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?



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.



Woodblock finale and a bunch of other thoughts

Before I start rambling on about woodblock printing…I bought my son some big containers of tempera paint, and a long roll of paper this past week.  This is one of those purchases that is mostly for my son, but partly for me too.  I love the idea of splotching big blobs of paint on a huge paper.  Here is part of our creation:

I think that he had a good time with it.  He seems to like to just mix colors together to make “outer space”.  He’s not so concerned about making marks.  He also found large stones and a brick, which he brought over to paint.  So, even when you think you can imagine how a play activity is going to go…kids always surprise you.  It just might be that my son is not as into making art as I am.  Or maybe he is…but in less obvious ways.  Either way, it was messy and fun.

So, last night I had my last woodblock printing class!  It was such a fun class.  I love the bold, graphic quality of woodblocks.  Yes, some people can do subtle things with woodblock…but not me!  Here is my last block in process:

I realized, while carving this block, that I’m not such a fan of carving.  My teacher mentioned that she often listens to books on tape while she carves.  Good idea!!!  That might help.  Also, I think that the pressure of having to design and carve a block on a schedule makes it a little stressful and less fun for me.  I mean, I like to have a new block for each class.  But if I wasn’t constrained by my weekly class, perhaps carving would be more meditative, and less like a chore.  I’m wondering if I’m not destined to be a relief printer, because I don’t LOVE to carve.  Hmmm.  BUT…I do like how woodblock prints turn out…so this is a bit of a conundrum for me.

Here are the prints from yesterday:

I was somewhat happy with this print.  It may need something dark in it.  I’m not sure.  Once again, I decided to just leave it and think about it more before doing anything else.  Here is a detail:

I love those colors together, and I’m happy with my new block.  The new block is the red part of the image.  Here is the second print:

A bit simple, but nice.  The orange looks more yellowish in reality.  Detail:

It’s always an exercise in restraint for me to not add MORE.  Here is just a print of the block that I made last week:

This took A LOT of restraint for me not to add more “stuff”.  Sorry about the odd lighting in the photos.  It’s the morning, and I don’t have great light to take pictures with.  Here is the detail:

Brace yourself…there’s more!

I couldn’t leave that one alone, obviously…

I like this next one a lot:

It’s hard to tell, but the dark ink is a sort of plum color.  Very cool.  Detail:

The last one:

detail:

What do you think?  I’m happy with how this latest block came out.  It seems that no matter how many blocks one has…you need more!  That puts me back in the condundrum of carving…

So, I had a free hour yesterday, so I did a little gouache still life.  Now, bear with me…I don’t paint often.  BUT, I really enjoyed it.  So here is my bigger dilemma:  I love the way woodblock prints look…but I am not keen on carving.  I am not fond of my painting (see below)…but I enjoyed doing it!  So odd.  I’m not sure what to make of that.  I think that typially, people like to do what they are good at.  But in this case, I enjoyed doing what I wasn’t good at.  Very strange.  Here is the still life:

Yes, I know.  It needs help.  I am happy with how the silver rattle turned out…the other parts are so-so.  I think that if I had a nicer brush (one that didn’t have a fat, multipointed/ragged end), then I might have been able to do a bit more.  I know…excuses, excuses!

Woodblock printing = process:not fun / product:interesting

Gouache painting = process:fun / product:not interesting

What a dilemma! Does anyone out there have thoughts on this???

I’ve been reminded by a friend that I never followed up with comments on the Chihuly show at the MFA.  WELL…his work is pretty over the top and remarkable.  He’s definitely not of the “less is more” school of thought.  The pieces were really stunning.  I didn’t really like when they are all put together in a big, jumbled mass…like in his piece, Mille fiori.  It gets too chaotic for me, and the beauty in each piece gets lost to me.  It’s like a symphony where every musician is playing a difference piece.  Cacophony.  The individual pieces, however, are stunning.  The chandeliers that everyone knows well are really stunning.  He tends to use a single color for these, so while they are a bit chaotic looking, they have a unity that does not turn into cacophony, in my opinion.  My favorite part of the exhibit was the room with beautiful woven baskets, bright handmade blankets, and an enormous slab of wood.  The pieces in this room were subtle, delicate, and amazing.   I preferred these pieces over all of the others.  He had large, hollow glass blobs, almost like bubbles bursting, on that huge slab of wood.  They looked gorgeous.  So, I did like the Chihuly exhibit, and I think that his work is extraordinary.  I do feel that it can be a chaotic mess at times, and I prefer when it’s more subtle or unified in presentation.  Has anyone else seen it?  Thoughts?




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