Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Two Years Old!

Two years ago I had to find out what a blog was all about. First I found an AOL top-ten-blog list. I began exploring examples of blogs. I was looking at a Blogger blog when suddenly I was being asked to create one of my own. OK, I chickened out when prompted with a dialogue box.

Well, I decided to take a tour. That made me comfortable enough to plunge in and start one. I already had photos of my artwork that I had taken with sister’s digital camera. I used them on an AOL website. I had to create it on her Dell computer because the software for an AOL website was not Mac friendly. She loved kidding me about that.

It wasn’t long after that that I bought a digital camera and took more pictures. The camera even had the ability to film video. Since much of my adult art survived Hurricane Katrina and the flood, I was determined to have more of my art online. I figured blogs would a useful vehicle for putting work out there. Oh, I did look into blogging using AOL. However what was available for a Mac user was very limited. Blogger just made it so easy to jump in and make a blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Organic Grid

This sketch was completed just before the next piece I'm about to post. It was rendered with a set of Staedtler color pencils. I wanted to compare it to a Prismacolor set of colored pencils. A Prismacolor set is more on the waxy side.

Even though there are no dots, the experimentation with a grid anticipates some of the things that happened in my next finished piece. It was a trial sketch, if you will. It also harkens back to a series of works in which I played with positive and negative spaces. That goes back twenty years. Once in a while I revisit the idea.

colored pencil on paper, 5.5" x 8.5"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Found Object Art

In the fall of 2004 a print shop went out of business. The owner invited my group of art talent teachers over to gather whatever junk we wanted. One item I found was a plastic container of brass tacks. I brought them to my small classroom. Over the next year I wondered what I could possible do with them. I also collected some gold chain from my co-op gallery that closed at end of 2004. You never know when you'll pick up some neat junk.

And then came the “Not Easel Art” Show. It was the show I mentioned in a previous post that did not include drawings or paintings. I had just worked with tacks. Well now I tried brass tacks. This time I found some odd pieces of wood in the classroom. They were in a box of wood scraps. Each one had a circular hole. I think the pieces supported some kind of pipe at one time.

Anyway, these are two pieces have intrigued people. I decided to make them opposites. One had a hole up and the other one had a hole down. Yes, my titles are usually matter of fact. It helps me to remember what I name my pieces.

Hole Up, brass tacks on wood with chain, 4.5" x 17"

Hole Down, brass tacks on wood with chain, 4.5" x 17"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Random Wood

From the end of 2003 to the winter of 2005, I continued to have sales of the Greek Code paintings. But as far as producing new dot art, I did not. I kept experimenting and trying new directions. The artist who organized the Sofa Art Show continued to organize more shows and invite me to participate in them. Some of those shows had an impact on the new art I created. In 2005 she asked a group of us to create works that did not involve drawing or painting. We had attended a number of artist panel discussions that featured artists who were much more conceptual in their art making. She figured we ought to have a go at being more conceptual.

Nail Order, nails and wood, 4" x 6.625"

I had created a number of grid works over a seven-year-period, so I started with one for the first few of these pieces. To found hardware and wood scraps in my attic and garag. I had turned 40 the previous year and my house was built the same year I was born. So it seemed natural to work with these found. These were extra items just lying around. I even went to my family’s home to see if there were unused wood scraps or hardware that might make interesting artwork.

Silver Circles, tacks on wood, 7.125" x 18.875"

The first piece was a bit boring. I simply nailed nails in a grid. The second piece is where I happened upon the idea of keeping the pattern more random. The environment at school made me embrace working in a random fashion. Working randomlly was more exciting. To my surprise the creation of these works went super fast. To see the rest of the pieces, click on random wood.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vance Kirkland

Sometimes I happen upon artists whose works relate to what I’m doing in my art. In the spring of 2004, I attended an art educator convention in Denver, Colorado. After an all day bus tour, I spent the following days exploring the city on my own. I attempted to go to The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art, but it was not open. The museum was one the art museums listed in an art lover's guide to art museums.

So, then I continued down the street to a state museum. When I was browsing at the gift shop, I ran across several books written about Vance Kirkland’s work. His earlier work resembles the various styles that were popular at the beginning of last century. Later on his interest turned to images from space and he began to use dots for stars. There’s also an Op (optical illusion) Art feel to these later paintings. Well, I just had to buy the books on his work.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Yayoi Kusama

In 1998 I pursued earning my teaching credentials. This meant taking thirty hours of education courses. When I completed the coursework, by the end of 1999, I began to obsess about trends in current art. What was happening that would define 21st century art. My course from 1985 needed some updating. In browsing the art books at Barnes and Noble, I found came across a series of books published by Phaidon. It is called “Contemporary Artists.”

