slightly wonky


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!?!

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Back from the Cape…
August 20, 2011, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Collage, Drawing, travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

We just came back from a week at the Cape.  I love Cape Cod.  As long as the sun isn’t beating down on my head, I’m happy as a clam to sit and watch the waves.  Here’s my view from the beach:

Dreamy, right?  Okay…it isn’t the Bahamas…but it’s great anyway.  Do they have fried clams and soft serve ice cream in the Bahamas?  Probably.  I ate a grotesque quanitity of both.

I didn’t do too much, other than chase after my son…slather him with sunscreen…and try to control the amount of sand in his clothes, my car, and our rental house.  Here’s a slightly wonky sketch of the house:

Kind of an interesting, contemporary cape-ish house.  We spent a significant amount of time in there on Monday, when it rained like a monsoon.  But, we did manage quite a few trips to the beach.  Here’s a view of an ocean view beach…well, mostly a view of the lifeguard stand…with no lifeguard in it:

I didn’t add too much shading, as I thought that I would watercolor these sketches.  That never happened.  Another sketch of a beach day:

There were actually some people sitting in the chairs in the foreground.  I edited them out.  Unlucky for me…they decided to move their chairs back from the water a few feet while I was still drawing them.  Hmm…this “en plein air” stuff is a challenge.

I did another collage before I left on my trip:

I also drew on it a little.  I know…I’m still doing collage in spite of the fact that it leaves everyone scratching their heads.  It really is fun.  Seriously…try it.  Grab some random paper and a gluestick and go crazy.  I’m still not taking any classes at the moment.  It’s nice to have a break.  It also allows me to try all sorts of random stuff.  I’m hopefully meeting with a couple of friends this week to discuss what we’re all working on.  Should be fun!

 



What’s wrong with collage?
July 19, 2011, 5:18 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , , , ,

Okay.  I know that many of you appear to be lukewarm at best towards collage.  This makes me sad!  I guess because I like doing collages…I’d like everyone to think that they are as super fascinating as I think that they are.  What about Kurt Schwitters?  Who’s that?  Well…only a super talented artist who did COLLAGES.  Take a look.  See?  No?  It doesn’t grab you? What about this one?

I also love Robert Rauschenberg.  A lot.  If anyone has one of his works that they are tired of, I would happily swap almost anything that I have for one.  So, take a look at this.  Or what about this?  I really love that last one.  If you happen to own it, email me to see if we would work out some kind of swap.

I think that most people think of collage as just stuff that one’s kid does in school.  Here is a collage that my son did:

Very cute, right????  I love it.  I also love how the kite is “upside down”.  But why not?  This often happens when flying a kite, right?  But I think that most of us would have oriented it differently.  I love that it’s upside down.

So, while I love looove this collage by my son…I do think that there is a difference between his collage, and the collages of Rauschenberg and Schwitters.  No?  I remember that Picasso has that famous saying, “I used to draw like Raphael, but it has taken me a whole lifetime to learn to draw like a child.”  Isn’t that brilliant?  Sigh.

Anyhoo, I have a woodblock class tonight.  Luckily, I have a new block to print!  I also did a collage today, which got me started on this whole topic again.  Comments anyone?  Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Likes?  Dislikes?  Are there any collage artists out there to add to this one-sided discussion?



Dreamy arty weekend…
June 26, 2011, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , ,

So, I had an AMAZING weekend collage workshop with Alexandra Sheldon, an artist in Cambridge.  I had such a blast.  Thanks to the kindness of my DH, I was able to go.  (thankyouthankyouthankyou).  Alexandra focuses on the creation of collage material, as well as the actual making of collages.  I’m not sure what I enjoyed the most:  mixing up a color palette of bright paints…learning all sorts of crazy ways to make cool collage material…furiously working on collages…or generally yakking away about life in general.  It was such a ridiculous treat for me.  The other women in the class were fabulous.  I learned so much from everyone…each person’s work was so fantastic…and different.  We all had such a good time that we’re trying to get together again as a group!  I hope that I can go.

So, I have quite a few collages from the weekend.  Some of them happened somewhat quickly…some of them took a long time.  I couldn’t tell you how long, as I was sort of in a collage trance as I was working on them.  Here’s the first one:

 Kind of cute, right?  It always takes me ages to get “warmed up”.  If I compare this to the last collages that I made in the one other course that I took with Alexandra, I think that I already made some progress.  You can check an older post to see the previous ones.  Then, I started to work on bigger collages…it’s hard to tell here, as I shrink them down to fit the page…

That one was a real struggle for me at a certain point.  I was trying to push myself to use found materials as well, but it was making me so stuck.  Alexandra suggested that I go back to my own papers.  This helped me get though being stuck, I added the enormous orange rectangle on the collage, and felt MUCH happier with it.  After that, I pretty much didn’t get myself bogged down with trying to use found materials.  Some people in the class were very good at using found stuff…but I had a harder time with it.  I think that I did this one next:

I really like this one.  I love the colors that I made, and the crazy textures that we experiemented with were really fun.  Next:

Again, I love the color combo.  I find these so much fun to make.  I can totally get into that art-trance, and I’m happy as a clam.

