6 months of AWESOME ;)

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Day 187: 6 Months of Daily Art Video

As I’ve just passed the six month mark, I thought it fitting that today’s artwork should be a video encompassing all the completed work-to-date. So, if you’re new to the blog, missed some stuff, or just want to enjoy 6 entire months’ work of work squished into four tiny minutes set to a groovy tune, check it out!

And to everyone who’s been following the blog, thanks for all the support. Your comments and ongoing interest in my ramblings and figurative art trek to the top of Mt. Everest have been encouraging, heart-warming and inspiring. I would take time to pat myself on the back, but it’s only a few hours until it’s time to make something new! So I’ll catch my breath in 2011. 🙂



6 hours spent cranking out linocards = joy.

 Day 178: Hand-colored block prints

Every time I tell Rob I have to go to the art store, he does the wallet cringe. You know the one- the pained expression and partial body cramp that seems to occur involuntarily whenever you think about having to spend money that you don’t have in abundance at the time.

I find this is a particularly pronounced condition among we artist-types. We so frequently have to look at expenses as “this OR that”… “groceries OR gas?”…. “cable OR car insurance?”…. “student loan payment OR credit card?” It’s so common, they should really start including a course on it at that $16,000/semester private art school I went to. Kind of like the “math for art majors” course I managed to find at my community college (a title that just barely won out over “the bare minimum of required math knowledge for hippies”, I imagine)- “budgeting for art majors” would include key points like growing your own garden to save money (on *vegetables*, people!), the law of disappearing money (you know, how it goes out of your account like 20 times faster than it goes IN to it) and how to be frugal at WholeFoods. Just kidding on that last one. That topic would be more applicable to a fantasy writing class.

Too bad I can't barter these beauties for utility credits.

Thankfully, I can use a lot of my supplies over and over once I have them. Block-printing is one example of this. Once your linoleum is carved and you have the ink & stuff, you can print away! Heavy-duty cardblanks are great to have, but there are other options too, including using fabric scraps, old book pages or making your own recycled paper out of junk mail. Which I have yet to master, but which sounds extremely satisfying.

Linocuts are addictive, as my friend Nicole of BlueBicicletta can attest to. Nicole is an amazing drawer (as in illustrator, not furniture) and loves using black and white, so linocuts are a natural boon to her art-making style. We’ve both been bitten by the block-printing bug.

I made these prints of my carving on 5x7 cardstock, gave them a spritz of fixative to keep the water-based ink set, then hand-colored them with oil pastels.

As you guys know, I love color. So today I did something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile- I hand-colored 4 copies of a block print I designed for this very purpose back on Jan. 21st (which I only remember specifically because it was my birthday). They’re as cheery as a vase of gerbera daisies all together on my table. I also did some color prints of my lovebirds lino. Awwwww! It’s too much cuteness for one post. I have to stop now before it gets out of control. 😉

If Warhol had ever done 'cute', it might have looked something like this.

A fistful of ideas

Scraps from my painting table + 5x7 canvas = upcycled art

Day 166: Fragments

I use a lot of paper in my mixed media paintings, and I tend to avoid throwing anything away just in case I can use it later. This includes tiny scraps…. and I mean tiny. Let’s just say more than once I’ve looked down to find a word or two stuck to Chester’s snooping nose. After yesterday’s piece, I had a full-on kindling stack of Nancy Drew snippets next to the partially used sewing pattern pile. Coincidentally, both caches of flammable paper are located near my incense burner. Perhaps I should remedy that.

Detail from upper half of the painting

Anyway, it occurred to me that layers of these thin lines of text arranged on a small canvas in a kind of random/free association poem-type-of-thing might be interesting. The paper itself is a nice yellow tone having aged since its printing in 1939, and is a similar color to the sewing patterns. I put down some strips from my scraps with acrylic matte medium, laid the patterns over that, and then went back in with more text over the top. A little dark blue and orange watercolor, and we’ve got a fun little piece of art made from scraps! Yay!

Little vignettes started to evolve in the text like short stories sprouting as I worked.

Why is there pastrami in my purse?

"Anything is better" mini painting with text

Day 161: Anything is better

Keeping notebooks with me wherever I go enables me to jot down insightful tidbits like “why do we appreciate subtlety?” or interesting words like “bereft”. Every few days I try to flip through them to see if I missed anything cool. Today I rediscovered this scribble- “why is there pastrami in my purse?”- not so much a gem of inspiration as a reminder for me to unlock this particular mystery. I can’t recall any moments when my purse and said pastrami were in close proximity, nor have I smuggled lunchmeat in my bag.. ever.. so who knows? Maybe Chester picked it up during his unauthorized kitchen floor snarfing and it stuck to his face and then he went sniffing around my purse and transferred it. Much like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know how it got there. The good news is that it’s been removed, the purse has been sanitized, and life has gone on.

