Monday, November 30, 2009

s'mother pictures to see

well, it is Monday and since i had some time i thought it a good idea to make another post... maybe since i will be getting much busier in the next few weeks it makes sense to do some extra bloggering now while i can. so here are some pictures i thought you might like to see. this first picture is a close up of the project that i talked about recently, i think that it is pretty nice as it stands (and it is kind of fun that this image only exists as a photograph now since i cut it apart)
one day when Shauna came to visit me on a Tuesday we were walking around downtown near the school and in one of the windows was this view (made me want to make some sculptures that are about these forms, i really like the repetition and that they are made of wood)
one of our favorite restaurants... is called "Smoque" and has been featured on the TV show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives". these are my leftovers. ribs, mac and cheese, brisket, and a tasty bag of french fries (you can tell they are good by the formerly opaque but currently transparent paper bag!!!)
a stained wall that is under Columbus Drive (well i figure there is an official name for what i am about to describe but i don't know that word): there are some places in Chicago where there are roads under other roads and that is the case where i took this picture.
also from Columbus Drive under Columbus Drive
and another one (i really like the stains muchly!!!!)
this is from the only time i have seen the bridges up. there were some sailboats that were going up the river from the lake and so they had to raise the bridges to fit through (those guys must have some money or something, i can't imagine being allowed to bring my boat (if i had one) through and disrupt traffic on Michigan Avenue for fifteen or twenty minutes in the middle of the day. hmmmm.
this is the view of a place that is under construction on one of the school buildings, i love the way that the plastic is so blue looking (i think it is reflected light from the sky)
this picture is just for my Momma, this ceramic piece is in the collection of the Art Institute and is very interesting indeed... i think my Mom might like to have one of these (since she likes nice ceramic pieces)... oh wait, she already has one because she found one at a garage sale in Colorado! Mom, you are the best Mom (and you are a pretty good "garbage" saler too!)
this last one is also a picture from the Art Institute collection, it is a Joan Mitchell painting that i think is my favorite painting in the museum (though, not because it is abstract expressionism). it gets better and better everytime i look at it i'm going to make a painting that is inspired by studying this painting (the painting at the start of this blog entry is the closest i have come to making something inspired by Joan Mitchell)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

my put together take apart project

this project is one that i started at the beginning of the semester, i made drawings and then started cutting them up. after cutting them up i put some of them back together again and drew on them some more (i kept some from the first cut up as succesful finished drawings that are about 3x6 inches each) this picture is the first reassembly after i drew and painted on it more.
next i started cutting it all apart again
after cutting it apart i realized that there were some interesting things happening on the strips of paper that were left (i had attached all the pieces to some brown paper and then i took them all off) and some of these strips are still on display in a case at school... they are a nice byproduct
these last images are from the latest and last version of this project ("last" meaning the last time i will put the individual pieces together to draw on them.) next i will attach all of the individual pieces to plywood and coat them with varnish.

building stretchers for 9 foot canvases

today i carried on the labor of building stretchers which i had started last weekend. it was a pretty nice Saturday last weekend and i knew that i was going to have to take that huge piece of canvas down and put it on three smaller stretchers so i can really get to work. the task was going to begin with a trip to homedepot to get wood. i went to the homedepot close to where we live and they didn't have a way to cut the wood that i was figuring i needed but they informed me that any of the other homedepot stores in town could do the job. so i went home and found the one neares my school. about an hour later i was there realizing that it was going to be very hard to get the lumber i needed to the school by way of the bus and train. my first thought was to have the lumber delivered... "that will cost $60" i was told, so back to thinking about the prospect of carrying 6 ten foot 2x6s and a 4x8 sheet of plywood. soon i was approached by an older Mexican gentleman with very broken English who told me that i could rent a truck for $20. now that sounded like a superb idea! i could just stack all my wood into the bed of the truck and drive it over to the school real quick! so i went over to the rental area and waited for someone to come help me. when the homedepot associate arrived i asked how long she thought it would take me to drive the lumber to the school (because the truck rental was for just one hour), she seemed to think that the mile and half i had to drive would be no problem. next she asked for my license and proof of insurance. well, since selling our cars we don't have car insurance any more so that ruined the rental idea! back to the bus idea again... soon my helpful older Mexican friend was back asking if everything was taken care of, and when i told him it wasn't he offered one last solution: there was a man out in front of the store that could drive me for a fee. so i went out front and haggled with a black man over how much to pay him to drive me and my lumber to the school. he started at $60 and we negotiated down to $35. finally i arrived at the school with the wood i needed and began the process of hauling it all into school and into the woodshop. after an hour an half of working with the crooked wood i bought (even after searching through the pile while at the store i still ended up with not very straight wood (mostly crooked because it was cheep)) i finally stopped for the day and went home. i'm a little closer to being ready to stretch canvas now!

