In my upstairs bedroom I have a large south facing window that looks unto a majestic honey locust tree. She looms over my balcony with delicate quivering leaves. In the summer, a deep sap green, in the fall, golden yellow. As of now her leaves have begun their departure as the post fall winds will leave her bare.
I want to be more like her, anchored and organized in her rhythm of time.
But, I am not like her. I am messy, and more than I care to admit, ungrounded and often an enemy of time.
Over the years I have come to realize that this beingness of mine is where the primary thrust of my creativity comes from.
Even at eight and nine years old I remember ferociously scribbling on paper in what resembled abstracted tangled knots in the shape of ovals. I then set myself the task of filling in the gaps with multi colored ink pens. Searching out the order in my chaos.
We all have dominant ways of being in this world.
And in being human, crave to know the “other”. It’s the magnetic force of opposites attracting in relationships.
I have witnessed that search for the “other” in my teaching practice. I somehow give permission for the mess, as participants search to expand their boundaries of known expression.
Recently I have come across three styles of being that makes sense in not only the context of relationship but in the way we can describe the order of creating, especially in the context viewing the organizational sense of a painting or composition.
In a book entitled “Wired For Love”, psychologist Stan Catkin describes three poignant visual metaphors for distinctive ways of being in the world.
Anchors. Islands. Waves.
Three nouns that not only provide us access into a deeper understanding of feeling, but also three symbols that work in the visual narration of describing the principals of design.
In a painting we look for an anchor that might hold our attention in space. A wave moves our eye along so we are not stuck on one aspect in a composition, moving our direction and flow, and islands create the content, the main event.
It’s a generalization but in the sphere of human interaction; anchors search out ways to loosen their grip and move into bolder expression - islands explore different terrain i.e… materials and content to work, waves work to hone in their emotion and focus.
I am a messy, emotional wave. I search out anchors to bring me back to intention and islands so I might have something to crash into.
In an ideal world it’s like my honey locust tree, longing to sway with grace when change comes, yet remain fully present and grounded while recognizing the importance of our form and content and as a gift to the world. A steady pace with the natural order of things, our environments and each other.
Soul Work in Action: Exploring Women's Spiritual Hunger with Paint November 2nd and 3rd, 2018
My friend Jens has no filter when speaking his brilliant mind. It’s a quality I admire, especially when discussing creative edges that push our limits and call out for personal growth.
Recently Jens and I were in my Santa Fe studio. Large disheveled under-paintings I had just begun were leaning against the wall. Over worked paper pieces were scattered on the floor- in progress or abandoned? (it could go either way). They felt vulnerable, raw and not too sure of themselves.
Jens was animated as he discussed his latest project of turning mud into functionality and grace. He had just bulldozed and excavated a cave on land he recently purchased on the outer borders of New Mexico into Arizona. He was making livable space. Art.
I talked of mind clutter and the impatience /anxiety of feeling discomfort in visible vulnerability hovering around me. I mumbled something about re -creating what I had done in my last series. Exploring the tension points between the visible and unseen. Smokey clouded layers covering the ambivalence of life.
Jens leaned in close, “so are you now making fake paintings? “I knew what he meant. I was at that edge believing painting existed in a realm that could be birthed like a machine.
I quickly responded “almost, but not yet.” That was the truth -take the plunge of investigating the heart’s longing in the now, or be an imitated version of myself set on automatic go.
Zombie Formalism is what comes to mind. A term coined by artist and art critic Walter Robinson in 2014. My definition: production of abstract painting that is devoid of passion and more concerned with how it is made. Image, shape, color, singing together in a doable composition that is pleasing to the eye. Sometimes when hitting that uncomfortable edge, it’s tempting to go there. Production.
The how to, neglecting the deep inner crevices inside ourselves that ask of us the why? It takes time and care to birth a project. When we are not tending to the delicate needs creativity requires of us bridging mind to heart, a radical distrust can set in.
For me- I usually need some space to become a bit untethered from daily left brain life. I guess my growing pains are asking of me to raise my frequency of light form the inside out. I still crave to paint just that.
And when I am still enough to wait out the unlpleasantries of my mind I sometimes glimpse the realization that my vulnerabilities are my courage moved from the outside in, waiting to swallow beauty whole.
Personalized Private Classes and Studio Mentorship
Open Studio Wednesday
Why Color is Important- One Day Workshop- Saturday October
Large Scale Painting Workshop October 25th-26th
Women's Spiritual Hunger's November 2nd-3rd
click here for the full list of upcoming for the year http://manteconstudio.com/workshops/
Last weekend as one of my workshop sessions was coming to a close, I asked the participants to "Be Brave Now" in response to their painting process.
These three words on reflection might make a great title for a book, a mantra, or just an upcoming workshop.
But on deeper reflection what did I mean by uttering these words towards an end of a session?
To Be Brave- asks of us to rise to an event calling for change.
In painting and in life these impulses usually appear at an impasse in our process, somewhat content where the painting/life is- but having an inclination it could be further developed and produce a more gratifying result.
