When testing out some ideas I will often make some quick collages with remnants from my studio table. I showed you some grid studies using paper punches and security envelopes (HERE), and with the leftovers I went organic, cutting free-form shapes....again, land shows its influence.
These posts are a little out of order as I showed you my white on black drawings since the article is out - those were actually done after the security envelope collages.
(This time I made sure my signature was embedded over the image. Last time it was marked just over the photo and someone cut it off before posting to tumblr. While it's nice to be noticed, it's not so nice to have your graphic altered and name removed. The image was then pinned to pinterest without my signature and it's off and running with links back to the tumblr post, not me. It's a good lesson to always mark your work so as the originator, you are findable.)
I will be getting back to my ongoing posts on The Evolution of an Idea. This week I have a few deadlines - both concrete and self-imposed so I'm tending to business. One thing I wanted to share - very exciting news...I will be teaching five workshops this fall in the big apple. I can't begin to describe the thrill of being invited to teach at Pratt Institute's Center for Continuing and Professional Studies this fall. Thank you to my friend Karen for facilitating this connection. Below is an infographic with the dates. I will be uploading the class descriptions and photos to my Workshop page soon - they selected some of my faves plus a new one, Sticks & Stones, inspired by the current mindset I'm in. Pratt's fall catalog is in the works and as soon as I have details for registration I will post here.
There has already been some interest since I posted this on my workshop page a week or two ago. I'm collecting email addresses from anyone that wants updates on registration. If you want to be added to the list send me a note or comment below.
There are some mixed media courses available at Pratt this summer! Take a class with my friends Nathalie Kalbach (July 12, July 19) or Seth Apter (July 18-19) or both! See the Pratt CCPS summer catalog HERE. It is a fabulous venue and the classrooms are superb.
Hope to see you this fall!!
I had so much fun using the white pen (Uniball Signo UM-153) on black that I wanted to keep going. Like, I wanted it to go on and on. So it made sense to move on from flat panels to an accordion. I could loosely plan an overall concept for the evolution of the design, but then work page by page. To me, the format meant it should read well as a whole when unfolded, and that was exciting to me...each portion or panel segueing forward.
What prompted an accordion? Back in April 2014 I shared how I had an epiphany and turned my favorite Escher poster(s) into a folded book. See HERE. Since I did not have a place to hang the four long horizontal posters, they sat gathering dust (for several years) and were in danger of getting damaged or worse, discarded. Now I can hold his masterpiece in my hands and page through blissfully. Escher definitely influenced my desire to work in a connected series of drawings and patterns. I love his panoramic morphing and transitioning of imagery. Genius.
Being in a mindset of two camps, linear and organic, I took two different paths - starting one with a grid, and one totally free-form. You can read about these projects in the July/August Somerset Studio. My copy arrived Friday so if you subscribe yours will arrive any day. If you don't, the magazine should be on the shelves of your favorite supplier very soon. The theme for this issue is Black and White, and it is fabulous!!
I'm not done yet....more to come.
After doing some idea sketches I will pause where I am to test out some options. For instance, I showed you some drawings (here), which I combined through layers in photoshop with a background painting. A few manipulations (layer option: screen) as part of the investigation to determine if I should introduce color are shown below. Turns out I really liked trying one of my simple sketches on black paper with white pen. So I took that information and ran with it.
Results of that part of the process will be next.
I am both architect + artist. So often I cling to the linear approach. I crave order. But I am also drawn to the organic. Using my manipulatives (here), like the sand garden with a rake, has been a motivator to veer off the grid. In an effort to try to be looser, I fed myself with additional aerial visuals. I can't stop visiting Google maps for a bird's eye view of land. I have always loved looking at cities this way, but now I'm obsessed with investigating natural forms. I showed you my collections of images where the central pivot irrigation systems were rampant (here), now check these out....meandering, terraced, winding...ooh! This time we are hovering over Wisconsin.
