Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Multi-blog Poetry Wednesday

I wrote the following poem almost a year ago on the eve of the Witches Sabbath. The weather I think was quite different from today. We were enjoying an Indian summer and not an early winter.

Can you stop time?

Can you stop time
Hold the light
Summon the dark at will
Call forth spirits of the wood
Talk to the hawk
Soaring above?

If you could, would you?
Hold all things at abeyance
To your fickle will
And yet we dream, charm and plot
If only it were like so
Such happiness?

And were you to wish
Upon some star a precious thing
Would you down the road
Need to offer tariff
Payment not previously seen
Or agreed upon?

Mirror, mirror on the wall
Boil, boil, toil and trouble
Eye of newt and toe of frog
Abra cadrabra
Hocus Pocus
Pots of gold and fairy rings.

Give me this day
My daily bread
And deliver unto me
My fondest wish
Or just celebrate today
For what it is?

If you could, would you?
Stop time and hold the light
Call forth the spirits of the wood
Wish today gone
And yesterday back
Or just be content?

That this day
You watched the hawk soar
Heard the wind whisper through the grass
Felt the sun upon your face
And knew the spirts
That inhabited this wood.

And it was good.

(c) J. Binford-Bell October 2008

NicholasV on Intelliblog has a lovely poem  

Bee's Blog

Bev on To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme

Do you have a poem to share with us? Yours or just a favorite. Leave me your url here or on Facebook.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Being Creative with Frames

Once upon a time artists did not merely paint. They made their own paints from purchased pigments and they stretched and prepared their own canvas and they made and painted their own frames. In the 2003 movie The Girl with the Pearl Earring there are some rich scenes of Vermeer and his model for the picture mixing paints including the infamous Vermeer blue.

When I was an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico majoring in fine arts we bought our paints but we stretched our canvases, coated them with rabbit skin glue that we prepared on a hot plate, and then applied gesso to finish the surface. It was in vogue at the time to not frame pictures. You painted the edges of the canvas as well as the front. Previously artists had made their own frames and some in my classes did.

Now you can buy any paint you want. No need to mix your own. And canvas comes pre-surfaced and pre-stretched.There is a huge business in manufactured frames, but framing costs are through the roof especially if you need a custom frame because of a custom size when you don't buy a pre-stretched canvas. So there is a return to the unframed painting with the painted edges, and a return to artists making their own frames.

I started doing my own basic floater frames this last year and painting them a basic black then I read that it was not unusual in the days of artists making their own frames to paint them to coordinate with the paintings they were for. And paintings of famous artists with the original hand made frames by the artist are highly valued. It is a frame made for the painting not to match the decor of the owner's living room. No doubt many were replaced so the decorator could have all ornate gold frames throughout the house. But after almost a year of experimenting with the no frame look I find pictures sell better with frames even if the buyer has every intention of replacing it. So why not have fun.

The two paintings above are sold. The frames are black on the inside and burnt orange on the outside. Then to compliment the painting one has purple on the facing edge and the other gold. I plan to get some more acrylic paints to coordinate with the watercolors I use in my paintings so I can further experiment with the matching frame concept. I am already stretching my own canvases (prepared already) so I can have some unique sizes to fit my subjects. I doubt I will go back to mixing my own egg tempera but I do know how. I learned that in high school.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Poetic Journey - Dancing toward Halloween

We are moving ever closer to Halloween and Kwika on To Rhyme or not to Rhyme as written our first spook inspired poem. I have started crunching one around in my head which I hope to have for next Wednesday when our them will be spooky poems of all sorts. For this week's poetic Journey you can just tip toe up to the subject like my poem below about the dead or avoid it all together like Aussie Lynn Downunder.

Heidi joins us again posting on Multiply - Welcome to my World 

Becky on My So-Called Life.

NicholasV on Intelliblog

Bee's Blog 

Do you have a poem of your own or anothers to offer up for our enjoyment? Leave a comment here or message me your url on Facebook. It is a multi-blog poetry tour.

