My process and inspiration: I layer many layers, watch as the paints blend between layers and colors. I use watercolors because of the mutable nature of the materials. I create textures with household items. I talk to the paints and the canvas and ask what I should add next and where. And I stop when I smile. I am inspired by nature, emotions and color.
Colors Dance in Time
Encinitas City Hall, Solo Show
January 18, 2017 – March 9, 2017
505 N. Vulcan Ave, Encinitas, CA
About the Artist: As an artist Momilani Ramstrumuses intuition, inspiration, discipline, dance and play. In each painting, she strives for exquisite detail and diverse textures as well as a compelling sense of movement through the piece as a whole. Her visual art is influenced by musical improvisation, with the interplay of lines creating dissonance and resolving into consonance. She creates layered surfaces, enlivened by contrasting sections, and varied forms. Her use of color is bold with entwined splashes, twists of energy and complementary contours. She draws inspiration from her photography of nature, the desert, trees and plants and the vibrant interplay of shape and light. Her paintings are created through a process of internal dialogue with the painting – she watches the play of colors and shapes, sometimes for hours. Layers are begun, and a painting allowed to form itself over weeks or months of reflection.
After the painting is complete she uses the paintings as the raw materials for further artistic explorations. She photographs sections of the paintings, enlarges them, prints on canvas, and then paints more layers on top. She also takes the images and uses them in interactive performances for vocal improvisation and animated visual art. In these performances dramatic vocalizations with multilayered chanting, wordless melismas, long tones, and melodic lines are created by the singer, as she uses a MIDI glove (that she designed and created using embedded sensors) to trigger the computer to record and loop up to 12 tracks in real time. The computer then uses components of the sounds such as attack, pitch, and dynamics to trigger changes in the visual art, which are images of her paintings.
Artist Biography: Momilani Ramstrum has painted and done visual art since she was a child. She has a Ph.D. in electronic music and performs unique improvisations using voice interacting with a MIDI glove controlled computer. As a composer and inventor, Momilani holds a patent for her MIDI glove which she created to control the computer in real-time. She performs and gives presentations at seminars, festivals and conferences in San Diego, San Francisco, Missouri, New York, Hawaii, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Russia and Japan. Her art is held by collectors in San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore, and Japan.
The Exhibit: Colors Dance in Time: Momilani Ramstrum is inspired by nature, musical improvisation, and the desert. All pigments are watercolor with mixed media, which are combined to produce a very non-watercolor mode of presentation. She is an ecological painter and often reuses found items such as dried paint, sand, glue, string, wire and plant husks. She throws these materials on the canvas, adds pigment and watches the dance begin. Her art has evolved over the years as she has gained more trust in the process of creation as a way of knowing and being herself. As she creates, she gets a better grasp of materials and stronger understanding of the paintings as unique beings in the world. Can art help us to illuminate the present, look at ourselves and see the path through the woods?
Artist Statement: “I use watercolors because of their malleable nature. They are never set, but continue, over time to develop. As a way of being in the world, my use of watercolors mimics how I see my life with others. Though each is alone, we interact and draw colors as we approach and leave one another. I don’t paint with black, but prefer the boldness and gentleness of mixing colors. Much of my time painting is simply observing how the paint behaves and my responses to it. I dislike discarding paint; so I reuse bits of paint from the floor, the drop cloth, or dried in the paint bucket. Painting is a solitary activity; through which I discover how to accept myself and others, as necessary to a more nuanced, kinder and deeper existence in the world.”
Here is a link to a post by blogger Melissa Sanchez who visited my booth at Art San Diego, Thanks Melissa!
Here is an article about me and my work by Diane Welsh. It was published in the Encinitas Advocate on September 29, 2015.
Titles are like poetry. They start a story. The story is completed by the experience of the painting. ["Golden Shower Tree. A time of renewal."] I watch the play of colors, textures and forms. Minutes and hours pass. I start to understand what I am seeing in the painting, a little bit. I am suspended in time. Time starts again and I live out the story in front of the painting. The movement begun in a flow of paint is completed. The meaning is realized. My story intersects with the painting for a moment in time. ["Precious Eggs. Seeds of Abundance."]
The titles of my artworks are an important step in the my artistic process. After many layers of paint, there is a moment when I know the painting is complete. I frame, I photograph, and then I discover a title. ["Leaping Purple Dancer. Lost then Found"]
The title comes after time is spent with the painting. I sit and look at the painting and sometimes I talk with it. I listen to a quiet voice that whispers and I use my musical imagination to see where the painting is leading me. ["Alive. We Dance. Choosing Partners"] This part of the process is very meditative. Images form into shapes, and shapes form into meaning. ["Secret Map of the Heart. Courage and Strength"] How do I see the painting? How does the painting feel? How do I feel while sitting in front of the painting. Are there hints of the representational world in the swirling colors? Does the movement lead me somewhere. Do the emotions exist in their own time and space? Does the painting have something to say for itself? ["Meteor Shower. Heart of the World"]
Colors also have meaning for me in an energetic sense. This also impacts my discovery of a title. I am drawn to specific colors at certain times that have a specific emotional and energetic impact. Yellows, blues, greens, purples... ["Blue Cat Hunting. The search for meaning in small spaces."] I don't paint with black. Browns are formed by the additive coloring of watercolor layers. Titles often have the component colors in them, which have meanings into themselves. ["Yellow Guitar, paints red music."]
