Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comment moderation

Just so people know, I've enabled comment moderation on this blog. I've only done this because for the past month or so I haven't been receiving any notification when people leave comments. This means I don't find the comment for maybe a week or more, and I'd hate anyone who left a comment to think that I didn't appreciate it ....because I really do!! Hopefully the moderation setting will sort out this problem.

Mind mapping future directions

Last week I put this up on the mirror doors in my studio. It's a "mind map" to help me get a handle on where I'm going with my work. For the past 2 years I've had to be pretty disciplined in sticking to creating work that fed into my masters. Now all that has opened up and I find my mind bubbling over with directions and ideas that I previously had to ignore, and I'm feeling really torn.

On the one hand I have a real drive to experiment with different media: all types of printmaking really excite me, as does encaustics (wax-based painting). I've played with bits and pieces of these over the years, but never made more than a couple of works using each of the different media. Printmaking does tie in really nicely with artists books of course, and it can also be used in installation work. I also have some ideas for using it in paper object-making.

I've been thinking about going back to the photos I took last year when I was overseas and the ephemera that I collected while traveling, and making work using that. The trouble with that is that it doesn't really fit in conceptually with the direction of my masters work. When I started the masters, one goal for me was to carve out a conceptual-basis for my work that justified (to my mind) my devoting my time to art-making, when I have skills I could be using to help others (occupational therapy). It's not that I don't value the contribution art of art in a society, I do, I definitely do, but it just felt that for me, it was somewhat self-indulgent.

The masters really expanded my understanding of the role of art in a society, and now I see the work I do as research. I'm using a visual language to explore multi-layered issues and concepts, and extend what can be understood through verbal means. So it is important to exercise some discipline and to follow somewhat logical lines of inquiry. I have a natural inclination to be entranced by new ideas and I have to restrain myself from just jumping from one idea to another quite unrelated idea. I think in the long term, the work I do will be more worthwhile if I work at keeping a reasonable degree of focus. Of course that doesn't mean there can't be a number of different strands...

Anyway, here is a close-up of my mind map:

(Click on the map to see it at a readable size)

It looks at the concepts, processes and source imagery I've developed so far, and sees them all as potential "feeding stimuli" for books. I've also included the idea of the cocoon and the box, which were forms I looked at using but didn't get a chance to develop in time for the masters. Finally I've included some older imagery that I am really attached to, and would like to extend further. It's just a way to have my starting points mapped out in front of me, and allow me to see which directions I can take.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy about Happy Clay

I couldn't resist these gorgeous ceramic tumblers made by Niki Buckley Crosby over at Happy Clay.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Swapping art

Recently I completed my first art swap. Before Christmas I joined a group on Flickr called Art Swappers (sadly now defunct). The group was pretty small, less than 20 members, and we were all paired up, given a theme, a few guidelines and a deadline. I was pretty excited about participating in a swap and I thought it would be good to organise to do something pretty low-key but art-related after finishing my studies.

Works had to be small (10" x 8" at most) and the theme was "relation to other". We also had to include some green. In the end I decided to work on some of the photos I took on my trip earlier last year as I am keen to explore some of that imagery as a basis for a variety of types of printmaking. Here's the finished result (below). I took the original image the at Avebury Circle in Wiltshire, England.

The Heat of the Day

I was paired with Craig Moser, uihero who hails from Tex-Ass, as he says. He's an abstract painter and I'm currently a bit obsessed with abstraction, so I was delighted to find he was my swap-mate. Here's his painting (below) which I am now proudly displaying on my studio wall. I'm planning to have it framed as soon as I can.

Unfortunately in the photo you can't see the incredible detail in the layering of colour - it really is beautiful. But you might like to check out some more of Craig's paintings on Flickr.