Tuesday, March 20, 2018

LAW 147: Taking a Turn to the Abstract

Hey hey hey! Happy Vernal Equinox. So far today it has rained, snowed, sleeted, rained, snowed.....
our boat, Tesla's Revenge is rocking back and forth in her slip in concert with a charming North Wind.


 Have i mentioned that i am throughly done with this winter? Magellan our first mate/cat is definitely as dis-amused as i am with the weather. The ice/snow build up on the docks gets in the way of his important off the boat cat stuff. SIGH.

3.16.18, 8 x 8.5" on book board

Okay enough about the weather and on to talking about art.


Several of my latest collages have gone in a decidedly non-figurative direction; which i have been enjoying immensely. There seems to me that working in an abstract style gives a greater degree of freedom; primarily for play. Abstraction Expressionism allows me the opportunity for experimentation within the context of the constraint of design and composition decision making.

3.17.18, 11 x 7" on book board

Collage presents the same challenges compositionally as any of the fluid media; there is always the necessity to balance color, shape, line, style of mark making: along with all of these comes the challenge of how to successfully merge different types of imagery.  By this i mean the basic differences you find texturally between the reproductions of various media; the surface texture of a fashion photograph or advertisement is significantly different than that of a hard edged, or impressionist painting.


I could go on; it should be apparent that each medium has its own particular look and one of the many challenges faced by a collage artist is how to make these disparate elements work together.

3.18.18, 8.5 x 11", on tag board

I was paid a huge compliment the other day; a fellow art maker on one of the many Facebook art groups i am part of praised the way i had successfully merged collage and paint work. Since the piece was 100% hand cut collage i was understandably flattered.

3.19.18, 8.5" 11"

I think that these new collages are successful. I try to always use more than one element from any image that i cut and use. This ensures that i am using the same "palette", which provides continuity and a sense of wholeness that i find is sometimes lacking in some collage work.

3.20.18, 13.5" dia.

What do yo think?

As always, more later

Thursday, March 15, 2018

LAW 146: More New Collages

One of the things that most rocks my boat(so to speak) about collage is the wonderful, serendipitous connections that magically occur.

On the Altar
 I almost always know where and what the images i use came from. That sort of insider information is important to me, and is one of the elements that predicate just which image i use in each collage. ON THE ALTAR, for example the background images include spy satellite imagery, the American flag flying on the moon and a atom bomb test photo. Combine with the profoundly disturbing, yet silly image of the little girl "wrapped" in the flag reading these images should give you a greater understanding of where i was going with this particular piece.

  I keep my collage materials in manila file folders. This allows me to keep the material in some sort of order and also  keep track of the last time i searched through a particular file as i date a file each time i search it. I do this because i find that material gets stale if i look at it too often; if i know what is in any particular group of images i find that i tend to not really look at them, not see what is there.

Does this.... make me look....

New material is the life blood of analog collage work. I think that this is particularly important if you work the way i do; which is in a very open ended, spontaneous connection making fashion. I almost never have any preconception of what i am going to create; instead preferring to see what offers itself.


It is getting more and more difficult to find the sorts of materials i like to work with. Second hand stores used to be great sources, and to be fair, some still are. Just not the ones that are close to me. So now whenever we travel a visit(s) to new, local thrift stores are always on the agenda.


We went to visit friends in Delaware last week and i managed to score s few pretty awesome children's books in one of the three stores we visited. I don't often find kids books that i like to use, as the imagery is usually to simple and cartoonish.

What Do You See When You Dream?

These books however proved to be little gems of slightly psychedelic pattern and color. They have provided much of the imagery i used in these last few collages.

Enjoy, and as always
More later

Friday, March 2, 2018

LAW 145: And They Called the Wind.....

Well today's creativity will be limited to the sorts of things that can be done without sharp, pointy, and cutty things. We are experiencing some of the effects stemming from whatever this northeaster is called. The wind has been rocking our boat strongly since about one this morning, and it is supposed to peak about three this afternoon. Oh joy!

I will take the opportunity given to update you all on what's happening in my studio here on Tesla's Revenge.

BUY, BUY,  2.23.18, 5.5 x &.25"
I have several projects i have been working on through out this winter, some of which are close to complete. I've been doing a lot of drawing and an abstract collaged altered book project as well.

