Sunday, December 25, 2011

mini 22

Baking - another one of my favorite things (actually, the part I like most is the decorating).  These are my take on gingerbread men - they're gingerbread emoticons.  If you've ever gotten an email from me, you may know that I love emoticons.  I think I like them because they represent a way of inserting a picture into writing.  Now, while I actually can justify my love of emoticons, given the chance, I know that chance won't always present itself; so, I treat them as an artistic tool - I remind myself that the potency of an artistic property is inversely proportional to the frequency of its use (i.e. one bright color in a gray+ painting can be more powerful than all the colors in a painting which is vibrant throughout).  So the technique I use for dealing with my love of emoticons is one of erasure.  I use as many emoticons as I want, and then go back and edit them down to the most important one (or none) before hitting send.  

Now, you may be wondering how this relates to the mini for this week (bear with me here...)

First off, mini 22 is on gold ground, and metallics do not photograph well (the grainy texture is the result of light reflecting back to the camera at slightly different angles); however, the fading which occurs toward the lower right corner isn't a trick of the light.  I made the drawing in several layers and used aerosol paint to cover over some areas.  Loosing information and work/ labor time can be hard because it requires faith that it will lead to something better without any assurance that it will work out (and sometimes it doesn't, and there's no going back).  But, hopefully, sometimes it all works out for the best.
Miniature #22 - December 19 - 25, 2011, 7 x 5 in, charcoal and paint on board

On that note, mini 22 is the last mini of 2011.  There will be no mini next week, but it's not because I'm giving up.  As laid out in the initial project proposal ( ), my goal is 50 miniatures in a year, with one week off between Christmas and New Years and one reserved for dealing with a non-art emergency (hopefully that won't be necessary, but just in case...).  So no mini next week. Thank you for following in 2011, and I hope you'll stick with me for the second half of the project in 2012! 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mini 21

I’ve been listening to some music and reading some articles that have me thinking about space/time this past week. This is a huge theoretical issue that touches on most aspects of art-making, and I’m usually more tiny-centric, but I’ve been trying to bite off and digest a mini-sized chunk of this topic...

I’ve been thinking that it’s been too long since the last sculptural mini (mini 4).  The thing is, even though I studied sculpture in school, I find that I end up working in 2D media far more often than 3D because I don’t need to be in a particularly creative mood in order to draw or paint (not to say that I necessarily do these things well when I’m not in a creative mood…), but there are so many layers to most of my 2D works, that the ultimate effect tends to be cumulative - the finished product is the result of the layering of time, the vast majority of which takes place after the initial moment of design (for which I do need to be in a creative mood).  On the other hand, I don’t make 3D work unless I feel particularly motivated.   Some of this has to do with materials – I always have the materials for drawing and painting on-hand and accessible - but some of it has to do with space.  I move frequently and always live in small places, and it’s been easy to use that as an excuse not to make sculpture; however, I once read that making art is not about all the things you don’t have, but effectively using what you do have, and I think that’s a positive approach.  (It reminds me of Giacometti and his “match box” series of sculptures, literally, sculptures that fits inside matchboxes – can we guess how I feel about these? Yes.)  So, I’ve been thinking about it, and, really, I do have space for sculpture, I just needed to adjust the parameters a little bit (after all - who doesn’t have space somewhere for a 3.25 x 2” golden heart in a jar, right?)

Miniature #21 - "Work in Progress," December 12 - 18, 2011, 3.25 x 2 (D) in, mixed media

And because I couldn’t help myself …

Apparently, knocking ornaments off the Christmas tree is exhausting (or why I've learned to hang up my coat, most of the time).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mini 20

Mini 20 is ball point pen - I know it seems like I say this about everything, but it really is one of my favorite media (I guess it makes me feel like all the doodling in margins I've done over the course of my life is being put to some use.) I haven't worked with it in a while (in the past, I've found is extraordinarily unforgiving in terms of erasing), but I used the same technique I used with mini 18, where I put it down in layers with isolating coats of acrylic. I've also never used it on panel before, but I think the unyielding surface works well (not sure yet how I feel about the mitering though...)

In other news, I helped make a film this week. My next door neighbor is a film maker and asked me to be in his work (I'm not an actress, but was basically playing myself and didn't have to talk, so I said yes). It was interesting for me to see art-in-motion from a different perspective, and I'm glad I could help out.

I also graded 100+ essays, submitted a rough draft of a graduate paper, and decorated a Christmas tree (oy -let's just say getting all of the lights working at one time was not as easy as plugging them in [is it ever?]). Perhaps not surprisingly, it's a miniature tree with tons of miniature, color, lights, and I love it. I included a picture, and while I know it's probably not as exciting to others as it is to me, I put the soft, stuffed ornaments and the ones with bells near the bottom, so there is at least one creature who loves the tree more than I do - I think I made one little cat very happy this week.

Miniature #20 - December 4 - 11, 2011, 5 x 5 in, ball point pen and acrylic on panel

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mini 19

Mini 19 relates to a larger scale (24 x 48 in) work on panel that's currently in process. Often, smaller works precede larger ones, but in this instance, I started the larger work first, and liked it so much that I decided to make a mini with a similar theme. The relationship between the minis and my other work is a complicated one. One question I've been asked is if I'm working on the mini project in place of my life-sized scale work, and the answer is no, the minis are in addition to my other work (which can be seen on my artist page - ) In general, my larger works take months (sometimes years), so I don't write about them on the blog because I think it would get kind of boring: "working on...still working on...and still working on." In that regard, it's been nice having the minis because they allow me to feel like I accomplish something concrete each week, and having a weekly deadline helps me get myself into the studio daily, even when I'm tired, busy, or overwhelmed. The process of digitally documenting the project has also kept me on my toes as, believe it or not, despite being part of the millennial generation, I'm kind of suspicious of technology (long story for another day perhaps). On the other hand, it's hard for me to see exactly how individual minis contribute to my larger works because I may make 20 or 30 minis and still be working on the same painting (at this point, one of my larger, in-process paintings still predates the minis and is unlikely to be complete when the minis project concludes. I work on 2 to 3 life-sized scale works at a time). While, being in the midst of the project, it's hard for me to see how specific minis impact my other work, I feel like they're given me the chance to test new materials, techniques, and content, so for now, I'll hold on to hope that hindsight turns out to be 20/20.

Miniature #19 - November 28 - December 4, 2011, 2.5 x 3.5 in, charcoal, pencil and acrylic on paper board