Reflecting on a series

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6 Mixed media pieces on heavy stock colour paper coated with polyurethane.

Haven’t got any big pieces in process currently, so I thought it might be nice to review a series that was inspired by the fall, leaves and water. The part I am most proud of  was staying within the original idea yet having different looks. Schooled and practiced painters may find this second nature, for myself it was a challenge. The first in this series is the one on the top right, and the last was a bit of a cop-out by just going black and white. I have displayed them as a unit/series once and it felt good. Each has a story as to why it is different from the last, maybe at a one man show I might get an opportunity to bore someone… ;-)   As a normal course  of artistic creativity I tend to jump around a lot, which keeps me from being bored and juices flowing, but at some point I want to explore where some pieces might lead me. We may never create the next world’s masterpiece but if we don’t stretch with the creative spark we achieve, how will we know what is possible? Curious how others feel about this, feel free.

My Instagram From The Loch

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9×12 in. mixed media….

Gee, I posted just the work with no words and nobody called me out for it…or maybe that was a hint…lol

This was a different approach than others i have done as i started out with white on white/gesso, playing with the thick media and shaping it. Once dried the fun began again adding color here and there as the piece spoke to me…then the finial layers and massive amounts of rubbing, sanding, carving and then coloring and a finial rub…then I played with my trusty white uni-ball SIGNO…a couple of last minute color additions and clear coated for the shine. A not so instant-gram piece…title says it all, only wish i could have gotten his or her face better ;-)

Down 4 Repairs

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9x12in.

Typically when i am being creative 2 to 3 pieces come to completion before my eyes, in a week. Sizes will vary from 9×12 up to 16×20 normally, I dream big but large never seems to work out as well for me…but I sure can hang quite a selection in limited space.  For those that might have been following my blog recently you are aware that I am not feeling as productive (just two very nice pieces in the past 6 weeks…i know I shouldn’t complain.) . Well the slow period isn’t going to get any better…mother nature has decided to help me take my mind off of it. I work in a nice basement that I have slowly  reclaimed over the years from leaking…i wish i had the same type of basement as I did in Kansas…poured vs. these @#%* cinder blocks. At any rate 6 inches of rain with in a short period of time has me mopping, putting up fans, and figuring what to try next…I will say in the past this same event would have a nice half-inch of ground water through-out my fine gray painted slab…this time i have about 4 areas that allowed just enough to soak my limited floor coverings (old rugs) … I found working off a bare slab very uncreative for myself, besides when i  need a break putting is better on a rug vs. the slick too fast slab…long story short it will take me a few weeks to do whatever to make my art cave dry and moldy free…and that leads to my title of this piece. So stay tuned while I work up a sweat for a while fixing my studio, the brite side might be renewed creative energy…plus a few aches and pains.  LATER

 

ps…this is a photo from a visit to the Nelson Art Gallery, was to be a piece at a later date…hmmmm

Had to tinker

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Remember me? Sometimes I will view a piece, like it, but there is just something not quite the way i would like…if after a few days i feel the same, then i have a choice to make.

1) do whatever I think it needs more or less of

2)decide to do another with the changes i think will make it better

3)do nothing for another week or two and see how i feel then.

I chose number 1 and made some changes…why you might ask…the upper half felt too real, and real wasn’t my goal. The textures were too much alike in the green areas . Too much white outlines in the lower branches…and finally the moon needed something more. They were some more minor changes, as to be expected when you go back and get real close to your work.

I loved the first piece, but now I love this one more, been framed and hanging in my house and looks wonderful. I do work in a basement and if my mad experiments don’t work, they never leave those confines…well rarely ;-)

Where Is The Hamm’s Bear

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15 x 20 in. mixed media on illustration board.

People that know me may not realize I was born in St. Paul Minnesota, land of more lakes than you can count…or the land of sky blue waters…wait that is the Hamm’s famous saying for their beer. This might explain why I drift back to these type of scenes when doing my bubble trees. At least that is what my shrink might say, after digging into my colorful mind….that is if I had a shrink. Haven’t gotten to that point yet, and I know this why? Because my work hasn’t gone Dali or Gogh yet, well maybe skirting it a little occasionally. At any rate this piece is the largest bubble tree i have done to date, other than taking longer than normal, process was the same…I did add some non-organic structures to this piece tho. All my others in this series were free of this  and rock pads just seemed right.

