Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Silk Road, maybe

I'm in the throes of a three panel silk piece. I dyed three sections of white silk, using coffee dye, showed you this a while back,and allowed it to move as it wanted to, taking advantage of the laws of fluid dynamics, and now I'm at the next stage.

What I'm doing is using embroidery and metallic brush pens to work into the designs that formed themselves, with a different color grouping for each panel. They should work together okay, since the harmony of the three parts will hold up, and the backgrounds though varied, are the same dye working on it.

Here's panel three, or maybe one, or maybe two, they're not joined up yet. Complete panel then two details enlarged. I plan on joining the three panels in some interesting way when I decide how (!) and meanwhile, I'm grappling with the technicalities of actually doing this work.

Here's the deal: the matter at hand is how to introduce embroidery, which I'm dying to do, without sinking into prettiness and trivia. One way is that I'm using metal brush pens to echo the embroidery stitches, and to fool the eye into wondering which is which. I'll do couching, too, which is laying a thread on top of the fabric and catching it at intervals with a stitch, but so you see it as a continuous line. I'm aiming for richness and texture and color, but not oh how cute, if you follow me.

The other limitation for my hands, which are much better these days, but don't like to push a needle for very long through resistant fabric, is that my time at each session of embroidering is short. But I can paint for a while.

So this is where I am. This is a piece that has to move slowly, very unlike my usual headlong take no prisoners approach, but I think it needs that, so that I can make decisions rather than reactions.

Comments and suggestions are welcome! This is the kind of thing I can't really carry in to the artists' group for critique for several reasons, one being the portability of a fragile piece and how to show it, the other being that I suspect the fiber aspect of it might not be in the experience of the other artists. I could be wrong, there, as Monk says...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Learning to Play Again!

Last night was a meeting of the local artists' group, and after a session of analyzing and enjoying each other's work, some of us settled to draw a telescope set up as a model, and some of us drew the other participants!

These are a few charcoal head studies of fellow artists.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nature Scenes

I don't make art out of doors -- too much stimulation, can't focus -- but I do take photographs as an outdoor artform, and though I don't consciously use them in art, I expect they are lurking in the subconscious waiting to emerge, all the same. So here's a selection you might like to wander through

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More drawings, part the first

I have an assortment of drawings to show you, but I'll break them up mercifully, into several posts and you can browse at will. they range from life drawings, to nature notes in my journal, to animal drawings, my own and other cats and birds, drawings of HP, these I'll flag up front, and various other ideas, including abstractions and drawings of the materials I use to draw with. Ink, charcoal, graphite, pencil, you name it, on surfaces ranging from drawing paper to Kraft wrapping paper

This small ink on paper drawing of HP's sneakers, is now in the collection of his physical therapist, gift of the artist.

This drawing of HP sleeping, white ink on black Arches cover stock, is in the collection of his doctor now, gift of the artist.

And here are a few life drawings, mostly ink on paper

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Go here, go there!

If you read this blog and are not a follower of my other, Field and Fen, you may want to check over there for the continuing adventures and misadventures of the Dollivers, the Littles, and the new group of people and animals,Minis.

Go here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What you do in the middle of serious art

After working on a much more serious piece of hanging fiber art today, I had to have a bit of comic relief,so I made this scarf from donated eyelash, very soft to handle

It has a vertical slit, so it can be worn as a necklet, or you can just wear it as a scarf. The person it's destined for doesn't read this blog, so I'm safe in showing it here.

I changed the pattern, so what else is new, cast on 20 stitches on size 8 needle, organized the vertical slit to run right up the middle of the 20, for 3.5 inches, starting at 4 inches from the cast-on, and the whole scarf is 30 inches long. I might even make another for me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back to Drawing, with Training Wheels

After a long time away from art groups and drawing sessions, because of the last few years' home responsibilities, which sadly ended with HP's death in August, I've started to pick up the threads again.

Last night I went to a studio session of the local artists' group at the library, where I co-founded most of the art events, the existence of the gallery, a lot of adventures, and tried to get some of the rust off my drawing skills. And there was a lot of rust.

But I experimented with pencil, graphite stick, charcoal,

silver pencil, fine pen, various papers, just to assemble my training wheels. Drew gesture drawings of other people

still lifes of flowers

still life of fruit

in an annoying shaped dish,

and the fallback position of the box of drawing gear.

