Tuesday, August 14, 2018


It sometimes takes a few tries to get a piece right.  And sometimes you have to just start over.

With this one, I started over. 
Six inches tall, 30 inches wide...it actually started out as a clock many years ago.  Then I peeled and sanded the surface design off as best I could, but it still left of a ghost behind (below).  When I was first working on my Orzo series I was using old products to sketch on.  I liked the turquoise and white, but some of the white got marred up, so I added inside pieces.  Then I got sick of looking at it and kind of bored with the plain design, so I finally decided to rip it off and start again.

Some of the vinyl left sticky shadows behind.

I saved some of the orzos I ripped off, but they were kind of mangled.

Here's the ghost from the very first life of this piece.

I painted over the turquoise with purple, neon pink, and white, and then sanded.

Painted and sanded again.  You can see the dark scar left by a piece of vinyl from
an earlier version.  

Tiny vinyl time!  I hand-cut most of these for some reason.
Guess I wanted my hand to go numb (it did!).
With the different directions of the paint strokes it kind of looks like weaving.

Finished piece.
Untitled so far...
This really looks great if you bury your nose in it, seeing all the little brush strokes, stamps, scars, and splotches.  I'm going to look in my Sunflowers poetry book for something to strike my fancy for the title.  It feels like a weird Atomic age landscape right now.  Maybe I'll mine some Ray Bradbury, too.

Monday, August 6, 2018

In That Upper Air

I was asked to make a piece reminiscent of "Crooning Cottonwoods" with some layers added in.  I tackled a 48 x 36 inch aluminum blank with that in mind.
Layer of orzos.

Painted over the vinyl.

Sanded, repainted.
 After a hardy amount of sanding I dug right in with some branchy orzo designs.
Getting close.

I'm glad I kept and enhanced that little island of aluminum
near the bottom.

In That Upper Air, 48 x 36 inches, 2018
The title comes from a poem called "The Thrush" by Amanda T. Jones, who, it turns out, is quite the interesting character.

(from the second stanza)
   "Soon was I made aware
Of his small mate that from the Judas-tree
   Dropped softly, flitting here and flitting there,
And would not seem to hear or seem to see.
   He, in that upper air,
All mindful of her wayward wandering,
   (Primrose and creamy-petaled larkspur bending
And yellow blossomed nettle, prone to sting!)"

Friday, August 3, 2018

Collide, Melt, Vanish

If you've been following along, you might be wondering what happens to the vinyl I use as a resist--does all that go to waste?  Of course not!  I save it if I can and use it over and over...
And maybe someday these will get their own turn in the spotlight.  But for now, just tools.
I wanted to make a piece that was more subtle than some of my others while still using the vinyl resist.  I chose a sweet combo of pink and green and blue for the base.
Only one layer to paint and peel on this one.
Painted over, peeled off, sanded.

You can see the left over paint from applying the vinyl on
past pieces.  Contamination!  I like it.

Trying out colors and orzo directions.
 Pink and bright turquoise might not seem "subtle" but, yeah, relative to my other stuff...
Collide, Melt, Vanish
36 x 24 inches, 2018
Metal, paint, vinyl

I rather like the brush strokes.
The title comes from a line from Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.  Man, that guy could write a descriptive bit of text, couldn't he?
"Upland and Lowland" and "Collide, Melt, Vanish"

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Uplands and Lowlands

This piece was all about layering.  I painted the background several times before even attempting to add (and subtract) vinyl pieces.

Warning, these photos are not great.  My bad.

First layer of vinyl orzos.
I painted over the first layer of orzos, peeled them off, and sanded.
I flipped it for easier application, but you get it.
I added the orzos up to about a third where I had them before, painted, peeled, and sanded.
Already looks pretty complicated.

Closer shot.
 Layer three: repeat above steps.
This is before I sanded for the last time but after I painted and peeled.