Oh, a little factoid when using cold pressed board…if you use anything very chemical based or solvents, gesso it first…otherwise paper might/will de-laminate…hot press has been fine so far with my mediums…this was the first time I had used cold press…LIFE IS ABOUT LEARNING ;-)

Coral Split

coralsplitW9×12 in. mixed media.

Doing ocean floor themed pieces with my Octopi pal is fun…and this one is no exception. The focus on most of these pieces is the coral and then the octopi…and as is with all of these so far an old wrecked ship lurking in the background…used to think I was going over the top with my color on the octopi, until i watched a PBS special…if anything I am understating the shocking bright neon colors these animals can produce.

Nothing deep to doing these, just pure enjoyment in the process and time spent.

Earth, Wind and Fire…on Moonrise

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9×12 in. mixed media on watercolor paper.

I have never seen one in person and don’t real know if i care too, but from pictures I have seen forest fires create eerie landscapes to be sure. This was a piece inspired by my sister, who is part of the army of people working for the government that fight these bad boys. I can only imagine the fury and destruction they cause…but in a sense it is also about rebirth and transformation, things that forest areas have been doing for thousands of years…and will continue to do long after we are gone. She is starting to gather a small collection of these, I believe she has three now, from a series of three!!! My favorite one was HAUNTING AFTERMATH.

Dermatological Wonder At 6 Fathoms

9×12 in. mixed media.  Let me start by saying thank you to everyone, I have hit a milestone I never imagined I would get to…1000 followers!!!!!! … I reached that early today, it is very humbling and at the same time extremely uplifting . THANK YOU ALL

The long winded titled piece was done like some of my bubble tree series, without the trees. I had a preconceived idea about goosebumps…thus the title. It has a different feel than the others like it…but I can sense being in the water for sure. Not many have seen this piece so I will let you guys and gals tell me what you think.dermatologicalwonderat6fathomsW

What’s On Your Desk?

9×12 in. mixed media. The closest thing to a still life I have done since Shawnee Heights H.S. days and Mr. Miller. This is one of those pieces I do from time to time to recharge my creative juices, plus it keeps me productive. Fun to do the different shapes that adorn my desktop…note the pencil scribbles i put on the blotter, too much white had to do something. My current blotter is covered with ideas for names, web sites, spellings, simple sketches, and blots of color…maybe when i get ready to change it out i should frame it, might be interesting years from now.

Nude Bathing By Moonlight

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9×12 in. mixed media. If it’s too cold to skinney dip, then one can only bask in the warm rays of the mountain highlands by the lake during a full moon. Most likely this would just be slightly better than skinney dipping, goosebumps would be maxed out either way. Title obviously came to me as a continuation to my last BUBBLE TREE piece. Didn’t use as much tissue paper in this and I pulled out a trick I learned many years ago to get the right shading…shoe polish! Prior to that the shading wasn’t right for the feel I wanted…want to say the first time I saw this used was by a fellow student at Ottawa University. Never used it too much, kinda messy and gets on everything…the liquid polish doesn’t work as well as the paste type…rub and remove till you like it, then acrylic sealer. Funny how old studio tricks come back to ya… with this piece I believe I have enough to start a new catagory…Bubble Trees

You Can Only Clean Fish Once

9×12 in. mixed media. Details on the lighter areas not showing very well, you will have to take my word on there is more to be seen. Used some of that 42 year old ink in getting my colors just right. Had a few on lookers thinking I was doing something with football laces or clocks…nice observation but can’t say I was on that path. Watercolor paper does such a nice job of taking my early layers before I start glazing over with finishes, inks, and acrylic. Not sure I have mentioned my process in naming pieces before…once I have completed a piece I spend some time with it and see what comes to mind…I have almost as much fun doing this as I do working on them. Not sure what my titles say about me as an artist but I do know it is enjoyable. 

It Is Too Cold To Skinney Dip

11×14 in mixed media. The 3rd and final wave is up and running at the Putnam County Library and this is one of the pieces. Not  sure how normal shows go but I was able to provide the public with 27 hand picked works over a 2 month period, 9 at a time. Feedback continues to be very favorable from visitors, which is greatly appreciated.  Thanks again to Stacie Johnson.

