Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I thought I could hack it....

Going a week without posting....but I was wrong!  The problem is that while I have been working my patootie off on the big little lady there's just not much to show for it.

Since you've seen her last she's gotten hair with stuff growing out of it.  I've had some metal garland for years (I'm a pack rat, thanks parents of that generation!)  and wove it in there along with some wired rope.  Then I decided I needed way more leaves so I went to the hardware and bought aluminum flashing and spent hours cutting out leaves.  I wasn't sure I even liked her "do" but its growing on me. 

One thing was for sure I hated her hands.  More specifically how huge I had made them.  her delicate arms were attached to these huge clubs and I wasn't happy.  After all, I wanted her to have thin arms and a thin neck so it wasn't like I could make them bigger!  But- last week I did make those arms beefier and guess what?  She looks good.  Then I realized that her arms were always too thin and she looked skeletal.  Soooo much better now!  That's why I decided to fatten up her neck, too.

And guess what? It looks good! Still long, thin and elegant. Imagine that!

She got a ton of work done to her face, as well, although I don't know that you can see it in these pics.  Her nose is much bigger- a real schnoz!  Her lips are more defined and so are her eyes.  I don't know if she's as beautiful with that big nose but she looks more realistic and seems to have her own personality.

But what's really been holding me up from visible progress is the costuming.  I had these two unfinished area that really had me stumped.  I really couldn't see myself adding any more flowers to the mix.   It became a trailing vine on this side.

And this side?  Well, remember the meds I was on for the vertigo?  For a little while I thought she should have an animal by her side.  But what would work against the dove she's already holding.  A fox?  A rabbit? A cat, a dog, a racoon, a duck?  I knew it would have to be a baby deer.  Then hours went into finding pictures of baby deer.  Once in awhile the thought of a mermaid crept in.  But eventually I stopped taking the meds and realized that if I want to get this done by August than I had better make a decision.

Now the other side of her gown matches the trailing vine.  Quite pretty and I didn't have to segway off into sculpting animals.  Whew!
At this point I have gone over all the glue joints with paper clay and am preparing to sand.  Then- its onto painting and adding glass.  Whew, again, the thought of that makes me sweat a little.  Probably why I am putting off and blogging instead!

Oh!  And another stumper!  I 'came out' at work when I was able to announce that not only had I entered this competition but that I had a venue!  But people started asking probing questions like- what is her name?  How do I say "She hasn't told me that yet?"  There were some Then someone said "well tell me what she's about..."  "Errr, ummm....its kinda sorta about ....the essence of woman.....ish"  
"Oh, so she's Mother Earth"  
"NO, She's not Mother Earth."  This I know. 

Well, put that on the list of not quite, but still getting there- list of accomplishments.  I listened to her really hard.  Got out a thesaurus ( A great place to find sophisticated sounding words- its so cool how you look up a simple word and they group it with really complicated words that mean the same thing but sound smarter!)  and started looking up words.  For hours.  Three beers later last Friday night I was on to something.   A headache.  And a couple of sentences that still looked good the next day.  So-what do you think of this as a title????  No really, I'm asking.

Life Cycle; Bounty of Joy and Sorrow.
And I am working in the word "Equinox" into the description.  See I had this powerful feeling that it would apply to her.  After I looked it up on-line (Thanks, thesaurus, for not having that particular word in your book!!!) I found that it means a time when the sun hits the equator in such a way that the day and the night are exactly the same length of time all over the world.

Well, for her, it means that she is in a place in her life where she has just as much behind her as she does in front of her.  (You know, 40ish!)  TA- DAAH!  The sculpture will be about her youthful dreams and hopes, coming into her power as a woman, realizing her potential to affect those that come after her and her duty to care for and respect those women that have gone before her.  And so much more.  Again- what do you think?  Make sense or am I still having after effects of those meds?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One minute in the mind of a designer.

Hey!!! You're CUTE! No! I mean it, YOU ARE DARLING!  What are You doing in a dusty old place like this?

Let me get a look at you......

