slightly wonky


Painterly collage
May 29, 2011, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , , , ,

So, this weekend…I took an afternoon collage class with Alexandra Sheldon.  She is a local artist, who began as a painter…but now also does collage.  Her work is so beautiful, and she has an amazing, intuitive sense about composition.  She is also extremely enthusiastic, which creates a very fun atmosphere.  This class was focused on edges in collage.  We looked at hard/soft edges, their relation to one another and to the collage’s perimeter, and used all sorts of interesting techniques to create our collage material.  I much prefer to use “made” material for a collage, rather than found material.  I always struggle with found material…as it may have text that I don’t want, or simply be too strong of a singular image.

Here’s my first one…it took a little time to get “warmed up”:

I like the colors.  Here is the next one…Alexandra suggested that I add the orange curve on the left…I’m glad that she did!

I think that cutting out the orange curve (hard edged), was not something that I would have thought of, but I like it.  Here is the next one:

I really like the colors on that one.  This is the next one:

That was one of my “exercises in restraint”.  I was testing out different pieces, and another classmate said that the orange piece on the right was good. I agree!  The last one:

 

My classmates liked the turquoise blue next to the yellow.  I liked this one as well.  I do think that the last one shows improvement over the first one.  I guess this is typical…it takes a little time of working to just get “in the zone”.  Alexandra suggested this might happen as the left side of the brain eventually stops interfering, when it isn’t being asked to participate.  Interesting!  I’d often like to tell the left side of my brain to “chill out” when it’s whining about things not being EXACTLY right, whatever that means.

I went to the Danforth Museum this week.  I love that place.  They had an exhibit of works by a local artist, Adria Arch.  I really liked her painting…they almost looked screen printed to me.  She works with “doodles”, or abstract symbols.  I found that really interesting.  Another artist also had work there: Elizabeth Keithline.  I LOVED her work.  She made figures out of wire which were amazing.  It was really almost like looking at a computer generated wireframe of a human form, but it was standing in the room with you.  I liked the fact that the forms were clearly handmade, and not overly precise, as a computer would do.  Really extraordinary.  Go see this show immediately, as it is going down on June 5.  So worth it.

Happy Memorial Day!

 



What to do…
May 24, 2011, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Collage, Drawing, painting | Tags: , , , , , ,

Today, I went to the Davis Museum to see the exhibit of El Anatsui.  He’s an artist born in Ghana, who makes these amazing metal tapestries from discarded liquor bottle tops.  Totally crazy.  They’re a multicolored chainmail of trash…and they’re stunning.  He also does ridiculously amazing sculpture and painting.  Go see it now.  Seriously.  Why are you still reading this?

I keep thinking about this portfolio review.  It’s really made me stop and ponder…I’m not sure that I’ve come to any brilliant conclusions.  I just keep mulling it all over in my head again and again.  Tumultuous.

As a result, everything that I’ve been doing is tumultuous.  I started by just making marks in a “zen” sort of way…ended up with this weird garden:

Hmmm…a physical manifestation of the chaos of thoughts that I’m having…

I also made material for my collage class.  Here is what the pile looked like earlier:

It’s a mix of relief prints…gelatin prints…and other randomness.  I don’t think that I’m a big fan of gelatin printing.  I like the immediacy of it, but I am never in awe of what is produced.  I’m sure that I need to work on it some more…

I decided that I should attempt a couple of collages with this new material.  I threw caution to the wind, and came up with these two:

and:

I liked using these materials for collage.  I almost felt that I didn’t have to do too much to them, as they had so much character of their own.  Naturally…I did too much to them anyway.  Perhaps I’ve given up on restraint.  Restraint can be so boring.  Yes?  No?  Any comments?  I don’t even drink anything with caffeine, so you can’t suggest that I cut back a little.

One of the challenges that I’m having in general, is that I like to do so many different things.  I like printmaking…painting…drawing, etc.  I think that I should try to focus on one, but each time that I do…I wonder if I’m narrowing down unnecessarily.  I know that Picasso could make art with a potato and a dry stick, but the REST of us might do well with a bit of focus.  True?

So, the theme for today is: wishing for focus, whilst seriously out of focus.

Is it any coincidence that I’m going to the eyedoctor tomorrow?  I hope that those eye charts don’t start looking like my collages…



Collage + stencils…
May 18, 2011, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , ,

This week, I’m working on incorporating stencils into my collages.  In spite of the fact that I do this ALL THE TIME in printmaking, I haven’t really done much with it in collage.  My initial moves are pretty minimal:

What I really like about collage is that it seems like a purely compositional exercise.  I know…all forms of art are concerned with composition.  But in collage, one can simply arrange found scraps of paper…it’s the arrangement that is the creation.  Sure, some people make their own collage material…and one can certainly draw, paint, stencil, etc. on a collage.  But at its most basic…collage (2d) is a composition of found papers.  I find it really challenging.

