slightly wonky


fuzzy filter…
May 25, 2012, 8:59 am
Filed under: Drawing, painting | Tags: , , ,

This week, I had a fun evening of cocktails AND painting with my best friend.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!  I’m not kidding.  We went to Palettes in Natick.  Here’s how it works:  You sign up to take “a class,” where an instructor leads the group in doing a painting…step-by-step.  I know.  You art snobs out there have already clicked “close” on this window, right?  BUT WAIT!!!  How much fun is it to MINDLESSLY work on a painting, and just enjoy the act of blobbing on bright colors (with a caipirinha in hand, mind you)???  SO much fun.  Here’s the painting that a roomful of people painted simultaneously:

(I will explain why it’s so blurry in a minute)

Now, I would NEVER have painted this if left to my own devices.  BUT, I found it really freeing to let go of all expectations, and just paint.  One other thing that made it interesting was walking around the room to see each person’s version of this SAME painting.  Notice how narrow my boat is…in comparison, my friend’s boat was wide.  I found this to be a metaphor for our personalities…she is warm and open, and I am crabby and sullen.  No?  Well, I think that I’m onto something…

Okay, now why the image is so blurry:

I have a four-year old son. 

Need I say more?  I walked by the dining room table this week, noticed my camera sitting unusually close to him.  He also had a rather guilty expression on his face.  The camera looked fine, so I didn’t say anything.  Well…now, as you can see, my Leica lens is now coated with one or all of the following: 1.maple syrup, 2. saliva, 3. rice milk, 4. chewed up waffle.  While I think that the lens may be pretty much ruined, I think that I now have a “fuzzy filter” lens, which can likely take very flattering portraits.  I may have a career opporunity in either taking fuzzy photos, or letting my son ruin other people’s cameras so that they too can have “soft focus” photos.  Sigh.

I think that my motto as a parent is just that:  “sigh”

We made a miniature living room set out of playdoh this week:

I tried to convince him to do a “low arm” sofa, but he insisted on “english arms.”  Go figure.

I think that I finished that drawing from last week:

Looks better, right? (you must agree with me, lest I be offended)  I was toying around with the idea of drawing these in charcoal, but do you know what?

CHARCOAL IS MESSY.

I’m sure that’s my lack of skill with charcoal, but jeez…that sooty black dust gets EVERYWHERE.  I am already a messy person, so I’m not sure that using a messy medium is the way to go.  I’m kind of asking for trouble, I think.  People will see me coated with black dust in the grocery store and wonder if I am a chimney sweep.  “Oh no,” I’ll say, “I’m an ah-tist!”  Weird looks will abound.  I still getting used to the odd looks that I get from the employees in either hardware stores, or Home Depot.  I’m not sure that I want to add odd looks from grocery store clerks as well…especially as they can be a rather odd lot themselves.  (I apologize if anyone reading this is a grocery store clerk…perhaps that’s true just in our town.)

I am also sorry for any of you looking for a somewhat serious discussion about art this week.  I got nuthin’.  Check out this blog, for thoughtful insights and discussions about the art world:

http://joannemattera.blogspot.com/

Joanne Mattera is an uber-talented encaustic artist.  She does beautiful work, and she generously writes a fabulous art blog.  READ IT!  NOW!  While her blog would be likened to a gourmet meal, mine is more similar to a bag of Cheetos. 

Sigh.



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!?!



Little elephant…painful portrait progress…
September 28, 2011, 2:37 pm
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My painting teacher asked us to bring in an object to paint, or “present”, in his words.  I didn’t know what that meant, but it sounded intimidating.  He brought over a Rauchenberg book to show me an example of what he meant when I asked him about it.  Hmmm.  No pressure.  Setting the bar astronomically high…okay.  Have I already mentioned that I love Rauchenberg’s work?  I probably should have just crawled under my easel at that point, but I didn’t.  Maybe if I had a stuffed goat and a tire, I might be able to sort of get within the same solar system as Rauchenberg’s work.  Maybe not.

Anyway, I picked a small elephant toy that I’ve had since I was a kid.  My childhood friend, Anita, gave it to me.  Her dad was from India, and they went there on vacation.  So, here is my little elephant…in pretty good shape if you consider how old it is…

Cute, right?  He doesn’t stand up well, and tends to tip forward.  I think that either his trunk puts him off balance, or his front legs are a little too short.  I empathize.

So, here is my painting of this little guy:

I’m happy with it.  I mean…it’s no Rauchenberg.  I know.  Trust me.  This is what happens when you don’t crawl under your easel.  I’ve always thought that still life painting was kind of…ummm…not so exciting.  I gravitate towards abstract and messy art, so still lifes are so…well, still.  Maybe I need to try it again?  My teacher said nice things about it.  Again, I know.  He has to walk that delicate line of being somewhat frank, but not completely squelching me with reality.  It’s only my third class, so I think that he’s still trying not to scare/offend anyone.  He mentioned that three people left one of the other classes that he teaches, so perhaps he was worried about making the beginners in the class, like myself, run as well.  Comments?

