Viewing blog posts in Method and Making
Here is a powerful combination of unexpected marks that seem as random as they are intentional.
I had really intended to take this one much further, and if you look at it along with the picture that I did just prior (below), you can pretty much see where I was headed. But wow, I didn’t go there! The more I looked at this odd almost picture of a bloom, the more I realized it was already everything it needed to be. It’s so abstract. Then again perhaps not. Maybe these are the guts of a final moment, when the remnants of the bloom are stripped down to last essentials: a petal or two, almost as an after thought or the echo of what once was. And the promise of seeds.
I won’t post tomorrow, so here’s one of my favorite new blooms for you.
Does it look like it’s in the middle of a nasty storm? I hope so, and actually, the bloom did have to make it through a downpour! I started this picture by slinging water and ink from top to bottom, to get that streaky, splattery effect. After all, isn’t that what rain would really do? Then, while everything was still swimming wet, I had to mess, press, grind and paint the flower in the middle of it all.
I never have the time I need to do what I want to – working with ink rarely allows me that. This picture was a done in a frenzy of trying to keep up as things smeared or ran or dried unhelpfully. I remember standing back when I’d finished, almost panting, and kind of shocked that everything had turned out so well.
Here, check out this detail view – as quiet and ghost-like as my bloom is, it’s also quite graphically powerful. It holds its own.
Don’t forget, you can click the pix to see them even closer – so worth it!
I’m not weeping! But this morning’s picture sure is, if you look at it as a weeping cherry tree, or willow, or some other lovely thing that sort of swoops and droops (and maybe blooms), while looking odd and elegant.
I keep telling you to click on my pictures so you can really see ’em. There’s so much texture and interest in there now, but as good as these blog photos are, they still don’t really let you see what I’m talking about. Here’s a detail that might help.
This bloom was done almost entirely via transfer printing. To do this with India ink, you gotta move fast!
First of all, I really wetted my paper. Then I did the same to a second sheet, before rapidly painting on it. Next, I quickly placed the dripping wet, inked sheet face down on the first one, rubbed it’s back here and there, twisted and shifted it around, and finally peeled it off fast!
Repeat as needed to either build a picture or, more probably, create a disaster!
This frantic method does ALL KINDS of weird things to my brush strokes – they transfer to the bottom sheet imperfectly, bleed and run. The suction of pulling the sheets apart almost explosively drags ink around too! Breathtakingly exciting. But also almost unmanageable. Or maybe not – working on it!
PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE – CLICK THE PICTURE TO LOOK CLOSELY!
I said last week that I might not be in touch much – due to computer updating. Well, it took us half the week just back up my files (I’ve been really bad about that).
So, this week is now going to be what last week wasn’t. Thus, you get an extra picture today, in case we miss out tomorrow!
I’ve done many, many flower pictures, and often there are several versions in each case. For instance, the tree below was done in the same run as the one I showed you three posts ago, and though I don’t remember painting so many, there are actually quite a few. Partly, this is because when I’m chasing after a pictorial or graphic notion, I keep refining or changing moves until I’m satisfied – or played out! And increasingly, what I thought I wanted to have happen isn’t even close to as wonderful as the variations I end up with.
Remember too, the purpose behind all of this is to eventually bind groups of pictures into albums, probably a dozen to each. I want lots of choices, and boy do I have ’em!
CLICK ‘EM TO GET A GOOD LOOK!
Good Morning All –
This strange, make believe bloom was, of course, painted – but it’s also partly collaged, which for some reason a lot of people think is a bad thing, like cheating.
There are a lot of juried art exhibitions that wouldn’t allow this in because if it. One show I would love to have work in, the American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibition, is a good example, but then they also wouldn’t let me in because I use ink. Isn’t that silly? India Ink is basically nothing more than a higher grade form of watercolor. They will allow every other water based media. You can used acrylic paint, so plastic is okay. Hmmph. I don’t get it. It bugs me right now, especially, because the entry deadline is coming up and I can’t enter.
