Monday, April 14, 2014

Three Horses, The First Horse

Here is Night Sky Horse. Night Sky is 8x8 inches, as it is one of three submissions to the 8x8 Show at 337 Sketch Gallery in Hamilton. I never did ask for clarification about the Year of the Horse being optional or mandatory. I began with three abstract (deciding to interpret the theme as ‘optional’ but was unsatisfied with the results).  I took the one that bothered me the most for being too strident, soulless, and unfixable, and buried under 5 layers of opaque acrylic paint.  Then I strategically swiped off layers using an alcohol soaked cloth (hint, do this outdoors, it stinks).  When the original monoprint collage revealed itself again, I brought it in, sketched a horse in paint, and carried on with layers of acrylic both opaque and transparent until it declared itself finished. The wings where a surprise. They just ‘happened’ and I try not to get in the way of these ‘happenings’, and it fact, the horse ‘just happened’ too, except I admit to hoping desperately for a horse to appear on command.
The centre square is the beginning. The blue background is a gelatin monoprint pasted onto hardboard, and the torn yellow pieces are previous collage using several gelatin prints, which I tore apart for this piece.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ultimate Sketchbook for the Commitment-Phobic Artist

I envy you artists that purchase or receive a gorgeous hard-cover bound sketchbook packed with creamy white but screamingly blank pages and not be induced into a panic attack.  These things scare me. 
So I came up with something else (probably not particularly an original idea, but that’s besides the point). 
1st order of the day, the paper sources must be cheap. Cream coloured card-stock that I can’t find a use for (I love and use cardstock, just not the big wad of buff that I’m stuck with) is a good start, as it was taking up space. 
2nd. the ‘sketchbook’ pages must be small in size, so their scary blankness is somewhat diminished, with a bonus of portable.  These turn out to be purse sized.
3rd, easily acquired and replenished without the need of cutting tools, scissors, knives, rulers, paper-cutters, tape, needle, thread or glue: so enter my Ultimate Sketchbook, that consists of any quarter of a4-sized paper.  Any a4 paper (a ubiquitous source) will do, fold it in half, crease in both directions and tear.  Later, if you like what you see, punch two holes un the upper corner, and string them together.
As you can see, I’m using ‘book-binder rings’. It’s easy to remove or add single sheets from any part of the sketchbook (remember, I’m commitment-phobic when it comes to sketchbooks), and I get to predetermine the location of the hole punch.
I made some pre-cut templates handy, in case I want my drawings to be within certain boundaries. That way, if something turns out exactly right, I have the option of scanning, enlarging and transferring the sketch ‘as is’ to a larger format.  So far, just have squares & and scaled down 8x10.  I keep them in an origami pocket I made that becomes part of the ‘sketchbook’.
Thus far, this is really working out for me. It is satisfyingly thick, it grows, I can hide and keep things that don’t quite work-out, I can recycling the boring and bland immediately, or later upon reflection, and, on a future rainy day, when I can’t come up with a single idea, I can mine my sketchbook for a new linocut or painting. I can even tape in little printed bits of writing (very secret) if I like, so text is good too.
And best yet, it gives me a good excuse to start every art day comfortably seated at my desk with a coffee at my side and just draw.  Warm-ups with benefits…

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Signs of Spring—not all of them welcome

Grackles, looked at with an artist’s eye, are a designers dream.  It doesn’t matter what they are up to, they look like graphic art pieces.
So it’s no surprise, that as soon as they invade my yard, and empty the birdfeeders, and frighten off every other smaller or more colourful bird, they also invade my art.  The former activities are less then welcome, but I love, love, love to draw them. What sleek silhouettes, and oil-slick colours. Their behaviours are fascinating too. They are clever, prolific, adaptable, and reproduce so successfully, they can crowd out other species, kind of reminds me our our species.
This is a gelatin print finished with clear acrylic gel, sand and acrylic paint.  The grackle bodies are mostly the original monoprint, and the sky is mostly paint.
I was fascinated when I took this outdoors, how exactly the colour blended in with the neighbourhood.
Yes, this one is available from Etsy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two Geese: journalling

