Ya gotta have art!

Progress. I’ve been making it, albeit in a total tortoise slow and steady wins the race fashion. I’ve been facing the fears inherent in this new “big project”* and taking small manageable steps towards completion.

ha! That’s sounds so grown up.

I’ve taken the photographs (still need a couple more) and the universe has generously provided me with the means to print them as large cyanotypes in the form of the amazing Judy being in my Alt Process class! She has a kick ass alt process studio set up in her home that we can print at and she has a contact frame large enough for 20×24″ paper. Ask and ye shall receive right?

So, that part of the project is moving forward. The sculptures? ugh. Still haven’t figured that out yet. Not even sure if that’s what I should be calling them. First material test was a bust. Need to try some thicker paper. Plastic? Mat board?? I’m still a bit stuck there. But I’ll figure it out. I have no deadline for this, so am not stressing things. Just trying to keep the momentum going and not get bogged down in self-doubt.

I think my woodcut is close to completion which means I can get the giant jig Chris made me off the table. I haven’t painted in what feels like ages and need that surface clear. Maybe one more day of cutting back those high marks. I ran another test print yesterday and took a photo of the block after I inked it to see what areas still need to be worked on.

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Not all of those extra marks showed up on the print, so again, not gonna stress about it too much. And  I kinda like those marks on relief prints. Perfection is not the goal thank goodness.

 

In other “big project”/painting (but not the good kind of painting painting) news, we’ve been painting the house! yeah, that was a lot of paintings. Welcome to my world. Now that Kyle is firmly ensconced in the dorm at Sac State (and in a frat! omg who is that kid?!), we moved Erin into his bedroom as it is the bigger of the 2 rooms. We let her pick out the paint colors – within reason of course – and now the room is Beloved Pink. Nice. She had picked out new bedding – because she is big now and ladybugs and flowers just aint’ cutting it anymore! – so we had a color scheme to work with. I even painted her dresser a pretty light mint green. Our Paris-girl is loving it!

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We moved her in on Tuesday and Wednesday was the previously scheduled start date for having the exterior of our house painted. oh my. They are finishing up today and it is looking great! I will be beyond happy to get the remaining plastic off the windows. At one point yesterday, not only were all the windows covered, but the doors too! I was trapped in plastic wrap! And that is no way to live. But we aren’t done yet! Tonight Chris will start painting Erin’s old room for Kyle. Chris is on a tan wall be gone bender!

 

* I haven’t known what to call these new pieces I’ve been working on, but I now know that I do not like “big project” even if that’s what it feels like. I think I will now refer to it as the “Freeway Project”. Totally irrelevant to what it is about, but reminds me of how the ideas came to me. Plus it gives me a fIREHOSE earworm that I like.  sweet.

 

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One tube of white paint at a time.

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Today’s easel view. I will be forever entertained that the gun print in the background always seems to be pointing at someone’s head!

We have been in our new house for over a year now and I can’t even express how much I love my studio space without resorting to lots of little hearts and glitter. And I don’t roll that way.

much.

I love sitting at my desk and being able to turn and mad dog whatever is on my easel. Today we have two acrylic paintings that I have been working on in fits and starts for a couple months. Actually the bottom panel was an old unfinished painting from last year. So many layers. And I’ve spent the past two days just adding white paint over white paint. I have no idea where it will go from here, but it’s at an interesting place right now.

And then there is all the stuff churning around in my brain. I was hit with a wave of ideas for art pieces last week while flying down the freeway blasting some permutation of Jack White on the stereo. And it wasn’t just a couple random ideas, I saw the complete installation in a gallery. It was kind of amazing. Now my challenge is to see if I can create those pieces. It started with sculptural wall pieces – something I’ve never done before. I have no idea how I’m gonna pull those off, but my plan is to start with a small maquette and experiment with materials. There were also photographs – cyanotypes to be specific. Hey lucky me, I was already planning on doing an Independent Study in Alternative Process this upcoming semester. I had no idea what I was going to work on when I brought this up to Randy (professor) last spring, but now I know exactly what I need to do. And I am slowing getting things together to put myself in front of the camera. Big leaps here people.

