Friday, December 29, 2006

Inspiration Part 2 - End of Year Review

Well here are the artworks that formed the collage in the previous post. The artists are: 1. Timothy McDowell; 2&3 Marisse Maas; 4. Darlene O'Connor; 5. Nancy Selvin; 6. Martin Puryear; 7. Steve Briscoe; 8. James Casebere; 9. David Prifti; 10. Aparna Agrawal; 11&12. Sally Smart (BTW, I have no idea why this collage has January 2003 on it - Picasa just did it automatically!)

It's interesting to view them all in one place like this and see what stands out to me. As I mentioned in the last post, I've set myself a challenge for the month of January. Other than photos and digitally alterred images, I really haven't done that much work on paper. I've spent the past year learning some techniques - some home printmaking, some transfers, collage, a little mixed media and a little encaustic, but I don't really feel that I have a "style" or direction. I am hoping that by working intensively (well, for me) for a month something will begin to emerge that I can continue to develop. It always amazes me when I look at the work of other artists and their style is so recognisable. I feel I am still in an experimental stage, trying this and that, and really don't have much of an established aesthetic or way of working on paper.

I selected the works above because they all really speak to me aesthetically and I want to try to identify colours, marks, etc to work with over the next month. So I'm going to try to identify what it is about each artists work that I respond to....

When I came across Timothy McDowell's work on the net I had an incredible reaction to it. I just find it soooo beautiful. I love the antique paper he works on, the fine pencil and watercolour work and the vintage nature-based imagery he uses. I also love that style of composition - sort of a cross between a collage and a mosaic in an integrated piece.

Marisse Maas is one of my favourite Australian painters. I love her use of line - not quite outlining the object and sgraffito. As a potter, this is a technique I know well. Her compositional style is similar to McDowell's.

Darlene O'Connor and Nancy Selvin are American ceramists and they don't have a huge web-presence, but I stumbled on their work while researching print and ceramics. Although I am looking at doing mixed media work now, I can envisage transfering some of the ideas into clay when my energy improves. The fine printed line work on O'Connor's work appeals strongly to me and I love the rough slip finish on Selvin's terracotta bottles.

Martin Puryear does wonderful etchings that demonstrate the beauty of line, texture and pure forms - a good lesson for both ceramics and 2-D work. I've only found this one series of Steve Briscoe's work, focussing on text and bunnies! I love text and I'm a sucker for cute animals! Will I be including any cute animals in my future artworks? Who knows, but never say never!

James Casebere is a photographer who has a series on water-filled interiors. This is not something I think I'll be pursuing soon, but it does relate to a recurring dream from my childhood, so I included this image as a reminder for the future. David Prifti uses light-sensitive emulsion to "transfer" his photographic images onto all sorts of objects. This relates closely to some work I've been doing for my Masters, so Prifti was included here as another "note to self".

Aparna Agrawal is another artist whose work really excites me. As a ceramic artist, I find it much easier to think in 3-D than in 2-D. Agrawal has made sculptural works using paper with wax and thread, and I am hoping these media might work for me too.

Sally Smart is another terrific Australian artist. I love her style of working with cut-outs on the wall. This is something I have been thinking about for over 2 years. I envisage a giant collage - where the wall operates as the support surface. I also like the strong black silhouette style of Smart's imagery. It relates to shadows which I have often included as part of my own work with objects. If I do create 2-D work, I'll like to integrate it into this type of larger work.

Finally, the colour scheme seems pretty obvious - I've worked a lot with greys, blacks and whites in the past, and I also love sepia and brown. I see there's a touch of red in there too - sounds perfect!

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip around these favourite artists of mine. It's certainly been useful for me as a precursor to spending a month exploring a new direction. Stay tuned to see what comes of it all - if anything....

and I want to take this opportunity to wish everybody who has visited my blog a safe and happy time in 2007. I am especially grateful to those who have visited more than once and those who have left comments for me. Blogging has become a genuine source of friendship and a wonderful way of reaching out from our little boxes in the suburbs. You have all touched my life in a way far beyond my expectations. Thank-you!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Inspiration Part 1

Inspiration Collage 2
Originally uploaded by potsrme1962.
I've posted this collage here and in Flickr. It's composed of work by artists whose work has aesthetic elements that I LOVE! I'm printing off images of their work to have around me in the studio over January. My plan is to make a work on paper per day and focus on developing and honing my 2-D mixed media skills.

