Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Back in the studio and other stuff

Well that started out with a bang....I pressed enter and nothing but a title comes up. Good thing there is an EDIT button. That's what happens when you don't post for so long. Also trying to remember the log on info :>)

I haven't been in the studio a lot the past month and a half. I've been preparing to ship a lot of work to my gallery in Winston-Salem, NC for a show that opened there at the West End Gallery November 4. Here are some pictures taken at the opening reception .... http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/cheryl75604/album?.dir=/dc47&.src=ph&.tok=phnNN5DBG4RPSbbj

I did work on something I planned to give to the pilot who took me to Santa Fe in June.....gosh was it that long ago? How time flies. I wanted to make a collage using some materials and information from the flight. His plane is a Seneca II, so that, and some flight maps of the area and the tail letters of the plane were incorporated in the work. I did have an idea to add other images but lost the hard drive on my new computer and along with it some of the photos I took on the trip.
If you look closely you will find a small image of a Seneca II plane. This collage is 22 x 22".

Now that I'm back from North Carolina, I'll be back in the studio with a lot of work to do. First, will be to start back to work on the 40 x 50" canvas that I started earlier when I painted the "storm".

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

September 6

It's been quite a while now since I've added to my postings. I was spending a lot of time in the studio determining what more I needed to do for my show in November. I was finishing up some work, framing, and thinking about a couple of new large pieces on canvas. One turned out a little low key and had somewhat of an ominious look......a stormy look. I finally decided that it wasn't my usual painting but it worked.........titled Storm's Brewing.

Not too many days later, Katrina hit the gulf coast and I felt odd about that painting for some reason. ...as if it were a precursor of something to come. I have so many good friends all along the coast of Mississippi and around and in New Orleans. We have all been communicating a lot through our Mississippi Art Colony group/list and rejoicing when we find another is okay or that their home might not be totally ruined. This is consuming the time I ususally would want to work. I just want to know that everyone will be okay. They all have such a remarkable attitude about this catastrophe. I admire their resilience. There is no doubt in my mind that they will be better than ever when this is all over and their lives can resume some degree of normalcy.

I know I need to get back into the studio and work out the moods and feelings that come with this but I can't seem to do it right now................soon I hope.

Monday, August 8, 2005

August 8

Over the past few days, I've worked on two more monotypes not previously pictured and re-worked another that was.

I kept looking at the one with the chine colle pieces with the rocks from Collioure and just couldn't keep the rocks. I pulled up the edges of the paper and peeled and scraped off as much of it as would come loose. I, then worked on the bare spots with oil based relief inks again to protect the bare paper from the linseed oil in the oil paints. After I did this I just kept working on it and turning it around. The final piece is now in a horizontal format instead of vertical. I may need to re-think a title here now that the rocks are gone.

I continued to work on two more pieces that I think of as aerial views of the landscape. They also turned into horizontal format by the time I was through with them. I added oil paint to the monotype......one of these is the ghost of the other.

I've also determined that the two chine colle pieces from France and Spain from the previous post will need a lot more refining and simplifying........they are just too busy looking and lots of the information will have to be edited........but that is for another day.

It's also good that I determined some time ago that it didn't matter if these pieces remained true to the monotype process.........'cause they sure aren't and have turned into paintings.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Monotypes, continuing

Working over the weekend, I put up some of the monotypes on the easel ...I think some may be finished. With that in mind, I put those away and pulled out four more that are 16 x 20" printed on full sheet copperplate paper.

After making the decision to forgo the pure monotype process, I feel better about permitting anything goes to develop them further. I will keep in mind the fact that they are oil based and use compatible materials on top.

Since I'm no longer using a plate to work on these pieces, I just decided to work directly with both oil based relief inks and oil paints. I'll extend the inks and paints with burnt plate oil to be more compatible with the paper surface.

The first two are the ones with the Spanish and French brochures and maps I chine colle to the paper when I printed them on the press. I've found it better to use brushes most of the time although I'm still using a brayer in some areas. By the time I get to the other one with the picture of Collouire rocks I'm changing up the colors and layering more....also using more of my customary marks on the pieces.

