Saturday, August 21, 2010

Vacation Week

My final studio day before heading off to our cottage was a productive one. My new piece is almost ready for the language imagery that will complete it – before I left for vacation, my thoughts took a sudden, playful fork.

DSCN5757 A quick attempt to get some ideas put down on cloth.  In previous Relic pieces, I marked the surfaces with ancient inscriptions. Then I began to realize that “ancient” is a relative term – today many people consider the 1950’s ancient.  My mind is toying with creating a surface that reflects one young man’s desire for the world to remember him.

BUT FIRST – Off to the Lake!


Our small slice of summer perfection – a quiet week at our cottage in Central New York on Panther Lake, a lake so small it looks like a pinpoint on the map!

Perfect summer weather made our time at the cottage a joy. In between kayaking and paddle boating and swimming, I kept the creative fires stoked by reading contemporary drawing books and doing some experimental sketching.


I alternated between making lines and shapes with various pens and graphite and charcoal pencils…


…and even had time to explore the area for interesting hand-lettered signage.

A great vacation!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Essential Design Tools

How do you work through your design ideas as you are composing a work? The best resources I have for stepping back and looking at my work objectively are my  Coolpix digital camera and photo software.

In the years before I used this dynamic duo:

  • I took Polaroid pictures and hung them on my design wall.
  • I turned away from the wall and held up a pocket mirror and looked at the work in it backwards.
  • I  removed my glasses and squinted.
  • I looked at it in the dark so just the value contrasts stood out.
  • I turned it a quarter turn and viewed it from each orientation to see what it revealed about my composition.
  • I carried my piece from room to room, laid it over a couch or chair and then let my eye catch a glimpse of it each time I passed through.

Now, I shoot images of the work on my design wall and can immediately load and view them on my computer to evaluate where I am.

I’ve spent this week working on the fifth Relics piece. Here’s some details of its evolution to date:


One layer of monoprinted dye on the silk – this is a detail – the full  piece is 65” long x 55” high. At first a vertical orientation, I changed it to horizontal.


First layers of added dye painting. It definitely does not look aged yet.


Beginning to define the lines and crevasses.


Adding more color.

Friday detail

Deepening and darkening areas. My intention with each layer is to age the surface and create more visual depth and definition. I’ve shifted now from dyes to paints. This is a detail of where I left this new piece yesterday.

I am still adding line work and defining the crevasses. Once that’s done, I will be ready to add the language elements to the surface that suggest ancient inscriptions -- or possibly play on the “ancient writing” theme with some 20th century graffiti.

Whether this piece ends up on the “sample” pile to be made into smaller works or actually proves to be successful on a large scale, it is teaching me a lot.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Process Notes: Painted Archaeologies


One of  two new pieces on my print table, still wet from creating an underpainting on the monoprinted surface.

A newly completed work is a rich resource of  “coulda shoulda wouldas” – not in a critical sense, more in an “imagine if…” context. A great jumping off place for a new work is to respond to the one that’s just been completed. If you did it again, what would you do differently? What would make it richer, more compelling, more articulate?

Having just put the finishing touches on the fourth piece in my Relics series, I am working through my responses to this one – both the likes and dislikes – on two new pieces.

In these, I hope to explore variations on color, composition  and marks that can best convey the feel of ancient writings scrawled or carved on aged, worn, eroded surfaces .


Here’s a snippet of  Relic 4.  I can’t show the whole image because I’m considering entering it in  an international juried exhibition that prohibits any images of accepted works being reproduced or exhibited prior to the show opening.