When my mother was young, my artist grandfather Robert Sivell moved his home and art studio to the small harbor town of Kirkcudbright, on the River Dee, on the Scottish side of the Solway Firth. Kirkcudbright was then known as an artist’s town, with quite a colony of artists living or visiting regularly.
Recently residents of Kirkcudbright have expanded the local historical museum, opened a new art gallery to show works by local artists, and created this video honoring past Kirkcudbright artists:
The following is a lovely video that honors one specific artist, Johh Halliday:
As this painting has evolved, the title has changed from “Can We Listen” to “Can They Listen?”. The finished color palette of the painting (at left) is so “white guys in business suits” that the figures are no longer “we”, but rather “them”. The figures have now come to represent so many of the predominately white male U.S. senators currently in the news.
I did not set out with quite this plan, but I have been listening to the news, and thinking of the Senate Judiciary Committee members as I created the painting. Some all the Republican Senators who will soon vote on Donald Trump’s poorly behaved Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, have climbed onto my “canvas”.
I have found things to do with clear flexible cutting mats! I have made lamp shades, but there are many other options.
Clear translucent flexible cutting mats are readily available and affordable. You can apply paint, acrylic medium, art papers, and digital transparencies on this material. With a little care and planning, the cutting mat can be transformed into a great lamp shade, and the design will glow when lit. If you want to feature a design, photo, or artwork, use translucent paint or print to a transparency. Or apply opaque papers or paint if you just want to see the artwork when the lamp is unlit.
The lamps above are not new, but I don’t think I have ever featured them in my blog. It is an interesting functional way to display my work, although it does take some trial and error to get the translucency and color saturation to work. I wanted to enjoy the designs when the lamp was unlit and when lit, because I am greedy that way :-)!
I applied my art to clear flexible cutting mats to make the shades. The lamp bases came from thrift stores, and are probably bases from broken lava lamps.
I have used this technique to create wall sconce shades that feature photo portraits of community members; these are installed in our community common house.
I was limited by the mat sizes, but 18″x24″ and 20″x30″ mats are available now, which provides me with more options. I am currently working on a different home improvement project that will also feature my art over flexible cutting board material. I found larger sizes available from ChopChop Food Service and from Norpro.
This is a really handy material: stiff but flexible and easy to cut. It is very durable, the sconce shades have been in place for about 10 years.
It was a surprise to me that I did not find anything when I Googled “things to do with flexible cutting mats” or “things to do with flexible cutting boards”! Nothing on YouTube either. Someone else must have found a creative use for these affordable & readily available mats.
Reading an Oxford University “Short Introduction to the Meaning of Life”, I discover/decide that I am a creator of fiction. As a voracious reader, primarily of fiction, I used to think I might be a writer of fiction. But that never came to pass, I did not even dabble in writing with any energy.
Instead I (eventually) became a mixed-media artist. As such, I decide now that I do create fiction: I am a fiction writer without words.
I justify this notion on the basis that I am certainly not a representational artist striving to realistically portray the world around me. I am in no way a documentarian, seeking to identify and describe actual events or objects. The idea or recording what I see in front of me bores me to tears.
So I seldom draw or paint what I see directly.
I don’t make art to record people, places, or things; I create in order to satisfy something in myself that I cannot put into words, or record with a camera.
While I certainly include representation in my work, it is rare that representation is the primary purpose or focus in a finished artwork.
Perhaps I use “indeterminancy and obscurity” to reflect (rather than portray) a personal and emotional truth.
This has been, and still is, a difficult project for me. I think it may be getting a bit easier, but we will have to see how that pans out! There is some (well quite a bit of) technical challenge here, but the real issue is persistence.
It is so very very necessary to struggle on past the “it will never look like anything but a piece of crap” stage! And I have been procrastinating for the past 10 days or so. I may manage a half hour of work, then I give up and do something (anything!) else for the rest of the day. This puts me in a rather odd fatalistic & hopeless mood, not improved by the current political climate.
At last this project may be moving forward. I think am in transition to the “there is some small hope that I may like this a little bit someday” stage… TBD! This has been more serious than the “now it looks terrible, I hate it” phases that are inevitable but usually short-lived.
One goal is to get the three part sculpture starts above to something that embodies the concept drawing at right. The other goal is to end up with pieces I can use to make molds for casting on other materials. So wish me luck please!
After the ghastly school shooting in Florida, I am so horrified that of course I prefer not to think about it at all; from my safety I have that luxury. But that seems so wrong, and I listened to NPR list the shooting victims with a brief statement about each of them as provided by their families. Now I have a title for the bird piece above left: “No Safety”.