As the ideas evolve, I'm branching out in several areas of study. More to follow. Thanks for coming along.
Can't stop. Kind of cheating with pattern-making, no pens required. No carving or ink pads. Studying how the simple shapes of a circle and a square interact and behave when they aren't a solid color. Security envelopes, which I can never discard, are an easy material to manipulate. Thin enough to punch out then attach with a gluestick.
Very therapeutic, especially when paired with my zen music. Relaxing. Enjoyable. Addictive. Always lessons in composition as you consider the markings, the color, direction, shape, balance of dark/light and positive/negative. I'm off to complete a few more spreads. I bet you'll be looking at your incoming bills differently now :)
This is still part of my Evolution of an Idea series - illustrating how curiosity about certain concepts can take you in unexpected directions. The work we do in our journals can be just plain fun, or purposely expressive, or may inform future work.
p.s. for those of you who are going to call me out or tease me for using blue, couldn't be helped...it's how the envelopes arrived. I almost took artistic license and photoshopped to teal.
Last time I showed you some of my research and sketches....the intention was to start painting, to see where the fresh perspective and forming ideas would take me. However, I couldn't find solid blocks of time to paint so I spent little blocks of time carving more stamps. Test prints go into my journal.
On an evening walk I came upon the decaying leaf. I can't even see anything up close anymore without glasses so I love that I can zoom in with my camera for a magnified view. The skeleton veins look like maps, don't you think? The thicker ones could be rivers...the smaller ones might be divisions of farmland?
I'm curious to know more about shapes and details and I want to feed my need for more visuals. I turn to books. I go down a deep rabbit hole when I find the WoodenBooks.com site. Lovely little books, beautifully presented, and packed with fabulous images. BTW, they are not made of wood. The site gives thorough previews - you'll want them all. Let me recommend their "epic bind-ups", Sciencia, Quadrivium, and Designa - more than 400 pages per book! The other titles are much smaller - 64 pages each.
Along the way I got interested in Andy Goldsworthy. Ordered a few books and a dvd. This man is amazing. Poke around online and look at his installations if you aren't familiar with his work. Love his rock formations. Hope to go visit Storm King this summer! I had told Lynne about my interest in his work and she sent a photo she took of his cairn/cone she got to see! Into the journal it went.
more to come....evolution of an idea....thoughts behind the process....
As I said earlier, the new sounds prompted a shift - in my imagination, and in my drive to create visuals that were prompted by what I was hearing. I began collecting what I call "manipulatives". Remember using those in grade school? Colored rods of varying lengths, foam die-cuts of geometric shapes, and even building blocks - meant to reinforce mathematical concepts.
So here are some manipulatives for grown-ups....organic and natural materials that will support my visions, assist me in creating compositions, and inform and inspire the new direction for my artmaking. I even set up a little zen sanctuary at the entrance to my studio. Love clanging the chimes as a ritual on my way in to play.
Next: the process of evolving ideas continue
I think the universe knows when we are ready for a shift. An opportunity presents itself and we can either pay attention, or shrug it off and carry on. What is it that makes us engage and embrace? Timing perhaps. Being open minded. Recognizing a connection, whether defined or abstract. Our willingness to dive into new territory can be driven by many different forces, interior or exterior or both. Why do we impulsively get distracted by a new concept when we already have enough commitments and responsibilities and unfinished work? The universe knows.
So we are still back in September 2014 and I’m teaching Frond Chronicles for the San Diego Book Arts group. Pnina Gold, a wonderful artist and warm soul, hosted the workshop in her studio. She gifted me with Six Healing Sounds, a cd produced by her husband, Richard. The intention of her generous gesture was that I would play it for my son Sam. I learned from his website: Dr. Richard Gold is a psychologist and a teacher, practitioner, writer, researcher, and life-long student of the Asian Healing Arts, including acupuncture, Chinese medicine, Qi Gong, T’ai Chi, shiatsu and traditional Thai bodywork. He has studied neuroscience and the evolving scientific understanding of the effects of sound and meditation on brain function. Foreign stuff to me, but fancy and fascinating.
