up north

 

what my mind dreamed up…

What would you envision for a customer who requested a book for an ‘intellectual soul mate’ lost at sea?

It look me a little while to land on a motif for this one, but one of the things that helped my creative process was the obvious passion of the person requesting this custom book, which would be a gift for someone special. He wanted me to incorporate the phases of the moon, and the sea…so after a few weeks of methodical brainstorming, I landed on a big idea, and started to get to work.

I love custom orders because I end up making books I’d never create otherwise. And I loved that I was able to take my time on this one, enjoying all the symbolism that it involved and the subsequent ways that it helped me to make meaning in my own days of late.

A week ago I watched a beautiful Taurus baby come into the world. And though I have wavering interest in the influence of the planets and sun and moon, I appreciated the meaning created around this brand new person’s timing of when to be born and lock eyes with her mama for the first time.

In short, my love of making significance out of circumstance loved this nice juxtaposition of the moon, lost and found companions, and all things beyond our control…each a lovely part of life under the sun.

before and after

I spent several of my early spring Sunday mornings at Malaprop’s, one of my favorite places in Asheville, giving the  old paper mache tree a makeover. It really needed some love and care…

Over the years the poor tree had taken a beating and was covered with scribbles and signatures, and it looked kind of like a late-fall tree, with just a few leaves left. I cut the new leaves by hand, and the inspiration for the paint style came from the Sibley Guide to Trees, which has beautifully painted images of all the tree varieties.

(click photos to see enlargements)

It’s been forever since I’ve painted anything, and I have to say that I was nervous about executing the paint job that I’d envisioned. In the end, it was fun to work in a different medium, and when the tree was done I felt honored to have been asked to work on the project. As I’m becoming more focused on our upcoming move, it’s nice to think that I’ll be leaving a pretty, public work of creativity behind. I love how the tree turned out, and it was great to spend some time with my old buddies at the store!

visiting with an old friend.

Carley was one of the first people I met when I moved to Asheville, and I spent last Sunday morning in her studio at the Wedge talking about all kinds of art-related stuff. She is an amazing artist, and we share a love of printmedia and critiquing bad artwork. She is making some cool stuff and made me want to make prints and paintings!

Here is her website: http://carleydergins.com

A Rake’s Progress

I just finished A Rake’s Progress, the new biography of David Hockey; I remember some of his swimming pools from my time at the Art Institute, but I’ve gained an inspiring respect for the artist now that I’ve learned a lot of the story behind his work. One of the things I loved most about the biography was how it retold so many of the personal anecdotes relating to the portraits that Hockney painted. The above portrait, American Collectors, was commissioned by the couple pictured, but Hockney took so many liberties with the feeling and narrative elements of the scene that they “hated the picture so much that they decided to take it out of circulation by buying it and donating it to the Pasadena Museum, with the stipulation that it should be kept in the basement”.

Reading artists’ biographies is always inspiring in unexpected ways. This week I want to watch Painters Painting, starring some of my favorite Abstract Expressionists, and A Bigger Splash, about Hockney, which I learned about in A Rake’s Progress.