Posts Tagged ‘carving’

Carolyn Henderson says this in her blog today:

“As your own middle manager, you wrestle with an orderly, recognizable work schedule wrapped like a python around the insurgent screaming soul of your Muse. “

You nailed it again, Carolyn!  I checked with Robert Genn, too, and he thinks this way too.  So if two faves think alike on this one I will forgive myself for being in my yesterday’s jeans and last night’s jammie tops with a fleece vest on and a heater at my back.  And for having at least eight in-process works sitting around in various states of drying- one which I brought in a while ago from a place on the porch where it was out-gassing from a late night session.

The phone already has taken its slice out of today’s morning.  In an hour or so it will be time for my daytime sleep.  Not called a nap anymore, since it can run into the evening hours when I get up and start all over again, but without the long phone call interruptions.  The housemate upstairs knows I clank around in the kitchen at night getting my second breakfast and second lunch while I intermittently work on various things and catch up on the internet news.  (I don’t own a TV.)

Last night I used a dremel tool, sandpaper, watercolors, oil paints, damar varnish (the one that needed to out-gas), carving tools, glue, leather, spot remover, and brushes, gravity, chemical reactions, and a lot of cleaning up tools in the efforts at these various art items.  A good part of painting is the time between strokes.  Waiting until it is just right to add the next part.

With wood items it often has to do with rolling liquid color around on the object, making it drip unimpeded at just the right speed to make the mark I have in mind.  Then waiting until it is sufficiently dry to drop another color or medium into the bowl and work it in a different manner or direction.   Last night I used a tool to scrape the color multiple times to make a directional texture.  And I tried white as an edge, rather than the black or near black edging I like to use on some of the ridges between planes.

There is a painting that sits looking at me and I do some thinking about it while I work on other things.  It’s a watercolor of what I call Elephant Ankles, of trees standing in a flooded lagoon. Last night I took a very sparse brush to it and laid in some defining darks that I am pleased with.  I’ll keep an eye on it today to see what my Muse suggests next.  Might be a week before she speaks.

That python Carolyn speaks of wraps itself in the most insidious ways some days.  Two days ago I was up an old wood tripod  ladder purposefully and conscientiously  reattaching the rain tarp from the eaves over my workshop door. A  huge wind gust had taken apart an elaborate visquine setup to shunt rainwater away from my door and into the driveway.  It was important to replace it before the next rain.

But the ladder failed.  The tired metal struts that held it apart just decided to bend and collapse, dropping me about four feet onto the concrete apron which had “stuff” lying on it:  parts of the ladderthat dropped ahead of me.  I have ” python marks” on my thigh, rear, elbow and arm of my right side to show for this fall.  Happily my bones are intact;  I didn’t fracture my pelvis or get a pulmonary embolism or any of that stuff my brain wanted to worry about  while I was saying a mild oath and regarding  my arms and legs all spread out on the concrete. The bruises ache, but I am able to do the work I mentioned above during last night’s session,  and I was also able to revisit my tarp project with a garden rake and a garden umbrella to good avail.  Not pretty, but not uglier than the original arrangement, and it will work.

The adventure is frustrating,  but it will stitch itself into the tapestry that is my routine, and become, one way or another, part of my output, whether it’s just this blog entry, or maybe even a painting.

A painting in my archives comes to mind.  It’s called His Stuff, and it is a densely busy oil painting of the garage once used and fully occupied by a guy I was married to who collected art supplies and machines.  I am certain that at least 60% of the objects in that garage weighed over 200 pounds each!  Cauldrons of brass keys,  two giant photo enlargers, stacks of metal, precious exotic hardwood chunks, sculpture maquettes large enough to fill a bathroom. Generators and Oxy/Acetylene equipment, car motors and old gears and propellers. A mirror too large to move without a dolly.

I loved that painting.  It’s one of my best, and it was the chosen subject for a lively discussion group at a close-in art show with mensa-type folks.  EVERYONE related to it somehow,  and one of them really related, saying “what’s that dummy there in the middle?”

My Muse and I  had audaciously  decided to add to the garage collection a  blow-up female figure, somewhat deflated and hanging from the ceiling.  The inflatable figure was symbolic of me, part of his collection of useful objects! I thought that the discussion group reviewer really had a point. That object was a dummy!

