Monday, March 29, 2010

Goodbye, Winter

As promised, more photos from Spring Grove.

On a beautiful, bright Saturday in March, it seemed Spring had finally come to stay.

After a long, hard winter, you could almost hear a sigh of relief from the land itself.

 The birds confirmed the departure of winter by coming back to build new nests.

Contented ducks glide lazily across the pond.

I must include, of course, one of my water abstracts.  I think the lines and patterns in this one are especially lovely.  Must be the ducks that did it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Nature Imitates Jackson Pollock?

We had gorgeous weather on Saturday, so off to Spring Grove I went with my little camera. 

Bright red maple buds looked brilliant against the blue sky.  The overlapping layers of lines and spots reminded me of the action paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Galaxy by Jackson Pollock

These beautiful overlapping lines were formed by dead vines clinging to the bark of a very old tree.  I loved the warm, monochromatic coloring.
 No.1  by Jackson Pollock

Such order in the disorder of nature...

Such glorious disorder in the order. 

The Blue Poles  by Jackson Pollock

Was Pollock inspired by nature?  Nothing I've read about him ever mentioned that his work referenced the natural world in any way.  It is supposedly the quintessential "nonobjective" art.  But I wonder if it's even possible to disregard the "real world" when making a painting; isn't the content of our minds based on experience?  In that sense, then, there really isn't any "nonobjective" art.

How is it possible not to be inspired by this?

 Pollock worked in a barn in the country, so...

I rest my case.

To those who think that's all of my Spring Grove pictures, I would say,

No, there's more to come- stay tuned for the sequel!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

By George, I think she's got it!

I have actually reached my stated goal of having these two pieces finished by today!  Unfortunately, the weather would not cooperate, so the photos aren't the greatest, but here they are.

Transformation 41
Ingredients: monotype prints using oil-based litho inks on Rives BFK paper, Caran D'Ache crayons, watercolor pencils, acrylic gel medium, PVA glue

I think of this one as the seed entering the earth, hopefully completing a trilogy with the other two pieces the client bought.  When I posted this piece before, a couple of people felt it could use more "rootiness" (thanks for the word, Don), and I agreed that it needed something on the bottom to balance it out.  I tried about 47 million different things, and this seemed to work best.  Okay, I could be exaggerating a bit, but it felt like 47 million.  I'm not sure I'm completely satisfied with it, but this how it will remain unless/until I think of something better.

 Butterfly Buddha Child
Ingredients:  FW acrylic ink, maps, book pages, chiri paper, watercolor pencil, Caran D'Ache crayons, ginko leaves, metallic oil crayon, metallic paint pen, Rives BFK paper, on Multimedia Art Board

 Butterfly Buddha Child- detail

Butterfly Buddha Child- detail

Sorry about the wonky photos, but I hope you enjoy these nonetheless!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On the Easel

I've been working on this piece off and on for a couple of weeks.  It's one of those that started out to be something completely different, but seemed to take on a life of its own, and evolve into whatever it wanted to be.  When my original idea didn't work, I tore off the top layer I didn't like, and expanded the underneath layer into a more finished piece.  Of course, other layers were added along the way.  I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow, along with Transformation 41.  A girl's got to have goals, right?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Monkey With Photoshop is Still a Monkey...

Last week, let's see- I forgot what day it was, but I was doing something else- I forget what- and I got distracted by playing around with Photoshop, something I haven't done since I can't remember when.  Usually I start out to do a specific thing, then as I'm looking for the thing I wanted, I get distracted by something else, like, "Oh wow, why have I not done anything with this photo..." and pretty soon my original purpose has gone away somewhere, to be completely forgotten, or to return to me at a later time when I least expect it.  I swear, I never used to be this way, and I find it pretty distressing at times.  What has happened to my brain?  Is ADHD contagious?

Anyway, here are the results of my distraction:

Okay, this is a bit scary, like the cover of a weird horror novel or a scene from a creepy movie...

This is the original photo of a full moon, and here's what I did with it:

I was attempting to create a sort of frosty, winter-y mood here.  I don't think I was successful, but it reminds me of an illustration for a children's book, so it's still somewhat interesting.  All in all, I like the original better.

With this one, I was just playing around at first, with nothing much in mind (as usual).  Here's the original, a shot through some hemlock boughs.  I liked the lines created by the dark twigs.

