a pfarrell artblog joint

Friday, September 6, 2013


Almost a year ago, I was in the hospital recovering from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. When I was lucid enough to reflect on anything specific, I often thought about getting back to the studio. In my morphine-fueled fever dreams, my studio appeared spacious, filled with beautiful light, clean, tidy, organized, sparsely furnished, with wide expanses of white walls on which to work. At some point, it dawned on me that I had left brushes soaking, and I asked my civilian (non-artist) husband to clean them for me. That was my only point of reference to the real reality of the condition my studio. 

Once I was home and managed to go out to the studio, I was dismayed to find not the spacious, airy space of my fever dreams. but a smallish, darkish space with stuff all over the place, like someone had just spent a lot of time in there painting and left in the middle of a painting session--brushes were clean, though. I did not yet have the energy to face such a mess. I was going to have to spend a bit of time considering what was ahead of me.

Me, on the porch of the studio pondering avoiding the mess inside.

Eventually, I felt stronger, changes in medication brought fewer side effects, and my restlessness drove me back into the studio. I spent the next few months picking up where I had left off, sort of.

selvedge no.1 
9 x 12 
acrylic on panel 

selvedge no. 2 
9 x 12 
acrylic on panel 

These are a couple of the paintings I returned to. But after a few months, I just wasn't feeling the acrylic vibe I had going before the aneurysm. Time to regroup.

Changing the medium seemed to be the thing. Shifted to wax/mixed media.

I fell into a what-the-hell, let-me-see-what-happens phase. 

Whoops.  What happened was a bit much. 
Still like it, but it's not quite where I wanted to go.

selvedge 4222
wax and oil on panel
12 x 12

Instead of pigment sticks, I started using unprimed linen with the wax on panel.

That felt much better. 

Calm. Order. In control. That's me.

encaustic on linen over board
9 x 12


eli and the thirteenth confession
encaustic and linen over panel
24" x 36"

More like torn and frayed.

encaustic and linen over board
24" x 36"

By late spring, the weather was getting too warm for wax, 
and it was time for another shift, this time to oil.

both untitled, from the Margin series
16 x 20
oil on panel

And through it all, digital.

selvedge grey
digital photo-based inkjet print on drafting film
22 x 30

And monoprints on mylar.

untitled oil on mylar
8 x 10

And oil on panel.

untitled (and probably not quite finished)
16 x 20
oil on panel

Monday, August 19, 2013

bringin' it all back home

OK. I'm back. It's only been a couple of years, a change in work situation, numerous projects, and one ruptured (and repaired) cerebral aneurysm later, I'm re-launching this blog, REASON INVERTED, in place of pfarrellartblog, which I will officially put out to pasture as soon as I figure out how. 

I was inspired to relaunch the blog when my copy of Color: How to Use It by Marci Cooperman (published by Pearson, 2014) arrived in the mail. 

Color Theory textbook art design school

A few summers ago, Marci contacted me after seeing some of my work on my website and asked me if I was interested in participating in a project she was working on: a textbook on color for art and design students. Of course I was. 

Marci teaches a Color Theory class at Parsons: The New School for Design in the Graphic Design Department, as well a numerous courses in marketing. Next spring she is offering a Color Theory workshop in Cape May. As she says: "Nothing wrong with a few days in a gorgeous place, where students can stay at a Victorian B&B and learn about color."

Here is some of my work included in Color:

Lacuna 3 encaustic on panel 24 x 24 2007

Lacuna 7 encaustic on panel 24 x 24 2007

Thank you Marci, for including my work in your beautiful book!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I really like to make things... Dennis Beach: New Work

Dennis Beach: New Work is currently showing at Schmidt Dean Gallery in its "new and improved" Center City Philadelphia space. The artist explores pattern, movement, and the biological and organic process of replication in this exhibition of new work. Shown to excellent effect in this airy light-filled space, the predominantly wood structures aptly reflect Beach's opening statement in the video created by John Thornton: Dennis Beach Discovery: "I really like to make things."

In the stairwell outside the gallery, Beach explores movement and other physical phenomena in a sculpture spanning four stories of the building, Flow. Water forced with air pressure "blowing bubbles" in a clear tube is situated through the stairwell, creating a constancy of bubbles surging up and down the tube. Thornton features Flow in his video, along with an off-site demonstration of the fluid mechanics.

The exhibition can be seen at Schmidt Dean Gallery, 1719 Chestnut Street, Fourth Floor, through October 15.