The L Word

"Lachrymose Lake", mini painting with dictionary page on 5x7" canvas.

Day 236: Lachrymose Lake

This dictionary page’s header reads “lachrymose lake”. Lachrymose means “tearful, sad”. It makes me think of all the “lady of the lake” mythology. And it’s an interesting selection considering the start of my exploration into artmaking using negative feelings.

Along those lines, the sculpture pieces I’ve been working on this week are coming along well. The first one’s almost done! It’s an illuminated figurative plaster/quilt piece, and I have to say I’m starting to get really excited about sculpture. Which is weird, because I always thought of myself as a painter. But some crazy awesome things could be on the horizon. At this point it’s looking like it’s time to build a workbench in the garage. 🙂

Lowercase L. Not an uppercase i. (Just zoom in and take a peek at all the fun L words if you forget)

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The agony and the ecstasy

"Hey, you got any e, man?"

Day 235: Eternal Euphony

After yesterday’s unintentionally inflammatory post and the comments kerfuffle that ensued, I decided to play it safe today by mixing religion and street drug references. 😉

Actually, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m creating a series with the letters “r, s, t, l, n, e” as a nod to Wheel of Fortune (c, d, m & a may follow 😉 ). I’ve always enjoyed word games. Apart from art, spelling and poetry were two of my favorite things as a kid. As an adult, I grew up to collect dictionaries. As a visual artist engaged in using symbols to create evocative pieces, I find the different interpretations of words as symbols highly amusing and endlessly interesting.  

This is a great page because it includes some of my favorite words, like ether, etymology, and etiquette. “Euphony” means “an agreeable sound or pronunciation”. So “eternal euphony” would mean an endless agreeable sound. Kinda cool, huh?

My opening comment references the fact that “e” has been used as a term for “ecstasy”, an illicit drug. Yet, if you look up the definition of the word ecstasy, you’ll probably find references to “religious ecstasy”, which is an entirely different thing than chemicals tricking your brain into super happiness…. Or is it? Mwa-ha-haaaaa!

<Disclaimer: Not trying to piss anyone off here, dear readers. I hope you can take a “well, isn’t that interesting?” approach to this piece. But if you’d rather go with a “well, isn’t that special?” reaction, that’s cool too. :)>

"Eternal Euphony", a mini painting with dictionary page on 5x7" canvas.

Torpor Touch

Day 234: Torpor Touch

Okay, so first let me say that A: this is not a cross, and B: I know it really looks like one, but it’s a lowercase t. Seriously. Why lowercase, you ask, when this whole issue could have been avoided by just doing an uppercase T? Because all the other ones in this series are lowercase, alright? Also, I think it’s kind of amusing that it looks like a cross and there happen to be other words on this page like torture and totalitarian. 🙂 Not that I have anything against religion. But it has historically been perverted and used as an excuse for unspeakable acts (i.e. Spanish inquisition). Just sayin’.

I like this piece because the header words together imply a touch that would numb or paralyze, which can be interpreted as either menacing or intriguing (or both). Also this page includes a definition for the “torrid zone”, which is apparently a real phrase applicable to a real place on the earth, as opposed to a reference to the awesomely hilarious Venture Brothers cartoon on Adult Swim. Which would be pretty amazing considering that this dictionary was printed several decades before that cartoon was created.

Time for a brain-teaser! So far I’ve made mini paintings with dictionary pages depicting the letters r, s, t and n. Can you guess which two letters will come next in this sequence? Hint: if you spend your sick days watching the game show network, you might have a leg up on this one.

"Torpor Touch", another 5x7 mini painting with vintage dictionary page.

Satin Savageness

"Satin Savageness" is simply sultry seen from the side

Day 233: Satin Savageness

Since I’m still slaving away at the sculpture series, I sat down and steered myself towards a sassy small-style painting session. This 5×7″ canvas features another vintage dictionary page that showed me how sometimes letters can be sexy, as illustrated by this selection with “satin savageness” in the header. This page includes several sultry symbols such as: saucy, sausage, satisfy, Saturday, saunter, and sauterne…it kind of writes itself, trashy romance-novel style. 😉 Here’s hoping your Saturday is filled with a little bit of saucy satin action! 

Use "Satin Savageness" as a date planning guide! Select some snippets and get started!

Read Rebel

I totally can't roll my R's. It's frustrating.

Day 232: Read Rebel

I’ve been bitten by the typography bug. Up next in this simple letter/page series of sans-serif sillies is the letter R on a dictionary page “titled” Read Rebel, which I find intriguing. It makes me think of a person who is both learn-ed and who bites his/her thumb at authority. Rock on!

It also includes other important r words such as realm, reality, reasonable, reagent, ream and reaper. I still don’t know what it is I like about these except that they look simple on the surface, but then there are curious word arrangements behind on closer inspection. *Shrug* Happy weekend, everyone!

"Read Rebel", a painting with paper on 5x7" mini canvas.

Hey Nonny Nonny

"Nominally North", painting on 5x7" canvas

Day 231: Nominally North

I’m still working away on the sculpture pieces, sewing some quilted fabric, picking up LEDs at RadioShack, moving my plaster stuff around gingerly with fear it will suddenly shatter. I find that when I’m working on long-term pieces, I prefer to stick with small scale daily art to minimize the frustration factor. Today I found that the overflowing inspiration well runneth dry, so I began again with a vintage dictionary page and mini canvas, and no images seemed to jump out at me. My sculpture pieces are all in white, so then I decided to just stick with a plain, lower-case N in the negative space and a white glaze surrounding it. Simple, yes. But I like it after all. 🙂

The text at the top of the dictionary page reads "nominally north".

Little Big Blue

I'd love to show these to you side by side on the wall, but that would require locating some nails...

Day 230: Little Big Blue, a diptych

So I asked a good friend of mine to give my body of work her honest “Simon de Pury” opinion the other day, and she remarked that much of my art is “safe”. This was really important for me to hear because it got me thinking. I’ve always made my art with the intention of adding beauty to the world. I love color, I love exploring the connection between man-made forms and those of nature in my paintings, and I love making work that makes people smile. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Alan Watts, a philosopher, lately, and it’s brought me to the realization that if I make only beautiful things, I risk making them one-dimensional. Everything in the world is informed by its opposite, and including a bit of “ugliness” might give my work more depth, might make it more evocative.

The "little" blue

So I asked myself “if you weren’t worried about making work that is beautiful, or salable, what might you make?” and it’s led me so far to some exciting ideas that are pretty different than what I normally do, including some sculptural explorations which are taking some time since I’m having to learn as I go.

"Big" blue

Today’s art, two paintings I’ve been working on for a few days, are much simpler than anything I’ve done before, but I really like them. I created these by slathering a thick layer of gesso on to some 24” square canvases, laying some yarn into them, pressing the yarn down into the gesso with paper (which I saved and plan to use for complimentary pieces), and later dropping some slate blue liquid watercolor into the grooves left by the yarn and blowing it through the dampened grooves. The image of the blue string in the white field makes me think of DNA, and the simple elegance of nature. Here are some detail shots, hopefully this will help you see the texture.