Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Multi-Blog Poetry Wednesday

Going to do another Multi-Blog Poetry Wednesday this week. I thought we had great participating last week and great reading for those that just visited. My poem is in the blog below. And I will also be posting links on my Y!360 page linked in the Blog list beside this blog.

Leave your comment with your url here or on 360 Poetry Wednesday or on Twitter.

Shooting at Street Lights with something short to start us off

Let the poems begin.






Mystic Passage

Mystic Passage 24 x 30 Mixed Media on Canvas

I have had some questions about Double Arch which is the basis for Dawn Banishing the Night below. Above is my first attempt at Double Arch before I started seeing figures in the rock. Or maybe I should say before I started acknowledging on canvas the figures I saw on the rock. This painting also shows the top of the forward arch and a bit of the sky below. I wanted the sense of a cave in the latest painting so cut the top of the arch off and centered the focus on the goddess figure on the second arch.

Mystic Passage was also a "landmark" painting for me in that it is one of the first where I began to extensively use pouring and metallic highlights and spiral stars. It has a prominent place behind my desk in my studio to always remind me to move forward. I wrote the poem below about the process of painting Dawn Banishing the Night but named it Mystic Passage because it is also true of this picture.

Mystic Passage

I was so into the paint today that I was gone
Every fiber of my being
Layered one color upon another
On a surface outside myself

Sometimes it is just a painting I create
This craft I can do so mechanically
Today it was like giving birth
To a reality only I see
Given to you.

None of the words people speak or write
Seem to apply to what occurs
When I am unconscious of all
But the brush in my hand
The paint.

As if the paint pours from my soul
Down my veins to my fingertips
Appearing by magic
On once white canvas
A life.

Figures and shapes and visions emerge
Scenes I was not conscious I dreamt
I was so into the paint today
It was hard to pull out
Some of me
I left behind.

(c) J. Binford-Bell

Look here on Creative Journey tomorrow for another multi-blog poetry tour.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dawn Banishes the Night

Dawn Banishing the Night 18 x 24 Mixed Media
Goddess Series

Okay, I think this is finished. I said in this morning's blog that I had an issue I was dealing with on this painting based on Arches National Park's Double Arch. The issue was depth or rather the lack of it. My solution was glazes using Chinese white in part. The sky I did with the white, a blue and an iridescent medium. The large tower in the back center left was glazed with white and yellow.

The large arch was poured to give it a huge feel. Brush strokes to me seem to make things seem smaller. Or maybe it is just the size of the brush which has its individual limitations while pouring has none. I generally pour skies because of that large feeling pouring gives you but as the double arch breaks the sky into two smaller pieces this sky is painted. Dawn forms the support of the smaller of the arches.

Last night when I went to bed this painting was unfinished and I thought maybe lost. I believe the glazes worked. I am living with it for a couple of days before signing and varnishing. As we know I do change my mind from time to time.

Finished the 14 x 14 church painting I was also doing and will post that next.

The Muse is Hanging Around

There is a lot going on in my studio lately for a number of reasons. Number one being that with winter heating bills I am short of cash to go running around anywhere and being passive solar the studio is also the warmest room in my house.

Two is that I am working on paintings to fit into the Moreno Valley Arts Council themed show Illusions which is just tailor made for my visionary school art style. While I had several pieces that fit the requirement of the theme and painted in the last two years I could have entered I like the challenge of painting to a theme to which I added the challenge of painting to stretched canvases I already had on hand. Back to the budget issue mentioned in paragraph one.

I have finished three new pieces with help of my muse and am dealing with a knotty issue on a fourth which I think in a stroke of genius in the predawn hour of waking I may have solved. We shall see later when the sun is up and the studio warm and I return to my theatre of operations.

I have decided to start stretching my own canvases (see previous discussion of budget issues). I did that before but not with already treated canvas. Any tips out there? I did one and thought it might work easier to dampen the back with misted water resulting in a tighter canvas when dry. Anyone try that?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Multi-bloglingual Poetry Tour

Take Me Away

I had one of those mornings
Too full of reality
The budget was too tight
The need to be real
Too imperative.

I wanted to runaway
Down some White Rabbit Hole
Erase myself like a Cheshire Cat
Goodbye, so long
Alice once lived here.

The canyons of my mind twisted
Whispered of places
I would rather be
Trails I would like to walk
Away from this cruel reality.

I tried to be strong
Kept on keeping on
Promised myself an escape
Later to the Mad Hatter's tea party
If I would just say now in reality.

I had one of those mornings
I am increasingly less fond of
Business was demanded
Authorities wanted my undivided attention
While the White Rabbit called.

I'm late
So very late
I have this date, my child cried
With my muse
To dream up mischief.

I had one of those mornings
It is over
Thank you very much
I whispered as I tiptoed

(c) J. Binford-Bell

This is my first effort at creating a multi-bloglingual Poetry tour. If you wish to participate leave a comment here or on Twitter with your url where your poem is posted or on my 360 blog linked in the blog list on this page.

I will also link this page to a duplicate post on Yahoo 360 for those people there. Let's see if this works poetry fans!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After Some Tweaks

I did some modifications. Added a bit of red to the hills. They are called Sangre de Cristos or blood of Christ Mountains here. Thought I would post them one above the other so you can compare. Small changes.

Some really good name suggestions out there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I promised to post the finished painting but once again I am not totally sure it is finished There may be some more tweaking before I sign and varnish it. But I am happy with my ghosts and with the path running with blood. Okay so my bias against forced conversion shows. It was very bloody here in the southwest for some time. And then there was the pueblo revolt. And to this day I am told there is many a kiva under a Catholic church. That is why I decided to have the ghosts come out of the church and seep into the earth toward the back of the structure.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What Color are Ghosts?

