All parts in final arrangement now! But there is always the option of adding, or with some struggle, even removing! But I really do think this piece is finished, or well almost!
Even with all parts in final arrangement, I will need to verify they are securely attached, then I will add wall mounting hardware to the back. I may also improve the base so this piece can stand upright, which is not currently an option. I will probably add another clear coat also, in order to seal it well.
The title is “Reason to Worry”: the bare trees, an avenging angel, and the writing on the leaves convey a worrisome message about Earth’s rapidly shrinking forests. We need healthy forests for clean air, wildlife diversity, and our own mental health.
I love that I made everything about this artwork except the drawer, the paper, and the threads! Some of my assemblage work still includes a natural or found object or two, but most of them are all my own work. This is so satisfying.
I have a history of using old found drawers as containers for art. Sometimes I have been lucky enough to find handsome well made drawers, and it is great to get a matched pair of drawers!
Old drawers tend to be best: all wood, or at least sturdy plywood rather than junky pressed boards. And a little or even quite a bit of damage can lend character! I am not overly fond of new & pristine for my artwork. I have come to love a bit of wear & tear of the just the right sort…
So drawers as containers for art generally become an intrinsic part of the work: I build on the style of the drawer, and choose elements that fit the piece. The elements will be permanently attached in the final artwork. And sometimes the drawers actually inspire me to a new work.
These, and all my original art images, can be printed as art quality prints.
I can print these, and many other images, with archival inks on appropriate high quality papers. Most digitally transformed images really glow when printed on glossy photo or polar metallic papers. Other images, photos of collages or arrangements, look best on a smooth matte or lightly textured matte art paper. I can print a few sizes myself, and will mail these if necessary. I upload other larger images to a good “print on demand” site, and give you direct access. You order these online and the site will print and ship them to you.
I make some images available on fabric, clothing and other products, but other artwork I reserve for fine art prints.
These are some more alternatives for a new work. I am struggling with this collage / assemblage. This will “go somewhere”, I think. I plan to complete a finished piece incorporating the print and one of the two angels, but it may not look like much this.
The parts that I am considering include the burn sienna colored paperclay angel, a tinted but transparent resin angel, a small low relief resin tree, leaves or scans of leaves, and a shellac coated poly-lithograph print of trees. The conceptual title is “Reason to Worry”.
I have a sheet of copper that could become a good background for this piece (instead of the chipboard used above). And if I stay with a background & use a mat, I will not use this poorly cut & tinted cardboard, this is merely a temporary stand in for something better!
However the print and angel fit into another possibility entirely, some variation of this drawer piece:
Sometimes less is better! I rather wish that I did not have so many more alternatives for a new work!
I am currently assessing alternatives for three new works, while while I apply finishing touches to parts for a fourth piece. I have so many “parts” now, after recent casting. This makes for so many options: perhaps too many!
So I have one piece that is complete in concept, but the parts are just loosely arranged in place. This has been waiting for a) my certainty, b) final finish on all the parts, and c) final permanent assembly. I think the parts are now ready for assembly. Now to attach everything very carefully!
In addition to this work in progress, I currently have several assemblages in concept phase. An assemblage is like a collage, but is an arrangement of 3-D or bas relief elements, rather than two dimensional parts. These will likely become finished works, but that is still not quite certain. I have ideas that have not quite coalesced. These arrangements, and many “extra” parts that could be included, all take up work surface in my studio. New ideas and combinations seem to occur to me every time I move something… and that is quite exciting for an artist!
Sometimes the idea or parts work well together and bring a brand new piece into focus. But often the scale or the colors are not quite right. So I stop to paint a part, or to make a cast in another color, or to print a scanned drawing larger or smaller. And all these pieces accumulate to take up more space!
The three photos above show one concept: I must decide whether one, or maybe two, of my little angel colts will be presented in these gold lit woods. And if so, will they need a heart? Or a blue moon? Or will they just stroll the woods alone in a shower of ghostly leaf skeletons? TBD!
Now arranging something a little bit different, and much more lighthearted. If I make this permanent, I might call it “Laughter”!
Birds in Nest Jade II, my new cast, is not a replica, even though I made this using the new mold of my oil-based clay model Birds in Nest. Read on to find out why! Love, protection, nurture & safety are all present in this small sculpture. A mother bird protects and nurtures two chicks who snuggle to her breast for warmth and safety.
The new, second mold I used for this corrects a major flaw in the first mold. The new mold also includes some improvements I made to the original clay model. So I have a better mold of an improved original work.
About this Cast
But what makes this cast unique? Well, a few things! First I should explain: I just don’t really “do” editions. They bore me! I am a creative artist, unwilling to become a technician unless I really need to. I prefer to experiment and to play. So this first cast in the new mold has a few experimental and custom features!
Birds in Nest Jade II is a mixed media cast: I cast the birds in a custom tinted resin, with “inclusions” of natural quartz and fragments of hardened colored resin. These are not prominent, but are visible. The inclusions show slightly in upper part of the piece, in the baby bird’s head, in the mother birds wing, etc. I believe this makes the piece more interesting, with a bit of the variety of natural stone. I used acrylic modified cement for the birds’ nest. The two materials were poured into the same mold, a few days apart. I have joined the two parts securely by embedding threaded hardware across both sections.
Once I removed my birds from the mold, I cleaned and smoothed a few imperfections, and added a special touch: this mother bird holds food for her young. It is perhaps a worm, or a tiny fish… I certainly don’t know!
Here is my first Fat Baby Bird cast in cement. This is the first cement “pour” in my new mold, and this mold is fine! Unfortunately my casting was flawed; I did not mix enough cement, and with the RapidSet material mixed fairly thick for strength, the layers show. So this first cast is far from perfect, but good enough to prove the mold and to please me. After all I know that I can do better with the next one!
I rather love the air bubble that was trapped in the eye. This accidental void actually perfectly matches the personality of my quirky fat baby bird, and makes this first proof special. So a good several days work, I think. And I will make another fat baby bird cast today.
Time passes … and we have the second cast. This time I mixed enough material, BUT I used a slightly different mixture (RapidSet CementAll instead of the high strength Mortar Mix). This seems much harder to mix well: it was lumpy and since it sets so quickly, I get in a hurry mixing it. I fear there are weak spots in this cast, where there were unmixed dry lumps of cement! I don’t seem to have any trouble mixing the Mortar Mix, which has a larger grit sand, I think. The dry material did not seem lumpy, but perhaps I need to mix it more, or even sift it before adding water. That would be a big pain!
I am trying out various options for this arrangement before I work up a final piece. I am currently quite in love with the concept and the arrangements, but of course that will change. I will probably hate the finished work when complete, for at least a few days if not longer. And then I will fuss with it, possibly altering and even ruining it. I can usually “fix” my ruined pieces, but not always!
I think the dimensional pieces will need to be embedded to be secured in a finished artwork, with the paper protected. I don’t like putting anything behind glass anymore. This may mean an epoxy resin pour, with all the stress and mess that entails. I don’t really want high gloss though. Must think!