So here is a new work, one born of necessity. ..the necessity arose from having to pay rent between semesters sans a paycheck. It started with a conversation wherein I sort of hinted at the barter and then when my landlady found herself in need of a gift for her mother, she remembered that conversation.
I asked for a photograph so I could get started and she obliged with this one:
If you look closely, you might note that this drafting table doubles as a sewing table, but also perhaps something about my process which involves using the grid technique. In this next photo, you can see the sketch done with an olive gray wash:
So in spite of everything that has happened in my life lately, including a rather embarrassing extreme close encounter with some rather unyielding asphalt last night, an experience that left this blogger somewhat bruised and disoriented if only momentarily, followed by this crazy headache left over, skinned knees and sore palms. ..sigh. ..
all of these atrocities giving way to a small revelation which, I should also own up to having posted on the installment plan in my Facebook status, admittedly a very lame attempt at garnering some single girl sympathy. . .AGAIN. . .after a very long string of episodes involving some very weird luck. . .
enclosed please find installment number 1:
Note to my Dansko clogs: Dear shoes with soles that squeak like the wheels on a trojan rabbit. ..and take me from home to work and vice versa going on four years. ..I love and adore your loyalty, truly I have no idea what I would do without it. . .but please TRY and remember that superpowers are for comic books. . . and that yours truly will fall on her big fat keyster . . .especially if you let go of the asphalt long enough to make my legs go airborne. . . knees and hands ouch!!!!
I am thankful I did not break my noggin last night when I fell on the asphalt. And hoping I will be able to find the stone for my ring when I go searching the street for it this morning. Wish me luck!
And the ending:
You guys! I found the stone!!! I just combed the corner where I fell, seeing all that dark stuff. ..thinking I’d never find it. ..and there it was in the middle, scratched. . . but found! My neighbor had super-glue too so it’s all fixed. Sticky with glue on our fingers but fixed!
And IN SPITE OF ALL THAT STUFF, including the awesomeness about finding my stone. . .which I learned is a ruby, a North American unfaceted ruby. ..
(Note: these are cheap so artists can afford them and have a circulatory healing stone as well. ..)
In spite of all that stuff, I was still able to get some art making accomplished this week. . .and a new listing for my Etsy shop too.
And the story is, I began staring at a beautiful (and yes professional. . . yay inspiration, man!) photo of white flowers against stems and a dark sky. . .and then loading up my palette with paints. ..moving the brush around a little bit and getting down with the greens and red maroons
then mixing up some yellow white and ecru, ivory. ..
Oddly enough and much to my own surprise, I somehow ended up with a mass of lavender scribbles at the pause point:
But sadly, when I took this piece outside to see how it behaved in the daylight, I was rather disappointed at the washing out of much of this color. So after going back inside, I got to work, sort of getting lost in the memory of this beautiful shiny work of jewelry I’d seen at a fair-trade place, one incorporating pearls, amethyst and amber. I ended up collaging more lace into this and adding a few of the flowers from the photograph. And here it is now listed and ready to be adopted into a kind and loving environment:
and alas, artists gotta eat too: http://www.etsy.com/listing/86093373/original-floral-abstract-painting
(this post is dedicated to my church-going friend, Nicole)
So a couple of weeks ago, I was facebook wall chatting with a friend whose initial status was questioning the integrity of people will go to great lengths of craziness. . .to gain a readership online. I can’t remember the actual conversation per se, only that I wanted to write a blog about it so here I am. . . with this experiment.
OK, I confess this is post is inspired in part by a very needy desire to increase readership (a very large part so go ahead and shoot me already, I deserve it. . .)
but also (to continue with what I was saying before that last parenthetical). . . also a furious curiosity to see what will happen after I’ve attached the following tags/links and/or language to this artist’s blog:
You could call it a hypothetical experiment, or some other kinda sciencey thing that indicates scholarly involvement, experiment in which a part of me finds itself feelin kinda jazzed about making waves in these otherwise calm waters (so far the seventh biggest day I’ve had around here was an artist interview that included a couple of nude paintings. . . accompanied by a buxomy shot of the budding and lovely young artist )
and the other part finds itself feelin kinda nervous. . .about what to expect in the aftermath of such a blatant attempt to draw attention to oneself.
Introductions first perhaps and check out this sclera slash aqueous matter in the baby blues up here. . .”hi, i’m tess; part-time artist/ part-time community college instructor . . .