So, I’m still not done with this odd/icky self portrait.  I know.  Just paint over the whole thing and start again.  My teacher suggested some abstract colored blobs to break it up a bit:

I don’t know.  I’d like to help it somehow, but it might bother me too much to keep working on it.   This is one of those painful confrontations with reality.  I need to go out and buy a lot more titanium white to fix this thing.  Maybe just getting a large tub of gesso and a paint gun would do the trick…I think that I get points for even posting it though, right?  Maybe not.  Sigh.



A weekend away…figurative work…
September 27, 2011, 10:51 am
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For one weekend every year, my husband and I go back to where we were married…sans enfants.  Thanks to the generosity of my mom who is willing to watch my son, we can have a weekend escape!  I know.  How lucky!  We go to the place where we were married in the Berkshires.  It’s SO lovely…so quiet…just the noise of the wind moving through the trees.  Ahhhh.  I wish that I could bottle that and bring it home.  Perhaps that’s what those Bose noise cancelling headphones are like…sounds appealing.

So, I’m thinking about my next painting class coming up.  My teacher suggested figurative work.  I like drawing people, so perhaps I’ll like painting them too!  I made an effort not to “draw” the paintings.  Don’t get me wrong…I love the way that drawn lines look in a painting.  I just thought that I’d try to keep my paintings truer to the medium.  I basically reworked the two canvases that I had started in class.  This proved to be a challenge, as both canvases were VERY textured.  I mean…REALLY textured.  So, it was tough to do something on top that wasn’t abstract.  Here was the first one, based upon a suggestion by my teacher:

I think that you can see what I’m talking about with the “extreme” texture.  Here is a close up:

Okay, it wasn’t an assemblage, but still.  It was really tough to paint over that goopy surface.  Anyhoo…this was kind of fun.  I liked using the odd colors too.  I decided to do another one:

Hmm.  I layered this one a bit more, as I felt that it needed something to tie the abstract background with the portrait.  Perhaps I need to be a bit more abstract with the portraits.  Hmmm…

I’ve started another one, but this time…I began with a charcoal drawing on the canvas.  I have also added some texture to the canvas, but it actually relates to the image, as opposed to the two paintings above.  We’ll see how this one goes!

I found that the charcoal sort of smeared when I went over it with the acrylic medium, so I actually put most of the medium on the background.

I’ve also got a woodblock that I have to make some progress on.  I’m not using the gourmet shina plywood, but some other plywood from Woodcraft, a store in Woburn.  This is a royal pain.  I’m so spoiled with the shina plywood.  This other plywood splinters, is hard to cut, and is a general pain.  It’s made me sort of drag my feet about carving it.  I need to finish it up though!  Hopefully, I’ll have some prints next week to show of it.

The opening reception for the portrait show that I have a drawing in is this Friday!  So, if you are in the area…please stop by the Belmont Gallery of Art between 6-8pm on Friday.  I’ll be there!

 



I’m in!
September 21, 2011, 8:15 pm
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, I’m happy to say that my portrait drawing was accepted in the show at the Belmont Gallery of Art.  Yay!  This is a show titled, “See you, See me”, and it’s only portraits.  I saw some of the other works when I was dropping off my drawing.  Should be interesting!  (You can see what the drawing looks like in my September 8 blog post).  The show opens on September 30 and runs through November 13.  Please stop by!

This weekend, I went to the Hyde Park Open Studios.  This was great, as my printmaking teacher, Selma Bromberg, has her studio there.  Her work is really beautiful.  She draws gorgeous flowers, then turns the drawings into prints.  She was doing a woodblock demonstration when I arrived.  I also saw Prilla Smith Brackett, whom I met at my woodblock print class.  She’s primarily a painter, but is starting to work more with prints.  Her work was also lovely.  It was fun to see some of the completed woodblock prints that she began in class.

My painting class is still fun.  My teacher did not like the big paintings that I brought in.  He likened one of them to a “shower curtain”.  I can tell you all of this as I’ve gone through many an architecture crit, and have heard it all.  I really appreciate his honesty.  I think that he’s a good teacher.  Let’s see if I can learn something, though!  He wants me to try figurative work, as that’s my background (as evidenced by the portrait drawing).  Hmm…okay…we’ll see!  I also did a few mini-paintings.  These are only 6″ x 8″.

It was fun to work on these tiny canvases…

I may have to revisit all of these…we’ll see…

On another note…I’m horribly disappointed that the portrait class that I’m signed up for will likely be cancelled.  It’s called “The Expressive Portrait”, and it’s at the Arlington Center for the Arts.  We need THREE more people in order to have the class.  I’m so sad, as it’s highly unlikely what we’ll get them in the time left.  Having a class cancelled on you is so frustrating.  I’ve had this happen several times.  I’m always dumbfounded when it does happen.  You mean…not EVERYONE wants to take this class???  WHY NOT????  I’ve tried to send out emails, etc. to other people who might be interested in signing up.  No luck so far.  If you’re interested…PLEASE sign up!  Seriously.  Do it now.  No joke.

