a stack of books makes good clamps
The weather turned cold again. Today the air had floating crystals. I stepped outside to take carrots to the donkeys and felt a barely perceptible precipitation on my face. The temperature stayed just above 32 all day. As soon as the sun set, the temperature dropped below 32. Made a run to town for grocery store and a stop at Farmer's Hardware. Back home, I put braces on the backs of four pieces of plywood toward painting them. Glued the cardboard onto two of them. These two I think of as a pair. Thought about making them a yin-yang of each other, but that bored me. Each is uniquely itself now. One of them has a piece of torn cardboard. I've been wanting to try that. This one is the test. It might be simply dead, though I won't know until it's done. Color is very important on this one. I feel like the wrong color will kill it and the right color make it dance. Thinking about pink. Haven't made one pink yet. I'd like to make a gorgeous, silken pink, intense and soft. Not pastel. Thinking of the two as a pair, I was thinking 1955 Ford pink and gray. May do it yet. The two might go together better as not yin-yang with each other. The other board I glued two pieces of cardboard to. It is standing on its side now with books on top for weight. I wanted to wrap the cardboard around the edge with a half inch lip. I'll keep the weight on it overnight to be sure the glue is firm. Yet, back to yin-yang, the one on its edge has a masculine sense, while the one with the torn cardboard has a feminine sense. Maybe a masculine color would be good for this one, blue, baby colors. I'll see when I get there.
Under the influence of my Daily Creative Practice friends, I've begun to take pictures of works in progress, steps along the way. Before, I'd just get pictures of the finished piece, never thinking of the process from start to finish a unit. Gluing and screwing the braces onto the backs of plywood boards I tend to think of as something extra from the finished piece. Today, I was drilling holes for the screws and feeling the thrill of putting the structure together, the surface for the paint, the rectangle. Tomorrow I'll apply the gesso to these two and paint the black edge. Next day or so, when I'm feeling it, I'll apply their colors. I like pink and blue. It could be fun to put the blue on the feminine form and the pink on the masculine form. It would be totally subliminal. No one would notice but me, That one's ringing temptation through my electrical system. This is getting so involved, I'll probably use some other colors. Already the pink and blue has become a cliche. Don't want cliches. I'll pick their colors without regard for the other. That's how I did the cardboard. One part of my mind sees them a pair. Another part of the mind wants them separate and not referring to the other. Twins that don't dress alike. Gluing down the cardboard is a commitment to an image the paint will make important. I want to make a cardboard statement on each one, individually, its shape being the subject. I want them to have the freshness of chance. The lines of light and shade are the ultimate subject. I don't like to put too much mentation into where the lines will appear on each one. The arrangement of the cardboard is about those lines of light and shade. From half way across the room, only those lines are visible on a plane of color.
I like that up close the cardboard is visible as such, while at a little distance it returns to one plane with light and shadow lines. I like that. It's almost a juxtaposition. An added dimension that is visible up close and disappears with distance. I'm looking in mind for a way to make the plywood surface the positive space, subject, and the cardboard the negative space. I'll attempt that on the next one after these two. It is almost a square. I see what I think I want to do. Seen in the mind's eye and the 3-D object, itself, can be very different. What I see in my mind might be terrible on the board. But it's a place to start. On the board I can make arrangements and see what happens. Chance is very important. The structure of the rectangle is not chance, but visual inside the rectangle, though a mental construct, I feel like needs chance in there too. The curved and jagged line of the torn cardboard represents chance in this one. The other one with two pieces of cardboard I saw in my mind's eye and cut to what I saw, arranged it, liked what I saw and when I put the glue on and placed them, it was entirely different from what I set out to do. I realized I was already bored with it, and if it bores me that quickly, I don't want to do it. The new arrangement happened without mentation. Surprise. I feel like I'm engaged in artistry during the construction of the surface period, where before, I thought of it more as carpentry. Two separate events went into each piece. Now that I am seeing the carpentry aspect a part of the finished artwork, it's all the more fun. I want each piece to have freewheeling fun about it.
18 having its sides clamped
The verse from the Tao te Ching I posted yesterday spoke what I am aiming toward in each of these, simplicity, patience and empathy. The simplicity is self-evident. Simplicity is a primary guideline. When mind starts complicating a visual idea, I pull back at a certain point and declare it too complicated, not what these pieces are about.. They are about the most simple I can get it, a line of light and a line of shadow on one color. The only way I can see simpler would be not to use paint, just show the raw materials, though that gets into a degree of visual complexity. Patience, I see patience in a certain stillness they have. They are quiet, even when the color is loud. I see a stillness in one color. These two will be 17 and 18. I've been following what I learn from one piece to the next. The progression is becoming visible. I'm leaving rectangular shapes and going into more interesting shapes, though the rectangle is important. And empathy for itself. I'll interpret empathy to be each one's reference only to itself, it is what/who it is, complete in itself. Each one is it's place in a series and each one is itself. They work well in a cluster of them on the wall and they work well alone. I don't know that anybody will ever see what I'm seeing in this series. The beauty of it for me is that it doesn't matter if somebody likes it and somebody else doesn't. I'd know that would be the case if I painted like Norman Rockwell. Some would say, Oh what great art, and some others would say, What a bunch of shit. I don't think what I'm doing is "great art" by any means, though I feel like this series is touching art, getting there. It's neither pole of the extremes. I'm playing with art like a child. Therein, I'll say, is the empathy.
braced for next