Sunday, December 07, 2008

Getting Back Into It

I am beginning to feel better and get out from under this black cloud that's been hanging over me for a couple of months. And what does this mean? Getting back into art. Above, a self portrait during a rare moment of actual daylight.

Real sunlight coming through the window onto my painting, "Spun." We're down to 4 hours and 9 minutes of "daytime." Officially, there is 6 hours and 50 minutes of visible light, but that includes a dim glow on the horizon that lasts for a long time around 10am and 4pm. I'm sitting at my desk looking out at such a thing: the skeletal poplars are silhouetted against an orange smudge over the ridgeline while the rest of the world fades to black. The temperature has been falling all day. It was +5F this morning, and now it's -2F. I had hoped to get out skiing today, but I spent the whole day doing this......

I've found that when I have a block in getting into "serious" paintings, I can still pick up brush and color or whatever, and still get in the groove of working. Recently, I've been continuing work on a book I made at Penland in 2007. Somehow, working in the format of individual pages is the perfect thing to ease myself back into artworking. Artworking is REALLY important to me and all kinds of stuff is wrapped up in it: personal, past, future, business, finances, fantasies, hopes, wishes, friendships, decisions, you name it. Sometimes, it's a little overwhelming to approach. Books are a gentle immersion. Each page becomes a small, intimate work.

The class at Penland was "Artist Bookmaking" with Laura Wait. We painted with wheat paste acrylics and created stacks of large, quickly painted papers which were then cut and assembled, the point being to 'illuminate' the books with surface design, writing and image after the book had been created. The coincidental combinations of the painted pages after assembly was beautiful and really fun---we never knew what we'd get.

I've been working on one of the first books I made, now titled, "Concatenation." To concatenate is 'to connect or link in a series or chain.' Awesome.

This is the cover. On many of the pages, I've painstakingly outlined painted and stenciled images with white acrylic ink and a very fine calligraphy nib. I love that opaque white...

That arching gold line is my concatenation. As this book was made in the summer of '07, I was at the height of my infatuation with The Shape. I worked with The Shape as a symbol of specific thoughts or memories, which one links naturally with other thoughts or memories to create new understanding. Also, the Shape represents an individual---how connections between them are fundamentally creative of so many things.

Working on this book was revisiting a old friend...the Shape. Still rocks my world to draw that over and over. Can't even explain it. The Shape is visceral. It's down deep.

The book open to two pages. The flow of red dots and white Shapes was pure, random accident.

The larger background Shapes are another happy accident. I deepened the black background, created the calligraphic script (a non-language mark-making. At Penland, we called it Klingon.)and also detailed the red dots. I did try for a continuity within the book with repeating colors and marks.

This is one of my favorite spreads. The yellow is REALLY vivid. Some of the preceeding pages in the book are darker or more subtle, so when one turns to these pages, it's as if the sun has suddenly come out.

The book has 40 pages. Many of my classmates made smaller or thinner books, and now I know why they did that.....they could finish their books in class, not a year and a half later. Still, I plan to send images of this book to Laura and share my success in completing it.