By Sunday I'm on to working on that very first piece I ran through the press......yellows with gray and black. I do like it's simplicity but I think it lacks in surface quality. Starting to mix up more pigments, I use a brayer and brushes again to add a lot more black and subdued greens into the lower section (now at least, lower) to help it contrast more with the brighter, smoother section in the top.

Will leave them to hang on the wall for a day or two and consider "what next?".......when in doubt, leave it for awhile . I also took some digitals of these steps.

Friday, July 22, 2005

July 11-12 Working on the monotypes

I got back to work on the monotypes I started in Santa Fe now that I'm finished with the collage work I started before I left. I got out the old oil based relief inks so that I could use something compatible with what I call "starts".

Suddenly it dawned on me that I no longer had the ghost image on a plate so that I could match up and register the print with a new layer. I finally remembered the old light box back behind the work table. It's large enough for a full sheet of paper so I turned my "start" from the workshop on it's face and could see enough of where the design was placed that I could ink the plexiglas for another layer.

I started with the piece that was the least developed and had design problems due to a prominent piece of chine colle on the left side. I do this all the time (starting with the one that might be beyond help) so I don't have to worry about ruining something with a lot of promise. Practice makes perfect so they say so maybe I'll have had a little more practice by the time I get to the ones with more promise.....or that are almost resolved.

In looking through all the "starts" I've decided that if I like some of the ones that slipped under the press and caused a "craftsmanship" problem with the edges, I'll just cut them off and float them like any other work on paper..............who says you can't? I don't like messy edges, reserving apparent messiness for the painting. I've never preferred work that looked too "slick".

When I started the roll outs, I'm finding I don't like what I'm getting in the layering process. It makes beautiful layers but layers alone don't make a painting in my estimation. The inks just don't move like paint. SO............out came the old oil paints and brushes. These heavier applications may take a gazillion years to dry in comparison to my acrylics but they sure worked better for the overall look of the work.

Over the next two days, I'm working on more and more of the works. I don't need to do much to the small 12 x 12" square ones. Looking and working on them, a few titles came to mind.........Fields and Holiday..........Holiday since some have elements of some of my traveling around in France and Spain.

I'll post a link to some of the before and after when I'm done with all of them.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Mixed media collages done

I finally decided yesterday that all eight of the mixed media pieces on canvas are finished. I took digitals and slides and got out the varnish. I'll order some "floater style" frames for them as I think that it will enhance the work and also help protect the edges.
Altered Visions 1 is the title for this one in the series of eight.

The others can be viewed at http://www.cherylmcclure.com/canvasworks.htm

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Recovering from Workshop

I've been home from the monotype workshop for almost a week now. I'm waiting impatiently for a few supplies so I can work on the pieces I started there. Rather than write this several times and upload a lot of pictures, I'm including a link to two web pages I set up for the workshop. Note there is another link at the bottom of the first page.

It was certainly a rewarding experience. I know that down the line a lot of what I learned will show up in my work....all it takes is one or two things to make a lot of difference in the progression or evolution of your art.

Now that I'm home, I started back to work on the mixed media pieces I left behind on the easel. I hope to have them finished in another week and then start on the monotypes and some large easel paintings.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Off to Santa Fe and feeling like a jet-setter

I haven't had a spare moment to post anything since leaving for Santa Fe. I had the great good fortune to have my daughter and her friend Paulo fly me out in his plane. It was quite an experience to be arriving in a private plane....what a treat. I took a few aerial pictures but I'm having problems with the computer "finding" my camera connection for some reason. If I can figure it out I'll post some pictures but it may have to wait until I return home.

There are quite a few of the artists attending the Ron Pokrasso Monotype workshop staying at the same place so we're getting acquainted and traveling back and forth to the printmaking building at the American Indian Arts Institute south of town.

There is just SO MUCH to learn. It's so exciting to be learning the ins and outs of another means of enriching my painting and collage work. Ron is a super, energetic, knowledgeable teacher and so generous with his time with all of us. There are some who have done some printmaking in the past but several of us haven't. We come from all over, California, Connecticut, Florida, North Dakota,Texas (me), Arizona and several live here in Santa Fe.

We are all working hard.....standing all day is a given. This workshop is sponsored by Making Art Safely ...www.makingartsafely.com and they strive to have as few chemicals used in the studio as possible. We are using oil based inks but clean all the plates, brushes, palettes, brayers, etc. with a product new to me SoySolv. I'll be sure to get some if I continue to use oil based paints and inks in the future. We use Gamsol only as necessary and I haven't been bothered with the smell at all.

