Thursday, August 27, 2009

one more...again

here is the last one in the strip of eyes. I thought a slight change of pace would be in order.
I sit working at my glowing screen in the basement with only the muted hum of the computer fan, occasionally Axel the Weimeraner hunting dog stirs and snorts in his sleep.
Apart from those slight sounds, the only noise comes from my head.
I love the feel of the tiger skin rug at my feet. (an old trophy from my days as a hunter...yes yes I know... its so cruel! I didnt kill Hobbs, I promised Calvin I would find my own version)
The most difficult thing about this drawing was having to cut a slit through my other eyelid to see my eye closed while I drew. You have no idea what lengths I go to in order to make my art.
For my next image I want to draw an eyeball...hmmmmm now where is Hoarknockle when I need him?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

another eye and one to go

here is the next one. Its an eye from the side, straining to see something.
The shred of paper its on was a receipt for a photograph taken of my great grandfather in New York. I digitally removed all the writing and saved the piece as an almost clean piece, keeping as many of the real smudges and stains as I could.
The actual paper is so fragile and brittle.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

eye illustration collection

Another eye. On a dirty mangled piece of card to contrast with the seductive quality of the eye. Playing on the 17th Century idea of 'vanitas' - the decay of youth and beauty. (how dreadfully depressing!)
This is an actual card which I made and aged and keep in my collection of spotty and stained papers and cards. Locked in a huge vault along with the family diamonds that were looted in old colonial days. Oh! Cant say that.....its not politically correct. Oh bother!

Eyes have it

I love to collect things. I love old things that have a patina and tell a story. I love how things grow spots and marks like lichens on a rock.
Eyes are very expressive parts of the body. I always look at a person's eyes to see what kind of human they are. Even the most beautiful people can often have lifeless eyes, they always tell the truth about us.
I have seen collections of butterflies and other insects pinned to cards in cases on display in museums. They are such a wonderful relic of long gone times of exploring and discovery, the method naturalists used to bring back specimens from far off places as they came creaking back on some smelly wooden sailing ship to show the world what they had found.
What if one collected eyes that way? It makes my skin crawl at the thought of sticking a pin into an eye.
I am trying to draw them as realistically as possible and yet it makes the whole collection of eyes on cards (yes there are more to come) quite surreal.
Imagine a large canvas...a really big least a meter square (to those among us who are still caught in the ancient tradition of Imperial or statute measurements, thats about a yard) filled with small cards with eyes painted or drawn onto them. A black surface with all these yellowed and mottled and torn cards with eyes on them....IMAGINE a whole room with al its walls and ceiling covered in individual eyes on cards.....
Time to get back to work. Almost time for my luncheon which is, I believe, some smoked salmon on crusty peasant (they are occasionally useful I must concede) bread with a small dollop of sour cream. Maybe Hoarknockle (the new butler) will pop a single bead of caviar on top.
And Earl Grey tea..... certainly.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

painting done

Sometimes and only sometimes one manages to paint something that grows together organically and completely without feeling torn apart by doubt.
This was such a time. I wanted to paint and create an image that would collect all the memories I had of this lovely house against the mountain and not merely make a representation of it, but to interpret it and allow it to find its own breathing space, be its own self. It came together so smoothly that I was caught off guard. Nice change of pace!
After seeing a whole lot of masterful paintings in MOMA and the Metropolitan in New York, something twitched in me and seems to have brought about a new urge to create and grow in me. There is something to be said about exposing your head and eyes to fabulous art... it has quite a profound effect! In various parts of the work thought of Monet and Pollock and Bacon... to name a if one specific brush stroke at that moment reminded me of something I had seen. I'm not quite sure how Monet would feel being put alongside Pollock... but they all added something to this painting as it grew. Thanks to those masters who helped me, I like the final outcome guys, feel free to pop by again anytime you like...I have a whole pile of new canvases you can help me with.
This was fun. Now to see what my friend, the man who owned the house until a few months ago, thinks of it. I hope it affords him as much fun as it did me.
Okay...... now what is next?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

house being built

Construction continues.
The house structure is doing well in spite of wonky perspective, but then its my prerogative to wonk perspective as I see fit. It wont pass code for building inspection.
The foreground has taken a different direction after I felt that it needed something to help set up the house...a sort of visual introduction to the main course. I sketched it in and am in a hurry to get started on it with paint.
I am enjoying the experimental nature of this piece and wondering what I'll take away with me to my illustration and other work....
I have to get this done by no later than saturday. I think its on course.
aaaah yes.... delight.

Monday, August 10, 2009

back after the quiet

Apologies for the tunnel of silence after the cherub portrait.
As it has been summer here...and we have been clutching every warm sunny day like an addict at a syringe, I have had some interruptions in my smooth work flow. Things like a holiday in the warm and sunny west of Canada and some wine tasting and cycling whenever conditions permitted.
Back to work it is. I have a week in which to complete a painting of a beautiful house perched on a steep mountainside...the side of Table Mountain to be exact. It belonged to a friend of mine who has since moved on to another city and I have many beautiful memories of the place and time spent there. Painting it is an experiment in style..its loose and inaccurate and expressive...Im using the opportunity to flex my reckless painterly muscle and see if I can find anything to feed back into my other work. I have been thinking hard about the complete lack of real painting training we received at university. (which is why I chose printmaking as a major)
Discovering the little things about moving paint around on a surface is fascinating and as I do it in acrylic, I often wonder what oil would be like....that it remains workable for so long and you are able to blend one colour into the other even days later.(Converting to oil would be just too expensive for me )
Thankfully Golden has been making some slower drying paints which behave more like oil. Ease of cleaning without solvents is a big plus.
I have tried to change my regular approach to making a painting...different ground colours which will show through and a loose runny start. The perspective is distorted to emphasise the structure of the house and the way it is attached to the slope of the mountain.
This is an interesting change of pace and style...and offers no comfort zone to relax in.
So... this is where it is at right now.