That one might be my favorite.  It took quite a long time, relatively speaking.  I just like it.

We also tried to do several fast collages…just to work as intuitively as possible.  I find this really hard, as it does take me time to get warmed up.  I’m not as crazy about these ones:

and:

These are back to the small size, as I didn’t know if I could do a big one in 15 minutes.  They were so-so.  After these two, I went back to the larger size.   Here is my attempt to keep things simple:

Well, I was trying to keep it simple, but I have a tendency not to do that well.  I did manage to stop myself before things got too clarty.  Then, I switched to a horizontal format:

I liked this, and I felt that it was taking me in a new direction.  I kept going with this direction and got this:

I was happy with these, as I felt that I had shifted into something different than before.  I’m not sure if that’s evident to you, but for me there was a change.  Then, I started getting very layered with textures and image transfers:

Image transfers are taking a printed image and using matte medium to get the picture to transfer onto another surface.  This was initially hard for me, again because I struggle with found imagery.  But, once I started layering the transfers, then I was much happier.  This was the last complete one that I did.  This next one I didn’t finish, but I’m including anyway…

It’s blah and not done, but I’d thought that I’d post everything from the weekend.

Comments?  I have the distinct feeling that the general population is not keen on collages.  I asked my DH what he thought of them, and if he wasn’t keen on them either…he admitted that he did think that they were “random”.  Sigh.  I appreciate the honesty.  Here’s my dilemma:  I like doing these, but I wonder if I’m the only one who likes them?  I know that my friend, KP, is not too keen on collages either (right???).  I asked my DH if he would like these more if they were paintings instead.  He wasn’t sure.  I have a feeling that he would!  Again, I have this sense that people can’t see beyond the fact that collages are made of pieces of paper.  Yes, I do recognize that it could really just be MY collages that are the issue.  Hmmm.

So, does anyone out there have any thoughts on collage in general?  Is it really a medium that either resonates with people, or leaves them cold?  Thoughts?



Collage ended…collage prints begin
June 20, 2011, 4:16 pm
Filed under: Collage, printmaking | Tags: , , , ,

I’m very sad that my collage class has just ended.  It was so fun, and I think that I most enjoyed seeing everyone else’s work.  It’s always amazing that we get the same assignment, but we have such a variety of responses.  I was not finished with the collage that I showed in a previous post…it was an interpretation of a still life that the entire class created and composed.  So, I worked on the collage a bit, and balanced it out.  Here it is:

I’m much happier with it…it felt really “off kilter” before.  So, during our last class, we needed to create an interpretation of this collage…so here it is!

I’m not sure if this one is completed yet…but I liked it.  I’m still wondering about collage as an artistic medium.  I have this sense that it isn’t considered a “serious” medium, like oil painting, etc.  It sort of is a diversion that some great artists (and architects) have dabbled in.  I think that if I made an oil painting…someone would consider that serious art.  But, if I make a collage, then that’s just having fun.  Is this how the art world thinks?  Comments, anyone???

I still haven’t heard much from anyone out there on collage artists that you’d recommend.  I think that I got one response!  I’m familiar with Kurt Schwitters, Hannah Hoch, Juan Gris and Georges Braque.  Anyone else that I should look at????

I began to experiment with a sort of scratchy, collage type of printing.  I’m not thrilled with them yet, but I think that they form a good basis for something more.  Here is the first one:

Please ignore how “un-square” the print is…I still need to flatten these.  I like the strength of the values in this one, but overal it’s a bit flat and needs more layering.  Here was the ghost composition from this:

This has a more unified feel, but it is a bit pale for me.  I changed the colors slightly here:

It’s too static, and needs something else breaking it up a bit.  I’m still pondering what my next step is.  Here is the ghost of this one:

I’m very neutral about these prints.  I need to do more, but I’m trying to plan what that would be.  I like some of the details, so perhaps I need to cut up all of the prints!

another:

another:

 

I’m also working on a chaotic woodblock.  I’ll hopefully print this on Tuesday night.  When I had to start cutting the block, I sort of drew a blank…as I hadn’t really any plan.  The teacher told me to “just start making marks”, so I did.  This is what resulted:

I know…total hodge podge.  Still, I’m excited to see what it looks like.  There are lots of fine lines that I also inscribed into the wood, which you can’t see here.  So, we’ll see how the actual print turns out.  I love cutting the wood…there is something very “zen” about it.  Just don’t cut your finger.  I think that it’s considered very “un-zen” to curse and bleed.



