Tuesday, August 8, 2017

New Work: More Like Me

More Like Me 1
16" x 16" painted papers collage on paper

More Like Me 2
16" x 16" painted papers collage on paper

More Like Me 3
16" x 16" painted papers collage on paper
When I look around my house and see work that has been hanging on the walls for several years it tells me something about my tastes (and perhaps my level of laziness!). Early on I made a series of quilts utilizing basic squares and rectangles. Those pieces are simple and appealing. They have remained where they are and I enjoy them every day. A person can say a lot through geometry just by experimenting with hue, value, chroma and pattern. Those pieces have endured and I think are trying to tell me something. Other artwork that I have made has come and gone. These pieces have remained.

In the spirit of that constancy, I made the above pieces. I used existing painted papers (except for the monoprints which are new) and arranged the colors in a way that I thought was effective. I am calling these three pieces (there will probably be more too) More Like Me because of all the things I have done so far with painted papers, these three pieces feel the most Libby-like, the most comfortable and the most exciting. 

A friend of mine recently remarked that it seems like I am spending a lot of time outdoors. It's kind of true. I have been trying to take longer hikes about once a week. I walk nearly every day or even ride my bike. I have also had several appointments and days where I am just unmotivated to do much of anything. My focus in general has shifted and for a little while I was really floundering. Being disconnected creatively sucks. And it is hard to reconnect. I don't care what anyone says. It's tough. I have all the time in the world too so imagine what it must be like for someone, like a mom or dad, who is legitimately busy. Ack!

Anyway, hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Work: Aboard The Beagle

Aboard The Beagle
24" x 36" acrylic monoprints on paper affixed to board
This was finished a few days ago and was a complete surprise to me. Originally these mono prints were to be a kind of "under painting" with other layers placed on top. My idea was to add about 4 layers of different colors and then sand down to reveal whatever I thought was interesting.  I still like this idea and intend to pursue it but as I started to add each of these pieces I felt like I had something additional and didn't want to cover things up.

I assembled this piece in much the same way as I do my other pieces. I started with a grid design and added the predetermined papers. It is very much like quilting, literally. These are 6" blocks. I did decide to vary the spacing and so in the second row, I started with a half block and then proceeded to a full block. (I got this idea from a home improvement show that I watch where the guy was laying out roof tiles.)  I was able to see very quickly that even though these designs all seemed very similar, they are not. There are densities of tone to deal with, direction, pattern and value. Each mono print seemed to offer something different so I had to kind of corral similar things. I tried to vary what went where so that I would have a cohesive yet diversified patterning.  In the end, after each block was applied, I assessed things and added more white or more patterning as needed. It was very challenging because I didn't want to add too many details. I think the overall effect of differentiation would have been lost. It's curious and fun for me to note that although there is a lot of pattern here and strong contrast, I found myself making the exact same decisions as I would normally make when working with solid colors and not quite so much contrast. I seem to have internalized some basic design ideas which to me, is quite wonderful and a big advancement. 

As for the title, what can I say? The patterns that emerged on the mono prints seemed to have a botanical/prehistoric/animalistic type feel to them. I saw figures and plants and stars. I was reminded of some things that I have read about Charles Darwin and his voyage aboard the Beagle.  I also felt that the prints had a photographic or "x-ray" quality to them. I learned that there is indeed a style of photography called "photograms" which utilizes a kind of botanical x-ray. I really love what emerged from a little experimentation.

OK, hope everyone is having a good week so far. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

New work: Canicule 2

Canicule 2
16" x 16" painted papers collage on wc paper
It seems that I have been doing the last several pieces in pairs so here is the 2nd of two pieces for this series. For this one I relied on the "invert color" function in my Picasa photo editing program. I think what the thing does is turn darks to lights and lights to darks. I liked the design layout so kept that "as is" but switched up some of the values.

One of the things I struggled with, besides selecting the values I wanted, was the mix of prints. I have this idea that a variety of scale is important. So, I had to arrange things so that I had a good variety but also that I had the color and value that I thought was appropriate. I always have some idea too about color relationships and proportion. I know that making art can be spontaneous and emotional but the above "cerebral" things are what drive my initial efforts. I suppose really that it is the colors I select which contain the emotional components of art making.

In other news, we seem to have an abundance of critters on our property this summer. We have what can be either voles or gophers. I am leaning towards voles based on the pictures on the Internet and the fact that there was a dead one outside my studio window a few days ago. I got to see him sort of up close. Dead animals freak me out a little so I didn't look too carefully but I am fairly sure he was a vole. (I gave him a burial out by the oak tree at lunchtime.) We also have some coyotes possibly living/relaxing on our hillside. They are young and very yippy. There have also been a lot of quail this year. The little ones are as big as tennis balls and very cute. None of it can be helped. We live in the country, there was a lot of rain this year and I suspect that everyone multiplied accordingly. The good news though is that the wasps seem to be not as prevalent as they have been in years past. Thank God for small mercies!

OK, off to do some mono printing and prepping of surfaces for more collage. I have let up on my studio time as of late so things progress kind of slowly around here. Hope everyone is having a good week so far. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

New Work: Canicule

16" x 16" painted papers collage on wc paper
This is the piece that I worked on this week. Several things make me pretty happy about the outcome.

