November 25, 2015

Two Old Women and a Brain

Life and art often lead to an expression of mixed metaphors in my work. Even if odd, sometimes surreal effects are not my original intent, the drawings I have made over the past three years generally end up looking that way. I attribute this to trying to manage a chronic health condition while revising and completing a large collection of sketches from my travels. Sometimes one insinuates itself into the other.

I was in receipt of a CD of a brain scan. It came in a nice square package. What if I finished one of my small square drawings in such a way as to illustrate the contents? I found a good candidate for revision in a study I had done outside of a cathedral where two old women were sitting on a bench near a buttress. I considered the drawing unfinished because there were large, uninteresting blank areas. I had originally intended to use the unfinished sketch as a study for a small painting. But since I have been making studies into drawings whether they had become paintings or not, I decided that the two old women were good candidates for an odd little visual statement. The large blank area cried out for something unusual. Why not a large brain painted on the side of the cathedral buttress? The brain I put there is not entirely accurate, but it does the job. And one more strange little drawing can be added to my collection, "Two Old Women and a Brain."

November 22, 2015

Mold and Morning Glories

Every so often circumstances cause my blog to go fallow. Such has been the case for late October through November. During this period the causes have been multiple. First was a case of broadly dispersed shingles....all the way down my left leg and in to my left foot and in many other areas as well. Needless to say it made getting around problematic. And like any virus, it exacerbated my underlying conditions as well. Amazingly, I did manage to keep producing art work by sitting at a small table with my leg propped up. But rather than complete my usual 2-D work, I opted for making small ceramic sculptures and musical instruments. Since these take a long time to produce they are still in process. They are fired but not yet smoke fired for that final surface. Unfortunately my awkwardness caused me to break about half of these!

Then there was the flood clean up. That has been quite slow as well. A mold allergy makes cleaning up moldy areas quite challenging but I have been managing. And processing claims for my studio damage has been proceeding rather slowly. First FEMA, then flood insurance agents, then probably FEMA again. The flood insurance claims requires photographing everything, taking an inventory and finding out what replacement values would likely be. The agents seemed particularly interested in documentation of the water line.

There was the problem of when to turn on my kiln to see if was still working as the water came up to the bottom of it even though it had been propped up on bricks. The delay here was that I was initially reluctant to turn it on until everything was dried out. I would not know whether or not it was really damaged until I had run a firing. And I didn’t want to run a firing without having something in it to fire...hence the sculptures. The kiln fired up and several pieces made it through but a number of them did not, either because the clay was not quite dry enough or because my experimental clay bodies were not stable. More set backs!

While photographing broken and moldy works downstairs in my studio/garage/basement I came across a plaster mold that I took of my hand for use in a sculpture. I probably will not be able to claim this but the moldy hand looked rather interesting.  I might use it in a future drawing.

Finally, to add a bit of cheer amidst all the mess I took a picture of my blue morning glories. I just needed to look at something bright,clean, and unbroken for a change.