10 September 2012

heading somewhere

This weekend I began work on something that has been floating around the peripheries of my imagination for a few weeks. Without being entirely sure what my idea actually is, I gathered supplies and started to put together the skeleton of my creation. As you can see, materialized so far are a set of cotton-candy-colored hills or bosoms, clustered in perhaps a cellular sort of way... and I've only a vague idea where we're headed next.

Some of the inspiration for this project came from a visit to the Triton Museum in Santa Clara a short time ago. A gallery of recycled-art sculptures such as this intriguing portrait ~

got me excited about three-dimensional, textured work. My friend Nita, whose background is in architecture, kept exclaiming as we looked at each piece, wondering how the artist arrived at each of the minute choices it took to create the overall piece.

She got me thinking about how I make artistic choices, and that peaceful, creative zone where one just seems to "know" what to do. Faced with the everyday world of chores and grocery shopping and driving to and fro, finding that mental art space doesn't always come easily, but when achieved it's a real joy. Some of my artworks are for a specific purpose or communication and require some planning and forethought. But other times, as in the project I just began, the piece is more about the process and following the vaguest idea that cannot be seen clearly until suddenly, after hours or days of creation, it suddenly manifests itself in the completed artwork.

While I was at the museum, I admired these pointy pencil slippers by Renee Billingslea. I wonder what the artist's initial starting point was when creating these. Was it a prepared statement? Or did she just have a bunch of pencils lying around and thought of something to do with them?

It's true I had a lot of washi paper. It happened to be in these colors, so that explains the palette, though I painted over the green paper as I didn't care for its shade. I added gold, bronze, blue and yellow. Paper circles from an earlier painting prompted the round shapes to be cut out, but I wanted to sculpt, so they turned into cones. I knew I didn't want to paint on a rectangular canvas, so the idea here is that I'm attempting to create a lumpy, more organically shaped canvas to work on.

I had to sew the paper to keep the cone shapes. I had buttons and beads, some of which ended up on the seams. The buttons worried me a little. I thought they might suggest clothing and suddenly the hills looked like a whole lot of brassieres. But I left them, since the paper beginning is only the start. I think more will happen to these hills and in the transformation the buttons may not be too noticeable.

This other room of sculptures and paintings done by another local artist, Harry Powers, got me thinking that a great way to have art is to make it, and not worry about what it's going to end up being.

It's a bit meditative, sewing painted papers and heading who-knows-where. I'll keep you posted on the passage and we'll see where we finally arrive.

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