Saturday, January 26, 2013

roadblocks in the creativity journey?

 Here is my latest piece. It's a 6" x 6" piece that I have tentatively entitled "Greetings from Ont". I "forced" myself to get a piece done last night. I have been a bit stalled in terms of my creativity lately. I have been spending a bit of time cleaning and organizing my workspace as of late; and have been looking through old magazines and books to isolate and collect all sorts of GREAT elements for my collages. I have even been coating lots of materials with the acrylic medium I use. I have also been enjoying manipulating images and experimenting with various compositions. I guess the problem has been that I am hesitant to "strike the iron" (figuratively and somewhat literally) to make the compositions "permanent" because I am questioning whether the various compositions are "good enough" (i.e., I find myself thinking "maybe this element would work better somewhere else"). I have also been kind of stuck trying to do the "narrative surrealist" compositions and have moved away from "simple" interesting collage composition (sort of like the one posted here). So once again, I think I need to "loosen up" a little and start making pieces again. I need to trust my "instincts" relative to my ability to create a "good" composition in terms of balance, contrast and other design basics. One of the funny things about this piece is that it was kind of a "scrap" piece except for the guy in the foreground (and of course, I was "saving" him for a "special" piece). I'm pleased with how it turned out and it was a lesson for me. I LOVE the journey through the creative process! Hopefully, I will have a flurry of production soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

check presenter & transfers

Here is my second check presenter for The Black Gryphon restaurant in Elizabethtown, PA. I really enjoy doing these. As usual, I thought I would take this as a teaching opportunity as well. I used pieces of dress pattern material for the background and then transferred the silverware array on top of that. I had a little trouble with getting the paper off the back with this particular element, so you may notice some white "blemishes" where it didn't come off all the way. For anyone not familiar with transferring images, the series that I have included here might give you a bit of a clue about how it works. After having the "Think right" element and the silverware array placed, I wanted to put a transfer in the lower left-hand corner to "balance" the composition. When you transfer, you coat one side of the element, then place it face down on the coated substrate. Of course, the image then is reversed. In this case, I had to decide if I wanted the head to be facing inward, outward, or straight ahead. It certainly makes a differences when you think about balance and focus. After the image is placed face-down, it is adhered using heat; and then the paper "backing" is wetted with cold water and a cotton fabric is used to rub off the now wet and "pulpized" paper -- leaving only the ink lines of the image behind. After it is dried, it is recoated with acrylic medium to "clarify" it even more. I think it's an interesting effect. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Farmersville, Pennsylvania

When I have the chance and can afford the time to make the 5 hour drive, I really enjoy going to the weekly auction in Farmersville, PA (Lancaster, CO.). I can pretty much count on getting something that I can use in my collaging efforts. Recently though, there have been more book/paper ephemera folks there who have been competing with me for certain gems. This week, I saw a bound volume of "The Illustrated London News" from the late 1800s. I paged through it and saw LOTS of cool stuff that I thought I could potentially use. Now, lots of stuff at this auction goes for $1-$7... it's mostly cheap! But something like what I was looking at... you just never know. And anyone familiar with effective auctioning knows that you have to be willing to set your top price (partly because the bidding goes so quickly). Anyway, I had convinced myself that this piece might go for some real money and had decided to go as high as $100 (a LARGE amount for Farmersville). I was SO pleased to have gotten the book for $27! I am SO psyched about it! The volume included large engravings (one of my favorite sources of elements) and a number of very nicely illustrated advertisements which will lend themselves very well to transfer. I also got some other items as well. Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, I'm not really a big fan of New Year's resolutions... why put so much stress on oneself? But I am a big fan of aspirations. I'm a little bit disappointed in myself that 2012 saw fewer posts on this blog than 2011 and 2010. I think I will try to post more again this year. So for folks who might be "following" this blog, check in occasionally.
Last night I finished this "check presenter" for my friend Anthony Morgan for his restaurant in Elizabethtown, PA called "The Black Gryphon". Last year at about this time, he and his wife Lindsay and I collaged several beer flights for the restaurant. That was fun! I struggled with this project for weeks, trying one background after another. I had in mind something simple but dramatic. I was getting frustrated by so many possibilities; but with nothing that was "striking" me. I had also thought about making sort of a "random" pattern at one point -- but something that would look sharp. I was really motivated to do something dramatic for the folks at BG (afterall, I have a "reputation" as an "artist" to keep up). Last night, I came across the x-ray fishes I had had in my image file drawers. It seemed to work. When I added the blue columns and the beachball lady, it REALLY struck me! Viola! I like it! I hope the folks at The Black Gryphon will like it too. For best impact, don't forget to paint the edges. Enjoy!