A new class…
June 15, 2011, 6:24 pm
Filed under: Collage, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I started a new class this week!  This is good, as my collage class is ending tomorrow.  My new class is woodblock printing with Annie Silverman, and I am so excited!  She’s super talented, funny, and nice.  It was great to see all of her work, and she got me started on a woodblock, which I can hopefully print next week!  This is very different woodblock printing than the traditional Japanese technique of moku hanga.  I took a weekend course this summer on that type of printing.  This class is more free-form/free-wheelin’ woodcuts.  Moku hanga, in my opinion, is sort of the opposite of free-wheelin’…it’s very precise…very methodical…very controlled…etc.  So, I’m excited to try a new way.

I have another new print in this “dark” drypoint series.  I tried to do something more with the background, but it came out a bit too subtle.  Here’s the print:

So, the black area in this image is uniform…but there is actually some texture there that you can see better in this print:

See the texture?  So, I tried to get a subtle figure in the background…but it was too subtle, in my opinion:

Hmmm…I want to pursue this idea, so I’m going to have to do it differently.

I also did a little collage this week for a friend:

I like how this turned out.  I really like collage.  I’m not sure that my collages are worth pursuing more seriously, or if this is just an artistic diversion that I’ll continue to simply play with.  I don’t mean that collage isn’t serious…just that I’m not sure that I want to try to do any more than I’m doing at the moment.  Any thoughts?  I asked once before if anyone out there has a favorite collage artist…so I’ll ask again to see if I get any more responses:

Do you have a favorite collage artist?  Who is it, and why?

It was a GORGEOUS day today…70 degrees and sunny…no humidity.  We get just a few days in the year like this.  I can’t imagine living in a place where it’s this lovely all year.  BTW my poison ivy has subsided quite a bit, so it was just about 1 1/2 weeks of torture.  I thought that it was a good sign that I woke up this morning, without having gotten up in the middle of the night to slather on more itch cream.

Maybe I’ll do a series about loathsome poison ivy?



sketchy and scratchy
June 9, 2011, 3:37 pm
Filed under: Collage, Drawing, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

This week, I had some paralysis in deciding what to focus on.  Therefore, I was a bit unfocused.  I managed to mount one of my prints onto canvas.  This is something that my printmaking teacher showed us.  This was my first attempt to do it myself:

Can you see the shadow on the bottom and right edge?  This is the print mounted onto canvas.  See, here is the edge:

Much clearer, right?  You will also note the difference in the colors of the print between the top and bottom picture.  The bottom picture is closer to the true colors.  I have to work on my camera skills, so that it doesn’t do odd things to the color of my prints, as in the uppermost picture.

Back onto mounting prints onto canvas: this is kind of an interesting way to turn a print into a painting of sorts.  I’ve been told that it really only works with prints that are completely covered with ink…no areas of bare paper.  The bare paper gets dirty too easily without a frame/glass.  Interesting, right?  It is a very laborious process, so I don’t think that I’m going to do too many of these.  I wanted a 10″ x 12″ canvas, which of course, is an atypical size.  So, I had to make and prime my own.  Very tedious.  But…I think that I like the result.  I’m going to do one more of a related print, so that I’ll have a diptych.

As I mentioned, I was in indecisive/pensive/sketchy mode this week.  Here are some of my sketchy ramblings:

and this one:

and this:

Don’t ask me what I was thinking about.  These are just doodles.  Why am I showing doodles?  Because I was waffling on what to do, so I just grabbed a pen and scribbled.  Coincidentally, my collage class also began with scribbles.  Everyone had to bring in small boxes that they had “collaged” into.  Then, we composed everyone’s boxes into different arrangements.  THEN, we were asked to sketch different views and parts of the arrangement, as a basis for a 2D collage.  So, here is my initial scribble sketch:

Yes, the objects are fairly unrecognizable…you may see a ribbon bow, an empty plastic tofu tub, crayons stuffed into a cigarette box…etc.  So, based on this sketch, I was supposed to create a collage.  This is what I did in class:

I was only really looking at the right hand area of the sketch.  I think that this is interesting.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep going with it, or just let it be.  It’s always hard to find a stopping point, right?  It seems a bit “even” to me…and I’m not so sure about the big slant on the right hand edge.  Comments?

So, to address the “scratchy” in the post title:  I managed to get poison ivy on my arm/hands.  This is a very mild case of it, as I’ve had horrible poison ivy in the past.  It is NOT fun, though.  I noticed my son playing with a bush that he was standing near…and I realized that it was poison ivy.  Needless to say, I panicked…took him home, scrubbed him down, and now I’ve got it on me.  Luckily. he doesn’t have any!  So, I either did a fabulous job scrubbing him, or he’s not allergic, or it’s his first exposure…so he won’t be so lucky next time.  Why is there such a thing as poison ivy?  Why? Whyyyy?




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