Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mini 18

Mini 18, on time and on schedule. With this mini, I used the technique from Mini 17, but layered it, using isolating coats of acrylic between the layers of charcoal. I'm pleased with the result - I feel like the mini project has really helped me explore and develop some new techniques. I'm looking to apply this technique to a larger scale work in the next month or so (...we'll see)

Miniature #18 - November 21 - 27, 2011, 4.5 x 4.5 in, charcoal and acrylic on panel

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini 17

"Economy of mark" is one of those qualities which I recognize as desirable, but don't typically associate with my own work. I use many different media and techniques, but one commonality is that I tend to favor labor intensive processes (unfortunately for me). Mini 17 is a rare, rare example of a piece I made in a single (long) sitting. It is all laid down in a single layer of one medium, vine charcoal. The light areas are all done by erasing back to the background tone. Vine charcoal is extremely delicate and easy to smear or wipe off completely, so there were moments while I was working on this piece when afraid I was going to sneeze and completely lose the image. Luckily, my experience working with gold and platinum leafing (as an assistant to another artist) came in handy, in that I seem to have developed through practice the ability "not to breathe too hard if it may damage the artwork." I rarely say this, but on a technical level, I'm very proud of this piece. Looks like I may be learning something from this project after all.

Miniature #17 - November 14 - 20, 2011, 5 x 7 in, vine charcoal on toned canvas board

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini 16

I was feeling pretty exhausted last week (art, job, school, family, friends). I’m not complaining – all things I am happy to have in my life, but I feel last week’s commentary was a little ho-hum. Fortunately, this project is all about moving forward, so I’ll endeavor to be a little more thorough this week…

As I mentioned with mini 9, my art history thesis focused on the iconography of winged figures. This interest acts like a feedback loop for me – I was curious enough about winged figures to want to spend hours in the library reading about them. Then, the more time I spent studying them, the more interested I became and the more often they crop up in my artwork, leading me to more study and greater interest… so ultimately, I don’t think it would be wrong to say that I’m a little bit obsessed.

Now, I always think of them as “winged figures,” but I know most people look at them and jump straight to “angel.” In that case, the iconography may read as fairly straightforward and even trite (gasp – forbid! - though I would point out, that far more people believe in angels than believe in God, an interesting statistic in and of itself.) For these individuals, the best I can hope for is that my technique may still act like a hook , and that the work may still merit a second glance because there’s something inherently satisfying about something so small and exact (though that may just be me with my love of the tiny and technical.)

While I know that the iconography may not be all that interesting to everyone, I would argue that winged figures are actually relevant and exemplary of post-modernism in that they are hybrids (shout out to all the James Patterson fans out there). Not only are they physically human-avian hybrids which therefore symbolically relate to both the human and the bird with its connotations of the soul and freedom, but they inhabit the liminal spaces between – between male and female, heaven and earth, human and divine. I also like to depict my figure as blindfolded further playing on a dichotomy between sight and knowledge (nerd tidbit – the words have the same root verb in ancient Greek ) The figure can’t see, so may therefore be more able to know (or not?) So, I think they can be pretty interesting still and that there is a reason that the winged figure continues to act as an archetype for that which is between in many cultures.

On a technical level, this piece is the first mini on which I’ve used oil paint (in the black to get a very deep black in the background.) I love, love oil paint, but I also love, love layering, and I essentially had to choose one or the other for this project due to the time constraints. This piece represents a compromise in that the piece is multi-layered (maybe 20+ layers, though I don’t count), but it has oil in the top layer to allow for sufficient drying time. Of course, after saying with mini 6 that I need a break from panels, I find myself mostly working on panel. However, the wood for this mini and mini 14 is scrap and therefore free… hmmmm.

Miniature #16 - November 7 - 13, 2011, 1.5 x 2.25 in, mixed media on wood

Monday, November 7, 2011

Minis 14 and 15

I may be slightly behind in posting the minis, but, fortunately, I'm not behind in making them (yet). Mini 14 is one of the smallest and most intricate yet, so, of course, it's one of my favorites (yes, I just had to have that blue, millimeter-scaled diamond pattern on the back). I like this one so much that I carried it around in my coat pocket all day today (it has several coats of varnish on it, so it was perfectly safe for the mini so long as I didn't put anything sharp, like keys, in my pocket). Mini 15 is a pretty standard figure drawing. I haven't done much of it lately, and I miss it.

Miniature #14 - October 23 - 29, 2011, 1.5 x 2.25 in, mixed media on wood

Miniature #15 - October 30 - November 6, 2011, 5 x 7 in, mixed media on canvas panel