Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Meet Kailen

My biggest creation to date. Introducing my new partner in crime, Kailen Ronald Hackmann. It was nine months of intensive training for the position but he's finally ready to make his debut.

Born on August 8th, 2007, 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 22 inches of pure love. He's our first child, a bundle of happiness and love of our lives.

One week old today. Time flies.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Artist date to National Museum of African Art

I spent this morning at the National Museum of African Art. I decided today would be the day to finally see the Walt Disney Tishman collection of african art. (You can click on each image to see more details) Once arriving I found that I had forgotten my sketchbook and sketching pens, so used what I had on me - a moleskin book and a uniball pen. Wasn't as bad as I thought, even with the ruled paper. The sights were too amazing to not pull out something to draw in and make notes. I started in the garden - the courtyard between the African museum and the Sackler museum outside the Castle (in Washington DC). Well, it's somehow just bursting with greens and flowers in this heat and overflowing with gorgeous tropical blooms - hard to resist and impossible to ignore before I entered the building. In this first sketch you'll see a lobster claw in full bloom. What a surprise to find as I turned the corner.

I headed into the museum only to be distracted by pieces of the permanent collection, like the patterned tapestries you see to the left, and another exhibition by an African artist named Antonio Ole. His works were full of imagery layered with found objects. A wonderful unexpected find. There were works on paper, wall sculptures created with found objects, and some video. I can't believe I haven't been to this museum before...

Finally I wander into the exhibit that I came for. It's a wonderful collection of 81 pieces that are mostly masks and sculptures. The forms seem just as contemporary today as what you'll find in an art gallery today. Not too shabby for the early 20th century. Many are inspired by nature: animal forms (horns, beaks, wings, snouts), plant forms (seeds. stalks, grasses), sea forms (fish heads, teeth), and combinations of patterns that will make you're head spin. It's primitive bold and fabulous, I'm hoping it will inspire a new mark or form while I paint this afternoon. In this last sketch you can see a wild horned mask, it's even more shocking in person.

Friday, August 03, 2007

the buzz

Here's another look at my series of paintings about the disappearance of bees. It's acrylic with collage and crayon. Titled Seeds from Science.

Speaking of crayons - I just treated myself to a new suite of colors from Caran D'ashe. These are one of my favorite materials to use and abuse. They are water soluble and smear around with paint and water but also hold that just sketched on look that I can't get enough of.

I was a bit surprised by my over the top reaction of happiness when my new box of crayons arrived yesterday. (you'd think it came with a free case of wine?!?!?) I opened them right up - made myself a palette so I could compare lime green to light green and so on... and so on... (with over 20 new colors I'm sure you can imaging the process) I'm putting them to good use on the next piece in this series, and I wonder how much of a difference it will make. Will I keep grabbing the same colors that I already adore or will I take a risk and try something new? After all part of the reason for doing this series is to try something new.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Beehive for sale or rent

Yes it's for sale (but not for rent). Beehive for sale or rent is the title of this latest painting. It's acrylic on paper with crayon, canvas and collage, sizing in at 26" 40". I've assigned myself a series of paintings on paper regarding the mysterious disappearance of bees. Where do they go, on summer holiday?

I'm working on a series with a few set parameters (like size, media and theme) and this is number one. Number two is currently getting a touch up (picture to soon follow) and number three is going to get tackled tomorrow afternoon. (it feels like I tackle them when I get started)

Some of the elements I like about this painting is the energy of the marks and forms and the many layers of text, collage and paint. My goal was to integrate more of my sketchbook approach - and here's the key for me - leave the initial mark making in tact. If those marks are so instinctive, immediate, free and satisfying why do I keep covering them up? Cover them up no more I say - there are here to be seen, let them be as wiley and loose as they want to be! I started this tackle approach (keep it loose, fun and more recognizable) while studying with Andy Saftel last month and have continued the approach while currently studying with Beverly Ryan. Hope to keep the momentum going.