Monday, April 15, 2019

LAW 167: More From the Wisconsin Poets Project

Sometimes a collage flows together as if by magic, sometimes it is sheer tortue, the never ending search for the "just right" element to complete a composition. And of course. after you find the aforemention perfect piece, well the boat zigs when you thought it would zag, you fumble the cut. (yes it happens when i am cooking all the time!)

Balance, 3.18.19

Sigh, well, if you found the perfect piece, you can do it again, and will. Sometimes the collage next a total 180 turn on the design/narrative path, but hey, life does as well.


A Woman's Place, 3.20.19

I don't usually have a "plan" when i set out to make a collage. This series, this book project is a sketchbook of visual journaling. Me thinking about connections and identity, memory and speculation. I have always been drawn to the quirky, surreal connections you can make with collage. Hannah Hoch has always been a fave of mine.

Journey to Chapel Perilous, 3.21.19


So here's four more from the journal, hope you like them.

The Universe Calls Her Name, 3.25.19


More later,
gail



LAW 166: Notre Dame

 Notre Dame! What a loss!

Does the intense social media/ news attention to the tragic fire at Notre Dame remind you of news coverage when another iconic building went down in flames, not so terribly long ago? It probably should. No, what happened, the twin tower bombing, is not just the same as an "accidental" fire in a building built in the tweltfh century. As far as i know there has been no loss of life in Paris.

No, not the same. But still, the same fascination, the same chill down the spine, i can't look away.

Still, it touches, and destroys a little bit of all of us. It took my facebook feed all of about 12 minutes to be totally lit up by this tragedy. Friends from around the world with a dozen, or more vocation streams and interests; touched by this unfolding tragedy spread the news.

There are many things i don't particularly like about social media; it has such potential as a tool of control in the wrong hands. But still, when we communicate clearly and freely we do have the potential to save the world.

Think about it,
more later
gail

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

LAW 165: Fifty-one Shades of Greenish

With typical swiftness spring here on the Upper Bay of the Chesapeake is in full bloom with an immediate transistion to summer waiting in the wings. Next week  i saw temperatures predicated in the upper 80s. Soon we will be complaining about the heat.

When i was editing i could not decide which of these images of the path i liked best so i thought i would share them all. No enchancement of light or color.

The Path Goes On #1

As we were driving yesterday to Marshy Point Nature Center we talked about our prediliction for cloudy day hikes. Purely from a photographic viewpoint clouds are so much better than bright blue skies for nature photography.

The Path Goes On #2

Landscapes seem far more painterly under the influence of a cloudy sky. Although i never use filters to digitally edit my photography, i routinely crop and enchance sharpness and color, all of which is so much easier to do digitally; i do not miss developing film.


The Path Goes On #3

Which one is your favorite?

I am drawn to odd texture and pattern in the natural world, and am always looking for new oddities. This sort of alien tree love embrace was the new found gem of this hike. I took two images of this, both quite out of the normal picture plane. The first one i changed the horizon line to near normal, the image was not at all interesting. I guess i knew what i was doing in the first place!

Alien Tree Love



Every time we take this hike i take another photo this lightening struck tree. It has always reminded me of a dancer. I often wonder how how she has stood in this clearing, and how long she will remain.
The Dancing Tree




 As we were headed from Harry's Overlook and Iron Point we were once again reminded of why we don't hike on this side of the park very often. We encountered huge swaths of standing water and mud on the path. It was impossible to get through with out getting our feet wet. Definitely more of a hike than we originally thought we were getting into.


Squish, squish!

The aftermath!


Not bad really, i didn't fall, so i count it a victory, even with wet feet.












The view from Iron Point

So, stay healthy, go outside and play in the sun and the shade and enjoy your life

More later
gail













Sunday, April 7, 2019

LAW 164: fifty shades of greenish

Spring, spring, SPRING! Magellan and i are past ready to resume our sunrise ritual of Cockpit Coffee. Some mornings are still just a wee bit chilly for me, that doesn't stop Magellan.

Looking out over gunpowder river
 


Every morning palette is slightly different. Some mornings the changes are so subtle as to seem unknowable by the human eye; but it is still happening, spring is coming.

It does still look pretty chilly



Around town it seems that every flowering tree, but crape myrtle is indeed blooming, pollen is everywhere. Just ask my sinuses.

