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Friday, May 22, 2015

Artists' Materials, Part 3


This is the third, and last, post about the current work on my easel.

An unexpected visitor walked into my studio with hands behind his back.  Hello, hello, the greetings went back and forth and then, from out behind his back, he produced a fabulous feather telling me it was a gift.  An unexpected treasure, and one that came into the work area at a time when I was open to making changes in the current work.

The gift feather

Knowing this fabulous feather needed to be incorporated into my design I started placing it all over the canvas and remembered a bag of feathers in one of my nearby drawers. The feathers came out and they too were placed in various areas of the canvas but settled in specific areas.  An unexpected addition to the canvas.

Small feathers added to the canvas.

After the addition of the small feathers.

My artist's intuition started to speak, telling me I needed to wrap some of the hair tendrils with yarn or string, something that would be black in color and could hold the larger feather.  An unexpected trip to a local yarn store and the unexpected wandering up and down the isles allowing myself to look and grab what appealed to me led me to select the three materials shown in the photo below.

Three materials purchased at the yarn store.

Little did I realize that one of these yarns would allow me to shred it into big, pouffy, fluffs....much like the ends of the mud slathered hair of the Himba women (do you remember the Himba women pictured in the last couple of posts to this blog?).  Another unexpected situation, and one that brought a great deal of excitement to the studio as well as a big smile.  

You recall my talk of Shirley Moore and her book You Are So You and her belief that we should all be open to unexpected situations that will bring delight. She is also recently talking about how writers inspire artists and how artists inspire writers.  This work I am creating is an example of both situations, inspiration to be open to the unexpected provided by a writer to an artist.  

The yarn pouffs.

More and more was added to the canvas.  More yarn, more feathers, dots and dashes of paint.  All of this unexpected.  All in a bit of a furious frenzy which made me loose track of time and forget about the camera. Sorry, there's a gap in the photos showing progression of this work.  It got crazy in the studio! 

Paint dots and dashes.

So cut to the final, finished work.  No in between photos. Inspired by Moore's ideas to embrace the unexpected and the Himba women covering themselves in mud from a riverbank, creating new identities, this is the fourth work in my series, Hidden Identities, and is titled Riverbank Identity.

Riverbank Identity
Canvas size 30 x 24"
Overall Size 41 x 24"

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE
To purchase Shirley's book click HERE
To follow Shirley's Author Page click HERE

Monday, May 18, 2015

Artists' Materials Part 2

Expect The Unexpected

This is the second post about the work that is currently sitting on my easel, a work that is part of 'Hidden Identities', the series.

Truly, if you expect the unexpected, you are more able to embrace, enjoy and make use of that unexpected what ever. For instance, the other day I was walking along a seaside cliff and came upon a free form mosaic someone had taken the time and energy to create.  What a treat, an unexpected visual treasure.  Do you recall last post's reference to Shirley Moore and her book You Are So You? Shirley makes reference to being open to the unexpected, encouraging you to delight in the unexpected.  I was delighted!

Seaside Mosaic by anonymous artist

As I proceed through the process of creating my current art work I have come to expect the unexpected in the form of challenges, changes, inspiration.  Working with the horsehair became a challenge because the hair is wiry, with a mind of its own, and not exactly what I had envisioned. At the end of the last post you saw the under painted canvas, ready to start receiving the bundles of hair. I wasn't exactly sure how to apply the bundles to the canvas, another unexpected situation, so I taped them on and started to slather pigment over the tape and down the length of the bundles.  You recall, the inspiration for this work came from a photo of Himba women applying mud to their bodies and hair.

Himba women.  The inspirational photo.

The hair bundles are attached to the canvas with tape and paint.

As I worked a strange thing happened.  It was almost as if I was sitting along the river bank with these unknown women, collecting and working the mud.  I was transported to another time and place.  This was an unexpected situation, but one I embraced.  

The horse hair bundles applied to the canvas.

Part of an artist's work becomes intuitive and I realized this was not the end of this work.  What started as a simple, minimalistic work began to grow.  I wanted more, more hair, more texture, maybe more of the river bank experience. More unexpected delight.

Addition of another type of hair.

I had sleek, wavy hair in my studio so it was cut and glued to the canvas, then covered with ochre pigment. The photo below depicts the current state of this project.  This is unexpected, not how I originally thought this piece would proceed but it is moving forward.  I am completely embracing the idea that this piece is going to an unexpected place.

