Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New York Attitude

What is it and why is it so offensive to "the rest of us." I need to write about this.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


This painting is 5.5x5.5". That is all. Small but potent, encaustic on wood, looking like watercolor. You can tell that I was interacting with the cows out there in the country!

This cow was named by its collector, VCCA chef Rhonda. She named the cow "Taffy." Rhonda is an incredible world class chef - am I giving away a VCCA secret here? We don't go there for the food, but with Rhonda Scovill as the chef, we are fed like kings and queens. She is as serious and creative with her cooking as any VCCA artist, writer, or composer has ever been with his or her work.

When I have the focus I will post some other paintings that were purchased by VCCA Fellows. Poets (especially) responded to the work.

Catching Up

It is December 5, 2009. I have not written since September!!! cannot even recall the order of things and I guess/hope/assume it doesn't matter.
What is in my mind to write? Feeling like I have to "report" on my progress. How odd, just having a blog can have that thought attached.

So much art biz to do - here sits my guestbook from the show at Delaplaine, with a bunch of nice comments and email addresses to add to my lists. Here is one: "they are filled with sunlight, beauty, and spirit."

I still cannot quite believe/accept that someone just popped into that show, fell in love with a piece of work, and paid $2000 for it. What is interesting is that when I look at much of my work - and really see it - it looks priceless. How can you put a price on something that moves you at a deep level and is soul nourishing. There is no price.

There is "the marketplace." More on that later, or when I figure that out. Hah!

During that show I left town to spend 3 weeks at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, my favorite place on earth beyond my home in Takoma Park. I think a lot of artists feel that way about art colonies, because they give you the time, space, protection, and nourishment to just flow your creativity full out. Full out, a phrase Betsy Damon used years ago, saying that women often have a hard time being full out with their art. (Sexisim sucks).

I had a new and different experience at VCCA this time. Nancy Manter asked to see my work before she left, and she advised me then to have some others come in to see it, as well as to see the reproductions of my older work - the visceral and ethereal stuff. Something life changing happened there - as other serious arts people gave my work full attention and then gave me feedback. Each responded to different work!! And I welcomed this!

By the time I left, and mostly in connection to my open studio, I had sold 8 encaustic paintings and traded a ninth for some writing about my work. One was even sold to a (!!) western European white male visual artist!

I have still not integrated this and "recovered" from the shower of love, respect, and actual money that came my way. And even more came after that.
Whew. So overwhelming to write that I'll end the post here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Collage for the Soul

I have three confirmed students. Another woman asked for information and I wrote her that I tend to have an inward focus on accessing creative sources. Did I scare her off? What scares people in art?

Sacred Ground opening and more

Last Saturday was my opening in Frederick. WAY better than I expected. Lots of genuinely sophisticated and wonderfully unpretentious art-smart people were there, and they talked with me about the work. I was really relaxed too - the first opening of my own that didn't feel like "work."
The person who bought January 1 came just to meet and talk with me. Heartwarming to say the least, as she really loved the work. So did another woman who said it was her third visit to the show! hmmm. I'd love her to buy a piece as well. And our pals Harley and Marji were there, interested in a couple of pieces, and they treated us to dinner at Acacia.
And a good time was had by all....

Friday, September 4, 2009


My show at Delaplaine comes down September 27. Today I got a call from York Arts - where they are doing the Hot for Wax show - and four of my pieces were accepted! They want the work on September 25. One of the pieces has been sold (January 1) and I HOPE that more will be sold tomorrow (the opening).

So September 21 I leave for 3 weeks at VCCA. Carl has offered to drive to Frederick, pack up my show on the 28th, DRIVE TO YORK PA with the pieces for the show there, leave them with the director (a few days late) and then drive back home. This is good. More than I can handle!!

Woah, I need to figure out a way to repay him. I couldn't even hire someone to do this - all of it I mean. And if I could - at what cost?
One thing I can do is attend the Musica Viva board meeting coming up, and help get things organized for all these cool events we are planning.

Art Scene in Asheville

Last week we traveled from my friend's place in Blowing Rock NC to Asheville. A few people had said we HAD to see Asheville... so we drove down, stopping at Black Mountain (a little town) where no one knew what Black Mountain College had been. Odd. On to the big town and somehow, I don't recall how, we found our way to the River Arts District. Now THAT was something! A bunch of old down and out looking factory and mill buildings had basically been turned over to visual artists, who poplulate all of them with studios open to the public. We found the ONE encaustic artist (a painter who paints with encaustic paint) and spent quite a while in her huge space. Very impressive, lots of sales, decent, actually lovely work - craft oriented (it's the South!) and a bit decorative, but she loves the medium and the work is nice and resonant and waxy. Yum.

