Friday, February 21, 2014

More face fun

more digital doodling

Thursday, February 20, 2014

More digital fun

Still playing away, decided to add some architecture for a quickie observational challenge. I'm enjoying using a reductive method in digital, kind of a virtual scratchboard!

Is it just me or is The Red Balloon one of those things that bores the snot out of you as a child and then as an adult you totally love it?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Notes to self 2/17

  1.  Observation, u need more of it. even though you had decades of it. Do a daily (hahahahaaaha!) from photo or life or some public domain vintage source.
  2. Your inner critic is not a clueless mom, a less-than encouraging teacher or your inhibition. It's an honest to god Critic. Un-school for six months. Look at craft, look at anonymously made art.
  3.  Make peace with non-proportional folk bodies. You have some kind of meltdown over this, so do some and see if you still feel wrong. Why is it so hard to convincingly go back to what you were doing before you knew what to do?
  4. Have you done something bad, derivative or silly this week? If no, what's up?
  5. Figure out how to curate yourself later. Do a week's batch at a time maybe.

The poop with Faber Castell Gelatos - brutally honest craft product reviews

Gelatos. They were on sale, ok? I hoarded a few and they...sat and sat.

I played with them briefly. They're like drawing with lipstick, they re-activate with water, and they never seem to truly dry either, like an oil pastel having a bad day.

I was not enjoying the Gelato kool aid, and they sat for a while in my stash.

A not so secret? The poop with gelatos, is apparently that the "scrapbooker" level item and the kid's item which costs half as much are the same thing repackaged, though Faber Castell swears up and down that they're not.

Here's a nice shootout on YouTube by the Frugalcrafter, shout out to her. . Apparently there's no fading difference after 1 month either.

My gelatos sat and sat, and then I watched this Donna Downey tutorial for some reason - and that changed everything.

I'm a sucker for dripping paint. I Blame one of my favorites from the high art world,  Pat Steir.

So I thought I'd get a little cascade going on one of my journal spreads. Lo and behold, gelatos really get happy when you add the water to them. They deposit color while moving down the page in a way that a wash of Cotman watercolor just doesn't even come close to! (I tried both.) I'm not sure that Neocolor 2 would move with the flow the same way.

Would I use these to draw? Not really. Would I use these on fabric? How are people getting any kind of permanent adhesion with 'em? I can't see it. They don't stamp brilliantly well. But they do flow down a page of paper like butter when you spray them.

So I like having these for my dripping paint moments.

Others will disagree and insist that gelatos are a great multitasker, but I find them a single-use item. If you don't really care about dribbling things around - use your watercolors, use some good acrylic ink washes, use neocolor, use inktense blocks or pencils, use stamp inks for stamps.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ask/Ask - Art Journal Page

No matter how old you get, you and your mother will probably have this dialogue.


technical sidestep of further navel-gazing time!
There's some of that tasty hand stamping, you can see where I started.

Gelatos again. I think they're a definite candidate for my next BRUTALLY HONEST PRODUCT REVIEW segment - will they pass the test? As always, it depends what you are testing!

Also used - 99 cent alpha stamp, posca, charcoal, pencil, gesso.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Frida Problem.

This is going to be controversial and hurt some feelings. If that's too easy to do, run away now, mes amis.

Am I the only gabacha on the internet who has a big problem with the Frida thing? I hope not.

I've had the same experience with Frida's art that most people do. It is intense, unsparing. It grabs you by the throat, it winds itself into your heart. You can't be unmoved and you can't be the same if you spend time looking at these images. If you get to see them in person, you are lucky to absorb them that way. Breton famously called her "a ribbon around a bomb."

Someone has stolen the bomb.

Marxism Will Give Health to the Sick, 1954

" 'I'm not painting or doing anything. I dislike the "high society" here [in New York where she had travelled with Rivera] and feel a little rage against all these fat cats, since I've seen thousands of people in terrible misery.' - Frida Kahlo

Frida is not a product or a pet. Frida is not a cute wide-eyed doll.  Frida is not a tepid "permission to play".  Frida is not a chicken soup for the White Lady Soul.

None of those things are bad, on their own, but they're absolutely misapplied when you apply them to Frida.

I might understand a gringa desire to connect with Frida if, say, you have a major illness or disability to the tune of 40 surgeries. I'm not sure anyone has ever articulated the fears sufferings and epiphanies of illness on the same terms or ever will since. I connect with these images over their spidery IV lines, but I am humbled at the scope of my own illness in relation. I won't make a point of making a visual art connection, I'll simply absorb. Look. Listen.

I might understand a gringa desire to link your art to Frida if you're a serious Marxist and you've actually suffered over those beliefs. I don't believe that the state should be in charge of all property, but I believe in people's right to believe and I recognize that this country is still stuck in a permanent insane Red scare.

