Excuses Excuses…May 30, 2005

I’ve got something laid out on all eight new collages now but have been avoiding them today as they’re in an “ugly, unfinished state” and I’ve now got to make decisions on what to do next with them. I am having a little trouble with some papers not wanting to stay “ironed” down…..wonder if they lose some of the “previous preparation” of the medium over time. So back to just gluing them down with medium as I go when that happens.

I do have great hope for them as all the best work usually goes through this horrible stage. I sometimes think it’s a necessity to start out with great hope and energy and then get bogged down with the “same old, same old”. Then you almost have to destroy it before it doesn’t matter enough to just “do it”…and the heck with if it works or not.

That’s what I’ve been doing today…avoiding the inevitable and the studio, spending too much time at the computer and the good excuse of the holiday.

May 29, 2005…Trip to Dallas

I got out of the studio this past week and made a trip to Dallas to deliver paintings. I, also, visited with my daughter at her new place in Uptown. We went down to the design district to see what the new spaces for several galleries looked like now that they moved. Craighead Green Gallery http://www.craigheadgreen.com has always been one of my favorites. They certainly have a lot more space to show their artists’ work now. I’ll have to go back and vist some of the others when I have more time.

The Nasher Sculpture Center http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org was on the “to do list” this time as I’d never been there since they opened downtown across from the Dallas Museum of Art. It is absolutely top notch. Thursdays are currently their “free admission” nights and they had an exhibit of David Smith sculpture and the drawings he used to plan his sculpture……..as well as all the wonderful permanent collection.

The outdoor garden is just awesome…..I was intrigued by the James Turrell “box” installed at the end of the garden “Tending” (Blue), It is one of the “skyspaces” he calls them. Rooms or installations open to the sky through rectangular or rounded apertures in the roof.. You can just enter through the “light effects” and then go into a room with seats built into the sides of the room to gaze up into the sky above…….a quiet and meditative setting.

Barbara Hepworth’s “Square with Two Circles” was placed in a prominent space at the end of one walkway ending at the reflecting pool……such a wonderful piece with a beautiful, varied patina on the bronze.

Adding to the fun of the evening was dinner and music outdoors at the Nasher’s cafe. In fact the whole downtown museum area was closed off to some traffic due to a jazz concert in the park. We had to find a place and walk a way. People of all ages were bringing their blankets, lawnchairs, food and drink for the evening’s entertainment. ….Just one of the perks of living in a metropolitan area.

Getting back to the condo was good for me as I was tired after all the excursions all day…..starting with the hour long walk on the Katy Trail http://www.katytraildallas.org/ right near my daughter’s place. I couldn’t believe we’d walked all the way to the American Airlines Center from Turtle Creek.

Back to the studio today and for the next few days to finish up with the collage I started earlier.

May 23, 2005…..Another week gone by

Over the past busy week-end, I’ve had some welcome company in my studio…….my friend, Pat. She lives about 100 miles from me so she came over to spend some time “talking art” and playing with materials in the studio. We plan on learning more about transferring photo images for use in fine art collage.

I showed her what I was working on in the studio….eight small 12 x 12″ collage on canvas pieces. I’ve been preparing the background surfaces and just playing around with various shapes and colors, textures, etc. We both have an Epson printer that uses pigment inks so we’re looking for images from pictures we took on a trip to Europe to print out and possibly manipulate in a computer program for use in our work. After buying a new digital SLR, I’m looking forward to taking more pictures for use in my work…either as reference materials or as photos that might lend themselves to use in collage.

We printed out some images I took in Barcelona a few years ago and used those as our “test” of the transfer process. The first one came out fairly well. I can see this will take some experimenting to see what will actually show up over or under what. Sometimes you want something to come through clearly and other times you want it to have a more aged effect. It will show up better if it’s transferred dark over a light, smoother background. I usually have a lot of texture so this may not work so well for intricate patterning. It, also, might take more advance planning than I usually want in my work.

Today I left the two mirrored images (pictured above) on the two collaged canvases but then as time went by I just kept adding other elements until they were covered over in one entirely and in the other barely noticable…..and probably only to me since I know it’s there.

I just decided I’m almost as bad about adding another little piece of paper or a mark every time I go by the work table as I was long ago adding just another touch or nuance to pastels. Overworking is minimized by having so many going at one time.

I climbed up on my little step ladder again to take a few pictures of the collages on the work table so I can record the process as I go along. I haven’t linked or loaded the pictures yet but intend to by the time I get through with these pieces.

May 17,2005

I worked on preparing papers for my mixed media works over the week-end in between visiting with grandkids. By yesterday when I was ready to start putting some of them in place with my tacking iron, I found that the black and white Arabic papers weren’t ironing down as usual. Finally I just glued them down with acrylic medium, placed waxed paper over them and let them set up for a few hours. It looked like I had a few of those dratted bubbles in a few of them but I think as they dried out more, they flattened out. Now it’s time to start making a big mess and throwing around some papers just to see what starts to gel.

btw….the prep of papers comes from a workshop I attended with Jonathan Talbot http://www.talbot1.com He’s a wonderfully generous workshop leader. Another talented and generous artist I met and worked with recently is New Mexico artist, Holly Roberts. It’s such a pleasure to be around other artists who know the processes and dilemmas we all face as artists.

I have a new Canon Eos Rebel XT SLR camera to get used to and took a picture of the beginnings of this project as I’ve never really documented a collage project before. I’ll load the pictures later when the project is complete. I’m still having to get used to this program and the camera as well. Nothing like keeping the old brain cells active, huh? Right now I really don’t have a clue as to what these eight canvases will look like when they’re finished. I’ll wait for them to tell me what to do as I get into the process.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I have some new materials to play around with today. I got an inexpensive Epson printer that uses the pigment inks and thought I’d copy some photos I made in Europe…change them in Paint Shop Pro and see how they would transfer to some new mixed media works I’m experimenting with.

Well………I had one of those little (12 x 12″)canvases prepped with paint and some marks made by caran ‘d ache crayons…..so I printed out the sheet with the image of the old building freize….trimmed it up with the paper trimmer, put gloss medium all over the canvas and laid it down face down…….rubbed over it and started pulling off……some of it didn’t take but most did but with a little of the paper sticking. Not perfect but I don’t like perfect anyway. I could have left it to dry and then rubbed off the paper backing but I couldn’t remember the steps and I was playing around anyway.

I’ve been prepping some Arabic text black and white paper so I didn’t want it to be too thick as I’ll probably apply the paper in various different sizes to these 8 small canvases as a starting point/background.

I actually have no idea where I’m going …..just groping blindly down some path that I hope will work out later. Slick is not what I’m after….I love the happy accident. The time will finally arrive when I SEE something I want to develop and then the hard work will begin on how to design the whole into art and not just fun backgrounds and textures.