Tuesday, March 31, 2009

art on the day after monday

The cycle ride did happen. It was just over zero centigrade and the sun was shining warmly... it was wonderful to be outside on my bike again. (Will be doing another later today)
Work in progress. The smallest box is done. You can see it open and even more open in the pictures above. (only I have no image of it completely closed, an oversight)
This box is the smallest and lightest of the 3 and Fedex have said it will only cost me $30 to send to Montreal. The other boxes are bigger and a lot heavier (and as yet unfinished!)
The complex box is the mid sized one and still needs some final loving in the abdominal panel...(the abdomen of the body hanging inside it) I have been keeping busy with other issues that were more interesting, such as solving the minor problem of an inner edge of the largest box which seemed too empty and unresolved. I have made some panels that will be stuck onto the inner edges, all worn out and dirty looking, containing seemingly random words in sign-written script. Most of which isnt legible after being aged down, but it suggests words and possible meaning and it adds just enough visual piquancy to the inner edge which just seemed neglected without it.
My routine of work with these pieces is going to be so different once they are done and on their way to Montreal, but then it will be back at my computer for some work into illustration stuff and planning some new works in similar vein as these 3.
Tea time in about an hour.

Monday, March 30, 2009

art on monday

Making some small signs that will go in the biggest box. No pictures today, or maybe later once I have taken some pictures.
The sun is shining and the idea of a cycle ride is appealing!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

thursday art

Just a quick one to show that I am working. This is a piece of wood, paint layered on in sheets and then aged down with a small painting of a mug, painted onto a piece of paint previously painted onto a sheet of plastic, peeled off and then pasted onto the wood... (yeah process sounds complicated, lots of steps by simple actually)
The piece of wood has been glued into the largest of the 3 boxes Im working on...all part of the many elements that go into the largest box. (along with a rusty gopher trap,  two old metal sign letters and a few other bits of wood with words painted onto them.
The idea is that these works will go up on the wall...but that the work in its entirety wont be visible at any one time.. the panels open on hinges and you cannot see all the sides at once. Although (come to think of it) the largest box is visible in one viewing.. it has no tricky hinged panels to confuse or flummox anyone... Maybe the obscure words and letters will be enough?
The smallest box is also finally almost ready to go...I found the right imagery for the inside of the two doors... 6 lips in vibrant red. (will post a picture of them soon)
Its my 26th wedding anniversary today, my wife is taking a day off...so I have only done some very undemanding tweaks to the works today (a little bit of varnish here and there and vacuumed up a flurry of gold leaf shreds from leafing the edges of the largest box. One has to work tidily!)
I thought I was almost done with the biggest box...but while I was pondering it, my wife suggested that it needed something around the top area...seemed a little needing something to help focus the composition... BINGO! brilliant idea (yes I have a team of highly skilled consultants at my beck and call!) So I will add on some sign written panels...think they will have the names of fast food items signwritten onto them and aged and faded...maybe some yellow to give the thing a kick in the vegetables.
Forget tea.... its a day for champagne! (even if the real article is a bit too expensive, a suitable substitute will be a stand-in.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

the art of art

Making tweaky changes is demanding... its subtle...and one is often second guessing yourself a lot.
The one piece went well and  Im happy with the way its come out...I was wondering if a kitschy tear would work...I think it does.
Im doing a lot of looking and thinking and less doing...but its coming along. Put on some music to soothe and looking forward to a cup of tea later.
Doing the lips along the side door panels on the small box. I think the big box is done...just need to gold leaf the edges.(Note to self:Dont keep second guessing everything now!)
Also need to complete the torso/abdomen in the complex box.
My headache is complicating matters a little... did I mention my sinus problems? Hahahaha!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

blogslow - work continues apace

The thrill of making the imagery is consuming at times and my postings to the blog lag, apologies.
The 3 works are almost done and in that last phase of completion...small tweaks to be done and final bits that require finishing.
The frisson of making it is still very much there .
I have been discovering how little I was taught by my painting lecturer at university (I want my money back!) How is it that some teachers (in all schools and institutions) seem to get away by doing nothing and having no syllabus or program to follow? How do they teach? I recall this particular 'teacher' standing on a drawing of mine in her high heels, kicking at the image with her stiletto heel as she made pointless comments about the work. Its interesting how many teaching institutions will tolerate this 'non-teaching' and turn a blind eye to bodies who make up numbers in a school even if they arent doing their job.... some even rise to jobs where they have seniority and become heads of department (there are some I know of doing this right now!)
But then again there are those gifted teachers who are inspiring. Thank heavens for them!

Meanwhile... its exciting discovering ways of doing things even if one has never been taught it when you should have! It has been through digital painting that I found ways of solving problems of light and illumination, which suggested solutions to me when I was working on the actual paint-on-substrate artwork... interesting how a virtual medium can suggest possibilities. 
In the end it all still boils down to using your eye and being able to draw and think (although there are times when those things desert me...I only need to leaf through earlier work to remind myself never to become comfortable.
For now...these works are making me happy.
Pictured today, my work table with the small box in the centre (its already looking different) and a fragment of wood onto which I laminated layers of paint (I paint onto plastic sheeting and allow to dry...it becomes brittle, you pull it off and paste it onto a surface...looks old and has some great textural qualities) and then painted an eye... Lots of eyes in these 3 pieces... Also at least 6 lips going onto the side inner door panels of the small box.

