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Sunday, June 7, 2015

NEW THINGS FROM SCRAPS

sunrise over marsh
by tj worthington

Finished a new piece this morning, can't stop looking at it. Not that it blows me away with beauty, not at all. I stare at it because it works and I don't know why. I do know why. It worked in my mind's eye before deciding to put the parts together. Finished, it doesn't look like what I saw and it does. Since naming it, Sunrise Over Marsh, I only see the circle as sun and the sticks as marsh grass. The name came from what it suggested to me, finished. In process, I wasn't thinking anything like that. The board had a big circle. I wanted to put something in the circle, maybe a section of a painting I never finished, a portrait, a collage, all of which made my deciding mind scream, No! Among the visions that appealed was leaving it empty, letting it feature the wall it hangs against. The wall is all the way around the rectangle, why not inside the rectangle too. Let it include the wall, even feature the wall. Visions of possibilities happened in my head like a slide show and nothing suited. I wanted it abstract, not an image. I went into what I call the junk room, the place I keep parts to pick from and tools. I have some pictures in frames leaned against the door frame on the left. I've leaned some thin sheets of wood there that I'm saving toward using for jigsaw figures. 

sunrise over georgia marsh
by jim kundell

My foot inadvertently kicked the sheet of thin wood, it slid to the floor, I cussed, turned around to pick it up, saw two more things slid down with it. One was an old, dusty from dehydration, brittle print of Whistler's portrait of Thomas Carlyle. I had taken it out of a frame rescued from going to the dump a decade ago, gave the frame to Crystal to brighten up and use. Behind the print on the floor was a thin sheet of wood, which had been in the frame behind the print. There it was. I'd forgotten it. It was old and dry, tung oil would bring it to life, and it just happened to be the perfect size to fit the hole. I sought no further. It was what I wanted in the circle and didn't know it, didn't dare imagine I could find a thin sheet of wood with good grain big enough for the circle. I don't know the wood, suspect oak. Oak was cheap in the time the print was framed, I'm guessing early 20th century, Thirties maybe. Between the wars. I like the balance of circles with straight lines. The vertical sticks to the right were put there because I liked them there. Initially, I wanted them two to three inches longer at top and bottom. 

snrise over marsh
by antonio frasconi

Time to glue the sticks down, one maple, two walnut, it came to me how vulnerable they would be. They would be fine hanging on a wall. But the thing won't always be hanging on a wall. It will be handled by people other than me. It may have a time in storage, in an attic or basement. It is a natural law, if they can be broken, they will. I sawed them to the length of the plywood plane. I prefer it the other way, but can't let it go out of the house with certitude at least one of them will be broken. I wanted them for vertical lines primarily. That they stick out over the edge at both ends gave it something I liked. It was even exciting. It is better to have the parts contained inside the rectangle. I've seen how paintings are handled in the back rooms at exhibitions. They must be break-proof. It still carries original vision self-contained. The vertical sticks and the circle inside the rectangle are in relation to each other, lines. It was after it was done and propped up on a portable easel to look at it completed, I saw the sun and marsh grass. Once seen, I couldn't even force another suggestion. It's what I see. The woodgrain inside the circle even suggests a marsh scene below and clouds above. 

jupiter rising
by tj worthington

Like in the making of Jupiter Rising, the suggestion of the hole a planet or a star, a heavenly body, was one of many ways I could have used the circles. Did not want to do planets, felt it too obvious to the point of cartoon. In the African padauk with straight, tight grain horizontal, deep rust orange, I saw Jupiter on the horizon in a telescope through the earth's ring of pollution. Among the first round of scraps I brought home from Chris's shop, these sticks of walnut an inch and a half by half an inch. Two were the same length. I wanted to use three lines with the circle. It has to do with visual feeling, nothing arcane. The shorter stick of the three was as long as the plane of plywood was wide. I did not want to cut any of the sticks. I played with them like blocks, dividing the plane like Mondrian with horizontal and vertical lines on white. They fell into the shape of a Japanese torii. I liked it. It fit the space perfectly. I also saw a rectangle divided into four rectangles, a circle in one of the rectangles. Three simple lines and a circle. It suggests seeing Jupiter rise through a torii. I'm happy with the suggestion. Especially because it was not the intent. The suggestion does not overwhelm for my eye that it is three sticks and a circle. The suggestion makes it somewhat cartoony, and that's ok. It continues to be three sticks and a circle in a rectangle. 
torii


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