And truth be told, I kind of had to draw the line at actual pornography as mostly I find the stuff to be boring and exploitive. . .and so as not to throw my unsaved soul completely overboard.. . .and end up getting devoured by a drunken boat at the corner of Scylla and Charybdis, I’ve decided to limit my tagging vocabulary to ”art” and insanity words.
So here I am at any rate, having tied myself to the mast. .. seasick with sirens blaring loud in cyberspace. All kinds of things to worry about now and fodder for serious neurosis.
Anyway, here goes nothing.
Exhibit A, some original art with an erotic theme followed by exhibit B, a poem on the topic of a semi clad exboyfriend, one having sold himself out to find work as a model for phone-sex.
At any rate, I have just discovered what would happen to my experiment by posting this title in the WordPress promotional forum.
And that is a swift reprimand about the misuse of tags. . .which is kind of embarrassing even when you are just kidding around.
So I won’t actually be attaching any of the tags I said I would use. And truth be told, I never did. Even from the beginning.
In some future post, I guess maybe I will write about about PRETENDING I attached too many provocative tags, and then admit I totally chickened out in the end.
exhibit b: to be continued at a later date
I met Terry Pierson a couple of years ago when he showed up in the front row of a Creative Writing class I was teaching at Southwestern Illionis College on the Belleville campus. Strangely and serendipitously enough, it wasn’t the first time I’d seen him though.
“Hey, I know you,” I said after taking attendance. ” You are the painter guy from the Joan Baez concert. . . sitting one seat over in the next row. I remember because you had paint on your jacket and a sketchpad. You were also the dark figure following on the sidewalk just past the Metrolink station.”
In the course of that conversation, we agreed that the concert had been a memorable one, each recalling the moment in the encore after hearing one of our fellow concertgoers shout, “Take it to the full moon, Joanie!”
And take it to the moon she did. Continue reading
Last night I awoke to the blinding light of something broke loose from a desperately colorful dream. I can’t remember the details exactly. Just that I found myself kind of breathless and gasping, stunned mostly. ..and in front of me there was something I can only describe as a block of brightness moving away as I reached for it.
Still lost in sleepiness, at first I thought it was some kind of answer to prayer, if I actually did pray. ..I guess I kind of do as I’ve been struggling lately. . . with feeling so spent and tired, and unmotivated to lift a brush for more than a few seconds. Lately I just pick it up, dip it into something. . .drag whatever it was across the canvas, sigh and put it back down again.
So anyway looking back on that dream thing, I am thinking if it actually had been something otherworldy or ufo-ish presence I was seeing instead of a sleep-induced hallucination, it would have had softer edges instead of angles probably. I didn’t see its face either. .so that was kind of suspicious to me as well.
Then this morning, when I went out to the garden, I had to come to grips with the fact that the white rosebush had died finally. ..that the weight of what had been shoveled on top had crushed its delicate root system. . . a mishap from last fall when my landlady replaced the backyard sidewalk, and in the process hired some brute with a slegehammer and a shovel.
I came home one day to find the roses coated in a layer of concrete dust. The bush’s base was buried in a pile of dirt and gravel.
I was able to remove most of the gravel at the time, but I guess the trauma of being buried alive was just too much. The back branches had already gone brittle in March after the first flowering and today I found the ones in front somewhat crushed and crumbling as well.
I will have to take a shovel to it tomorrow. .. heavy gloves and bucket.
At its peak, the thing had spread to about three feet around and five high. And its blossoms were big and lush, heady with perfume and petals. Pretty impressive for having just been planted a couple of years ago.
I will miss the roses every time I pass that space. I will have to fill it somehow. Maybe next week, or next month, but not just yet.
So today I begin work on a new painting. There is a clean canvas on the kitchen easel. ..the rubbermaid palette is freshly scrubbed and ready to receive the splats, blobs and sloppiness again. . .the scrapes and dabs and dry spots.
(Gotta love those plastic palettes with a lid and an undersponge. ..as I am a slow study and need to conserve wet paint on an extremely limited part-time instructor budget).
So now what is needed is some water, paint rags and creamed sweet coffee, followed by a plethora of pre-painting google searches: Impressionist technique, abstract art. ..but also pastels and paintings. .. most likely including: Cassatt, Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Brancusi, Renoir, and Billy the sidewalk chalk boy.
I also need to fix myself up with some tunage. ..something that will help move the brush across the blank page. ..keep the blood going. . encourage some lame attempts at humming, jumping, and sing-a-long stuff.