But there you are!  The big frustrated sigh became art that others could relate to.  An artist’s life is not mainly the paints or chips.  It’s the output.  And when the output reaches well to others, it is successful art.  That’s what keeps me happily up at night.

Old Swimmer


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raindrops in the workshop

raindrops in the workshop

We have been looking for rain for a long time.  The forest is dry;  the bracken is yellow; the fire danger signs are up;  the bears are coming down from the mountains looking for food, and so are the deer and their accompanying predators, the mountain lions.

Every thing is coming down from up above.  And the rain is a relief.  But it’s coming down in some wrong places!

I knew the water problem would come up with fall weather.  We have a ditch dug, thanks to a nice person named Alfredo who works for my landlord.  Last winter my son dug out a ditch in front of the garage apron and filled it with gravel. But what about the water that comes down ON the apron and invites itself into my workshop area?

Seemed to me, working out there today, that a shed roof installed over the apron would be a plan:  something to direct the water into the driveway at least.  I rigged something just to see if it would work.  I spent probably two hours fussing around with long sticks and also with some left over shingles.  The picture shows the wonderful black plastic solution I came up with, using long sticks as springs propped against the supports in the garage doors, and such.  The shingles are now arranged shingle style on the apron, hoping the rain will decide to shed down into the driveway, but the apron is really quiet flat, not sloped.  I need a dam in my doorway!  And I need to put the stuff in the carport on stilts!  (I need to get rid of it.)

Well, I did get some work done in the shop today, but most of the progress was conducted in my studio where chips and leather scraps are on the floor and things are drying here and there.  It’s good to see some progress.  A vase I have been working on for several days (actually it started months ago with the basic repair of a large check in its side,) got its finishing touches today.  I have created a handle that is installed right over the epoxied and stained crack — quite an invention our of leather scraps and with little holes burned along a strip that I sewed with waxed linen thread and then affixed to the side of the vase with escutcheon pins and two strong leather supports.  The final move was to lace the stitched handle so it had a uniform shaped grip.  I think it’s quite handsome, really.  Not useful– just handsome.  One can put fake flowers in this, or dry weeds.  Or nothing.  It looks as if it has a history.  Well, it has!

Who knew where that tree grew, and how and why it was cut down,  and why the wood turner chose that particular shape, and why the wood decided to crack open just there?  Many hands have handled this piece of wood, including mine.  I know that other hands will come at the bowl outstretched to feel the smoothness of the satiny wood and to try out the handle.  They will look inside and ask if water can be put in there (no), and then they will have their inner dialog about whether they should part with a sum of money for something that is only decorative…but it’s so decorative, after all.  And it’s hand made.  And it’s smooth.    Someone will buy it and love it a lot.  Like I have.


Old Swimmer

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My thoughts as I work on this piece (it is sitting on my printer right now under my Blue Max light in the middle of the night,) have moved from the sort of rhyming name I have given to this piece to the natural significance of its title.

Earth begets trees.  Sky begets seas.  The soil and matter recycles from plant to compost to soil and around again.  The sky returns the sea’s moisture in rain and snow and saves it in vapor.  The stars look on like my Blue Max light is watching me work at midnight.

A nice trip to go on this September day.. thinking about the turn of the season,  and working on wood products for the coming bazaars and retail venues.  What to present for Christmas shoppers?  Shall it be themed, or just beautiful and/or useful?

My privilege is to play with these objects and see what comes of it.  Often it’s scrapped.  I have a boatload of unmet expectations…and some of them have been yanked out and reworked a second or third or fourth time.

The nicest thing about a “bad” bowl is that I have permission to try wild and impetuous things with it.  This is the stuff that keeps my inner artist keen while I work at the mundane tasks:  patching, shaping, sealing, carving, staining and coloring, putting on coats of appropriate finish.

Sometimes these experiments have weeks of work tied up in them by the time I have done all I want to.  There is no way I will ever be paid much for all this except inside myself.  I like it.  That’s pay.   The other kinder gentler creations will bring in some revenue to support the play-stuff.   Thank you, woods.  Thank you earth, sky and seas.

Old Swimmer

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 Ruminations, a sculpture, a poem…  "Links" ~ A study in Negative space

Today I know that my lawn-addict neighbor is again mowing his lawn. And someone down the street is doing the same. Next I will know that the weed whackers are at work. I can hear the evidence of some snoozing going on over on the couch.

…brings to mind the peculiar music of John Cage…… to read more, click HERE   Old Swimmer

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