Monday, November 28, 2011

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"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

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 art shows. It wasn't long before she again invited me to participate. 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. She and I 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. First I scrounged for hardware and wood scraps in my attic and garage. I had turned 40 the previous year and my house was built the same year I was born. So it seemed natural for me to work with found objects. 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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

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 the last century. Later on his interest turned to images from space and he began to use dots as 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. They made my luggage come very close to the weight limit on my flight back.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

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, November 12, 2011

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.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Storm Scare

In the fall of 2002 two tropical storms came through the New Orleans area. I painted this in reaction to the local drama. Note the tape patterns in the painting. Residents tape up windows just like that before storms.

acrylic on canvas, 18" x 36"

Friday, November 04, 2011


Finally I come to the last of the four paintings I still own. This design idea was derived from the movie comedy, “American Wedding.” I just thought using a pie image was a natural for my dots. There is nothing specific in the imagery from the film or any of the other ones from the group. At the time I tracked down some photos of pies for the accuracy of my colors. I’m not as satisfied with the results for this one, but there you have the story.

acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"