Friday, January 22, 2010

A “Visit” with One of My Favorite Artists

Yesterday was a special day. I was part of a group of five adults and 28 students who went to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to view the Leonardo da Vinci- Hand of the Genius exhibit. It was an extraordinary window into the genius of one of my all-time favorite artists. The best of this story is that you can go to the High Museum website and enjoy much of what we enjoyed (link below). From the main site, click on the Hand of the Genius tab and you will have options to hear the curator tell why and how the exhibit came to be; enjoy an interactive video of the exhibit offerings; and see a video of the installation of the 26 foot high modern-day re-creation of the Leonardo’s Sforza Horse!

I am still learning about blogs and am not sure how to begin a conversation, but I would love to begin one on Leonardo. Please join in by sharing your thoughts on this artist and his works. You can learn a lot from the link above and the internet has many other sites with information about this great artist.

I will begin what I hope will become an ongoing conversation with….

What I like about Leonardo Da Vinci and why you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate his work:

• His ability to not lose sight of the “whole” while dissecting or creating the parts;

• The fact that although he was fully aware of passing time, he assumed he could fully engage in all his pursuits… and thus put himself to the tasks at hand with no regard to ridicule;

• And his attitude that it is good to go through life as the student and the teacher, both at once.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Exploring the Possibilities

Mixed media is an obsession of mine. It is hard to do a work of art in one medium only. Once I get started, all sorts of possibilities intrigue me into explorations. Here are two of my latest discoveries.
The first is a leaf “transfer”. The leaf in this wax collage is created by dripping the encaustic paint onto the actual leaf, then chilling it awhile in the refrigerator, and finally carefully peeling the leaf away. This leaves a wax replica of the real thing- made from a “mold” of the real thing. Lastly, I mounted it to the wax collage background by warming the under-layer and the gently bonding the wax leaf with a heat gun, being very careful to not heat one area too long.

The next collage was an experiment that went through several metamorphoses. As I worked, the art began to shape its own destiny and I just followed. When this happens, I become the audience.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Nature of Wax Collage

I had prepared an animated series of images to show the process of transitions involved in making a wax collage, however I cannot get it to show the animation in the blog. I will keep working on that, but in the meantime here are a few of the images to get the idea across.

Collage is an art form consisting of attaching layers of material to a surface until the desired result is achieved. The process of layering is much like LIFE- with each new thing changing the face of the present moment. The word “transition” most describes what the process is like… always changing.

A link to a poem I wrote (years ago) on the subject:

Wax collage is different from working in acrylic, which I am more accustomed to. With acrylics, once the layer is dry, you can do all manner of things to it without disrupting the layers below (other than covering them). With wax, every time you add heat to bond the layers, it disturbs the formerly “finished” layers. This can be exciting, fun, mesmerizing, and miserable all at the same time. The one constant is there is NO constant. It is always changing.

Just for fun, I have created an animation of the changes made in the making of a wax collage. Some layers were planned carefully and those worked out well. Others were unexpected “happenings”. Some layers were useless steps I could have skipped. However, the important thing is that I was pleased with the finished work. Knowing when you are finished (in any art form) is the hard part. In this case, I just stopped at the point I was most pleased… while knowing I could go on forever.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Christmas Gift Commission

This is a job I finished just in time for Christmas (having only allowed myself little over a week to work on it). My photo of the drawing isn’t a good one, but I hope it relates the scope of the work. The door is a magnificent entry into the Coldwell Banker- High Country Realty building, in Blue Ridge, GA. The gift was from the real estate agents to the brokers- thus the signatures- which I painstakingly transferred to the finished drawing. I love the beautiful restoration job done on this historic building (photo below), and LOVE the door- making this job an enjoyable experience regardless of my crazy time-juggling at this time of year. It was also a joy to make a repeat client happy!

