Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Daily art report 4 -- I've been there!

I've written before that because my daily art project this year has no rules regarding format or medium, I can explore lots of approaches to the theme "maps."  Recently I've started a new approach, finding a reference in the newspaper to a place that I've been, then illustrating it with a map.  Here are the ones I've done so far.

Some are faraway places from foreign travels, such as Brazil and Germany:

Others are run-of-the-mill US places that many of you have probably been to also, such as O'Hare Airport, although I'm willing to bet that I've been there more times than most of you (unless you live in Chicago). 

And still others are out-of-the-way US places, such as Quincy IL, where I spent a trimester of graduate school living in the Lincoln-Douglas Hotel, an establishment without a public ice machine, necessitating my learning to drink scotch neat.

I'm mounting these on 5x8 index cards, and at the end of the year I'll probably make them all into an accordion book.  But should it be horizontal or vertical??  Or both???

Friday, February 16, 2018

Art and fear this week

I wrote last year about making collages on wood painting panels, or perhaps they would be better described as assemblage because I added a lot of found objects to make them 3-D.  Check them out, with lots of photos, here and here.

For the last couple of weeks I have been working on a new batch, and I took them to my critique group a few days ago.  As I pulled them out of my bag and started to pass them around, I said "Clearly this one isn't finished yet...."  And somebody said "Why do you say 'clearly?' I think it's finished right now."

I was taken aback by the question and stammered around for a bit, trying to figure out why I had said that.  The answer took more soul-searching than I'm usually asked to provide; I'm usually pretty articulate about what I'm doing with my art.

What I came up with was that I am still struggling with the whole concept of making art on a painter's surface, because I feel very insecure about doing anything resembling painting.  And so I have probably been adding the 3-D elements as a protective barrier between me and anything painting-like.

My friends all agreed that two of the pieces were finished.  A couple more coats of matte medium to seal everything and give it a uniform surface, and they can go on the wall.

I'm still not sure I have internalized what they told me and I agreed with.  I do love minimalism, so the blank spaces don't scare me.  I guess it's the two-dimensionality that does.

You will note that I still can't bring myself to call them "paintings."  Having wrestled for a long time with calling myself an artist, and my work art, I guess this is my next wrestling match.  I'll let you know who wins.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine's Day in first grade

Because the parents had to take the baby to the pediatrician at exactly the wrong time, we needed a grandparent to attend the Valentine's Day party, and that was me.  I discovered several things that have changed since the previous generations were in grade school.

First, no paper valentines.  Instead they had a whole sheet of Valentine stickers, distributed to everybody in the room.  Many people got two.  Some of the kids affixed their stickers to their faces instead of to their clothing.

Second,the messages on candy hearts have been radically updated.  Yes, you can still find BE MINE and LOVE but you also get TEXT ME, LOL, TTYL and CRUSHIN'.  (I also learned that first-graders don't yet have good chopstick skills.  Don't ask.)

Third, little girls wear valentine outfits.  Do you think they sell those tutus in grandma sizes?