Then I wondered if I could make it look as if it were a stained glass window, with the sticks separating the panes...

I'm not sure what this looks like; a Kandinsky painting, maybe?  Hmmm....

So I just kept going....

... until it looked like- what?  A sixties flashback?  Something out of Scientific American, like the structure of proteins in a spider's eyeball?

Oh well; let's just say these were not my finest Photoshop moments.  What have I learned from this?  I've learned that it's fun, and sometimes liberating, to just allow myself to play without worrying about the end result.  I've also learned that a monkey with Photoshop is still a monkey!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Art on Demand (RecyclingTime)

I've been trying (I emphasize trying, here) to work on something for a woman who bought two pieces from my ongoing Transformations Series back in the Fall.  She had originally wanted three, but when she went back to get them, someone had come in and bought the one she wanted.  She didn't like the pieces that were left in the gallery, so the gallery owner put her in touch with me.  I sent her photos of the remaining pieces I had, but none of them were really what she was looking for, and didn't go well with the ones she bought.  So I told her I'd come up some things that might fit the bill, send her some more photos, and hopefully she'd choose one of them.  No problem, right?  Wrong.

I'm finding it more of a challenge than I'd imagined.  For one thing, I usually just make whatever strikes me at the moment, with no particular goal in mind except to make something.  If it fits into the series, fine; if not, fine.  But now I have to limit myself to a specific size, color scheme, and subject matter. She wants something with plants, and the colors need to coordinate well with the other two pieces.

Here are the ones she has:

        Transformation 12

          Transformation 22

So I fiddled around with some things for a couple of weeks, but nothing came of it except some wasted time and considerable frustration.  What to do, what to do?  Time to recycle!  I had some old monotypes in my "scrap works" drawer that I'd been avoiding cutting up for collage, probably because I had harbored some subconscious notion that I'd be able to "fix them", and maybe shouldn't give up on them just yet.  But, being uninspired, and running low on good collage material, I finally said "what the hell" and threw them into the bathtub on Friday.  Yes, I did say the bathtub.  My old pieces have various  mixed media layered onto the monotype surface, and much of it is water based.  I can't get everything off, but after it has soaked for a while, I wipe off as much as I can.

I've come up with one new piece so far; here it is:

    Transformation 41

I think it could use more work, but this is what I have so far.  I have two questions.  One, what else does it need?  And two, does it "go with" the other two?  Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spring Grove

A couple of weeks ago, when it was still extremely cold (sometimes referred to by me as "butt-freezing cold"), we went to a place in Cincinnati called Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum.  It consists of 733 acres of land, 400 of which are meticulously landscaped, containing everything from ponds and fountains to historical buildings. I was pretty surprised to learn that it was founded in 1845, and that the study of plants  was one of its main purposes from the beginning.  There are 1,200 species of plants grown there, including many "champion" trees (largest in the state or nation), and many that are over 100 years old!  Who knew?  Anyway, here are a few photos I took when I was there.

One of the historical limestone buildings on the grounds.

I just love the lions with snow on their heads!

A grove of bald cypress Trees.

This beautiful chapel was built by a beer baron.  Apparently Cincinnati had 32 breweries in 1875!  Again, who knew?

A side view of the same building. I attempted to make this one look like a pen and ink drawing.

A champion chinquapin oak.

There are angels to greet you everywhere.

Adolf Strauch, Spring Grove's first horticulturist, wrote:  "There is a certain poetic enchantment… powerfully felt by the beholder… among shady groves of ancient trees, whose trunks are encircled by the garland of eternity, the ivy, and where tuneful birds enliven the stillness of secret solitude."  

It really is quite a beautiful place.  I can't wait to go back in the spring when everything is blooming!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Water Abstraction

I've been absent from blog-world for a while, deciding instead to focus on some other things.  I'll be sharing these with you soon, but right now have lots of pots on the stove, so to speak.  In the meantime, I'm going to share something that doesn't require me to take new photos!

As I noted a couple of posts ago, I've become obsessed with water as a source of abstract images.  I realized that I'm amassing quite a large collection of these photos at this point, and thought it might be fun to put together a slide show.  I hope you enjoy it!

Are you sick of these yet?  I promise this is it....unless, of course, I take more photos...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Medicine Buddha

Last night was the full moon of the Medicine Buddha, so I wanted to post this with love and prayers for the healing of all sentient beings.