I worked this week on an 8 inch box sculpture and finished it for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery. I’ve titled it “Independent As A Hog On Ice”. It will join its friends in my Figures Of Speech series for another exhibit later this year at the Gallery.
Here’s a few stages of progress…
The finishing touches were to make the skate lines more subtle and to make the overall box a lighter blue ice cube color.
Now having finished “Independent As A Hog On Ice” I have the challenge of photographing it for the Caplan Art Designs Gallery. Below is one of my attempts at getting a good photo. The color isn’t correct. I talked with the Gallery about it and they suggested using a white background …
… and that suggestion worked much better! This photo below is true to the color of my artwork!
Being willing to try, fail, accept instruction and fix mistakes is an essential skill. I even wrote on my email newsletter recently on the art of mucking about -making mistakes in sketchbook fountain pen drawings and fixing them – or as a friend says “there aren’t mistakes in art only novel ways to fix them” well here are a few of my novel ways…
And yet in this social media age there are people – and trolls or bots -who are quick to tell you everything you’ve ever done is a mistake, that you should change your life and creativity to suit them, that you should let them do whatever benefits them at your expense. Such commentary isn’t helpful or constructive “criticism”. Often it’s not even “criticism” in the art school definition of “an analysis of the merits or faults of an artistic work”. Criticism in that art school sense arises by mutual consent, by mutual trust and respect, between the artist/creator and the person being asked for input. Often in social media the trolls make their unkind comments unasked, and I don’t know them. Similarly the overweening flattery some trolls dole out prior to asking me to give them carte blanc to [fill in the blank with something that would only benefit the troll]. I block and delete such comments without responding to them. I focus on the kind helpful real-life people instead. And I ask for art school style criticism only from people I know and trust in real life.
But it isn’t always easy to be a creative person on social media. It’s a necessary evil nowadays for the self employed artist and yet social media is only a single cog in the creative process – but this one cog causes a regular need to do timeline mental health preservation, negative troll jujitsu and efforts to simultaneously maintain one’s spirit and creativity in the face of abuse.
Very recently another new social media has been rolled out, there’s pressure to “join” it now too… 🤦♀️ … so I thumbtacked a new handwritten card to my studio wall. It’s the one in the photo below that says “was your dream as a kid to provide free content for a billionaires social media company?” I’m willing to use social media but I’m not willing to be used – or abused – by it. Thus my thumbtacked reminder.
It helps me remember that I’m focusing more nowadays on my email newsletter and this blog – both of which are not so heavily based in an algorithm. I have more control over my newsletter and this blog and can interact more reliably with real people. I still use Instagram and Facebook just much less than I did before.
I added the new thumbtacked card about social media under the card I’d made some years ago when I was giving so many lectures and teaching workshops so often that I didn’t have time for creating my own artwork. It’s the card saying “was your dream as a kid to talk about art/writing or to do it?”. It helps me maintain more harmony between the doing of art and the talking about it.
Here’s me beginning a “use every fountain pen” exercise just for the no need to talk about it because of the self-explanitory fun of it. I’ll probably share the finished drawing on my email newsletter because I’m like that.
Speaking of using all of my pens… Here’s another thumbtacked note to myself “use the art supplies yourself -and now- or they’ll get sold for 10 cents at a garage sale after your funeral i.e. don’t hoard or be precious about art supplies no matter how nice they are! Just use them!”
Now and then I look around my studio and think “what have I not used lately?”
I have a big fat 40 inch tall roll of Kozuke paper that I haven’t used in a few years. Back then I used acrylic paints to dye this paper, make patterns on it and then I cut up the colored papers to make my large scale collage paintings. After the pandemic began I started working in a smaller size and primarily painting instead of doing collage. So that thickest roll of paper you see below in this photo has languished.
So I cut off a strip of the paper and tested my various fountain pens, inks and watercolors and gouache paints on it. On my test strip I misspelled the name of the paper which should be “Kozuke” but I’ll know what I mean whenever I refer to this test strip. All of my art materials tested well! Now I’m thinking of using this paper to make artist books!
Along with revisiting my art supplies inventory I like to occasionally reexamine my color palettes. For a number of years now I’ve used a more muted, subtle palette based in the natural world- specifically the colors of butterflies and bugs like beetles. So I purposefully took time this week to notice what colors in the real world caught my eye pleasantly and felt soothing to my mind. Then I looked for those same or very similar colors in several of my color reference books. I found the bulk of those colors in this book pictured below … and the colors I liked in the real world are in the butterfly and bug section again!
Details about this wonderful book here https://www.powells.com/book/natures-palette-a-color-reference-system-from-the-natural-world-9780691217048
Here’s test swatches of my butterfly bug palette that I create my imaginary worlds with – like “Independent As A Hog On Ice”. I’ll bet you can find the colors I used in my Hog sculpture in the swatches below.
We create the world together… we can pick the colors and the co-creators of the world that we want to inhabit.
Thank you for sharing the world with me. See you next Monday.