Okay..enough writing... time to paint again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

growing art

The way an artwork grows (hey the word ARTWORK sounds terribly fake and pretentious) is thrilling..especially when its growing beneath your own hands...almost a life of its own... Yesterday I turned out some small pieces of wood with old dried paint pasted to them... making them look like actual old bits of wood with flakey rotten paint...and then onto that I painted words in the Coca-Cola script... they will go and live in the largest box along with a gopher trap and a candy striped hand (which is being worked on) The little fragments of wood turned out well and were a delightful little tickle I hadnt expected them to be.

Time is marching along smartly and the end of the month deadline is approaching...I have contacted a courier to deliver the boxes to Montreal. Still no price...but I am preparing for a minor shock... will deal with that when it arrives... I'm just hoping that my work will be well received in Montreal and  SELL...which is the object of this exercise!
 Todays image is of the top half of the complex box...icon head and toolbox in place... the complex box is almost done...

Here's hoping....

Monday, March 16, 2009


Some interruptions in work flow... but good to get to other activities too.
The painting continues. It has to be done by end of the month. Pressure...a little anyway.
The little slab of concrete was done...then I decided to work on it some more... It keeps on changing. The slab now has a bit of an old sign "FO", all faded back, in the lower right corner. The actual size of this chunk of fake concrete is only 3 by 4 inches.

At least it still excites me as it al develops like this... the process is a buzz! Hmmmm what next?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Its going well..painting the small chunk of concrete...actually a miniature of a concrete wall with seams and holes and white efflorescence mottling...its fun... lots of glaze and water and alowing the paint to settle and spread and drip... teeny little cracks and all. Its about 3 by 4 inches.

I hope to have it done by tomorrow and will post it when its done. Meanwhile the eye peering through the hole is done... Heres looking at you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


The complex box is starting to develop a patina and feel to it that is what I had hoped for all the time. Layers of glazes and buildup of 'dirty' marks and dulling of areas give it a certain quality of being old and used. The final section, the abdomen is still not done because I have been working on the small box, on the last panel which was still unresolved...now it will get an eye seeming to be peering through a hole from inside the box as you open the two doors. Its set against a dark background and below the eye will be a chocolate wrapped in a wrapper (of all things!) I wanted to play with the concept of something illusory from behind the surface versus something illusory lying upon the surface... so far only the eye is going...the chocolate is as yet only a few pencil lines.

The very big box is getting there too...but its waiting its turn. The picture for today is the lower lid (which will be hanging down when opened against a wall). The letters are actual metal sign letters that I found. Delightfully rusted and aged. Make up your own mind if the FO means anything. This box has a hand in the upper part, holding a rectangle , a 3D surface which will be painted to resemble concrete. Below the hand will be an actual metal trap, all rusty and corroded. Meanwhile the FO will be the only mage for today...

Its dreadfully cold out...minus 27C and I have to go out son and see someone at the bank. There will have to be tea when I get back. (I shall have to make it myself...the servants have a day off, so no silverware today)

Monday, March 9, 2009

how to paint concrete

Studio time again...and time ticks steadily, end of month approaches with the banner reminding me that they all have to be done by then. The complex box is going well...installed the toolbox section (see image) and Im happy with it.... the ruler is real, the other things are painted.

I'm currently working on the small box...there is a panel that still needs some work and I found the solution I had been looking for... so thats where I am today. The biggest box is stil relatively unresolved, because Ive not been thinking about it too much anyway. But I have solutions for it... all that remains is doing it all in time.

tea time

Saturday, March 7, 2009

box set

The tools in the box are done... maybe a slight amber glaze still to add a little more depth. Then add a little physical edge to indicate the actual side of a toolbox... combination of illusion and reality. This will be glued into position in the upper left part of the box next to the halo-ed head.
 The middle section of the figure's abdomen is still in progress but should be done soon.
The little blue box with the hornet image still has quite a bit of work to do as does the large box, but they are patiently awaiting their turn too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

sacred and profane

I recall that the idea of the sacred and profane juxtaposition is quite an old one... harks back to early renaissance (no doubt earlier too). Ah well, Im not being that unique and original but I am having fun with this piece as it develops.
After pushing the head too dark, I went back in and lightened it up and fixed a few things that has started bothering me and now I think it looks better than before.
The feet are more or less done too... maybe just modulate them a bit more to make them look a little more eerie. I was considering adding stigmata to the feet, but thought it would be too close to crucifixion scenes and Im dont want to make it look like a religious work, only play on the idea. The idea of painting bandaids onto the feet occurred to me...hmmmm...dont know if that will trivialize the idea...dont want to parody the concept and undermine the little bit of gravitas I had hoped to develop in the work.
All I need to do now is to work on the abdominal section...the belly..Ive put it off till last as I had been undecided about what to do with it...I dont want to just paint it, there has to be something interesting about it....I just dont know what to do without overdoing it.
And then there is the toolbox to be added to the section with the head... Its going to be weird when this one is done.