slightly wonky


Back to the drawing board…
March 30, 2012, 8:57 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , ,

So, I returned to the drawing board this week to complete another drawing for my series.  Here is the latest image:

closer:

Note the tools of the trade on the left…leadless  pencil, eraser shield, drafting brush, kneadable eraser, etc. etc.  The brush is key for keeping the drawing clean.  Most people use it to brush off bits of eraser, etc…but I find it helpful when I am snacking.  I try my best not to have food crumbs on my work.  It looks less “professional” when you have food stuck to your drawing.  See?  I provide such insightful tips to all of the other aspiring artists out there.  I might also have to get a “beer hat” so that I can be sure to drink my tea without spilling…you know what I mean:

Have I already lost some of you? 

(Probably)

Not a great image for a Friday morning? 

I agree.  Moving on…

So, I often look to see what other graphite artists are doing.  I do this partially for inspiration…and partially for self-flagellation.  I found the work of this guy, Patrick Kelly which is SO BEAUTIFUL.  Here is a partial view of one of his drawings:

Patrick Kelly

Seriously gorgeous.  He makes these crazy templates that he traces with super dark graphite.  He keeps shifting the template, and tracing it again and again.  Seriously…check out his stuff NOW. 

Patrick Kelly 

He really exploits the metallic sheen of graphite.  Amazing.  Has anyone out there seen his work “in person”???  I want one.  See the paper templates on the floor by the wall?  See the ubiquitous Target step-stool?  We have one of those EXACT stools.  I’m one step closer to greatness…

Perhaps this post been too black and white so far?  Boring?  Here is a pop of color from our yard:

Isn’t it amazing???? I love forsythia. It looks stunning for a few short weeks in the early spring…then it looks like an ugly bramble the rest of the year.  Or, perhaps that’s just in our yard?  Probably.

My son has created yet another priceless work of art:

Brilliant!  I may have to get this bronzed, but I’m worried that it will ruin the effect. Thoughts?

My friend, George, came back recently from a very long trip to India.  Here is his website.  He brought back some lovely wood stamps:

These are HAND CARVED.  I kid you not.  So beautiful…just as objects.  I am antsy to use them as stamps on some fabric.  Maybe when I finish that dress that I started last week (and mentioned in the last post), I might use some of these?  It might distract from the potentially mumu-like look of the outfit.  Are tigers slimming?  Who knows.

Okay, so next week…I’ll let you know how this weekend’s portfolio review went.  I hope that the reviewers are helpful, insightful, and in awe of my little box of drawings.  In reality, these are serious people in the Boston art world, so perhaps I should just hope that no one spills their Snapple on my stuff.  My drafting brush can’t fix that.  My art advisor suggested that I bring white cotton gloves for the reviewers when they flip through the drawings, but perhaps a beer-hat for each would be better?   Hmmm…



Stay the course!
March 22, 2012, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing | Tags:

So, I met with my art advisor this week.  THANK GOODNESS.  I’ve been stressing about what OTHER brilliant thing I should be trying to do…(assuming that what I have been doing is brilliant).  After much discussion, it seems best for me to just continue with the series that I’ve been working on.  I hope that through this, a new direction will slowly emerge.  That, or I’m never going to want to see another pear in my life.

I got some postcards made of my work.  See?

That’s what the front of the card looks like…and the back:

Snazzy, huh?  I think that it turned out pretty well.  50 was the minimum quantity to print, so I’m going to have these hanging around the house for awhile.  I see a large house of cards in my future, or perhaps this is what I will send out as holiday cards this year…

In true fussy, or “binky”, fashion (as my friend used to call it)…I’ve created a rather elaborate routine chart for my four-year old.  I’m actually taking a parenting class now, and it’s our homework for the week.  This chart is supposed to let your kid take more responsibility for taking care of themselves in the morning.  Kind of like a sticker chart…but a little more “permanent”.  Check it out:

I know.  I have a problem.  Could it be any more fussy?  This is what happens when you let an architect do a project…it gets WAY fussy.  Naturally, I like it.  ANYWAY…each photo is supposed to show him what he’s supposed to do next, in order to get ready for school.  THEN, when he completes each task…he flips over his picture as such:

Seriously, though…don’t you think that I’m ON to something here??? (No, I didn’t say that I’m on something…pay attention)  I see a future etsy store selling these…although I’m not sure that I really want to make another one.  Therein lies the challenge of hand-crafted commodities…

