Gaudi’s church in Barcelona, the Familia Segrada is an amazing place. It is, at once, awesome, colorful, subtle, crazy, and has a logic all its own. A few years ago, my Pamela took a series of fantastic photos, concentrating on the ceiling from many angles. The shots are mind-blowing, and I could see how easily many of them could be used as springboards for intricate abstract designs. I finally got around to doing the initial tracing from one of the photos, a laborious task. It is now ready to project on to watercolor paper, and I can already see how strong it is going to be. In the absence of any tight deadlines on the commercial front, I’ll devote some time to art for art’s sake.
Today I decided to make a get well card for the daughter of a woman I know. The woman gave me a few photos and a few of her girl’s interests, and I proceeded to make some careful tracings from photos, and turned them into a one page composition. Normally at that point, I’d put that one page into my projector and project it down to watercolor paper at a larger size, but today, battling the flu bug, I didn’t quite have the strength for it. Instead, I decided to work smaller on an actual copy of the ink tracings. This saved me some hard work but also limited the size to 8.5″ x 11″, and to crummy bond paper. I decided to take on the challenge, and I carefully water colored the copy, using as little water as possible, since it would wrinkle the page. I did this, and it looked good. The final piece of this was to spray mount the copy paper on to a piece of foam core board. The last step…..and I ruined it! When I mounted the page, it wrinkled badly, and burnishing it only made matters worse. Three hours of work down the drain? Ugh……I decided to try one more thing: I took the wrinkled art and put it on the flat bed scanner, scanned it, and put it into Photoshop. I cleaned up all the ugly wrinkles, some excess pencil too, and one or two other details that had been impossible to change on the copy, printed it out in color, and it looked good. It looked better than the original. I got a second chance! This time when i spray mounted it on to the foam core board, it came out nice and flat. It is now entirely presentable.
The art was hung last night at the Avalon Salon on B street , San Rafael, 25 pieces in all. Looking around, I had to take some pride in the body of work, and how good it all looked. There are 7 in identical frames, which helps the presentation, and most of the pieces have good impact. None have titles. Ironically, the one I have pictured here was left out of the show due to the mat it’s in, which doesn’t quite work with the art. One of these days, I’ll re-frame it. So, this Friday night will be the opening, and I hope to have fun, and get a good turn out. 3 Blue Herons went up too in one room.
This piece was done a few days ago, and I call it “Abstract Superman 136” in reference to the color scheme of the 1959 comic book cover I first saw way back then. The color combination still gets to me; I resonate to it, I love it! I’ve also noticed that , to an extent, I view these colors when hiking around Marin County in the Spring.
This piece did not come together easily or readily. It took some 90 minutes of just sort of fooling around on the page until something began to coalesce, unlike the art done earlier in the week where I envisioned the piece immediately upon viewing the frame, mat, and old art that was in it. If I thought that experience was going to repeat itself, I was mistaken. This one was a case of “99% perspiration, 1% inspiration”, and , fortunately, that 1% came on the back end.
Since I have a show of my abstracts coming up soon, it’s been a great deal of fun to create a body of these in the last few months.
Aren’t there times when you just know you’re doing your best work, not only when it’s flowing, but that your work has just taken a leap up to the next level? I think it’s happening to me today. An old framed piece that includes a mat with a thick black line was pulled out from the dustbin,, and I swear, I could see an entirely new piece in there, in very strong black and white. It’s an abstract, or at least a semi-abstract , since there is a human figure who is clearly wilting under the weight of a computer motherboard…..well, maybe I’ll disguise that part a bit, but , for me, that’s the part that gives this more emotional resonance than my other abstracts, which are more stream of conscious and instinctive. This one does have a clear thought and feeling underlying , and so it becomes more meaningful, and the art itself is complex and will be a knockout piece. I know, since I’ve already foreseen it its frame. Shown is a vignette of the art in its infancy stage.
Oh, yes. I have a show coming up with the opening on March 11th, at the Avalon Salon in San Rafael, B Street, between 4th and 5th, from 5pm -9pm, as part of that night’s Art Walk.
abstract art are, what to do, where to put it, what color palette am I going to use, and when is it done?
In other words, all decisions are up for grabs, even titling it. Should I title this one “Moonlight In Vermont”, or “Gray Abstract #12”? Or, something else? I think lots of people may feel that abstract
paintings are done by throwing paint at a canvas and seeing what sticks, or, that a monkey could do just
as well. Maybe not on a piece like this one, since it’s fairly refined and the various areas seem
to be carefully filled in. The part I enjoy most about creating this type of art is the rapid back and forth discussion between the right and left sides of my brain, which are usually solved by the body. I find myself gently standing and rocking a bit while making such decisions, so there is, literally, a back and forth thing going on. Since I create lots of representational art, composition is always a conscious concern as I try to lead the eye, but there are lots of more visceral decisions, mainly about texture.
And, of course, the artist may be as prone as the viewer to “de-abstract” it while working on it. “Oh, look , I see a duck there!” I try to avoid that, and the process is most exciting.