About the art: at this point, I have hundreds of inspiration images for this series of ballgown-bots. It becomes easier to see what poses, fabrics, colors and compositions grab my attention - like this one, which I loved immediately. Beginning with unprimed Yupo, I sketched the rough outline of the figure and painted the first wash of the background first. Building layers on the figure, then carving into wet paint with a rubber wedge to "draw" the pleats and folds of the fabric. Rubbing away paint in highlight areas and to expose the now stained Yupo. More layers to the background to deepen the darks. After several days of drying time, a thinned layer of white applied with a large rubber wedge in a circular pattern to soften the "poufs" and give weightlessness to the fabric trim. If only I could wave a paint-laden wedge over my wardrobe...
Art is autobiographical
it always means something -
something about me
My insides, my demons, my outsides, opinions
up something to see
But people are not so unique
our patterns repeat and persist
I can see you in there
You can see me in here
We are all tangled up
(and so often banged up)
Resemblance is not to be missed.
It's time for the FEBRUARY READER CHALLENGE! Channel your inner composer and lyricist - if your life were a musical, what would it be called? Extra points if you've got some lyrics to share. :)
The winner will be chosen at random by Wonder Mike at the end of the. month, and will receive a piece of art FREE! Woot!
About the art - sometimes the AI bot surprises you in the inspiration images it creates. It cannot create a mermaid or a centaur no matter what you tell it, and I've learned to lower my expectations accordingly. But ask it to make a series of cyborg madonnas and it will give you endless images of odd mother-figures and some really, really weird babies. Ignoring the weird ones, I focused on the images that were both heart-touching and compositionally pleasing in the inspiration for creating this painting. Beginning with unprimed Yupo, I sketched in the figure shape and added background with oil-thinned paint. Layers of thinned paint on the bodies. Burnishing off the wet layers with a soft cloth where I wanted highlights. The Yupo is lovely this way - it becomes stained but not thickened, allowing a lot of movement and working back into the layers. As always, resisting the urge to overly define or get fussy.
About the art: If you ask the AI bot for "orb-headed ballgown-bots" and give it a few other parameters, I swear it jumps up and down and says "ME! ME!" and spits out a host of glorious images. It loves fabric, light and round shapes. This piece is inspired by one of those images. To begin, I murdered an old painting with gesso (creating glorious textures) and roughed in the main figure with thinned paint. Working from the outside in to further refine the figure by building layers of thinned paint. Pearl is the result of 80 million layers (nearly) of paint to provide the many variations of color/texture in her outfit. For the boots, RESISTING anything but those few highlights. Hello, Pearl! My, don't you look lovely?
Thanks to all who participated in this month's reader challenge - Where Do You Hang Your Art? Seeing the unusual places where art finds its home was quite delightful and eye opening! Congratulations to reader Thea, whose video made me laugh out loud and garnered her the win! Thea, send your mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org to collect your original art prize. I wonder where you will hang it? :)
Want to win original art for your unusual space? Stay tuned to your email for next month's challenge! in the weekly blog announcement!
For me, a mistake can mean starting again, changing directions or muttering fervent pleas to the universe to steady my hand long enough to fix something challenging. Sometimes one countermeasure leads to the need for another. The mistakes are legion. And the fix is not always obvious.
What I've learned is this: if I walk away from the piece for a day or two, when I return again the next steps become clear. Even if the next step is a bucket of gesso. Often, though, it is ten minutes of confident execution and VOILA!
About the art: experimenting with unstretched canvas, which I gesso'd and taped to a piece of wood. Following the usual steps (sketching with a long brush of thinned paint, slowly adding layers) but stymied a bit because this substrate mutes the pigment quite a lot. Patience, more layers, thicker paint and the color pops began to show. Lots of nice subtleties with the many layers. And the resulting softness of the piece has me quite pleased. Hello, Muriel. Let's untangle that scaffolding.
Well, they may not be the cause of anxiousness, but they do make you likely to jump off that diving board if the opportunity presents itself. And I've got that gene. Which I recently discovered (along with a boatload of other important things) through whole genome sequencing. Which explains a lot, and also opens an entire case of cans of worms.
At least, that's the surface, snarky description of the thing.
The more vulnerable, prickly artist's intuition description is this: in the search for emotion, can it be found in the thing that has none? And even further, will a thing without emotion (the AI bot) create emotive inspiration images of those emotionless things?
And are we, as humans, more than the sum of our own genetic programming and patterns? Is there free will? Or are we following a path preordained by DNA and body chemistry?
I fear I've bitten off something rather large. But let's go anyway, yes?
I can hardly believe it. NO WAY!
This is the last post of 2023 - where did the time go?
But here we are, so let's go out with a grand finale - a series of four abstracts (a four course meal) paired with a poem that grabbed me (a deep red wine with a heady bouquet and a lingering, oaky finish). For dessert? How about some winning readers (a warmed, rich berry pie topped with ice cream). Oh, oh and OH! Now we're going to need a long winter's nap.
Thank you to everyone who participated in 2023's monthly Reader Giveaways. More than 25 parcels were delivered to lucky winners over twelve months. And the final winners of the year (selected at random by Wonder Mike) are: Dotty S. Trina T., C and Carl S. Email email@example.com with your shipping address, then watch your mailbox for a sweet surprise - and thanks so much for reading and commenting.
Woolf's words grabbed me and plopped me in a chair to face this: we are the thing itself.
Oh. Wait. Hmmm. My own words fail me, even as the thought of this concept has my brain (and heart and spirit) on high alert because THIS IS SOMETHING BIG. The separation between everything begins to fall, and the words of Thich Nhat Hanh softly nudge me:
And there we have it. We cannot be separate from our art or those who see it. The state of the art situation here in December is: I can see how I am the thing itself. And the art is a part of that big ol' pie - it is berries and sugar and butter and flour. Not just a piece of the pie, but the pie itself. And all the things that make it - the inspiration, the paint, the brushes, the paper, the sun through the skylights, the music in the background. I inter-am with the art, and with you, dear reader - we inter-be. Lucky, lucky me!