A New Body of Work

Spent much of today turning sketchbook journal entries from April 23 - August 12 and images of work in progress into a blog post chronicling my process of creating a new body of work.

Reading: How to Practice by His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Inspired by discussion with, and artwork by fellow exhibiting artists in the Fall Invitational at Expanding Heart in Frederick, MD in October 2016, I began a new series of work. With the intention of working on a larger scale and exploring the ideas I had set out in the Fall Invitational (mark making in response to a developed surface and playing with line, form, and movement in various media), I worked on Hosehair Worm 9' x 6' and Spiral 6' x 6' collage/painting pieces throughout the winter of 2016 and into the spring of 2017. 

Horsehair Worm, 22" x 18", graphite on paper
(study for Horsehair Worm collage/painting)

Horsehair Worm, collage phase begins

Horsehair Worm, collage phase complete

Detail of Horsehair Worm, collage phase

Horsehair Worm mark making phase begins

Horsehair Worm mark making phase complete

Horsehair drawing phase in progress

Horsehair Worm, drawing phase in progress
Detail of Horsehair Worm, mark making phase

Beginning in the spring of 2017 I began making journal entries as the series progressed. What follows are the journal entries from April 2017 to the present. All of the images are of works in progress taken with my cell. .

April 23, 2017 I exhibited work (silkscreens, Shell Game, Paisley Reclamation) in an exhibition at Expanding Heart in Frederick last fall. These works are germinating into a new series - currently under the working title Disintegration. I am reviewing 30 years worth of sketchbooks and finding repeated forms and visual vocabulary. I am cataloging these (visual catalog or inventory) and then creating large collage/paintings/drawings of the imagery as well as making charcoal and graphite studies of some of them - observational drawing. As the school year winds down, I look forward to being in the studio regularly.

Reading: The Grid Book by Hannah B. Higgins

Visual Vocabulary studies

May 14, 2017 Continuing to work on collage/paint series of natural forms and cataloged visual vocabulary.

Spiral in progress, 6' x 6'

Detail of Spiral

Painting Spiral with a little help from a friend

May 22, 2017 Struggling with issues that are sapping me of strength and energy, finding it difficult to get into the studio. Tired and sad. My son is my joy.

May 25, 2017 In the studio on a Saturday morning. Feeling like I'm running in quick sand - slow motion - get started. What's next? Here

June 20, 2017 Visual Vocabulary

Sketchbook Entries for May 25th and June 20th

June 25, 2017 Breezy, sunny Sunday. Working on "vocab" piece. Bought a Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary from Wonder Books for $4.98. I'm doing a test run on stretched linen and, if all seems to work in terms of scale, will move on to panels.

June 27, 2017 In the studio!!! Missing.

Working on "vocab" series. Works developed from collection of repeated images developed by looking at 30 years worth of sketchbooks. I'm combining a love of collage with these images. With the collage, I develop an interesting ground on which to draw the vocabulary.

"Fossils from Classical Latin "fossilis"; literally, "obtained by digging" are the preserved remains of animals, plants, and other organisms from the remote past."

July 4, 2017 Formation by Disintegration

July 6, 2017 Discovery. Maintaining a sense of discovery in the work.

"Fossils: obtained by digging"

Worked on study for Polypora A, charcoal, India ink, acrylic on dictionary pages of the letter A that have been glazed with acrylic varnish. Very satisfying.

July 8, 2017 Work on 12 panel dictionary piece begins with study on linen nearly finished. Beginning with Polypora on panel A, charcoal, acrylic, bamboo brush captures movement in calligraphic line. Feels like drawing. Panels B and C in process of receiving 3 coats of clear, glossy acrylic varnish. Glossy helps maintain color and clarity and allows me to rub acrylic paint off if needed.

July 11, 2017 Continuing with multi paneled drawing using fossils that reflect the visual vocab I dug up from years of sketchbooks. After documenting images that were repeated many times, I am looking for their doppelgangers in the world of fossils to attempt to develop texture and detail.

July 13, 2017 5 more drawings on panels to go. I need to install somehow so that I can play w/ placement of panels in relationship to each other.

July 14, 2017 Now I'm in it. Spending three plus hours a day in the studio changes everything. It changes how I see the work, what I am willing to accept as completed/successful/articulate. Sometimes time and distance allows perspective. Too much time and distance lowers standards. The ability to be in the studio this much is a blessing.

3 more panels to go.

I am also developing small water color studies in black and white of the fossils/vocab.

