Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Modeling Day

After letting it sit for almost two years, I was happy to find my modeling material in prime condition. I mix up shredded paper and sawdust in latex paint and let it sit until it's a clay-like goo. Normally I'll wait a month, but life intervened and this batch sat for 21 months. I mixed up a new batch today to use in about a month.

I got the sculpting done for the new painting that I think I'm calling "Guide Transmutes Effluence of a Sickened Heart". It's structured around the top character, showing a controlled and organized set of layers of energy and an upsurge of the energy pulled from the lower character transformed and harmonized. At the same time, the lower character is nearly drowning in cloud-like forms emanating from the heart center, with agitated lines showing the resistance of its present state of mind to the ordered calmness of the guide. Chaos doesn't often like to surrender.

Color is definitely going to play a big role in holding up the structure of the upper portion of the painting. I did no sketches for this one, but have held the image in my mind for a long time, so even though I was sculpting in grey, I was thinking in color.
The cloud-form area is very thick and may take a couple of months to dry thoroughly. For now it needs to lay flat.

I also put a finish coat on "Forming and Shedding of Allegiances". I thinned down the molding material to let the texture of the cigarette butts show through. It's just a hint of the worm-like quality in an otherwise stucco-like finish. After the under layers cured for about a year, they were razor-sharp and I ended up cutting up my hands. Finally had to use an improvised foam squeegee to get the thin layer I wanted. It's showing a point where a decision is made and acted upon, so the energy is more fluid than some other images. This one will probably be ready to prime for painting in a week or so.

A new tub of modeling goo.

Another painting I took up was an old one that stalled about three years ago. I couldn't get it right then, but it clicked now. The concept behind it needed to evolve. It's called "The Tribulation of Silence". Originally, it was meant to address the difficulties of being censored, but has evolved to also embrace the harm caused by the silence of others. It's a smaller work, about 2x2 ft. There are two very thick areas of modeling goo on this one as well, and drying might take a month or so.

It was stormy and fairly dark today, so pictures of the progress will need to wait until I get more lights in my work area again. I'll post them soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Today I stretched the canvas and stitched the casts to the canvas. The next step, pictured mid-way here, is smoothing out the transition from cast to canvas with extra strips of plaster gauze. Next I have to see if the latex-paper mix I made up the last time I worked on paintings is still ok.

If I need to make more, it's a matter of taking shredded paper and submerging it in ceiling white latex paint. Once it soaks in, it becomes a very malleable molding material. It takes several days to really soak in; the longer, the softer it becomes.

I'm also reworking the gallery site. It's a little overdone for my taste and there are several glitches from when I had to change web hosts. It's a large undertaking, not sure when I'll get it done, but it's time.
Main Gallery Site

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Assembly stage

Started working on assembling the new painting. When I made the casts of my father's hands, I had to do the insides of his palms separately so he could get out. Now I had to put them together with extra gauze. It looks like the painting will do best at about 2 x 4 ft. I just happened to have a piece of canvas about that size and it was easy to do a trial layout of the pieces since that's also the size of my work table.

The lower entity is actually a cast of my own face and represents someone seeking guidance. The upper one (a cast of my dad) represents a guiding spirit. I've made the stretcher and will let the glue harden overnight.

In the meantime, I worked a little more on the painting with FL's cast. Since it's about letting go of past allegiances for those that are more suitable, it needed the face of the one being let go. It's a highly modified cast of my own face that I'd removed from the original version of Stellar Flame. I had padded the cheeks and nose of that one to create a slightly different face, but these remnants work well for that purpose.

I also have the sculpting stage of Joy Shared to finish. Need lots more faces for that one.

It's pretty cold down in the basement with the weather so cold outside. Even with the wood stove going, it only gets up to about 50°. It slows down the drying process. So I'll let things sit overnight.

Main Gallery Site

Monday, January 5, 2009

Rethinking Opening

Although the work schedule has prevented me from going ahead with the new painting I did casts for, I have spent some time thinking about this one - "Opening".

Although I'm happy with the sculpture side of it, I can't stand the painted aspect. I've exhibited it this way, but was really disappointed with how it looks. The colors are muddy, the linseed mix is uneven ... it's just not "there".

I'm definitely going to repaint it. Ideally, I'd chop it up into three separate pieces as well, but I'm not sure how well they'd survive coming off the stretcher and being re-stretched. It may be a total rebuild around the casts. At 4 x 9 ft., it's really unwieldy and people generally had a confused response to the same person appearing on the canvas three times.

I just can't do anything with this image. I don't want to show it, I can't get myself to make products from the image - posters, mugs, cards, etc. It's just not formed. It's probably better to risk losing it than let it continue in this malformed state.

On a side note, I saw a wonderful program on yoga yesterday. It reminded me so much of the roots of my work, that I'm thinking of looking into learning the proper practice of it. I've had Buddhist and Hindu leanings my whole life. It's time to look into the paths laid by other and see what's there.

Main Gallery Site