I wish that there wasn’t a minimum number for a class.  I mean…don’t I count at all?  Doesn’t my enthusiasm make up for the low enrollment????  I guess not…*DRAMATIC SIGH*



Last Cambridge print studio…boo hoo!
September 16, 2011, 4:20 pm
Filed under: painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, today was my last open print studio at Cambridge Adult Ed.  It was great to spend time with Paula and Cindy (hello, if you’re reading this!!!).  They are both accomplished artists, so I look to them for advice and suggestions.  Today, Paula suggested that I try to incorporate my drawing skills (limited), with the abstract work that I am so interested in.  As I struggled to think of something to “draw” today, I just looked around the studio for inspiration.  We share the printmaking studio with clay, jewelry, and…woodworking!  So, my subject today turned to the drill press.  Yes…inspiration can truly be found anywhere.  Here was my first print:

That’s slightly wonky, right?  Anyway, when I did it in studio…I was not impressed.  But now that I look at it again, it’s kind of interesting.  Cindy remarked how one’s frame of mind really affects how we view our artwork.  Old watercolor paintings that she had previously set aside were better than she remembered when looked at anew.  Distance makes the heart grow fonder?  Maybe.  The second one:

I can’t really make a series about drill presses…as those are the only two that they have!  Maybe a power tools series in general would be interesting…not sure what that’s all about.

I also worked on some VERY messy paintings.  These were very fun…albeit a big mess.  Here is the first one:

I know.  Garish colors.  I kind of like garish colors, though.  I feel like that person on the current season of Project Runway who feels compelled to “BEDAZZLE” everything.  If only I’d had some glitter… a detail:

Messy fun!  Then, I did ANOTHER messy one.  Seriously.  You’ll see…blobs of paint everywhere…

I know…right?  Another “hot mess”.  Another Project Runway reference…I need to get a life.  Detail:

Then I decided that less is definitely not more, so I did ANOTHER super chaotic one:

I know that if I was at school, a teacher would have taken away my paints by now.  Boo!

Detail:

Doesn’t it look like the melted ice cream in the bottom of your bowl when you have slathered on a grotesque quantity of colored sprinkles?  By the way…what ARE sprinkles anyway?  Have you ever eaten them straight?  They’re disgusting.  Like little wax chips…and the chocolate ones are no better.

Okay…so tell me the truth about the messy “paintings”.  (notice that “paintings” is in quotes).  What do you think?  Keep the messy stuff for when I’m eating ice cream only?  Should I put away my paints permanently?  Should I have my artistic license revoked?  Hmpfh.

Wish me luck on that portrait show.  I’ll break the good/bad news to you when I find out myself!

 



Going somewhere?

I spent the morning doing some gelatin printing.  I’m not sure that I’m a huge fan of this type of printing.  I was also testing out different inks and paints to see which worked best.  I think that the Akua inks worked well, as they don’t dry until they are on paper.  The acrylic paint and the speedball ink were both just so-so.  The only problem with the Akua ink is that it does take an eternity to dry.  I’ll probably still be wiping blue off of my hands every time I pick up one of these prints.  Here’s one of the first ones:

Eh…feh…blech…some interesting aspects to it.  I like how the silver ink turned out in the lower left corner.  Next:

Also kind of interesting.  These are printed on some very thin mystery Asian paper that I have.  The art store in Cambridge had rolls of random paper for sale…10 sheets for $5.  What a bargain!  So, this is why I don’t know what the paper is.  Next:

I experimented with a stencil a little.  That’s where the leaf shape comes from.  Next:

I liked the random stamped lines in the lower left area.  Next:

I like the greenish yellowish color with the greenish blue color.  Any comments?  Does anyone out there also do gelatin printing?  What inks do you like to use?  Do you have any pointers for me?

Last night, I kept myself up doing a gouache painting.  Okay…It was VERY frustrating.  I have seriously debated showing this at all, as it looks bizarre…but here it goes:

See how small I made the picture?  Maybe it’s still too big.  Anyway, I know that this looks really weird.  He looks like he has a skin condition.  DRAMATIC SIGH.  I painted this based on a photo.  Hmm…while I like the challenge of painting or drawing people…it also is rather daunting.   I’m going to need A LOT more practice before I start doing this on the streets of New York…

I am the monitor for the print studio in Cambridge on Friday.  As a result, I’ve needed to come up with what I’m going to do during that time.  So, I have tried a little experiment.  I painted gouache onto two 8″ x 10″ sheets of plexi.  I’m going to see if they print onto damp paper.  Here’s the first plate:

Kind of fun.  The bubblegum pink is a bit much, but I’ll see how it prints.  Here is the other one:

These are really an experiment.  I hope that they print.  If they don’t, I’m going to be disappointed.

So, where am I going with all of this?  Who knows.  I’m going in every direction at the same time.  Let’s hope that some of this eventually leads somewhere!




%d bloggers like this: