Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New Work and New Columns

Western Skies 4
16" x 16" Collage Landscape/Painted Papers
libbyfifefineart.com

Contemplation Columns Set 2
14" x 1.5"; 12" x 1.5"; 10" x 1.5"
painted papers on dimensional wood board

Contemplation Columns Set 2
14" x 1.5"; 12" x 1.5"; 10" x 1.5" 
painted papers on dimensional wood board
The collage shown in the first pic has been done for several days. I have been busy screwing around with goodness knows what though and so I am late in posting. I wanted to use a greater proportion of the painted papers this time and I am pleased with the results. Also, I have included both an interior and exterior shot of the "contemplation columns" this time as well as providing their size. My friend, who saw these and liked them, didn't realize that they were smaller in size. 

When actually completed, these columns will have a small base, maybe about 1" tall, and hopefully covered in the same papers as the columns.  I looked into acrylic bases which I thought would give the columns a wonderful contemporary look. Since I don't sell much of my work, the cost for the bases is prohibitive. The wooden bases covered in my papers is a better alternative and will still look consistent. The painted white bases that I was going to use really detracted from the columns and ended up being their own design element. They took away from the columns, in my opinion. 

I'll mention this too. I love the idea of these columns. I have seen some other examples now and I have liked all of them. They are obviously dimensional but they have a different presence than the collage paintings, if that makes sense. My friend, whom I mentioned above, has been helping me to think through doing some larger columns that would go in a garden. Rather than using paper however, the columns would be painted directly and finished appropriately for the outdoors. They would be what I think is termed "functional" art. 

Anyway, I hope to start on a new piece shortly and to finish up these columns. The weather is quite nice this week but we are expecting some clouds for the weekend. No big deal. I have learned over the winter and into Spring that clouds, rain and cooler weather in general are the friends of the avid hikers here in my area. Pretty soon it is going to be quite warm, more than I can stand to be out in hiking. And please, if you are reading and have some thoughts about these columns, let me know.

Thanks for the visit and comments,
Libby

Saturday, March 4, 2017

New work: Poles; Gas is Good

Western Skies 3
16" x 16" painted acrylic papers collage

Western Skies 3
16" x 16" painted acrylic papers collage
It has been helpful for me to view these pieces in each of their 4 orientations so I am showing 2 of those images for this post. The bottom image was my original intention. Despite a bit of heaviness at the bottom for the top one, I like that view also. I get how these can be seen as simple landscapes with a horizon line so I have that on my mind also. I like this layout a lot so I am going to try it again with other colors and values or maybe even tweaking some of the shapes. I have plenty of paper still for one or two more pieces.

In the meantime, I have started on a second set of those pillars/columns/poles.  They are the same size as the first set (14", 12" and 10") but using the current colors shown above. For the past couple of years I have moved away from working on canvas or board, believing that using wc paper as a substrate allows me to store things more easily and to throw things away more readily. These wood columns are a departure I guess. They need to be stored now and will take some space. I am not sure how many I will do. My friend has gotten me on to the idea of painted poles for the garden. I admit that I am interested. Again though, what about storage? These would be 3-4 ft high and about 4" wide. That is some heftiness. I will have to think about things. Plus, there is the added hardware to display them in the garden. Still, I am thinking about it. It is nice that she was thinking expansively about my art. I certainly don't do it for myself.

OK, I had a minor disaster with some varnish this afternoon but I am replete with supplies so I found a substitute that works much better. It pays to try everything doesn't it? We also ran out of propane if that can be believed. (Not our fault either, mind you.) That crisis was solved also. Very lucky:)

Hope everyone is busy with good things this weekend. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Libby


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

New Work: Western Skies 2

Western Skies 2 view 1
16" x 16" painted paper collage landscape

Western Skies 2 view 2
16" x 16" painted paper collage landscape
It has been helpful for me to view these pieces a number of ways so to that end I am showing two different orientations. 

I admit that I am viewing these pieces as being emblematic of my ideas about "Western color." I tend to think of colors that may evoke images of the Colorado river, the Grand Canyon (and other areas like that) and parts of southern California (the desert areas-wait! isn't it all desert?).  I have been to Southern Utah too so I think of the things that I saw there as well. In my mind I see sunny colors and earth colors and the colors of clear, cool life giving water. I see dusty sage colored plants such as all sorts of cacti and other shrubs. Pretty soon Rich and I will be taking a vacation to Joshua Tree National Park. I expect the colors there to help me along with my imaginings of the desert. 

For those reading and wondering about the patterns in the paper, I once again used the gloss varnish medium as a resist for the paint. The varnish gets applied to the plain paper using whatever marks I want and then the paint is painted over that and somewhat wiped off to reveal the dried marks of the varnish which has resisted the paint. The white paper then shows through a bit. I like the idea of this a lot so probably will continue with it.

OK, it's Tuesday. Hope everyone's week is off to a good start. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Libby

Friday, February 24, 2017

New Work and Paper Covered Pillars/Columns/Whatever!

