2004-04-02 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Rockaway Artists Alliance
by Susan Hartenstein
From The Artists Studio Rockaway Artists Alliance by Susan Hartenstein

Title: Caught Artist: Ellen Miffitt Medium: Sumi-e.Title: Caught Artist: Ellen Miffitt Medium: Sumi-e.

The nature of an exhibit of small works and miniatures is the intimate and personal scale of the work. This "close-up" scale fosters a special intimacy between artist and his or her creation. Further, by the very nature of their size, these small "gems" draw the viewer into this special realm and into the artwork’s beauty, strength and fascination.

Sixteen artists are participating in "small, smaller, smallest," RAA’s juried exhibition of small works and miniatures at sTudio 6 Gallery in Fort Tilden, running through April 25. In their personal statements, these artists provide an insight into the particular nature of their work. I have chosen two of the statements to include in this week’s column. Ellen Miffitt writes about her three sumi-e paintings. Sumi-e means black ink painting. The black ink on white paper is simple, elegant and serene. Simplicity is the key element. An economy of brush strokes are used to express the essence of the subject. Christina Jorge’s "21" is a sensual clay sculpture with acrylic wash. Yet despite the difference in mediums, you will sense the special connection each of these women has with her creation(s).

Ellen Miffitt – "I have been passionately involved with sumi-e since moving to the Pacific Northwest. After a Chi Gong exercise session or meditation, the rhythm and subtle sound of grinding the ink stick with water against the ink stone further quiets my mind. A0The earthy scent of ink, the brush contacting the rice paper, engages all my senses as my brush dance manifests the subjectB9s spirit. With a single brush a great variety of strokes, ink tones and washes create a deceptive simplicity, a total connection of the senses, and the art of being totally in the now with the Four Treasures (brush, ink sticks, ink stone and paper)."

Some call it "brush mind", I call it serenity. The spontaneous yet mindful stroke/s of the brush dancing gracefully on a surface captures the essence of being. Even with nontraditional me dia or paper, my brush and I are one ex pressing consciousness. My sumi focus is painting animals, wildlife, nature and my favorite expression the Enso. [In Japanese "enso" means "open circle." It is an ancient symbol of inner strength, harmony, community and peace.] The enso is one of the deepest symbols in Japanese Zen. A0As a daily practice, creating Zen circles can act as a spiritual diary. A0Often the animals I paint have an enso as part of their form.

As a lifelong creative person, I share my talents with toddlers to elders through art instruction, creative writing, and my original artwork. Teaching is an important part of my artistic growth as I learn from others as they do from me. The synergy and

exchange of ideas is a catalyst for my artistic process.

Christina Jorge – Artist Statement

’21 7"h x 14"l x 7"w / Clay with Acrylic paint wash, 2003. This sculpture represents a young girl’s entry into adulthood.A0 Her expression is a mixture of contentment and bliss as she has reached the age of independence.A0A0Her posture reveals comfort with her sexuality. One armA0under her headA0permits full exposure of her bare breasts. The other hangsA0off the side of the chaiseA0asA0an empty bottle of champagneA0is about to slipA0from her grasp. The ribbon in her hair represents youth and femininity while the drape across her pubis cloaks the mystery of woman.

I beganA0my workA0with clay and figurative sculpting 2 years ago under the instruction of the gifted artist Paul Lucchese.A0I have always had a great love and respect for theA0human bodyA0and I owe a debt of gratitude to him for helping me bring my feelings to form.

*This piece is not for sale because it wasA0a giftA0to my daughter Lia as she turned 21.

Gallery hours for "small, smaller, smallest" are Saturdays 12-5 p.m. Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free. For information e-mail:rockart116@aol.com or visit us at: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

Christian Le Gars won 2nd place prize for watercolor at the Audubon Artists, Inc. show at Oakridge in Forest Park. Several RAA members are part of this exhibit, which runs through April 3.e you @ RoCA.

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