Tuesday, June 27, 2017

When I Was a Bird

When I Was a Bird
collage on multi-media board, 8 x 14 inches
ingredients: vintage book pages and hand-written letters, image transfers, magazine cut-outs, gampi paper, water color crayons and pencils, stitching

This one looks pretty much the same as the last time you saw it; I just added some stitching, the birds, and tweaked a few other things. Trying not to overwork it, as I sometimes tend to do.

You may have noticed that people with wings, angel-like figures, and girls with one wing appear frequently in my work. I tried to get to the bottom of this obsession in a past blog post titled, "Where Wings Come From", which you can read here if you're interested. Someone once said that all of the figures an artist paints are reflections of him/herself, and in some way, I believe this is true.

detail of first spread from my handmade book, Book of Dreams

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. ~Henry Ward Beecher

a page from Not an Open Book

In trying to find quotes for this post, I came across a very interesting website called Every Pianter Paints Himself: Art's Masterpieces Explained. The home page text states:

Every painter paints himself, a saying first documented in the early Renaissance, has been mentioned by artists ever since. Both Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci used it, as Picasso did too; Lucian Freud and other contemporary artists still cite variations today. Yet despite its great significance to artists, art scholars rarely discuss the saying or its meaning. Those who do seem to have no choice but to deny it: painters don’t really paint themselves, they say, but their sensibility. But why would a phrase that meant so much to great masters, and still does to their followers, require re-phrasing to mean anything? The truth is, as this website demonstrates, it is the images of these visual artists that are veiled, not their words.

Here's an example from the site where they discuss some of Basquiat's paintings in relation to his life. I plan to go back and read what they say about other artists and their work. Just something to think about, you know?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

So Far...

Despite drowning in a sea of product tags, focus keywords, alt attributes, meta descriptions, and SEO titles, I have managed to make a little more progress on When I was a Bird, a collage I had started for an art challenge a few weeks back. I took photos of it with my phone, and they did not upload to my dropbox. I have no clue why, but it is surely aggravating. So I took photos with my Panasonic Lumix, and couldn't get them to upload to the computer! Just one more thing, you know?

But I have managed to grab little snippets of time here and there to work this collage, mainly to keep myself sane. Now, back to work, and maybe a bit of studio time! I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Art Challenge: Birds

When I found out the theme for this week's Art Challenge was "Birds", I couldn't resist, despite the fact that I'm busy trying to build a new website (trying is the operative word here), and I've got tons of yard work and gardening to do, not to mention the normal everyday stuff to keep up with. But it's BIRDS, you know? If you've followed my blog for very long, or looked at my website, it's pretty obvious that birds are a very important part of my symbolic vocabulary. In fact, I did two long posts about birds in art, which you can read here and here, if you're so inclined.

So I thought I'd maybe just take one of my old collages that didn't work out, since pretty much all of them have birds on them, re-work it here and there, and voila! - a new bird collage. Nope. Ideas started whirling around in my head and I found myself starting a whole new collage, which I knew I wouldn't be able to finish in time for the challenge.

Work in progress: When I Was a Bird

But luckily, no one in this lovely group of artists cares much about deadlines or rules, so I'm posting what I've got so far. There's a lot more work ahead, but I think the basic bones of the composition are in place, and you can get an idea of where it's going. I will be sharing my progress here, so check back in a few day for an update!

Eric Adama of Cerulean is our kind host, so head over to his blog for the links to more bird art!

Monday, May 15, 2017

New Work: Temple

Temple, 17.5 x 11 inches, mixed media
ingredients: vintage book cover, monotype, vintage maps and engineering drawings, other vintage ephemera, metallic ink, found objects, brads, brass wire, acrylic paint, artist pens, feathers

So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 "Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life."                                                                                                                              - Hermann Hesse

Monday, May 1, 2017

Progressing... a Few Quick Glimpses

Coming along slowly with the new piece I first showed you in this post. It's been quite a while since I completed something; as some of you may know, I've been busy studying business things. More about that later. (You can read a bit about it here and here.)

Most of the basic components are glued down, and I have added some stitching; I think it will be finished in the next day or so. In the meantime, I just wanted to share a few more details before you see the whole piece. (Is that an oxymoron?) Anyway, without further blah-blah-blah:

I kind of enjoy using the hammer and awl to make holes for the stitching.  My dogs, however, do not enjoy the noise - I suppose it sounds like thunder or fireworks to them - and when I start, they quickly find another place to hang out.

My son-in-law gave me these old engineering drawings, which I have since found out are done on silked vellum. We knew they were vellum, but when I tore a piece of it to use in a collage, I saw tiny threads, and realized it was woven. Later I heard, just by chance, that in the past very very thin sheets of silk would be somehow laminated onto vellum to make it more durable. It's a strange material to work with, as it doesn't behave like either paper or fabric, and seems to stretch when wet (or has glue on it), and is very hard to glue down flat.

Here, tree roots have been stitched with embroidery floss - a mix of two different blues. Hopefully, it will all come together soon, and I will share it with you here!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Untitled Post With Nothing in It

Until just a minute ago, that's what this was. For a very long time, started sometime in what seems like the distant past, this post had languished in a dormant state called, "I'm doing too many other things, but I'm planning to do a post at some point, preferably sooner than later." But my brain was so otherwisedly (at least I found time to invent a new adverb - I think) occupied that I had gotten no further than this, and I was stuck there, with no idea at all as to what it should be about. Sometimes if I just begin to begin, inspiration may strike me out of the blue - or maybe not.

I have had this little collage sitting on my press next to the computer desk, but I hadn't scanned it, or thought of a title. So I've decided to call it "Otherwisedly Occupied", which seems to be the best I can do right now, and also allows me to use my newly-invented word.

Otherwisedly Occupied
mixed media collage, 6 x 4 inches
ingredients: vintage book pages and other vintage ephemera, decorative paper, watercolor pencil

I hope you enjoy! Have a great weekend, everyone! xoxo

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Trials and Tribulations, and New Work on the Way

I have several pieces that have been laying around my studio that haven't been shared due to the fact that I didn't have a decent, fully functional camera. After much research and thought, I finally bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000. It was more than I really wanted to spend, but I needed something that would take excellent artwork photos, and a DSLR costs that much just for the body; then, in addition, you have to buy various expensive lenses for different purposes. Another point against a DSLR is that I realized that I didn't want to be bothered with lugging around a bunch of lenses, which I would have to be changing all the time, so a high-end fixed-lens camera seemed like the perfect choice.

So now, if the weather cooperates, I will be able to photograph those pieces, along with everything that needs to be re-photographed because I originally used my cell phone, and the photos are seriously lacking in quality. Especially since I'm going to be building a new website, I want the image quality to be as high as it can. I don't really want to upload my current photos, and then have to go back and replace them.

But now I have a new problem; setting up the new camera is somewhat (read: a lot) daunting. I'm afraid it's going to take a while. It has so many features, I'm not even sure what some of them mean! So in the meantime, I'll have to keep using my phone, unless they are flat and can fit on my scanner. Sheesh!

Anyway, I'm finally taking time from my technical studies to make some art! Here are a few sneak peaks of what's happening in the studio. Taken, of course, with my cellphone.

Materials used: vintage book cover, vintage maps, antique engineering drawing, monotype, book pages.  This one has a ways to go, but so far I'm satisfied with it.

I hope you are all having a great weekend, and making some art! Namaste, my friends.