Sunday, May 31, 2009

From Hunkering Down to Beaching Out

One of the most life-changing things that a college professor ever said to me was simply this:  "You know that you're really onto something when you don't want anyone to see what you're doing."  There are times when an artist is compelled to make weird, unfashionable, maybe even ugly things.  And during those times one may want to hide out for a bit, away from critical eyes and expectations.  It's not really a self-consciousness thing.  It's more like a hunkering-down-and-figuring-things-out-for-yourself kind of thing.  And it's been a little bit like that around here lately.  But I do have some things to share now, to mark my emergence from the hunkering down phase.  

Here's a little step-by-step glimpse at my working process:

I made these drawings with Higgins India Ink on white Ampersand Clayboard.  They're a combination of pen and ink line drawing mixed with scratchboard technique.   

I also have some extremely exciting news!  You can now find my work at The Three Graces Gallery in Portsmouth, NH.  It's a lovely gallery owned and operated by artist and curator Kim Ferreira.  The gallery website also allows for easy online purchasing of artist's work.  

Last Tuesday, on my way tra la la up to Portsmouth, I missed the I95–128 split.  And I didn't just miss it by a little.  I got all the way up to Gloucester before I realized what I had done.  For all of you non-Massachusetts people out there, I basically drove off into the weeds for a solid hour.  Anyway, my little adventure brought be to Portsmouth via some seriously beautiful oceanside towns.  Like Ipswich.  So yesterday Charley and I went back there and spent the day at the beach. 
And my darling husband found several opportunities to demonstrate his uncanny toe dexterity.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Making Sense

I'm still playing with pen and ink.  I want to make a whole series of drawings and find an authentic style in this medium.  My goal is to create a black and white vocabulary that I could use for spot illustrations and any other b&w illustration-y purposes that might arise.  Oh, and in case you're just tuning in, I'm a fine artist trying to branch out into illustration.  

Here's another experiment that I messed around with on Thursday:
In my view, this one is headed in the right direction away from the horror that was troll girl, and toward something interesting.  At least it's not hideous.  But it's still contrived, fussy and awkward.  I was obviously trying too hard.  So I regrouped, looked around, and came up with this:
Not quite finished (I still want to create a more in-depth narrative), but I feel like I'm finally onto something.  

It's an interesting problem to try to break into a new medium specifically for the sake of using that medium.  Usually my choice of materials is directed by the image that I'm creating, so there's always a good, natural reason for my choice, and the finished piece makes sense.  That's really what I'm trying to accomplish in these experiments–to create something that makes sense as a pen and ink drawing.  Otherwise I would just be making a poor man's substitute for a painting.    

My next self-assigned challenge is going to be to illustrate part of a specific text.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Attack of the Troll Girl!

I've been feeling very experiment-y lately.  Last week I played around with watercolor, acrylic and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol:And this week I'm messing around with some scratchboard techniques.  Sometimes my experiments yield wonderful, inspiring discoveries.  Other times (like today for example) they yield a nice healthy dose of humility.
It is therefore my most humble pleasure to present you with Troll Girl:
She may be unintentionally creepy, but she sure did teach me a lot! ;)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

One Thing Went Right.

And one is more than none.

Today was a portfolio housekeeping day.  This means that I spent the entire day trying (mostly in vain) to take decent quality images of my most recent work.  Needless to say, by 3 o'clock I was ready for a glass of sauvingon blanc and a nap.  My one triumph of the day (and pardon me while I cling maniacally to this one thing) was that I got a great shot of this piece, which can be seen in all of its full, crisp, accurately-colored glory right here on Flickr:
The rest was kind of a wash.  I'm struggling with the lighting and some barrel distortion problems with my acrylic paintings on panel.  I'll have to have another go at them tomorrow.  But for now, I think I'll kick back on the couch with Lost and a Magic Hat #9.

These shadows on my studio floor remind me of a 2D design project I did in college:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In Progress

Yesterday I worked some more on this new piece.  It feels like a nice departure for me.  I'm exploring some familiar themes in some new ways.  Leaving all of those blank white spaces.....ummmm, blank and both exhilarating and uncomfortable.  I'm not used to working with such stark, graphic forms.  

In other news, this is AWESOME.  Certainly worthy of both, italics and all caps;).  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Helen Take 2

I finished this little painting this week.  It's a remake of this one.  The first one was a little too Frankensteiny for my liking.  And I thought Helen's bird head could be a bit more over the top, so I changed her into a downy woodpecker.  Also, like the "Walter" painting in my last post,  I wanted the caption to be a more prominent part of the piece.  I've also been thinking up some more texty tidbits for future paintings in this series.  

I also started this new piece:

And painted my studio floor:
The drizzly weather we're having here has been sapping my energy a bit.  Sometimes I think I must be part plant.  I need to photosynthesize.  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

This little painting is a remake of this one.  I wasn't satisfied with how the first one came out, and I wanted to make the text more prominent.  Now I fear I've made it too prominent.  Sometimes I can see for certain if things are working, and other times I just blindly plunge ahead and see what happens.  This is an example of the latter.  Looking at it now, I see that I should have placed "the loudest" a bit lower on the page.  Or maybe higher....yeah, I think higher.  I might monkey around with this a little bit more next week.  Everything is cemented down with matte medium, but I could always layer something more on top.  I love this kind of problem solving, because it always ends with a surprise.
I recently discovered these altered book drawings by Jen Koshbin.  I love them.