Saturday, August 19, 2006

Bicycle Touring Dreams

Is it the stress of the upcoming art shows? Is it the obvious end of summer and oncoming pressure of winter cold? Is it the knowledge that I'd better get a full time job pretty damned quick? It's probably all of these stresses (and several others), but all I can think about is packing up my panniers and going bike touring.

I've just read the fabulous, "Miles From Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. The chapter on their passage through the Nile Delta gave me the willies.
Currently reading, "Metal Cowboy" by Joe Kurlansky. Easy read biking essays. A guy who really enjoys life and can tell a good yarn about it.

These stories just fuel my daydreams. I'm getting out on my bike almost everyday just to pedal and feel some sense of freedom. Seriously, I do think my worries are getting to me, hence this new need to break free! I think Frommage and I can do at least an overnight bike trip before it gets too cold. In view of being able to ride 30-50 miles to a nifty camping destination, I went for a 25 mile ride last week. It felt great! No problem on the hills (which there were many) and no problem with stamina. I awoke the next morning feeling good as well---my legs weren't even sore. Everything changed when I was doing the dishes however. (Is this where bad things creep up on other people, too?) I swear, I just tilted my head to look down at whatever I was washing, and I felt like a steel cable along the left side of my neck and upper spine stripped apart. Painful! I must have stressed my neck from the ride. Urgh! (I've had two neck injuries in the last 10 years and they always come back to haunt me...) So---no riding for a few days. I'm still happy to know that 25 miles wasn't a stretch for me....just my neck.

Oh, to ride fabulous places and have adventures....
These pictures are from Neil and Sharon Anderson's round the world tour...several years in the doing, as I understand it.
Readers and Lurkers: have you done any bicycle touring? What was it like? C'mon Rebel Wind, I know you're reading this....give us a good, quick story! Posted by Picasa

Leaf Miner Art stress

What can I say? I am moth-eaten...

No, really. I am just very stressed out about the upcoming exhibit in which I'll show a series of six multimedia drawing/paintings I've made specifically based on research of Phyllocnistis populiella, the Aspen Leaf Miner Moth. The work is due at the museum in just a couple of weeks. The art is done, the slides have been shot, I'm in the midst of framing them all and....and...I still have to get the presentation together. Luckily, I have no problem speaking in front of's just that I'm very worried about how to get this speech to sound good. Yikes! It's a big deal. I have to get it right. I have to sound intelligent and...and...get across the artistic interpretations I made via this research. I am good at making the work and thinking about the work, but I suck at talking about the work!
I am beginning to realize that this is one of the prime dilemnas in being an artist...for me, anyway. The more art I make (good) means the more time I spend alone in my studio (mostly good) which means the more time I spend in my head (good, but some bad with a little weird mixed in) leading to discomfort around people (bad) and inability to convey my thoughts with any easy discourse (very bad and frustrating).
So...let me practice...
What did I do with the whole leaf miner idea, as an artist?
Well, I thought those little caterpillars searching around in the slurpy, spongy leaf mesophyll were pretty dang neat and focused most of my image-making attention on them. I thought of them alot, out there in the trees by the millions, chomping away and generally inhibiting the Aspens of some dearly needed photosynthesis. Those wee leaf miner moth larvae were chowing down for all they were worth, eating random patterns in the leaves, trying to get to where they needed to go, which was a soft, warm cocoon and waking up with wings. I started to think, "Well, hey...I know a species that is just like that, symbolically speaking!" I began to really think about how we humans go through our lives the same way---searching for food, sustanance and eventual (?) maturity and success. I began to think seriously about how each decision in an individual's life causes the pattern of their life to shift direction, whether dramatically or subtly, and how the overall pattern or line of that life could be drawn. How much could it resemble the work of the wee Phyllocnistis populiella larvae? How can I get this idea across in images?
Also, I thought rather sadly of the insignificance of our miniscule movements in our own private microcosm (leaf) but how as a species, this same activity has overwhelming biological effects on our macrocosm (tree.) i.e., we humans are chewing through our resources with flagrant abandon and the ecosystems of the Earth are showing a similar stress in view of deforestation, global warming, water pollution, air pollution....


No, I won't go that far in my art presentation. I'll stick to Leaf Miners and art. I have 15 minutes of fame coming up in just a few weeks. Wish me luck. Posted by Picasa

Progression of a painting

Here is the ground begun with a cadmium red gouace overlaying a tissue collage on watercolor paper. I've marked in the lines (what I think of as 'waves' when I draw/paint them) with a conte crayon.

Outlining the basic shapes in a falling pattern....very fun to do.

Beginning to block in the darker, shadow areas and the highlights around the light source at the top of the painting.

Beginning to give form to the 'leaves' themselves, giving them weight and presence. Also gave the wave forms some overlapping depth.

And from here?
We shall see. Posted by Picasa