Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fun With Bubbles

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to take photos of yourself blowing bubbles? In my case, it was dang near impossible.

I had a good time trying, though.

So why bubbles? I'm involved in an art swap with Liz Crain. Her contribution was a ceramic jar that says "bubble soap" across the front. Well, before I alter the jar, I just had to try it out for its intended purpose. Naturally, I had a lot of fun with it.

Hurray for digital cameras -- I could point, shoot, delete to my heart's content. I would blow a bubble, snap the shutter, and the check the preview. 9 times out of 10 (ok, more than that), I either had the camera tipped at a dizzying angle, or I missed myself completely.

I managed to catch a few of them just as they popped -- I like those photos a lot. Can you see the bit of spray in the lower right -- that's a bubble caught as it's popping.

And, then, I tried to get a pic of the bubbles as they floated away. Do they move fast!

Good thing my neighbors weren't home; they would have thought I was nuts the way I was laughing over here.

s you can see, I played till it nearly got dark. Just like being a kid again.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Artomat WIP #7 - Finished!

Ta Da! The Artomat paintings are finished! They're all done, dry, and wrapped in their acetate sleeves.

Fifty happy little fishes and flowers are ready to be popped in the mail to their new homes. Each one is unique and individually painted. Here are just a sampling of them:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Artomat WIP #6 - Paintings Are Almost Done

I've had to set aside the art swap project to make some progress on my Artomat project this weekend.

The images are all done: tackgrounds are all painted, paper cutouts are all cut and attached, and everything has a nice coat of varnish.

After they dry, they will get a label on the back and a piece of acetate wrapped around before being shipped out.

Whew! It feels good to have the end so close in sight!

In case you missed the earlier steps, here they are:

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Similarities in the Art Swap

I've been studying our entries for the deKooning-Rauschenberg art swap. Liz Crain's is on the left, mine is on the right.

We had no idea what the other person would choose to send, but look at the similarities. Consider:

  • Both have similar color schemes: mainly purple with bits of green, teal, and ivory throughout.
  • They both have black lines for details. (Click on Liz's bottle to enlarge her image to see them.)
  • Both have circular elements. Look at the circle in the upper right corner of my drawing -- doesn't it resemble the handle of Liz's wand and the spots on the bottle?
  • Both have playful themes: soap bubbles and music.
Despite their obvious differences (2D vs. 3D, paper vs. ceramic), they are remarkably similar. Especially when I think of some of the other items that I considered sending that would have been wildly different.

Interesting. I wonder how that happened.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

An Unfair Trade?

I just received the contribution from Liz Crain for our deKooning-Rauschenberg art swap. I'm feeling like I've gotten the better end of this deal. Look at the fantastic ceramic bottle and wand she sent. They're designed for soap bubbles! The bottle even says "bubble soap" across the front in teal letters.

I only sent a little drawing, and she sent two wonderful pieces. Was I a little stingy? I didn't mean to be.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. Do I dare break it? Really? I could scratch it, paint over it, bury it in the yard for a month. Turn it into a mosaic.

Might have to enjoy it -- I mean contemplate it -- for a few days to come up with ideas. Suggestions, anyone?

I have to admit, though: I find it amusing that we both packaged our art carefully so that it would survive the trip in the mail unharmed.

Hers was packed securely in bubble wrap and paper. I wrapped mine in cellophane and reinforced it with cardboard. We knew it was going to be destroyed at the other end, but we still wanted it to arrive safely.

And, of course, as I unpacked her box, I handled both pieces very carefully so I wouldn't drop them. Made sure not to set them too close to the edge of the table so they wouldn't get bumped off. Funny, hm?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Goodbye Little Friend

Ack! This is hard! I had to choose a drawing to be destroyed by someone else. Talk about heart-wrenching!

Why on earth would I send one of my drawings to someone else to be destroyed?

I've been reading "DeKooning: An American Master" by Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan as part of a Twitter book club organized by Alyson Stanfield.

One of the stories is about when Robert Rauschenberg approached Willem DeKooning and asked if he could have a drawing. Rauschenberg intended not to frame and enjoy the drawing, but instead to erase it.

The request from the young artist was bold and admittedly insulting to the middle-aged artist. DeKooning granted the request, although not without making Rauschenberg swirm. It's fascinating to hear Rauschenberg reminisce about the event and the resulting artwork himself:

I've been tweeting with Liz Crain (@lizcrain) about this story. We both can destroy our own work when it doesn't live up to our standards. But letting someone else ruin one of our own artworks? Hmmm...

After some thought-provoking discussion, we decided there's only one way to find out -- give it a try. We agreed to swap artworks and re-make them into our own.

Now, I haven't met Liz in person and don't know how old she is, so there's none of this "young upstart vs. established master" tension to our swap. For me, it's about giving up control and letting the artwork have a life of its own.

For my piece, I chose "Purple Music", shown above. It's a small drawing done with Sharpie marker, acrylic paints, and colored pencils on patterned paper. If Liz tries to erase it, it will give her plenty of trouble. ;)

It's a drawing I did this spring and I'm fond of it. DeKooning was fond of the drawing he gave to Rauschenberg, and deliberately chose something he would miss.

I also like that it has a music theme. Music played a huge part in DeKooning's life (remember the $700 record player?) and is a big part of mine.

Knowing that I've sent it off to its demise is tough. It's entirely different than mailing off an artwork to be loved and enjoyed. So, goodbye, little friend, I'm sad to see you go.

Now that it's in the mail, I'm excited to see what Liz is sending me. I'll post pictures of it as soon as it arrives.

So what do you think? Could you let someone erase, alter, or remake one of your artworks?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cleveland Treasury

Susan from photohale has created this beautiful treasury of items from local Cleveland artists. Isn't it beautiful? She has ever so kindly included my Spiral Collage Painting. I'm delighted to be included in her treasury.

Hurry and take a look at the treasury quickly; it expires Wednesday, August 5.

And be sure to stop by Susan's Etsy shop, , to see her collection of photos. Some are taken locally, but others from around the globe (France, Czech Republic). She has a wonderful eye for seeing abstract shapes in everyday objects.