1914 IV: The Dead

These hearts were woven of human joys and cares,
Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.
The years had given them kindness. Dawn was theirs,
And sunset, and the colours of the earth.
These had seen movement, and heard music; known
Slumber and waking; loved; gone proudly friended;
Felt the quick stir of wonder; sat alone;
Touched flowers and furs and cheeks. All this is ended.

There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter
And lit by the rich skies, all day. And after,
Frost, with a gesture, stays the waves that dance
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace, under the night.

Rupert Brooke

More poems from Rupert Brooke


Friday, October 16, 2009

New Platform/New Results?

Tucked Away
14 x 11 on Gallery Mount ClayBoard

When I was mass producing masks for stores across the country I had what I called my Lab Time. It was a period when orders were few and I could play with new designs and new painting schemes for existing designs. Lab times were critical to product growth. They are also key for creative growth.

I am currently going through a mini lab time. My inventory is good for the remaining show of the year at Thanksgiving, but my thought was to produce some smaller paintings that could be sold more in line with people's budget restraints. One of the ways to accomplish a lower price is to not frame a piece. The Gallery Mount ClayBoard by Ampersand is one platform currently being used by artists in my area and sold unframed. It comes in a texture for watercolor and a smoother one for other media.

In a discussion with one of the clerks at my favorite art store in the area - Artisan's - I decided to try the smoother one. They were running a sale which was beneficial. And they had some smaller sizes which fit my goal for the Holiday Market. An artist's work is a combination of his chosen medium and the platform - or what he/she paints upon. So to change a platform does produce different results.

Shepherd's Mission
10 x 8 on Gallery Mount Clayboard

My first problem was trying to get my liquid watercolors to behave the same way they do on watercolor canvas. I struggled with that doing Shepherd's Mission. It was a different surface and the paint was not going to behave in the same way. I finally gave that up in tucked away and adapted my style to the new platform.

I have two more pieces of this new platform to play with. Now that I know the rules I am hoping for better results. Will I replace my beloved watercolor canvas totally. I doubt it. What I am looking for is a subject that totally fits with the new treatment. And I am not sure I will not frame them. But through this process of play with a new platform I have remembered some old techniques and also gotten myself kicked out of a rut. Lap time is never wasted.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poetic Journey for Wednesday

The above watercolor of Window Rock, New Mexico is not mine. It is an image I found while searching for "rocks" in New Mexico on Google. And it was that ethernet journey yesterday (and painting) which consumed me and diverted me from posting Poetic Journey.

We begin this week with Bekkieann on my So Called Life.

Aussie Lynn Down Under

NicholasV on Intelliblog


Liana's World

If you have a poem posted on a blog leave me your url here or on Facebook and join our journey.

I have not written a poem again this week but I found the one below about journeys through our lives very captivating.

A Creed

I HOLD that when a person dies
His soul returns again to earth;
Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise
Another mother gives him birth.
With sturdier limbs and brighter brain
The old soul takes the road again.

Such is my own belief and trust;
This hand, this hand that holds the pen,
Has many a hundred times been dust
And turned, as dust, to dust again;
These eyes of mine have blinked and shown
In Thebes, in Troy, in Babylon.

All that I rightly think or do,
Or make, or spoil, or bless, or blast,
Is curse or blessing justly due
For sloth or effort in the past.
My life's a statement of the sum
Of vice indulged, or overcome.

I know that in my lives to be
My sorry heart will ache and burn,
And worship, unavailingly,
The woman whom I used to spurn,
And shake to see another have
The love I spurned, the love she gave.

And I shall know, in angry words,
In gibes, and mocks, and many a tear,
A carrion flock of homing-birds,
The gibes and scorns I uttered here.
The brave word that I failed to speak
Will brand me dastard on the cheek.

And as I wander on the roads
I shall be helped and healed and blessed;
Dear words shall cheer and be as goads
To urge to heights before unguessed.
My road shall be the road I made;
All that I gave shall be repaid.

So shall I fight, so shall I tread,
In this long war beneath the stars;
So shall a glory wreathe my head,
So shall I faint and show the scars,
Until this case, this clogging mould,
Be smithied all to kingly gold.