The beautiful photo below was taken by Takeshia Arp
(one of my talented granddaughters)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Shared Passion- A Book Arts Project

(made by husband and wife)

This project name has a two-fold meaning. The book series (of eight) made as Christmas gifts for each household in our family (a total of seven with an extra to keep for exhibiting) was a “work of passion” for myself and husband Johnny. We wanted to share our stories with our children and grandchildren, including how we came to grow up in the same community yet didn’t meet until high school. The writings recording our childhoods include each of our perspectives of meeting, falling in love, and marrying; therefore, the second “passion” (in the title above) without any details of course.

This was the first series I have ever created in my experience in book-artistry. It was CRAZY challenging! First, we didn’t decide to do this until the Thanksgiving holiday. Johnny already had some of his stories written but not typed. He also had some drawings (from memory) of childhood places and events.

I had some clear concepts for the project for some time, but these were nothing but thoughts. We spent all our evenings and weekends on this project from Thanksgiving through Christmas! We held our gathering the day after. I had previously gathered some photographs from our childhoods, but only a few were scanned.

This includes a copy of the hospital bill for my birth-$92.16!

This meant we each had to write stories, collaborate, choose photos, and compose the general format. Then I had to scan photos and make a couple of drawings, format our text to print out in booklet format, plus make that translate from my computer to the copier which would print to booklet signatures, then assemble it all into book form. The formatting/printing process was a nightmare until a friend co-worker tech-guru, Steve Tompkins got my printer set up to go straight to the copier at work. Note: I paid for the ink and brought my own paper.

I wanted to decorate the covers but there was not enough time.

The assembly of all the previous work into a book-art includes the processes of cutting 16 covers from thick Davy board (which Johnny did); covering them with (purchased) handmade art paper (which I did);

making a pocket for the front and back inside covers (which I sewed into the inside facing cover before gluing onto the Davy board); making a two sided map of our old stomping grounds (which I drew with collaborations from Johnny); making and copying 8 sets of DVDs of Johnny’s band (which Johnny had previously make but had to copy enough for each book to have one);

then finally assembling the parts and binding the book (my most favorite part) with Coptic stitching. I learned this method from a class at John Campbell Folk School instructed by Anne Fain of A. Fain’s Books Since learning this method, I have made several books including two for granddaughters (also for Christmas), and have taught it at school with several of my students also using it to make Christmas presents! I added the little heart on each spine to represent the love that went into making the books and the love in our lives as we have shared these forty one years of marriage. I stitched each of these books up while preparing for our Christmas dinner, finishing only the day before our event!!! This is why we did not have time to put up a real tree.

Johnny included a page of current events for the year of his birth.

I didn’t get a photo of all of the books set up together, but the photo at the top is what they would look like (created from one photo repeated in PhotoShop). The book has two fronts- Johnny’s side and then it over flip to begin reading my side. We meet in the middle. This was Johnny’s idea… a good one. They bulge slightly in the center due to the DVD in the pocket on Johnny’s side and the map in the pocket on my side.

Each signature is made up of five sheets of paper, which when folded in the middle breaks down to twenty 5 ½” by 8 ½” pages. There are seven signatures total, Johnny’s side having three (15,421 words), and my side having three plus one as a memorial section about my daddy 19,544 words). There are a total of 34,965 words written for our children and grandchildren to get a sense of place of where we came from and how our lives merged together as one. The stories come to a close just as we learned we were to have a baby and the full thrust of adulthood was about to begin showing us a whole new life together, as parents.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Artistic Journey Begins

Misty Morn by Angie Cook
Yum, the sweet smell of melted beeswax fills the air as I follow my bliss discovering how many of my favorite art forms can be applied in this medium. I can DRAW or PRINT into the warm wax; PAINT by blending colors on the hot plate or with oil sticks or oil pastels over the top of hardened wax (then heat to adhere to layers below); SCULPT by building up thick layers and modeling/carving into them; and best of all: COLLAGE all my favorite "finds" into the composition by embedding under sweet little blankets of wax.

I'm hooked! Now my studio looks like an extension of my kitchen with the hot plate, muffin tin, and crockpot. I don't know where this journey will lead, but the experience thus far is very worthy of continuing the experiment.

Pins and Needles by Angie Cook

Blue Trees by Angie Cook