Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Two drawings

"De-Luxe" click to enlarge












Sometimes a drawing does a mitosis.  (Mitosisizes?)  Well, the thing split itself into two pieces somewhere along the line.

I had this notion to do an old woman barfing.  Yeah, I know, not really a new idea for me...I am deathly phobic of barf, so it always seems a fresh, relevant take on life...especially in these political times.  So I had my usual Photoshop mock up and stuck in a folder for later.  

Old woman barfing
Old woman barfing rough sketch











Later turned out to be about a week ago.

Second generation of sketch











Let's see: along the way a lot of changes happened, things morphed, things stretched, other things contracted...and in the end this was the drawing I made.  In my mind, I was making something about ageing...  I struggled with the barf--mainly I was thinking..."what does this even mean?" and "how will I render barf this time"?  And those two questions killed it for me.  

I guess I had always thought about contrasting an abject action with the signifiers of wealth and power--a rich cloak, embroidered robes, lace and pearls-- you know, when I was a kid going to the Boston MFA, I used to love those Rococo portraits of noblewomen.  Maybe someday, like at my PROM, I can wear a dress like that!  And oooooooooh lookie how well the artist renders silk!  Can I please drown in lace collars, pearls and jewels for one minute of my acne-ed pathetic puberty?

 (I never went to my prom).

And I grew up to understand that art had changed: it had gone from absolute spiritual necessity to flattering those who could afford odious status symbols redolent with signifiers of power.  Ew.  Thanks separation of church and state!  (Just kidding--I love separation of church and state.  But it does do a number on the meaning of art.)

Anyway: I wanted to reference that lacy stuff...I have a long history of drawing princesses and queens.  When I was a child I drew frowning queens all the time--read into that what you will. 

Frowning queen, circa 1966









 I have done a few frowning queens as an adult too!  So I added a crown and sceptre. I also added a giant sneeze cloud in the first sketch (which is not in the final drawing but if I do decide to make this a window, I will probably include).  Well, everyone these days will see that as a giant cloud of covid spreading itself around and of course, covid is mostly affecting those who are unable to avoid others--and wealthy folks can mostly avoid it, but they are every bit as vulnerable to it as a disease.  Especially if they are older.

 So whole I definitely was thinking here about privilege, about class taking a pratfall--but I was still also thinking about ageing.  I didn't want this to be a piece wherein its easy or simple to hate the powerful and laugh at their downfall just because. I want to depose certain structures more than anything, but dehumanizing your enemy is always going to end up dehumanizing yourself.  So I wanted some sympathy for this character.

I also thought she had the wrong face.  The original face was graceful and beatific--too accepting.  So I changed the face and that's when the mitosis thingie happened.

VERY quickly, I took the old face and stuck it on a body and it was magically just right.  How often does that  happen in the creative process?  JUST. ABOUT. NEVER!!!!  So that was exceedingly pleasant!

And here she is:

Friday, August 7, 2020

Garden for Maria Sibylla Merian

This li’l patch o’ heaven is a repeating design.  I started with a hideous Photoshop template cobbled together from rough sketches.  This I used to generate was I was calling “clumps”—clumps of flowers, basically, but in the arrangement that would eventually tile endlessly according to the template.template

There were three flowers clumps and a separate bird drawing and also a separate drawing of rocky soil.

Then I colored them in Photoshop.  My favorite way is to scan them in full color—and my scanner thinks pencils draw in green for some reason, so there’s plenty of weird color information even though the drawings appear more or less black and white to the eyeball.

I use the “selective color” option a lot of the time.  Mostly altering the neutrals and whites.  Just playing around until I sigh with deep and profound happiness.  I love color.  My eyeballs CRAVE color.  Bright, bright, warm color! Lots and lots of it.  But I prefer color relationships to sad lonely isolated colors.

When the coloring was done, I re-tiled the image according to the template.  It did have the teeniest seam…grrr…..which I painstakingly deleted.

What’s it all about Alfie?

The florid profusion of life…the persistent insistence of life on growing despite our best attempts to plasticize the world into a pseudo synthetic ersatzerama of fakedy fakeness.

Have I mentioned before that I barely interact with nature?  Yep: this is what I imagine plant life to be like.  In this way, I have nothing in common with Maria Sibylla Merian 

If you don’t know who she is, for goodness sake, look her up.Details: I was gonna color those birdies but I figured they would totally disappear if I did. So now they get to be ghost birds. Also, they cast a slight shadow on the ground below which helps distinguish them.  Note: I never use the drop shadow feature in the layer menu as every drop shadow looks terrible and very 2-D.As for size, the image is virtual and repeatable. the tile could be as large as, oh, two feet and could be endlessly repeated to infinity. Or smaller...its digital and the files size is ample

 So will this become wallpaper or fabric?  That’s a question I have been getting a LOT.  OK: I have some sort of crazy mental block about actually producing this.  Its not that I don’t want to—its that once the piece is done (and done means the design itself) then I havemoved on to other projects and the very last thing on earth I want to get involved in is figuring out marketing.

YES: I know Spoonflower will set up a shop for you.  My gallery wants to produce wallpaper, but not fabric so perhaps both will happen.

 Details below!: