Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mystery Machine

Joe brought this home from the swap: a handmade wooden box with an odd rotating piece on top and two metal clips and a foot press attached by wires.

We stared at it trying to figure out what it might be. I said, "I think it is a torture machine."

Joe said, "You would think that."


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Slow Jammin' The News

This is a great one! President Obama visits the Jimmy Fallon Show to discuss student loan legislation. Here is the link.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Influence

Six by Six: Meditations (34)

So, tonight I was finishing the screenprinting class demo for Project Four. It involves creating a print with four or more layers of color printed in order from the lightest color to darkest color.

I wanted to emphasize that we screenprinters have a tendency to use black as the final color in that kind of situation but that often another color might be better. I showed an example in which the final color was a vibrant blue and said, "I think this print seems much livelier with blue than it would have with black. So, my point is that it is always best to consider the possibilities rather than simply using black as the default color." Several students nodded their heads and a few even seemed to have an "aha!" expression on their faces. I felt pretty good.

After the students left, I went around the room to pick up a few stray papers before leaving, too. One of the papers caught my eye. It was a sheet with a lot of doodles and some notes. The last note was written in large heavy letters which I repeat here: "NEVER USE BLACK."

So, there is my influence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dental Oddities: Case Study No. 34, H. Strawn

This is the high contrast image on transparency ready for tomorrow's photo-etching demo in the evening Intaglio class. It was created from a found photograph with some tweaking in photoshop and by hand with a sharpie, and added text. If all works well, it'll be the second in my series on teeth. The first had to do with George Washington's dentures, featured in my post from January 7th.

Ahhhh, I mentioned class. Spring break is over. It was a relaxing, creative and productive week. Back to the salt mines!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Experiments with Wax

I'm using this little sketch made with water based inks and watercolor to experiment with  encaustic (wax). Typically, wax works better with oil based inks and paints because they mix well and because water based materials smear when wax is applied on top. But I like to work with water reactive materials, so I wanted to find a way to use them successfully under encaustic. This sketch led me to a simple solution: 1) work with high quality water based applications, and 2) allow plenty of drying time - weeks, even. By then, the water based materials have become deeply permanent and won't smear.

Here, the drawing, itself, features bleeds and other loose qualities achieved from working with water. After sufficient drying time, I added a layer of paraffin and rubbed it into the paper. The drawing wasn't altered and the paraffin provided a rich tone to the colors and a wonderful leathery surface to the paper. Had I used bees wax instead of paraffin, there would have been a more honey-like cast to it all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Little Nature Lesson

On Saturday, I worked in the studio all day with encaustic (wax). It was a lovely warm day so I left the door open to let the breeze in. After a while, I noticed a few bees had joined me. I've never had an insect problem before when I've left the door open, so the fact that these bees seemed so insistent on hanging around seemed unusual. Oh well. They weren't actually swarming around my head so I went on with my work.

Same thing happened on Monday, but there were quite a few more bees than before. Finally, I thought, there is an answer to the mysterious bee disappearance problem in the US: They are all HERE.

Then I realized what was going on. The bees were attracted by the smell of the melting bees wax I was using for my encaustic work! My studio was like home to them!

My little nature lesson.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Spring and Happy Break!

There is an advantage to working for two community colleges following separate semester schedules: two spring breaks!  I'm embarking on Number Two this week. Those hours I'd normally be teaching at LBCC I'll spend in the studio. I hope to finish the Memory Series, continue working on the lino blocks I began cutting in Oregon a few weeks ago, figure out the next image for the Choppers series and a variety of other creative things that might pop up along the way. It's a long list. We'll see how things go. I'd be happy, actually, simply to finish the Memory Series, since I'm working with the leaves of potted poinsettia plants purchased during the Christmas holidays. They won't last forever! And I'm lucky they've lasted this long.

Here is one poinsettia leaf, beginning to show it's age. Actually, the aging leaves are the ones that work best for this series. But crispy dead ones don't work at all, so I'd better get a move on.

The Journey Home
by Olaf Olafsson

I'll spend some evening hours reading, too. Right now, its a book by Olaf Olafsson. He is such a good writer! Having recently finished Restoration, I'll keep going until I've read everything he has written... three or four novels and a compilation of short stories.

by Olaf Olafsson

Happy spring break, everyone, whether you get to break or not. I'll keep in touch.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Another One Down

My aunt, Charlotte Seifert, died today at 87. She died naturally at home in Parsons, Kansas, where she'd lived most of her life.

There were eight in that generation of my close knit extended family. My Mom's generation. Now, there are only three.

Time marches on.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Exhibition at The Fowler

I'm looking forward to seeing this show, newly up at The Fowler at UCLA:

More from My Memory Series

I took the picture of this piece with my little pocket camera, so detail isn't good and there is glare on the left. But, perhaps you can get a sense of it.

ink, screenprint, watercolor, encaustic on paper
8" x 30"