Oh well, I love what I’m doing. And I always, ALWAYS know how lucky I am whenever I get to make pictures – as I will be in moments
Have a satisfying and productive day –
Your Buddy Bill
Good Morning Y’all –
I’m entranced by bold mark making that has a great element of chance in it, so I’ve been exploring ways to make it happen. Maybe I’m a bit of a closet Abstract Expressionist?
One of the things I’ve been messing with is making quick, juicy, strokes on one sheet, then immediately slapping it face down on another sheet and rubbing to transfer the ink. It’s a wildly imperfect method – never quite know what I’ll get. Sometimes it’s a blotchy mess – and sometimes it’s blotchy/grainy cool!
Truth is, I’m not sure what to think of these pictures, but they might be sort of wonderful if we give ’em a moment.
I’ll keep exploring!
Your Buddy Bill
PS: I think you really should click on these!
This picture is especially interesting, thanks to the extreme texture, which you can see so much better in this hi-resolution image capture.
I dampened an area of the paper across the lower third, then crinkled and wrung it out, just as you would a damp cloth. Geez, that’s brutal, but look at that wonderfully disrupted surface! I made it even more dimensional at the right by grinding and ripping into the sheet with sandpaper while the surface was still sodden with ink.
Here’s a closer view – the brown peeking through the holes is actually the drawing board underneath. I like how this looks a lot, so much so in fact that I’ve simulated how this painting will appear when it’s actually mounted on a nice, brown support sheet.
I’m wandering around in my imaginary flower bed, painting odd blooms.
These are quick close-ups of pictures on the boards. I took ’em so I won’t forget something I need to remember. No better than snapshots then, but I thought you’d like a peek at what I’m up to RIGHT NOW. Texture, texture, texture!
Have the finest Friday!
Your Buddy Bill
I’m a bit too pooped to be much of an artist today, so I’m putting time in on peripheral tasks. As mentioned previously, the biggest of these is processing and capturing hi-rez images of a great backlog of finished pictures that has piled up since last Spring! Oh, have I ever been neglecting this picky-fussy task, which is necessary but no fun.
Do you want to see the difference between a quick, working photo and a really good image capture? At top is the snapshot I took in the studio, using my trusty Canon Powershot camera. It actually does a reasonable job, although the image is very contrasty, and the actual color of the paper and ink are out of balance.
Now, compare that version to the one below, which is so much sharper and has a far more subtle and complete range of tones. If you click the picture to enlarge it, you can see the texture in this painting a lot better too, although not as well as you could if we were looking a the real thing together.
Um, can you tell this view is high up in the subarctic Norwegian mountains, and in a winter’s storm? Hope so.
Okay – back to work I go. There won’t be a post tomorrow (I’m taking down my exhibition), but by Tuesday or Wednesday we should be back to a normal rhythm –
Your Buddy Bill
This picture just popped out of nowhere yesterday morning. Wasn’t expecting to do a dragonfly! Full confession: I actually did this the other way around, but it looks better this way, so upside down is the better right side up! I’ve quite wondering or worrying about why this happens so often. I simply see it as a perplexing gift.
The dragonfly below was also a surprise. You should know that I’ve been making pictures on two sheets since last Spring. I mess a lot of them up, but if one side or the other is any good, I keep it. I now have a HUGE stack of orphaned halves. Once in awhile, I choose a pair that are so mismatched they make no sense, and see if despite that, I can turn them into a picture that works. It forces me to try things I wouldn’t usually consider, and while the exercise rarely succeeds, I sometimes do get an unexpected picture out of it!
Well, I’ve punched myself to a standstill this time and can do no more. I feel a bit let down by this picture (or maybe myself), as if I’ve somehow just missed my reach.
That being said, I’ve certainly pushed my mix of collage and painting further than ever. It’s hard to look at this one and not think it was done in some sort of thicker paint, rather than just India ink. My surfaces are very rich now. I wonder, is my work starting to go through a character shift?
Here is a detail view of the upper right corner, so you can something of what I’m talking about:
And below is the whole picture – click on the images to get a really good look!
