Weekly work

I am envisioning a much larger gameboard using these 4″x6″ pieces created on a watercolor pad. I have two originals so far, but already three foils!   And of the course the “squares” won’t be :-)



In Flotsam & Jetsam

The Work Described:

Item 1, primary, a 3-D piece:

Two modest older three dimensional gentlemen, both a bit chubby, stand together in conversation on a narrow platform.  They appear amused:  one is clearly pleased & smiling, perhaps having just shared a joke or told a humorous story.  The other listens, a bit bemused, but enjoying the moment.
The figures are realistic, but rustic & rough, with faded metallic surfaces.
They stand in front of a two dimensional galaxy of shooting stars, or perhaps it is a greenboard extensively marked up with complex curves & intersecting lines. The platform could be a station for some unspecified transportation system, or it could be a strip of beach.  It is dotted with odd dark elongate half dome “boulders” that on close inspection appear to be weather worn:  multi-colored, with shallow fissures, and lumps. The surface of the platform has a hard to see design: it takes a very close look to find the two figures stand on a row of dark strange faces…

Item 2, secondary, digital photography:

This photo of a mixed media sculpture, taken in late afternoon light that is almost orange in tone, casting long deep shadows. The light from the left illuminates and shines through scratched & broken sections of acrylic onto three concrete figures standing in a conversational group among an unusual assortment of objects. Is this odd scene a sculpture park?  Who are these people & why are they here?
The lighting is dramatic. While the left side of the photo is so bright as to be nearly white, the far right is the dark side:  sharp black shadows of the figures are thrown up against a dark background lit up to a deep orange and patterned with a spider’s web of shadow created by the “wall” of cracked scratched acrylic.

Item 3, tertiary, mixed media based on a lino cut print:

Two rather mysterious softly outlined figures, a man and a woman, stand together amid a whirl of leaves and rippled lines:  the air currents are as visible as the figures or the leaves which fly loose from the tree at left.  The figures are transparent, gentle, & ghostlike;  they stand barefoot on or in an area of soft brightness that is more cloud than ground. The colors are soft, the tones are dark greenish black, soft yellow to a peachy or coppery color.  The print shows the texture of the thick paper.

The Work Selection:

My selection of work for Flotsam & Jetsam was not based on extended consideration:  there was not very much time to choose once we decided to change our work for a March show.

And I was so pleased with my new metallic look resin figures that I wanted to show them off.

I liked the idea of sharing my newest figures with others.  And I liked the challenge of getting my new piece properly mounted & complete for the show (although the timing for completing the presentation along with my commitment to cook a RW Monday dinner was terrible!!!).

The other two pieces were selected to be compatible with my newest Conversation (number VI).


Q. & A.

Q.   Is there room for public art in a consensus based community?

A.   Possibly.

But only with much persistence from one or more enthusiasts!
And only for artists outside the community, dead, or with very thick skins!
It is very unlikely that there will be unanimous enthusiasm for any one artwork. And while the consensus process does not require unanimity, there does need to be agreement first that any artwork is desirable for long term display, and then there needs to be agreement on the specific piece of art.
So an artist in the community must be willing to persevere in the face of a clear lack of enthusiasm, or even clear dislike of the work. This may be especially difficult when these people are the neighbors & community members you spend time with, and have committed to socialize & work with regularly.
Note that it is statistically very unlikely that there will be a champion for an “in house” artist also within the cohousing community: a cohousing artist will probably need to be her own promoter.

Public art is always difficult, and selection by committee often comes to a majority vote.  Achieving consensus for public art will generally take even longer, and may never happen at all :-)!


Art Work

Still doing art, but mostly serious grunt work. Outdoor sculpture installation takes some effort: finding the right spot (which includes mock-up & visualization, communication, negotiation, preparation, and more :-), making or customizing an appropriate base, finalizing the method for attaching the sculpture to the base, etc.

Still to come actual transportation & installation!


First Replica

The first clay model has been replicated using Rapidset mortar, and I am quite pleased (that it was not a disaster :-) Now I have the second mold filled with the same material.  I will need to remake half the mother mold for the first figure, as I broke it while releasing my statuette:  it was much too thin & weak, also I should have divided the piece a bit differently.  I will wait until I release the second mold, then do repairs on both molds as required.


Small fix made

Falling Bluffs finished

I had to pull this watercolor out of the frame to make small changes to a few rocks that were troublesome :-)   A comment made it impossible for me to ignore it, and I think / hope the changes remove the problematic focal point to allow the eye to move more quickly around the whole piece.


Deer & Seeds

I can’t resist doing a little digital alteration to this peculiar watercolor.  My concept was very vague:  to work with animal print & seed imagery, with the notion of scenes, details or something inside the animal prints.  I expect to play with this idea more, and perhaps it will develop into a larger finished piece or two. As to the digital play:  I applied a histogram stretch, then a topo effect, to create more drama than is feasible in a watercolor sketch!


With digital layers

Watercolor trees soft modSo many additions & variations are possible, and I enjoy this play! All of these are based on scans of the same trees, but at various stages since I continue to work on the original.  It does not have the magic of the various digital versions however.


That whole work in progress thing…

Plaster masksYesterday evening: plaster, this morning: cement! Last night I started the bas relief body for a cat, not necessarily for the cat mask I made recently… TBD. And I also started another human face/mask. These are still drying, and will need more layers, more shaping, etc.

The cement project is a concrete chair:  I started with a broken resin “adirondack” chair that Michael kindly reinforced with a little rebar, wire, and epoxy. Then I got to work with expanded metal lath (aka blood mesh). Today, I used a stiffish mortar mix to putty the chair legs, and up along parts of the body to hide the plastic and to make the legs stronger for the increased weight.The chair is under wraps for a few days to allow the mortar to cure before I move it around for the next steps. The plan is to use fabric soaked in high cement mortar stretched out on top of the chair seat & back, laying it over the expanded metal. I may need to put another smoother surface over this, and perhaps I will need to cut the fabric in two pieces to better avoid wrinkles! I will be experimenting a bit more before this step!

Anticipation …



A Drawing Challenge

Mother studio portrait Mother from studio photoI admire and enjoy this studio photograph of my mother, probably taken while she was at University or at her graduation from Aberdeen University. That is just a guess, but she us certainly quite young, and I think she wore her hair short for most of her married life. She may have been just leaving secondary school, and just looking very mature & sophisticated!

Challenged by a wonderful book of drawings by many different artists, and by Maureen Piper, I decided to try my hand at a drawing from this photo. I did not get the angle right, she is smiling too much, and I can see other flaws, but I rather like my drawing anyway :-)  I have not seriously tried to draw portraits at all, and have been uninterested/unwilling to try. But maybe once in a great while, I can manage one that appeals to me.  Maybe next an older Mother, the one that I really knew.