What most intrigued me was that Asheville is a magnet for art buyers. DC is not. This woman had been approached by a Dallas curator to be in a show (I need to call that curator!) of encaustic work. And while we were there, potential buyers were milling around. The artist says she can't keep up with the demand.

Unfortunately we don't want to live in the South, and though I am pretty moveable, my musician husband and Musica Viva are not. But woah, would I LOVE to be in a place where art lovers are hungrily roaming around. Is this a fantasy?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Collage for the Soul

Update is that I have one excellent student committed to do this work with me and she is recruiting others in the neighborhood. I realized this is not just for the money - can't get rich on what I'm asking for this - but it's part of my right work to offer it. Hopefully it will feel just right and there will be synergy, energy, creativity, even love floating around!

January 1 is sold!

The gorgeous painting I chose for my last Constant Contact and the postcard announcement for the Delaplaine show has been sold to !!! someone who walked into the gallery and fell in love with it. Not a friend or acquaintance, but a genuine art lover. Yay! That may be all I say in this post.
Except that the opening is coming up in two days and I am hoping that even more such art lovers will show up. And this is not to say that my friends who purchase my art are NOT genuine art lovers - they ARE of course, AND they often also wish to support my vision. So interesting being an artist in this society. I have promised my friend Carol MacDonald that I will keep going for "no limits" in my work and work in the world. Hard to do, but I have committed myself.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Feature Article in the Frederick News Post

Yay, a really nice, well written and informative article about me and my history as an artist - just came out today in the Frederick News Post. I will put the link here. I hope it works. If not, you can always just go to the paper and search Marilyn Banner art, or Lauren LaRocca or Sacred Ground.

If ANY one reads this blog and goes to the link, please let me know!
I don't really believe anyone reads blogs - and I know from what folks say when I respond to one, that they are shocked to receive a response from a real human.

However, now that I HAVE a blog, why not experiment?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sacred Ground show up at Delaplaine

I was a bit worried about hanging my paintings at Delaplaine Art Center - not its whole name, but enough for here - because they can't possibly look as incredible as they did at Ceres Gallery. Yes, I admit, they don't knock my socks off as much, (can't light them as well) but they still look like - well, it's often hard to get a distant perspective on my own work. January 1 and January 2... and then Don't Fence Me In next to Til I See the Mountains Rise. YUM! as they say in Julie and Julia. YUM! There is really something there, some kind of depth that is not the kind that I was taught to create in art school.

Not only is the show up, but a wonderfully intelligent and sensitive person interviewed me the other day for an article in the Frederick Post News. Lauren LaRocca. Very sympatico - she was unusually at home in my studio and eventually told me she'd majored in religion and poetry. Well, no WONDER she was at home there. Can't say more about that now. It's a book.
I've purchased a chapbook of Lauren's poetry through Etsy. The real thing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Noyes School of Rhythm

I have not written since returning from Noyes Camp. Noyes School of Rhythm. Lately I want to share things on the blog but feel fairly speechless about them. Noyes is a best kept secret that is not totally secret. It is a magic land, a sacred ground like VCCA, filled with the energy of what takes place there. When I figure out how to upload images, I'll include some. If I lived with Noyes Rhythm every day - wow.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Art and Music New York trip

We went to New York this past weekend. New York City in July - not the place to flock to, usually. But just the right place to be.
Carl had a recording session with Charley Gerard and his saxophone quartet. Yep, a saxophone quartet! Charley wrote a piece for piano (Carl) and the quartet that they played here in DC last year, and then recorded yesterday. By the way, the sound of Charley playing jazz saxophone is unspeakably moving and delicious.
We traveled by luxurious Vamoose Bus.
While in NY Carl and I and our son Gabe spent some time at MOMA, and I saw some terrific never before known about James Ensor drawings. And Ensor paintings. He did more than those creepy skulls and masks - beautiful little gem-like satiric paintings that are intriguing and incisive and funny.
Also moving was a huge installation by Song Dong who filled the biggest museum space on the first floor with things his mother collected over 50 years in one house - piles of socks (neatly stacked and bundled), stacks of clay planters, blouses, bowls, a teeny ironing board ... FULL of feeling.
Then on Monday I met my friend Lucy Blake-Elahi from L.A. and we went to the Neue Museum on Fifth Avenue - saw magnificent trippy Klimts and a particularly gorgeous painting of a garden by Gabriele Munter. It made me want to rush home and paint, which is just what I did today. Trying to get the feeling of that explosion of yellow lilies without just painting the same old same old....

Art and Music

Why Art and Music? Because I decided this would be my "art blog" but first I need toLink write about the Musica Viva concert that took place last week.

http://www.dcmusicaviva.org/recordings/dvorak_quintet_1.mp3 -

that is the link to the first movement of the Dvorak Quintet. You can go to the Musica Viva website and hear that whole piece AND the Brahms Quintet.

