Nothing ever remains the same in my life. It is always in a state of fluidity..which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Anyway, I am making a few changes in the workshop while working on several projects at the same time. Fluidity! Remember that!
I decided some weeks ago to possibly rent out my house next year…or at least a room…so I could have someone here in the house while I made some other arrangements in my life. I will maintain my studio and am in the process of converting it into a temporary apartment for me when I come to check on the house or do maintenance, or just to make some art in the studio when I get tired of rambling around.
The back corner has become my painting corner so I guess I’ll just leave it that way, but am moving my large wooden desk from my house, into the corner to serve as my paint table, instead of the fold-up table I now use. This gets the big desk out of the house and turns it into a useful addition to my studio. The computer, printer and scanner that was on the desk will just have to find a new home…like me.
One of my current projects is moving along, albeit at a snail’s pace…a very slow moving snail I might add. That project is the 4 color serigraph (silkscreen) print that I am re-doing from 40 years ago; “The Flaming Ford”. Before I made it a small 9×12 size print and only made a few. But this time I am using all new materials and equipment as I delve back into the silkscreen printing process. The new version is about 10 x 14 inches on Rives BFK paper with a nice wide white margin. I have the screens made and am currently mixing the four colors. I will soon be printing the first color on 20 pieces of paper for the edition of 20 prints this time. I have some older paper that I will cut down and do a couple of proofs on that before I start the edition on the new paper.
Many years ago when I was attending the University of Florida getting my fine art degree in studio art, one of my personal projects was a portrait I did from a slide taken in Austria some 10 years prior. The subject was a fellow missionary in the Austrian mission, in my district at that time while we were working in Steyr. Our district, consisting of four missionaries, took a little scenic tour with some members of the branch one Saturday. We went on a train to a small valley and climbed around the hillsides and had a picnic lunch that day. I took the pic of Michael Arehart in front of an old barn. Years later, I pulled out my slides and found the picture to be a perfect reference for a painting project at Florida.
At some point in the last 20 years, I removed the painting from the stretcher bars and rolled it up. Then I forgot about it. Recently, as I was moving items and old art work, and materials out to my studio space, I came across the rolled up canvas. I decided it was time to bring Arehart out of the moth balls and re-stretch the canvas. I ordered some stretcher bars from Blick and yesterday I managed to get that old painting back on the stretcher bars and ready to hang up somewhere. I wish I knew where he was so I could give the painting to him!
While waiting for a shipment of paper from Blick art supply to arrive, I have begun tying up a couple of loose ends hanging around the studio. In all fairness, this place has always been and will always be, in a fluid state, constantly evolving into something different…and better. There are at least two spaces on the front wall in need of more built-in shelving. That’s one thing I’ve been doing today. Building one of those remaining shelves that will slide into the wall space to make use of that 12 inches of gap between the stud walls and the insulation of the metal building.
I’m sure, if I studied it for a few more months I could identify other such spaces where I could add sunken shelves, but for now, those 2 on the front wall are all I need to get done.
I keep saying to myself that I will drive over to Daphne and visit Home Depot or Lowes so I can but that darn bathroom door! And I really need to do that. I had tentative plans to do that today, but got sidetracked with that shelf project. The doorway has been covered with a makeshift towel hanging there to give a semblance of privacy when I take a shower in there, and since there is never anyone else around, the building locked doors suffice to give me actual privacy. But a door there would be nice. Another reason for having a door there is to create a totally dark space for doing light sensitive processes in the silk screen and cyanotype works.
The final loose end will take a while longer, and has been a loose end for quite some time, but it still is classified as a loose end because I planned to do it a few years ago and still want to do it because I think it will be a really nice painting. Its the large painting of a child wearing a hat, done in the same style as the self portrait I did some years ago. I at least have moved it onto the easel and take a good look at it several times a week trying to get up the courage to dig in and start painting. One day I will.
Significant changes in my life have been happening this summer and it all threw me into a sort of cathartic state the last few weeks. I spent August and September preparing for, and attending two motorcycling events which have been on the books all year. August was the annual Hungry Mother Rain Ride to Hungry Mother State Park, Virginia with some of my old R1150R buddies. September was the Twin Valley Riders (TVR) rally at Willville Motorcycle campground near Meadows of Dan, Virginia which is right on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
After doing the TVR rally, my Georgia riding pals headed back to Georgia and I headed east to visit my daughter and her family in Virginia Beach, VA. I was there for about 4 days then rode back west and southwest, through Georgia again and parked Lil Chubb at my son’s house. From there I drove my truck home to Atmore. All the riding gave me plenty of time to contemplate my problems and work out some solutions in my head.
Long story short; I no longer have a wife but I do have more time and am re-energized to do some art work in the studio for the fall. I have been promising a granddaughter a portrait for 3 years now and am just getting that started with a nifty new idea. The drawing I’m doing is not what I expected, so I probably will do another portrait for her, but the one I started is quite nice and I will continue to complete it to integrate into a multi-media display. Sort of an experiment.
The other project I just completed was more utilitarian and practical than artistic, but I built a frame and printed a pattern on fabric to act as a panel to hide my water heater in the corner of the small mud room by the kitchen entry way. My sister-in-law sewed the panels for me but the concept was mine and it worked out fine.
The imagery used for the pattern on the panels comes from some silkscreen stencils I had left over from a tee shirt project a few years ago. Also in the works, printmaking wise, is silkscreen (serigraph) print I am re-doing. The first version I did back in 1980, called “Flaming Ford” from a photo of an old Ford car front end grill work. I have reprocessed the separations on the computer and made the stencils just yesterday in preparation for a 4 color print on paper. The image is 9 3/8 x 14 inches and I think I will print on white Rives BFK paper. I hope to do 20 prints. It is a process re-learning things I learned 30 or 40 years ago but using modern materials and technology. This time the learning curve is being taken at a greater speed and if the image is successful, I will move on to a new, completely different image.
I got the Painted Bunting bird painting done! The 4th in the group of four, and it took forever to get this 4th one done. This colorful little bird only has this color in its second year of life and then its gone. The yellow background highlights the brightness of the bird itself and makes for a more varied grouping if the 4 paintings are hung together. This photo doesn’t even come close to what the painting actually looks like. The yellow is brighter. The bird is more colorful and the branch has so much detail I really enjoyed doing that small part.