slightly wonky


Both ends of the spectrum…
November 30, 2011, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Drawing, painting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay.  I know that I was going to TRY to focus only on black and white drawings, but I still have a couple of painting classes left…so the color is not dead yet.  Here is the painting that I did today:

Talk about less is not more!  I know.  As soon as I get a paintbrush in my hand, I lose all sense of editing and moderation.  Is there a color that I didn’t use?  I don’t think so.  The little “painting-within-a-painting” was  my teacher’s idea.  I kind of like it.  It must be so hard to be a minimalist painter…the temptation to just go crazy with colors and marks is tough to ignore.  Maybe minimalist painters get that out of their system by age 5 or so.  Not me.  Not yet!

I am still working on my drawings.  I’m going to now try to slow down and spend more time on them.  I’m also experimenting with new papers/surfaces.  This drawing was on plate bristol:

I am happy with this.  I really need an easel, though.  I just try propping that whole drawing board up on either my knee, or the handle of my luggage cart for my acrylic paints.  Clearly, this is not how Picasso probably worked.    I also have decided that I need a little clip on light for my drawing board, as it’s sometimes difficult to see the first pencil lines that I put down.  Here is a close up:

I have to work on my technique some more.  I think getting an easel might help, as I won’t be wrestling to balance the silly drawing board while I’m trying to create poetic and ethereal cross hatching.

My son keeps asking for the little clock/CD player that I took out of his room after he kept squawking about the music that I put on.  I have it at my desk in the basement.  Now I don’t want to give it back!  I keep listening to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.  It’s the only classical/jazz cd that I have that isn’t stashed away in the attic somewhere.  It’s amazing how I can keep listening to that and not get tired of it.  Maybe I won’t feel that way by Dec. 25, but right now…it’s music to work by.  I just have to keep changing the subject whenever the topic of that little CD player comes up.  I hope that this doesn’t make me a bad mom.  Maybe I’ll have to get him his own little CD player for Christmas…along with some Lego monstrosity…because you can never have too much Lego, right?

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Happy Thanksgiving!
November 24, 2011, 9:23 pm
Filed under: Drawing

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  We had a lovely day in Central MA with my husband’s family.  It was a treat to see everyone.  I’m thankful to have spent the day with so many wonderful people. 

Many of my friends have posted photos on Facebook of their Thanksgiving meal.  I have no such photo…sorry!  I do have a rather impressive block skyscraper that my son made with his grandma:

Does that make up for no photo of my dinner plate?  No?  We do actually have some photos from the day, but I’m not sure how my family members would feel about their picture on the internet, so I’m just posting a this impressive pile of blocks instead.  I know.  You would have rather seen the turkey/stuffing/potato photo or the family shot.  No luck.  I’m the only one in the family crazy enough to post things on the internet.  I know that this blog will ruin my future presidential campaign, but I have to throw caution to the wind here.

I’m continuing to meet once a week with Adria Arch, a local artist.  She’s helping me to…FOCUS.  Lately, I’ve been working ONLY in black and white, and ONLY with drawing.  I’m working on still lifes.  Here’s a couple of them:

and

These are just portions of two larger drawings.  The top one is graphite and the bottom one is charcoal.  Ahh…the heady aroma of spray fixative…

In a way, I’m trying to put my blinders on a bit right now.  It’s hard not to be wowed and overwhelmed with all of the other talented people in the world.  Looking at other’s work can be both inspiring, and sometimes a bit defeating!  I’m trying to not worry about being too original in my technique, but being more original in my subject matter.  I hope that, in time, this will lead me into new directions with how to express my thoughts. 

Art is definitely a field where some people shock their way into stardom.  Others prefer to paint “happy little bushes” a la Bob Ross.  I think that the rest of us fall in the grey area between those two poles.

Adria cautioned me about presenting my work to others too early…and possibly stunting the little sapling of an idea here.  That’s at odds with this blog.   I’m going to try to post vignettes of my work so that I can continue to talk about it here as I plod along behind the scenes.