I began another cityscape piece with an old school orange bus, but it’s going to take a week or so like Valencia Blue did. So today’s piece is a mini painting with text from an old Nancy Drew novel (appropriate considering my bit of detective work earlier, I’d say!) that’s dedicated to my friend. She’s suffering from douchebagitis, a condition that occurs when one’s boyfriend becomes unmanageably irritable. Here’s hoping it heals up soon.

Ready to party

Valencia Blue, an acrylic painting on 18x24" canvas

Day 158: Valencia Blue

At a stoplight today, I glanced at my keychain dangling from the ignition. Missing from it is my pepper spray, which was confiscated when I served jury duty awhile back. It’s always there so I just didn’t think anything of it, and they let me in with it the first two days. But on the third, the security guard at the scanner apparently thought I looked like the kind of person who might just freak out and spray someone in the face in the midst of civil service.

Behind Door #1- mystery. Behind Door#2- South Indian cuisine!

So now it’s just my lonely electric blue bottle opener, looking worn from the paint rubbing away all these years. I wondered what someone who didn’t know me might think judging from my keychains alone. There are no prom photos or tiny stuffed animals, no jetsetter badges from vacation destinations- just the basics: car key, house key and bottle opener. Because you never know when a spontaneous beer party will bust out, and what if no one remembers that lighter trick? I had to smile because I can’t even remember the last time I used it.

The Mission district in San Francisco is that kind of place, though. It’s the type of neighborhood where you’re always running into someone you know who just so happens to be throwing a bring-your-own-bottle-opener type of bash.

News stands sentinel for the organic salad bar

I’m finally done with this painting, which I’m calling “Valencia Blue” as it features a scene from Valencia St. in the mission. Specifically, DOSA restaurant and Valencia Whole Foods are shown on this corner. Now, it took me a few days to finish, and I didn’t want to disappoint with no daily piece for today. So here’s a short poem I wrote to go with it. 🙂

The Mission

is like a party you get invited to in college where you don’t know anyone but you have a good feeling about tonight so you bring a bag of oranges and a bottle opener and hope for the best

P.S. I’ll be showing this painting and some other cityscapes at City Art Gallery on 828 Valencia St. (just a block or two from this spot) in July. See you there!

Where did my edge go?

"R", an 8x10" mixed media painting on canvas.

Day 152: R is for ROCK!

I was into punk as a teenager. I have some fond memories of Bad Religion concerts, like the time I saved some junkie from killing himself at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz with a swift elbow to the sternum and met Greg Hetson in the same night by eavesdropping on tata-flashing groupies.

Whenever a song like “Brick” by Ben Folds Five would come on the radio, I’d get annoyed and switch it. My friend and I crafted the moniker “sad bastard music” for these sensitive man songs. Yet here, only a scant decade later, I find myself enjoying bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay. What happened? When did I become a softie? Where did my edge go?

I’d like to think I could still attend a concert and enjoy it. If I get there and find that “all these kids” are annoying me, I’ll have proof I’m getting old. Next time we can afford tickets to something cool, I’m going to be totally prepared to rock out. With earplugs. Hey- no need to be old and deaf, right?

Detail shot of painting showing dictionary page

So, ladies and gents, ArtProject2010 has made it to month 6 free of any nervous breakdowns. Yay! Some new stuff is on the horizon for June. This month, you’ll see:

Blog post titles! Instead of just the day number, I’ll title each day’s post to give you a hint as to what snarky or sentimental topic lies therein. Day numbers and artwork titles will be included in the body of the posting.

Hands & Hands– The “Old & New” series continues with my first month-long project. I’ll be finishing up a 4 foot square oil painting of a metalsmith’s hands I started over 4 years ago and taking a photo of my paint-splattered hands each day. At the end, I’ll be able to display the hand photos next to the giant hand painting, hopefully symmetrically assuming my “math for art majors” course in community college covered stuff like this.

Videos! I’m working on another speedy slideshow like this one to show months 3 & 4, plus a video showing the commission piece from start to finish. (Stay tuned, Bruce!)

Flickr! I finally started uploading images to Flickr. Are you on Flickr? Find/friend me! I’m trucdart.

Radiation table from vintage physics book

Today’s daily art piece is a mixed media painting incorporating bits of vintage ephemera with the letter R as the theme. I am considering making one for every letter of the alphabet since I liked the C & D ones so much.