the story from yesterday

yesterday i was riding the bus home and i saw something sad... but couldn't keep from watching. could be that i couldn't look away because i thought the guy looked a bit like my Dad, but mostly because he seemed tired and sad. he was probably 45 or so and was a little bit round, he had on a few layers to keep him from the chill of the wind plus a Chicago Bulls gym bag that seemed to be full of clothes. he was reading the newspaper with yellowed fingers and chapped hands, fingernails unhealthily ridged ad crusty. about halfway through our ride it was as if he couldn't take it any more... he carefully slid his hand into the gym bag to a specific area then rested there fidgeting with something i couldn't see. not too long before the "pfffshhh" sound of a can of some beverage being opened in the bag. then some very careful posturing to position the newspaper between him and the bus driver's eyeline. the beer can came out and hid behind the paper as he tipped it into his eager mouth and then quickly returned the can to the gym bag. a few more cycles of this process before i got off the bus and went so comfortably into my nice happy apartment.

Friday, November 20, 2009

no pictures...

okay, so i don't have any new pictures right now but i think that i have somethings to say... i'm at school right now and just out of art history lecture. i'm in the process of hanging my really big canvas back up and i feel stuck. not sure if i should rehang it or just figure out a way to stretch the three pieces of canvas so i have something that is less work in the long run. it is logical to make it as easy as possible, but i am struggling with putting it on stretchers because then it is kind of finished and not easy to roll up and store. plus i am thinking about how i will paint on these and what that is about. not that i have to have the end in sight but i'm still struggling with the ideas in these paintings i've been doing. today in class we learned about an artist that is really concerned with ideas and works to make the ideas come through. right now i am trying to figure out how to make the ideas that i have come through in a poetic way and not a heavyhanded "i know what i'm saying and you need to know it too!" kind of way. there is an art sale on campus right now and it is interesting to see so many students trying to sell the things they have made with varying degrees of success. i inevitably compare the sale here to the print and ceramic sales at UNC and it is quite different here (rather than a team effort, here it is more like everyone for themselves so there is quite a variety of approaches to selling). i'm hoping to take part in the spring sale next year, though i don't know what kind of things i will be making to sell. i realize that this post is all over the place and i hope that doesn't make it impossible to read, but these things in my head needed to be out. thanks to all of you who are concerned about Shauna and me and are wanting to know what we are up to! we love you all!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

some pictures of my new project... sounds small but it isn't

early in the semester i bought ten yards of canvas (6ft tall) and started thinking about painting on canvas. much of what i do is to find materials so this was going to be a new experience. i put the canvas roll in my painting rack and just let it sit there, piling all kinds of paintings and other supplies on it. last week in my painting class, Shauna came to visit! yay! so after botching a painting/drawing of her i was working on some other things and asked my teacher to look at some photos i had of the work i've shown here in this blog and earlier things from Colorado. he told me that i should make some of the paintings that i have done on small wood panels into larger paintings (sort of using the smaller paintings as sketches. so yesterday i spent about an hour and a half hanging my roll of canvas on a wall using thumbtacks, and then spent another three hours fifteen minutes putting gesso on (just the first coat and i didn't even finish gessoing until today after another hour and a half!). now i need to do one or two more coats of gesso before i start painting! tommorrow... will be busy!

this last photo is of the 20 ft mark (i've devided the canvas into three parts but i might turn it into one big painting) and some pen marks i made to know where the edges of the painting will be once it is stretched (if i stretch it)... lots of questions not answers yet.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Charlie... and an antique chair i found in the alley

someplace that i like to sit and look out the window

these are the stairs from the third floor painting studios. the landing here is where i sit usually once a week and look at the Chicago skyline, usually talking to Shauna on the phone or at least leaving her a message. off to the South there are some pretty trees
almost straight West is the Sears tower (now called the Willis tower (dumb)) i really love looking at these buildings and the streaky glass
closer to Northwest than North this is the view

the found piece of wood (found, painted, stolen?)

