Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Quilting Action

Three more quilts...The more I continue on this little project I've made for myself, the more I like it. The whole process for me has become very meditative.

Actually enjoying painting with oils is a very new experience for me. In college, I associated any painting class with frustration and headaches. Frustration came mostly from the extremely slow drying time of oil paints. I can be very impatient when making artwork, that's why I don't like making computer artwork. The headaches came from the overwhelming smell of paints, mediums, and mineral spirits. The other students were often careless, leaving jars open, spilling things on the ground, plus the ventilation was terrible. I hated painting with oils.

Working by myself, in my basement, has proven to be a much more comfortable way for me to make artwork. I keep my workspace clean, I can watch TV as I work, and there are no distractions like gossip, complaining, or techno music.

The top painting is titled "Green Quilt". It is a study of contrasting colors. Red and green are tricky colors to work with, since they have a strong association with Christmas. I hope I did okay. The middle painting is titled "Sunflowers", and is an abstract study of the sunflowers left in my garden - as well as a study of the color yellow. The bottom painting is called "Stars" and is made from both recycled paintings and some pages from a hymn book. I have been hanging on to those pages for over a year. I am so glad I found a use for them. "Stars" is a study of the color blue.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New Craft Work At Wild Geese

As promised, here are a few samplings from my second batch of signs for Wild Geese, a gift and home decor shop in Colchester, CT.

I am now working on my third batch, which will include some more "rustic" pieces. I recently acquired some heavily weathered wood from my local lumber lard. It seems they had quite a bit of wood sentenced to death by burning. I saved what I could, loaded it in my Hyundai Accent, and took it home. I will do my best to see to it that these pieces of wood will find good homes.

Meanwhile, I have also been working diligently on my paper quilts. I have three new pieces to post. As soon as I have taken some decent pictures of them (and decided what else to write about them), I will post it on my blog. Oh, how seemingly important this all is!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Waste Not Want Not

Being a recent collage graduate, I am accustomed to not having much money to spend on the things I’d like to have. Being a bit of an art dork, all I want to spend my money on is art supplies. But with more pressing expenses, such as my big fat student loans and my car loan, I must resist the urge to spend every Saturday at my local art supply store, buying expensive papers and paints, tools and gadgets.

I have been focusing my time trying to make money off of my hard-earned education. Making artwork, however, costs money, and the prospects of making money from your artwork when you’re a lowly twenty-something with no connections or artistic reputation is somewhat bleak. I have one solo exhibition lined up for next June (oh so far away!), which will be at the Jonathan Trumbull Library in Lebanon, CT, and I’m working on setting up another solo exhibition in Avon, CT. At the Crown and Cringle, a coffee and pastry shop in Old Wethersfield, CT, I have two limited edition prints for sale. I haven’t made any money from my signs at Wild Geese, in Colchester, CT, but it’s only been a short while. Throw in a few small commissions, and I’ve made a few bucks here and there, but not all that much.

Long story short, my artwork is not making me nearly as much money as my day job. I must be frugal.

Here is where the “quilts” project came into play. I wanted to do a study on pure color, and I have been fascinated with American quilts, primarily Amish quilts. for the past few years. I wanted to make a few abstract pieces where I could look at different color relationships, in the hopes of improving my illustration skills. I didn’t want these painting to be just color studies, however, so I decided to piece together quilts from paper.

In the spirit of American quilting, I used “recycled” materials: my leftover figure paintings from my figure painting class last fall. Out of a whole semester of paintings, I really only painted two or three that I wanted to keep. Rather than throw them away, or let them collect dust for the rest of my life, I gave them new life, by cutting them up and sewing them into quilts. Once sewn together, I painted over them with oils. The translucent quality of the oils allowed the figures to peek through and the layering of colors brings another aspect of texture to the paintings.

I’m not sure how far I’ll push this project, but I’ll let it develop organically and see what happens. The nice thing is, it doesn’t cost any money, and my old artwork is not going to waste.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Squirrels on the loose!

This spring, I had the opportunity to create three sample black and white illustrations for a possible book deal. While the book deal fell through, I did create some nice black and white illustrations, an area that I do not specialize in. I later decided to re-paint my favorite illustration in color. This illustration, titled “Persistence” demonstrates the clever persistence of our little gray furry friends; squirrels. If you’ve ever had a bird feeder, you have seen it. A squirrel’s determination is only surpassed by its cuteness.

Monday, October 02, 2006

More Sick Day Nonsense

This may be a bit too personal, but last night, I sketched the teeth I had extracted last week. They were quite interesting, almost anthropomorphic. It was like being in a figure drawing class again.

My original intention was to look at the teeth and then throw them away, but I may hang on to them a little while longer. Perhaps they might inspire a series of watercolors...

Aside from sketching bloody teeth, I also worked my next collection of signs for Wild Geese, which I will post soon.

I also continued working on a project I have been toying with for a while: paper quilts. They are recycled from my figure drawing and painting classes - the work that was not up to par for a portfolio, but was on nice paper. It seemed a shame to let the paper go to waste, so in the spirit of "waste not want not", I conceived this project. I hope to finish in the next month or so.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sick Days

This past Thursday, I faced something that I have avoided for five years - getting all four of my wisdom teeth pulled. The actual act was not as bad as I thought it would be, but the pain afterwards has been pretty debilitating. I can’t drive, because of the pain pills, I can’t do anything too physical (I almost fainted doing laundry). Bored out of my mind (and somewhat foggy in the brain because of the pain medication) I have taken up two temporary hobbies: pumpkin painting and soup making.

I actually found that I am good at making puréed soups, and the dread of eating everything out of the blender for the next week is no longer crippling. My pumpkin painting skills, however, have proven to be a bit less adept. I think the combination of pain, vicodin, and insomnia was not the catalyst I needed to create a successful composition on a giant, orange vegetable.

Oh well...