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May. 19th, 2010

Thesis show is in October, and I need at least two more pieces (hopefully three so that one can go to the Las Cruces Museum of Art for the Ghost Town group show at the same time)...but I feel pretty good about getting this one done in two months while working 40 hrs a week, and taking classes! Time to start crunching.

Wendover Dogs

Apr. 21st, 2009

I got invited plein-air painting this weekend. Someone gave me very precise directions to a very nebulous place, and after an hour of driving I was way in the East mountains, that peculiar area right on the edge of the trees where you can look back and see the Sandias, all blue-green and monumental, and look straight ahead and see twenty miles of yellow rolling plains, and tiny barns and volcanic rocks jutting up against the grass and yucca.

Several dirt roads later, I drove past an unusual house in search of the "lower buildings," as instructed in my directions, and saw them, two very strange round adobe formations with round pointed metal roofs. I got out and looked at them. They were painted orangey-brown, and metal cut into the shape of cupped hands acted as gargoyles all around the edges. Kathleen and Monique and Tonya came walking down a boardwalk, from the direction of the house, and Kathleen toured us around the "lower buildings," which contained a studio, kitchen, and bedroom. There was a bed in every room, which I really appreciated. The place was an artist's residency.

We went to meet the woman who owned the property. She was a beautiful older woman, white hair, eastern European accent, colorful shawl, gave me a hug right away. She was an architect, and her house was full of unusual architectural models, all bright white, some tucked into glass cases, some in shelves, some in her extensive workspace. She handed me a huge pot of soup to carry to the lower buildings, and it smelled good. The others had brought bread and wine, and we heated up the soup, which turned out to be carrot soup, and sat around the table in the strange orange building and talked for the rest of the morning.

Then we all split up and went to find places to paint. The wind was really howling, but I had my heart set on the view from the top of the volcanic ridge near the house, so I hiked up there with my bag of stuff, and walked around til I found a place enough out of the wind, and on a bare enough piece of rock that I could have seen rattlesnakes or ants coming, and with an interesting enough view, and where there was a little patch of mud where I could spread my rug and sit in relative comfort.

Painted for a few hours, came back to the buildings, and Monique had reheated what was left of the soup, and we compared notes and sat around warming back up. It was a great day.

Jan. 2nd, 2009

How can I never have known about Guiseppe Arcimboldo? What were my art history teachers talking about that was so much more important than a high renaissance guy who was making portraits out of fish, animals, birds, and vegetables?

Dec. 3rd, 2008

This thing doesn't have a name yet, and it needs one by tomorrow (when it gets documented for the juried show catalogue). Somehow naming a painting feels a little like grading students' portfolios.

Anyway, many months? Since July, anyway...I'm about ready to call this thing finished. I'm having some pretty decorative wood shipped to me to frame each panel, and maybe I'll do a little more detail on some of the foreground clothing--I've done a little more since I took these pictures this weekend. I've also textured the grass on that far right panel. But that's it!

Mostly, it's just a relief! I'm proud, and happy, but mostly just eager to get started on something else...something else that won't take quite so long.

Click for images.Collapse )

Dec. 1st, 2008

This week I started doing some little studies to get me loosened up and keep me moving on the big painting (which is nearly, nearly, nearly finished). They've also been nice in that they help me use up the paint that's left on the palette after my day's work. It's fun to get to paint something without reference materials, and choose colors willy-nilly...but it's been interesting to note that I get anal-retentive about the details, even though I started making them specifically so I could play freely with paint as an alternative to my other more structured work.

Detritus studiesCollapse )

Oct. 30th, 2008

I can't believe I haven't thought about this sooner. What the hell am I going to be for Hallowe'en?

Oct. 19th, 2008

Okay, leaf stuck last night, mostly. The back looks fine, the ribs are not great because they were wetter, but I can live with that. Painting can begin, and breathing, too. We may just finish this thing some day.

Fred put it on our stoop, in the small space between the front door and the little lockable gate at the top of the stairs, where it can get some sun to accelerate the drying process. More secure than just leaving it in the park, but I still have a premonition that I'm going to poke my head outside to find it being used as a tennis racket.

Yesterday was fun. I took two first-year photography grad students to the Glass Fields--a place along the bosque of the Rio Grande where the city used to dump its glass and ceramics in the (we've surmised) 50's and 60's. You're walking along on one of the many swampy, cottonwoodsy paths down there, and you walk up an atypical rise, and there they are: acres of sparkly, shimmering, deadly, multicolored beauty. There are weird hills and valleys of the stuff, there are unbroken bottles that have been warped into weird shapes by some unknown heat source, and fragments of everything from cobalt glass to royal crown bottles to fragments of delicately-painted floral china to ceramic dolls' legs to the occasional highly-patinated bullet casing. Even the ant hills are beautiful: the little guys have hauled up uniformly-sized fragments of every color of bottle, bowl, or plate imaginable, and created that perfect circle that only ants can create two feet around the entrance. The whole experience is a lot like being on another planet, or at the bottom of the ocean, or six thousand years in the future. Spectrally beautiful, but disturbing.

Oct. 17th, 2008

Ugh, I have a worry that will be of no interest to anyone. I've got the weekend to finish painting the violin (heh); Oil paint goes on, and gold leaf goes on.

When I did my test strips a few weeks ago, I did some painting, then several days later I applied leaf sizing, and put on the leaf. Turns out the leaf stuck to the paint too (I know, you oil painters predicted that. I didn't, I'm used to paint being completely dry in four minutes.). Then when we sanded to see how the aging worked; the leaf on the sizing sanded oddly, with the outline of the sized spots retaining extra gold, whereas the leaf on the paint looked great. So I figured I'd do the leaf areas first using paint as adhesive, then the rest of the paint, so that the leaf wouldn't stick to the paint that should be visible.

So yesterday I put some very thin paint down where the leaf will stick. But on my new test strips...the leaf isn't sticking! I know at this stage it's because the paint is still too wet, but how long will it take to get dry enough? At this rate I won't even be done with the gold leaf, much less with the painting itself, by Monday. Should I put it in the sun? It would be a pain in the ass to babysit it outside, but I'd do it if I thought it would help! And what if drying slowly is not the ONLY problem? What if I didn't use enough oil in the paint? What if my inexperience with this medium screws up this entire project?

Is this because I got cocky? Give it to me straight.

Oct. 15th, 2008

I'm sitting in the sunshine munching on a delicious food-thing. That thing is this:

A brick of rosemary-focaccia bread, topped with oil, crispy-fried slices of turkey, a generous helping of spinach, and the whole thing doused in alfredo sauce.

And I got it for four and a half bucks at the student union building. Fast food has come a long way (or maybe it's come full circle). I think I need to write a nice letter to somebody.



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