Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Work: Vernal Equinox

I have finished one of the pieces from my "Work in Progress" post, and wanted to show you what it looks like in its final incarnation.

The title of the piece is Vernal Equinox, partly because I started working on it around that time, but also because these were the pathways around which my mind traveled as I made it. According to Wikipedia, an equinox occurs "... when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator."

 illustration from Wikipedia

  There are two equinoxes, one around March 20th (vernal), and the other on or near September 22nd (autumnal). On these two days, the length of the day and night are equal- hence, equinox. Originally the festival of the pagan fertility goddess Ostara (Oestre), the date of Easter is calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. From the equinox until the solstice, the days lengthen; it is the day that "light overcomes the darkness".  Since it was the first new work I had begun since sometime before Christmas, and the spring equinox signifies renewal and rebirth, it seemed a fitting title.

Usually, I simply list the ingredients of the piece underneath the photo, but I thought that this time, it would be fun to do a pictorial list instead.  As you can see, I'm easily amused!

 I suppose this could be categorized as either a material and/or a technique- decollage is exactly what it sounds like. First, you collage; then, you de-collage- also known as tearing off what you just glued on. It seems like this would just be a slow way of getting nowhere, but it can create some interesting textural effects that you couldn't get any other way. In the case of this piece, I took some of the ripped-off pieces and glued them onto my substrate. Upside-down, actually- I used the back side of the papers as the front. I hope that wasn't too confusing?

Found objects: here are some of the objects in one of my drawers marked, "metal things". 

Soft pastels: I used a mixture of reds to get that reddish-salmon color for the background of the upper part of the piece.

Embroidery floss was used for the stitching. I keep buying more colors, so now there's not enough room for all of them in the box; consequently, it's a mess.  Time to get a bigger box.

Metallic pens: I originally bought these Pentel Slicci pens to use with the guest book for my daughter's wedding. They write very smoothly, and seem to resist drying out.

Gold paint crayon- It's very hard to find these any more, but I just bought this one on etsy!

Vintage map (not this exact one)

Maple seeds from my yard. Photo by Laura Bell.

 Acrylic gel medium- you can never have too much, right?

Brass mini-brads- not even I am pathetic enough to get excited about a photo of brads.

Well, the pictorial list was a lot more work than the usual way, but I kind of like it! What do you think?  Now that school is out, I hope to be posting a bit more regularly.  A demain!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Put a Bird on It! (part 2)

Once again, I bring you further evidence that art can never be too full of birds.  In my last post, we looked at the origin of birds in art, and some early examples as well as a few contemporary ones. These are all contemporary, spanning a wide range of styles, methods, and media.

Fred Tomaselli, Big Raven

I think his process is fascinating...

Fred Tomaselli, Work in Progress

A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky...

... But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing...

- Maya Angelou, excerpt from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

photographic work by British artist Lesley Bricknell

In order to see birds it is necessary to become part of the silence.   - Robert Lynd

Jay, by Karl Martens

Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for thier departure.

-Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons

Beauty by Mo Crow (Mo Orkiszewski)

I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
- Charles Lindbergh

You have to believe in happiness,
Or happiness never comes ...
Ah, that's the reason a bird can sing -
On his darkest day he believes in Spring.

Douglas Malloch, You Have To Believe.

Be Still and Know, David Arms

I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.    - Emily Dickenson

Penny Hallas

Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.
- Langston Hughes

 Joshua Yeldham, Prayer for Protection

Some artists make birds from metal...

Steampunk birds by  Jim Mullan

Found object sculpture by Harriet Mead 

Bird, Alexander Calder, 1952

...and other materials, like found objects...

assemblage artist Ron Pippin

... while some prefer paper...

Dream of Flying, Selkie Bindery (apparently no longer in business and has taken down its website))

Polly Verity, paper and wire bird

Even when a bird walks, one feels it has wings.   - Antoine-Marin Lemierre

Elsa Mora

Matazo Kayama

 There is nothing in which birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.   - Robert Lynd

Watch this amazing video to see proof beyond a shadow of a doubt of the grace and complete beautiousity of birds!

Some artists like to literally put a bird ON it.

On someone's head, perhaps...

TotemDominique Fortin 

Migration, Andrey Remnev

Der Rabenkonig  by Christian Schloe

...or on their shoulders and lap.

Frida Kahlo, Yo y mis pericos, 1941

A bird looks especially delightful on anything surrealistic, as you can see.

Maggie Taylor, But who Has Won?

I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.      - Joseph Addison

Claire Brewster, We are on Our Way

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them?
- Rose Kennady

And then, just when you think you've seen it all, there's the uniquely exquisite work of Chris Maynard, who actually cuts tiny bird compositions from feathers.  How he does it is beyond me; I'd surely be pulling my hair out in frustration if I tried something like this.  I'm pretty sure it's done by magic; I think you'll agree.

Peacock Attraction by Chris Maynard

Chris Maynard, Hummingbird

Macaw, Chris Maynard

According to the artist, "Feathers mark nature's pinnacle of achievement: the intersection of function and beauty."  To find out more about Chris and his work, including where he gets the feathers, go here.

I love this piece, entitled, "I Wish I could Fly", but don't know who the artist is. If you do, please let me know; I would like to credit him/her.  [ Update: The artist who made this piece contacted me; I'm happy to now be able to tell you that it was done by South African artist Nicolette Geldenhuys.]  I wish I could fly, too- don't we all?  I guess that's why humans are so enamored with these graceful, gravity-defying creatures.  But unfortunately, we can't. So whenever you feel sad and blue, just do what I do... 

... Put a bird on it!