We spent a lot of time today learning about adding chine colle to the monotype. I got two that I like a lot more than the three I started with yesterday. They definately will have more work done on them before they're finished. Of course, some may never see the light of day anywhere :>). You have to have a few duds now and then and they serve their purpose of learning a new process.

Well...gotta got put these swollen feet up and rest up for tomorrow and another day of discovering more about monotypes.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

hanging in there

I've not been doing a lot with the collage these past few days. I've been getting my gear ready for a trip to Santa Fe. Every time I go in the studio, I look at all of them...add a little bit more here and there and decollaged a lot on one. I had every intention of having these pieces finished before I left town..........so far, intention hasn't gotten me very far. It's amazing how long it takes to do such small pieces........I could have probably finished two large paintings in this time and these are still not there yet. Maybe tomorrow..........

Monday, May 30, 2005

Excuses Excuses...May 30, 2005

I've got something laid out on all eight new collages now but have been avoiding them today as they're in an "ugly, unfinished state" and I've now got to make decisions on what to do next with them. I am having a little trouble with some papers not wanting to stay "ironed" down.....wonder if they lose some of the "previous preparation" of the medium over time. So back to just gluing them down with medium as I go when that happens.

I do have great hope for them as all the best work usually goes through this horrible stage. I sometimes think it's a necessity to start out with great hope and energy and then get bogged down with the "same old, same old". Then you almost have to destroy it before it doesn't matter enough to just "do it"...and the heck with if it works or not.

That's what I've been doing today...avoiding the inevitable and the studio, spending too much time at the computer and the good excuse of the holiday.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

May 29, 2005...Trip to Dallas

I got out of the studio this past week and made a trip to Dallas to deliver paintings. I, also, visited with my daughter at her new place in Uptown. We went down to the design district to see what the new spaces for several galleries looked like now that they moved. Craighead Green Gallery http://www.craigheadgreen.com has always been one of my favorites. They certainly have a lot more space to show their artists' work now. I'll have to go back and vist some of the others when I have more time.

The Nasher Sculpture Center http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org was on the "to do list" this time as I'd never been there since they opened downtown across from the Dallas Museum of Art. It is absolutely top notch. Thursdays are currently their "free admission" nights and they had an exhibit of David Smith sculpture and the drawings he used to plan his sculpture........as well as all the wonderful permanent collection.

The outdoor garden is just awesome.....I was intrigued by the James Turrell "box" installed at the end of the garden "Tending" (Blue), It is one of the "skyspaces" he calls them. Rooms or installations open to the sky through rectangular or rounded apertures in the roof.. You can just enter through the "light effects" and then go into a room with seats built into the sides of the room to gaze up into the sky above.......a quiet and meditative setting.

Barbara Hepworth's "Square with Two Circles" was placed in a prominent space at the end of one walkway ending at the reflecting pool......such a wonderful piece with a beautiful, varied patina on the bronze.

Adding to the fun of the evening was dinner and music outdoors at the Nasher's cafe. In fact the whole downtown museum area was closed off to some traffic due to a jazz concert in the park. We had to find a place and walk a way. People of all ages were bringing their blankets, lawnchairs, food and drink for the evening's entertainment. ....Just one of the perks of living in a metropolitan area.

Getting back to the condo was good for me as I was tired after all the excursions all day.....starting with the hour long walk on the Katy Trail http://www.katytraildallas.org/ right near my daughter's place. I couldn't believe we'd walked all the way to the American Airlines Center from Turtle Creek.

Back to the studio today and for the next few days to finish up with the collage I started earlier.

Monday, May 23, 2005

May 23, 2005.....Another week gone by

Over the past busy week-end, I've had some welcome company in my studio.......my friend, Pat. She lives about 100 miles from me so she came over to spend some time "talking art" and playing with materials in the studio. We plan on learning more about transferring photo images for use in fine art collage.

