Saturday, September 01, 2007

Leaf Miner Art, complete!

Bugheart sent me her first half of our Leaf Miner project for the Synthesis Exhibit opening later this week in Anchorage, AK. First 'half?' More like 3/4! There really wasn't too much to add to finish these clever pieces. Above is a shot of "The Way is Clear" before I've gotten my grubby hands on it. Our project was to create new work for an art exhibit to run simoutaneously with the Arctic Science conference. I was lucky enough to be on the review committee to look over artists submissions for the show (facinating process and a lot of fun!). Anyway---bugheart and I worked with the facts, lifecycle and images surrounding Phyllocnistis populiella, the Aspen Leaf Miner Moth, aka, the 'serpentine leaf miner.' The second name is from the patters the moth larvae eat though the leaf cuticle---winding mine tunnels. I am really interested in this insect artistically and personally. I live on 5 acres of aspen and white spruce, all of which are being ravaged by leaf miner moths and spruce budworms, respectively. In spring, when all these little dudes wake up from their long winter's nap, my land is a true bug blow-out. Worms and moths and webbing everywhere....kinda freaky. If you recall, long-time blog readers, I did some artwork about Phyllo. pop. last year at an exhibit at the UAF Museum of the North. Check out that story here.

For the larger piece, I simply added numbers and name.... The 2006 Forest Heath Report created by the Alaska Division of Forestry listed that 457,882 acres of Alaskan aspen forests were suffering from leaf miner infestation.

And who could make clever, sciency art without a little Latin thrown in? I like the silver leaf on the back and the green acrylic ink words on the front. (I have a friend who used to paint on glass and I thought she was crazy for using such a damned breakable surface....but now I get it. Painting on glass feels goooood.) Bugheart, creative, thrifty soul that she is didn't quite use silver leaf.....if you look at those leaf edges, you'll realize what this is.... How much gum have you been chewing, bh?

Here is a shot of the piece in my window. This is so perfect to see the art this way. I hope whomever buys it (fingers crossed) hangs it in their window.

And finally, the second artwork, "20/20 Hindsight." Again, I didn't have far to go to finish this. I got plexiglas to seal the front, carefully drilling holes in the fragile corners so I could nail it in place without too much trauma. (Didn't have small screws...urgh!) I put bugheart's glycoside model on 'my' side, over leaves painted into the surface. Her side was so rich with info and detail (and even 2 little leaf miner carcasses!) that I didn't want my side to compete with it.

The show opens this week.....

I'll let ya'll know how it went.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Bones are Good...

A new 4'x3' painting; mixed media on baltic birch board.
This piece is for my upcoming invitational exhibit, "The Bones Show"
in October. Although this composition looked great as a small
sketch, the large version was too disjointed....too crowded.

Allright fellow artists, I'm finally back to blogging about art!
Cycling has to take the back burner to my exhibit commitments
this fall, regardless of the fact that I didn't do my Century ride.

Sometimes, that's just the way things shake out.
I don't like it! It's frustrating to have trained for 8 weeks,
then be unable to do the big goal ride. My whole plan was
to be able to bliss out on riding for a couple of months,
accomplish my first Century, then put my ass in the studio
to get some serious work done.

So is life....sometimes.

The initial sketch of a cleaner, less jumbled format.
Just using images of rib bones this time---excluding the
scapula, femurs and jaw bones.

Charcoal rough sketch brushed off and a final sketch laid
in with graphite. You can see all of my inspirational objects
on the floor behind the easel.....

Laying in the underpainting.

What is always fascinating about making art is the way
the process is a two-way communication. Sure, I am
directing the art, making very concious choices, but there
is also an element of listening to what the painting says it
needs. So far, this one is speaking loud and clear, as paintings
so often do when they are fresh and new.

My challenge is in listening to the painting in the right way, to
make sure the messages get through. Always listening....
Sometimes the painting can tell me what it wants right up front.
Sometimes, I have to push the painting to the back wall of the
studio and get some distance.....(occasionally, I've had to carry
a painting downstairs and outside to set on the front porch, then
run out into the driveway to get a good 20-30 feet on it....)

If the painting can't tell me what it wants clearly, I take it that
it has a secret, hidden message. This entails getting a mirror and
pointing it over my shoulder to see the painting in reverse.
It works wonders.....the composition shows itself to be
remarkably off-center and unbalanced, usually. The Mirror
Method shows things I've done with the painting that I didn't
know were there. I love it.

I'm spending about 6-8 hours in the studio a day.
Cycling taught me a lot about disciplining my time.
Making the shift into serious studio work hasn't been
very easy, but now that I'm over my real grief about the
loss of my century ride, I'm able to concentrate.

Lotsa art to make.