The marina is bustling, lots of people down, prepping their boats, getting ready to splash. I'm carefully picking warm, windless afternoons to get some sanding and restaining/varnish the wheel house. Wood does indeed take constant attention when you live on the water.

Reflections in a vernal pond


We took the day off today to go hiking at Marshy Point Nature Center, which is one of our favorite local places to hike. We had a very wet winter which made hiking out there problamatic, because well, its marshy.
The trail to?...



We took the right hand loop of the Vernal Pond trail for the first time in a long time, and had some very sweet surprises. One very long, very muddy stretch now has a raised wooden foot path, a new group camp site, fire pit and shore side bench.

Such subtle color

The peepers are still out in full force, and voice; listening to the frogs has always been a favorite part of spring for me. I have clear memories of driving in the countryside in Southern Illnois shouting to make myself heard over the bullfrog cacophany.

Shining like a little sun

It isn't as green as it will be in just a few more days. We can still see the houses on the other side of the river.

the Lycopodium is very happy this spring


Soon it will be summer, soon there will be mosquitos, soon we will be complaining about the heat.
I think mother nature always wins


Life is hell, no, not really.
This tree has stood for a very long time

More later
gail


Friday, March 29, 2019

LAW 163: More From The Wisconsin Poets

I am closing in on three months of collage making in my newest altered/repurposed book project, The Wisconsin Poets' Calendar. It has been an opportunity to step away from the more abstract painterly style i had been persuing, delve back into a more familar, surreal narrative.

A Question of Relative Worth, 3.1.19


Each of these approaches to collage require a different sort of focus. I find that i look at the same imagery in very different ways. If i work exclusively with one style for a while i stop seeing all the possibilities, the images start getting stale.

Debunking the Myth of ..., 3.3.19


I start getting antsy; i feel the rising urge to rush out to second hand stores, yard sales, the terrible need for more books to cut up raises its ugly head.

Altered Ego, 3.5.19


Uhh, stop me, stop me please! I live on a boat. NO ROOM, NO ROOM, should be my mantra. Sadly it often isn't. Alas, also sadly i have yet to find a good source for high quality, cheap source material.
Putting it Altogether, 3.8.19


Yes, i could indeed print my own images, thus controlling the quality of paper etc.... If i had a printer, if i had room for a printer. (See, i live on a boat),

Fierce Defender, 3.10.19

However, the above, not withstanding; that's not the way i work. For me, collage is about the gentle serendipity that comes when turning a page reveals the 'just perfect image', the solution you didn't know you where looking for.
A Question of Personal Identity, 3.11.19


Stepping into am Unknown Future, 3.16.19

I also think of collage as a great vechicle for a personal life goal of repurposing, reusing and recreating as many of the material objects as i can.


Mixed Mandala, 3.16.19























Stay strong, stay creative
More later
gail

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

On Being A Live Aboard Foodie

People often ask what/how do you eat onboard? Do you go out to eat a lot? The answers are, 1) Whatever i want and 2) no, not very often. I enjoy cooking and am very good at it.

Yes, i have limitations, all of which have to do with the small space  i have to work in. I actually only have a one burner stove top and a portable camp oven that i can set up in the cockpit as needed.

It is like living and cooking in a tiny house, only smaller. We live on a 29 foot converted sailboat. There is an enormous amount of storage, although never enough. It is almost all sadly inconveniently place under or behind at least three things. So you learn to plan, and hopefully remember where you put that thing-a-bob that is essential for today's project.

Just bottled!


We brew cider, off all sorts and flavors, i make my own kimchi, note the two small jars fermenting behind last night's dirty dish bonzana. Sadly although we have repeatedly attempted to get our ship's cat, Magellan to do dishes for us he remains uninterested.

Does hes look ready to do dishes to you?



I have learned over the time we have spent aboard that there are many things we regularly over cook, as in pretty much anything you cook by boiling in water, say rice, potatoes, pasta. Most starches will cook just fine utilising residual heat, bring to a boil, simmer for five minutes instead of say the traditional 10-20, cover and voila, its done. Freeing up that one burner to finish up the sauce, meat, whatever you had started earlier. Not to mention saving on precious non-renewable energy sources. Okay, so not  alot, but every little bit helps.

Magellan, its time!