I have a book of collages by Richard Meier (famous architect). They’re amazing.  SO simple…yet so beautiful and provocative.  He does mark his collages, so he isn’t a collage “purist”, so to speak.  In grad school, we could only work with found papers, the collage had to be rectangular, and no additional marks were to be made.  I know…these are more reasons why I didn’t enjoy that class.



WOO HOO!

GREAT NEWS!!!!  The print titled, “Iain” was accepted at the 8th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition at the Center for Contemporary Prinmaking in Norwalk, CT!!!!  The show will be up from June 2 through September 4.  Go see it!

That bit of news definitely makes my month.

The OTHER bit of good news is…I have a website up and running!  Check it out  here!  What do you think?  I have some comments from friends about it…I’m looking into making some edits.  As is the case with this blog, it’s a work in progress.  I’m really happy to have a tiny bit of internet real estate out there.

I also completed another long print.  Here it is:

Once again…there is a lot more going on in the dark areas than this picture shows.  The camera (or my use of the camera) doesn’t seem to capture the layers in those areas.  Here is a detail, but that doesn’t quite show the background layer well either:

This was inspired by Hokusai’s, The Wave.  It’s such an amazing print.  I bask in it’s brilliance.

My collage class was interesting.  Last week, we were supposed to make a double sided collage.  I had a hard time doing that…so I mainly focused on one side, and just left the other side to chance.  Here is the side that I worked on:

Interesting, right?  Okay, here’s the back:

Hmm…a bit random.  Our teacher was showing us, however, that you can use a viewfinder (cardboard with rectangular hole cut out) to isolate areas that ARE interesting.  I might look at that.

Our assignment in class was to take copies of these collages, and create a new collage that also incorporates a photo.  Here’s mine:

I was really struggling with it for a while.  Then, I decided to get messy and sketch all over it.   I think that it got much better!  Here’s a detail:

I like it! 

I’m going to my 20th high school reunion this weekend.  I know.  Egads.  Where does the time go?  I think that it will be fun, but a bit overwhelming.  It was such an intense time.

I am also a bit self conscious of the purple ink at the edges of my fingernails…hopefully no one will be horrified.  I should just carry around a bar of Lava soap with me at all times.  And a nailbrush.

I hope that the sunshine that’s outside right now is here to stay!  WOO HOO!



Portfolio and gluestick panic
May 4, 2011, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Collage, Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

So, I did a bit of a crazy thing.  I signed up to have my “portfolio” reviewed by professionals in the local art world…gallery owners, curators, etc.  The Cambridge Art Association has organized this.  Each artist gets three, 20 minute conversations with three different reviewers.  This seemed like a great idea when I signed up.  Now, I’m panicking.

I realized, after signing up, that this is a very formal interview.  Think of it as a job interview for artists.  I thought that I could casually bring a pile of my work, and just talk about what seems to have potential.  This is NOT what is supposed to happen.  I am supposed to have a clear, coherent portfolio of around 8 works/images to discuss.  I am presenting myself and my work, as if I was trying to get them to offer to show my work.  This is…serious.

As a result, I am in a bit of a panic.  What am I going to show them?  Which one of these varied things is going to be my “thing”…my “artistic vision”?  My vision feels blurry right now.  I now believe that I must create something BRILLIANT in the next couple of weeks.  When I puts this kind of pressure on myself…a kind of paralysis ensues.  I’m freaking out.  I also realize that I CANNOT mention this blog, lest they read about my panic.  That wouldn’t be very professional, I think.

So, I somehow have to get my act together very quickly.  I do wish that I could miraculously come up with some brilliant things in the next week or so.  I have a feeling that’s not reasonable.

Sigh.  Now, onto other matters of panic…

I’m taking a collage class.  This also stresses me out.  In graduate school, I took a collage class.  It was traumatizing.  I think that I have mentioned it before in a previous post.  Anyway, I am hoping that this class is more relaxed, and doesn’t make me break out in a cold sweat every time I see a glue stick.

Here are the random things that I did in the last class:

We were supposed to do a collage about ourselves…in 20 minutes.  That’s what I came up with.  Hmmm…I won’t explain.

This is the next collage, where we had to use one entire page of a magazine to make the collage:

I kind of liked that one.  This next one was supposed to be an “all text” collage.  I was in a rush, as I ran out of time because I was chit-chatting with my classmates. 

Kind of silly.  This was sort of refreshing, though, as our collages in grad school ALWAYS had to be rectangles with clean edges.  Yawn.

Here is the other color scheme of that lino print from before.  I’m disappointed with it. 

Okay, pay attention:

Has anyone out there done an “artist interview”?  Any words of wisdom?  I know.  Don’t panic.  Seriously…besides “not panicking”, anything else to think about?  How do you decide what to present, when your work is so varied?  Don’t say, “avoid participating in interviews”, or “get your act together”.  That’s obvious, and not helpful. 

Maybe I should wear a disguise and use a fake name…KIDDING (I think).




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