Monday, February 23, 2015

phase 6 - each art-thing is a responsibility, update

Chipping away at things. This week I made a few smallish pieces - testing out a few different ways to resolve the ground layer and also trying to work out the best order of operations for holding the pieces together and sealing the surface.

11 x 14," I marbled the map and put the city over the city on the map so the roads converge on it and the states become like fields. I also tried something new with the parrot - combining two parrot prints into one to get the variation in the feather color (I love the neon, but thought it was overwhelming on its own.) I used an aerosol acrylic to seal the surface (it also saturated the black).
11 x 14" for this one, I covered the grey paper with gel medium and pressed the surface pieces into it, then coated the whole thing lightly with the aerosol. The ink bled a little (:() , but seems to be holding together more tightly than the aerosol alone. I tried using small fragments of marbled paper in the foreground, then drawing around them to meld them into a single surface. The hill in the background is pastel and watercolor. I like that this puts the foreground physically in front of the background, but I don't know about the seams...they sort of do mimic attention to the ground (isolated points with fuzzy focus around it), but I'm not sure it they're placed ideally yet? (Hmmmmmm.)
15 x 22" I got to do more bedazzling with the automaton bird - gold ink this time with a silver key in its back and faux-jewel eye. Still working on how to capture the metallics best in photographs. For this one, the ground is a single sheet of paper, feathered along the top to soften the point where the ground paper meets the sky paper (- I think this could be taken further next time - Hmmmmmm.)
...I also carved more blocks. I really like this little tiger.

new block this week

Right!?! :)
throw back to the Power in Precision Project - breaking out the quarter to show scale.
The tiger went so well, that I decided to re-evaluate the lion (because they'll only work as a set if all the pieces are of equivalent quality.)  Even though I feel like I just carved this (2 weeks ago) - try, try, try again, and, despite a little internal whining [waaaaa!], I think revisiting it was the right choice.

proof from 2 weeks ago (L); current proof (R)

And now, the Magical Land of No can have Lions, Tigers, and Bears - o my!

Generally, I try not to spread negativity, and since the blog is about doing/making art, which is such a positive thing to me, it's not hard to be upbeat, but I feel like I would be mis-representing the truth if I said phase 6 was moving along smoothly. I don't know if it's the cold, the paperwork I've been working on, this not cheery art article, or these that I encountered this week, or anything/everything on the news, but I feel like I've been a little distracted this week.

On the one hand, I did do/make stuff (phase 1 - check!) I'm working on a very exciting art plan for the summer (more to follow on that - but it's coming together! :) ) I submitted a disk for inclusion in the National Association of Women Artists' registry, housed at the Miriam Schapiro Archives on Women Artists at Rutgers University (It's updated every 5 years, and this would be my first opportunity to be part of it, so I stopped the presses to get that packet together and sent). I also sent submissions in for two shows and re-ordered necessary supplies (time for more blocks and paper...again [sob].) 

On paper, it seems like I'm doing the right things, but I've been feeling like I'm not making as much progress as I'd like with phase 6 - to put it in terms of Philippe Petit's Creativity: The Perfect Crime - it's not just about doing the (art)crime, it's also about getting away with it. I've been thinking over ways to make what I do more viable without changing it's nature. I realize that spending heaps of time sitting on the floor carving miniature tigers is socially extraneous and economically dubious...and still, I can't pretend that it's not the thing I wake up wanting to do more/better. I wonder - if I didn't do this - would I really be doing something more helpful instead? More helpful to whom? And, if I didn't make the things I make, would someone else make them instead? (I tend to think - No, I don't know, and possibly, but probably not). 

So to avoid getting stuck in a rut, I tried another approach, asking - what is the smallest/easiest thing I could do to make some progress (any progress) on phase 6? I went with - physical responsibility - wash the ink plates and brayers, sharpen the tools, sweep the floor, and wash the grassy pillow (that I kneel on to carve and continue to find intriguingly hideous).
It's been a busy few weeks, and I think the time has come to rest. I know, I always say that and then have trouble following through on it, but this time... between the cold and carving, carving, carving, the callouses on my fingers where they're in contact with the tools came away - it doesn't really hurt, but I find it kind of gross and creepy. I think it's a sign that it's time to take a break (trying to look at it as - knowing when to rest is a sign of maturity rather than weakness, right?) Fortitude! :)