Monday, October 26, 2015

phase 8 (revised) - facilitate a good choice

A busy week in Artlandia!  
proof,  9 x 12"
Last week, I posted a little early because I was away from the computer Sunday and Monday.  It was my birthday, and I had a wonderful time with my family in New York :).

So I started the week off with train-time-photo-fun and urban-photo adventures:

3 years of trying, and for my birthday, I finally got a
good shot of Bannerman Castleas the train whizzed by :)
all the beautiful trusses
one of my favorite vistas - I call it "The Forest of Cranes" 

view from the porch of the Whitney - so stoked that I got both an orange crane and a helicopter in this shot!

a close up shot of Alexander Calder's Calder's Circus,  1926-31
at the Whitney Museum of American Art
 Then, we visited the Whitney. It was my first visit to the new location, and I got to see Calder's Circus on my birthday (happy-arty-human moment!)

And there was more! I got to see an experimental film screening of work by Harry Smith at Anthology - introduced by my brilliant brother, John, co-editor of a new catalogue raisonne on the topic, which is currently a #1 new release on Amazon (!!!! Whoop! Couldn't be more proud :D !) The screening was awesome. Though I don't watch commercial movies often (they take a long time, and it's sort of hard to follow the dialogue and visuals at the same time, no?), I really like art/experimental film, especially animation, and there was a fascinating piece with the Tinman and Toto from Smith's version of the Wizard of Oz.

And them, there was the zoo.

We went to all 5 aviaries at the Bronx Zoo (and yes, I was so happy I teared up in the "World of Birds.") While I have somewhat complicated feelings about the concept of zoos, at that moment, I was very happy because the world is full of so many beautiful creatures and I got to see them!

...and, I may have taken a triple digit number of photos... O:)

Mostly,  I was there to see the birds, but there's always time for a gorgeous feline!

When I got back home, I kept working on the plant plate started last week, finished it, then prepared new tiny tarot plates.

Even though more than half the major arcana is complete, there's still a ways to go. Because I did the cards I like best first, I was having a little trouble connecting to the remaining cards . So, I got to thinking and decided to tweak the iconography a little.

For "The Pope" card, I decided to show St. Francis (a spiritual leader and namesake of the current pope.) By showing him making the canonical blessing gestured that's usually seen on the card, I hope it will still be recognizable.

Usually, the figure is shown with a key, but in this case, I think it's a metaphoric key - that his compassion for living things is a "key" to spiritual learning.  I admit, getting to work on the tiny birds and bunnies under the scope was incredibly fun.


Slowing down a little on the tiny tarot opened a window to work on a few other things. Thinking about "open" vs "closed" forms, one thing I wanted to try was working in relief on a clear block: 
I love, love the way this block looks carved!
These blocks are different than my usual blocks, and as I carved them, I sprinkled baby powder in the cuts so that I was looking at white instead of dark, giving me a different perspective on it as I carved.
block with powder in the cuts
proof,  9 x 12"
I'm happy with the way this turned out, and it felt so familiar...

Then, I remembered this, from fall 2012... check out the columns :P

They may look a lot alike...but the capitals in this piece are printouts from wikipedia, haha. When I made this, I had just started to learn relief carving using a $5 toolkit from the craft store (which is what I used to make the round elements in the frieze). At that point, I recognized the capitals as elements I wanted, but wouldn't have been able to make them (or even describe how to make them). Likewise the shafts of the columns are marbled paper from the store. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it, but only in the last month or two would I be able to make something similar on my own (and even that may be a little optimistic - but I'm definitely getting closer ;) ). It's taken 3 years, but I haven't forgotten.

In some ways, I feel like I've spent a lot of the last 2-3 years learning new materials and techniques so that I can systematically address issues that arose in the work I was making then.

Which makes me so so excited, because I feel like I'm getting very close to something - like a champagne bottle that's been shaken, while someone is in the kitchen rifling through the junk drawer for a corkscrew.

And, and, and, I'm about to have an amazing opportunity to work at the Women Studio Workshop! Not gonna lie, it took over a year of "nos" to get to this "yes," but, now, it seems like it was meant to be. The timing feels perfect, and I can't wait!

Honestly, I'm not exactly sure what this "big thing" I'm about to make is...but feel like I need to try to be as prepared as possible, so I can go, go, go. Looking through practically every art book I own last week was helpful in the sense that I learned a) even if it hasn't quite reached the surface yet, I have enough sense of the outline of the idea to recognize what it's not, and b) it depends on something that's not in a book (I'm guessing it has to do with a new material or new use of materials?).

So I'm wondering how to prepare? I'm not sure yet, but thinking it over, I decided to revise phase 8 a little... I got rid of the idea of easy(er) which never quite worked (as the need for parentheses indicates). It's ok if it's not easy or even easier, as long as it works. And I also changed "the right" to "a good" choice because there are probably many things that will work, and it might change with time (3 years ago, printing the capital out from wikipedia was the right thing to do. If I'd waited until I was able to make the capital myself, I wouldn't have been able to make that piece and, without a visual road map, maybe I wouldn't have stuck with learning to carve for the intervening years...)

I know, it's just paper! And yet...time to pull out all the stops, spend the next two weeks gathering information, materials, and energy so that it can be the very best just paper it can be ;) .