North Sea – Distant Headland, Norway
India ink, inked collage and surface alteration on paper – two sheets = 14″ x 21″
The weather was iffy today, so no carpentry in the driveway. Instead, I used my unexpected studio day to mess with that sad loser of a picture I showed you on Thursday. Whether it succeeds or fails remains in doubt, but at the very least, I’m learning all kinds of things about collaging and at the same time creating surprising, actual textures. The surface of this picture is beginning to look a lot like an oil painting – and it’s done in India ink! Maybe kind of cool?
PLEASE click it to take a good look – you’ll see what I mean.
I wonder if I am edging towards becoming a black & white Impressionist?
More next week –
Your Buddy Bill
PS: This is where I’ve left it for the evening –
And just for comparison’s sake, here is what it looked like when I started this morning –
Good Morning –
I really must get going on flattening all of the pictures that are piling up, because studio snapshots just kill these paintings. Nevertheless, here are the results of yesterday’s ink slinging. I’m loose, feeling pretty darned on the edge and if I’m perplexed by how close I’m coming to chaos, it’s starting to feel normal.
I seem to be stuck in moody, somewhat abstracted – and very stormy – Norwegian fjord views. Am pretty sure today I’ll be right back there. Gonna go see – RIGHT NOW!
Your Buddy Bill
PS: I’m also becoming ever more intrigued with working my sheets so hard that I rip and grind right through. In the last photo, you can see the green tape joining the two sheets, and also the brown of the backing board peeking through. Why do I like the look of this?
Man, that picture has been put through hell. It probably needs a little, careful and very tender attention now.
LAST HINT: CLICK ‘EM TO REALLY SEE WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THERE!
I relearned an old, old picture making lesson yesterday: nothing can be precious.
If I fall in love with any portion of a picture, and it’s not helping that picture as a whole, I’ll have a harder time nixing it. And it’s very likely that I’ll ruin the rest of a picture by trying to make it fit with its mismatched part! That’s backwards.
Luckily, this picture wouldn’t die, even as out of balance as it was and as much as I messed with it. To begin with, it looked like this yesterday morning:
Yikes, that surface was so visually active that it was almost wiggly, but the wild staccato of textures and tone everywhere completely short-circuited the whole image. I’m exhausted just looking at it.
Yet there was wonderful work in there. And you may notice pieces of scrap, inky paper propped up along the bottom and taped on in the middle right. When in trouble, I start gluing. Some call it cheating, and others call it collaging. I just build pictures. But I also call in my Sweetie and several dear friends when I’m confused. “What should I do,” I ask, oh poor, poor me.
One member of my advisory board said I should just cut out the good parts and make a couple little pictures. These was her suggestions:
Yep, she was sure right, and do you see what I mean? Such lovely work in there, but I didn’t want to butcher my picture. I wanted to fix it. How?
And now, for a quick aside: you must understand that I paint in the middle of a big mess. Well, let me just show you instead of trying to describe it:
This is normal for me. In fact, it’s a bit cleaner than usual. Uh huh, truth.
There are always piles of scrap paper and cut up pieces of old, failed paintings on my work table. I just keep clearing space to continue slinging ink, until I’m feeling so crowded that I have to tidy up. This doesn’t happen often, and what that really means, is that I have big supply of collage material right at hand.
Now, just after my friend said it was time to subdivide, I noticed a big piece of blotchy paper. I didn’t even know how it got there or what it was once part of, but it was propped up as if waiting for me. And I realized it could span clear across the bottom half my troubled painting. I taped it in place and this is what it looked like:
WOW, WOW, WOW!! I mean, I could almost hear the whole image snap together.
And I felt disappointed with myself. Of course the really active background in my picture needed something big, bold and simple in the foreground. Why didn’t I see that?
And just to throw in yet another and, I felt uncomfortable with taking advantage of this little discovery of mine. I mean, is such huge happenstance really fair?
Phew, okay, I got that out – now I can move on!
My goal is pictures and momentum, thus the rest of my tale points straight forward – I cut off the bottom of my painting, then sanded and spliced in my miracle patch. Of course, I couldn’t just leave it at that! I’m me, and I have a hard time quitting, so I fussed; collaging in other bits and pieces, scrapping, sanding and painting a little more.
NOW, I think I’m done – and I’m a looooong way from where I started too!
