Sunday, October 26, 2008

Species #330: Work in Progress 2

How did this mess happen?

I am not a clean printmaker.  I left my blank papers in a stack on the table where I was also printing (MISTAKE).  My spatula fell onto a piece of paper, making a huge indelible brown splotch.  I decided to go with it, made lots of brown splotches and smears, and then printed over it.  It was impossible to see the print over the splotches since the ink was exactly the same, so I painted into the print to make it stand out from the mess.

I think it looks pretty neat.  I am kind of stuck at this point, however.

Altered Book Project

In the Materials and Media in Art Therapy class, we have split up into groups.  Each group has to do a workshop and presentation on a type of medium ... well, medium isn't the right work, I guess.  This group's "medium" was books, so for our workshop we altered books.

I dug out of my book and re-glued the pages I cut out onto the cover (which I also cut).  I kind of made a poem out of the words but I won't post that here because it doesn't make much sense.

Hooray for in-class workshops!  I will post more as we go on.  The workshop my group is leading is about puppetry, so that will be interesting...

Species #330: Work in Progress 1

This is Species #330.  I have sewn onto it and then painted it so far.  The close up shows the detail of the negative brush strokes I'm making in this one, as well as the thread that I've sewn on and glued down.

I really like the way paper looks when it's been sewn.  Something about it is so raw and awesome.

Species #1039: Work in Progress 2

I started sewing onto my images.  This was not the first one I sewed onto, but I discovered in this image that gel medium can reactivate watercolor (it seems only if there is a thick coating of water color, because I have tried this out in other species and it hasn't worked).  You can see this in the lips.

I don't know where to go from here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shabbat Feelings

Today was the first day I've ever had a negative feeling about Shabbat.  After all of the holidays, I am basically "holiday-ed out," I just want to be "normal," and I feel frustrated (a little).  Today is also a friend's birthday, and after class everyone was going to the bar.  But I hadn't pre-cleaned for Shabbat in anticipation of going to the bar after class, and I felt bad about leaving that to JewishGuy without warning, and I had promised JewishGuy that I would pick things up from Walgreens on the way home (which he doesn't have time to do), so I went home.

I usually read text books on the train ride home, but I didn't feel like it.  Instead, I took out my sketchbook, the one I keep with me at all times.  I first drew the chain as a response to the activity we did in class where I learned how to make an embroidery chain stitch.  Then I drew the candles.  At first I saw it as an expression of feeling trapped by the holidays, keeping me from being a normal classmate, keeping me from doing things with my friends.

But then I realized it also looks like a special place surrounded by flames, flames from the candles which symbolize divine light.  Shabbat is a special place.  "An Island in Time," as they say.  And this is kind of like that.

So I wrote above it, "entering, not trapped by," because this little sketch is really about my transitioning into Shabbat and into the observant lifestyle.  At first, it feels like I'm trapped.  But if I change my perspective, I am in a holy place.

There's a little bit of art therapy right there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"I Hate This."

My teacher took one look at Species #1039 with the purple and green swirls and said, "I hate this."  He then went on to elaborate, how he hates crafty things, how the tissue paper reminds him of 5th grade crafts and things his mom might make.  He pointed at the print in the middle and said, This is Fine Art, but then pointed at the tissue paper and said, This is not Fine Art.


Afterwards, in my attempt to console myself, I pretended to be his art therapist instead of his student and asked, "Why does the association with your mother make it not Fine Art?"

I mean, of course I didn't say that.  But it made me feel better to think about saying it.

He gave me suggestions on how to use my crafty influences in a way that is Fine Art.  He did this while we were standing back-to-back in the screen washing room and he happened to look at my screen.  It turns out he likes the species, just not what I've done to them.  I was glad he gave me suggestions because when he just flat out said he hated it, without any suggestions on fixing it, I was pretty much flabbergasted.

Also, I tried to explain that #1039 with the purple and green swirls was like an experimenting ground for other works on #1039, for example, the one with the brown spots.  He liked the one with the brown spots.  

Also, also, what IS Fine Art?  Why is something made with expensive materials Fine Art, but something made out of magazines not?  And who says I want to make that, anyway?

I don't know.

I'm all about the art as a human behavior movement in art therapy.  And having to think about materials to use with potential clients influences my choices in materials for class.  And having the experience of leaving art school, realizing almost 100% of what I've learned is irrelevant to real life due to lack of funding (ie: no fun huge printing presses or things like that) and having to adapt my art making to what is available, I am not so excited about spending too much time and effort learning how to do things that I won't do outside the scope of the class.  I want to use the class to enhance my own art making skills in a realistic way.

Anyway ... I am trying to integrate his suggestions into my own ways of working.  Let's see how it goes.  Hopefully I will pass the class.

Oh yeah, and I'm going to slap some tissue paper on some of them, too!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Species #1039: Work in progress 1

Today I went to the studio to print another species.  I printed four copies of Species #1039.  While I was waiting for the screen to dry, I started painting on it.  The hot pink is nail polish!  How fun!  I think I am going to buy more neon nail polish because it's way cheaper than buying neon paint or ink, the only problem is the fumes.  The colors are brighter in person, it was hard to adjust the image in iPhoto to show the real colors and I took a bad picture.  Maybe a better picture to come later.

Species #845: Work in progress 4

Yet another work on a print of Species #845.  I don't know what to do, so I started by collaging magazine pieces.  Maybe I will do some painting on it later.  The species was printed over a monotype ghost print I made.