Nearly completed Ammonite charcoal drawing - a lovely piece, I think. Perfect in its imperfection.

Ammonite in progress, charcoal on paper

Read this as I read back into this sketchbook:
From June 23, 2016
"The layered, collaged process mirrors our human experience - the coexistence and contradiction of many pieces, parts, and memories with an attempt to harmonize or make sense of it all through empathetic response."

July 15, 2017 Hot and humid today. A close, overwhelming heat that keeps me from weeding the front flower beds.

Plan for today - complete 2-3 of the last 2 panels and the black and white color studies that go with them. After this phase of the panels, I'm not sure what's next in terms of developing them further. Currently, they stand alone as drawings. 

Next is the collaged, framed, "disc" piece - recycled Boat - to complete, I need to buy some foam core.

I have decided to hold off on framing water color vocab studies and will keep working to see what else I come up with for this series. It's important to keep this current energy flowing and going as I mine this particular vein.

July 16, 2017 9 years ago today, I joined Facebook - haha - FB just celebrated this using algorithms to show me images of the last 9 years that would most please me - kinda creepy but, I love looking back - especially when I see my Joe Joe.

Finished first phase of vocab catalog panel piece. I'll put this aside for now.

Working on collage discs - an assemblage of circles cut from my collaged boat from years ago (recycling!)

Reading: Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars by Camille Paglia

July 19, 2017 Time to put in my studio time but I am not sure what's next. I feel it's time to begin a new collage but I am not sure of materials. Stretched canvas bows w/ the contraction of the drying starch and paper. I've used all 12 of my panels for the vocab catalog. $! I must have supplies that I can recycle. I think some small, stretched linen pieces w/ Sacred Geometry painted on them. I could recycle these w/ collage if I am careful not to fold papers over the edges which seems to encourage warping and bowing.

July 20, 2017
- Completed? ammonite/collage/painting Eye Love You.
- Began and completed?  Recycled Sacred Geometry (stretched linen) into an underwater reef, color, and movement.

Reef, 3' x 1', collage and acrylic paint on linen

August 1, 2017 Feeling energized after a week at the beach with family. Framed two pieces and organized studio to prepare to create and put in time.

Current plan is to (these are all short term goals):
1. Create small drawings and choose best to frame.
2. Look at another papier mache assemblage piece by recycling Ferdinand the Bull.
3. Clean off 12" x 12" ammonite that was unsuccessful and attempt to move in a better direction.
4. Collage 24" x 24" linen (recycling dead end painting)

Long term goals:
-photograph work
-artist's statement
-additional large piece?
-resolve catalog piece?
-book piece?
-additional large drawings (charcoal)

August 2, 2017 Embrace the change, the loss, the present.

August 6, 2017 Have been working steadily although I am a bit stalled. Materials, materials, materials. What next?

In reference to list from August 1:
1. Working on small drawing - made ink from beets and coffee - trying to work with these.
2. Recycled Ferdinand the Bull unsuccessfully.
3. Couldn't clean off 12" x 12" ammonite painting. Collage?
4. Recycled 24" x 24" - excited about this collage.

Short term goals moving forward:
1. Respond to 24" x 24" collage w/ paint.
2. Recycle 12" x 12" painting w/ collage.
3. Continue small drawings.

So grateful for time to work, for materials, health, time, support, and inspiration, for beauty and line and color and nature. Grateful for passion and goals, opportunities and ideas. Grateful for a body of work and exploration and discovery and wonder. Grateful for play and questions and puzzles. 

- The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints, and More by Nick Neddo
- The Paper Trail: An Unexpected History of a revolutionary Invention by Alexander Monro

August 7, 2017 Rainy day. A welcome cool rain after so much persistent sunshine. Love the sound and color of it.

Reworking parts of catalog today as well as 24" x 24" recycled images collage.

August 11, 2017 Work on 24" x 24" collage progressed nicely yesterday. I want to try this exercise again and on a larger scale.

24" x 24", collage and acrylic paint on linen

August 12, 2017 In rethinking Catalog or All Things Being Equal, I've decided to divide the 24" x 24" panels into 4 equal 12" x 12" sections and create visual vocabulary within each section. This better communicates the concept of multiple symbols - like an alphabet. I plan to try this with 6 panels, giving me 24 12" x 12" sections and 24 symbols and maybe 6 more panels for a total of 48 symbols.
All Things Being Equal, 6' x 2', acrylic and collage on panel

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral in progress 1/26/18