Thursday, June 27, 2019

A New-ish Start!

I have made the decision, for now, to transfer my blogging endeavors over to my artist website, Libby Fife Fine Art. That link can be found right here. I hope those that are still following will hop right on over to my website to see what is going on. I will still be sharing my new work, the reasons why I made it and what inspired it. Additionally, I will try to share information about my process and what I am up to, artistically. Please join me as I try something a little new.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

New work: The Not So Peaceful Garden

The Not So Peaceful Garden
Image size 16" x 20"
painted paper collage on matboard

The title of the above piece comes yet again from something that I read in my book on evolution (Carl Zimmer). In the book, the author references a quote made by Darwin to the effect that while we love to hear the birds singing happily in the garden and their music signifies the presence of life, we must also remember that the very life we hear is also bringing death to the worms and the insects being eaten by those birds. I thought those two ideas held together simultaneously merited some real thinking on my part. That's an important idea not to be missed.

I admit that though that while I am making these pieces, I have nothing much in mind to start with. For example, I didn't set out to make a piece of art about life and death occurring simultaneously. It is just what I happened to think about as I was working away. What actually got me going was another idea from awhile back and that can be attributed to a Stephen King short story called Chattery Teeth. Based on that reading, I had made a little paper sketch of a pair of orange "chattery teeth" and I liked that so much that I really wanted to use the imagery at some point. Well, this piece became that point! I knew too that I wanted to use some flower images. Earlier in the week I had seen some wallflowers while on a hike. I loved their four petal formation and bright orange color. (Plus, who doesn't love a wallflower?) So, on to the piece they went. The two blue shapes that sort of resemble a bird and fish were "accidental" in that I had cut several shapes earlier in the month and these two shapes evolved from those other shapes. Nothing was planned, in other words. It just evolved! (How fitting, no?)

Admittedly, at some point, I felt that a kind of "garden" theme was emerging. Not a peaceful, relaxing garden but a garden with a somewhat sinister subtext. I like that idea a lot (too much time with Stephen King) but if I had set out to do that at the beginning this piece would never have been made. I mean to say that I am not sure if I could make a second or third piece and make this a series. I couldn't be deliberate. It's likely though that in the future this idea will crop up again. I don't think ideas or creative impulses really ever go anywhere. We always circle back to them eventually in one way or another. 

Alright, I really hope everyone has had a productive week, creatively or otherwise. Thanks for reading and commenting. Or emailing. Emailing works just fine:)

Sunday, June 9, 2019

New Work: Endless Forms Most Beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful
15" x 18" painted paper collage
This piece was based on a "leftover" scrap collage that I did a week or so ago. When I finish a piece there are generally lots of little bits and pieces leftover. Sometimes I use them in the next piece or sometimes they go into a small sketch. Every now and again there are enough shapes leftover to do a 8" x 10" practice collage. I liked the practice piece that I did so much that I decided to use it as the launching pad for a real piece.

I have to admit though that I deviated significantly from that practice sketch. I was trying to duplicate it and that just wasn't working for me. So, I put the sketch away and just forgot about copying it. I am so happy I did because I never would have made this piece otherwise. 

I am lucky too because I just happened to come across some images in the last several weeks that have generated some new ideas. Not fully formed ideas but fragments of things. I so much want to make more organic shapes and combine them with the rectilinear shapes. But how to do it? What could it look like? Well, there has to be source material for starters. I have recently been looking online at old anatomy charts and also perusing our anatomy reference book. I have looked at (and sketched) plenty of flowers over the course of the Spring and I have been sketching oddball animal shapes based on the exercises in Carla Sonheim's book, Drawing and Painting Imaginary Animals. It is slow going but ideas are beginning to emerge. I don't want to jinx myself so I will leave it at that.

Incidentally, the title is based on a passage from Charles Darwin's book, On The Origin of Species. The full quote is referenced often and sums up nicely what Darwin felt about evolution and natural selection (not an easy topic to sum up)!

OK, thanks for reading. Leave a comment or send an email.