suffering and the art of the suck

i think the most important lesson I've learned so far in the past 12 months is that sometimes art, in its process, looks really, really, really crappy.  shitty even.  until it doesn't.  until that happens, i tolerate the awful until it become unbearable. then i close up my paints, clean out my brushes, and walk away for a while.

it always looks horrible close up during.  i finally know why paint brushes can come in such long lengths - so you can back up as far as possible from a painting which, for me, looks really, just, well, awful close up.

case and point: the current work.  a friend send me a link to a fundraiser to end homelessness.  a local nonprofit invites local artists to submit works to be auctioned off.  "we respectfully ask that the work be worth at least $25"

the theme is to be, what makes home home?  

i had just recently been moved one morning to photograph my bad right after i got out of it, and i thought i'd try to paint this.

first the underpainting:

gaa! underpainting is THE big awful.  on the other hand, it does have a kind of modernist feel to it.  
or maybe just a tacky 70s/80s feel.  
blacklight poster, anyone?
i also have learned that once i do my initial sketch from a photograph, put that photograph the f*** away, or i'll make myself crazy trying to catch every single detail. 

several passes later, i'm at this point, working in values, 
"pushing and pulling" the values, as it were.  

third pass.  okay.  those are actually starting to look like sheet wrinkles.  
next steps: i need those sheets to be a bit lighter in value.
 and i need the quilt at the foot of the bed to look less fuzzy and more quilty.
some tones mixed with zinc white should help.  
now i need that fan to look more like a fan.  And, I think I need a shadow on the side of the bed where the nightstand blocks the light.  It's early morning, and the sun is lower, so there needs to be more shadow overall.  

Gaa!  That's too dark.  But I'm happy with the depth of the top of the nightstand.

Okay, now the wrinkles are starting to look like whitecaps.  

Now I think I'm finally happy with the bed.  I think the shadow on the side of the bed, and the directionality of the light, is clearer.  
Next plans:  make the dresser a little darker and more neutral (brown) and fix the fan.  Also, the shadow next to the window frame is a bit too dramatic.  

and now I think it's done.  even though the fan is crooked and off center.  



prickly stuff

I have fallen behind on my blogging because blogger isn't terribly mac friendly.  I tried downloading an app called "Blogo" on the mac.  It sucks.  I wrote the developers and told them so.  There's a decent little IOS app on my iPhone, but I suck on those tiny little keyboards.  Don't even get me started on the autocorrect debacle.  

Seriously?  Acrid lickers? No, autocorrect, clearly I meant acrylics.  Dude.  Seriously.  

Now, for a while I've had an idea in my head of something I wanted to create.  A canvas divided into fourths, with a closeup of a cactus in each.  This past week I finally started working on it.

I have no shortage of cactus pictures, or pictures of things close up - it's one of my favorite subjects.  

Internal questions: 

1) I'd like to line between the quarters to be sharper.

2) What will go in the fourth quarter?

2) The cholla flowers need to be pinker.  

In unrelated news that you don't care about, I'm signed up for a 10K today.  It's in an hour.  It's 103 degrees outside.  F*** that.  I'm going to stay in, where it's cool, and paint  

(Later) Finished work:



small metals

I'm taking a class in small metals, which includes making jewelry.

Project 1: "Cold Connections" project.  We were to design, make a model of, and build an item using metal.  Cold Connections refers to the lack of soldering, mainly.  It involves rivets and tabs.  

My project is a little decorative/artsy item that will have a small spinner inside it.  The spinner can be turned to indicate the weather outside.  

After my initial model, I spent more time working on the design, including sketches.  I decided to do away with the tabs holding on the top piece, and include it in the spacers and rivets.  I had to design the axis on which the weather elements will turn - it will include  

Sawing, let me tell you, is a bitch.  Behind, a saw blade:

I broke about ten of these little bastards while cutting out my pieces. 


After cutting out the pieces, my next step was to drill holes.  This involes a drill and hopefully, not turning your piece into a ninja star as it catches on the bit and begins spinning wildly with it.  

then filing.  Lots of filing.

And then sand.  And sand.  And sand.  

Next, I started drawing in some design for the pieces - they'll be painted with an etching solution that does not react to the sharpie--it will etch around it.  

So what have I learned so far?

1) Small metals and jewelry making requires a precision that doesn't come naturally to me . I'm an impressionist.  

2) Maybe I can be really good at making myself some trinkets, and gifts for others.

3) It's hard physical work.  Trying not to break those tiny, thin saw blades is a nightmare.

4) I do feel pretty badass handling an acetylene torch.  

Maybe I need to use more organic forms in my work.  When I said 'circles are hard' out loud several veterans laughed.  Apparently, they're hard for everyone.