Yes, meals like last night's chili rellenos take a good long while to put together. Which would be true whether you have four burners, or one. I simply had to stagger the process out over the afternoon. Which was okay as we were here and not all of it needed constant attention.

I was intrigued by a varition on the traditional chili relleno that i had read about. The author suggested using anchos, the dried form of the traditional poblano. Nice! Very nice.

Not only did this cut down on active time as all i had to do was soak the chilis in very hot water for an hour, omitting the tedious roasting and peeling. But oh my, the deeper, earthier, slightly sweeter taste of the ancho added such an amazing layer of flavor.

Ready to stuff

I did make my own refried beans, using canned black beans as a shortcut, as i really find traditional canned refried beans way to high in fat and salt and who knows what else. Maybe a half an hour of gentle simmering on the stove with occasional stirring and smashing.

Next up a very simple tomato sauce, made of pureed onion, garlic and already pureed tomatos, cooked with additional water until the onions no longer tasted or smelled raw.

The most difficult part of this whole affair was beating the batter to sufficient thickness, which i don't feel i accomplished. The original article i saw talked about using a stand mixer with a balloon attachment for 3-5 minutes to get soft peaks. I do not have either a stand or hand mixer, i do have an immersion blender, which i used, but i don't feel i got to where i needed to be. Next time i will go back to my wire whisk.

Okay the batter slid around a little


I was please to discover the asserrtion that the stuffed chilis would close themselves if you pressed the skin together. My first thought on intial reading was, yea, right! But it worked beautifully.

Do Not over stuff! I used maybe two big spoonfuls of beans and the same amount of grated mozzarella cheese. Next time i think i will use a goat cheese for a little extra flavor. I also plan on rolling the stuffed peppers in corn starch before dipping them in the egg batter, as i think the batter will cling better that way. All in all an absolutely lovely Meatless Monday dinner that i will make again; not very often though as it is deep fried.

Yummy!


More later,
gail

Sunday, March 17, 2019

LAW 162" Tempus Fugit (a common theme)

Aah, i was celebrating my birth month? The cat stole my chromebook? It's definitely not an amputation. Well hell, who knows where the time goes? It should be pretty obvious that i don't.


Yes, it is difficult to drink and read in this position!


But a brief overview of our days might be in order. Magellan and i get up with the sun, at his insistence; we share a light break-fast, i have an orange while he dines on his allotted portion of wet cat food while my coffee brews. We then curl up to read for awhile, either in the cockpit if the weather is clement or back in the v-berth. By 8 a.m. i am usually up and starting my french lessons. Once Mungo returns to the world of awareness we have breakfast, finish ouur french, do the dishes and three days a week go to the gym. It is now one in the afternoon! How did that
happen?

I Rest my Case


Shopping, lunch, work on a variety of creative projects and all to soon it is time for a glass of wine, dinner preparation and well, there you have it! Dinner, watch a video or two, snuggle in with a book and a hot water bottle, rinse and repeat.

Did you see anytime to blog in there? I didn't. Sigh.

I remember as i was leaving my last job that people told me i would be bored and be back in the work place. FAT CHANCE!

Under Cover Patriot, 2.9.19(L)

I've been spending most of my creative time working on my repurposed Wisconsin Poets' Calendar project and have a bunch more images from that to share with you.

E Pluribus Unum, 2.19.19 (R)

As before these images are 5.25 x 8.5". As they are in a spiral bound desk calendar the images often play off of the opposing page. I find that i have spent a lot of time exploring the idea of personal identity/identities with this project. I shall be interested to see if this theme hold through out the entire project.

Regarding the Fluid Nature of Identity, 2.20.19 (L)


Certainly one of the biggest challenges a collage artist faces is how to handle imagery that is instantly recognizable. I often have to deal with this, as by preference i use imagery that comes from art/ art historical references. Sometimes i am more successful than others in "owning" the image.

Is the Glass Half Full,,,,2.23.19 (R)

More later, hopefully sooner than..
gail







Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Law 161: UPDATE: It's as Cold as... and more Wisconsin Poets' collage

Here on the Upper Chesapeake Bay, (think, B'more hon) we are setting record low temperatures as is most of the rest of the country. My facebook feed this morning was full of low temperature reports from friends in the midwest. Sadly we are shivering right along with them. Of course by the end of the week it will be in the mid 50s during the day. As my honey is fond of saying, there is way too much energy in the system, which accounts for all the extreme weather we are experiencing.
sigh.

