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Monday, September 30, 2013

"Noxious Needles" Revisited and "Nettles Clump"

Noxious Needles, Graphite and Charcoal on Paper 24" x 16"  2013
I decided to further develop the mass of leaves in the bottom right-hand corner of this drawing.   with tonal contrast  and delineated veins on some of the leaves.  At this point, I chose to leave the drawing and move on to the next project, Nettles Clump, below.

Nettles Clump,  Birch Plywood 2013
I plan to produce at least five thistle-inspired, low relief panels for an installation that will include a large drawing similar to Noxious Needles. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Updated 'Nettles' and 'Noxious Needles'

Nettles  18 in. x 14 in. x 2 in. Acrylic on birch plywood 2013

Noxious Needles 24 in. x 16 in. x 3 in. Graphite and charcoal on paper 2013
Following my meeting with my artist mentor, Patte Loper, I decided to work on both projects again. Both projects needed more dramatic values.  Nettles relates more closely to the drawing in tones of grey than in soft greens.  This approach also expresses a combination of fascination and repulsion much better as well.  The drawing was delicate and lacked the darker side of nature now visible with the addition of more leaves in charcoal pencil. The plants are showing growth and decay at the same time.

When I collected more thistle stalks, I noticed how new growth is taking hold where I cut thistles a month ago to bring into the studio.  This plant is determined to reproduce itself, with flowers, pods and self propagating roots.  If you don't want it in your yard, you have to smother it under thick black plastic for weeks.

The thistle prefers disturbed land and poor soil in order to thrive.  Its presence indicates that the local environment has been drastically transformed through human activity.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Nettles & Lupini

Nettles,  Acrylic on Birch Plywood and Bamboo Points,  17 x 15 x 4 in.  2013
 Nettles received its final wash of paint a few days ago.  This thin application of paint, water and medium brings out the textures on the wood's surfaces. Brushstrokes and dripped paint contributed to the unevenness that suggests dust or even herbicide on the thistle leaves.  This piece is more three-dimensional and multi-layered than previous panels have been. The plant forms have become more integrated within the rectangular panel, alluding to the melding of culture and nature that is all around us.

Lupini,  Graphite on Paper,  24 x 16 in.  2013

My drawing Lupini looks like a study of pea pods, but these are actually lupin pods. The pods are downy with tiny hairs and are colored a purplish-grey.  When the pods are fully developed, they spring open and release little dark seeds.  I became interested in the voluptuous forms of the pods and their plentiful numbers. There are hundreds of lupin stalks near my favourite thistle patch.  I am working on a low relief panel inspired by this drawingof pods, as a companion piece to Nettles. 

I have also been working hard on my thesis.  Draft 2 is a big improvement over my first efforts.  I have a definite focus and I am able to discuss what my work is about, where it comes from and why I am doing it, with illustrations, of course!  I must say that the thesis is very time-consuming. I am glad that I have saved my panels from my third semester in case I decide to use some of them in the grad exhibition.  I have projects I would like to finish for it, but we will see how much I can accomplish in the studio.

In a few days I am going to New York to meet with my mentor. Our first meeting was through Skype, so I am looking forward to seeing her in person and visiting some galleries and museums.