To Be Brave is asking of us to take a leap of faith, to push and grow.
Usually what I focus on in my teaching on any given day, month or year is usually what I am asking for in myself, whether in my art practice or in my life.
My new workshop offerings are becoming more focused on a depth of individual process and how to address our capacity, or lack of, to take RISKS! So, if I let this really settle in, I imagine my art practice/ life is about to experience a risk turned - shift.
What does Being Brave Now look like for you?
Scroll down to see short descriptions of updated workshops and exhibits into 2019.
For full descriptions -visit: Mantecon Studio
I recently went to Bali for a month, upon return I headed back out my door to
teach a workshop in the Bay Area. I am now back- home for five weeks now and I am just starting to get my feelers back in the studio.
Leaving can be a challenge to any art practice. A friend of my recently gave me some priceless advice- she said she got it from a movie. I am paraphrasing but it goes something like this
Bob who isa temp in an office is slacking on his work, his boss say's to him one day, "Bob, I notice you have an artistic temperament- you need to fo back to your desk, settle down, focus and catch up". That simple- so that is what I am doing and surprise a finished painting came this week, one that I began after a shamanic journey I did last summer. The journey brought a wise guide to my sidewho handed me nine pearls to swallow. Why I ask? His response, "The sky is now falling, you need to anchor the light, now go paint".
The wind is kicking up and it is snowing on the first day of February.
I have recently had participants inquire about my next intensive workshop to work through barriers or what might seem like dead ends in their art practice.
You might want to check out the lectures on George Land- he states that creativity is actually un-learned in our society. It has been studied that 5 year old' s hold more creativity and the ability to think outside of the box more than an adult. this not surprise me. Having taught adults for twenty years - our main focus is usually on how to re-capture the innocence and trust in simple mark making that we had when we were young. We are quickly moving from the information age to the conceptual age and with that we need more art- based learning practices to help carry us into our trust to produce more creative problem solving for our planet!
what I am offering is 6 week skype seminars for those that can not get away. Once a week we meet- I show you whatI am doing in the studio and we work in a mentor fashion. Individual projects with deadlines! You can find this under my workshops.!
As for wiorkshops: The Center of The Arts in Jackson Hole Wyoming I will be hosting the Alchemy of Mixed Media May 22nd- 25th.
It was a whirlwind end of the year.
I hosted a student show from art workshops in Santa Fe in my studio in November. Eight localparticipants who have been steadily working away for the last year. We had a fantastic turnout and an image of Laura Newmark's work "Pain Body" had a half page print in the November issue of THE magazine, Santa Fe. The new year workshops have begun. Wednesday Ongoing Painting- focused on your individual needs within a group 1-4 and beginning Feb. 23rd- Tuesday Night Mixed Media 5 Week Intensive. so check out the workshop page- there is still room.
I am teaching a Drawing I class at Santa Fe Community College this term and will offer an acrylic and color course through continuing education at the Community College beginning April 5th.
May 23rd - I will be in Jackson Hole, Wy- at the Art Association teaching a 5 day Alchemy of Mixed Media.
I had a solo show open atFriesen Gallery Gallery http://friesengallery.com// in Ketchum Idaho
the day after thanksgiving. This begins the official ski season to the area. The show- Intersections of Vast Things. It is my first exhibit with Friesen and I am thrilled to be a part of them.
After a nice long break- I am back in the studio. I am part of a group show at Chase Young Gallery in Boston- January, 2016 and I am finishing pieces for Mark Woolley Gallery opening in Portland, Or, March 20th, 2016. A peak at a piece - no title as of yet.
Life appears to be diving into depths of some unknown and known facets that are emerging through paint. Lightness of being seems to be temporarily on the shelf. sometimes deadlines push me into gear- other times I freeze and all avenues to a groove of working seem to be nowhere in sight. Looking for the door- the shimmer of light- I pace- pace around like a dog looking for the perfect comfort spot in which to enter. I know this process- I have been here before, many times. Not quite sure why every time feels like the first time. The beauty is- once your in , the dialogue can begin- but the waiting is a form of magic. Painting is not done alone. There is a cohort that beckons. Sometimes it speaks through the painting itself and I can enter into relationship- and sometimes it just comes where a harmonic symphony takes place with three or four pieces at once. I paint waiting for just these moments.
I have been thinking a lot about how all this t translates into teaching. How to communicate what happens in the studio. If I have left my process for a time- a week , a month I have to search out the delicate balance between who I was when I left the door and who I am now in the moment- pick up and carry the conversation forward. Do the work. I just want all to know that we are not alone in this process
John O’donuhue said it so well in his book- Beauty-
“No person is a finished thing, regardless of how frozen or paralyzed their self image might be. Each one of us is in a state of perennial formation. Carried with the flow of time, you are coming to be who you are in every new emerging moment. Life is a journey that fills out your identity and yet the true nature of a journey remains largely invisible."