Western Skies 1
16" x 16" painted collage landscape

Pillars? Columns?
The above piece was completed earlier this week. Using yellow is sort of new for me with these collages but makes total sense to me. For much of the year, the land where I live is a yellowish-brown color. Pretty soon, things will dry out and when they do, the grasses will turn from green to yellow. I anticipate that my color choices will change as well.

The completed piece also marks the introduction of some resist techniques that I used on the paper. I have been trying to really let the brush strokes show in order to give the paper some texture. Using a matte varnish medium mixed in with the paint helps. The more you use, the more the brush strokes show and the greater the translucency of the paint.  It has taken me awhile to get used to that idea but it is growing on me. The resist idea is this: I started painting the blank paper with some gloss medium/varnish. Once it dries, I then paint the paper with the intended color, wiping off some of the paint before it has a chance to soak in to the paper and dry. The areas with the varnish tend to "resist" the paint and whatever pattern you make shows through. It isn't a new technique of course but it adds another dimension to things.

The second pic shows the idea I have been working on. They are wooden boards, primed/painted and then wrapped in  my hand painted papers. I mean for them to be a 3-D version of my collages. They will eventually get a wooden base painted white (I think). They are really fragile (the paper is) and need some support so they don't fall over. I posted the picture on FB and Instagram and people seemed to really like them. Why is that I wonder? My girlfriend, who never comments on my art, said that even she likes them and that her husband likes them too. He said that they were "dude art."  Dude art? I suspect that art that is understandable (it's a sculpture, it's a landscape, it's a portrait) appeals to people a little more. I show pictures of my finished work but I never show a shot of it matted and framed and hanging somewhere. Maybe that is an oversight on my part.

Anyway, the pillars were very fun to do and I have a second set already planned. If anyone has a suggestion for what to call them I am open. I wanted to call them colorforms but I understand that is a trademarked name for a toy. I do think of them as color forms though (And of course I am familiar too with the work of Anne Truitt.) Suggestions are welcomed.

Thanks for reading and commenting,
Libby

Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Work: Looking Up 6 and A Hint!

Looking Up 6
16" x 16" painted papers collage

Looking Up 6
16" x 16" painted papers collage
I am showing two views because they are so different. They are both of the same piece but depending on how they are oriented, the viewer can get some different feelings.

This series is at an end meaning I have used most of the available paper that I originally painted. However! I have a new project that I am working on using the remaining bits of paper that I have left. If all goes well I will show that in a few days. Fingers crossed:)

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Libby

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New Work: Looking Up 4 and 5

Looking Up 4
16" x 16" painted papers collage landscape

Looking Up 5
16" x 16" painted papers collage landscape
I decided to add one more design to this series and to try some different value ideas. The first piece was more an experiment in using a majority of similar hues with just a few spaces of a complimentary color. The second piece is more an experiment using darker, more closely related values and with the larger areas being similar hues and temperatures.  I like them both for the different feelings they evoke (for me). All five pieces remind me of the colors of the landscape on the recent hike that I took at Red Hills in Jamestown, CA.

Hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day today, no matter what you choose to do.
Thanks for reading and commenting,
Libby

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Work/ In a Hole and How To Get Out

Looking Up 2
16" x 16" painted papers collage on paper
Looking Up
16" x 16" painted papers collage on paper

Inspired by two recent hikes in an area known for redddish colored serpentine rock formations, I made the above piece this week.  The colors, to me, represent some of what I saw: greenish blue bushes, rocks that were reddish to orange brown, and blue skies. The design is new for me and is something that I worked on as well this week. I had another piece that I was working on first but it was a total loss. I am glad that this piece turned out better, in my opinion. Can't win them all right?

I know that other, more experienced artists have written about this subject but I will share anyway what I learned this week about "creative block" or just plain  muddy thinking.  I make art every week and think about things a lot in the interim between pieces. Even still, it's possible to become disconnected. Suggestions for reconnecting are numerous and varied but are mostly external things that you can do. My experience has taught me (over and over and over again) that the struggle can really be internal. Yes, the right setting and the right tools and no distractions help but it really is knowing yourself that is most critical to getting unblocked. 

As I worked on the piece that failed, I just couldn't figure out why I was making all of the wrong moves. After abandoning things and going to bed, I got up the next morning, sort of thinking about things, and began to write in my sketchbook. Just general writing: what I had seen on my hikes, what I was reading about, and what I thought abut my working process and motivation for making art. I started in with some sketching. After some thought, I hit upon the above idea. It dawned on me (aren't I smart?) that this was what was missing; this routine and practice of writing and reflection. It is actually what drives my creative side. And I had been neglecting it. 

Everybody gets out of the hole in a different way. I get that. It's my feeling though that inner examination is a good way to get out of that hole. Buying new supplies or cleaning your work space or turning off the phone/Internet are all good starts. But, until you know how it is that you make your art, what your actual process is (and why), things still may be difficult.

OK, hope everyone had a good week. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Libby