That shape! Your style- very haute couture!  Did you used to belong to Jackie Kennedy?  You look like you might have!
Truly, you are proof positive that great design withstands the test of time.

You know what?  You are coming home with me- that's it, that's final, finnito!  What?  5.00?  Are these people crazy?  Do they not know what they have here?  Well, they do not deserve to have you in their presence, not one minute more.  

Now, where will I put you?  I know, the girl's room.  No!  Those beasts will defile you with stickers and grime.  The bathroom?  Hmm, won't fit.  My room?  You don't go with the decor.  Of course I must re-decorate...  Oh, wait, settle down, Chris!

Ok, let's just start with an introduction to the living room....
Did I mention how CUTE you were?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Its official! Art prize and me!

registered like I was supposed to- crossed my t's and dotted my i's.  Filled out some forms on line (big feat for me) and uploaded some pictures.  Then...I waited.  It was now time for venue's and artists to make contacts to secure a venue.  Venue being the establishment that would host your art during Art Prize.  I waited.  Not patiently.  I had one in mind that I had been in contact with- actually I had my heart set on it from the moment I walked through the building last year.  They did not contact me.  

christine mikowskichristine mikowski
Comstock Park, MI
United States
3Dfigurative sculpture
This unfinished, lifesize sculpture stands over 57" tall and approximately 30". She is made of paper mache` and wears a very dimensional gown of flora and fauna made from ... 
Read more

However, the Amway Grand Plaza did.   "Well, that works!"  I thought.  I knew immediately where she should be and hoped that no other artist had taken the spot.  They have a magnificent spiral stair with a lovely garden underneath it.  I could just see her nestled in among the plants.  She would be in the perfect, couldn't have imagined better, spot.  My liaison agreed.  It was actually a short meeting.  I decided to treat myself to a coffee and sat in their outdoor cafe gazing at the skyline of my favorite city feeling the glow of knowing that for that moment everything was perfect and I was excitedly envisioning how the event would go.  This was good, it was all good.  Eventually I wandered home.

To find a message on my answering machine and in my inbox that I could definitely not put my sculpture in the garden, no way no how.  I was crushed.  Technical had vetoed it in a resounding way.  There really was no other suitable spot.  The artists were displaying in this large hall that was the lobby and main thorough fair.  She needs to be seen from all the way around.  She would have to be out in the traffic of all those people- I was sure that she would be toppled over the very first day.

But- I m a bit of a business woman, I am.  (Really I can do this, I thought- problem solving is the true talent of a designer!)  Could she be up on a platform? I asked.  Not anything that would be tippy.  Would she be cordoned off by ropes?  No, but my poster and any information that I would provide would set her aside a little bit. (?What?  I have to come up with propaganda? Geesh!)  Could I create a backdrop of green plants to 'set her off' a bit.  No, that would be a maintenance issue.  It was starting to look like this wasn't going to happen at all.  We even discussed other venues.  It felt like we were both preparing to walk away.

I picked up the girls from school. Drove Kayla to an appointment which happened to be close to downtown.  Decided to give the Amway another look see.  I had in my mind that if the sculpture couldn't be in the garden could she be in front of it so at least there was the visual connection of the greenery.  Was there room?  Would she get toppled over like a mannequin left uncaring in the running of the bulls?  Well, long story short- yes, she  could go there and she may very well get run over.  I have to be willing to take that chance.  I have to trust.

So I called my liaison back with my idea.  He said he'd have to run it by technical- i could tell he was gun shy to give me a yes answer.  I started taking my laptop to work with my e-mail page up.  To listen to music I said.  Really it was to torture myself by checking it every two seconds.  Yes, technical approved the location.  Now it would have to go to the CEO and the president.  Who were away on a golf outing.  TWO business days of this and no answer.  I was definitely cranky from the pins and needles I had been on since Monday.  
Then the CEO approved it.  Then a day later the president approved it.  I was given the go ahead to click my "accept venue button" which I flubbed up three times! 