Happy Fall To All
Life has been quite busy this past summer and fall.
After completing “Visceral Gravity”, a body of work that was exhibited at Wheelhouse Gallery in Santa Fe, June 26th- August 26th, I found myself, not painting, but catching up on all the little mundane activities that can fall off the rails when you immerse yourself in creative acts --website updates, taxes, laundry, self care of body, mind and spirit, scheduling and planning.
Wheelhouse Art, 418 Montezuma, here in Santa Fe is closing their doors at the end of October. Joyce Stolaroff did a fantastic job for the year plus she was on board. Now it is time for her to move on. I wish her all the best in her new endeavors. If you have not seen the space go on down before it closes.
Next month I will deliver new work to Friesen Gallery in Sun Valley, Idaho. I am excited to be trying out new work with them and a great excuse for a fall road-trip.
So to all my Ketchum Idaho friends, when meandering around town, please do stop on in.
I sent off smaller pieces to Chase Young Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts, for a group show upcoming in January 2016.
I am thrilled to announce that I am the recipient of the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant, 2015. As part of this award, there will be an exhibit with three other fellow recipients. The scheduled opening will be sometime in September 2016 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Massachusetts. Stay tuned!
Back in Santa Fe, I continue to offer workshop and classes from my lovely studio. An upcoming schedule can be found at www.artworkshopsinsantafe.com. I have added some diverse talent to come on board this winter.
In January I will be offering a “One Day Retreat of Deep Listening and Discovery Through the Creative Acts of Continuum Movement and Process Painting” with Lynette Kessler, Dance Movement Artist on January 23rd, 9-5pm.
Also in January (dates to be announced) Carrie Ronneau will be returning to offer her encaustic skills in her workshop “Viva Encaustica”.
Saturday, November 14th- 4-8pm, I will be hosting a group show in my studio. "The Alchemy of Mixed Media- Works of 7 Emerging Artists". Seven practicing artists that have been immersed in my workshops and classes over the last year and a half will be exhibiting. Elizabeth Pinson, Barbara Bally, Laura Newmark, George Maloof, Vickie Deane, Sara Mckenzie and Julia Meeks. Lauren Mantecon Studios- 123A Camino Teresa, Santa Fe, NM.
And for all those Marin County folks - I will be coming to town to facilitate a two day workshop, “The Alchemy of Mixed Media” in the ICB building of Sausalito. Tentative dates April 9th and 10th. Please contact me with your interest, space will be limited.
You can view my work at:
Be Well and Creative,
Lauren’s demo will include the making of traditional gesso and how to apply it on wood panels, in combination with rabbit skin glue. Joint compound- mixed with mediums and pigmentswill also be introduced as well as the use of wax/ encaustic in combination with materials. Lauren will demonstrate the the combined use of pencil,oil pastel, acrylic paint, binders and collage, showing that together they can create something of greater depth.
I have just found out I am a recipient of A lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant.
"The primary emphasis is to promote public awareness and a commitment to American art, as well as encouraging interest in artists who lack adequate recognition. We strive to attract the best under recognized painters in the country."
This also comes with an exhibition at PAM museum September 2016.
Greetings from Santa Fe, New Mexico
August of this year will mark two years in Santa Fe.
It has been a constant deepening of experience to settle into the vast landscape and sense of place Northern New Mexico has to offer. I am truly humbled by the ever changing climate and communication this land expresses on a consistent basis.
The vast landscape has been a tremendous friend in inspiring new work in my art practice. It's expressing a tension between gestural responses in relationship to atmosphere, color and the exploration of the formless and formed simultaneously.
The work is opening at www.wheelhouseart.com June 26th- July 30th with a two person show with erikhubertgelelrt.com entitled Visceral/Gravity. Inspired by both the vastness of space and the French essayist and poet Francis Ponge. Ponge drew upon the creative ambiguity of language while describing nature and objects on several levels at once and with a willingness to expose unfinished thoughts.
On another note I just received news this week that I am a recipient of a Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Grant.
"The primary emphasis is to promote public awareness and commitment to American art, as well as encouraging interests in artists who lack adequate recognition. We strive to attract the best under recognized painters in the country." This comes with an exhibition in 2016
I still continue to offer workshops/classes and individual mentoring. You can come visit Santa Fe or contact me about coming to your community. My commitment to teaching continues to be fearless exploration through unconventional methods and materials. See: http://www.artworkshopsinsantafe.com/workshops/-classes/-art/ for up coming schedule.
For all those in Portland, Oregon- A group of paintings was just delivered that can be viewed at: www.markwoolley.com. Go on in and ask to see them in his new back room viewing. Stay tuned for a two person show April 2016 with Portland artist Rick Austin.
If you are in Astoria, Oregon, you can still view works at: www.imogengallery.com
With Tremendous Gratitude,
I have a two person show opening Friday June 26th with Erik Gellert at the Wheelhouse Gallery in Santa Fe- Visceral Gravity.
It will be open for the month of July.