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Archives for August, 2009

Modest Progress with the Spindle Series

I’ve shown the likes of these previously. The going has been slow as I have had to sort through a lot of possibilities and pick up some skills.  One thing remains unchanged as I am still stacking balanced elements on a common axis.

The summer a year ago I had stepped back from a somewhat futile campaign in which I had played around with wood lath. The results were fairly weak, but some directions were indicated. Then I discovered plastic with its many options. In fact, I have found that the variety of visual effects – transparencies, mirrors, colors – can resemble a candy store and I have had to restrain myself.

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Musings on Sfumato versus Outlining

The power of sfumato, the blending of colours or tones so that there is no perceptible transition, was used by Da Vinci and Gerhard Richter to represent an idea of female beauty and the expanse of a seascape, respectively.

Leonardo Da Vinci, Ginevra de’ Benci, c. 1475 more… »

waves wogen vagues

The depiction of waves is a cherished painterly activity. Here is one of my studies depicting double waves.

SBD080709, 16 x 12 in, 41 x 31 cm; oil on board

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Textile Art, Deserts, and Decisions

In a few months, I’ll be back in Nevada, tackling the Amargosa Playa again. This time I want to do a set of painted panels, five 5×5 foot ones (25 horizontal feet). I have various notions of how this might work out in paint, but will have to wait until I get there to see what actually happens. I also want to do something similar in textiles, perhaps only some preliminary image making, saving stitching for when I return to Portland. But I am mulling over both projects in my mind, trying to think how I might work them.

I just read a blog entry (dated August 17) by Jenny Bowker, who is an art colleague who works in quilted textiles. She tackled the same kind of landscape and had the same kind of hopes about what she might evoke, with some additions that the Amargosa doesn’t have: the presence of a handsome driver and some marvelous land forms. Her blog entry, which finishes with the photo of her textile work, is worth reading for sheer pleasure. But it makes me somewhat nervous about my ambitions.

Here’s the photo of Jenny’s artwork, which won a prize at the Canberra quilt exhibit and, I’m sure, will be seen often at other places around the globe.

Jenny Bowker, Sandstorm over the White Desert, about life size (see her blog entry for scale)

And here is an photo or two of what I will be facing, again

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Channeling Emily Carr and thinking about Place

Some of you already know that I’ve been copying Emily Carr paintings for the last week or so, attempting to understand more fully how she does forests and trees.

Emily Carr, Cedar Sanctuary, 38 x 26″, Oil on paper, 1942

I’ve learned a lot through this exercise [ including the rule that I must paint-over or otherwise destroy the copies I’ve made before someone comes into the studio and exclaims with pleasure over them. Such an exclamation forces me to admit that what the complimenter is seeing is a copy, causing embarassment all round.] Carr’s finding of shapes in the complexity, of making color within the shapes, and of “draping” her branches are all valuable for my own art-making thoughts.

However, during this process, I had other kinds of questions occur.

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What came to mind is ‘das Unvollendigte’, translated into English as ‘the Unfinished’. Below are three paintings that I worked on off and on since the spring.

The first one is a view from a Pierce Stocking Drive dune.

12×16, oil on board.
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Water rhythm

To learn about fluid dynamics and how to depict it, I will now use this picture as a motif for painting:
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