John Masefield

More poems from John Masefield

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recent Works

Ships of the Desert 12 x 16 Mixed Media on Canvas
Study for larger work

Been a while since I have used this format to post new works of art. Been a while since I have produced any new works. I seem to work in spurts. But also my studio was in total chaos for a couple weeks before the Been There/Done That Art sale. I am currently working on almost ten pieces in one state or another. I have been actively working the five smaller canvases and just yesterday finished two.

Monument Path 10 x 18 Mixed Media on Artist's Canvas
Preliminary photograph

The above picture is not the best possible of this work. It is a painting I do not know if I am quite done with. And one of the ways I determine that is to photograph it and see what sticks out at me. Another way is to have it sitting around the studio where I will see it every time I walk in.

The top picture is a study for a much larger work - 24 x 36 I believe. The "cartoon" is all laid out and masked off and I have not dared to apply paint yet. This is primarily because of the clouds. I wanted to see if my mental image of the clouds could be carried onto the canvas.

I also, inadvertently, discovered something else when doing this study; I did not want to do Shiprock Monument as realistically as I had conceived. I am living with this work too for a while before I begin doing its big brother. Easier to change things now on a study.

Today I will work on two other little works and begin another medium work. I am still undetermined how to fix another little painting I am working on or if it is time to just chuck it. It could become an experiment in gessoing over and existing canvas.

I was asked by a magazine writer recently how an artist continues to grow. My question is how does one remain the same?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aspens in the Fog

Those of us lucky enough to live where nature puts on a stunning fall show are always looking for the unique picture of such beauty. This morning Mother Nature provided the venue - dense fog. During my morning walk the fog lifted slowly and I was lucky enough to have the camera along.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wednesday's Poetic Journey

I heard on Friday that a friend had lost her long battle with cancer. She lived just a mile from me on the most wonderful ranch with her husband Ed. She taught yoga in her second story studio overlooking the ponds and the mountains. After much traveling in search of new treatments she came home. She has been able to enjoy her life for far longer than the original estimate so I am sure she saw every new day as a gift.

My weekend was crowded with busy stuff and until now I really have not had time to sit and contemplate or life and death. So today when Poem Hunter sent me John Keats last sonnet I saw it as a wonderful gift for me and Rebecca.

His Last Sonnet

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art! -
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -
No -yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever -or else swoon to death.

John Keats

More poems from John Keats

My So-Called Life

Catfish Tales

Under the Cabbages

Catherine SweetPotatoe

Rural Diva at Rurals Shore Life

NicholasV on Intelliblog

Liana's World

Monday, October 5, 2009

Back to Being Creative

I have been spending the last several weeks not painting. There was the reception at Artspace Gallery where works I had already completed were exhibited and then the Illusions Exhibition where I won Best of Show. Then all those paintings came back to the studio and had to be hung somewhere. When was exhibiting my art just at out of town fairs that part was easy - you just left everything boxed till the next show. The next show these days is my studio which is open three days a week and by appointment.

After everything was back in place there was the Been There/Done That Art sale I did this last weekend with a couple of friends. Saturday was very good and I ended up reducing the clutter in my studio by quite a bit. Now that I have my studio back it is time to get busy being creative again. I have an artistic friend that seems to jump into this mode quite quickly. I find I have to sort of sneak up on it. Don't want my muse taking off do I?

I have come to realize there is a path to be taken to get where I want to go. It begins by cleaning up the studio and doing some re-organizing and review of possible subjects. Then you have to sort drawings and decide on canvas sizes. Now that I stretch my own canvas I don't have to dash off an order for certain sizes of canvas and move that particular sketch to the back of the stack. Today I stretched a canvas to match a drawing I want to paint. I like this better than re-doing the sketch to fit the canvases on hand. And once frames. I now make those too.

I transferred the drawing to the canvas and that now gives me four paintings to begin and two to finish.

I am generally rather tired after all this and so I begin with something creative but not critical. In this particular instance I started with beading a necklace. My friend Jessica gave me the carnelian and it went quite well with some red jasper fetishes I have had around for about ten months. Yes, beading is not painting but it is creating and "mixing" colors. I see it almost as a magical incantation to invite the muse back after a time of being busy and businesslike.

Tomorrow brushes and paints and canvas.