Sunday, September 27, 2015
This is 12 inches x 36 inches. Acrylic on canvas. It started out a vertical painting. But it was looking too much like clouds. I am not a cloud painter and really don't have any desire to become one. Not that I don't take inspiration and an understanding of light from skyscapes. In fact, these colors and light are often seen in the sunset over Bellingham Bay. One of my favorite things ever is a sunset that holds yellow, yellow-orange that moves to red-violet and different shades of blue in the background.
It is rather a mystery to me how this painting happened once I turned it to a horizontal. I love the forms and just followed them with color. Then it felt like it was some kind of ritual that I was capturing. Perhaps in a cave. A chamber in a cave with participants gathered round, dancing, storytelling, well lit by a fire. But then I added door to the title. Then it seemed that there is some serious problem-solving going on but laughter is invited, too. So is it a secret ritual transpiring behind a chamber door? Or a clandestine meeting?
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
I think of these as two pieces, each made of five 5 inch square canvases. Hence Pictem I and Pictem II. However, I really am selling the pieces separately. Because the canvases were two different brands, there are 5 of one size and 5 of a slightly different size. The biggest difference is in the profile away from the wall. That was a frustrating day when I made that discovery. I'm just grateful that I had five of each brand.
These were quite the process. The marks happened very spontaneously, using a calligraphy pen. But I had wanted the ink to bleed like it does on paper when I went over the marks with a wet brush. That didn't happen the same on canvas. So first I had to add absorbent ground. Then make the marks. Then the ink bled out a different color from when I had done it on paper. Then it smeared more and not in a good way when I went over the image with matte medium to waterproof it. So layers and layers. When all I wanted to do was to make the marks with ink and go over it with a wet brush and not have it be on paper and, therefore, need to be behind glass.
I am a bit surprised by the images that reveal themselves just by moving a pen on a surface. Crazy how lines come together to tell a little story. And for me, that's what makes them pictems.
(note: originally, these were titled Totems, but I have since learned that I would be co-opting that word and concept. So they have been renamed)
On the bottom, Time Piece I~Deconstruction/Reconstruction. On the top Time Piece II~Corporation Orchestration. Each is 8 in x 24 in and 4 inches from the wall at the center niche construction, with a graduating down as you move to the edges. These are on canvas with polystyrene packing being the base for the architectural aspects.
Here's the thing. These took years for me to complete from the time I saw the printer packing pieces that together formed a niche and dug them out of the trash. There was the inspiration. I love niches. So then I found the other polystyrene forms to continue the building-like look. Then at a garage sale a year later, I found the plastic scrolly parts. I mounted it all on canvas. And they sat like that for months. Maybe a year. Over that year, I futzed with what to put in the niches. Some things appealed to me, but nothing quite communicated to me.
Finally, I focused on a couple of travel clocks that I had. Time. That drives me crazy--time does. So I started to take the clocks apart. But I didn't get very far with that. One needs special tools for that sort of thing. But I had the parts of the clock I had managed to separate just lying in the niches when another artist came into my studio and saw my construction/destruction under way. She had a bagful of watch parts she had been planning on turning into jewelry years ago but hadn't. She generously offered the parts to me.
Yes! Just what I'd been wanting to come my way. So I started laying the watch parts into the niches. But then what? How to make a statement about the artificiality of time? That's when a winged scarab came into my life. The winged scarab to Egyptians was a symbol of eternity. The Egyptians saw the actions of the dung beetle as analogous to the sun being pushed across the sky. AHA. Artificial time in all its destruction juxtaposed with a symbol of natural time. The winged scarabs are photocopies that I had to waterproof. I added them to the niches and added watch parts to the place where the wings touch at the top part of each scarab.
Now, what goes at the apex? I had one engraved watch back. And lo and behold a watch face that would fit into a watch face surround I had. And that watch face is a mighty representation of corporate America, which tries to orchestrate time and all other parts of our lives. So I put a minute hand into the palm of that symbol of corporate America. Does it make a statement on the artificiality of time? Does it make a statement about how we have to negate our own circadian rhythms in order to feed the corporate maw?
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (to steal a title from William Blake). Began as Excel Hell. Because I'm always in it. Always working the cells of a spreadsheet. Where I don't want to be. Maybe that's an image of me peeking out through the cells. And Excel? It's a blessing and a curse. Much as I imagine a marriage between heaven and hell would be. The interesting part of this painting, for me, is what emerged at the base of it. I used a piece of wood with circles cut out of it. Smeared black paint on it, and those figures came from that. Crazy. Stamping with tools always produces a surprise. But it definitely gave me forms I could storytell with. I think this is something like 36 inches by 12 inches. I can't remember the price I put on it, either. But I will know in time for the studio tour.