But if you're a comfortable, reasonably healthy, straight white woman in the North American suburbs, one who has had the kids and grandkids that Frida would have KILLED to have been able to bear - what exactly gives? Why isn't looking at Frida's work and admiring it enough?

If you're xicana or a Mexican National she's yours to reframe and engage with. She could only have come from the same amazing place as you. You certainly don't need me or anyone else  to tell you that. I love to see her well treated and honored, but it's not my place to demand anything like that! If you want to be irreverent, that's your prerogative and can be really valuable too. If you want to transmit her as an icon of beauty and positivity I understand why that has value, and I think that this was a part of her legacy, the elevation and dissemination of indio aesthetics and beauty.

I'm not saying "nobody ever make Frida anything" and I'm not dictating how the Latin world handle its luminaries. But I'm addressing the ubiquitous shorthand Frida that anglo Mixed Media artists seem to love.

Peeps:  Please scratch the surface and understand who you're looking at.

LOOK at Frida. Study Frida. Your life WILL be richer for it. But study what's there and don't project your sanitized daydreams onto it.

Frida is personal, but she is never solipsistic. Frida is personal but she is never disconnected from Amerindian identity, Mexican identity, populist politics, or her specific time.  Frida is relevant to Feminism but Feminism is simply a part, a fraction, of her relevance.

It bothers me to see this work reduced to a consumer and aesthetic choice and branding. But it bothers me twenty times more when Anglo North Americans feel free to pluck the pretty parts out of a garden they don't even realize is someone else's freaking garden.

If you're not entirely sure why it's speaking to you, maybe you need to think and read some more.  Is it beckoning to you because it's pretty? Because it's stylish? Because it's a shorthand for something you want to say about yourself? Is it exotic and therefore more interesting because you haven't made contact with your own culture more deeply?

There are problems, serious problems, in the legacy of the US and the rest of the Americas. Plundering the nice bits out of Frida Kahlo's visual legacy is a kind of stealing of soul that I can't participate in.   Frida DIED from the pneumonia exacerbated during her last act of public appearance - a protest of US intervention in Guatemala.

That's missing from the happy Etsy Frida.

Getting messy again....gelatos and inktense journal pages

Peace of mind? Really? How journal schmournally. It's a well-trod sentiment. But peeps, my dear peeps, how I really really could use some in my life this week.

This page started with a hand stamp I carved. I call the pattern "cairn" - you can't really see a lot of evidence of it here, but I'll be showing it off a lot.  I'm LOVING carving my own stamps as a starting point - it's a great way to lay down a bunch of information onto that intimidating white page, and it's a nice way to keep the image vocabulary your own.

The flowers are collaged deco paper, though. I thought they went so nicely with the background I worked up with plenty of gelatos dripping. They do tend to migrate down the page in a different way from watercolors, it's hard to explain but you'll notice the difference if you try both.

Used inktense, gesso, posca, acrylic pen and ink, and lots of prismacolor here. It's nice to get messy again and get lot of deep saturated color.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Saturday, February 8, 2014

More Cat Faces.

I used a pencil sketch as the basis for this again, this time much more digital layering and coloring. I was laboring under the delusion that digital is faster. Digital is not faster - the digital advantage is simply having the world's most awesome eraser at your disposal.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Time Spent with a Cat

Time spent with a cat is never wasted.

Pencil, digtally inked and cleaned up.

I'm really enjoying this little visual journey.  Yeah it looks different from my other work, but I think it's a logical place to go based on everything else. I'm not done making lots of messes, though.  Wonder if I can make it all make sense together.

Field of Dreams

More playing with ink, pencil and I even dragged out the intuos 3. Seems it's been waiting for the right moment.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Doing the opposite....

I set up a challenge for myself - I don't usually doodle in a way I find visually rewarding, I don't usually use line or fail to use layers, and I don't tend to work in a very graphic way.

So: HB pencil only in my sketchbook.

Scanned, digitally colored - I was going for the look of a poorly registered print, somewhat.

Valentine faces!  Thinking of you (plural) - me plural making art, all my various visual personae duking it out to see whose style will actually win.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

29 faces day 1 - 4x6 with crumpling

For 29 faces - a face as the focal of a small painting. This is 4x6 and about as small as I can get comfortably, more power to the people who rock original ACEOS!

Experimenting with trashing my cardstock before painting on it.  Honestly I only halfway like it here, but it's worth playing with. Used distress inks, a Tim Holz lettering stamp, my own painting in acrylic, inktense pencils victorian butterfly collage cutouts (courtesy of justsomethingimade)

The butterflies were made into an acrylic skin - everyone familiar with that technique? I might do more with it in future posts.

After I was done I wasn't loving the surface, so it's nothing my quilting iron and wax couldn't enhance. It's a little crazy to put wax onto paper rather than a hard surface, but I think it worked.