DO NOT SPEAK,  2.25.18, 8.5.X 11"
Narrative/surreal collage is a special favorite of mine, and after the Parkland shooting i felt compelled to pick it back up again. These are unrelated(to each other) pieces in a variety of smaller sizes. I am not planning on showcasing them in book format.
YOU,  2.26.18, 8 x 8"

My intention is a daily practice; quick reactions to my emotional/mental state that require fluid i decision making. In other words, yet another attempt on my part to stop my obsessive search through every piece of collage material i have here on the boat for that "just right" element.

ANOTHER DIVIDED MIND, 2.27.18, 5.5 X 8"

I have to learn to trust my design choices, to not drag out the process until even i get tired of it.

So here are the first five; i did back myself into a corner with the 2.28.18 piece, as yet unfinished; i know what type of image i need to complete it, i just don't own it. So it is waiting.

NOT TONIGHT...,  3.1.18, 5.5 x 7.25"

There will be more later.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

LAW 144: Never Dine With a Dinosaur

Never Dine with a Dinosaur, a children’s story book, is my "newest" altered book project. Chronologically, Never Dine... follows Jerome; it is a relatively large format book, each double spread will measure 11 x 20”. This is a fairly large piece of blank art real estate for an every day in one sitting project so my normal approach to collage had to be modified.

#1, Pink, 11.5.17
 My intention: 20 spreads, abstracts focusing on composition utilizing the torn edge.

I discovered almost immediately that 'complete' abstraction appears to be beyond me. Virtually everyone of the spreads have ended up with an observer.

For this project instead of obsessive searches for just the right image i am starting with a limited number of 'pages' of color, form, shape and pattern; trying to trust my own judgement regarding "the good enough choice", i.e., artist sanctioned playtime.

#2, Autumn Fire, 11.6.17

Learning to work with a limited 'palette' has proven to be a little frustrating for the obsessive compulsive who resides deep in my art soul; i have been known to search through every folder of collage material in the studio for just the right little piece of......

#3, 11.7.17, Time
Most of my recent work has included text; one of the parameters i set for myself with this project, no text. It took to the third spread for text to creep back in.  i really really did not want....

#4, 11.8.17, Impact

I started working on this project in the beginning of November, dropping in and out of it as the mood moved me. I really did however expect to finish this before now. Yes, life does get in the way.

#5, 11.10.17, Dark Sun

I still have six spreads to do, i came back to this project for the first time since 2017, sounds like a long time ago doesn't it?
#6, 11.11.17,  Untitled

Recently i have found it difficult to procure the type of collage material i prefer to work with. Because of that i found that i had to put this project away; i was becoming to familiar with my material, not experiencing any of the lovely aha! moments that happen when you are looking with new eyes at new material. A month's hiatus is usually sufficient time to bring back a sense of newness to the material.

#7, 11.13.17, Crystal Blue

Since i finished Inner Visions this week, okay so not finished finished. I do still have to make the covers and bind it. But i am done with the drawing part!

Anyway, since i have reached a point of completion with that project i promised myself that i would re-visit this piece, as well as Looking For America.

#8, 11.14.17,  Promenade

You heard it here first!

more later

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

LAW 143: The Last of Inner Visions

Yesterday i finished the last drawing of my Inner Visions series. It of course took longer then i anticipated, doesn't it always?
Inner Vision #16

Working with the colored pencil proved to be far more time consuming, and painful then i expected. Life!

I have seen three distinct stylistic changes develop in my drawings during this project. Don't get me wrong, change is good. I'm not grousing, merely making an observation.

I am however loving the simple black and white.

Inner Vision #17

I still have to create covers for this project and bind the drawings into book form; that will take some thought, so i guess i can't really call it done. I am however already working on another new project in my head. Maybe i should make myself finish up some of the other projects that are hanging around the studio; well, maybe one....

Inner Vision #18

I have to admit i have been enthralled by the whole process nature of these drawings. I have always enjoyed working with pen and ink. Some how that practice fell to the side, having a life, a career, a partner seemingly took precedence. So did many other things. But these long winter days aboard Tesla's Revenge have been the perfect incubator for my Inner Visions.

