Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Isola is Italian for Island.

Isola is Italian for island as in "no man is one"....But the Italian word, OBVIOUSLY wants to remind us that lots of people experience feelings of isolation.  No man is an island...but since when does that stop you from feeling marooned?  Hence the title.  let's move on to something more important, shall we?
My oh my oh mighty icepick, was the human figure in this image ever a difficult birth.  This happens…especially if I have “fallen in love with something” such as, in this case, her face.   

The face that launched a thousand shi...s
Love ruins everything.  I made that face with zero expectations.  It was done using what I considered a substandard drawing and I can name a couple more pieces where the phenomenon of not thinking much of the drawing has freed me to be more creative with the glass, and thus, I exceeded micro-mini expectations rather than launched an epic war against big ones.  That’s the win-win of setting the bar nice and low.  Pro-tip: don’t do this if you are naturally a slacker.
Someone at a door.
Yes--she's blue!  And yes, its the exact same piece of glass in every image in this blog post. For  those interested in technical details of engraving flash glass in layers to create tonal images click here.
Or yet but still,  even here.

I fell in love with the face, but not the body or the pose, which depicted someone at a door.  (For some reason I am fascinated with the theme of “someone at a door”.  I have done it a few times.) So I  had to chop her head off or her body off, depending on how you see things... liberating the face.  For whatever reason I am not inclined to do images of human heads without the rest of the body.  So I needed to come up with a new body.  The new body I came up with was this one:
Body transplant #1

And this sat for about a year, maybe two, in a Tupperware awaiting the right harmonic convergence in which it seemed propitious to continue.  And that didn’t happen for a good long while!  When it did, I decided I hated that body too--except her breasts.  Sheesh...I can’t get no satisfaction.  Dammitol to heck.So, I went back into Photoshop and attached her head to a ton of sketches of bodies and was having a hell of a time…. anyway, I settled on something and proceeded to work on it.
Body transplant #2
But I was not pleased with the proportions and stopped.  I reworked the sketch and finally did this version, which, at long last quelled the hellhound nipping at my heels.  (Technical figure notes: this pose is the same as the previous, but done at a slightly differing angle--from above.  This makes her look poised on the edge of a thought, leaning into the viewer in the manner of someone listening intently.  The previous figure was just sitting there in repose.)

But now, I was at another precipice: what in the heck to do with her???

Body transplant #3
Long story short: I saw this image. 

Who knows how inspiration and creativity work.  I know I don't! 
from here
But in some weird neural nanosecond this image fused with the figure and I had a path to follow.
What is it?  A mushroom and a galactic meatball?  A mushroom and a cosmic cookie?  A mushroom and an island full of snakes? Heck no!  You know what?  I can’t find anything with a reverse image search.  It tells me it’s a shiitake mushroom. Methinks not.  My dad is a famous mycologist after all.  IMHO?  Shiitake are a mushroom only good for its ability to let you say the word “shit” in public. Plus: mushrooms can add an interesting texture to any meal.  Anyway, it’s some kinda natural history print of a mushroom and its spawning ground, the kind I run into all over the internet, because MY internet looks a LOT like the library at the Smithsonian.
That print might be a perfectly respectable attempt at science, but really?  We all know its option 3: a mushroom and an island full of snakes. It couldn’t be more obvious what with the “clue” of the snake in the middle. So inspiring was this modest piece of semi-forgotten print history, that I embarked to maketh my own version.
I collect images of desert islands.  Things were connecting in my brain…axons were throwing out tentacles of connective threads to juicy possibilities…
Long story short, I know I promised:  a vague idea of how I should resolve this figure with that natural history print and add a dash of the myth of Saint Patrick banishing the snakes from Ireland and that old saw “no man is an island” and a whopping good excuse to do yet another garden image and voila!  BAM!  Well…not bam…nothing is ever bam in a glass studio.

The garden was freaking hard.  All my solutions to the problem “how to draw a garden” are different.  It’s like reinventing the wheel.
Somewhere along the way it seemed prudent to make the garden black and white and the snakes colorful.  Also, I wanted a large plain area for the sky to set off the frenetic garden.
Why are the flowers black and white?  Why?  Why?  WHY?
Why she's on a crescent moon.
What’s it all about?  It’s an accurate depiction of the time I was left to rot on some desert island full of snakes and had a really peaceful time contemplating the beauty and connectivity of the universe instead.  Snakes are your friends! Yeah…that really happened!  :P