. This accessibility is completely accepted and encouraged by other professionals in these fields.  This is not the case in the contemporary fine arts world.  The vast majority of professional fine artists today present their work with a mystique.  They don’t generally show any glimpse of their creative process, all of the mistakes and blunders are completely hidden from the public. One of my favorite things about Julia Child was that she was not afraid to make a mistake on camera.  Instead of being embarrassed by her mistake, she would transform it into a teachable moment and explain how to fix it and move on. For many people, her mistakes taught people just as much, if not more than when they watched her do something perfectly.

I’ve written in the past about how at times I get self-conscious about the fact that I blog extensively about my fine arts work.  I worry that many of my academic colleagues would look down on the kind of writing and blogging that I do.  My approach to my writing is conversational and not written for an academic audience.  For this reason, I’m an anomaly in the academic fine arts world.  This is why I’m thinking that a series of art tutorials from someone with my background could fill a niche that has not been addressed so far.

I'm a teacher, and I am beginning to work on a series of online fine art tutorials featuring a wide range of hands-on techniques and approaches.  The series would be inclusive of many methods of drawing, printmaking, sculpture, painting, and much more. 

What has been your experience with online art tutorials? What have you seen that has been useful to you? What would you advise against? What topics/techniques would you be interested in seeing? 

Emerge No. 5, detail

The large figure drawings have been photographed and posted on my website, the prints and photographs are at the framer, and my studio is set up and ready to go for Waltham Mills Open Studios this weekend.  For the first time in months I don’t have any pressing work that needs to be done immediately. I’m taking some time this morning to breathe momentarily before the wave of installations, opening receptions, and gallery talks begins next month.

My advice column “Ask the Art Professor” has been on hiatus for the past two months while I prepared for my exhibitions.  Now that the exhibition work is complete, I’m going to work on getting the column up and running again. I have missed working on the column, so it will be nice to get back to writing.

I’ve also made two local contacts who have agreed to provide consultation on my idea forcreating a series of video tutorials. One meeting is with a small local production company, and the other is with someone who has worked in public television. At this point I’m just interested in knowing what my options are, and what kind of logistics might be involved. I probably don’t know what I’m getting myself into, but it’s very refreshing to enter a new field which is completely unknown to me.

Emerge No. 2, detail

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claralieu's Profile Picture
claralieu
Clara Lieu
Artist | Professional | Traditional Art
United States
I am a professor, writer, and visual artist. I currently teach as a Critic in the Division of Foundation Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. In the past I have taught in the Illustration and Printmaking departments at RISD, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, at Wellesley College, and at the Lesley University College of Art and Design. For four years I was the Director of the Jewett Art Gallery.

My work explores isolation and mental illness through drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. I have exhibited at the International Print Center New York, Bromfield Gallery, the Danforth Museum of Art, the Currier Museum of Art, the RISD Museum of Art, and the Davis Museum and Cultural Center.

I am a blogger for the Huffington Post, where I write an advice column for visual artists called "Ask the Art Professor". I published my first book, "Learn, Create, and Teach: A Guide to Building a Creative Life" in 2013.

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:iconmiguelopazo:
miguelopazo Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like your gallery, I feel is like a representation of many episodes on my mind
Reply
:icon33m:
33M Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014
after vacation I was delighted to see your newest deviations come through....Wonderful work.  I learn very much from your work and your writing.

M
Reply
:iconimfragrance:
imFragrance Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014   General Artist
Your blog is very helpful ! Thank you for your helpful advices.
Reply
:iconodistrait:
Odistrait Featured By Owner May 21, 2014
I just finished going over a few of the post on your advice column and watching a portion of your lecture video. It has been truly inspiring so far and I will definitely share your advice column with the teacher who oversaw my work at the magnet art school I attended in high school, so that other students might benefit from your advice. I hope that's okay.

thanks again,

Jean
Reply
:iconclaralieu:
claralieu Featured By Owner May 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Of course!  I am delighted that you found the columns and video interesting.  Thank you!
Reply
:icongraveyardbat:
GraveyardBat Featured By Owner May 10, 2014
Hey,

Since you used a lot of Dura Lar in your works I've always wanted to try some.
I found some in the art classroom so I jumped at the opportunity to use it. I have to admit, I really like it and I want to keep on experimenting.
 
Here's the work.
graveyardbat.deviantart.com/ar…

I did another work using the paper, but I haven't uploaded it yet.

Have a nice day!
Reply
:iconclaralieu:
claralieu Featured By Owner May 10, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Cool, thanks for sharing!
Reply
:icon33m:
33M Featured By Owner May 6, 2014
miss seeing your work.....had to come and see if you are still here....Hooray, you are....Just stopped by to say Hello....

M
Reply
:iconcurtis-macdonald:
curtis-macdonald Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Amazing work. Truely stunning.
Reply
:iconfajoor:
Fajoor Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2013
Loved your work
Reply
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