Sunday, February 28, 2010

And Along Came a Cloud

And Along Came a Cloud, gouache on paper on board, 10” x 10”

(I'm done with the painting part, I still need to airbrush on the acrylic medium later tonight, after it dries.)

This piece actually started a couple of weeks ago. I always have containers of JUST A LITTLE BIT OF PAINT left over. Too little to do anything with, but of course I can't just toss it out. So I actually got several pieces started just by adding lots of water to each color and pouring them on prepared panels. So here I've brushed on some colors and while the paper was still a bit damp, poured more colors on the panel and just moved the watery colors around by rotating and tilting the panel. This was so beautiful and I almost didn't want to do anything else with it.

But I'm not that type of an know, the type that knows to leave well enough alone.

So here I've really ruined a good thing:

And before the Big Finish. I struggled for a while to figure out what was bothering me here—and I'm still not sure that I've completely fixed the problem—but I think the red, circular intestine-looking thing really needed a break (ie, so it wasn't a complete enclosure). The finished image is the top image.

As always, I had the radio on as I was working on this, and I was reminded of spending my summers at my grandmother's house.

She was a devout Buddhist, and in the afternoons, we would always have the radio tuned to the station where they discussed the Buddhist sutras. The program was a mixture of Taiwanese and Sanskrit (with a Taiwanese or Mandarin accent, I suspect), neither of which I understood (or understand). But I can still remember the sounds and the voices. Now, whenever I hear Farsi, I'm instantly transported back to my grandmother's house, with the radio on, she bent over her sewing and I lying on the bed taking an afternoon rest.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thorns, thorns, thorns

The rose thorns I collected and trimmed on 2/7 have been drying for almost 2 weeks. I figured they were ready. So here they are, sitting on some of that putty stuff. They started out very black, but now look more of a dull brown.

Here they are, after the first coat of alizarin crimson (acrylic):

And here half of them have had 2 coats of the gold and the rest just one coat. I'm leaving them varied like that:

I'm not sure what exactly what I'm doing with them yet, but I'm planning to use them for the piece that will be in the 10x10 show at City Hall in March.

Monday, February 15, 2010

About being a fraud, or a fool, or both

Being the night owl, I'm still on Valentine's Day time, even though it's officially the 15th. I don't get philosophical here very often (even though I'm a real navel-gazer in real life) but a friend sent me a link to a blog that sent me off on a wee tangent. So here's a pretty entertaining write-up on No One Knows WTF They're Doing, and here was my email back to my friend (with slight modifications) —

I always felt like a fraud when I was working as an engineer; I never got over that and I didn't want to continue feeling like that. As an artist, I don't feel like a fraud, but I also know that there's no way that I can know that I'm not a bad artist. (Steve M and I just had this conversation actually, yesterday.)

The difference, I guess, is being comfortable with being an artist, even if it means I was a bad one. I'm willing to put myself out there and make a fool of myself, because it's worth it. But being a bad engineer, it's not worth making a fool of myself for that. (Although, it can also be argued, following the thinking of the original blog that Jo sent, being a bad artist is not so dangerous to others, in most cases, so maybe that makes it easier...)

I guess it's like being in love with someone, you love them enough, you put yourself out there for that person even if it means making a fool of yourself.

On that note, hope you all had a wonderful Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Coming up for some air

January turned out to be Portland Open Studios All The Time...all day, all night, and all the times in between too. Since Jan 1, I've logged about 180 hours doing a variety of Portland Open Studios support, whether it's meetings, website, paypal, or just general chores and errands. Phew. Now I'm getting my life back, and the ants seem to be back too. Darn those ants.

Eliza brought me this little plant on her way to Santa Fe at the end of Dec, and now it's blooming happily. Bright magenta flowers on the bright orange window sill.

Got out and worked in the garden for the first time this week. Pruned a few of the roses and collected these gorgeous reddish black thorns. I've not been able to get the dark red thorns that I got a few years back, but these black ones are nice too. They are much smaller than the red ones from before. I have some ideas, we'll see if they dry in time.

Believe it or not, for an art project, I had to dig out my calculus book to look up a couple of things. I had forgotten that I had painted the inside cover of the book a few years back. I had been cleaning out my bookshelf and had a few books that I couldn't let go, not quite yet, and this was one of them.

So we'll just say this is an early Year of the Tiger greeting.