Sunday, December 27, 2015

Happy Holidays and Have a Wonderful New Year!

Internal Dialogue (dramatization):
Self #1: So...we really need to focus now on doing this paperwork and cleaning...
Self #2: Let's make a unicorn! [bounces and nods]
Self #1: [sigh.]

Usually, I take the week between Christmas and New Years off to clean and organize the house and studio, etc., but this year, it turned out that the best time to work on the studio and take an art-pause was in the days leading up to Christmas.

Instead of arting, I baked cookies for my friends and family (ginger kitties and kitty toys - or as some people like to call them "ornaments," and dark chocolate peppermint bark - 2 layers of chocolate, made sans double boiler without letting the top layer melt through the bottom and a lot of crushed candy canes - gold star!). I had some excellent help wrapping packages and generally spent quality time with my feline assistants.

getting a kite in the air - Dad has skills!

Then I got to have a wonderful visit with some of my family :)


sand angel

I love my family and friends - kind, talented, and generous souls.

Even away from the studio though, it's like my work is a holographic screen that overlays everything I see. While I was on the road, I got to thinking (uh oh...)

The content of my work is pretty stable - plants, animals, archetypal figures, patterns, drapery, construction machinery/ vehicles, but the approach has gradually changed through the years.  I see two trends:

The work is becoming 1) more subtractive 2) the "original" is becoming more diffuse.

painting (additive - one piece)
drawing (additive - one piece )
collage of drawing (additive - multiple pieces)
printmaking (subtractive - one piece)
printmaking collage (subtractive - multiple pieces)

What I mean by "becoming more diffuse" is that it's both quantitatively and qualitatively more pieces:

For the collage of the full-scale figure, there are (*I think) 34 blocks/plates:

1 crown
1 head
1 neck and patterned fabric
6 torso
4 abdomen
2 dress sleeves
2 patterned sleeves
2 hands
8 skirt
3 outer drapery fold
2 patterned bottom of dress
2 shoes

And qualitatively, the idea of "the original" is spread across the physical and digital. One thing about making this figure was that it required a lot of digital work. While there is still a physical relief block associated with each element, the final part for some of the pieces went through the computer as the intermediary (sometimes more than once;for example, with the patterned fabric - there was an additional round of scanning and file preparation). I made a flow chart for a typical piece: :)

..and it's over 40 files so...repeat, repeat, repeat...

I'm of two minds about this. On the one hand, mostly, I'm extremely excited to have a process that leads to a desired result, and I can't stop thinking of all the things I could make with it - unicorns, tress, winged tigers...) To me, it's an interesting thing - to examine 15th and 16th century printmaking, works that were created during a period when the social and economic systems that supported them were collapsing, and show how/ make it relevant. I think its still got the magic, and trying to preserve that spark and translate it into contemporary material/ techniques is an interesting challenge. On the other hand, this is not exactly an efficient process - it absorbs resources, and that's a reality I can't ignore or escape.

And then there's the other thought that keeps coming back...I can't stop thinking that it's not complete yet, or that only one aspect is - I've been thinking that as the idea of the "original" becomes more diffuse, the outcome should too.  That there should be a physical outcome (the finished collage piece), but also a digital outcome that is designed to maximize the potential of that medium (i.e. digitally photographing and posting the physical outcome is not it (yet - oy.)) I keep wanting to see these move, for them to have sound...

This makes my practical side very, very nervous.

Internal Dialogue (dramatization)
Self #1: It took all the skill we have to get it to this point, and it's not generating revenue (to put it mildly),and now, you want to also make animation?!? [Cries in frustration.]
Self #2 [Pets Self #1's metaphorical head - pet, pet] It's ok - you can thank me later :).

Haha - on that note, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year! Cheers to a 2016 filled with much beauty, art and joy!