Upon my return home I played the cd. Immediately I had a connection to the sounds. Peaceful. Relaxing. Piled on my nightstand there are collections of zen category discs – falling rain, gentle ocean waves, whale calls…. Each work their magic and lull me into restful sleep. However, Six Healing Sounds was even better. I listen to it every night, and nearly every morning. It makes me feel centered, balanced, deliberate, focused. You can hear a sampling here: MettaMindfulnessMusic.com
From the liner notes (Six Healing Sounds), ways to use this music: Enhancement of mental focus and openness to artistic inspiration while immersed in the creative process of writing, creating visual art, dancing, writing poetry, etc. They were talking to me!
The music had a profound impact on me. I didn't feel a gradual shift of influence; it was drastic. I postponed all plans and projects that were on my desk or still developing in my mind, and blasted head on into unfamiliar territory. I yearned to explore and discover more about the impressions that were forming in my imagination simply because I was listening to new sounds. I’ve always had that sensory connection between sound and visuals. I welcomed the bombardment of ideas that were channeling in, and was curious to know how this direction would manifest in my art.
So my crop circles and farmland got shelved for a bit....had to make room for the introduction of another new perspective, a shift in awareness. Lots of things will eventually collide and overlap as the Evolution of an Idea continues to unfold. More on that soon.
In the meantime, go have a listen to Six Healing Sounds and see if it resonates with you as deeply as it did with me.
With some of my handcarved stamps, I tested them for map-making.
Let's rewind a bit....to September 2014, when my awareness of earth shapes was heightened and kinda became an obsession. I was flying across the country and spied the round markings of land outside my window. I had been impressed on previous trips to the midwest - views of divided farm land and the occasional interruption by organic terrain, but I'd never seen such extensive patterning like I did on the way from New Jersey to San Diego, most specifically on the approach to a layover in Phoenix. The polka dots of green went on for miles, then suddenly ended at the edge of rock formations that grew and grew....likely part of the formation that would become the Grand Canyon further north. I pulled out the sketchbook and recorded some notes on my impressions, then started drawing. I got distracted by some other thoughts that channeled in....here are the pages:
More thoughts on the Evolution of an Idea coming next.
The land-forms I showed you in the last post sent me spiraling off on several tangents. I'll explain the full scope in more detail later. I really love the organized plots of vegetation, especially the ones that are benefiting from the circular watering system. I also love when the orderly latitudes and longitudes are interrupted by organic terrain, like a stream or rock formation. To investigate this topic further, and to see how it might influence or appear in my work, I needed some new tools. So I carved some stamps. Working off two different sizes of a grid, I cut many blocks then began carving patterns.
Evolution of an idea, part 3 coming soon.
I'm going down a path....not sure where it's leading. I have a few ideas and a few projects underway. I love being in this place - where you can feel so much potential and you are channeling and reigning in all the directions you could take with this concept. One thing leads to another....here's one of the starting places: overhead views of farmland, specifically the markings made by central pivot irrigation systems. I had seen scenery like this out the airplane window, but never caught on film so I captured the views below from Google Maps. Fascinating, don't you think?
I will tell you more in the next post.
1972 - I remember this so clearly.....a sunny day at my grandparent's lake home. Two boxes, with matching wrappings from the department store were presented. Two floral broomstick sundresses - one too short, one too long. We probably had Welch's grape juice, Fritos, ham sandwiches, and birthday cake from the bakery in a fancy window box - eight candles for me, four for her. Within a few days we were likely at my other grandparent's lake home for the opening of fishing season. In jeans and hoodies, sitting in the boat with our little plastic rods, putting minnows on hooks and trolling for walleyes, or using worms to catch sunfish. Happy memories.