The first book I just happened to discover had artwork that fascinated me. This was before I began working on the first eight code paintings. The artist is Yayoi Kusama and her work (some of her work is visually sexual) happens to include dots. She creates installations that are a combination of feminism, surrealism, pop and minimalism. As I’ve continued to paint the dot paintings, I’ve referred back to her work to spur me forward.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

ARTinA Outdoor Art Show

Today I participated in ARTinA’s (Art in Algiers) Outdoor Art Show at Mt. Olivet Episcopal Church in Algiers Point. The show was held in conjunction with the Algiers Point Association (APA) Home Tour. Both events are two days.

Naturally I brought my dot artwork to hang up on the fence. Unfortunately not a single soul asked me about buying any of them. Some folks briefly stopped to look.

One woman advised me to sell my work to people who conduct Lamaze classes. She said that they looked like a good image to help expectant mother concentrate.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dancing Lights

acrylic on canvas, 30' x 30'

Flashing back to the spring of ’03, I was invited to be in a show called “The Sofa Art Show”. The artist organizing the show instructed all participants that works could not be smaller than 30’ x 30’. Well, normally I avoid making artwork that size because working space and storage space is limited at home. Even in the classroom where I was teaching at the time, space was limited there too. Well, all I had to do was create the one piece and show up for the hanging.

So what did I want to do for imagery? Well, by this point I was wearing glasses for night driving. The glasses helped with making far away signs much clearer. About this time I also started to become more interested in the little blinking dots in the background of movies – that is when a person was in focus in the foreground while the background was out of focus. Because of what was happening with my eyes, I was now more conscious of the effect. So, that led to the subject of my painting circles of light at night.

Only recently did I run across terms for the dot display of lights. Both involve photography. The first word I noticed was circles of confusion. Wikipedia’s explanation is a bit complicated, but the general gist is what interests me. Then I noticed a word at the bottom of the page under See also. The word is bokeh. It comes from the Japanese word “boke” meaning “blur”. Anyway, I don’t want to get too bogged down with this other than to state that it is newer facet of my dot art process.

When this piece hung in the show, I received a lot of positive feedback. Since then I’ve posted this on a website and even on this blog. Several people have been moved enough to write to me a bout it. I did create this at the end of an exhausting school year; so the painting was created in that environment.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Shift in Patterns

So, does this pattern remind you of any particular film? Maybe if I gave you a choice of the red pill or the blue pill? Does that ring any bells?

Sigma, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"

Hopefully by now you’ve guessed, “The Matrix”. By the way it sold not too long after I painted it. When I did this piece I started to imitate the way a string of lights implies motion. In films about Las Vegas casinos there are often flashing signs implying motion. Anyway, this particular painting marked a turning point for the patterns I picked. I had run out of geometric patterns to try; so, I started to look for other shapes.

I do love going to see films, both blockbusters and art-house. During the summer I came up with designs to complete the set of twenty-four. I found them when I watched films during the summer of 2003.

Unfortunately I neglected to take pictures of the remaining works from this series. I didn’t count on them selling the way they did, nor did I figure that I would continue painting in this direction. Before Hurricane Katrina I had seven of them left. Now I only have four left - three sold since I am back. One is from the original four. Another one is from before the one above. And two more were painted after this one.

Before I discuss the series I began in Memphis, I will need to cover some detours works that also had dots in them.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Greek Code at Anglade-Barthelemy Gallery

Anything before Hurricane Katrina is a dramatic blur these days. So I have to try to piece together some events. Fortunately I kept calendar logs that give me a sense of what was happening in past years. However, I did miss writing events down on some days.

Here are some more of my small dot paintings with Greek names. The picture was taken at Anglade-Barthelemy Gallery, a co-op gallery on Royal Street. I exhibited art there 1997 through 2004 when it closed for good. By the time this picture was taken I had already sold a few from the series.

After using a number of predictable patterns, I became frustrated. What pattern was I going to use next? At this point I was stumped. It was the summer of 2003 when the answer came to me . . .

Alpha, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Theta, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Omicron, Pi, Rho, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6" each