Like most of us, I often feel like one of those circus performers who has to keep a dozen plates spinning without falling.  Right now, I’m trying to have fewer art plates spinning so that I can stop everything from being so wobbly…

I just remembered that I DO have a great Thanksgiving image!  My son made this card at school, and I am planning on framing it because I love it so much AND I MUST PRESERVE IT FOREVER!!!!!!

Gobble!  Gobble! Gobble!



Portrait printmaking & chaos in painting
November 19, 2011, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

So, this week’s portrait class was fun…we did drypoint prints of the model.  A drypoint print is made by taking a plate (copper, plexi, etc.), and using a sharp steel tool to “draw”, or gouge, the lines into the plate.  Then, the plate is wiped with ink so that the ink stays in the gouges…and then we print it!  We were using plexiglass.  The most difficult part of this is that you can’t really see your drawing very well.  You have to keep tilting the plexi under the light to see where the lines are, as they are so faint and hard to see.  Again, we have the model who looks like Alanis Morrisette:

She was reading her book.  I was pretty happy with how this turned out.  Here is the second one:

I’m not happy with that one.  Sigh!  We only have one more class, after Thanksgiving.  I may take another stab at doing a drypoint (just a little printmaking humor…).

I’ve done more work on my vise drawing series.  I haven’t photographed the drawings, so I’ll have to show you them later.  As one of my infinite diversions, I was playing around with a few small, gouache paintings.  Here is the first one:

I like doing these messy, crazy things.  It started out somewhat realistic, with the blue sky…but then it took a turn for the weird at some point.  The next one:

Garish, right?  I like garish.  Last one:

 

I don’t know where I’m going with these.  I just like doing them. 

Any comments?  Helpful suggestions? 

Does it matter that no one may like these, as long as I like to do them?  

Does it matter that I clearly am not interested in “editing”?   

Does it matter that I often like to use practically every color that is out there?

Metallics…I don’t have any metallic paint yet…

 



Upcoming show and a featured local artist…
November 16, 2011, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Drawing, painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, a bit of good news!!!  I submitted three pieces of work to the upcoming show at the Arlington Center for the Arts…and all three were accepted!  I was pretty excited, as I had no idea what to expect.  The work is all abstract, but varied: one woodblock print, one monotype, and one acrylic painting.  Exciting!  The show, titled “Regeneration”, runs from November 21 through January 27.  The opening is December 2 at 7:30 pm…I hope that I can go!  Here’s what was selected:

and:

and: 

So exciting!

On another front, I wanted to highlight the work of a local artist, Regina Valluzzi.  She is uber smart, and combines her scientific background with her artistic vision to create amazing works.  This is one of her paintings, titled, “Vacuum Energy”:

“Vacuum Energy” by Regina Valluzzi

Amazing, right?  I wish that I could begin to understand the influences in her work, but as I am lacking a doctorate in physics, I can only talk about how I really love what she does…Please check out both her website and her blog.   Here is another of her paintings, titled, “Emergent Order”:

“Emergent Order” by Regina Valluzzi

I’m such a fan of the colors, layering and complexity…She has two works that are going to be in an exhibit in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center from January 4 – 7.  In addition, two of her drawings will also be in the aforementioned upcoming show at the Arlington Center for the Arts!  Congrats, Regina!

 I’ve been working on a WIDE variety of stuff, as per usual.  In my portrait class, we worked with that same model that you’ve seen me draw in past blog posts.  This time, however, instead of drawing….we did linoleum prints!  Here’s mine:

Kind of interesting…in a Durer-esque sort of way.  I wasn’t really finished with it, but I printed it anyway, as we were running out of time.  Lots of stuff that I’d do different next time, but my first linoleum print from a model.  The model looks like a brunette Gwen Stefani to me.

I also did a couple more woodblock prints.  These are just using the blocks that I already carved before:

I actually did several, but that one is just an example of the colors that I was using.  I also made ghost prints as well:

I’m not totally sure about the colors.  It was good to play around with these blocks again, though!