When I first started making art, I tried lots of different things, including simple printmaking. The above printed papers incorporate some of what I learned. I used an acrylic medium on the blank paper to create some "resist" patterning. I then painted on and then wiped off some color. If you wipe carefully the places where the acrylic medium has dried, you can leave the color on the paper while exposing the marks made with the acrylic medium. 

As I was considering which colors and prints to use, I was concerned about too many prints making things too busy. One of the things about my "style" that I like is the simplicity/complexity factor. I like for things to be so simple that they are almost complex, if that makes sense. So, in my little pea brain, too many patterns would be too much and not complex in a simple way. (See what I mean?) Less is more in other words. I solved the problem by interspersing more solid paper with the prints. I thought it was an effective "fix".

The other thing that was a kind of breakthrough involved cutting out all of the shapes before gluing them down so I could "demo" the colors. It's just like doing a color mock up. Why I never did this before I don't know! It worked well. I shuffled some things around to get a good mix of values, patterns and solids. I will definitely be doing this from now on.

The title of the piece, Canicule, is a reference to what I had on my mind while making the piece. Guess what it was? The heat wave! We had a string of super hot days which kind of kept me inside. (I got out super early to take my walk but was otherwise kind of confined indoors.) 

OK, on to the next idea, hopefully. Hope everyone is having a good, safe weekend. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

New Works: Sunlight and Shadow (Columns); Creekside 2(collage)

Sunlight and Shadow View 1
Small Contemplation Columns
Sizes: 14", 12", 10" x 1.50"

Sunlight and Shadow View 2

Creekside 2
16" x 16" painted papers collage on wc paper 
These two pieces were finished up this week. As my guide for the design on both pieces, I tried to focus on temperature. Trying to balance the proportion of the spaces and of the colors was also a goal. These pieces are like puzzles for me. The idea of trying to put colors together to see what happens continues to interest me. And I really like the sculptural element of those columns. And I like that in my mind, even though the pieces on paper are flat, I tend to think of actual spaces with horizons and sections of the landscape.

This week has been incredibly hot. We have been in the triple digits all week and most evenings things didn't cool down enough really to justify opening the windows and losing the benefit of the air conditioned air. It makes cooking a challenge since I don't like trapping food smells in the house. And I have been starting my walks between 6-6:30 AM. Truthfully, if I could get it together sooner I would start at 5:30! 

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. Any observations about these two pieces are welcomed.
Thanks for reading and commenting.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Work: Creekside

16" x 16" painted acrylic papers mounted to wc paper
More and more I am starting to notice what element(s) of design another artist may be trying to work with. I really just mean to say that whatever a person may be emphasizing in their work is becoming more obvious to me; easier to spot. (Whether or not I am right is another matter!) It's very subjective, I know, but I feel like I can guess if an artist may be into color relationships or if line and the personal language of line is important instead. Perhaps shape making is the thing. whatever it is, I feel a little more confidant these days in trying to take an educated guess. (And perhaps nothing-the person could just be having a good time!)

I spend some time on Pinterest and Instagram each morning looking at artwork. It's educational and distracting but also helps me to engage actively in a kind of learning. Trying to identify some element of design that may be present in another artist's work helps me to connect in a way. I find other people that seem to share my same aesthetic.

The above piece was finished yesterday. I painted a group of papers that had quite a bit of texture, for me anyway. I intermixed those with other papers I have that are painted more "flatly." I like the mix a lot. It's interesting to note that the yellow at the top and bottom is actually the same yellow paper. It's a little more pronounced in this photo than it should be but that yellow color looks different at the top than it does at the bottom. Stuff like that interests me, keeps me putting colors together when I would like to actually throw in the towel! 

Dreaming about quiet, still creeksides; water and its many colors and mysteries.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Work: Contemplation Columns and Extra Pics

Change in The Weather
Contemplation Columns 14", 12" and 10" x 2.5"

This new set of columns was completed on Thursday and they took a little trip with me to visit my friend and hairdresser for an evaluation. No one except Rich has seen these in person so I need an opinion. My friend has a discerning nature with a solid aesthetic and so I thought she could help. Plus, she is tactful so I knew it would be fairly painless!

While she liked them, her first reaction wasn't of the "wowza" variety. Her input was that the solid colors weren't as exciting as the more textured papers. I also think she was saying that the uniformity of the pattern itself could have been a little more random. I told her about the clear acrylic bases idea that I have and she seemed enthused about that.  She did think they were well constructed. (I am always super concerned about workmanship.) And though these aren't her colors, she appreciated that they are my color choices.  And finally, she is the second person who has told me that she thought these columns were bigger. 

It was good to see these things in place, somewhere else. It's fine for me to have them in my studio-they belong here because of everything else that is here. But I want to think about the columns in another place too, like in someone's house, on their desk or mantle. 

I think the idea of greater contrast between the solid paper and patterned/textured paper is definitely on the agenda. (She may have liked these columns better.) I like the more regular patterning of the shapes themselves that I chose this time. Sides 1 and 3 are the same and sides 2 and 4 are the same with regard to shape size. 

Now, the bases are another story. Clear acrylic bases would be great but they are cost prohibitive for me. I do think they would elevate the idea and cause the columns to appear to be "floating."  I could probably just try a few and see what happens. 

So, good feedback from a live, in-person person. Online feedback helps too (and is another valid tool for me) but looking at pictures is different from seeing something in person of course.

OK, I am on to the next idea. I have some paper selected and will be working on a composition. Hope everyone's weekend is off to a good start. Thanks for reading and commenting.