Thursday, March 26, 2009

Disintegration Collaboration End of Week I

So here we are with an update to the progression of my participation in the Disintegration Collaboration - a photo of my The Measure of Breath collage 1 week later and a branch from the same bush in the park in an equal amount of time. It occurs to me that the trajectory of life to birth into life proceeds at a much faster pace than the process of life into death even though they occur concurrently. The buds in the first photo were small, tightly closed little nubbins that were erupting from the branch. Only 1 week later, they are emerging as leaves at the same time as their stem branches also grow like little tributaries from the main branch. The collage, on the other hand, is only starting to look a little tired and faded. It's hard to see the changes in the piece from the first photo to the second. And this piece was out in a bit of snow, rain and wind over the week. Think about this in terms of a human or animal life. In mere months we progress from conception to birth into the perceived world. But it usually takes a whole life long to die.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Encaustic Painting & Mixed Media

I took an Encaustic Painting and Mixed Media workshop taught by Vincent Baldassano at the National Academy School of Art this past weekend. Here are the pieces I made in the order I made them, top to bottom. The first uses a photocopy of a photo of my mother in California. She had gone to be with my father who was stationed there with the Navy in WWII. I was conceived there and she came home to Brooklyn to give birth to me. The next one uses a photocopy of a photo I took in Mykonos, Greece in 1971. The photocopy was transferred to the paper-topped wood with soft gloss gel. I used egg shells to evoke the streets which are slate mosaics white washed around each irregular tile. The third was an experiment in layering the wax and then scraping back. The fourth is a last minute try at the end of the class to try a different color palette and incorporate only natural objects. It still needs work to be a finished piece.

It's a good thing I am a collector and can't throw anything away. I actually go out with a plastic bag to collect stuff and just in case I find something that might have some art use in the future. I also can never just throw out a wilted flower bouquet without deconstructing the blossoms and stems for drying and later use.

I really loved working with the encaustic. It has an immediacy that I find compelling.
I'm trying to cultivate more spontaneity and less precise planning which I find hangs me up and stops me from proceeding. I also found the odor of the wax very pleasant.

When the wax has thoroughly dried, you polish it with a soft cotton cloth which brings up the intensity of the colors and the piece just glows. Another lovely property of encaustic is that it will last for eons (see the funerary portraits of Fayum) but can also be re-worked forever. I love it that I can re-work the piece at some future time if I wish. I am always undoing and re-doing things I have made. I haven't figured out quite why I do this, but I do all the time.

So... Can you guess what the next art supplies purchase will be?

A photo of the progress of my piece for the Disintegration Collaboration along with an updated photo of the budding bush in the park is soon to follow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I've been thinking about the Disintegration Collaboration. It occurred to me that it might be fun to add my own twist along side my decomposing collage. So, every time I post a photo to document the process as my collage deteriorates, I will also post a photo of something growing or coming to life. Today on my way to work, I left the house earlier than I usually do so I could check out the trees in the park across the street. Here is a photo of the branch of a smallish tree - or maybe a bush - starting to bud. The dark shadow down the middle is me because I was in the path of the rising sun as I was photographing. So my presence has become part of the photo literally as well as figuratively. I haven't decided yet whether I will continue to photograph just the progression of this branch or various trees around the neighborhood to document the progression of life as a contrast to the progression of death (the collage). With the two juxtaposed, there is neither a beginning nor an end just as in the cycle of birth, death, rebirth... and so it goes.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Disintegration Collaboration

Well, I finally did it! Today I joined the Disintegration Collaboration project organized by Seth Apter of The Altered Page
When I joined there were already 94 artists in the project. Basically one makes a piece of art, packages it, and then puts it outside to weather the elements. Over time, we mark its progress.

My piece has been hung from the railing of my little terrace. I expect it might get pretty hammered because I am on the top floor and my terrace doesn't have an overhang. It will be most interesting to see how it changes in the remaining time which is about 6 weeks. I will definitely post more photos as I monitor its devolvment - or denouement, if you like - because my piece is about the progression of the music of life. I might have to name it. (I tend to name things.) I'm thinking... "The Measure of Breath."

I must say a word or two about Seth Apter here. I've been following his blog for some time. He does dream up the most interesting projects. He has done multiple surveys of artists. His art is pretty cool, too. He has a wonderful concise style and I love his color sense.

Oh, and don't hesitate to tell me what you think of my piece.