Thursday, April 21, 2016

Studio funk... missing Prince

Sadly the production part of today did not start out well... as I logged on to send out a Core gallery press release and reach out to another whole sale framing company I discovered the musician Prince had died... he was only 7 years older than I am... I loved his music... grew up with in the 80's! With sadness I ventured down to the studio, sketched out a portrait, I'm trying to figure out how to combine portraiture/figurative work with abstraction, sounds easy but I'm discovering it is not... trying to break from realism is like trying to forget how to talk!

I had to break to take Tess to the doctors and then errands relating to that appointment and then finally it was back to the studio! Only a couple of hours work but I'm feeling OK with the results. I'm trying to work out simplifying the colors, painting more in blocks of color, drawing and painting, using gestural strokes and dark marks. I'm also experimenting with blocking off sections of the painting.

The canvas I'm using is one that I've already painted on so its on its second life. When I restretched it, I wasn't able to line it up correctly so I've decided that one this is finished I'm going to cut it off the bars and frame it in a shadow box type frame, sort of like a fragment of fabric or piece of tapestry. BUT... only if I'm satified with the end results. So here is the painting in progress... I'm giving it a rest until next week or there abouts so it has time to breath and I can step back and not over work it.

Originally Sarah was suppose to be a part of my American Beauties series, still is but I also wanted to give it a go with this experiment. If it works, I might consider redoing the Beauties in a large scale in this type of format.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Portrait experiments

Today's studio day started with me watching a documentary DVD on Alberto Giacometti which was really inspiring and I even learned some new things about his creative process as well as the story behind the matchbox sculptures... so cool!

After that, I decided to experiment with my portraiture, but what model could I use? As always I called upon my cheap goto gal... me! I've been wanting to figure out how to combine my portraiture with the abstract but couldn't quite figure out how to do it, still haven't but I figured I had to start somewhere so I started in my new abstract sketchbook.

Self Portrait Experiment 1 (inspired by Giacometti)

Self Portrait Experiment 2 ( also inspired by Giacometti)

Self Portrait 4 (Combining my abstract experiments)

This on is more of an experiemnt to figure out how to render a face with minimal marks and shapes of color. The next one I've eliminated the color and focused on line. 

This is a fun one but Andy is right it is more like a characture or a cartoon. But it's a start...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

More progress on the woodblock!

Andy has been crzy busy carving out our design on the 3 ft x 8 ft woodblock. Our target date for completion is Saturday the 23rd... printing day with the steam roller! I have total confidence that he will complete the carving!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Progress report on the Andy and Kim collaboration!

I completed the design for our 3 feet x 8 feet wood block (its really a fabricated board but its for a wood block prints so I'm calling it a block) and Andy is back from his business trip! Since he put in extra long hours on the trip, he is taking the day off from work and starting to carve.  He brought in our folding party table and together we got the block set up... it takes up my whole studio! Guess I know what I will be working on next week!

These are the full scale image - on the picture above I am standing on a ladder to get a better view of the image. These next pictures are details.

Update on my adventures in Ceramics

Its been a while since I posted any progress news on my adventures in Ceramics so I think this is due. I'm continuing to work on my cupcake series, I now have 6 cupcakes that pass my intense scrutiny... I will take a picture of these which are currently at home in the studio. The two below are in progress.

This one has both the white underglaze and the clear over glace and is ready for the final firing.

This little beauty I'm calling the Poop Cake because my instructor said the icing looks like a pile of dog poop! It has the white under glaze so its waiting to be low fired. Then I will put the final clear over glaze on it and see if it makes the cupcake cut! The icing is the way it is because my icing bag and tip was on its last leg... I had to retire both after class. Considering the number of cupcakes I still have to make, I thought it was time to invest in good quality decorating/icing tools so Wednesday I took a detour to Hobby Lobby before my Life Drawing 1 class (the class I am teaching) to pick up the goods! In theory there should not be any more Poop cakes!

With Spring finally starting to come round (of course we are predicted to get a major intense snow storm this weekend but then again that is Spring time in Colorado) I had Andy pull out our fountain a couple of weeks ago... we got the thing going but the sound was just not happening for me! I think there is a flaw in the fountain design. I thought so last year as well and tried to fix it with the addition of river rock but it still didn't sound right so this year as an experiment I replace the river rockes with a small glass. Not only did it sound better but it totally stopped the splashing of water out of the fountain, but a new problem appeared - the glass looks ugly! It was not aesthetically pleasing in any way, shape or form! Sooooo..... I decided to fix that too using my newly developed clay building skills! I present to you the Lotachoke

I'm calling it the Lotachoke because when I had the first layer of petals on my instructor said it looked more like an artichoke - it is supposed to be a Lotus flower! Being a quick thinker I came up with Lotachoke a hybrid bred, a rare and perhaps mythological flower found only in the basement of the Art Students League of Denver!  I'm actually quite please with it (now if only I can avoid breaking the petals)! It needs to dry a little more and then it will be painted with a cadium yellow underglaze, with perhaps a touch of orange (colors found in the fountain) then low fired; then I will put a clear over glaze over it and high fire it. After that, the Lotachoke will be installed on the fountain and we will have the tranquil sounds of a waterfall in our secret garden (aka the side yard of our house on E. 27th Ave.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Collaborating with Andy making a crazy HUGE print!