Drawing has a lot to do with skill as well as the eye, and it's the skills that get all pear shaped when you don't do it, and remember how to focus and relate again.

Anyway, I'm putting up a few drawings for your interest, and to see how they look at this point. Long way to go. But I've found a life drawing open session happening in the next town over, regularly, just walk in, no advance planning needed, and I think I'll give that a try, too.

Meanwhile, it's good to see last evening's output in a different medium, here on a screen, and see just what I did. You never know that at the time of the doing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Four Easy Pieces, Art Underfoot

Today the light was wonderful, golden, sharp, clear. Perfect for strolling and seeing what's afoot...

Friday, September 30, 2011

You come at art by various means

Various means, some of them mysterious. Anyway, today I found myself studying some fiber pieces on the wall waiting for me to figure out their next stage, and realized I needed fabric behind them, to stabilize and be part of the work and to think it was to do it.

I thought about some of the knitted pieces I've felted, and on the way to finding them in the studio found a bunch of lovely silk and canvas and cheesecloth and other such great stuff. The silk seemed about right for what's going on here at the moment.

White silk is nice but oh well, it needs a little something. So I made a batch of strong coffee and dropped the pieces into it, careful to keep a little air in, so as to have designs, not a solid dye job. Then hung them up in the blessed sunshine we finally got some, and painted them a little more using a turkey baster and let them blow in the sunshine, finally ironed them and made casings temporarily at the tops and slid them onto a dowel to see how they work now.

At this point they could work with several of the other works, and maybe one I still have in progress,but we'll see how that goes.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I have returned! with early computer generated art

I've been organizing the studio and came across a trove of computer art which I created in the early 1980s, when computer art was at a very early stage. The Mac had not yet introduced all the graphics that are now common, and what was available to students of the medium at that time was a complex system.

I was progressing through a self directed program of art studies,with the guidance of a number of exhibiting artists who thought I should definitely go on and exhibit work. So this was a way of, among all the printmaking and drawing and papermaking and other studio arts, finding a very new medium and seeing what I could do with it.

At that time there was no scanning. What we had to do was a whole series of delicate steps culminating in an image grab. This would take an entire 5.25 size disk, the only type in existence then, and took all kinds of acrobatics on the part of the artist.

Great fun, it involved a setup like a theater organ, with two fullsize PCs, no Macs available, one with a keypad for entering commands, one with a stylus and pad for drawing what would appear like magic on the screen. Huge adventure, and I spent a lot of a year doing this in the intervals of having to go to work to earn a living to enable me to do this. And it did entail computer knowledge and the ability to make string commands, as well as working with all the other requirements of art.

But several of the pieces you see here won awards of various kinds. And seeing them on a screen is their true medium. At that time the only way to exhibit them was to set up a 35 mm film roll inside the works of the computer, scary stuff, and shoot what was on the screen, except that you had to make all kinds of adjustments to allow for the difference between a backlit screen and a film image.

The technicians at the photo place where I used to take my work each week to get it developed were very intrigued and just couldn't grasp that these images only existed in a disk, that they weren't a photograph of a thing. I spent a lot of time talking about this with them, because they were fascinated at this new thing going on. There were only two printers in the US which could actually print out this output, one at CalTech, and I forget where the other was. But for most of the world, it was make a film shot and get it developed.

Anyway, here are some of my works. the ones that look like sculpture are in fact virtual sculpture -- the program enabled me to turn the image exactly like a physical sculpture and work on all sides. But there wasn't enough memory in the system to image more than one side, so I had to choose which would be the "front".

Some of the best fun I had was in forcing the program to get all upset and confused by deliberating putting in commands too fast, so as to create a kind of tumbling effect as all the colors and shapes collided with one another and made amazing new effects. Unfortunately the manufacturers caught these loopholes and "fixed" them, dangit.

Then the college donated all its pcs and cards to the prison system (couldn't sell them, federal money, so they had to find a good new home) and short of committing some major crime and getting into the Clinton Women's Correctional Facility, my computer adventures on the PC came to an end. The college replaced the PCs with Macs, which I found so boring and predictable and programmed, not much room for new thought, that I moved on into other areas of art, on to new adventures.