sequestered

8 April, 2011 at 7:30 am (art, blue-eyed crow, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I love looking at other people’s studios and hearing how they work. Blogs like from the desk of…, and Terri Windling’s ‘On Your Desk’ posts are always interesting, also books like ‘Artists’ Houses’ and ‘In Artists’ Homes: The Living Spaces of Contemporary Artists’ and, of course, artists’ own blogs, like Rima Staines’ Into the Hermitage and this multi-talented artist who experiments with making her own iron gall ink and sculpting from the skeleton out. Harry Ally so impresses me in this video, working quickly among all those other people *and* in front of a camera.

It’s amazing how different artists’ spaces are, and their ways of creating. Actually, I think part of my fascination with Harry Ally is precisely because he works so opposite from how I do, his paintings and drawings are so free and large.

So, here is where I work (you can click on the photos if you’d like to see more detail, hopefully I dusted well enough!):

Sketches strewn over an old suitcase (because if I put them tidily away I forget about them), a couple paintings-in-progress, a little house my mum built (a simple one, most of the ones she makes are more complicated, she also does lovely water-colour paintings of bits of architecture), and to the left the door to the teeny balcony (it can fit either one chair or a pot of jasmine, I chose the latter).

The work table: more sketches, bits for some boxes and tiny shrines (underneath the bank bag are the littlest micro-bits hiding from the dusty winds that sometimes blow in even when the door is closed), a tiny village a 6-year-old and I are slowly constructing along with mini paper dolls and their even smaller clothing, and a wind-up toy I love that throws off sparks as it rolls around. I found the table itself on the street, it has lovely barley-twist legs but a sheet of plywood on top (with ‘danger’ still on from its former life) so I don’t have to worry about protecting it. Note the lovely view of stucco – nothing to distract me there! (The view from the balcony is more treehouse-like – hibiscus, palms and jacaranda, a fountain down below and over the trees distant skyscrapers.)

Some possibly finished pieces hanging out on the built-in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (I love these shelves!), another old suitcase barely visible bottom left.

The rest of the tour would include a small easel, an antique Arts & Crafts style table I use as a desk, an ancient cloth-covered trunk (all three found on the street), a chest of drawers with old fruit crates (avec labels) stacked on top as shelves for supplies, and bright silk longyis from Burma and cotton sarongs from the Philippines, gifts from a sister and a friend, covering big cushions on the futon because this is also the guestroom.

Also, numerous postcards and other flotsam and jetsam from vide greniers, gifts, and scavenged and found bits on the desk and shelves and tucked away in the drawers.

I feel very lucky to have this room, and I am completely dependent on it because I can’t work around other people. At all.

I don’t know whether it’s because I am too distractible to create around others or too self-conscious, probably both, but it makes art classes and retreats awkward (I practice the techniques but can’t actually make a piece of art) and group paint-outs or sharing a studio impossible.

And I can’t work in short bits of time, or with interruptions. Portions of an hour are useless to me, especially when I am doing the initial sketches for a painting. Sometimes I work for hours before I start to get what I want, then when I do I don’t want to stop for more hours until I’m finished (which means if I start in the evening it can be early morning when I finally put everything down). When planning the moving parts or secrets of the boxes I build it’s like I’m making an invisible path in the air, so as soon as there is an interruption it’s completely gone and I have to start at the beginning. And unlike the wonderfully free Harry Ally with his big brush and crowbar my paintings are built slowly, in layer after layer of washes and detail.

So, back to work here…

Permalink Leave a Comment

my heart

1 March, 2010 at 5:16 am (art, blue-eyed crow, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Often when I go to compose a post I am tempted to just put an image of whatever piece I am working on without any text, I find writing very difficult. I love reading what other people write though, and admire how skilfully some people blog.

During a conversation there are the constant decisions and adjustments regarding how much of one’s life and thoughts to reveal. Bloggers, without knowing who will be reading, need to somehow maintain a balance between not revealing enough to intrigue a reader, and sharing too much, thus becoming instantly uninteresting.

I first started reading Rima’s blog because I love her lively drawingspaintings, and fabulous clocks with their medieval influence (and this game she made is fantastic), but besides being a talented artist (child of two artists) her talent as a storyteller sharing her adventures helps make her blog so entertaining (and popular).

Making the decision to take time away from her work to share the joyful times of her life is generous, but it must be hard to decide to keep writing at times like now when things are not going well. I admire how strong she is to be open at a vulnerable time.