So RMCAD is hosting a Steamrolling Printmaking event that will take place on April 23rd. Its called Steamrolling because we won't be using a press but a piece of machinery commonly known as a steamroller! Our block (it will be a wood block print) is 3 feet by 8 feet! I'm designing the image and sketching it out and Andy will be doing most of the carving (he has the tools). Sadly he is out of town until Thursday so he will have about a week to complete the carving! We are looking at it as an experiment this year since we have such a limited amount of time to work on the block. We will get a feel for it this year and then start working on our block for next year!

The concept for our block is taken from some of my doodles. The idea of a book and the imagination that comes out of them. I'm also using images from Alphonse Mucha and Gustave Klimt as inspiration and reference material... mostly for formating.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Today was a Learning Day in the Studio

As I noted in my last post, I got a late start in the studio today. I framed up a drawing and then started on making a new sketchbook. I actually got the components together a couple of weeks ago but was waiting on my screw punch so I could assemble it. Screw punch finally arrived (from China no less!) and I spent the afternoon punching wholes in the cover and back - the sketchbook is actually made like an artist book... I made both the cover and the back and with the help of youtube and my book making books I recently picked up I taught myself how to sew a coptic stitch. After a few do overs I final got my head around the stitch... gees you'd think it was rocket science or something like that!

Anyway I'm really pleased with the outcome (couldn't believe how freaking long it took me to punch holes!) and now I have a sketchbook for my abstract + Figure explorations. I used bristol paper which is a heavier stock paper so I should (in theory) be able to work in both dry and wet media in the book. I should add I also made the ink drawing insert that you see on the cover below. I learned to do that along with creating the cover in a book making workshop I took a couple of weeks ago and then I learned the concept of making the sketchbook from a workshop I attended up in Breckenridge a year or so ago.

Basically I like to have different sketchbooks for different projects, or concepts or media if an idea is media specific; for example, I have a sketchook for my cupcake series which over time has started to morph into the idea of 'Object of Desire'. I have a sketchook for book making and another one for spur of the moment ideas or doodles (that one I try and keep with me at all times - even by my bedside at night!) My friend Diane gave me that one for my birthday. And now I have this one for the abstract process studies I've been working on over the last few months!

Its funny, sometimes I just have the one book with me, other times I might have all of them because I'm not sure what I want to work on. The nice thing is they are relatively small and very light weight... not like the books you get in the art supply stores which are usually heavy, cumbersome, and not very flexible... or they are too flexible and the covers tear off! I first learned how to make super simple sketchbooks in graduate school and after that I was hooked! It is so much nicer being able to make your own and then you can customize them to whatever size you want with whatever bells and whistles... in my sketchbook for bookmaking I added small pockets on the inside cover so I could keep binding examples and other templates in the book for reference material. And... with the sketchbook that Diane gave me I figured out a what to attach the pen she gave me to go with it so that I always had the pen in hand!  Yep.... I love my sketchbooks!

Back at It!

After more or less taking last week off in the studio because the girls were on spring break (I finally realized that I only have some much time with them at this age whereas I have the rest of my life to work in the studio.... I've always said I was a slow learner), Tuesday was a productive day!

I think Nightingale is finished... I need to let it rest for a while before I make the final call. As this painting evolved, I starting thinking again about how I can incorporate or merge my abstract exploration with my figurative work... that is the long term goal of this examination and development of process. It is a slowing down and tuning into my inter voice which sounds really hippie but what it comes down to is tapping into the intuitive creative spirit, working from the soul and not the preconceive thoughts that the mind controls.

The drawings that follow are another series of examples of this process... they may look like random scribbles, but each one was drawn, erased and redrawn numerous times until the marks and composition felt right. The end product is what you see here.

Bird of Prey
4 x 4 inches
Charcoal and Oil Paint on Paper

4 x 4 inches
Charcoal and Oil Paint on Paper

The Ghost of E.L. Kirchner Visited Me in a Dream
 4 x 4 inches
Charcoal and Oil Paint on Paper

Imagine a Time Piece
(22 x 15 inches)
Charcoal and Oil Paint on Paper