Viewing blog posts in Method and Making
I bet you’re wondering what’s going on with this one!
I’ve been tempted to see what happens if I brutalize – and even tear into – a sheet before ever beginning to paint. This beat up, cracked old peak I’m portraying has just the right character to try something like that, so I did! That was yesterday, and then it took about 10 minutes of ink slinging before I realized I was in real trouble. Three terrible hours later, I was certain my picture was horrible. In a last ditch attempt to try anything, I ripped even further into the top of the peak, thinking I might at least slip a whole new mountain top in and paste it down. The photo above was what this mess looked like when I gave up in disgust last night.
This morning I got a big surprise! Once I simply put a sheet of blank paper behind my gapping rip, the top of my mountain suddenly looked perplexingly . . . better? How was that even possible?
Okay, so you know how I spent my day today! I sanded and carefully laid in that white sheet behind my damned hole, then ground up and frayed it’s edges even more before carefully pasting them all down. Finally, I tapped the flat side of a brush with the barest amount of diluted ink against the area, so the texture would pick up just a bit of it.
The snapshot below is of how things stand tonight – it doesn’t capture the true complexity of the dimension and texture I’ve got going, but if you CLICK THE PICTURE YOU’LL GET A BETTER LOOK!
These new ones give me five now under way. I might shoot for a dozen keepers, which would be enough for a whole album of paintings. Even if I don’t manage that, it’s an excellent plan to have a bunch of pictures going at once. That way, when I get too confused by one, I can switch to another picture before I ruin it. That’s so easy to do right now – I’m waaaaaay past my comfort zone with these!
CLICK ON THESE TO MAKE ‘EM BIGGER – IT’S WORTH IT!
Do you wanna see something goofy interesting? The painting above actually began as entirely different scene! Yep, it did, but then I got confused by the all of that chaotic texture. So the poor picture sat in a pile until this morning, when I decided to try putting a completely different scene right over top! Or am I kind of sneaking it in? I don’t even now if this is gonna work, but it’s worth a shot.
Here is what the picture looked like before I started messing with it again:
And below is yet another painting, this time from the same round as the one above originally came from. Now you can get some notion of what it was that I was trying to paint. I wonder if I’ll succeed in completely changing the view? Stay tuned!
Above is a quick studio photo of the same mountain/fjord view I showed you two days ago. It’s now done – or at least has gone as far as I can take it before I move on. I added a little grain and texture here and there, and most importantly, changed the whole character of the mountain top at upper right.
Little differences make big differences! Here, take a look:
In the before photo, you can see that the big, bold outline of the right-hand mountain just wasn’t working. It was a remnant of the earlier picture, which was more mark driven rather than painterly. When the whole idea of a picture changes, I sometimes must sacrifice things I wish I didn’t have to. I liked that big old mark, but it had to go. I’m content with the outcome.
There are A LOT more Norwegian mountains in my immediate future – keep checking in!
Hey ya –
Did you know that it’s pretty darned nice to have a big stack of reject pictures? I mean, just take a look at mine (and then keep reading):
Actually, there’s another stack that’s half as tall just out of the photo! I burn through A LOT of paper, and my ratio of winners to losers used to really bug me. Not now!
Let me show you something – below is what was supposed to be a picture of a stormy Norwegian fjord, before it turned muddy and I lost my way. That was last October. Today I began messing with it again. This is what I started with (please excuse my so-so studio photos):
You know, there were some pretty interesting things happening in there, but the picture lacked punch – or any focus.
So I decided to dig into my big stack of loser pictures, looking for new textures I could start laying in right over top. Did you know failed flower pictures are gold mine of landscape textures? Huh. Take a look at what happened once I began ripping, sanding, twisting and gluing bits and pieces down.
WOW, interesting, right? Suddenly this picture began to get some game back! So I kept going, even ripping holes into it so unexpected bits of marked up scrap paper could peek through from behind! Now, look at the next photo – – –
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking this is getting close to being sort of wonderful. It needs fussing yet, which might happen tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll let it rest for a few days and see if I can start resurrecting another picture that has tipped over too far!
Please, PLEASE click the last photo to take a closer look! It’s worth it!
So often, I do a lot of similar versions of a picture as I try to nail just the moves I need. Not sure why this is my method, unless I’m a bit obsessive. Okay, I’m sure I am, but how could I not be? Isn’t that what keeps me going, and reaching? And doesn’t that fuel uncertainty too? I’m too often the worst judge of my own work! Am so glad I have loved ones that help me with that.
Oh and by the way, I like this picture – – – just as much as the one I showed you a few days ago (scroll down). They were done very close to each other, of course!
Apologies for my absence of a few days! ‘Tis the season before the season, which means I’ve begun my once yearly, massive workspace clean up and re-organization. It’s always a bigger task than I expect, and must be done before my sis gets here (soon so soon), because not only do the holidays arrive with her, but there is bound to be some big and wildly creative project packed in her suitcase! She NEEDS room, and plenty of it. No problem, if I just clean up my big mess.
Hey, check this out: Kay is a wonderful woodblock carver and printer. Below is last year’s block, with carving almost complete. It’s huge, like 18 x 24″ huge, and that’s just about the max for printing completely via hand rubbing – IN MULTIPLE COLORS, AND ALMOST ALL AT ONCE (Kay actually printed the sun from a different block first). By the end of the small edition, my sis and I were tag-teaming it as fatigue set in.
And here is an impression from about half way through the run. Every print was a bit different, as colors and inking were adjusted. By the very last one, the blackish-brown had been lightened to a deep, rich walnut color, our hare had a bit of a pinkish nose and those little flowers at the left had more red in ’em! I know, it sounds gaudy or maybe too cute, but man did it work. I will have to try and get a photo for you.
Sometimes my moves are so exciting that it doesn’t really matter if the marks make complete sense. Are my best pictures the ones you can’t help looking at and wondering why?
CLICK TO MAKE IT LARGER – REALLY SEE IT!
These simple marks, perhaps a bit crude, are so randomly placed that it seems as if they just fell on the sheet. It’s makes this picture very like a fossil, freezing an instant.
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″