Saturday, October 11, 2014
However, now, with the painting sold, what I saw was a complicated, triangulated relationship between the dog, the angel, and the bearded figure. Both the dog and the man are constructed from photographs of the Reverend Dennis, an African American folk artist/minister from Mississippi, in his late 80's when I met and photographed him. His world was a tangled overlay of religion, militarism, and paranoia(his antiquated hearing aid probably didn't help matters much). * The angel's body is made up of tumbleweeds and wire, as are her wings, and while she is looking benevolently at the bearded man, it's not completely clear what the dog is up to. His tail is up, and he is alert, not sure if he's barking a warning to the angel, or if he's ready to take a chunk out of the man. The man looks concerned, but not alarmed, and we are left not quite knowing what is about to unfold.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
http://www.andersonranch.org/ had to be found or given to me. The second day of the workshop, one of my students, Trace Nichols, showed up with a plastic bag with something inside. On her run that morning she had found a small brown snake, dead, by the side of the road. As the days went by, I had 4 stripped pine cones(squirrels getting ready for winter) which resembled paws of some strange beast, two dead flies, about 15 tiny sea shells, some smashed pine cones(from being driven over), a stack of lovely Japanese printmaking paper (tear offs), beautifully stained tissue with which a student had blotted her paintings, old, yellowed, dictionary pages, a DASS transfer of leaves, and numerous copies of images printed and then discarded. And these were just a few of the things I collected or that were given to me by my students as the workshop went on. My last gift was laying on my work table, beautifully wrapped and tied in leaves. Trace had, once again, on her morning run, found a dead animal, this time a squirrel, and knowing that she wasn't going to come back that way, had wrapped it in leaves and tied them with stems so that she could carry it comfortably on her (long) run home. I opened the beautiful present, simultaneously gasped and jumped a several feet backwards, then thanked her profusely for the lovely present.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein
“Stop thinking, and end your problems.”
― Lao Tzu
“ In thinking, keep to the simple.”
― Lao Tzu
I have a hard time with thinking, or rather, perhaps better said, thinking has not always been my friend. My thoughts shape me: they can create much anxiety and loneliness, and I don't understand why. The thoughts swirl and repeat, swirl and repeat, especially at 4:00 am in the morning, when whatever thoughts I have seem always to go to dark places. When I teach, I tell my students to let their brains go outside for a smoke while they stay inside to work. I see my students convincing themselves that they can't paint, or can't collage, or don't understand color, then, when given a little push, and their hands are allowed to take over and their thinking discouraged, they are able to do all those things, and much more, beautifully with complex creativity and, often, with profound meaning.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Of the three Big Heads that I did this past year, "Big Head(Worrying)" is my favorite. It's the one that I most identify with. The colored dots of perspiration dripping from the head's face and forehead, the background, made of columnar paper; straight, rigid, meant for keeping careful track of numbers and accounts. The eyes and ears are tiny, fever dream features, and the mouth is from a photo of a young friend who has a congenital disorder that is causing him to lose his teeth. It's a large head, with big worries, not just about numbers, but about the environment, children, the on-going war in the middle east, aging, bad backs, the tea party, mothers with dementia, GMOS. I could go on and on, but it's probably better if you just add your own worries so that you can relate to "Big Head(Worrying)" as I do. It's good to be able to share.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
With Big Head (Listening) the intent was clear almost from when I had the panels cut, which is very unlike me. There was an idea in my head of big heads (and they are big--the panel is 49" x26"), and that they would be formed as negative space left by the paper. The paper I used is handmade paper with little flowers in it, given to me by a friend. The mouth, eye, eyebrow, and ear were all bits and pieces from my enormous collection of photographs(I have thousands of pieces of photographs that I have tried to organize in my own arcane way. For example, I have two plastic boxes with just photographic heads. One box is labeled "not real heads" and the other "real". Within those categories they are organized by size and sex, either male or female. Each category has it's own little paper folder to keep it with it's peers). The motion and action of the existing paint determined the title of this particular big head. With Big Head (Listening), it was the pink paint sweeping from one side of the head to the other, starting with, or ending at, the ear.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
When I did this image, I know I had in mind a painting of several horses resting in a pasture, so I went online to see if I could track it down, a favorite from my childhood. What's interesting is my use of a tree to define the horse, clearly having been impressed by the tree in this painting.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
After a few weeks of trying different ways of making the transfers, and most of them working only some of the time and not very well, I turned to youtube, and found clips on how to do the transfers(Gary's here has over 160,000 hits https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnF1WpxMsBs ).I watched all that I could find, and was appalled at their sloppy techniques. "No problem", I thought to myself, "I teach this stuff". So, back to the studio, armed with lots of knowledge and ideas of why things weren't working. One woman had said in her demo, "Don't be cheap about applying lots of the glue!", so I knew to load up my brush with the "glue". Days later, I wasn't much better off, except that I knew what would happen if I used too much of the polymer medium, and what would happen if I was stingy with it. I tried regular brushes, foam brushes, and even my fingers(sloppy technique!) to apply the medium. Still bad. Always something lifting or smooshing or disappearing, but with tantalizing bits and pieces of it working perfectly. I kept working. One night I dreamed that I was doing full body transfers of people. They worked just fine in my dreams.
The images piled up. Sometimes they almost worked. Sometimes they were a complete and total failure. Days went by. I kept working. But the interesting thing that happened was that when I would first pull off a transfer, and realize that once again, it hadn't really worked, I would be disappointed. However, later that day or the next, I would come back, look at the image and find that I liked what I was getting, or perhaps, better said, what was happening that I didn't have much control over.
One night, I thought, why not just put make the layers in photoshop and then put the pieces of paper through my printer and get the image in a 100% true and faithful way, so I did: