Sketchbook

Starting work on a small linocut project.

I’m working on a linocut with the family chruch, St. Andrew’s Lutheran, as the subject. It is a beautiful old church and a great example of those which used to cover the prairie. As farm sizes increase and the size of small towns decrease fewer and fewer of these chuches remain. In fact, this one depends on the decendants of parishioners for its repair and upkeep as regular services are no longer heald there.

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Ideas about “Artifacts.”

I’m working on a series of constructions tentitively called “artifacts” as they are intended to resemble museum displays with photos, physical items, and  documentation. This is an initial shot through photographic film which may be used in the series.

New Dimensions, 1st inaugural art show in Vista

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“Cunningham”, 2007, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 24”X36”

The city of Vista held it’s first artist’s reception today at the new civic center for “New Dimensions,” on display from February 25th through March 30th. The show consists of 40 works of art in a variety of media from low relief sculptural wall hangings to traditional drawings and paintings. Artwork was selected from 262 entries by Susan M. Anderson, formerly the curator of Laguna Art Museum. Ms. Anderson specialized in 20th century American art and specifically that of California so it was, I’ll admit, an honor to have my work selected.

The title of the show suggests, well, something new. If it is true that of those who say they “know what they like” really mean they “like what they know” then Ms. Anderson knew impressionism quite well. I found little work in this show to be particularly new, challenging or engaging and much of it so quaint or pretty to be decorative at best. (The work of Jo-Lind Eckstein and Sam Sailors’ to mention two of a very few that really is new, challenging or engaging!) The overall quality or technical skill displayed was very good. It is clear that many of the artists on display enjoy their craft and excel at it.

The show as a whole, however, struck me as well organized but poorly displayed. Entry times and procedures were clearly stated, those receiving and hanging the work were helpful and kind. Guests could enjoy a variety of treats and a glass of sparking cider (really, cheese but no wine) as they looked through the work in the show. Several public servants for the city of vista were in attendance including the mayor who welcomed us all into the new civic center. The Public Arts Commission presented awards and a photographer stood bye to photograph the artists with their work and the event in general. (Oh yeah, all of the artists received name tags too!)

The artwork hung on roughly five foot wide moveable walls which had metal “feet” protruding from their base making them look like kindergarten classroom dividers. Artwork labels hung loosely in plastic bags rather than neatly placed alongside the work and the space felt small between the works of art. Well built and textured (meaning they looked like the walls of a house) the display panels left the artwork rather cramped for space which almost begs the viewer to enter the work into almost direct comparison between each “pair” hung together. Room between the “walls” was so limited people had to take turns in each of the spaces and this limited the distance one could stand away from a painting to look at it. Although this does encourage close inspection of drawing and mixed media work, I’ve heard there is a rule of thumb that paintings must be looked at from a distance of at least 20 feet. If this is the case, then few, if any, had that opportunity.

If you do have the chance and find yourself near Vista during the work week you should definitely stop in and see the show. I do have some issues with the show and its presentation, however this is the first inaugural show and I’m sure any shortcomings will be addressed in future shows.

Armory Show of 1913

nycartscene:

View inside the Armory Show of 1913, showing the mixture of avant-garde and more conventional styles

“Almost exactly a century ago, tens of thousands of New Yorkers converged on the 69th Regiment Armory at Lexington Avenue at 25th Street, eager to experience a dose of shock and loathing… America’s first blockbuster show, which was promoted with the flair usually devoted to Broadway spectaculars, is remembered almost exclusively as the US debut of the European avant-garde… For all its perceived foreignness, the Armory Show was born of the characteristically New York idea that good art came in a variety of eccentric forms, and that people should be able to see it all…”
The Financial Times, Ariella Budick, Dec 28th, 2012 (link goes to article)

Subtleties

An art is about subtleties, isn’t it? I mean, if you look at the difference between Da Vinci’s work and that of his master, Verrocchio, the difference is not in the subject matter or the endeavor but rather the life-like qualities in the work of art. It’s the nuances, or subtleties make the difference between a lifelike work of art and one that only mimics life.

I’ve started a new painting on this subject. I’ve recognized it in previous paintings I’ve done where this “subtlety” is reflected in the use of color or the near touch between objects but I’ve not really focused on it. So far I’ve restricted the color usage to that of a prior painting and will probably restrict it even further so that the painting is not so much about dramatic color or value but the very slight changes between them. I’m also considering proportions again (and again, and again…) but looking for another way to reflect that study.

So far only the color, proportion, and pattern is evident but, with some more time, additions will soon follow.

Just as it starts, it’s over…

It seems like it has been a short time at the ND studio. On the other hand it has been intense and I’ve been able to put some time in at the wheel and behind the camera.

Ceramics started out a bit slow as it always seams to as I have to relearn everything I’ve forgotten about the way it feels to center the clay and slowly work it up into the form I’m looking for. One of my goals this year was to throw a few more coffee cups and to work with a slip made from clay found locally. The first part went well as the cups I’ve thrown appear to have dried well and the handles do not show any cracking where they attach to the cup. The second part appears to have gone well too but I will not know for sure until after they are fired. in order to work with scrifitto, or at least to have a direction in which to go, I selected a barley motif and used it in a variety of ways. This motif found a place on almost all of the cups and on a small flowerpot.

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I worked with two different clays this summer; a white and a red. I generally preferred the red as it felt smoother as I threw with it and did not lose its structural integrity quite as readily.

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At the beginning of this summer I picked up a new lens and a few filters. The lens has a fairly good macro feature and I used that as much as I could. I found it difficult to focus as the feel of the zoom was about the same as it was to focus. None the less I dug up some subjects I thought might be worth a photo for their potential for interpretation as well as simple documentation. I’ll develop the film next year and will see how well the photos turn out then. My initial opinion is that I should have shot in color rather than black and white. The muted color seemed to work well with the subjects as seen through the viewfinder. Of course, I can only develop black and white so the idea of shooting in color is a bit of a moot point. The suspense would still be there, however, so perhaps I’ll consider it next year depending on how the b/w turns out.