I’ve been continuing to work on my vise study/series.  I’m enjoying these drawings, as they are rather quick and messy (charcoal!).  I am forcing myself just to do them, without over-analyzing the whole thing.  I love using charcoal…it’s soooo tactile.  I mean, you can draw a thin line…a fat line…a really WIDE line with the side of the stick…you can smudge it…lift it…amazing!  I’m going to end up with black lung by the time this is over.  I need a drawing-vac to suck up all of the charcoal dust.  Again, does wonders for the laundry area where the vise is situated…But, I digress…here is one from last week:

I started to play with the anthropomorphic qualities of the vise…one from this week:

and one from today:

I really like that one.  I’m not sure if I’m finished with it.  I think that I should just leave it, so that I don’t “over-work” it.  That’s what my painting teacher is always threatening us about.  I am a virtuoso at over-working…both in my art and my life…but I’m trying to fix that in both too!

Speaking of painting, my recent painting from that class turned out…hmmm.  Here it is:

Hmm…I was trying to do a self-portrait…but from memory.  No photo or mirror.  Once I got home, and looked in the mirror…I saw TONS of stuff that was off.  It will be obvious to those who know me that this is only marginally a likeness.  I think that I might try it again.  Detail:

I really don’t think that my painting teacher liked it.  I think that he was concerned that I looked so depressed!  He asked us to do a painting inspired by writing/literature.  I was working from Shakespeare’s sonnet #159, which I had to memorize in high school.  DID I MENTION THAT I CAN STILL RECITE IT????  Scary!  Anyway, thinking of all of that generated this painting.  Once again…I got sucked into “realism”.  I just love painting faces, though, so I like to do it.  Next time, however, I’m going to really try to stay with abstraction, as I prefer that kind of art generally.  Well…just as my high school field hockey coach would yell with her Dutch accent…”PUUUUSH YOURSELF!”  Thanks, Anneke!!!



General drippy-ness
November 10, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Collage, Drawing, painting | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The snow has long melted away, and now we’ve got a gray day with rain.  I’m not complaining, as it was almost 70 degrees and sunny on Tuesday.  Typical November in New England.

My painting class went pretty well this week!  However, no matter how hard I try…I seem to keep getting sucked back into “realism”.  Trust me, I’m not implying that my work has any photographic realism to it, but it becomes more and more representational, which I’m always trying to avoid.  Here is the painting from this week:

If you can’t discern…it’s a still life of gardening gloves and a binder clip.  Don’t ask me what that melange means.  Anyway, I was trying to keep it fairly abstract, but my teacher kept prompting me to “fix” it so that it looked more “correct”.  I guess my abstraction wasn’t capturing the essence of the forms as much as when I just caved in and tried to paint the objects, albeit in a messy way.  The majority of this painting was done with a small paintbrush, like the flat kind that you get in a hardware store to paint the trim on your door or something.  I like the marks that this kind of brush gives.  I’m generally happy with it, although I’m still scratching my head how as to be more “abstract”.  Why, you ask, am I trying that?  I just like abstract art over realistic art.  I’m naturally wow-ed by anyone who can paint in a photographic manner.  But, I don’t like that kind of art, really.  I like abstraction.  Thus, I am continuously attempting to move in that direction.

My other art class never strays from the “non-representational” world.  We had to do two collages this week from the paintings that we made LAST week.  Here are my collages:

and:

Okay, here’s an odd thing.  The first one felt easy to do and took very little time.  The second one was like digging my own grave with a toothpick.  I have no idea why it was so difficult, and took me so long.  It’s so odd how one’s brain gets stuck.  Why?  WHYYY?  I don’t want to say that it was a waste of a good hour doing that one, but when I finished…I was exhausted and somewhat defeated by that little 5″x7″ rectangle of paper.  I was also surrounded by an explosion of paper scraps from failed attempts at that second composition.   I know…some people are brain surgeons, and I’m stumped by sticking paper down.  Hmph.

We also did colorful ink blot paintings in this class.  I think that maybe this is a project that I’ll see if my son wants to do:

and:

What do you see?  Don’t say “a general mess”.  I had fun doing this, but I would have loved to have had my tar gel medium to do some squiggly drips.