Funny, if you actually listen to these, I guess I have not much more to say to you about this topic. The music is so beautiful that it speaks for itself. So what was I thinking?

I guess I was thinking that way back when I was in my early 20's I realized that I had to marry a musician. Lucky me - I already had seen and heard Carl Banner play a concerto with the St. Louis symphony. And what a catch - I actually got to MARRY him, and to have a big chunk of my life as an artist be connected to music. There's a bit of teamwork here - I don't think I could have lived with someone who could not understand and support the artist in me. Some women can do that but not this one.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Collage for the Soul

Yes, it's a book title! and will also be the title of a small group class I'm going to offer in my home studio soon. I've been talking to an artist on my block, Joan Samworth, who teaches painting in her studio. I had thought of teaching drawing or painting (I could do those - having spent a million hours in art school studying ...) but I don't want to. I was feeling very whiny about it all - but when she said "what about collage?" I thought hey! what could be more obvious and congruent with who I am and how I think about people and visual art!

I'm actually getting excited about this now - getting people to watch out for things they respond to, get out those buried things they've saved, remember dreams that can be used as raw material, dig up those old family photos ..... what a kick! Now I need to buy 2 big folding sturdy plastic tables.I'm going to make it totally affordable and also earn some needed income. Another friend predicts I'll have a waiting list. Great!!

So when shall I take the leap and schedule it?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Women artist support groups

For more years than I can count, I led a group called “No Limits for Women in the Arts.”

It was amazingly powerful for all of us – we got to know each other very well, we listened to each other’s big dreams for our art work and art lives, we got to explore feelings that got in our ways - and we got support to just move right through those.

(Wouldn’t it be great if that’s all it took, i.e., there was no oppression of women artists or artists in general in the real world – you could just get rid of the internalized stuff and poof, you could be seen, heard, appreciated, and paid!)

Actually I am thinking back to that No Limits group because tonight I attended another women artists group – one that has met for also probably 20 years or so. I am a new, and actually peripheral member, attending rarely the once a month meetings. I am not the leader of this one, so I go with the flow. The flow usually allows for a lot of back and forth conversation about life and art, and eventually people have time to share what they’re doing artwise. My tolerance level is low for lots of chit chat and talking over each other – just pushes some buttons I guess – not fair, no attention for the quiet ones, etc. Some people enjoy that setting, and for 2 hours that was it. But then – so little time left.

I made a suggestion: take the last hour and divide the time equally, giving each woman equal time to talk, be listened to and share art. And voila, it worked! They even seemed to appreciate the structure. And I got to hear from women who are still fully behind their art, as I am. Thank God!

Why was this time-sharing a new idea to these women? There is too much in life I don’t understand.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cape Cod gallery research

We were in Cape Cod for several days visiting Carl's parents in Wellfleet. We visited the Wellfleet galleries for two days in a row - Cove, Blue Heron, and two Left Banks. I looked and looked, trying to find somewhere that I "fit." No fit. I have deduced that my work is too strong for those galleries, that I put much more of myself into my work than feels - well, "polite" is the word that came to mind. I am generous and not very critical, so I tried hard to find work that moved me. Nothing. A few were definitely skilled, inventive, and I could almost call them art (now that's loaded....). But they didn't speak to my heart, gut, soul, spirit, or mind, deeply.

One exciting thing - Cove has rented out a part of it's space to "The Farm" - an exciting space with real art in it!!! Now that's not fair. But that's what I called it - . I'm not going to even describe it, but to say that it was drawings on paper exploring line, figuration, and space - but nice and viscerally so the lines, and the human touch, really speak to the viewer.

Yesterday we went to Provincetown galleries to research further. We went first to the Strand - and guess what! It is the old Provincetown Workshop space that I attended in 1967 when the teachers were Leo Manso and Victor Candell. Lifetimes ago. The director was absolutely friendly to me and the art was the real thing - nourishing, unpretentious, some of it edgy. The Strand is actually a co-op of nine long time locals. Good ones.

We went to the Provincetown Museum and - what a surprise this was - there was a huge 20 year retrospective of work by Tabitha Vevers, who I met at VCCA in 1992 or 1993. And she was THERE so we got to talk a while. Her work is not at the moment describable by me - maybe tomorrow. It is - let's say it's high end real art. You can google her.

We popped into a few galleries that looked good to me from the Provincetown gallery guide, and in one, Kobalt Gallery, we saw a bunch of work in encaustic. I was genuinely excited, because the work was good, and used drawing and painting skills, not just "pushing the wax," etc. I talked to the owner, who was putting up some work. She let us look at the stored encaustics, handle them, etc - very trusting and Carl says she could tell it was ok. Also I'd told her that I work in the medium. We had an interesting talk about sales - and I left her my Ceres card. I liked her a lot. This was a gallery where my work would fit - at least some of the recent work.

