Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Step Taken

I've been making little sketches in small sketchbooks because small is all I can afford in the quantity I'm using. But, I expressed consternation to my friend Meta Strick last week over re-making them again but larger. She said, it will come and that after a while it won't be an issue. Since then I've thought, "yeah, but I have to do the first one first!"

Well, I had a puzzle piece from the Art Fits Vermont VAC 2009 project and decided that would be a good trial piece. The sketch is 4" x 6" and the puzzle piece much larger.

SPARK - acrylic

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

OMG - New Word (and new mag)

Excitement this morning here in Buck Hollow!

I stumbled across a new word. I mean really new! No faint bells mumbling in the back forty of my mind, no "yeah, I used to know what that meant", nothing. Just a brand, spanking new word! At my age it is a very rare experience to discover a new word that is not jargon, slang, or technical/scientific. Flashes a chill up the spine it does.


Of or relating to the sense of touch; tactile.
Greek haptikos, from haptesthai, to grasp, touch.

And, of course, to look it up I had to dig out my Random House Unabridged--this word just ain't in your run-of-the-mill, sit-on-your-desk-for-spelling-lookups dictionary.

Curiously enough, its entry there is in the plural. . .

haptics: the branch of psychology that investigates cutaneous sense data.

I was also interested to find that its etymology is Greek. I've studied both Latin and Greek and my experience has been that though we are accustomed to giving the nod to Latin for many word derivations, our language also has a very large number of very important words that have come to us from the Greek language--a language that is both beautiful to look at and to hear. (telegraph, anthropology, and hippopotamus spring to mind immediately.)

But I'm still amazed that I have never come across haptic.

And, full credit to the man who brought it to me: Jeffrey T. Baker, an alt-photographer living in Portland, Oregon. He used it in a interview (a very interesting interview) with Diffusion, a new magazine whose subtitle is Unconventional Photography. The first (and so far, only) issue came a couple of days ago and I just got around to reading it this morning. As far as I've gotten in it, it seems to be quite good. Well illustrated with a good mix of articles. My only complaint is that the typography of the text could use some help. It is sans-serif, justified, and widely letter-spaced so it looks a bit like a second-grade reader done small. For thoughtful reading, it is much better to have a serifed typeface which helps to hold the letters together into their meaningful word units and aids the eye in sliding easily through the lines.

But, if you have interest in any kind of experimental photography/art, you might well want to get a copy of this. Unlike many photo-centered publications, it has as much or more about art and creation as it does about techniques. This is a real plus for me. The mag is edited/started by Blue Mitchell, curator of the Plates to Pixels web site and copies of Diffusion can be obtained from the magazine's site
diffusionmag.com for $10 (which includes mailing). I'm dirt poor and I think this precious $10 was very well spent.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hard Edges Again

It seems no matter what I muck about with, I end up working with opposites. (Scorpios are prone to black and white and other opposites I guess.)

Decades ago, when I left the art department, after putting a nice dent in the top of one of their flat files with my fist, I threw away everything from my work there EXCEPT anything to do with intaglio work. I saved everything--plates, powdered pigments, paper, feathers, scribes, all of it--planning on acquiring an etching press so that I could continue the work in my retirement.

Well, I've never been able to afford the etching press, but I started digging around in what I had saved. One piece fit in with what I'm doing now. This may be an evolving piece; if so, this is its current state!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I Think I Know What I'm Doing . . .

Sketch - Rocks and Grass

The sketch above is just that, a sketch of practicing rocks with watercolors. I work on such things regularly, almost on a daily basis. And sometimes I make a forward leap as in this one when I was working on washes:


And then there are ones like this:


These come along as they do. And what "these" are, I have begun to figure out. They are all to do with the natural world: the earth, sun, moon, and stars as it were. And the moods/ideas behind them are all quite dark. Yet, they come out in bright colors. For me, it seems to be a process of working out a language with nouns and verbs but the adjectives are always colors. If there's an underlying theme, I guess I'd have to say "global warming" as trite as that phrase has become, or maybe "atmospherics", as there seems to be some meteorology in most of them.

I'm still doing this as well, but right now, the color business is such an over-riding passion, that the photography has subsided to second place--not by choice but by demand--my involuntary demand. Though yesterday I got this shot. So, things in my black and white world are still churning, and I do keep thinking about getting around to some other Vermont towns for additions to my "Urban Rural" portfolio which is showing signs of healthy growth. Wish there were six of me.




Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Assigning Blame

I began my "official" visual life as a graphic designer. Graphic designers, in the days of triangles, drafting tables, wax, and Letraset were obnoxiously neat. I've never belonged to a work space like this one.

Those people whom I know personally and who are responsible for this state of affairs are, in chronological order, as follows:

Susan Abbott
Meta Strick
David E. Kearns
Karen Day-Vath

One person, not personally known to me, is Philip Ball, author of Bright Earth.

Together, these individuals are responsible for what is turning out to be a major upheaval in my life. I alternately curse them and thank them.