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 :-)!


Two Days

Two days “off” from concrete & sculpture  =  Two days of printmaking.  At the very last minute I decided to honor my commitment to produce a set of prints for the Corvidae 2016 Print Exchange.  Only 13 prints required this year, 8″ x 10″ or smaller plates, using two passes / two processes (any processes but each artists should use the same two processes for all prints, but the prints need not be identical).

So the printing is done, the prints are almost dry, and now I need to sign, number, and select 13 from the edition of 15 to put in the Exchange.

I was wildly enamored of them at first, now I am at the fault finding stage, and find them sloppy, crude, and inadequate.  I think I may like them again tomorrow!

And NOT in the Print Exchange:


Attention to Art

Art is peripheral or unnecessary most of the time to most people. But that does not mean it is not valuable.

People do need to make art, and have done so for so many many centuries.

And yes, some people do want/need the art other people make.  But the attention is generally given to art after basic needs are met:  food, clothing, shelter (so in our era jobs, transportation to & from, etc. which takes up most of our days).


The Art of Traveling

I have been out of town & traveling via the Dolphin RV, and doing no drawing, painting or sculpture for almost two weeks!  I took suitable paper, pencils, watercolors, etc. but just never sat down in comfort & good light to do a lick of work! I did take many photos, and received many positive comments on the RV paint job, however.


BrightenUp yard art project

The purpose of Yard Art, for me, is primarily to divert & amuse. If it goes a little deeper, to make you think a bit, or has some beauty at the right angle… that is a bonus, perhaps.  Here I want to add a touch of color in a very dull spot, and to entertain passers by, without spending money or using much in the way of new material: just a little paint!

I painted squares of scrap wood leftover from building, along with a few other shapes … At right is the “Doors Project” destined for the same location, made up of extra door hardware along with a few keys.

I have a definite location in mind, but that is a surprise.


Drawing on wood & new prints (w/colored pencil)

The drawing is done with water soluble graphite pencils, “painted” with water, on a piece of MDF (medium density fiberboard) primed with two coats of white Golden Absorbent Ground. I like this ground, and being able to use water media directly on a board, no paper!
The collagraph plate is built up on matboard with paper, vinyl spackle, & elmers glue, all coated with shellac when dry. I stamped into the wet spackle & glue mix to make the impressions…


Finishing up: presentation changes everything

Four linocut plates first printed in 2013 are the basis for this bones scroll. It may be finished now, but I am never quite sure … The print now has additional graphite paintings (of bones) top & bottom, and is presented in a corrugated & tasseled scroll “casing”.  My painting “The Burden” has also had quite a bit more work, including added color and layers of gel medium, is now mounted onto 24″x24″ painted board. It can be hung as is, or considered ready for framing.Bright color for bones scroll
The Burden mounted


Mixed media & the Start of an Exorcism Series

Rubens An Exorcism via the Drawing Board The finished work: after playing with some digital collages (prototypes for the design), I used my water soluble graphite stick & disk to paint in the dark ground and the tree & sky background.

I had scanned a some images in the Rubens’ book, and isolated the three figures I wanted to use from the black & white photos of his paintings.

I sized these for my work, printed them, then added these using matte medium to my graphite painting, making this mixed media collage. Then I went to work with watercolors to tint the figures. I have left the background only partially tinted: just a hint of color.

I am amused, at least for today, and that is satisfying! And now I have framed this piece as if still on the drawing board, with the title:  Rubens: An Exorcism via the Drawing Board. I have left in the paper clips, used acid free paper tape on the corners, etc. but all after carefully flattening out the paper, using framing spacers, etc.

Rodin Hand of God draft 2

The Rodin book with “Hand of God” drawing added (artistic license :-)


Select the image to see the rest of the story….

The photo now added is the start of a new work based on another 1939 era art book by the same British publisher, George Allen & Unwin, LTD London. These books are hardbound with plain cloth covers, just the artist’s name in large letters across the very top, and the full name along the spine. They include some biographical material, but are largely made up of black & white photographs of work, with a few color plates. These belonged to my maternal grandfather, Robert Sivell.