Monday, August 30, 2010

Alright. So! (composite) Gold leaf.

As this viola is supposed to be as close to the original as we can manage, I made stencils from the images of the painted/gilded ribs, which are posted online--then, using the measurements from our own instrument, stretched the images to fit, in photoshop. Then I made myself stencils from the printouts, and painted in, darkly, where the gold for the letters should go; made sure the paint was tacky enough that the leaf would adhere, and then laid it on in sheets late last night. Today when I went in, it was dry enough to dust off the excess--though not yet dry enough to get a good, antique-looking sanded effect.

Apologies in advance for the image quality--as it turns out, it's hard to take pictures with your weaker hand while wielding steel wool in the other!

Most of the gold leaf will actually get worn away, when all's said and done; in many spots, only a speckly-distressed surface will remain.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Whew! A long day of viola work--will post pictures tomorrow. In the meantime, the other thing that got accomplished today: the back of my postcard.

As per J. R. Compton's recommendations, I think I'll add my website, and the Harwood's phone number...and check it to make sure nothing's in the way of postmarks and etc. Other than that, they're ready to be sent to the printer.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So, as to yesterday's goings-on. Fred and I drove some work to Las Cruces, to meet up with other members of the Ghost Town Arts Collective (a non-profit cooperative set up in far North Texas, to which I've belonged since I lived there five years ago): Heidi Rushing, Katherine Taylor, and Liz Elsberg.

(Heidi Rushing, Ghost Town Administratrix, and Fred, all-around helpful guy)

Being that this is our tenth show as a group, we're pretty much familiar with the artists, the spaces in which we've had regular opportunities to show, and how to arrange / hang everything in those spaces. So arriving at the Las Cruces Museum of Art and realizing that basically dropping stuff off and signing a contract was the extent of our involvement was something of a revelation! It is both exciting and frightening to leave a show looking like this:

...and to know that when we return next Friday it will be reception-ready.

Among the pieces from Heidi, Katherine, Liz, and myself, will be work by Katy Cannon, Patti Dye, Arlene Cason and Mike Kury, Karen Cleveland, Tim Tracz and Jean Roelke, and Jess Reinhard, among several others whom I've long admired.

(Works by Patti Dye and myself)

(Jess Reinhard, Raised by Wolves and Hippies)

(Works by Liz Elsberg, Katy Cannon, and Katherine Taylor [still safely packed])

Friday, August 27, 2010

Among other (more social) exciting art goings-on today, I made a concrete step on the march towards my show at the Harwood--the postcard!

After way more hours in photoshop than was probably necessary, I'm pretty happy with it. Tomorrow I'll finish fact-checking the back info, and get those suckers ordered.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Something I've been trying to finish up this week is a series of reflections from the Land Arts: Redux trip. I'm hoping they'll serve as a sort of epilogue for the journal that I kept throughout the original journey last fall. When I've finally finished it off, the whole thing will (ideally) go to the archive at the Center for Art + Environment (at the Nevada Museum of Art, in Reno). So while scrawling out new observations, I went back to document the old. Here are a few pages:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

[Warning: tiny nudes]

I spent a good part of the afternoon in the studio, putting varnish on the ten most recently completed panels (in preparation for my show in October). I also did a bit of housekeeping and documenting...little things that have gotten away from me all summer.

Among those little things were some miniatures, portraits of my husband that I made for the group show Friends and Lovers at the John Sommers Gallery in July.

They're on 11" x 14" watercolor paper (which I've cropped down in the photos for the sake of detail), though the painted areas are only 1.5" x 2.5".

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So! Luthier Peter White and I are finally to the painting stage on the copy of the Amati viola that we began making several months ago. I carved the scroll on this instrument (my very first scroll), but this is the arena in which I'm much more comfortable.

Applying the design itself was easy--though the aging requires a little more thought, I've found. After a bit more antiquing (read: scratching and scraping away) of the medallion, comes the lettering, which is the real challenge for this thing. Gold leaf is still terra incognita for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A few years ago, when I first moved to Albuquerque, I was making "paintings" that were mostly composed of found, woven objects that I collected on my walks to and from the University. It had something to do with being able to claim the things that no one else wanted, so I didn't feel like such an officious interloper in this new place. But it quickly became about enjoying the forms and colors, and about the joy of being in a constant state of seeking and observation, as I looked in gutters, alleys, and sidewalks for stuff to use.

As I got more comfortable in my new surroundings, I got comfortable with my practice again, and began drawing and painting the objects themselves--sort of easing myself back into representation.

And then the intent of the paintings and drawings started to come full-circle. I stopped replicating the found objects, and began inventing new ones as I went, playing with color and structure in a looser, imaginary environment. I found I enjoyed pulling the recurring ingredients--feathers, wire, grasses, drinking straws--from my mental toolkit as much as I liked dusting them off in the street. The paintings became about improvisation and discovery within a prescribed form, much like the original constructions.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I just returned from a ten-day trip with photographer Lauren Greenwald, during which we revisited some sites to which we were originally introduced by the Land Arts of the American West program at the University of New Mexico. The most famous of these is Smithson's Spiral Jetty:

When we were there last fall, storms swept over the Great Salt Lake each of the three days we were camped. This time, we had the same experience. Strong, body-toppling winds, precursors to rainfall; then calm; repeat.

We'd come back to get photos for our respective personal work. I'd hoped to do some painting, but had forgotten how inhospitable (at least intermittently) the place is to plein air painting. So I had to satisfy myself with securing source material for future studio work...a pleasure in itself!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another day of illustration work (around and about my day job, which until teaching starts next week, is painting Christmas ornaments).

Here's one, done a few weeks ago, depicting examples of ungulates with even and odd numbers of toes. The horse and rhino are odd-numbered (one and three, respectively); the llama and pig are even-numbered (two and four).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This weekend (around watching the Perseids) I've continued to work on the set of illustrations for the Evolution of the Horse textbook I've been working on over the last month. The textbook series' demographic is 12-14 year-olds, so the author often has images that are standard in most academic writing about the topic, but wants them a little brighter and (ideally) more dynamic. Here's an example of the type of image she wanted recreated:

And here's the version I ended up with:

Some of the pieces are information-heavy (maps of fossil discoveries, charts of body mass increase across millenia), but my favorites, unsurprisingly, are the ones that deal directly with depicting the bodies of the animals.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

From the Tamarind Institute's Collaborative Lithography project, fall before last. Carrie Kaser was my printer for this edition. We did the key on stone, and the other three colors on aluminum plates (due to stone availability). It was exciting to draw, as I got to do lots of textural experimentation on the tree bark and organic detritus...useful, since I'd not yet played around much with tusche--not to mention fun.

As it turned out, I liked the key itself best, when all was said and done.