I like early Dylan for this. . .assorted blues music including John Lee Hooker and Billie Holliday. . .maybe some Corinne Bailey Rae, who always keeps it upbeat and playful. . . Judy Collins. . .Pogues. . .Fleet Foxes. . .Badly Drawn Boy. . .Iron and Wine. . .
Here’s a favorite Waterboys: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VKouBHarIo
I wish I was a fisherman. . .
from “The Electric Significance of Singing the Blues”
Mary Cassatt (taped to my drafting table)
Bringing it all Back Home
I began my last post by talking about cutting and collecting images for collage projects. Later I shared a photo of a collage, a tiny work initially crafted as an artist’s trading card (enlarged through the magic of WordPress). Afterwards I promised to post a photo of the finished pastel painting inspired by the collage.
(I also provided a quiz question but more about that later, I promise.)
“What is it you want to say?”
Our last painting instructor was always asking us that question. .. and to be perfectly honest, I admit I always had trouble answering it. . .
but in the interest of personal growth and self-reflection, I’ll take another scissor point to it.
I guess at some other point, I decided the collage had been an attempt at creating a loose biographical narrative, one that also let me pretend I was someone from a fairytale, someone significantly more graceful and confident than I actually am. ..so perhaps in this way, I am able to re-write my own script somehow . . .and create an image of the person I hoped I could always be. So anyway, you will notice that I changed the haircolor of the most prominent figure and I also put a wreath of red roses on her head. . .perhaps this was another wish coming forward as red roses symbolize true love, another thing I would someday like to include in my own story, I suppose. You might also notice I left out the giant diamond on the roseholder’s hand. ..a pink rose. ..I think that’s maybe about an innocent kind of love in the language of flowers. . .
I suppose I maybe did it to say something about the way I feel about diamonds as gifts in general. Pretty to look at. . .and sometimes enviable, but kind of non-existent on my personal to do list (and perhaps that could be a fox and grapes kind of thing underneath as well, but for now I just sort of idealize friendship and sharing a common bond. . .equality I guess. ..and if asked how I feel about it. ..I would have to say that I disagree with the diamond industry’s suggestion that three months salary is enough to show a woman “that you love her.”
Three months of laughter and joyful sharing, on the other hand I believe, really IS something to include on one’s to do list. ..
though I know many women who might think it’s low self esteem talking when someone says that, which I actually can’t deny and yet. .. ) But also I sort of wanted to say that our story continues beyond the boundaries of these modest creations, beyond the limits of what our imaginations can conjure.
Back to the Nuts and Bolts and Whatnot
OK so you might also note in reading the details from the photo that I’m actually sort of cheating by working from grids, which I learned in studying the old masters who practiced this method all the time (I like that word practice. . .because I feel that’s the stage I’ll be in for the rest of my life. . .practice, practice, practice.) Apparently it’s easier for our brains to read images that carry no pre-conceived opinions formed in our heads. . .
so to in order to accomodate for that, we record our impressions of abstract lines and shapes within the boundaries of these small boxes.
(Recently I also learned that artists who work in photo-realism oftentimes use projectors. ..actually draw and paint in the dark by the light of the magic lantern.)
And the answer to my quiz question is:
Kaloma, who is often mistaken for the Josie Earp, wife of Wyatt.
And as promised, here is the finished pastel painting made from the collage:
First the collage:
Have an awesomest day . . .peace shalom. . .namaste! Go and create~
Quiz for next time: Name the inspirational female artist whose pastel appears taped to my drafting table. Name the work so much the better!
Hint: Degas made a painting of her holding a poker hand
After a refreshing breakfast consisting of an egg and sliced grapefruit, I went to water the garden and check on tiny new plants: tomatoes, basil, lavender and coreopsis, all of which seem to be adjusting just fine and thriving in their new home.
The peace rose I planted four years ago now stands five feet tall among them and its blooms are heady with scent.
“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.” ~Emma Goldman
I grew up in a gardening family descended from florists on my mother’s side, so you’d think I’d perhaps had my fill of it by now, but truth be told, I still get so excited just watching things grow, blossom, and bear fruit. Such small wonders and yet so precious and memorable.
Summer classes begin in a week and soon I’ll be taking that trip across the river to join friends and colleagues. . .greeting new students and getting settled in for the next eight weeks.
But for now, I’m just taking advantage of all this time to make new work and be inspired by bees, blossoms and bugs.
“The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers. ”