Species #845: Work in progress 3

Here is another print/painting of Species #845.  I am using the negative brushstroke thing I discovered.  The paper was pre-printed on with the corn cob that I used for one of my 10-day projects, and then I printed the species over it, and then painted with water color and gel medium.  I don't know if I'm finished.

Corn Cob Pipe!!!


How awesome is this???

Three of my friends in my program happened to be out to dinner at a restaurant that for some reason sells folky stuff, like corn cob pipes!  So they bought one for me!  Because of my corn project!!! And how sad I was because I didn't get to make a pipe!!!!

A huge THANK YOU to them of course!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Year Ago...

A year ago, before Rosh Hashanah, HillelLady and I were not friends.  We were working together and not getting along very well at all.  It was pretty passive-aggressive, and it turns out most of it was because our boss was pitting us against each other.  After a big bad conversation on Rosh Hashanah, that basically could have been the end of our friendship potential forever, we decided, eff this, we are going to be friends, we are going to make this work.  We made a weekly date night where we decided we would not do work, but instead bond and hang out.  We weren't going to schedule any programs for that night so that we could have some time as friends.

To be honest, I think our boss was freaked out when we told him about our plan to be friends.

The first date night we had was right around this time, and we went to a paint-your-own-pottery studio.

Well, I just so happen to be in Boston, where HillelLady now resides, and I just so happen to have a few hours free before Sukkot tomorrow.  SO.  We are going to a paint-your-own-pottery studio to make commemorative mugs.  JewishGal & HillelLady: First Year Friend Anniversary.

We aren't friends by accident.  We decided to be friends.  And then we became friends.  And now she is one of my bridesmaids!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Species #845: Work in progress 2

Here is another print of Species #845 that I am working on.  This isn't the same as the other one (as you can guess).  There are four of these that are currently "in progress."

I discovered a cool way to make what I call negative brushstrokes.  I know someone else has discovered this before me, but it was an accident when I saw it, SO I was quite excited.

It's funny how creepy this image is in black and white, but once I add color it seems to be kind of happy!

I <3 Louise Bourgeois

This evening I saw "Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and the Tangerine."  It was ... amazing ... weird ... and, yeah. weird.   Watch the trailer here.

I have always been fascinated by Louise Bourgeois' work.  I love her biomorphic forms, beautiful, sensual, and at the same time graphic and vulgar.  Much of her work is creepy or horrifying to me, and her giant spiders evoke a visceral response.  I am not afraid of spiders, but I am afraid of those spiders!

A few things stood out to me in this movie.  For one, she explains that the spiders represent her mother, and she has a favorable view of her mother.  These giant, menacing spiders, creatures who are practically the symbol of phobia, to her are in a way comforting.  They are reliable, she says, without emotional outbursts, not burdened by their passions.  She says this is like her mother, which is the type of person she strives to be - yet she admits to being what she considers too passionate.  We hear stories of her "passion," such as the story told by her son, Jean-Louis, of a time when she was so angry at their response to her cooking that she threw a leg of lamb out of the window.  The children went and retrieved the meat from outside, washed it off, and ate it, I suppose as a way to appease her anger.

It truly is difficult for me to imagine any kind of positive relationship with a mother represented by a giant spider whose legs envelope a cage that holds a chair (and perhaps allows the viewers to imagine themselves in that chair)!  It is terrifying!  Her spiders can be seen all over the world, outside, where people walk under and rollerblade around their legs.

Another work that had a powerful impact on me was her Arch of Hysteria.

In the movie, we see this arch in a different way - lying on a table in a room that seems to be a shock-treatment room or some kind of room in an old psychiatric facility.  The way they presented this piece in the movie was particularly startling - it took a while for them to show the whole thing, it was halfway hidden, it was unclear as to whether there was a head or arms, it was brought upon us, the viewers, suddenly.

Bourgeois uses her art to work through painful memories of her childhood that she still has not fully come to terms with.  The title, "The Spider, The Mistress and the Tangerine," refer to three major concepts in her work and life.  The spider, as I mentioned, is her mother.  The mistress is dealt with more than once in many ways, one of the most profound (to me) is her interpretation of a recreation of the sewing room in which the mistress worked.

The tangerine story is particularly poignant.  It is here that we have a window into the pain that Bourgeois is still dealing with, even at 96 years old, from her abusive and troubled past.

Her art is haunting, thought-provoking and, often, creepy.  Louise Bourgeois taps into something that is hard for me to describe.  When I look at this work, I imagine that she is not much concerned with the physical appearance of things, but instead uses the manipulation of surfaces and environments that allow the viewers (or should I say participants?) to understand what she is feeling and to perhaps commiserate with her to a degree.  Despite the obvious high level of craftsmanship, I might say that Bourgeois' work is a type of Art in the Raw.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Failed NaBloPoMo again - by 1 entry!

September was a bust!  I was supposed to do 30 posts in 30 days, and I did 29.  FAIL.  Just kidding, it was close, I'm going to say it counts.

This month's theme is voting.  I'm going to stay out of the political arena.  I don't think I want to promise 31 posts this month because of all the holidays and I'm going out of town, but I like the theme.  How about I will STRIVE for 31 posts this month, many of which will be progress pictures of artwork and the like.  I seem to be getting more visitors recently, so maybe some of you want to participate in a poll or two or thirty-one.

What is your favorite cutting tool?
x-acto knife
car keys free polls

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