Thursday, June 12, 2014

Digging In….

OK, I’m frustrated I cant jump right into "work" yet again today, but must continue to dig out from the fracas left behind from flooding /leaking roof! 

A couple weeks ago, right as our new roof was being put on at the studio, we were hit with a torrential downpour, which resulted in lots of flooding at the studio.  Not too much artwork was lost- THANK YOU UNIVERSE!  Mostly materials and supplies I’ve been collecting over the last 20 years, some of which were tearfully parted with (how can I submit a receipt to the insurance company for antique topographical maps, grandma’s sheet music, and boxes of pressed leaves?)  
OK I admit I DO have some hoarding tendencies- but I can rationalize that impulse (can’t most collage artists?) because of what I work with.  When I am working on a piece in December that needs a green leaf to finish it off perfectly- I can’t run outside and get one.  I had to collect that earlier in eh year, press it, preserve it, and store it.    That bird’s nest I found on the walk with the dogs, the perfect paper wasps nest, and the maple leaf wings- none of these things can be ordered from dick blick. I relish their forms and meaning- but must figure out a way to store them so that they are accessible- and protected form the next natural disaster:) 

And now that I am over the shock of it, I am viewing this as a forced opportunity to reorganize, clean, and purge, and I reluctantly admit that I am kind of enjoying this process.  (But I am wondering- the next time someone asks me how long it took to make that painting- can I count this time spent getting studio back in working order?  But I digress.... I hate that question...) now I want EVERYTHIGN to be in a waterproof plastic bin, so have invested in dozens of clear storage boxes.  

When it becomes overwhelming and I need to take a break- I treat myself to a chapter of "Inside the Artist’s Studio", which shows the studios of 50 artists, and features interviews with them about how they work, what their favorite tools are, their creative practice and how they create a work environment for themselves.  

It is a great complement to reorganizing the studio, seeing how others have tackled their spaces. Gives me some ideas on how mine might work better…and reassures me that my studio is not the messiest one out there… Back to work...

Todays task is the collection wall- so here I sit, enjoying going thru the boxes of rocks, sea shells, and fossils, and reminiscing on their collection (remember that long walk in Marin county when I got that rock?).  These natural specimens are many times the impetus for new work, so as I go through, I am enjoying the process of revisiting why I chose to keep it in the first place, and consider how I might employ it today, years after it joined my collection. 

So here’s what was going thru my head as I purge/sort/organize: May give some insight into how my pieces evolve....

Questions while sorting thru:

 The rock shelf:
- The color in those stones from Sleeping Bear Dunes are so varied and beautiful- what about a piece about place that addresses the geological history that went into making them? 
-Why do most of the Lake Superior rocks have a red tint? Some research needed there...
-YEE HA!  I STILL AHVE SOME MARIN COUNTY MOUNTAIN rocks left!  Love that teal and ochre mixture....

The sea shelf-
--Just came across a gorgeous portion of whelk shell showing the undulating curves inside. Time for another golden proportions piece! Do the math, include it....

- The fossil shelf:
-How can I incorporate that shard of fish fossil into a surface - without damaging it? 
- The fungus on that crocodile scute is awesome, but so little. Could I reproduce that texture on a large scale, and have that featured in a little niche? Or adhered to the front? 
-Ammonites, ammonites, ammonites, I am in love with that swirly spiral..... How to incorporate: make a rubbing of it? Make a mold and press it into surface? Draw that math diagram that they instinctively know how to use...
-I HAVE PEACOCK ORE! Forgot that that was there, buried in a bag in a box....
- Could that ammonite dangle like a pendulum? 
-Small resin cast of turtle shell- stain back to bring out texture and use as focus, incorporate the screen of turtle, and the tracks they leave behind in the sand? And I just found a turtle shell fossil! Use together? 

Stay tuned to see how they develop!