The art council I sit on the board of here in New Mexico is having a themed show this fall in conjunction with a paranormal conference to be held here. The theme of the Moreno Valley Arts Council show will be Illusions.

I like themed shows. They are a good opportunity to stretch. This theme seemed made to order for my visionary style of art so maybe it is not as much of a stretch as some themes are. I already paint canyons that turn into goddesses and rivers that become geckos. So I decided to push my own envelop by doing haunted churches.

I was really thrilled with one of my sketches that had ghosts carrying crosses pouring out from under the door of an old mission church. But when I set to paint it the problem of what color to make a ghost hit me. I certainly did not want to make them white. Would be too much like Casper the Friendly Ghost of childhood cartoon. I finally settled on a rather ethereal blue with hints of lavender and silver. They look great!

But I usually make my pathways lavender. So I had to deal this morning with what color to make the path to the door of the church. I settled on Indian Red in a thin wash and then felt compelled to have blood red pouring out from under the door and down the path beside my blue spirits.

A statement about the bloody history of the spread of Catholicism through Spanish conquest here in the southwest? Well, not intentionally. It certainly is not where I began on this particular painting. But when I left off this morning to come work at the gallery while the paint dried I was very happy with my ghosts, but wondering just a little about the control they had on the process.

All the major color blocks are now laid in and I will begin work on the details tonight. Never fear I shall post the finished product here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Title Anyone?

I did this painting for entry into the themed show "Illusions." I took this photo to see if it is done. And to see if I could come up with a title for it. In my computer I have it labeled Dream Sequence. But that seems so tame for a painting like this.

And I don't know if it will be one of the three I enter. I have a couple others that fit the theme I did this summer and two more ready to be painted that I drew to fit the theme. There are parts of this one I really like but it seems rather over the top. But then a painting I entered in another themed show last year I thought was over the top and it won Best of Show.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Getting Better I think

Out of this second batch of wood I was able to make five frames instead of the three I made on the first round. I made a sixth small frame from scraps but even though it measured 11 x 14 it proved too small for my 11 x 14 canvases. And I found with the three 12 x 12 I made that not all 12 x 12 canvases are 12 x 12. So much for trying to assembly line the process. They really need to be made for each canvas which can vary in size 1/4 to 3/8".

I also tried a different color scheme as shown in the frames without pictures in the foreground. They are black inside and brick outside and gold on the forward edge. The brick goes with the colors in most of my paintings. Took two of the framed works into the gallery this morning and picked up two with the painted edges that had no frames - artist canvas they call it. So in the next week I will get frames made for those two and a companion piece of the one which I have here.

I still think I have some bugs to work out in this process. And maybe even some formal tools to buy to make it more efficient. I did make a second jig to hold corners and can see the need to maybe make two smaller ones too. With that and a strap I can "clamp" the frame tighter and get the glue bond more solid. Also trying to learn not to rush.

So tomorrow is back to painting paintings for a couple days then another round of framing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Outcome

I promised a status report on the frame making progress and this is it. The first photo below is my first frame unpainted. It is square! If you have never made a frame you probably do not understand the elation that simple statement evokes.

I will admit to some mis-cuts and mistakes in the process so not all the board feet of trim I created resulted in a finished frame. Though the mis-cuts can be used in smaller frames. However, I did come out with three which are shown here below on the paintings they were cut to fit. They are simple floater frames but I am quite proud of the outcome. The fit! Another of those simple statements that if you have never made frames you cannot fully appreciate.

I was happy enough with the outcome to rush off to the hardware store for more materials. I have several more completed pictures to frame and one more painting I am beginning for which I need a frame. The least favorite part of the process for me is painting them, so when a fellow artist asked if I would be willing to make them for sale I immediately replied "unpainted." Rather like unpainted furniture.

And while painting the frames is my least favorite part the opportunity to finish each frame to match the painting is very nice. I did these to duplicate the ones I am currently purchasing from a frame wholesaler but I am beginning to see the opportunities available for finish given that I am making them myself.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Lengths to Which I Will Go

With four new paintings done I went looking at my favorite online frame shop for my usual frames. Prices have gone up. So far up that I became curious as to what I had once paid and since I had receipts out preparing my accounts for taxes I could easily check. I once paid only $13.95 for a 12x12 deep Canvas floater frame. Same frame is now $34 plus shipping.

So off to the hardware store I went. They love me there.

No, you cannot get picture frame moldings at a small town hardware store. You cannot even get them at your average Lowe's or Home Depot. But you can get door trim and corner trim and half rounds and slats, etc. And with clamps and some basic puzzle solving ability you can create compound moldings with a few simple ones. So after staring at the cross-section board at the counter for an agonizing 30 minutes while the clerks (business being down these days) waited patiently for me to make a decision I came home with two eight foot lengths each of five different standard trims. Total cost $52.00 including black spray paint, and glue. I had clamps from maskmaking days.

I laid the strips of wood on the table and began making combinations and trying them on an edge of a canvas. I now work almost exclusively in the 1 3/8 deep artist canvas and like to finish them off with what is called a canvas floater frame. I already have a Dewalt Compound Mitre Saw complete with lazer sight from doing the trim-out on my studio. And some experience with angles.

After an afternoon of gluing and clamping I now have two eight foot lengths of one type of floater trim and two seven foot lenths of another for the smaller paintings. I figure with no miscuts I can make three 12x12 frames and two 20x18 frames.

Next step is to sand the four complex trims I have made and then measure and cut and glue. Then I can spray paint them.

I am rather excited about this. My costs are just over one of the small frames with shipping. And way under just one larger frame without shipping. Yes, my labor added in would probably bring it all closer to even but what is time to a hog? At this point, like many other artists, I have more time than money.