Studio Tour was a fine weekend for me; I was proud of my work, proud of my (intensive!) preparation, and totally enjoyed meeting and engaging with visitors to my studio. I was never busy, so I had time to answer questions, share my enjoyment, and really have a nice time!
A few artworks now have new homes: four more significant sales, several prints, digitally patterned water bottles & tote bags, and a few trinkets. Selling with interested & engaged visitors is very pleasing, an affirmation of my weird vision perhaps… and the enthusiastic feedback was great, purchase or not. My prices barely cover materials most of the time, or there would be no sales at all, I think.
There were no negative experiences, though one was close … a bit odd!
I hope all artists on the Tour had as much fun. I put in a lot of work preparing my studio and yard; I essentially put on my own solo show, and most visitors recognized and enjoyed this. And I had wonderful help & support from my partner and friends!
I put out lots of signs, and cleared & prepared far more parking spaces than were needed. I never had more than three cars at a time. But my other efforts were rewarded by the enthusiastic comments I received, with most visitors really enjoying my Yard Art.
Cleaning up my studio in preparation for Studio Tour 2019 (August 17-18) means finishing up unfinished projects, finessing less satisfactory projects, shuffling & categorizing work, etc. Some pieces go outdoors, becoming slowly disintegrating Yard Art, others are completed, improved & better presented, and a few just filed away out of sight.
Many of my assemblage & collage works come together slowly, and I accumulate found objects that claim me; really, I don’t claim them! Many of these items do find a place in a finished work, but that may take years. Meanwhile I arrange & re-arrange the most interesting finds along with my most experimental creations. These get photographed and enjoyed, but also take up a lot of space and collect a lot of dust. Some of these just need to be abandoned, they will never “fit”.
The piece shown here evolved from working with wax a few years ago. The center part is made from mat board, dried grasses, thread and cheesecloth saturated with wax. It has been mounted into an old wooden desk in-box, painted black. For a long time it featured a folded paper sad dog, but that bit of paper finally lost its charm, and the mountainous rock and a cast resin figure took its place.
I cleaned it up today, making a few alterations, and mounting the polymer clay bones (on the top) and the sleeping resin figure permanently. This should probably get a glass or clear acrylic facing to keep out dust and protect it, but … it is, of course, an odd size. I am not going to order glass, or carefully cut and bevel acrylic unless someone wants to buy this piece. And that is not too likely to happen!
These are pages of a book that honors a life now closed.
The crystal ship with the recumbent figure is work that came together slowly. Like much of my work, the final piece is assembled from parts I created along the way. While I had a special desire to create a “crystal ship”, I did not plan the final work in advance.
This figure, which resembled a good friend, became a memorial to him when he died, and it fit into my crystal ship perfectly. The symbolism of the ship is relevant both to him, as an individual fascinated by ocean explorations, and more broadly to all of us. All of us who have sailed, or will soon sail away. It is a deeply personal piece.
I attached the figure and the few special objects to the crystal resin ship. The work sits on a lightweight wrapped wire stand that I made for it. I have photographed it in many settings.
This is a scan of (most of) a mostly finished collage using two of my drawings. The “sad angels” started as a graphite drawing, which I scanned as usual. I created a couple of digital variations, then worked further on the printed pieces to finish these three sad angels. The abstract wooded scene scan has been enlarged, and is also further modified after printing. The figures, leaf drawing, and feather print are attached with matte medium.
The collage is a little too big for my scanner, so the top & both sides are cropped. And of course I cannot resist trying out a digital foil variation:
Art, making, and how I feel before, during & after!
Before starting, I am drifting, uncertain, and shifting various ideas and visual images.
Once I start work, I am excited, engrossed, and enthusiastic. It may be tough at times, I may feel my piece is ruined or will never get to the level I want, but mostly I am engaged and energized by the work! At some point I am really excited about ambitious work: I can smell success!
Then when I am finally finished with a good piece there is triumph, but that is generally short-lived. I start to lose interest quickly, and soon I will lose much of my interest in the work. It may actually bore me, even when I remain satisfied with the quality and content of the work.
Maybe that is why career artists often develop their words (!) and find stories for their artwork and why they make art. The story may come during or often after the art work is complete. But a story allows the artist to remain engaged with a piece after it is finished, and to retain more enthusiasm for their finished work. Enthusiasm is very important for marketing art, so lacking a outgoing patron or gallery owner, the artist may need to be the enthusiast! A good story not only helps the artist stay engaged with an artwork, but it allows the artist to share their enthusiasm, through their story, with potential buyers.
I don’t tend to analyze or create stories about my artwork, or about why I work. I find that difficult…!
This is a relief sculpture based on a recent drawing, and has been an ambitious and interesting project.
This is a 24″ x 18″ air dry paperclay relief sculpture on board. This is a new process for me, and it was quite a challenge. The board is completely covered with a thin layer of paperclay. I digitally resized the incomplete figures from my drawing, completed them, and used these to cut out the first layer of each figure. The figures were then built up with additional paperclay and textured before adding pastel pigments.
The cradled board is presented for hanging in a simple homemade protective frame, that can be removed and replaced with a professional frame. It is coated with a spray acrylic that protects it from ambient moisture and dirt, so it can be dusted with a feather duster or wiped gently with a soft cloth.
Hard to explain this sketch, or maybe not. I have yard art that I am very fond of, and would love to “translate” into more durable form & media. This doodle is about that, and may help me achieve this eventually. It won’t be as simple as just remaking the work in sturdier material & form, as something vital will likely be lost in the process… I need to capture the essence that I like, rather than try to duplicate the work.
My yard and studio have become my creative source: a veritable wellspring of inspiration and ideas. The more I work & play, the more I feed my own creative energy. I have created spaces for my ideas that feed new ideas and new work: a continuous cycle of playful work!
This is a 9?x12? page divided into 12 squares, each representing difficult achievements in my life! The inspiration is the Twelve Labors of Hercules, the media are water soluble graphite, watercolor pencil, & watercolor paint on paper, draft 1 is on the left, draft 2 in the center, with the digital version of draft #1 at right.
The events are not in chronological order. Captions for the squares/events, left to right, top to bottom:
early rebellion, childhood success stopping ballet lessons,
prison like boredom #1,
grey boring sensory deprivation (career at Boeing) from which I …
escape into a more colorful world (Port Townsend),
growing a garden, in more ways than one,
angst, anger, dysfunctional personal dynamics learned as a child,
from which I extract myself (mostly),
house #1 (building the straw-bale home in Port Townsend),
appreciation & awareness of nature,
making art, my own studio, etc.
making art: expanding into sculpture, casting, & learning to carve rock,