Monday, January 19, 2015

hiatus... stay tuned

Just returned from a week in The Dominican Republic and realized on vacation how much I miss being in my studio (my "in home" vacation spot). This week is going to be spent mostly on catching up with school prep work for the beginning of the semester... but then it's back to the cutting table for more collage. Just wanted to let folks know about the absence of posts in recent days.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reste forte!

Tonight my thoughts are with the people of Paris and all of France...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"Untitled" (8" x 10")

I typically am opposed to using "Untitled" as a "title" for my artwork. I usually have fun with titles and consider them to be an integral part of not only the creative process, but the actual work itself. Some of my titles are obscure, but I can't think of a time when I have not entitled a work. But I have decided to title this piece (yes, I did finalize this from the sketches from the other night)... "Untitled". I suppose I could have entitled it "Them, Charlie'"... but that would have been quite "obvious" and certainly would have been no fun. But why "Untitled"? Well, this may be disappointing to some readers of this blog, but I am not inclined to explain why; in a way, that would ruin the purpose of my selection of "Untitled". Sorry ;-)  Comments welcome...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

sketches and synchronicity

This is not the first post in which I have written about synchronicity (and I suspect it won't be the last). I was having fun last night in my studio area working on some collage sketches, and created two which I think I will pursue. One of the sketches involves cropping as an "element" in a way. I have a beautiful photo of craters on the moon (I believe from Life magazine) with the quote "We is down among them, Charlie". I have had this image for a while as it strikes me as particularly aesthetic partly because of its beautiful patina. When I was playing with different elements to place on this image, I realized that I could crop the quote to leave only "them, Charlie'". I found this to be particularly intriguing in its decontextualized form. The image of the child is from a 1964 "Encyclopedia of Photography" source. I usually try to match the grey patinas of various elements within a composition to create a seamless image. But in this case, the patina of the craters and the boy produce an interesting contrast methinks. I need to look at this piece more before I decide whether I like it enough to finalize the piece.
The second sketch (with the eye) is a bit of an unusual composition for me as I was experimenting with an open mind. I would like to create a piece to give as a gift to Jonathan Talbot (hmm, I wonder if he reads this blog) and have a great substrate piece that was a book cover with the beginning of the title being "Jonathan and his Continent". I was playing with additional elements and decided that I kind of like the "big eye" image in this context. Of course, whenever I see a single "big eye" I am reminded of works by Odilon Redon. So here's where the synchronicity comes in. I am currently working on a paper presentation about the salience of psychosexuality in the creative works of Joseph Cornell. I am reading Lindsay Blair's book entitled "Joseph Cornell's Vision of Spiritual Order". The book has many images of Cornell's various collages and assemblages but only a few of other artists' works. One of these other works which I happened to come across just this morning was the Lithograph of Redon's shown below. Blair writes of the importance of "chance connections" for Cornell: "Synchronicity is seen as a signal, a guide to be trusted. All manner of unlikely relationships are thus established". But since I feel like my own life is flooded with synchronicities, I was particularly interested in Blair's follow-up statements: "Even so, they [synchronicities] are not thought of as fate or as coincidence, which are seen as outside agencies, but as quite the opposite -- the mind as director, albeit at times the unwitting director of association. Cornell developed strategies to encourage his mind to make connections, to be in a state of readiness, of receptivity" (pp. 143-144). This is the best explanation for the apparent flood of synchronicities in my life.

Holiday fun

Just thought I would post the collage that were created by my niece Vivian and her friend Paige when they visited us over the holidays. I think they both did a nice niece piece ;-)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The last piece of art

Perhaps it is fitting that my last blog post for 2014 is about death and art. As anyone reading this post is no doubt aware, artistic creation is integral to my life and my self-identity. In addition to creating artwork, one of my favorite activities is to enjoy discussions with friends and fellow artists about our motivation to create art and about the creative processes. I have enjoyed many conversations this year with Tom Nettle, Goody Sinclair, Anthony Morgan and Gabe Lockwood about all things art (visual and musical). I would hope, and I suspect, that I will be creating art as long as I am physically able. I feel like I have LOTS of art "in me" and I want to keep on producing. It's interesting because I was just talking with Gabe last night about this notion. I feel like I have art "in me"; but I rarely have any specific idea about what the art would look like. In fact, more and more these days, I am understanding and embracing the fact that much of my work is "intuitive" (i.e., serendipitous and spontaneous, although slow-to-emerge). But it is inevitable that at some point in time, I will make my last piece of art. And I also think it is inevitable that there will still be art "in me" that will never materialize. I have thought about these things before as I know I think more about death in general, death of friends and family and my own death more than most people (I suspect). But this past week has made these ponderings more salient. The father of a friend of mine passed away suddenly last Sunday as he was preparing a family dinner. James Laramie was 81 years of age and was an accomplished watercolor painter and teacher. He had just had a piece accepted into a very prestigious exhibit (The National Watercolor Exhibit) this year. He was SUCH a kind and gentle man with a beautiful aesthetic sensibility. I couldn't help reflect upon the vast creative output in his life; and the fact that Jim has now made his last piece of artwork. I know he had lots of art still "in him". It is unfortunate that he can no longer create the work for others to see (BTW, I am working on getting some good digital images of his work to share; but am still in the process of doing that). Does the value of an artist's work increase when they pass away? The answer is definitely YES. But I'm not referring here to monetary value... I'm referring to a value that is much more precious. I am sure the pieces that Jim created are valued and will be cherished way more now that he has left us. Rest in peace Jim. And thank you for making the world a more beautiful place by creating and sharing your artwork with us. To all who read this, I wish you a peaceful, prosperous, healthy and creatively- inspired new year! Peace be with all of you!

Thoughtsgiving 2014

Well, this post is a little late, but...
In 2010, whilst we were drinking a couple pints at The Green Onion (in Utica, NY), my friends and colleagues Jason Denman (English) and Brad Emmons (Math) and I concocted a new holiday that we called "Thoughtsgiving" (the day before Thanksgiving). Since then, we meet every year on the day before Thanksgiving to celebrate. For the past couple of years, I have made collage pins for revelers to wear on our new holiday. One of the challenges is to find images that appear in multiples so that everyone gets a commemorative trinket for the year. Last year I used altered yearbook photos (you can check out the post from last November if you're interested in seeing them). This year I was a bit busy and so I thought I would perhaps use yearbook photos again (although I really did want to do something new). Whilst I was looking through on e yearbook, I came across an interesting group of multiple images that I ended-up using for this year's pins. In the section for group photos of Greek organizations on campus (the yearbook was from Gettysburg College 1971), the names are listed numerically next to a drawing of the posing individuals (see below). I LOVED the way these looked and I think the pins turned out well (I know I enjoy mine!).