I also have this notion that I’m going to sew a dress from a vague (not Vogue) pattern, which is completely in Japanese.  Basically…I had to hem two pairs of pants this week, and now I’m itching to sew.  Part of this is also just a general need to “make” things (as evidenced by the ridiculous routine chart above).  I love drawing…but I think that sometimes I have to switch gears and just MAKE STUFF.  Here is what the dress is supposed to look like…(the one on the left):

 

Cute, right?  Kind of summer-y and casual…note:  I am likely NOT the size of that diminutive Japanese woman in the photo.  No matter!  Here is what the pattern looks like:

That’s it…one page on the left.  Did I mention that I can read not an iota of Japanese?  Pshaw!  I like a challenge!  I also had to guess on fabric yardage.  I pray that what I have will be enough.  I wanted to get linen for the dress, but linen is SO EXPENSIVE.  I think that it was around $17/yard.  What???  I think that’s out of my budget.  So, I’m trying to make the “econo” version.  I am naturally concerned that this will look like an enormous tent on me, and I’ll have to chalk it up as another fail…but who cares.  I’ll make curtains out of it (LOTS of curtains), if needed.  Actually, I’m worried that when I’m done with it…I’ll look like some kind of birkenstock/hemp-wearing hippie.  That’s NOT the look that I’m after. 

If it looks only semi-bad, I’ll post a picture, ok???



Umm…where was I going again???
March 16, 2012, 10:37 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: ,

I know that I need SOME kind of plan for what I’m going to do next with my artwork.  I’ve basically spent the week scribbling ideas furiously in my notebook.  Lots of scribbles.  Do I have a new drawing?  No.  I do have a cool blob of playdoh, though:

Isn’t it neat?  Seriously, though.  This period of thinking, not producing, is stressing me out.  Did I mention that I also tried to make a cast of an object?  Yes, I poured a two part mold, and right now…I have some casting material sitting in the mold.  I thought that I wouldn’t write this post until I have finished the cast, but I fear that the whole project is a big fail.  Take a look:

SIGH.  Fail.  I know…I need to view these setbacks as “learning experiences”.  I always like being pleasantly surprised, though…and not deflated and disappointed.  I was trying to cast a pear…as my sculpting abilities are poor:

I’m not sure which is more depressing…the mold fail or the sculpture fail.  Maybe I should stick to multicolored playdoh blobs?  Perhaps that’s where my true talent lies…

I did take some photos this week:

I like the atmosphere that these have.  I’m not sure where I’m going with them.  I had thought about transferring them to fabric, and doing something in that direction…but I’m up against the technical challenges of doing that.  In my drawings…the tools have been the aggressor.  But now, I’m just looking at the beauty of them as objects.  Hmm.  Maybe by making them beautiful, I am reclaiming a feminine ownership of these objects???  Or, maybe I need to cut back on the soy milk, as I’m having estrogencentriccrazythoughts???

This drawing summarizes my current state of mind:

I’m hopeful, yet sad?  I am HOPEFUL that I will figure out what the heck I’m doing with the new direction with my work…and SAD that there is a reason it’s called “work”.  Why can’t I be brilliant?  At least on occasion…wouldn’t that make everything so much easier???  Or, maybe I’m just sad because I have a strange, pointy head.

I feel it is an appropriate time to quote Ira Glass:

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. – Ira Glass

Work.  Workworkworkworkwork.  He’s right.  I’m not sure that I have killer taste…but I do know that the only way to improve is to persist.  We’ve all heard the platitudes about Thomas Edison failing a million times before he finally made a bulb that worked…yawn.  I KNOOOW (said in a sulky, teenager-esque way).  I know, and yet everyone still hates to fail, right? 

What should I do?  Try to be productive?  Maybe I should go grocery shopping???  That always cheers me up…NOT!



Time to regroup…and swiffer…(is that a verb?)
March 9, 2012, 9:33 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Well, I think that I’ve made all of the preparations that I can for my upcoming portfolio review on April 1.  This is where esteemed people in the Boston art world (curators…gallery owners…etc.) will come to the Arlington Center for the Arts and take a look at artists’ portflios.  I’ve got my drawings…my box…I just ordered some postcards…and I have even updated my website: www.elizabethkostojohn.com.  Also…I took some photographs of how my work looks when pinned up:

and here I am looking at it:

close up:

Kind of interesting, right?  It’s very minimal.  My advisor, Adria Arch, was kind enough to let me use her studio space to pin these up.  The idea is that these drawings are a single work of art…not individual pieces.  Adria showed me an example of a work by Jim Dine that has that same attitude…forty drawings comprise a single work of art: The Glyptotek Drawings.  Yes, his ability to draw is stunning!  Here is one of the drawings:

Jim Dine

Amazing!  I love the smudgy areas and the scratchy areas combined…there is so much depth…sigh.

