Saturday, June 05, 2010

Ideas and walks

I have ideas spinning around in my head at the most inopportune moments and I usually try to jot them down in some form so they're not forgotten.   Sometimes an idea takes on a will of its own and insists on being put into a form that ensures it stays in my mind.

I have a vision of a fish skeleton in my head.  I don't know the final form it will take or what media but it has to be done.  I don't know why, but it does.

Now finding or creating a fish skeleton isn't as easy as you'd think.  But to spare you the gory details, lets just say I'm working on one with some help from Mother Nature. (keep fingers crossed).  Meanwhile a rough sketch of a skeletonized fish is what  I've worked out today in charcoal.  With more thumbnail sketches and some time, I'm sure I'll come up with something that matches the vision in my head.

Finally today was warm and sunny and after so much rain and cool temperatures it seemed like a different world.  I did my little tour of the property and the barn as usual and thought I'd share a few images with you.  I find it fascinating that no matter how many times I take the same route around the property, I always find new things to photograph.

The broiler chicks are two weeks old now and growing almost before my eyes. They're starting to feather out and loose their down, but still need heat lamps to keep warm.  They've dug little nests in the sawdust under the lamps and bask in the heat.

Sometimes nature doesn't always succeed.  This junco nest was under a garden chair that was waiting to be thrown out.  The three chicks in the nest had hatched but died.  This nest was built right on the ground even though it had some protection from the elements.  With the cold and rain, I don't know if that was a factor or if the parents got scared off somehow.  Unfortunate that it is, I still marvel at the beauty of the structure and of the little hatchlings.

On the far side of the meadow beside the house a little brook wanders through.  Its mostly runoff from the  land and is usually only full of water after a lot of rain.  I have to go through the trees to find it and its always like finding a surprise in the woods.

Finally, I've added some photographic prints for sale in my Giclees and Prints page.  You can find the link to the page on the top of this page.  These were a couple of black and white photographs that I took in the barn.  The barn is my treasure trove of old and dusty and new and alive.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Endangered art

"The applied arts are a cornerstone of our heritage "

I am a realist and don't dabble in abstraction much. However, it sometimes it becomes part of me, part of what has gone before.  I've been reading about various forms of Japanese art to wrap my brain around gyotaku and help me understand the culture of art there.  This little piece is my hurried attempt at suminagashi late at night.

Suminagashi is a Japanese form of marblizing paper and translates literally as 'ink floating'.  Its a very simple technique that has been taken to a high level of expertise and beauty in patterns.  Marbled paper isn't seen as often today as it was years ago and the number of artists who create it or mentor others into the technique are few.

Several art forms are endangered, suminagashi is one of them.  Gyotaku is reviving slowly and advancing in the Western world.  It seems that the current society of instant gratification needs do not want to spend the time to learn skills that have time attached to the end result.  Engraving and printmaking are in danger of being over ridden by machines that can produce similar results. 

This quote, from HH magazine, even though around watchmaking - another endangered art form - really applies to all forms of art that involve specific techniques that are produced by hand.

Speaking at a study day organised by the Société Suisse de Chronométrie (SSC) on the theme "Watchmaking and its Artists," Estelle Fallet, curator at the Musée de l’Horlogerie et de l’Émaillerie in Geneva, insisted on the vital importance of the craftsman’s hand in the watchmaking segment. "The applied arts are one of the cornerstones of our cultural heritage. They are heir to a multitude of expertises that have been developed and painstakingly transmitted throughout the centuries. Their history is a nurturing source of inspiration which enables them to embrace contemporary artistic currents. They add to a heritage which they also safeguard, through restoration work. Synonymous with perfection, these arts are a combination of gestures drawn from tradition and new technologies that are a prolongation of the human hand. They transform an ordinary object into a masterpiece. Materials are ennobled at their touch.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Investment pain

 I've been up to my ears in work and prints and marketing and haven't had a lot of time to do much drawing or painting.

Today I picked up the proofs for three new giclees that I will have available next week.  The pieces that will be printed are Masai Portrait, Koi Pool and Frozen Door to Dawn.  I will have more details on how to purchase them within the next few days.

Then I'll officially be in the poor house for awhile, as besides the giclees I've had additional printing done for a trial run I was lucky enough to have approved by the Historic Sites Association in Newfoundland for their Heritage Shops.  Its a small order to see how reproductions of a couple of  my watercolours sell locally. Purity Kisses and Merry Christmas Hares will be available as 8 x 10 images and single greeting cards in select Heritage shops later this summer.  Keep your fingers crossed! 

I've also had to throw more cash at packaging materials:  backing boards, cellophane sleeves, labels, etc., etc.  I bite the bullet and keep telling myself its an investment in inventory but there's always a twinge of pain involved in parting with larger sums of money in a short time frame.

The high point of investing money in art supplies is my grant from NLAC and the knowledge that I have sufficient funds in it to allow me to purchase lots of yummy new Japanese papers to experiment gyotaku with as well as inks and my prime subject - fish!  That will be one spending spree that I won't have to fret about too much.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

More gyotaku experiments

Inbetween other pieces, I'm starting to experiment with fish prints.  The fishing season isn't in full swing yet, so finding whole fish is a challenge.  I come across the occasional fish and snatch it up.  Freezing doesn't seem to adversely affect the texture of the fish and prints remain the same.

This rainbow trout has done yeoman's duty before it went off the the compost pile.  Yes, some are eaten after printing, but many are too well used to do that.  I look at them as another art tool, albeit an expensive one at times.

I've put in an order for some Japanese papers and am looking forward to getting them and having some time to try out more.  There are a mind boggling number of Japanese papers, not all of them suitable for gyotaku or capable of withstanding additional manipulation.

Then the question of mounting the final pieces is taking me down different avenues of exploration.  Aside from traditional framing, I hadn't really considered other options and there are a number of them.  Its opening a whole new world of supports, techniques and processes.

Just a fish you say.....think again.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mikaela's Rock WIP

Awhile back I virtually renewed an old acquaintance on Facebook and was struck by an image he had as his avatar.  So struck that I asked if I could use it for a portrait.

Terry Rielly is a much loved children's entertainer in the province as well as a serious musician, writing music and lyrics for a more adult audience. 

This image is about a special rock of a child called Mikaela who lugged this heavy stone from the beach to Terry's house.  Terry is now the guardian of the rock until Mikaela returns to collect it.

This is the beginning of a watercolour measuring 11.5 x 17.5 on 200lb paper.  This is the initial line drawing and the first washes to breathe life into it.