Work in progress.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE
To visit Shirley's Author page click HERE
To order Shirley's book click HERE

Monday, May 11, 2015

Artists' Materials.

Resourcing Materials for The Studio.
Being Open To Unexpected Thoughts and Scenarios.

Before I start, I want to let you know this is the first in a series of posts about the new canvas on the easel. If I gave you all the information in one post, you might stop would be sooooo long, but I have a lot to tell you.  Hang in there, you just may find all this interesting.

While working in my studio and completing the last canvas in my Hidden Identities series I came across this photo in National Geographic magazine which shows two beautiful girls covered in mud.  Talk about Hidden Identities, face and body painting...this is it in present day. These Himba women have slathered ocher over themselves and through their hair creating worm like coils that drape from their heads.  This became an instant inspiration for the next work in Hidden Identities.  The ability to use great line, texture, color....all the things I love....right here in this photo, plus here are modern day women painting their bodies, creating a mask of sorts, following the ancient traditions which have inspired this series of Hidden Identities.

The task of using the photo as an inspiration led to the question...HOW?  How will I translate this situation to canvas? The use of hair came bursting into my brain, but then again, how and where would I resource hair? Naturally the thought of using Google is one of the first thoughts, but after searching I couldn't find exactly what I wanted.  That same week I was enjoying myself at an evening party and found myself visiting with an equine veterinarian.  She was in S.Cal at a multi month long horse event.  Immediately I thought about the long strands of hair in a horse's tail, so I queried whether or not the tail is ever cut.  Apparently this is done when a horse dies because frequently the animal's owner keeps the tail. As luck would have it, for me anyway, this vet was preparing to ease an animal out of life due to health issues.  After more discussion I was promised the tail if the owner was not interested in retaining it for herself. A few days later I received an interesting package;  a huge plastic glove with horse tail inside.

Such a long glove.

Horse Tail, which is very straight hair, forced the need to be open to new scenarios.  This is not like the Himba women's hair.

For me this part of creating is almost always an ever moving target and the need to be open to new directions, new ideas, new/varied materials, new approaches, new possibilities, new ways of thinking and doing is critical.  If not open, a creation may not happen, and being open to new possibilities allows the creative spirit to take off, take a new course, and come to fruition.  New and different things happen, serendipitous situations that may take the creation in a completely different direction, that allow the artist to truly CREATE.  

Separated the hair into clumps that were taped and laid out on the canvas to figure out if this was going to work or not.  Yikes, there was hair everywhere.

While working through the how's for this canvas I couldn't stop thinking about a close friend of mine, Shirley Moore, who has written about embracing the unexpected in her book, You Are So You! :The Path to Uplifting Hearts    While her book deals with much more, there are many references to remaining open to unexpected scenarios. Shirley talks about this on her Author's Facebook Page  as well.   I encourage you to take a look.  Shirley shares my belief that we should always remain open to the unexpected.   And while you are there, take the time to 'like' her page.

Under painted the canvas with black.

Created this tool to press texture into the paint in an attempt to capture some of the skin texture on the Himba women.

Canvas now ready for application of the hair.

So the new creation sits on the easel, still under construction.  Check back next post to see where unexpected materials, thoughts and scenarios take this project.

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click HERE
To visit Shirley Moore's book site click HERE
To visit Shirley Moore's Facebook Author's Page click HERE

Monday, May 4, 2015

Good Intentions. Mah Jongg. Painting.

Good Intentions !

Mah Jongg Collar with Wooden Tiles

 I have them, I really do, those good intentions.  In fact, I have great intentions, plans, and more plans.  All of this pertains to getting to my easel and away from the jewelry design table.  Painting is my passion.  Jewelry design is an addiction.  Oh boy, the addiction has been out in full force keeping me away from the easel.  

Mah Jongg Collar with Bone & Bamboo Tiles
Added to my personal collection

It's fun, challenging, and rewarding to resource materials and then create with those materials whether or not it's on the table or at the easel.  Right now it seems it's at the table, and you see some of the results in these photos.

Mah Jongg Necklace with Bone Betting Sticks and Bone Tiles

However, I have started a new canvas which is sitting on my easel waiting for the next step (it has already been through several), and it will be featured in my next blog post along with how the materials were sourced and used.  Though I have been enjoying my addiction, I have been able to feed my passion.  Turns out those good intentions are more than just intentions.

Mah Jongg Necklace with Bakelite Flower Tiles

To contact me click HERE
To visit my web site click Here