Life continues to drift in and out of days spent with my brother in Eugene and trying to recuperate from energy spent towards him. I’ve had since Friday “off” but it’s now Sunday and I’m just starting to feel like possibly doing something creative. Friday, I was fortunate to spend a bit of time helping jury the initial applicants for the 2015 Art in Rural Storefronts. The town of Harrisburg Oregon has opened 3 windows for artists. The next round of selection involves town members choosing from the remaining applicants. I’ll actually be taking part in this portion as well. No, I didn’t submit anything, but it would have been fun. I figure two years of acceptance is good enough for now. My projects are way too labor intensive for what I take away. Maybe if I figure out something less crazy….
The above photo is of my attentive house crew. The only reason they are attentive is because we had bacon for breakfast. That always makes the critters so focused!
Below is another cut paper experiment created today. This time it’s blackberry brambles. The nasty things are popping up all over the yard and it’s going to be hard to tackle the majority of them. It would be nice to only have them on paper and not in the yard! The image is 6.5″ x 6.5″ (16.5 x 16.5cm).
More experiments to come!
Mulberry paper, Arches 300gm watercolor paper, balsa wood, glue.
When I started creating silhouette images of native (and some invasive) plants, I had wanted them to hang in windows where backlighting could increase the design contrast. Fairly quickly I shifted to creating lamps using papercuts, but I’ve struggled achieving a really good bond between the translucent and thicker paper (not to mention how long it takes to cut and assemble one lamp). Plus they are fragile. The lamps have sold, but not as quickly as I had hoped. They remain on the back burner for now. In January, I started playing with boxed birds. This was yet another take on the original idea but adding a fluorescent bulb into a wooden box frame. For now, this seems to satisfy what I’m wanting artistically, I just need to get better with my designs and increase my woodworking proficiency. It all feeds off one another and I keep circling back to the same general concepts.
Below is an image of my first serious silhouette piece. It’s titled “A Walk in the Woods” and was created for the Art About Agriculture show through Oregon State University in 2011. That year’s theme incorporated the forests to the valley. I didn’t leave the forest.
The boxed bird example from earlier this year.
Eventually it will all come together in this new project. I promise!
Finally my brain is ready to start experimenting with a new project. It will involve copious amounts of cut paper, mounted onto translucent paper and set into wooden boxes. It will also involve spending more time out in the forest doing a bit of research. Today was a testing day. I needed to determine a better paper than the thin black Canson I normally cut and how it will hold up with adding acrylic ink washes. The experiment landed on Arches 140# (300gm) watercolor, CP, and it did extremely well for colored ink addition (not at all surprising!) Now I’ll figure out if it can handle the mounting and framing process. I also need to figure out if my fingers can handle the work. Time will tell. Lots of figuring and more figuring to come!
The above cut is of a wood violet, with unopened flower. It’s not a design that will make the final project, but it is forest related. The outer dimensions are 4″x 4″ (10cm x 10cm). This is way too small for the piece to come. The smallest work will be 8″x 8″ and move up in size from there. The ink used was a Prussian Blue. For the project, it will change to some sort of dark brown with green.
Today is the birthday of an amazing artist, Rosie Scribblah. She posts daily sketches of her life in Swansea Wales. If you’ve not visited her site, click HERE. We’ve been blog friends for many years and actually spent a week together at Wingtip Press in Boise Idaho. She taught a multiple day workshop on Manier Noir drawing and Monotype Prints. Anyway, she is a huge inspiration and I adore her work (and cats too!). Nigel wanted to wish her a very happy day. I can’t imagine trying to get a cat to wear a party hat, so I placed one on his head in this image. He’s such a party animal!
Happy Birthday Rosie!