So today I was walking, I always walk, or bike, or ski, but never run, because running feels like the whole weight of the earth will crush my bones, so I was walking around the lake, because this is the place that I live and there is still ice on the lake, and I'm thinking of birds, and how this has been a hard winter for birds and aquatic birds can and do get their feet frozen into the ice, yet another horrific and perfectly natural way to die, and I'm thinking that even though this may be a normal thing that happens, I really don't ever want to be the one to witness it, and then I look down.
I look down the steep embankment, and there at the bottom are two geese, and one of them is standing with his legs knee deep in the ice. He is very still, and I read this as resigned.
When I walk, I have a route that if I walk consistantly fast, and take no detours, will take an exact hour to complete. This fits into my schedule.
So I see the goose standing knee deep in the ice, and thinking I will be late for supper. But something must be done, I can't just walk on by.
There is another goose, and she is resting nearby with her head curled upon her body. Geese, I hear, mate for life, and there she is, faithful.
I start making my way down, which isn't easy. The embankment is steep, and last year's grass is slick, and I'm trying not to panic them. They grunt softly. They do not sound panicked. They do not even sound perturbed.
I'm already thinking, if the goose is really stuck, what am I going to do? The misses will surely not stand idly by and will I really go out onto thawing ice on an April afternoon?
I don't want to do this, and the geese again grunt softly. They not only don't sound upset, but sound downright content making my horrid imaginings highly unlikely, but then again, it's incredibly odd for geese to be completely unbothered by a human scrambling down a bank. At this point, I just want to be sure everything's okay, so I say (and yes, I say it outloud) "I just need you to show me you're not stuck" and, now that I'm all the way down, with casual nonchalance, he lifts first one leg out of the ice, and then the other. The misses stands and stretches, and they grunt softly at each other.
I turn around and look up the embankment. It's very steep, I hope I'm not stuck.

Of course I do, with effort, get myself up the bank, and the geese are fine, and always, as the ice has turned into a transparent slurry of slush that they have no trouble negotiating but what I can't figure out is why they were so incredibly calm about both my presence and approach. As if from the moment I moved in for the "rescue" they were telling me, quite clearly, "all good, we're fine" if only I had listened.
posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, April 7, 2014

That Other Place That I Work

Art is everywhere. Here are some things I noticed today.

My Jackson-Pollacked pallet wrap. I'm rather proud of this.

Things look different looking down.

Trying out a new blogging app.
posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, March 29, 2014

IOWA University Print Exchange—Posted, Finished, On it’s Way!

Excuse my enthusiasm, but, yep, I’ve been busy, and I lurve these, really.
And available on Etsy, printed on demand onto 9x12 Stonehenge paper:
Three linocuts, sun, growing sprig, and underground bulb, come together to celebrate the transformation that comes with spring, the vernal equinox, when the sun heats up our planet and warms the earth. In darkness underground, the sun's energy is transformed to heat. Warmth spurs growth, and last years solar rays feed the growth below, until green shoots spring forth, and taste the sun directly, spiral upwards in glorious green growth and sun soaked blossoms. Vernal transformations on a yearly bases. Spring excites us all.
This is a multilayered print (called 'overprinting' in the world of fine art printmaking) using hand-carved linocuts, designed, drawn, carved and printed by the artist (that is me).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Morning Sketchbook—It’s an abstract, again…

Haven’t given up on the A4/4 sketchbook idea. Here’s what happens when I indulge myself. Abstract art, or, well, that’s the dilemma, how to judge abstract art, when is it art, vs a mess, a scribble, a doodle. If I sketch a cat, and it looks like a cat, that’s easy, the more it looks like a cat, the more of artist you are right? With realism, there’s a clear benchmark.  Go the other way, and you’re floating free, or adrift. Sometimes, oftentimes, I feel adrift.  But this is the sort of thing I gravitate too when I let my hands and pens and mind just do their thing. Glad I keep them nice and small and easy to stash, or else I’d be drowning in paper.
Speaking of drowning in paper, here are some of those masonite boards, now wrapped in abstract gelatin prints. I need to get these down for the 8x8 show in Hamilton.  The theme is Year of the Horse, but I don’t see any horses on the horizon.  I guess if they are completely abstract, I can cryptically name them Equus I, Equus II, and Equus III, whatever.
The paper curls are from a gelatin mono-print that turned into a first attempt at collage. I pasted the print onto mat-board, and it promptly curled in a permanent way. No matter, after peeling and sanding, I think I have something to work with.
Again, I can’t see any horses in here, but one of the years goals is to explore art freely, really explore, really follow the muse where it goes, and it’s pulling me in abstract directions, so here goes….


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