Seeking Justice. Level Viewpoint
For the next 4 weeks my solo art show will be at the Encinitas Library Gallery. Opening reception is in a week, Saturday September 26, 1-4 PM. You are invited! Food. Drink. Art. Music. Love. At this opening I will be doing a West Coast premiere combining vocal improvisation and art: the voice will improvise on the art and the art will improvise on the voice. It will be exciting! Hope to see you there. Encinitas Library Gallery, 540 Cornish Dr, Encinitas
Momilani Ramstrum “Color Conversations”
Encinitas Public Library Art
September 14 – October 19, 2015 Solo Show, Opening Reception September 26, 2015 1-4 PM
The exhibit represents a textured view of juxtaposed landscapes created using watercolors, salt, sand, glue and soap. Her art is inspired by the need to preserve ocean, land and culture. These paintings represent an inner journey with visions of emotions, thoughts in flux, at peace and transcendent. Info: email@example.com
I try to let go of thinking when I paint – it is a very physical act. I touch the paints, I pick up the colors, the materials that I might add to the paint – water, glue, sand, salt, string, bits of dried paint, wire – and I get a sense of what comes next. Like a dance where I only know the next step in the dance. As I paint, I see in terms of movement in space, movement in color, movement on the canvas. And I am observing what is already on the canvas. I am choosing elements in terms of movement between layers.
Sometimes I have a particular experience or event in mind when I create a painting. And this is true of the smaller paintings. But more often the experience will shift and change as I work on the painting. I am working in larger canvases now and it takes weeks and sometimes months to complete. So then the painting becomes the site of the discussion of the text of a novel. It is as if I have read through a good book and painted my way through scenes and moods. The final result is the culmination of all of that. Some of the earlier scenes are partially covered by later layers, but the essence of them peeks through and creates depth in the final result.
Why do I use watercolors? The textures of the paintings seem more like acrylics.
One reason I use watercolors and other water-based materials is because of the ability of watercolors to keep developing even after they have dried. They interact with subsequent layers to create fascinating complexities of form and texture. When you are planning a dinner party, you decide where everyone will sit and try to control the interactions? Or do you put out the food and let go, let everyone gravitate towards their own spots and see what happens? All the while you are listening and observing and making adjustments (you bring out the food or put on music, or change topics of conversation if needed). As host you are responsible for the overall mood – the lighting, the food, the music, the ambience, who is invited. But each guest is going to bring their own experiences and emotions. SO the party becomes this complex interaction between all of that. My painting is like a complex party that goes on for weeks. I have to provide the materials and choose the paints. I apply color – I pour materials usually rather than brush them on, though I do both. I tilt the canvas in different ways. Sometimes the paint goes in unexpected directions. I let it settle down. Sometimes I pour the next layer before the previous is dry – then there is greater interaction with the previous. Other times I will wait days or weeks for drying. But with watercolors anything dried, will reawaken when made wet. So it can be very exciting. I pour paint, then come back and look at it 10 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour later, and it has developed in surprising ways. I have a relationship with each canvas – a dialogue and a conversation.
I am thrilled. Such dancing color fun!
The Spark of Life. I painted this as unframed canvas then later created a frame for it. The result was very textured - as the media dried, buckles and dimensions were created.
We created 3 sizes of rack holders for the canvases. Padded and slanted, none of the canvases' front surfaces touch anything. Each rack holds about 10 canvases. We rented a uhaul trailer to carry them. And it worked! The paintings arrived unharmed, and it was easy to load and unload.
Solo show coming up at the Encinitas Library Gallery. We made frames, and a framework to haul the paintings to the gallery.
Why do I paint?
This process of getting to know myself through painting is incredibly self evolving, which ultimately my goal in life. Painting helps in my awareness of myself, in my relationship with myself, and in learning to trust myself.
When I feel pain and sadness, anger or resentment, I paint. The act of movement helps to let go of the emotion. Ultimately we are responsible for creating our experience of the world. In painting, which I find an inherently enjoyable activity, it makes me slow down and I get a better sense of my relationship to the world. Painting helps me to focus on the details – to look closely and perceive the relationship of the small to the large.
"I wish my words were as whole as the trees and grass in that first silence out of which everything was born." Suntaro Tanikawa
"It is important to dare to be pleased that we are not in full control, are not conscious all the time." Tor Norretranders
Creating is a journey to know and be myself where the path is more important than the destination. The process of creating is an internal dialogue; a dance with colors while smiling at the wind. I look and I listen until the paint begins to speak. I choose the colors, pour the paint, and then the colors begin to dance.