I'm definitely on an active search now. My long term goal is to continuously create good art and to find ways to get it into the right homes and institutions - and to have money flow my way in return. How that happens is open....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's art thoughts

This morning I made a CD to send to York Arts. They are having a show of work using wax, called Hot for Wax. I like the title. I wasn't going to apply but Carl says there is a lively art scene there. Nothing to lose.

Yesterday one of my oldest and most favorite art friends from this area came by my studio: Bobbie Staat. She is such a wildly creative fine artist, and her work is so fine! We traded art years ago, and she even found and gave me a lamp when I was making latex "skin" lampshades - shades of Nazi shenanigans. She loved the result and now owns it. Now that is guts, as gutsy as I had to be to make it! I own 2 paintings by her and she also owns a "spirit ladder" by me. So how cool to reconnect. I asked her if my present encaustics look claustrophobic (they are pretty dense) and she said no, it looks like your face is right in the middle of the dogwood blossoms. Great! Just what I'm after.

Now I still want to say something about my Ceres Gallery show. Despite the lack of sales it was terrific. At the opening a serious collector looked carefully at every piece and ALMOST bought one. Unfortunately I didn't get her card, and I can't find her on the web - she's from Miami.
Then there was a couple, older than I am, so close to the work I almost had to ask them to be careful. The man then talked to me a lot about the work, how much he liked it, and THEN tried to get his gallerist to take me into his upscale NY gallery. Well, it didn't manifest, but - somehow those experiences and several others registered as success.

I do want to be earning real money for my work, which looks like the real thing to me. It IS the real thing, just like Carl's music is. But barring that coming in a steady flow, appreciation from the right people goes a long way. It registers as support.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

arts in the neighborhood

Friday night I went to my pal Alice's big project unveiling, the Takoma Mosaic Project. Pretty amazing gathering, filled with all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors of people who had worked on the mosaic which now makes up the outer wall of the library. Some of my old artist buddies were there, including one extremely talented (I don't love that word) painter who is not doing any art now. I hate when people give up. Everything seems to try to make us give up, especially the lack of "care" of the general public about whether we make art or not. I'm not going to rant about this right now.

Today Carl and I went to the open house of an artist down the street. I've been eager to see her house and work, because the best outdoor sculpture in our part of Takoma Park is in her yard - a beautiful bottle tree. Her work is lovely and full of feeling - also full of Black musicians and funky Baltimore scenes, all done in a Grandma Moses kind of technique/aesthetic. Kristen Helberg is her name. Carl met a bass player there who remembered him from 20 years ago. This guy remembers EVERYthing! including everyone he's ever met it seems - at least musicians he's met. They talked a lot while I poked around and talked to even more artists who aren't doing much art. No wonder I was feeling so down and disoriented when we came home!

Monday, June 1, 2009

artists liberation for everyone

The workshop yesterday went terrifically well. At least eight writers, six visual artists, several musicians and movement/dance people showed up. Funny to say this on the blog (I am a beginning blogger) and not really want to describe the whole workshop. One interesting part was about oppression and internalized oppression of artists - all the junk we carry around in our heads that makes us think artists are different, lazy, childlike, crazy, "special," etc - what nonsense. Then there is the idea that only a few talented people can really "make it" in the arts - everyone else is wasting time doing such a useless activity which won't bring any real money to them.
The Washington DC area has its own way not supporting arts people who live here. We are peripheral to politics, marginal in general.
I hate how people repress their own, and others', creativity. I don't think it really helps the overall energy of the world.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Twenty four people will be attending the arts workshop. I can't wait!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Today I went to a Women's Caucus for Art networking day. Susan Fisher Sterling from the Womens Museum gave the keynote talk. She's a peach, funny, witty, outspokenly feminist, super knowledgable, AND she remembered me!! from 1991 when we had the national WCA honorees dinner (and show) there at the museum - she sat next to me and told me I was doing fine as the organizer right at that moment. (whew) That was a lifetime ago, and I can't believe I am still a member of this organization. I am not active in it at all, but it is finally looking truly more multi-cultural - a huge relief and also attractive.
I showed an encaustic piece during the art share time - I'm feeling so good about the recent work, it'd be a great time to pitch it in other places. Finding those is my challenge.

Tomorrow I am leading a workshop called "Artists Liberation for Everyone." The idea is to get support of the artists for each other, and to teach others to be allies/supporters of the artists in their lives. Sounds good, doesn't it.

Now that I have a blog (thanks to Bonnie Macallister who told us at the networking day how to just go ahead and do it (!) and to my husband who had been nudging me previously) I want to write everything at once. I want to write about my show at Ceres Gallery but will wait until another day.