With #18 i started playing around with another technique to get the color on the paper. I was feeling constrained by the line first, color second approach i had started with. It felt a little to much like a coloring book. So i started by laying down random color, practically scribbling all over the page.

Inner Vision #19

Once i have the color laid down i start working into the drawing with ink; looking for shapes and lines to strengthen. sometimes it takes a fair amount of just looking to bring order out of the original chaos i created.

Inner Vision #20

Inner Vision #21

Next up? More pen and ink drawings, but with either ink or paint pre-worked on the paper. Just another way to divorce the color and image.

Maybe monsters, maybe portraits. We'll see.

More later

Thursday, January 25, 2018

LAW 142; More Inner Visions

I have been busily making art through out this rather cold winter month. As should be apparent to any of you who follow this, i have not however been very good about documenting what i have been doing. Bad me!
Inner Vision #10

Excuses, excuses, but seriously the sort of work i do is hard on the hands. It's not just the repetitive nature of the work, hand work, particularly embroidery requires a great deal of physical effort on occasion. Add in my encroaching osteoarthritis and it is a balancing act between creativity and documentation.
Inner Vision #11

But, i am here now, so let us look at a few more of my Inner Visions.

Inner Vison #12
Although my intention is that these are a color and line exploration i discovered that i could not bring myself to add color to this one. January 12th was a nice enough day; i was comfortable sitting in the cockpit (we are soooooo glad that we enclosed the cockpit) looking at the bare masts of the neighboring sailboats. Voila! The basis for this drawing.

Inner Vision #13
Abstraction is very rarely pure. Most abstraction comes from something you see, something synthesized from the environment, natural or made. In this instance, our beautiful Nick Corso water pitcher.

Inner Vision #14

So of course, after doing one black and white drawing i couldn't stop there. It would look odd, right?

Inner Vision #15
My intention, that these would be completed in one sitting, in a zen doodle fashion, has been thwarted by the limitations of cold and hands. Sad, but that's life. The important thing is to carry on.

More later

Thursday, January 4, 2018

LAW 141; Another New Art Book Project

I spent a fair amount of time this past summer and fall with a black and white drawing project, Looking For America, which is sadly not finished.  As the days grew shorter, and darker i was feeling a real strong urge to work with color.Thus was born, Inner Visions.

Inner Vision #1, 12.12.17

If you follow my work at all, you will be aware of my project/book orientation. I know, i know, i can call it a series with as few as three pieces. Somehow that never seems to be enough; it doesn't really satisfy my inner book artist.

Inner Vision #2, 12.13.17

I was feeling the need for color along with the pen and ink lines. So, some colorful fantasias' that i am calling Inner Visions. Colored pencil of no particular provence with Pentel's xtra fine point Finito! pen, on Bockingford 140# water color paper. I am going to treat this series as a book, so each piece of the paper will form a 'signature' comprised of a front and back image that measures 6 x 9" and a center double truck of 9 x 12".

Inner Vision #3, 12.14.17

My choice of materials was dictated primarily by what i had available on the boat, coupled with ease of use. Colored pencil is a very labor intensive, not to mention hard on my hands; but rather meditative. I mean what else do i have to do on these cold winter days.  

Inner Vision #4, 12.15.17

These were meant to be daily projects, but that is just not happening, between the cold and and the physical effort it usually takes me two days to finish one of them.

Inner Vision #5, 12.17.16

One of the things that i find very interesting about this project is how the separate pieces work so well together. I intentionally do not look at the finished pieces as i don't want to influence the current piece.
Inner Vision #6, 12.16.17

It is extremely cold here. The north wind has blown almost all of the water out of the river. Mungo tried to get off the boat this morning, about an hour after high tide, but it was not to happen. We were about four feet below the dock; with nothing to grab or hold onto it just wasn't happening. Luckily a good slipmate neighbor came down to check on his boat, refilled our drinking water containers and "spotted" Mungo as he crawled around the boat checking our lines.
Inner Vision #7, 12.28.17

Luckily we did do a good deal of shopping yesterday, so we have plenty of food, back up propane in case of a(very unlikely) power outage. 
Inner Vision #8, 12.31.17

To bad we didn't buy more wine!

Inner Vision #9, 1.4.18

Stay warm, more later