I’m also meeting once a week with Adria Arch, a local artist who’s work has been shown all over the place.  She just had a show finish at the Bromfield Gallery in the South End.  Impressive!  Anyway, she’s helping me set some direction with what I’m doing.  Because we both liked my previous “drill press” print (see my post titled, “Last Cambridge Print Studio…Boo Hoo!), we decided that I should continue this tool exploration.  So, I’m to do ten, 18″x24” drawings of 30 min. each on the subject of tools.  I’ve started with a vice that we have in our meager basement workshop:

Please excuse the generally poor quality of the photos in this post.  As the post title states, it’s a drippy mess outside, and I had to take all of my pictures indoors.  So, this first drawing is a pretty straightforward charcoal drawing of the vise.  Next:

Then, I zoomed in on one area.  Hmm!  Next:

This was me initially trying to do a “blind contour” drawing, but I started looking.  So, if the whole vise looks “wonky”, that’s why.  I kind of liked the general messiness of this drawing, so I did another one:

That’s an odd combination of fussy drawing and scribble drawing.  Hmm. Blech.  Next:

That time, I tried to draw the vise with only tones, and not too many lines.  Very messy!  Hmm!  Now, what can I do with the next five that I have to do?  EGADS.  This one was kind of fun because of the general messiness of it all.  I love that I’m scrubbing away with black charcoal in our laundry area while I look at this vise.  Doesn’t everyone dream of a laundry area with fine dusting of black charcoal on everything?  I know…not very Martha Stewart of me. 

In looking at these drawings, it’s kind of odd.  I almost like the wonky one the best.  I guess that the other ones are so straightforward, that they are almost boring.  What do you think?  Hello, out there!?!



A good week…except for the general snow disaster

Okay.  Remember how I was complaining about the “dusting” of snow the other week?  WELL.  As those of you in the Northeast well know, now we had something to really cry about.   Yes, snow…lots of it…before Halloween.  I am lucky to be writing this email at all, as there are many people who are STILL without power.  Can you imagine?  Not good.  Think, “The Shining” but with more, yet likely smaller, houses.  Really not good.  The scene of our backyard:

Looks worse than that last photo I posted, right?  Now, I grew up in upstate New York for my elementary school years.  Their snow makes our snow look plain silly.  BUT…I do not recall EVER having snow in upstate New York before Halloween.  It’s just not right.

I’ll stop whining now. 

My son’s halloween costume, which he refused to wear trick or treating but was happy to wear at home in order to help dad with the mail:

No, I did not make that costume.  I gave up for two reasons: 1. a crocodile was too complicated to make, and 2. I had a strong suspicion that he would not wear the costume in the first place.  Don’t even get me started about the costume that I slaved over last year that he also did not wear.  My child finds halloween too stressful.  Hmm.

Art-wise…I think that this was a pretty successful week.  I had a GREAT printmaking workshop with Catherine Kernan over the weekend.  SOOOO GREAT.  She does all sorts of crazy things with woodblock prints.  I found her to be such a good teacher and very inspiring.  Here are my prints from the weekend:

I like it!   Next:

It’s odd how different the background paper looks, even though it was the same for all of the prints ( I mean the white area at the perimeter).

I saved that one above from being a muddy mess.  Nice!

Catherine really liked that one above.  It looks better in real life.  Last print:

You can tell if you have a good teacher when the quality of your work really improves.  I felt that this was true at this workshop.  It was a lot of fun!  All of those prints are made from just two blocks.

I also had some success with painting.  Here it is:

My teacher really liked it.  He had some helpful comments along the way.  It also didn’t feel hard to do.  I’m wondering if the fact that I was actually in a bit of pain at the time of doing it (think: big headache), somehow helped.  Because of that, I wasn’t totally focused.  My thoughts kept getting interrupted by my discomfort.  This sort of quieted down any inner discussion about judging the work as it progressed, as my mind was preoccupied.  Not that I’d like to be in pain when I paint, but I am wondering somehow if it actually was a help!  Sound crazy?  Perhaps so. 

I like the painting anyway.  Comments?  Everyone have a good halloween?  I think that I’ve consumed enough candy to last me until 2013 at least…not that I’m letting that stop me from munching on more “fun size” calorie bombs.




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