Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hands grasping and supplicating

The foamcore and framing material arrived today so I could officially finish this piece. The extended arm is velcro-ed on the surface so It can be removed for safer shipping and storage.
Someone pointed out to me that it looks like a cross. Perhaps it is one.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What I thought I would do and what I did

I was gone overnight on a creative brainstorming retreat with my beloved church ladies. My favorite volunteer gig at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church is the worship planning team. We plan immersive, interactive experiences for our congregation and others, to tell the stories of our people in new ways. It's installation art in service of story. Too cool for school, don't ya' know!
I got home early and thought, Yipee! I have time to work in the studio. So I promptly wasted all sorts of time, but finally got to work shortly before dinner. I thought I would be working on the blue dresses, doing and re-doing them.I'd blown the bodice on this one, you know.
But, NO! I had to work on the masked ladies in all their naked glory! There are 3 larger valises to fill. These 3 images are nearly done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Much new work

I ordered the frame for this today..a black metal frame. The top arm extends beyond the frame on foamcore. Dresses are still an obsession for me. I have been dyeing cloth lately that was part of the Kristalnacht installation ( go to and click the link for installations.) It is indigo dyed, with ghostly images of the lists of concentration camps. I am wondering what would happen if I made dresses from this indigo dyed muslin in styles that might have been around during World War II. While I do not imagine them ON anyone, I suppose I could have a trangressive fashion show... Just thinking, you know? (Drawing on UV Utra paper with gesso and various colored pencils)

The Hidden WIld Women

One set of the masked ladies is completed. They reside invisible in their quiet, business-like briefcases. But, in their hearts, they are wild-women!
The drawings are done on handmade paper from cotton rag, flax and abaca, using various colored pencils and gesso.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The flow of the studio

It has been so good to be working regularly in the studio again. I have regained a sense of BEING an artist. I awake in the morning with urgent work to accomplish...hands to get dirty, pastels to grind down to nubs, exacto blades to change. The work flows smoothly...or as smoothly as this mysterious vocation can flow. You sweat, you wonder, you get very dirty, you make lousy mistakes, fix them, destroy them, wonder if you'll ever figure out how to finish, staple, rip, rub, read, research and seek the state where you are simply the tool of the divine. Sometimes, at the end of a very good day, you might stand back and say, "Did I do that?" Somehow you were able to get out your own way, having no real memory of how you could have commanded your body to accomplish what it did.
I took the Cow-Heart series to the framers today...after adding a pastel frame to the middle one. These 2 pieces are now finished. I added a bit of red and a framework. Now, after a few days admiring them, I will roll them up...too big to frame right now. They are around 48" wide.
I will be attending a dying workshop for the next few no more drawing. And then, on Monday, the new windows are delivered and the work starts on Wednesday. The delightful flow of the studio will be interrupted again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Big eyed masked ladies

Sometime last year, I found sample cases at Axman in St. Paul. They are sturdy valises with sides of equal depth. I knew then that the masked ladies would find their way into the valises. Something about their increasing eroticism...Mark said it was voyeurism of the viewer/exhibitionism of the ladies at the same time.
These dancers will inhabit the large valises.
These poor little ladies will NOT inhabit the small valises. They seem lost in the vastness and the contrast with the walnut stained and crumpled paper is too high.

Masked Ladies and more

A productive week. I will need to pack up the working studio soon to make room for the new windows being delivered in a couple of days. Sigh...
With gesso and colored water soluble pencils on handmade paper from cotton rag, abaca, and raw flax. They will be trimmed to fit in their boxes.
Grasping hands were reaching toward..what?
Perhaps the hands are reaching for this red mystery.
Tramping on Moonlight 2 nearly finished. A bit of red, I think.
Tramping on Moonlight 1 completed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

White Dresses

White dresses have been a staple in my repertoire for years. I don't really know why. Clearly they have deep meaning for me...I suspect they represent a certain nostalgia for a time that is not my own...a fictive story of naivete and innocence. I am working on a very large scale installation that involves a white dress.
In times past, the dresses I have used have been found garments, antique wedding night nightgowns, baptismal gowns, simple cotton slips. This time, I will be building the dress. These drawings help me to understand the character in/of the dress more. I am always working within a narrative, searching for the meaning the components wish to impart. It is like searching for a lost love, detecting the whisper of a long dead parent or the mystery in the attic. I follow the clues. The dress, this time, is telling a resurrection story, a hopeful story of rebirth...I think. It may ultimately tell me otherwise.
The bodice of this dress is crocheted, with uplifting 3/4 length sleeves, much too small for you or I. It will hang far over my head, and yards and yards and yards of muslin skirt will take over the room.
Tech notes: these drawings are on UV Ultra tracing vellum. The design was painted on the reverse with gesso. Then I drew on the front with compressed charcoal. the separation of the gesso from the charcoal layer effected by the robust vellum encourages a luminous 3-dimensionality.

Masked Ladies continue to appear

While on vacation, the masked ladies continued to develop. My vacations are actually periods of personal retreat, set aside from everyday responsibilities and distractions.
My retreats are time to read, write and draw to understand a developing sculpture, or draw for the sheer joy of it. Sometimes I paint. I take a drop cloth, gesso, filthy compressed charcoal, cool papers and an openness to surprising developments that can only occur in times of great peace.

SOme vacation photos

I have been home almost a week. It seems like forever already and I await my visit to the shore next year with ever so pleasant anticipation.
Twilight on "my" beach.
A female piece of driftwood on "my" beach.
A boy leaping off a 20-30 foot cliff at Temperance River State previously demonstrated by his father. The 2 of them started their leaping near the pedestrian bridge and sought ever higher promontories for leaping.
Birch crowns on "my" deck, compliments of my friend Dale.
I call this place "mine" because it touched me so...but, truly, I do not own it, except in my heart. I already made my reservations for next year.