Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Work; Accordion Books/Leporellos; Titles

Hope and The North Fork
12" x 16" acrylic and painted paper/watercolor paper

Alpine Study 3
8" x 10"

Accordion book 6(Made in a response to a fire that occurred just a little too close to home.)

Accordion book 5 

accordion book (for reference to # 5)

The above pieces have been completed in the last week or so. The first piece, Hope and The North Fork, is the one I am writing about today. 

As I worked on this piece, I at first was kind of irritated. It felt like I was slogging along from task to task, filling in colored spaces.  Slogging along is not a feeling I like. I got the piece to a place where I could stop, ate some lunch, and came back to finish. As I was adding the details of the blue lines/shapes, I realized that this particular task was one that I enjoyed more. I like cutting and gluing the painted paper. I am always considering how to add more of this type of work into my pieces and still remain painterly. I'll continue to explore that idea. Listening to your inner self complain can lead to insight, truly!

I did learn some things that I will pass along to anyone reading who is a painter, particularly someone who uses "thumbnail" sketches and then enlarges them to make bigger pieces. Things can get lost in translation. It's important I think to remain aware of this and to be flexible in your thinking. Here is what I found:

1. Size matters (or fill the spaces in a proportionate way). I originally used fewer blue marks to represent the "rain" shapes. Because I was going to a larger format, my shapes needed to get bigger too. I found that I was trying to fill a larger space with shapes that were too small and so I ended up adding more pieces. Even though I used more shapes ultimately, it worked out in the end I think because of value and placement.

2. Weight and Emphasis through chroma and value: In my original piece the sun shape was darker and maybe a little more chromatic. I decided to make it lighter. As a  consequence it didn't have too much of a presence. Adding more blue pieces (because I was trying to solve another problem) helped to give weight and emphasis to this part of the composition. ******Changing the color though did add a greater variety of yellow/oranges to the piece. And in the end I repainted the sun shape to make it a little more chromatic.

3. Lines have rhythm and can direct: duh right? Well, I didn't really see this in my mock up. When I started to go large it became apparent to me that this was a design component to be used to a much greater extent. I tried to create a rhythm across each row of blue shapes as well as integrate both rows with a unified rhythm. No easy task! Overall the marks create a shape that is broader on top and narrows towards the bottom which seems good to me. There are likely many variations on the theme here.

4. Layering and depth: I originally wanted shapes that were not touching to any extent. As I went along I decided to mix the two options of layered and separate shapes. That is just something that appeals to me. Someone else might find it distracting. 

5. Be selective in what you emphasize: I felt that my original piece was pretty balanced. As I moved to the larger format I was able to see that there needed to be an emphasis somewhere. And truthfully I didn't realize this until the end! I usually like to have one small chromatic shape. But! I think in this case the small blue marks and dark bridge sort of take the place of that chroma "pop." In the end, as I wrote above, I repainted the sun shape anyway.

6. Flexibility is essential!: I can't think in one instance when it has served me well to be a stick in the mud about my thoughts. I had to be very flexible in going from a small version to a big version of this piece, particularly because some things weren't working at first. And it's important to not confuse this with what might be termed "artistic integrity" which is to say sticking to an inward vision of your concept or the overarching idea guiding your piece of art.

About The Title: It literally popped into my head while driving. Several weeks ago I learned that the Calaveras River, which supplies our reservoir and hence our drinking water supply, is entirely fed via rainfall. The river and its tributaries terminate at land and not at an alpine lake somewhere higher up. Not great news in my book since we have an issue with rainfall here. But, nonetheless, this is the situation. As far as I know, other than naturally occurring rainfall, there is no way to replenish this water source, both in the rivers and in our reservoir. So, it's how I came up with the title.

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


  1. I LOVE Hope and the North Fork.
    The way you did the rain is quite wonderful.
    This post is very complex and I have read it twice. So much insight. You can make a book about all your thought processes and the way you solve creating art to fit your vision. Amazing stuff.

    1. Julie,

      Such a positive response! Thank you.

      I hope the post isn't complex due to bad writing! I really try to work on that:)

      I try to write out what I am learning as I learn it. Doing so helps me to clarify my thoughts of course but I always hope that someone reading will get something out of it too. And it's the sort of information that I am always looking for and that other artists (at least those whose blogs I read) don't always share. (And I am sure many of those artists just are way beyond my level.)

      Anyway, glad that you hang in there with the writing and enjoy reading it. I appreciate that since I know you have a busy schedule. :)

    2. Bad writing? - oh no - not at all!
      The way you write is clear and concise and I am enjoying every moment of your journey.

    3. Thanks Julie! do end up drafting and redrafting the posts in hopes of making some sort of sense!


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