A year of Goddesses: part 2

For the first half of the year – go to this original post.

It started out as challenge to myself. Inspired by artist/beader and  now fellow Art Elements contributor Cathy Mendola. It turned out to be educational, inspiring, and very, very fulfilling. Here is the remainder of the 2016 beaded goddess tapestries: 2016-part-2

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December may be my favorite. Mandala and snowflake inspired shapes crown her head. 

November – with a nod to Thanksgiving – rooted, holding wheat, recalling the harvest. 

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October brings Dia de Los Muertos. The color palette  and designs inspired by sugar skulls and talavera tiles. 

September/Virgo is my sign. I wanted her to reference the Zodiac a bit with the plenty/harvest that adorns the frame. 

 

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August – the ocean. Cresting waves, sandy neutrals. 

July – the summer sky and a hint of swirling fireworks. 

I am beginning work on a series for this year. While I had intended to take a smaller seasonal challenge this year – I had a great idea…. Stay tuned! Pictures coming!

Clay and linoleum – an unlikely duo?

Update from the studio… 

!. Glazing all day. 

2. Bisque firing what may be last load before Beadfest. 

3. Mopping up basement as its a monsoon out there. 

4. Waiting… to unload new goddesses from the ^10 reduction firing at the “work” studio!

And thinking of printmaking. 

My friend, fellow clay artist and AJE member Diana P. wrote a post this week regarding her foray into carving stamps. She is working with EZ carve – similar in consistency to white erasers. Its great to carve, but a little springy. Too soft for what she wanted to do in clay, but great fun nontheless. 

So I decided to share some linoleum I had carved, and stamped into clay. This is the economy “battleship” linoleum that I used to use when I taught art/printmaking as a public school teacher. Its shallow but very firm and worked well for my new dseries of icons. 

Lino pendants

Yin Yang and Om signs in clay – awaiting finishing.  

carving area

Here’s my carving area, complete with bench pin, and a few other “icons” in progress. This series I designed to keep simple and have the symbol itself be very clear and legible. I like the texture the carving leaves – as contrasted to the smooth background surface. These are going to be glazed in an array of colors… 

Fairy door tile

And one more example of linoleum and clay in tandem: this is a clay tile/print from a linoleum block I carved in San Diego. When I lived there I had an amazing artist/mentor in Sibyl Rubottom. This was from a printmaking and letterpress workshop I took at her studio, Bay Park Press. It was carved to print  and accompany text set in letterpress. And so I tested it in clay – was thrilled the depth was sufficient to give me a print to glaze. This was the test piece; I plan to do more for my fall shows. 

I am excited to be able to draw on the creative energy of that fruitful time – although I work in such different materials. I am glad the block carved 10 years ago and across the US can be reborn here, now. In many ways my series of “Mythic Nature” tiles and pendants are similar to a run of prints… but that philosophical musing will wait for another day. I have more to glaze…

 

A to Z: Collage

1. a : an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface b : a creative work that resembles such a composition in incorporating various materials or elements 
   2
: the art of making collages
   3
: hodgepodge <a collage of ideas>
Collage. From the French “coller” – meaning glue. 
Braques. Picasso. Schwitters. Matisse. Rauschemburg. Bearden. Nick Bantock. Joseph Cornell. Lenore Tawney. Kara Walker. 
When I was teaching middle school – I always taught a Matisse inspired collage project, it was one of my favorites.  In poor health, and advancing years – Matisse leapt artistically into collage – “drawing with scissors” as he called it. And while my style of working with “various materials glued to a surface” is very different – this picture brings me happiness and inspiration without fail!
Matisse
So I am working on new collages for an upcoming show… and began documenting the process this (oops. last) week. Before I begin the actual collage, there are sketches, research, reading, themes, symbols… I am currently doing a series of 9 small (8″ ) pieces. They will hang as a unit – and are thematically related – the Muses of Classical myth. During the research phase, I hunted for images of each Muse. I like to incorporate found images – providing they are free of copyright restrictions… I want to work with the Muses as they have come down to me through art, history, and culture. They are not my original construct, and I want to acknowledge their classical context via found images. I am one of a long line of artists representing the Muses – for thousands of years… 
The images have been photocopied, and transferred to canvas or paper. While I like to use found images I always alter them to make them my own. I feel they need to have the marks of my process on them; and I find a copied image too perfect; sterile. The transfer process is by its very nature imperfect, and I work back into the image with ink, paint, pencil…
So starting out, I create a composition with large background sections of paper/color. This series is unusual for me. I am trying to create a cohesive composition overall, yet have each small canvas read well individually. 


 Collage layout

Collage layout 2

When I am happy with the interplay of color, texture and pattern, I trim the papers and tweak the arrangements. I will be collaging the sides of the canvases to cover the canvas and eliminate the need for frames. The canvas transfers are very hazy with paper residue at this point; they will be cleared up and enhanced soon. 

Collage layout refined

The following shots show the  series at approximately 65% complete. I have glued the base layers down. I use a mix of 50% PVA archival glue and 50% Jo-Sonja’s medium. The Jo-Sonja’s is very thin and permeates the paper well. I have glued down the focal images of the Muses. The canvas images have been accented with washed of ink and/or acrylic. I deepen the background with color to create interest and more contrast on the image. I have also begun to add additional papers into the compositions – fibers, patterns… and supplemental images transferred on as well. 

midway

The next picture shows you a detail of one 8″ collage. The yellow cording is antique, and will be stitched through the canvas where you see it tacked down now. The lyre image was transferred into mulberry paper – which goes almost transparent when collaged on with Jo Sonja’s medium. Allows me to “print” right on the collage surface. 

Muse in progress 1

Another detail: stitching to be done, antique lace medallion affixed with gel medium. 

Muse progress 2

The process takes up the whole of the studio. The 9 canvases alone cover the main work table, and need to remain together. I want to work on them simultaneously to maintain continuity. The small bare space of table showing is where I actually work. 

collage work table

The table behind me is a catch-all. Coffee, water, lace, ribbons, inks, extra photocopies… When I am working on collages there is very little room for anything else!

collage zone

Note: this “C” entry was supposed to be Feb. 18th. Hmm. It is currently the 22nd. Sigh. Will try to get the alphabet caught up. But I was busy collaging!