so the story is this... one day i decided that i needed some new material to paint on, so i went out behind our apartment to the nearest alley. most of the time it doesn't take too long to find good pieces of wood or other material to paint on and that proved true on this particular day. i quickly found a nice piece of what seems to be hardwood with rounded corners and some beautiful hinge marks. carried the piece to school and the following night i painted it with house paint, starting with a series of dots that made two dotted circles (made by using a piece of paper that i found that had a nice round hole punched in it as a kind of compass). next i applied a splash of blue paint, and finished it with a green grid. while working on some other paintings i let that one rest. there was still something missing, but i didn't know what. i ended up finding a small piece of canvas with the number two written on it and added it loosely to see if it might be the missing piece. after moving the 2 around i found the spot that it needed to be to finish the painting. i didn't have my glue so i kept it in my journal until a couple of class periods later then i attached it and it was good. i think it is the first thing that was really finished this semester.

i showed it in a critique. some people liked it and some weren't so sure. i put it back in the painting racks of the painting studio and continued working on all the other things i've been involved in.

about two weeks ago, one of the students who was in the critique (she liked the painting) came over to me in class and started asking me questions about the painting. did i still have it? did i keep it at school? yes and yes. i wondered if maybe she knew someone that wanted to see it or buy it or something. "the reason I am asking about it is that someone showed it in my collage class yesterday. I wanted to make sure that you didn't throw it away before I made any accusations" she said. i couldn't help but laugh! someone was showing my work as their own. i'm kind of giggling as i write this, it is so absurd. it turns out that the student who "borrowed" my painting for his midterm critique is a senior and he is in the same painting class as i am. the really crazy thing to me is that at SAIC i think that anyone could be in a painting class, write a poem on notebook paper, take that to a midterm critique and argue why the poem is a painting. with the right argument, that would pass at this school. somehow this guy thought it would be better to take my work as his own. i guess that the piece went over well in his critique (which is kind of flattering, and that he thought it nice enough to steal... ha ha) but now there is trouble knocking on his door. it is up to me at this point to decide whether the punishment that his collage teacher has assigned him is enough, or if i want to take it up a notch and get him kicked out of school.

that is my story and i'm sticking to it. i'll write more when there is more to write.

Monday, November 2, 2009

some things from painting...

this is a series of images of paintings that i've been working on. some of them are finished and some are not, i'll try to give a sense of each one so you have a reference as to the process or at least whether or not it is done.
painted on a found board that has a glossy finish so the watered down latex didn't stick well and made a real nice texture! the map is a found paper from the trash.
okay, so this is the format (landscape position) that i intended for all of these but they didn't come out that way. so this series was painted on a salvaged piece of plywood and then cut apart. the image on these is from my sketchbook but i plan to paint over it, the representational things just isn't working in these. it is supposed to be a table with a stack of prints on it. these 9 will be worked on quite a bit more

now these were painted in a similar way... i painted the 6 here on one board and then cut them apart. i think most or all of them are done, again these should be viewed horizontally not vertically... or maybe i should change my mind

this is painted and collage and ink on a board that Shauna salvaged for me from her work. it was covered with fake leather that i peeled off and then worked on the board
this is plain brown paper wrapped around another drawing then wrapped in wire and slathered with white paint
found (i think top to a sewing machine table) board with latex paint (i have a story about this for later)
this is paint and found paper on umbrella fabric that i removed from an umbrella that i found in the trash. there are tons of them that get thrown away this time of year, ruined by the wind

Sunday, November 1, 2009

work study... ceramics studio

This is a series of photos showing the ceramics studio at SAIC, it is where i am doing my work study to earn a little of what i'm spending on tuition. Plus i wanted to show Mike (my ceramics teacher at UNC) what the facilities here are like.
These are large electric kilns (all of the kilns are indoors!)
a tall kiln that i could probably stand up in
a few of the other gas kilns
very narrow hallway and storage for undergrads plus wedging tables
the throwing room, there are wheels on the opposite side of the table but someone was there and i didn't want to make them feel uncomfortable taking a picture
handbuilding room
the place where i spend most of my time, mixing clay in big peter pugger mixers... i can mix about 50 or 60 pounds of clay at a time. Most mondays i mix about 800 or 1000 pounds, unless i am grinding kiln shelves so undergrads can let there glaze run onto them. GRIN!