On to this current piece…nature and the elements, kind of played with a reflective type theme…water, deep and shallow and moonlight…are those snowflakes?…maybe…is that mountains?…possible .  The colors and texture have a brisk cool feel to them, and I really enjoyed changing the shades and hues as the trees came thru the piece. I might over-play the white outlining, but at this point I can’t see the work without it. I have used this style and technique on several pieces now, each one creates a different but pleasant mood for me while glazing at them…I hope it catches you in a similar fashion.

Discarded Sunset On Kansas

Mixed media 18×24 in. on canvas. Back in the day part of studying photography was you did your own developing and printing, very challenging and costly till you got what you wanted. In this piece I incorporated some  discarded B&W nature  shots into my painting, along with some discarded fabric from the textile lab. My kids call it the dirty underwear picture, but I never was that cutting edge back then.  A closer look and we  can see a typical Kansas Winter setting near some fence rows.  I also used a brite red cinnamon wrapper to add texture and color. This is a piece that has had no issue (my wife likes it)  finding a home in a main traffic area in my house over the years. Talk about slow, I started this in 1974 and completed it in 1988…a story for another time.

The Other Side

Mixed media 10×14 in. Variation of several ( Between, How Many Trees Make A Forest, The Stage Is Set.) of my other bubbleheaded tree works.  At some point I may revisit these and either on a much smaller or much larger scale try to expand upon this. I don’t believe those are the great pyramids so I have added mountains to the mix. :-)

Flour And Water Doesn’t Make A Peter Max

A 19×24 in. extremely mixed media. Before I get back to my current stuff I thought I might at least show one more, my first mixed media circa 1972. It was during a time when I was trying many different approaches to art and I personally liked Peter Max and the Beatles. (who didn’t at that time) This was about the time I changed majors from architecture to art education. It was also the first time I discovered tissue paper and recycling less liked art, of my own of course. This work uses flour, tissue paper, ink, pen, sand, paper, elmer’s, varnish, and papermate flairs. For being 40 years old it looks brand new, shining just it did then…can ya guess where the recycled art was useful?

 

Seeking Nemo

Mixed media 12×18 in.  Companion piece to ” 3 Jaw Clamp “, can’t remember which one was first but this one doesn’t use tissue paper or have a lot of surface texturing. I took some rough photos of this as it was being created, actually completed it in one day…thanks to inventive use of a space heater to dry the layers (I can be inpatient when my creative juices are flowing). Walked down to my lair after dinner and when I came back up at 3am…nobody awake to share my new treasure with…but I slept well dreaming of little Nemo.

Segmented Puddles

Mixed media 12×18 in.  The under pinning to this piece was layer after layer of markers and ink with repeated patterns, that start to take a life of their own. I really like how the acrylic is transparent enough to allow some of  the background work to morph thru. The final layers were controlled and precise in contrast to the background layers that were free flowing throughout.

BP Lied To Us

Very mixed media 9×12 in. This is a very confused piece, at times green (environmental) and at times just the opposite. The beach is green…used home made glue and for color would you believe color pencil shaving I have saved for months.  Now I couldn’t stay true and for the foreground I used marker, ink, and good old nasty solvent…I did have gloves on and preformed this experiment outside in fresh air.  Nice results but not sure I would do this again, messy, smelly, and my gloves weren’t in very good shape afterwards… kinda like working the beaches in the Gulf during the BP mess… Title seemed natural,at least for me.  The title and the piece poke fun at this mess, however I know it was anything but funny…so no offense, just art.

The Stage Is Set

Mixed media 9×12 in.  Something is ready to happen, but what? Where is this place or where in time is it? This is nature in a pure untainted state ready for the next step/phase/act/scene…but what? Almost a Seuss feel to it without a hint of …whatever is next !!!

Foldable Art: country side

Mixed media 6×7 ft. Who says you have to hang art on the wall… We had this around for longer than I care to remember, waiting for color.  Used spray paint, charcoal, pastel sticks, paint sticks, markers, and latex paint.  In my mind I started with woods and a lake then a waterfall, kind of has a oriental feel to it. Then  I used countryside to connect the two halves. … there is two sides to this divider I’ll share the other side at another time.