I had a house showing on Saturday morning, so I drove to my favorite place in Kansas City, the West Bottoms, to take some pictures. I had not been there for a long time. There was a Bacon Festival going on, but since it was still early, I missed the cook-off and the bacon eating contest.
I just walked around and took the odd picture or so before the camera just kinda quit on me for a while. I have some idea of incorporating some of these pictures, and others that I have taken recently, into some collages. . .
As usual, I'm loving the industrial grittiness of the area. I talked to a young lady in a gallery/studio who told me that a lot of artists were moving into the bottoms because the rent was still fairly reasonable, and there certainly were a lot of spaces to rent. The gallery was showing some of Derrick Breidenthal's art. He is a local artist, and one of my favorites.
I have taken pictures in the West Bottoms before, but have cropped most of them to isolate certain segments. Here are a couple of shots of the entire buildings. Aren't they just Dickensian? Okay, well, at least my idea of the era in which Dickens wrote. . . minus the traffic signs and viaducts and utility poles.
I have been spending a lot of time in the studio, with nothing really to show for it. I have been making small studies on small pieces of wood. It's fun, quick, and if I screw up, I just start again. Also, using the wood, I can use wax, and I feel more comfortable using papers. Perhaps something will come together in the next few days. Now I'm off to watch Nora for a little while. Hope everyone has an art-filled productive week.
trying new techniques, new materials, new mark-making tools, mixing colors with abandon. . .
or just painting something to see how it might look, no pressure. . . on small blocks of wood. . . as studies for future endeavors. . .
or just making some starts, keeping it simple, chilling a fevered brain maybe. . .lots of paint and medium drying around the studio, an artist in search of a new style. . . or a new series. . . or just messing around.
in my studio/basement yesterday. A few weeks ago when I cleared a path from the basement door to the inner workings of electrical, furnace/AC systems, etc., I retrieved from under piles of junk some small square pieces of MDF board and wood left over from some long-ago project. I coated them with gesso and they sat next to a "real" painting I had started. I have been using pieces of wax paper for a pallette, as well as for a kind of monoprinting technique. The patterns and colors left on these pieces of wax paper were amazing.
In true "what if I. . ." style, I applied some matte gel to the surface of the gessoed board; then I placed the paint-splattered side of one wax paper pallette onto the board and rubbed with my hand and a brayer. Some of the paint from the pallette was transferring to the board; I shot the whole thing with a hair dryer on high. All the paint on the pallette then transferred onto the gessoed board. Then I sanded with my little mouse sander, and the result is the piece above. Nothing added. . . just a wax paper transfer.
Thus encouraged, I tried another "technique", if that's what you want to call it. I used another piece of painted wax paper and another gessoed board. After I applied matte medium to the board, I laid the wax paper, interesting side up, on the board. I heated the whole thing with a heat gun until the wax and paint and medium kind of all fused together, leaving a crinkly texture in some places where the paint blistered. When that cooled a bit, I sanded it smooth. This wax paper had paint on both sides, and when I sanded, some of the top paint came off, but the bottom paint had fused to the gessoed board. I added a couple of details (black squares and lines), then covered the whole thing in encaustic medium.
And, if that wasn't enough play time, I also created three stamps. . . I cut 2 x 2" inch squares out of cork board, corrugated carboard, and heavy mat board, four each. I glued these to pieces of thick styrofoam that had been used as packaging material. I used a part of the corrugated cardboard stamp on the picture above, in the top right corner. That's not all the fun I had, either. Perhaps when I perfect this other monoprint technique, I will show you the results. Creativity was flowing around here yesterday. Hope it keeps up.
in this tree stump in my mother's back yard. Kind of cool, isn't it? Reminds me a lot of a painting I saw at the gallery this weekend. It was heavily textured like this, three wide bands in varying degrees of light and dark, with a digital black and white photograph of a leafless tree silhouetted against the sky in the center of one of the bands. The photograph was actually on a separate piece of board or canvas that was affixed on top of the substrate in some mysterious manner. Once again, I can't remember who the artist is. . . I must do a better job of attribution.
It's really hard to maintain a positive attitude when so many people around you are free-falling into despair. So for a while this weekend I hosted a small pity party, at which I was also the only guest. No refreshments were served.
Art sales at the show on Friday and Saturday were nonexistent. For a couple of days I contemplated just quitting the whole art thing. I had set up this weekend as kind of a test. . . could I survive doing what I want to do? The answer was obviously a resounding "NO."