I challenge you to see if you can identify any of the artists featured. Tomorrow I'll post another collage in Flickr revealing all, and before New Year I plan another post here where I'll discuss some of the artists and their work.

Let me know if you pick any of the artists!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Topic #33 - Stripes

Stripes (digital diptych), 2006

This weeks's Artwords challenge gave me the chance to work with some black and white images I took a few years ago. When we first moved to Melbourne I noticed a big difference in the light and started photographing it where ever it fell. These shapes, which remind me of a musical staff, are shadows from light passing through nothing more exciting than a venetian blind.

If you'd like to see the original image, I posted it here at Flickr.

To make this diptych, I introduced my favourite colour scheme, playing mostly with the adjustment layers in Photoshop again. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to achieve the blood red colour, but I did! Hooray!

I gave up photographing lights and shadows a while ago because I wasn't really sure what to do with the images. Now that I'm learning more about working with my photos more effectively thanks to the Photoshop Support Group on Flickr, I think I might go back to exploring this avenue. To me, it refers back to the origins of photography and Olive Cotton's quote that "photography is drawing with light".

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Topic #31 - Sparkles

"Sparkles" is an interesting challenge at this time of year. Of course it conjours up thoughts of Christmas but for so many people it seems that Christmas is either a difficult or sad time or at least a double edged sword, filled with so many hopes and yet so much tension.
Families are the basic unit of our society and as such they seem to me to be the thing that brings us our most meaningful experiences. Families can provide so much love and joy, and they can also hurt us and disappoint so deeply.
I find it hard myself to negotiate the expectations that Christmas will be a wonderful, joyous occasion. Here in Australia it is often stinking hot and eating a lot of rich food and alcohol is really not wise, yet we all still do it if we can - often going so far as to feast on the traditional northern hemisphere fare of roast turkey, baked ham followed by plum pudd. (for those of us with a British heritage, anyway).
This Christmas I will be remembering my father of course. The grief is not quite as raw this time around as last year when he had only been dead seven weeks, but it still packs a punch.
I am hopeful that this Christmas, while small and low-key will be more relaxed and enjoyable than recent ones. My brother and sister and their families are going away, so on Christmas Day I will be having my mother and my mother-in-law for lunch. We have air-conditioning and we will be having non-traditional food: smoked salmon, and berries for dessert. It will be a quiet affair, but I do think the mother's will enjoy it - they love to see each other.
On Boxing Day we will gather at my mother-in-law's for the full Christmas celebration with my brother-in-law's family which includes our four year old nephews - there will be nothing quiet about that day!
My entry in Artwords this week really captures my mood as I contemplate Christmas and the year past. I value the time taken to reflect - it helps to focus on the sunshine and allow the less attractive aspects of life to drift away to the horizon.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Topic #30 - Windows

Burke Road Window

Amazingly I had an exhibition in 2002 with this title, Windows, and I had hoped to use an image from the documentation of that as my entry in this weeks' Artwords challenge. Unfortunately all my images are on slides and I haven't been able to get them scanned in time. Still, with buildings a major partof my iconography, I have plenty of images of windows in my resources.

I decided to create something new using one of the photos I took when living in Melbourne. I am continuing my explorations with Photoshop - working a lot with the adjustment layers and a couple of simple filters. This allows me to explore more photographic post-processing type effects. I am still trying to work out what I can do, but I think I am starting to get a bit of a feel for what I like. I like these colours, somehow they are muted yet bright - how can that be? I don't like the fact that the image is obviously derived from the negative - it makes it look too obviously "photoshopped".

I was thinking some of these images would be interesting as transfers, maybe using Jonathon Talbot's technique, described here.
As I am still very much in a developmental stage with Photoshop, I have decided to post a couple of my other versions here in the hope of getting some constructive criticism.