It is a good time to stay inside stay warm and make art. Which is exactly what we have been doing here on Tesla's Revenge. We are looking forward to warmer weather and more adventures, but until then, it is time to make art.

In Truth an Integral Part, 1.16.19
I seem to be exploring questions of identity a lot in this journal project. In part i am sure that this is a reaction to some of the worst impulses we are seeing in the political/cutural currents of today. This is part of an ongoing conversation that Mungo and i conduct. He leans to angry hyperbole and rails, justifably so against current trends as i try to gently point to the pendulum.cyclical nature of culture. Of course when you are up to your ass in the swamp with alligators allround that is not what you want to hear.

Weighing Our Options, 1.19.19

The other part is i love play with surreal imagery, always have besides sometimes it is far easier to get a point across with a little humor.

Walking Through Time, 1.21.19

I almost never use commercial or fashion imagery in my work, preferring most likely because of my training as an artist and educator to use material that has, at least for me art/historical reference points. Walking Through Time and its companion piece really begged for that high fashion, slick photography; luckily we have a subscription to Vanity Fair, which provides more than i can possibly use, along with an occasional good article.

Do you remember as a child how time seemed as slow as the proverbial molasses in January, but now, half a life time later it feels as if you have achieved the physical impossibility of travel at light speed? Well, the child is still part of you.

Holding Tight to Concepts of Personal Identity,1.22.19

I usually only create one of these a day, but some images demand to be spread across two pages, such is the case with the last piece i am sharing with you today. I used part of this very precious image, the scale, in Weighing Our Options, the two figures with the over-sized brains come from the same image; an illustration for a mid 70s article out of Horizon, a now defunct arts and culture magazine. I lucked out early in my collage career and scored a complete set 1950s through the 80s at a library sale. It took me years to actually start using them. I couldn't bring myself to cut them up, they were such a treasure trove of information.

Do We Build Bridges or Barriers, 1.27.19



Well and i made the mistake of going online and checking out their value.... Enough for now, stay warm, be creative.

More later,
gail
















Sunday, January 13, 2019

LAW 160: Snow 'Pocalypse, Sorta,

Well if the lines and crowds in the local grocery stores, the insanity in the parking lots were reliable indicators, it wasn't just going to snow, the end of the world was nigh!

No filter, just snow snow snow, from the cockpit


It started snowing around dinner time last night. Fluffy, heavy, wet flakes are still floating down. The weather gurus are currently predicating as much as 8". I'm not sure how my marina mates who have to go to work tomorrow are going to fare. No one has stirred on our dock and i am pretty sure that the driveway and parking lot remain unplowed.

Nope, i don't think they'll be using their kayak today.

 We made sure that we had plenty of water, and of course food and wine before the storm started. I did go out into the cockpit to take pretty pictures. No way i'm getting off the boat.

Magellan is incredibly bored which means he needs lots of play and cuddle time. Uggh, he is such a big lap cat!
There Are Other Solutions, I am Sure, 1.6.19
Still in all, another good day to stay inside and make art, which i did, Mungo is still pounding away on his keyboard. He is sooooooo close to finishing the first draft of his new novel. I'll be proofreading soon.
When You Hold, 1.7.19


I've a few more images to share from the Wisconsin Poets' calendar project. I'm pretty pleased. Its been awhile since i've worked in a narrative/figurative style. i'm having fun playing with surreal imagery.




What in the World Has Happened, 1.8.19
I couldn't resist using the cut-out negative space silhouette from yesterday's piece. I had cut it out very carefully, i guess i was planning on this, but... the question then was, what to fill her with?

An odd, surreal mix of imagery, but i like it.



I'll Never Forget this Night, 1.10.19


There is always a danger when you are working with images that are iconic. Christina's World, by Wyeth is, or should be immediately recognizable by anyone who has ever opened an art history book. But the re-purposing of imagery is afterall at the center of collage making. Contex is everything.




Then I Opened the Door, 1.12.19

As before, all images are 5.25 x 8.5", on card stock. All the text is currently coming from a couple of children's books.















What She Reallt Wanted Was A, 1.13.19

Gotta go and tend the smoked turkey and veggie soup i making for dinner. Stay tuned for more cool art.

Later,
gail