I sanded and decided I was done.
I had a little bit of an issue deciding where to add the vinyl orzos I wanted to keep because I didn't want to cover up any of the cool design of the overlapping layers.  I ended up frosting the top, basically.
Uplands and Lowlands, 36 x 24 inches, 2018

I like the little bit of metal peeping out on the edges here.
The title comes from a poem by William Herbert Carruth called "Each in His Own Tongue"

(second stanza)
"A haze on the far horizon,
  The infinite, tender sky,
The ripe, rich tints of the cornfields,
  And the wild geese sailing high;
And all over upland and lowland,
  The harm of the goldenrod--
Some of us call it Autumn,
  And others call it God."

Kind of pagen-esque--I like it even better after revisiting!

Hey, thanks for reading!  More on Instagram!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Bird of Columbia and New Tributary

This is the story of some black and white pieces.

I was thinking I'd make a diptych out of these two 24 x 24 inch pieces.  The backgrounds are mostly black with some greys and a hint of red.  For whatever reason I decided they needed to be two individual pieces.
I tried.  Also, this photo isn't great.
 The one on the left became "Bird of Columbia" based on a friend's observation that the image looked like a picture taken from a Bald Eagle nest cam in D.C. that was live at the time.  (Bird of Columbia is another term for American Bald Eagle, and this title is taken from a poem I found online by Charles West Thompson.)

Check out the beauty on the right!
It is currently part of the annual River Market Regional show at the Kansas City Artists Coalition.
Bird of Columbia, 24 x 24 inches, 2017
 So, I thought I finished this other one at the same time (not completed in the image above) even though I was never quite satisfied with it.  Maybe because it reminded me too much of a pair of legs?  But I called it "Tributary" because...it looks like a split in a river. 
Tributary, 24 x 24 inches, 2017
 Here they are installed in Ann Arbor.
They were not actually right next to each other.

After looking at it for while I reminded myself that I am The Boss and Ultimate Creator of my own work, and I make the rules, and break them.  So I filled in the gap and it just feels so much better to me.  I like leaving a little hint in the corner of space/land/air.  I retitled it "New Tributary" because that's totally accurate to the object itself, and a person can extrapolate from there if they want.

New Tributary, 24 x 24 inches, 2018
I'm going to be reworking more pieces because I just can't help myself.

Don't forget, I'm on Instagram!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Night of Rioting Women

Here's another biggie that I painted in tandem with the last piece I posted about.
It's 48 x 48 inches, and I had a lot of fun with the paint on this one.
First couple layers were put on diagonally.
I didn't want to repeat exactly the technique from the large piece, but I wanted to keep them related, so I pushed thick paint around the surface with my big paint brush.

 The color was too much like the other one (I did use much of the same paint at the same time), so I covered it in a black wash and did some major sanding to reveal the texture.
Here I was trying out colors and thought about going with orange.  Nope.
 Here's the progression of the orzos.  A big sweep to some crazy tiny ones.  I used some guide lines made of vinyl to keep myself in check if I started to go astray.
The top third took me a few days to finish, and I largely cut all the orzos by hand.

 The black vinyl is quite shiny and sort of impossible to take a picture of in my working environs, and I just use a little point and shoot camera, so I plan to get some more professional shots taken to do it justice.  I also might sand over the top to matte the surface--still thinking about it.  They're all living things.
Night of Rioting Women, 48 x 48, 2018
A friend saw this and said it reminded him of a dress with a v-neck bodice.  I've been thinking about that and came across a poem (the same from the last post, actually) with this line in it and the pairing makes sense to me.  

"The midnight reeled with laughter of rioting women and men,
Sleek waiters tiptoed after and brimmed the glasses again,
Till the night was blare of ragtime and red with lust and pain.

For this is the brood of the cities, elegant, debonair,
Men with the scars of license and women with shoulders bare--
But I have swung in the saddle and swallowed the prairie air."

From "A Challenge to Youth" by Willard Wattles, 1916