Permalink 2 Comments

urn

3 November, 2009 at 12:50 am (art, blue-eyed crow, family, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

shutterstroughsa

These are from this summer, all in my mom’s neighbourhood.

I’m working with photos for a few days to distract myself from some technical difficulties with the other series I’ve been working on. I’ve looked around to see if anyone else is doing a similar process with inks, pencil and encaustic, but haven’t seen any, so I’ll go back to experimenting with the propane torches tomorrow. So far nothing big has caught fire or blown up, that’s good anyway.

Earlier this evening I was showing a friend the website of one of my favourite photographers, Michael Eastman – his Cuban and Italian photos are incredible. Then I learned of the death of Roy DeCarava, another amazing photographer. I was trying to pick a few of his photos that I liked best, but it is so hard to choose. This is one of many, and this, and this. They are so evocative.

Now that I have loaded my photos onto this post I’ve decided I don’t like the way they look small. I love how art has such a different effect at different sizes (except when it doesn’t work small on my blog). I spent the day at an art museum with some friends recently, and was loving the difference between various pieces close up and at a distance. And the texture, that fantastic delicate texture of drawings and miniatures, it’s all completely lost in reproduction.

grassurnbells

Permalink 2 Comments

Galina

28 August, 2009 at 10:00 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, life, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Giselacoeur

I’m never sure whether I should write on bad days, but I’m thinking that until I get enough distance to make it sounds funny it’s probably best not to, eh?

It was nothing horrible, I’m just a delicate flower when it comes to a few certain things.  Well, ok, I’m a delicate flower that lifts heavy weights and skilfully wields a pick-axe, but other than that…

Permalink 5 Comments

inconnu

24 August, 2009 at 9:08 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

inconnu

Work in progress.  The texture will be softer, the various edges will be worked, and the gilt enhanced.

There is a thunderstorm overhead, a very dramatic background to work to.

Permalink 2 Comments

wald

6 January, 2009 at 1:09 am (art, blue-eyed crow, work) (, , , , , , , , , )

treetextsepia

Bäume und Frakturschrift.

Permalink Leave a Comment

petals

28 November, 2008 at 1:06 am (art, blue-eyed crow, work) (, , , , , , , , , , )

buddhahanda1

Hmm, this appears too cool on the blog.  I like the warm original better (the photo was taken with sunset light coming through smoke).

Permalink Leave a Comment

pencil

18 November, 2008 at 1:10 am (art, work) (, , , , , , , , )

dsc_0370aa1

These are a couple preliminary sketches for the bookplates.  There is a crow flying away right outside the frame in the one above, I haven’t decided whether to put it in the trees or not.

When I’m in the first stage of creating I’m excited by a thousand ideas and have a hard time winnowing the number down, the second stage is me loving the piece I’m working on. As soon as I get near to completing a project I suddenly don’t like it at all, and when I finish I can’t wait for it to be gone.  I never have a problem with falling in love with my work and not being able to let it go.

dsc_0371aa

Permalink Leave a Comment

brittle

6 November, 2008 at 7:55 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, work) (, , , , , , , )

dsc_0337a

I’m doing one of my favourite things – experimenting with something I’ve never done before.   I love having a problem to solve!  I’m putting together a gift for a fairy-loving child, so I am trying to make an eggshell cradle for a tiny fairy baby that I just finished (thought I’d make sure I had a baby before I made its bed).  I’m not aiming for something that will stand up to rough play, but it must be usable.  An omelette supplied two eggs to work with, so I’m scheming and getting flower petals and other materials ready as the shells dry.

This crow is a detail of a larger picture that I now think should be something else (i.e. not ink on paper).  He’ll sit around for a while until I try him out in a collage, assemblage, or on some pottery.  Maybe I’ll etch him onto metal, but I’m having trouble getting my hands on copper and nickel.  The local sheet metal places don’t have anything I can use right now.

Permalink Leave a Comment

parallel

2 November, 2008 at 8:49 pm (blue-eyed crow, family, work) (, , , , , , , , )

I just got back from a long walk with the hounds, so dog bodies are strewn all over the rug and they are ready to let me work on this crow.  When I was little and visiting my dad’s relatives in New Mexico I loved their tiny old adobe houses and the beehive ovens outside.  That was the first time I saw a crucified Christ figure, which had quite an effect on the drawings I did at the time.  The pottery had a longer influence though, the full shape of the pots and bowls, the limited colour palette, and the animals and designs all filled with fine lines.

Permalink 2 Comments