That’s yesterdays tale. Now it’s time to continue with the next one –
Your Buddy Bill
PS: one more goofy thing – which I don’t understand at all. Many of my pictures look just as good (or even better) upside down! What?
Strange marks and moves today – paper ripping up and Geez Louise, is it stormy in these pictures! I must work on bringing in some sunshine soon.
All of these still need work. My hunch is that each requires select focusing of salient details. I must anchor this chaos, and give viewers a toehold. But how? I’m not sure what to do.
I also realize my quick snapshots don’t do reality justice. If we were looking at my paintings together, you would feel them in your gut. The surfaces are so brutalized and raw. It’s as if they were torn up in a big, bad old storm – and took us with ’em!
Of course, the flip side is that I don’t think these will support themselves. They’re so distressed and fragile that they’re ready to fall apart. I’ll have to figure something out, and I suspect it’ll mean mounting onto carrier sheets, but how do I do that without flattening texture I don’t want to lose? Yep, still more concerns, but they’re another day’s problems.
Tomorrow won’t be a painting day – and I probably won’t write you either. I must prep for my exhibition reception, and then clean the place up – we’re having friends over afterwards.
Your Buddy Bill
Okay so yes, if yesterday I could do no wrong, today provided counterbalance. Oh my oh my, what a difficult time I had, with nothing to show for it at the end. Just another day in the trenches then, but still I learned a thing or two. That counts!
The picture above still has a good ways to go, but it’s promising so far. It was begun right after the one I showed you yesterday (that one still needs work too – scroll down to see it).
Gray is HARD to handle. It has no obvious punch. It goes muddy so easily, or never makes it past lackluster, yet if I can figure out how to use it well, my pictures might have surprising potency. And they would be honest. Norway, up in the mountains in the storms and mist, is almost a black & white & gray, gray world. But it’s still dramatic!
The key to success may be in making tiny moves that somehow still read. I think it has to do with how acutely we see even small interruptions in what we’re looking at. I’m going to have to sort this out, and learn how to stack and mix textures and subtle tonal shifts. It will require sensitivity, and I’m more of a sledgehammer kind of guy. Oh, and I also need to better understand and take into account how to fine tune a picture for a specific viewing distance.
This is all tough stuff – I’ll be working on it awhile!
Tomorrow I’ll get back at it –
Your Buddy Bill
This was also done as a warm up just before we left to go over there. It’s not quite finished.
The view is of a peak behind a lake, high up in the stormy mountains on the way to the Sognefjord, and the little town where my Sweetie was born.
THIS IS ANOTHER PAINTING THAT REALLY COMES INTO IT’S OWN WHEN ENLARGED – CLICK IT!
You’ll see a number of variations of this view – I’m sort of stuck on it! In fact, the very weird, ripped up picture from yesterday began as (or maybe still is) of the same scene.
I wonder how today in the studio will go? Guess we’ll have to wait and see –
Your Buddy Bill
Okay, I’m on fire today – and I’m delighted because tomorrow who knows? Not today’s problem.
Do you like my new dragonfly! I do, a lot, but didn’t to start with. In fact, just his front half (he’s on two sheets) got pitched in my almost-a-goner pile last December. There he stayed, until a couple of hours ago when I found him again. I stuck a new right side on, slammed ink down and started bullying it around. Now Mr. Aerial-predator has one fine looking back end! My Sweetie just came home from work and she says this dragonfly looks as if he’s flying out of a Norwegian landscape. Well, go figure!
Bug saved. Like I said, I’m the king of ink today.
Oops, did I just jinx it? Guess I’m about to find out!
Your Buddy Bill
I literally tore into this Norway view this morning – and I love it! The dimension and physicality of the picture is almost overwhelming, and I can take it even further with additional quiet sub-texture.
BUT I’M IN TROUBLE TOO! I had intended to collage in textures/tones behind the holes so they peek through, but I’m shocked to find that I LOVE the brown and green of the tape and backing board showing. Poop, color. Really? Now what do I do???!@!!> ?
Oh, and CLICK ON THE PICTURE – IT’S WORTH IT!
Your Buddy Bill