That image is a good segue onto wonky people that my son continues to draw…here is one:

Look at those mesmerizing eyes!  Maybe that’s actually supposed to be me in the morning, before I’ve had my cup of tea.  I’m concerned about the bald spot on my head above my left eye…but no matter.  I’ll just part my hair differently.

My son is obsessed with building blocks.  Typically…we are making imaginary structures.  This week, however, he decided to do something else:

I asked him what it was…a skyscraper?  A tower?  He said that he was making a shoe store.  So funny!  Can’t you see that kind of thing at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie???  Okay, so maybe his future is in retail…not construction.

I finished another drawing for the series:

I’m feeling that I need to “regroup” now.  Do I want to do more of these?  Do I want to shift and continue in a different way?  I know.  I’m the only one who can answer that.  I have to do some pondering.  I also have to do some housekeeping!  I spend more time drawing mangled fruit than I do straightening up around here.  I’m going to get a little zen…you know, chop wood…carry water…while I put this series and where it’s going into the backburner of my subconscious.  Hopefully, the fumes of Windex, Murphy’s Oil Soap, and scented Swiffer sheets will be enlightening, and hopefully the direction that I am looking for will come to me…much like the way static-charged dust and crumbs are drawn to the bottom of one’s socks…or, is that only in my house?



Snow, slowness and clutter…
March 1, 2012, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

So, I feel that the pace at which I complete drawings has slowed down considerably.  Why is that?  Winter lethargy?  Domestic distractions?  Raiding the refrigerator like a racoon every thirty minutes?  What???

I think that I’m actually starting to notice the neglected house…the stacks of papers…the projects “in process”…and the general clutter.  I would love to wake up tomorrow morning as a neat person, but it’s not likely to happen.  Neatness takes time.  I prefer to spend my time making a mess, rather than cleaning it up.  I’m clearly setting an awful example for my son.  When he was little, he considered it entertaining to dump out the contents of his toy bins onto the floor.  That was not a good omen for future neatness.

He built this little house the other day.  I’m actually more concerned about his interest in construction/building, than his messy habits.  What if he wants to become an architect????  I have to shield him from such reckless thoughts…which I must insist upon, as a recovering architect myself.

I got the photographs of my drawings back.  They look good!  Here, see if you can guess which was the professional photograph:

Is it this one?

 

 

or, is it this un-photoshop-ed one?

It is for this same reason that I now take my son to get his hair cut by a professional.  I know.  It isn’t really a fair comparison, as I did nothing to help my shoddy photo.  Still…no amount of product could fix my remedial haircutting…so, I still say that it’s worth it to go to an expert.

In a similar vein to last week, I am highlighting an artist whose work I love.  Her name is Kate Petley.  Please check out her website.    I LOOOOOVE her colors and swooping marks.  Her is one of her paintings:

Kate Petley

I mean, really….isn’t it GORGEOUS????  (I always worry that the artist will be upset that I have her work on my blog.  But, as I credit her for the work, and provide a link to her website…I hope that this is good blog etiquette…)  Look at those colors!  Look at that composition!  Look at how that green paint bleeds up into the white area!  Look at that little gray square in the lower left!  Sigh.  Such brilliance.  Maybe I can afford a mug with that on it?

Besides finally completing a drawing this week, I also updated my website!  Check it out here, please!  See?  Big changes, if you were familiar with how it was before.  Yes, after looking at my website, you may want to suggest that I look into Zoloft.  Really, I’m fine.

So, here is my latest drawing:

See?  I’m fiiiiine.  Perhaps I have S.A.D.?  Look at that dim light!  It is finally winter around here:

Perhaps my son has S.A.D. too???

Should I be concerned?  Where are the rainbows and flying horses???  Where are the puppies and smiley faces??????  What’s up with that CAGE???????

Maybe we need to get the “family-size” zoloft?  Really, it isn’t “The Shining” over here.  I’m thrilled that it’s snowing.

(and snowing…and snowing…and snowing…)

Heeeere’s MOMMY!!!




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