2 weeks ago, I had a sudden urge to go to the library and check out a book that I hadn’t finished the first time around. It’s a big book. While I was looking for what I went in for, I ran across “The Artist’s Way” and decided to grab that too. Oh life, it’s bigger.

 

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Someone long ago had painted “ONLY DEAD FISH GO WITH THE FLOW” on a sidewalk at the University of Michigan. I don’t know if it was something I walked over once or everyday while I was there, but it was forever etched into my memory.

Struggle against the flow. Go with the flow. Fight. Surrender. I don’t have the answers. Some days it’s one. Some days the other. 

Making art is a struggle. Sometime you find that flow and go with it. The painting comes easy. Some days not.

But I understand the game. “Don’t fall in love with the background!” The “ugly teenager” phase. It’s temporary! The “click” when it starts to come together. And  I know the materials. I feel competent that I can make them do my bidding. No big surprises. And then I started painting with encaustics, and the unknown is as vast as an ocean. I am a beginner here. Any sense of control that I may feel is false. With heat the wax becomes fluid and unpredictable. The lines move. Too much heat and you melt through to the wood panel underneath all those layers. You blow a hole into the painting. And you have to remember what you learned in printmaking – “you can’t go back, you just have to roll with it”. Go with the flow. damn.

I really struggle when I work on an abstract piece. I need the painting to “be” something. I like a narrative. Even if no one else sees it. I started this painting 4 months ago. People who saw it said it was great, but I knew it wasn’t finished. And I was stuck. Didn’t know where to take it next. So I would walk by and doodle on it out of frustration. Carve into it, or draw more lines on it as I explained encaustic painting to visitors. It sat on the workbench and I would glare at it. And then a couple weeks ago I started working on it again, found the story and was able to finish it. finally!

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Ophelia” 18″x18″

Of course I have started another encaustic painting. Another struggle. I am letting it sit. Giving it the stink-eye as I pass. In the meantime I’ve been making encaustic monotypes. A printmaking technique that allow me to make quick and easy prints with wax on paper. I had been using thick printmaking paper, but picked up some rice paper after attending the last Sierra Wax Artist meeting and seeing a monotype demo by Barbara Nilsson.  I must say I am really loving the results I get with this thinner paper! These are all 6″x9″ encaustic and graphite.

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As long as “this thing” continues to be good news  like I received in today’s mail. I just found out that one of my prints was selected for the Crocker Museum’s annual Art Auction!

I will have a piece of art hanging in a museum.

That is all kinds of kick ass!

And I needed that. Now we just need to get our house sold so that life can be all kinds of wonderful again! Cause March was kind of exhausting. On so many levels. The unplanned and accepted offer we put on a bigger house here in town, putting our house on the market, my friend Lisa passing away, the constant packing and cleaning and showing of house. ugh. All of which means I have not been able to make any art except when at class. Thank god for my printmaking class. Keeping me on the right side of sane.

woodcutSo, let’s hope this one piece of good news rolls into more good news: revised offers and our house under contract. No more Open Houses. No more always being ready for realtors to come through. Then I can get my desk out of storage and get back to work!

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Lucky 7

July 11, 2013

Wow. I had been managing a post a month so far this year – even 2 in February! And then I missed June. On so many levels. June was all about the volleyball. In fact, I was at a volleyball tournament in Reno (Jr Nationals – boy got a Silver Medal!!) when June became July! […]

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True Free Rebel Spirit

January 10, 2013

Last summer I took an on-line drawing class to keep busy between school semesters. I  think I started to tell you about it here, but got a bit side tracked. ahem. Anyways, the on-line class was great! I loved the daily assignments (without a grade or anyone even caring if you did it or not! […]

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