Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mission accomplished

After going through three rolls of paper towels, several PBJ's, one pound of beeswax, a roll of freezer paper, who knows how much acrylic paint, a roll of parchment paper, a dozen bags of microwave popcorn, a half liter of matte medium, 18 apples, two bottles of gesso, three vacume bags, and a case of diet coke — I survived the three weeks and accomplished what I set out to do. Using what I already had in my studio, (other than that one trip for more matte medium) I spent this time developing my mark making, pictograms, and experimenting with new subject matter, palettes, formats, and materials. Once I've enjoyed a fews days out of the studio and away from the heaps of new artwork, I plan to assess what happened. After being so immersed in the process it's difficult to see the woods through the trees. Within the 80 or so works I completed I'll be looking for seeds of potential new projects to explore in the next year.

Here's a shot from the last day. This book is about one inch tall. I've incorporated brass brads, sea glass, wood, linen thread, ink, and paper.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Day 21

Here's a peek at number 75 and 76 that I worked on yesterday. I've repainted that box four times in the last three weeks and yesterday I covered it with paper and filled it with branches and waxed rice paper. I think Joseph Cornell would have liked it (and then he would have added 2 birds and a compass). The second piece was inspired by Annette Messager - I have gathered at least 4 different examples of her work as inspiration. The more I see the more I like.

I vowed to create as much artwork as I could in the last three weeks and today's the last day. I'm not sure if I'll use up all the extra paper I've already cut down, or paint, or wax, or sew, or... I just don't know. But I'll be doing as many as possible between now and midnight (hopefully before then). I'm on my way up to the studio to work it out now. I plan to be celebrating tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

the last 48 hours...

Here are a few projects from over the weekend. More painterly collage and another book. I love this book, the spine is a piece of rusty old metal I found on the street. I've had it for months and always thought it resembled a pair of glasses. But Sunday was different, I saw a spine of a book. I'm sure it's much happier as a spine than spectacles, how couldn't it be? Definitely more interesting. The body of the book contains my hand made paper, burlap, mesh, and fabric.

Only have 2 days left to go... What's my goal? As Bill Christenberry used to say in class while reviewing our work - make me excited. It's a simple request. I hope the next two days are full of that.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

fiber frenzy

Now I've really jumped into new territory. Yesterday's goal was to not touch paint. Don't get me wrong I love the stuff, but if I mix my favorite neutral ground (naples yellow, matte medium and gesso) one more time I might loose my mind. I emptied out my box of random fabrics and materials — here's the scene of the crime.

Yesterday morning I noticed my tired couch pillows and thought when this project is finished I need to sew myself some new covers. It's that time of year when I want my surroundings refreshed. And when I think back I tend to have a sewing project in the winter, this must be that yearly itch coming on. I gathered what I could find around my studio and started weaving and sewing. I was intrigued by the twigs I had collected on my walks. I'm not sure what to call this — a wall sculpture?

Next I attacked a vessel using the random stitch. Yes really it's called that, I was introduced to the stitch last summer while I was studying at Haystack School of Mountain Crafts. I asked my roommate (who was in the textiles class) if she would teach me the stitch and she looked at me and said - uh, I think you already know it. Who knew? This vessel was constructed with vaccum bags, cardboard, and lace. It's so bizzare, I love it. My artist friend Lesley Riley sews all kinds of fun stuff including mica, that's next on my list to try as soon as I get my hands on some.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

Friday, January 19, 2007

One week to go

It's been two days of mark making madness around here. I spent yesterday morning testing over 35 different ways to make varied marks on paper. I tried using a; branch, brush, spatula, ruling pen, string, celophane, palette knife, and something called a walnut stick. I then tried scratching, rubbing, stenciling, stamping, drawing, painting, and burning with both my right and left hand to see what I would get. I'm looking for thick, medium, thin, delicate, precise, primitive and organic lines. I ended up liking my test sheet shown here better than any of the other pieces I did yesterday.

And well that wasn't enough to scratch my itch on this one so I spent the day giving it another go. Surprisingly to me I found that my symbol making and complex compositions seemed to make it's way to the paper more frequently. While I'm not focusing my attention to those aspects, they creep into my work. Of course when I want them there they've run for cover and joined the witness protection plan.

My final mark making attempt today was a small triptych. I looked at Basquait for inspiration. Now he was one wild mark maker. I wonder what he used other than a brush.