But- I'm in, I have a home and I can relax now!  By the way- the picture up above is me on the artist's lists.  Me.  On an artists list.  A real one, not just one in my head.

I haven't been posting much in the way of art because I have to dedicate myself to getting this sculpture along a bit more.  I figure that it will be over kill to post pictures of every little milestone- "look, she has eyebrows!"  Especially with my propensity to overpost pictures:) -Eyebrow from the side, Eyebrow from the other side, eyebrow from above, turn off the flash and repeat same viewpoints....you understand how hard it is to restrain myself but I am.    Hang in there though!   It is just about time for an update.   

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sometimes you need to take a break from art!

And do more ART!!!  Ha!  Gotcha!  I've been addicted to this paper mache', figurative sculpting, art doll craziness for awhile now- its no secret!  But I do other stuff, too.  Besides yelling at kids because I'm washing clothes that aren't dirty but its easier to stuff them in the laundry than hang them up- I do other stuff.

I'm sharing this project with you because it falls under the category of "if I can do this-you can do this".    This lovely collage wall is part of my husbands pool room.  (Which I completely take over as my studio on a regular basis- "HELLLLOOOO!")  

I have a ton of photos from when we used to live in a tiny house on a beautiful river.  When our number of residents in that house became 4 it was necessary to sell it and buy a larger house not on water.  I miss that river.  

  I wanted to incorporate this history from our old life into our new life and hubby's pool room seemed like an ideal spot.  Frames however did not seem right- too fussy for this really contemporary room and I had a lot of these photo's to use up.

I decided to try mounting them on canvas with gesso.  But what to do around the edges?  I knew the photo paper would not bend well and I did not want cracks in the surface with white paper showing through.  So then this idea was born.  

I glued the photo onto the canvas and then went over the surface of the photo with gesso to seal it.  Depending on the picture itself I added a surface texture.  On this one I wanted to emphasize the waves of the water.  I wasn't crazy about the edge of the photo showing around the canvas which led to me using heavier gesso there to minimize it.  Then, I got a little crazy and added color to the gesso and painted away the edge.  In this instance I brought the color up into the painting around the edges and I really liked how it framed it.

I don't get everything right the first go round, just like everyone else.  This winter scene had some issues with the artist cutting the picture a little too small.  It works best if you take the picture right to the edge of the canvas.  And then when I tried to use paint and gesso to disguise the edges- well lets just say I'm still learning about color.  Again, this color change would be less noticeable if it occurred at the edge and then becomes the side of the canvas.  

But honestly, it really looks better in real life than it does in this blog post.  I wanted to show you where I went  astray while figuring out this technique.  I purposely chose the pictures that showed up the problem areas:)

Here's one where I got real crazy and I love it!  I wanted to grow the picture longer but not taller. Plus, I'm impatient and didn't want to mess with having something re-developed.  This was the view from my lawn.  Because the trees were small in the picture I didn't have to be some great technical painter to get this to look realistic.  I paid attention to light and dark and shape.  I think it was important that the photo not be placed dead center in the composition either.

I used to walk this hill.  Its the road down into our little area on the river.  It is called "Devil's Hole" because its way down and in the morning the mist would be heavy on the water...beautiful and creepy!
In this one I used a more liquid finish because I didn't want the gesso to obscure the tiny detail.  I also used some color on the surface of the photo.  I don't know if you can see where.  I think on some of the leaves to pop them out more.  Again- there was some issue at the edges.  If you are feeling like you don't want to try to match up colors I suggest that you use a contrasting solid color and either keep it on the side of the canvas or bring it up around the edges.  Mostly I suggest that you don't be too hard on yourself:)

This one is another one that I wanted to make longer.  I really used a heavy texture in the white area to simulate the snow and disguise the edge.

See how nice it looks all put together?  You aren't really noticing the problem areas now, are you?   How do you like my "hippie" sign?  It cracks me up- sorry hippies!

I don't know if this falls under the category of photo art,  photo collage, arts and crafts, mixed media or just plain fun!  You decide.
So what do you think?  Wanna give it a try?