I showed her what I was working on in the studio....eight small 12 x 12" collage on canvas pieces. I've been preparing the background surfaces and just playing around with various shapes and colors, textures, etc. We both have an Epson printer that uses pigment inks so we're looking for images from pictures we took on a trip to Europe to print out and possibly manipulate in a computer program for use in our work. After buying a new digital SLR, I'm looking forward to taking more pictures for use in my work...either as reference materials or as photos that might lend themselves to use in collage.

We printed out some images I took in Barcelona a few years ago and used those as our "test" of the transfer process. The first one came out fairly well. I can see this will take some experimenting to see what will actually show up over or under what. Sometimes you want something to come through clearly and other times you want it to have a more aged effect. It will show up better if it's transferred dark over a light, smoother background. I usually have a lot of texture so this may not work so well for intricate patterning. It, also, might take more advance planning than I usually want in my work.

Today I left the two mirrored images (pictured above) on the two collaged canvases but then as time went by I just kept adding other elements until they were covered over in one entirely and in the other barely noticable.....and probably only to me since I know it's there.

I just decided I'm almost as bad about adding another little piece of paper or a mark every time I go by the work table as I was long ago adding just another touch or nuance to pastels. Overworking is minimized by having so many going at one time.

I climbed up on my little step ladder again to take a few pictures of the collages on the work table so I can record the process as I go along. I haven't linked or loaded the pictures yet but intend to by the time I get through with these pieces.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

May 17,2005

I worked on preparing papers for my mixed media works over the week-end in between visiting with grandkids. By yesterday when I was ready to start putting some of them in place with my tacking iron, I found that the black and white Arabic papers weren't ironing down as usual. Finally I just glued them down with acrylic medium, placed waxed paper over them and let them set up for a few hours. It looked like I had a few of those dratted bubbles in a few of them but I think as they dried out more, they flattened out. Now it's time to start making a big mess and throwing around some papers just to see what starts to gel.

btw....the prep of papers comes from a workshop I attended with Jonathan Talbot http://www.talbot1.com He's a wonderfully generous workshop leader. Another talented and generous artist I met and worked with recently is New Mexico artist, Holly Roberts. It's such a pleasure to be around other artists who know the processes and dilemmas we all face as artists.

I have a new Canon Eos Rebel XT SLR camera to get used to and took a picture of the beginnings of this project as I've never really documented a collage project before. I'll load the pictures later when the project is complete. I'm still having to get used to this program and the camera as well. Nothing like keeping the old brain cells active, huh? Right now I really don't have a clue as to what these eight canvases will look like when they're finished. I'll wait for them to tell me what to do as I get into the process.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Saturday, May 14, 2005

I have some new materials to play around with today. I got an inexpensive Epson printer that uses the pigment inks and thought I'd copy some photos I made in Europe...change them in Paint Shop Pro and see how they would transfer to some new mixed media works I'm experimenting with.

Well.........I had one of those little (12 x 12")canvases prepped with paint and some marks made by caran 'd ache crayons.....so I printed out the sheet with the image of the old building freize....trimmed it up with the paper trimmer, put gloss medium all over the canvas and laid it down face down.......rubbed over it and started pulling off......some of it didn't take but most did but with a little of the paper sticking. Not perfect but I don't like perfect anyway. I could have left it to dry and then rubbed off the paper backing but I couldn't remember the steps and I was playing around anyway.

I've been prepping some Arabic text black and white paper so I didn't want it to be too thick as I'll probably apply the paper in various different sizes to these 8 small canvases as a starting point/background.

I actually have no idea where I'm going .....just groping blindly down some path that I hope will work out later. Slick is not what I'm after....I love the happy accident. The time will finally arrive when I SEE something I want to develop and then the hard work will begin on how to design the whole into art and not just fun backgrounds and textures.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

May 7, 2005

Wow......who would have ever thought I'd wait so long to post another entry to the studio journal. I've since gone to my painting retreat twice.

In November, I found out I had RA in early stages and had to absorb and adjust to that information. I'm doing really well now and ready to get back into the studio full time again. Having good health is something taken for granted ...or it was for me. I'm not taking it for granted any longer.

During my art retreat in Mississippi, I started playing around with powdered graphite. It's become a wonderful addition to my mixed media collage work.....such a moody, sensual element to add to my work. I'm also doing some of this work on canvas now as well as paper.

I'll get some of this new work up on my website later as I develop more works.

Guess I'd better get back to varnishing and wiring new work.