However, after spending Sunday with extended family, the babies, both my kids, and going back to my hometown, and after re-entering that state of complete denial of reality, I feel okay again. Even if, by some miracle, I manage to find gainful employment in the corporate world again, or if I have to repeat "do you want fries with that?" for eight to ten hours a day, I still have the major part of the rest of the day to make art. I have set up another test for September. In the meantime I will continue to make art, enjoy my life, be grateful for all that is good and practice "do you want to supersize that?"
Heard on the news last night that there would be a phenomenal meteor shower between midnight and 5:00 a.m.
I set my internal alarm clock before I fell asleep. . . I wanted to see those meteors. Remember the song "Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day?" Probably Pat Boone from the '50s, but wouldn't swear to it. Or wishing upon a falling star? The word on the news was that one could possibly see hundreds of meteors in 15-minute intervals. I had my wishes all lined up. . . sell the house, sell the house, sell the house, survive another month, sell some art, sell some more art, you get the drift here. . .
I woke up at 2:45 and hauled a lawn chair out to the front drive and sat waiting for the show. Zip, zero, nada. . . not one meteor. Shortly after 3:00 a.m., I gave up and went back to bed. Not too disappointed, though, because sitting outside at 3:00 a.m. was extremely relaxing and pleasant, quiet except for some crickets.
These three pieces are 8 x 8", layers and layers of texture, all covered with black gesso to start from scratch. These were my "second paintings". . . receiving the leftover paint from various other projects and then kind of fine-tuned for details. They remind me of 3:00 a.m. on my driveway, except you might see some meteors in these paintings.
While her mother took a conference call from home the other day, I had the pleasure and privilege of watching baby Nora. She posed for me primarily in this position. I tried to get some good shots of her little feet, her sweet little hands and fingers, and her ears, but I didn't want to disturb her sleep to reposition her, although it's not as easy as one might think to wake a baby determined to sleep. She's a peach, all right.
I just can't seem to take good pictures of my art, though. Here's one that I finished this past week. It was supposed to be 20 x 20, but it's really more like 19 x 19. I have discovered that canvas shrinks more in one direction than the other. So the finished dimensions are usually a crapshoot.
Have any of you been inundated with Chinese or some kind of oriental writing as comments on your blogs? Some have "Michael Jackson" written in English; I have translated a few of the first ones to make sure I wasn't deleting a legitimate comment, and they dealt with male sexual enhancement products. Does anyone know what is going on, and how to stop it?
from painting to photography? I really do get a kick out of these picture-taking excusions, expecially when I'm able to edit the shots to get something interesting. The round disc is one of the junky things I have added to my texture-making tools.
The curving line in this photo caught my eye.
Don't know what this is. . . it looks like a wooden barrel, but I believe it is actually some sort of fabric covering. . .
Click on this picture to see why I like it. It's the side of a tall skinny concrete building on the BNSF property.
Lots of texture here, with that shot of limey green.
With less than ten minutes' notice for a 9:30-11:30 house showing, I grabbed my camera and split.
I had no chance to shower so I was not fit for human consumption. I wandered around aimlessly for a while, searching for a good place to take pictures.
I am not famililar with the older parts of the city in which I live so I drove up and down some of those streets until I found a Burlington Northern Santa Fe yard next to an automobile graveyard, separated only by a chain link fence. The BNSF people gave me permission to take pictures, if I promised to stay far from the tracks. No problem. . .
Here are some of the result of my happy wanderings. I also picked up some "garbage" that will make wonderful textures for my paintings.
Back home for fifteen minutes and a couple of realtors show up unannounced and wish to see my house. I didn't leave, I went into the garden and pulled weeds. Some interest in the house, but no results. It's only been about ten days since it was listed. . . trying to stay positive despite the comments left on the site by people who have looked at it.
This is a small 20 x 20" painting I finished last week. I love the background color, which is an unusual color for my paintings. But I was stuck. . . I didn't know where to go after I applied the black and white elements. So I actually dug out the color wheels that I have and came up with this slightly unusual color pallette. Those color wheels really work, don't they? I deepened the background with additional washes and glazes of purple.
During yesterday's open house I lugged three big boxes of books to Half Price Books. Their offer was actually more than I had expected, and they assured me that the books they didn't want would not go to a landfill somewhere, but were donated eventually. With part of the proceeds, I took Joey and Betsy to Sonic for smoothies.
I know, I know: I live such an exciting life. What a whirlwind of activity. . .