Micron pen, watercolors, A5 watercolor sketchbook
It’s official. I’m now the blog master for Philomath Open Studios! Last Monday we had our first group meeting for the season and the blog baton was passed to me. Kris Mitchell has done a wonderful job with pulling together so much information regarding the studios and visiting artists. This year, I needed to take a more active roll with the group since I lacked energy last season. I seem to vaguely recall a few odd things happening last year that disrupted the normal flow (attempting to run a website for another group, some installation art project in Halsey, death, you know…. those general sorts of things). I hope to bring in a different mix of ideas to increase interest of our event. Hopefully videos of artists in their studios, more photos, artwork, upcoming events and venues, and things that might help educate the general art buying community far and wide. I’ll try not to do much crossover on this blog, unless it’s really noteworthy, but I do encourage folks to check out Philomath Open Studios and maybe join the blog following. We also have a very active Facebook site too!
This year’s poster was designed by artist Kris Mitchell. She is one busy gal!
I received Cathe’s book for the collaboration yesterday and my brain has been trying to figure out what I’ll be contributing to her mix. Her book theme is “Collections”, something we can all relate to. As an artist I’m drawn to picking up bits and pieces that inspire my tactile and visual senses. I bring home shells and rocks from the beach, pick up interesting branches along trails, plant seedpods, and bones. The bone collections started when I was a child. My first bone collected was a cow vertebrae during a camping/fishing trip in the Steens Mountains (south eastern Oregon) from when I was about 5 years old. Since then, I’ve dissected owl pellets, collected deer legs bones hunters left behind (eastern Oregon), received antlers from co-workers, and a variety of things over the years.
I bet you can start to guess what Cathe’s page will contain after the above discussion! Bones have to be a part of my collection page. I’ve decided to play a bit today and try my hand at a skull. First I need to retrieve a new skull! Below are owl pellets (no, not a box of ugly truffles or poo). Owls hunt and consume rodents whole (if it fits, they gulp it right down!). In their stomach, the body sorts out the undigestible parts (fur and bones) packs them together and they regurgitate them as a pellet.
These pellets have been sitting out in the garage and are from the barn owls that live at my friend Carol Chapel’s place. I’ve been meaning to see what treasures they hold. Bugs (maggots) have started to decompose the pellets revealing a little skull. What will I find once the fur is removed?
To break apart the pellet, I utilize a container of water to soak the lump. This will gently free the fur from the bones.
Fortunately, it really doesn’t stink. After soaking for an hour I swirled things around and drain. Looks like a good haul!
After considerable picking and extra washing I came out with this lot-
Three vole/mouse skulls, lots of leg bones, hips, scapula, vertebrae, ribs and assorted bits. Not a bad grouping of parts. After lunch I pulled out the A5 sketchbook from Maui and set to work on the skull drawing. Very challenging and I’ll have to continue sketching practice with the new bones.
Materials used: one owl pellet, A5 sketchbook with watercolor paper, graphite, watercolors.
Friday I technically had to myself, which didn’t seem to make much difference since my brain is back on all the brother issues. To divert attention, I started playing with a bag design that will eventually receive screen printing. More and more towns in our region are banning plastic bags and charging $0.05 for paper if you forget to bring your own. I’m for the system, since it has greatly decreased the amount of plastics coming into our house. Anyway, creating nice bags for use has been of interest for well over 7 years. No time like the present to start playing with this idea. My hands continue to give me problems so I’ve had to axe the Hive installation plans for now. Creating block prints has also been sidelined. Maybe in a couple of years when I pull my body back together.
I created a template and mock-up using muslin cloth left over from the Unseen Natives installation project back in 2012. The basic shape is figured out but I’m still struggling with the best bottom design. Final fabric choice is still in the works as well. I’ll probably be going for something in a linen/cotton blend that I can dye to my specific color choice.
There is another show that is quite intriguing and I’ll probably start thinking about it more seriously. Deadline for applications is October 1 (a date I might be able to get something created by). The show title is “Rot ” and further details are located on The Arts Center website. But for now, I will continue to work with the sewing/screen printing idea and see where that leads me.