Sunday, August 16, 2009

At last, I have come to an insight as to my preference for abstract art.

With realistic art, you will have consensus from viewers what is the subject of the work (e.g. "a girl"). You might get some variation on the emotive qualities, sad, or pensive, whatever. But even that would be just a few variables.

With abstract art, you can get as many various responses as there are viewers. In other words, to answer the question "What is it?" abstract art tells about the person seeing it and the relationship that person holds with the forms in front of him or her.

The exponential number of responses is what I love about abstract art. Instead of being a piece of work about something, it is possible to be everything, or...

My favorite riddle:

What is greater than God?
What is meaner than the devil?
Rich men want it.
Poor men have it.
If you eat it, you'll die.

So, rather than painting something, I paint pure potential, or a whole lot of nothing.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Above: The painting that is a stretch for me. I hid it (facing away from public view in a dark corner) until I was ready to approach it again. I think I'll title it "al dante". I still don't like it, but that may only mean it's not done yet. Or it wasn't one I did for me. Who knows?

After a screen printing class one weekend, I dragged a print across canvas from the screen, and am now building a cliche Hawaii painting out of it.

This image is a bit faded from the actual colors: brilliant jewel tones. Title "Tales from the Alhambra" after whose-it's book. I'll get a better photo of it when I put on the finishing touches.

Titled "Sense and Dollars" in this one I'm exploring the idea of a recession, fears of scarcity, and the idea that life is full of much more than money... and how much easier money can make things.

"Sense and Dollars" again, with an untitled work that is in progress.

A freshly started canvas, to show how I begin. This is "Talk Story". I will next put down glazes of color/tone to cover the canvas and then go back into the original sketched idea and elaborate on it. The tiny green canvas is another one I'm playing with, having first glazed it and then starting to doodle afterwards.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's one of those embarrassing 'aha's that hit me. You know, the thing everyone else sees as obvious, but you miss because you're breathing it? For me, the obvious thing is that I am rolling in creative clover.

We have an art supply store. We have a yarn shop here too. I am in a loving and supportive relationship with my husband who regularly encourages me to play. I have time and spaces available for my play. And I have no constraints (clients, designers, specs, whatever) on how I do the creating.

It doesn't get much better than this.

For me, listing what we have right now is a figure/ground shift. I have been warding off attacks from conventional viewers and creators, the mainstream of what is "art." We have been in economic uncertainty with the shop for a long time now. These external influences had colored my perceptions to the point of blacking out the general background that now makes me jealous of myself. The background has come to the fore.

In this new perception's light, my painting is taking on new light as well. I am free! I have materials with which to play. I will play.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Screen printing!

I took a two day workshop this past weekend to learn silk screen printing. It is the latest "thing" for our customers, and I knew so little about it that I wasn't even sure what to supply. Now I know enough about it to have a reasonable supply. I cannot, contrary to my hopes, instruct customers in all the methods of using the media during their visit to the shop... it's pretty involved.

In the class, I went nuts printing because... you can. You can whip out copy after copy of the image until you've had enough of it and tried it on every surface you can think of and your classmates start to give you room just in case you find them sitting still long enough to print them. At least, that's how it was for me.

In order to stockpile prints to collage, and repurpose later, I printed on cardstock with and without designs, a canvas, watercolor paper, tinted pastel and charcoal papers, and velvet. I didn't print on clothes only because my designs were faces, and that seemed unclothing-like.

Today at the shop I prepared a screen with photo emulsion. This is the one technique we didn't learn in class, and the method that most of our customers are using. So, I'm going to try it on my own in the coming days. Right now the screen is drying.

I learned that with silk screens you can:

  • paint your design directly on the screen, do some mojo, and print it
  • paint directly on the screen what you don't want to print (reverse process)
  • use black markers, sumi-e ink, or whatever you want to draw and then reproduce that image
  • use ready made stencils or cut your own out of anything, including just freezer paper
  • print through a plain screen to print a colored background (and you can mess with that too)
Honestly, I was hoping that I'd learn the techniques and then be able to say, "This is nice, but it's not for me." Instead, I found I loved doing it, despite the messy, involved, cluttery thing that it is. So, you can expect some prints to be showing up in my images here in the future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm still painting, but in an unusual phase. Mostly, I'm working small, quietly, like water trickling from a stream. Eventually I expect the bits that I've done to end up as lakes, rivers, and oceans. Time will tell. I'm doing the little stuff because I can't seem to bring myself to do the big stuff.

If there's anything I've learned about creating so far, it's to keep going, keep doing, regardless of my feelings. If I keep the momentum going, it's much easier when the flow grows to keep going than to get started again.

So, my recent mantras are:

Work quickly
Use what you have already
keep the momentum going

I'll show you the results of these thoughts as they form visually.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is a finished painting "Listening" which is hung over a sculpture my dad just finished for me title "Limu" (Hawaiian seaweed.) It's fitting that my father/harshest critic/fan/medici has stretched to a work of semi-abstraction and given it to me.

This is a new favorite I just started (mentioned in the previous post as delicious greys). I've titled it "Tales from the Alhambra" since I just finished reading the book and this underpainting and initial sketch seemed very Moorish.

Two of four paintings re-created out of a larger work that I vivisected and am now finishing with a breath of a sine wave in the overall design. This will be able to be hung in a long arrangement with some longer/narrower elements, or a square format with the same assymetries. I'll show you the possibilities when the foursome is complete.

Some more delicious greys from the previous week. I have since put in a haze of warm red. I don't know what this one is about yet or where it's going. It is rooted in fear: the barrage of outside voices opposing abstraction got focused onto this canvas. I did that same transmutation of feelings of aggravation at "life's little irritations" and ended up with my highest-paying painting yet. We'll see what this fear will turn into...

Jack and me napping: with some new layers of color washed onto it. I don't know what to do next with this one.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mona Lisa Smile

We borrowed the DVD and watched it for the second time. I didn't know we'd seen it until part way through and I said, "This is the one with the paint-by-numbers."

I had to wonder why that detail, of all things, stuck in the brain that couldn't remember seeing the movie in the first place. The PBN (paint by number) scenes turned out to reveal the thesis of the movie, to wit, that an artist is popularized by the masses and never by the critics. (I wanted to add that popularity rarely comes in time to put supper on the table, a table in the house, or the house around the artist. But that isn't true, nor is it the premise of the movie.)

So, the idea is that if we are going to remain true to ourselves, that will make sense later in life. I'm thinking that what I'm doing might not make sense until later in someone else's life... if ever.

Today is my painting day. I'm writing this blog between canvases. I could hardly get started again after the poison of judgments that have flown about my head lately. So, I set aside my head and let my heart paint. I was afraid to paint. I got some greys on the canvas. Some delicious sweet and savory greys. I made some marks. I was about to freeze on marking the next canvas when I saw drips from the first splotching the surface. That freed me to make whatever mistakes I will proceed to make. So, I'm on with it then.