Something that gets better everytime…

….studio visits with friends.
On Sunday I went to see my friend Judie Bamber’s latest work. I’ve known Judie for 22 years, ever since I started grad school, and I never dreamt that I’d be sitting across from her all this time later. Her work has always been characterized by meticulous rendering and careful attention to the paint surface. I’ve come to admire the way that she will dedicate herself to a project, working steadily and scrupulously. Over the years she’s moved from precise renderings of canned vegetables and fruits to watercolors of family photographs to the latest: Oil paintings of the sea and sky, based on watercolor sketches: She’s captured the blurred foggy horizon of the Pacific at sunrise, and other times of eerie light and tenuous boundaries. As we talked about them, I found myself thinking about how they connected to earlier paintings of hers and the conversation veered into exchanges about photography, tactile versus visual time in painting and the emotional possibilities of abstraction. I was wowed by the ways that the work has woven together strands in her life, how it touched on so many areas.
This was the sort of exchange that I always long for as part of art making; illuminating, funny, rich. It wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t had many previous studio visits. I’ve done tons of these: one of the ways I make my money is by being a visiting artist and going to students studios. Most times they feel like feeding and not ever being fed. This time I got some nourishment


  1. Ain’t it great, though, when you get that reciprocity and nourishment? There’s nothing better than getting lost in a studio with another artist and emersing yourselves in ideas, process, and practice. Sigh.

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