I've been making as much art as I can for the last two weeks and I've got seven days left to rock out with my art supplies. Not that I won't be rocking out afterwards, but not at this pace. For instance I might even go to a museum and get a haircut next week.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

40 works later I try something new

It only took me 40 pieces to finally break out into something new. What's the rush? Over the weekend I loosened up a tad to focus on different materials. Less paint - more collage - wax - and three dimensional stuff. I wasn't able to roll out as many as usual, but the few I worked on felt more resolved. This first piece is rice paper and pods, seeds, drawings, string, and paint waxed together. I envision it as a study for a larger window piece. It's best when viewed with loads of light behind it.

Once I had the wax melted and ready to go I couldn't stop. There are 2 of these and a handful of branches waxed with flag like wings all over my studio now. Here I ditched the rice paper and went straight for the wax. In order to create a mold to pour the wax into, I had to break a frame (it was totally worth it). I would like to try it again and leave holes in it. I wonder if it will melt in the summer heat...

While I was off getting wild with wax last weekend I also attacked this book form. The cover is an altered cigar box. The body is an accordion fold covered with with graphite, gesso, acrylic, and caran d'ash crayons. The content is figure drawings mixed with pictograms. Feels like the cover is still searching for a unique object, I'm still searching for what that may be.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Day 8

Here is number 23 and 24 that I completed a couple days ago. The first one is layered figure drawings. I'm really missing that life drawing class from last semester more than I realized. It's invigorating to work so large and loose. No visitors have dropped by yet to draw. Well there was one but I didn't start fast enough and then they were gone. Rats. However my husband is back in town and he will be my next victim, I mean model.

This second image is about discovering symbols. Pictograms. The logo maker in me eats this right up. I've been looking at Adolph Gottleib a lot. I like the idea of these quirky images all playing together. I spent hours working on the background - might have been a wasted effort as far as the product is concerned. There's at least 4 or 5 layers of paint, collage, and type hidden in there.

As I journal every night and review the the highlights and lowlights of the day, I remind myself that the product is not the goal here. It's the process. I even went as far as to look up what process really meant. Process: series of changes in developing — to substitute — to exchange. The goal is to take risks and learn something.

Today is a new day and I'll start with number 32, leaving hesitation and preconceived ideas about what I think won't work at the door.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Sweet 16

I reached number 16 this afternoon. But this piece is actually number 7. It's one of my favs so far. I love the developed background layers - somewhat hidden text - and eyeballs. YUMMY. While I'm here under house arrest I've decided that all those who drop by will be requested to sit for a quick sketch. I could use a model other than the one in the mirror.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

new year - new art at work

To kick off the creative juices for 2007 I've started a new project. It's a self-imposed, house-arrest, boot-camp, art-making kinda thing. My goal is to create as much new work possible in a 3 week time frame. It must all be one of a kind and new in it's approach. No usual tricks allowed. To begin the process I did some soul searching and image gathering. I'm using these lists, thoughts, ideas and images as a reference and a launching point as needed.

I started Friday. Yesterday I thought this won't be so bad - as a matter of a fact maybe it will be too easy for me and I won't learn enough. Today I think - what the heck am I going to start tomorrow? It's intense, I'm rinsing out my water bucket at least 5 times a day. I'm psyched to break for lunch. By 8pm I'm beat. I have a a few hunches on what I'll do tomorrow - but I'm feeling the burn - if you know what I mean... And I'm now wondering how many more pieces of paper I'm going to go through, not that I mind but it's almost all painting work at this point (and some collage) - I need to branch out... I've got time...

Here's a shot of the studio looking so ever clean when I started. Typical me, I can't really start until my drawing table is completely clear and studio is tidy (tidy for me that is). Even in college, I would clean my room and drawing table before I really dove in head first to an assignment. As I scrubbed the caked on paint on my drawing table my roommate would ask, "So what time is the project due?" Why do I do this?

This is project number 1! Yes I noted the date and time of completion. I was trying to work with a simple palette of red and black, with a little somethin' somethin' added in. I've always like that powerful yet simple combination.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


That's the theme of this years Corcoran's Print Portfolio. We we're challenged to considering political stories, journals, diaries, comic book forms, moral stories, horror stories, imagined, biblical, historical, satire, childhood stories etc. etc. Well that's a heck of a lot more interesting to me that Little Bo Peep.

It's my fourth year participating in this exciting project. I love that there's a theme to launch off of, and a group of enthusiastic people to brainstorm with. It's the graphic designer in me. The group decides on a theme in a rather fast and fluid meeting, then it's up to you. The only restraints are other than size is that it must be a hand pulled print. Etching, Relief, Silkscreen are all fair game. This year I did a combination of Linocut and Silkscreen. And pulled the last print today! I love that feeling. At the end of the project there will be a show at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery in Dupont circle. The Opening reception is set for Tuesday, February 6th - mark your calendar!