Saturday, January 26, 2019

Stabilizing Erika in wax and wire

       When we left the last post, Erika needed a backbone or spine. She was made only of wax and kept collapsing. Aluminum wire would solve the problem.

        First, I drew a stick figure and arrows to show the most economical direction to bend the wire. I got tweezers and wire cutters from my workshop. I inserted a bit into my drill exactly the width of the wire. The end of the shaped wire fit exactly in the hole and the stick figure stood up, firmly without glue or staples...just the pine holding it!.

sketch in bottom left of the photo

        Next, I started moving pieces of wax from unstable Erika to the wire figure for her recreation. When needed, I sliced off thin pieces of wax from the block of dark wax with a paring knife.The thin wax was easily warmed by the heat of my hand and placed where needed. No hairdryer was needed for heat. This went quickly. At this point I awaited an invitation to supper so I have Erika pose for me. I felt the first creation was not wasted in that it was a sketch of sorts.

         I could still work on this piece, but it stands and was fun. I made the wire head too large but I wanted to start another figure. The third one will also need some back bone to stand.

         I am not impassioned to sculpt, but I like to try many crafts. When I sit at my vanity table every morning, I prefer to look at the "art" to work on or adjust rather than the mirror! Sculpting for me is almost a meditative craft. It is calming and fitting for the new year. William Shatner said, "You have to create your life. You have to carve it, like a sculpture." (from Brainy Quote) It is a work in progress.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Waxing away

      After purchasing my wax and clay, armature wire and a book, I couldn't decide what to sculpt. Finally, I cut off some wax with a paring knife, heated a chunk with my hair drier, squeezed and molded the wax in the palm of my hand. At first I modeled a small bowl in wax. I waited a few days, heated the wax again and the shape of a head with a lump of hair appeared. It made me think of a photo of Hannah on the sofa in NYC reading a book...something I always wanted to paint. So, I sculpted Hannah Reading in wax. I think it might have been better if I made the body first and then placed Hannah face down on the "sofa." It is in a simple rough form and that is enough for me.

       Working with wax on my mahogany vanity table was a bit messy, so I looked in the basement for some scrap wood. I liked the contrast of the light wood and the dark figure. I thought, "Ah, I would like to create each of the grandchildren in a typical pose on pine." I chose a more challenging pose for Erika.One can see why Degas liked models and armature. I had to pull off arms and legs and the head for Erika, reassembling once I started looking at a photo.

        I think I will reuse this wax to make Erika in a different pose, where the gymnast is standing on her hands. This will surely require wire. I made a quick sketch below. Hannah was a two-hour effort.Since Erika keeps falling apart, she is an ongoing project.
      I also have a drawing of my reading the NYTimes every morning...and more. I figure I will take an electric knife to some of the packing foam that arrived in presents this Christmas to form a mountain shape base for my cabeza and another portrait base for Joe's bust to be developed in clay.I am going to have to stop procrastinating and get to shaping the aluminum wire and attaching it to a base. December and January are busy times but that is not an excuse!

      Of course modeling in wax has me interested in the new book out about Degas' dancer Marie: Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Camille Laurens and Willard Wood. When I went to look it up I found another book published by Yale Press by an instructor I had in London so I ordered a used copy of that. Mother had a large statue of the Little Dancer. I wonder what happened to it. On to read these two books.I loved ballet.Position four?


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Shaping life with the hands

     A new craft to me is like climbing a mountain. I want to try. Joe on return from his book club mentioned that Mary Ellen, the host's wife, had some exciting bronze sculpture in the living room. I had known ME for about 44 years and never knew she had an interest in creating art or sculpting.She LOVES sculpture.She indulged herself sculpting in Florida winters as a "snowbird"from Massachusetts. I phoned her and she invited me to see her bronzes. She also has a marble piece in Florida. I love to look at the bronze of her granddaughter, as the granddaughter, now a teen, also enjoys viewing...the flow of the skirt, eyes, expression and hair. Also, I enjoyed ME's appreciation of her father and how she shaped his form, running her hands over his head until it felt right.

     I had just seen a piece of sculpture at the WorcesterArt Museum and felt the synergy and inspiration. I immediately looked up how to get involved again. Back in the 80s, I had once made a bust of Dad using Sculpture House Plastilina which does not harden. I found it at The Compleat Sculptor in NYC and got some brown wax which one can shape when it is softened with hands or hair dryer, and some bendable armature wire. I asked the techie there to choose two tools for me. I searched the library and bought a book on figure sculpture (thinking Degas and Rodin which I viewed at the Metropolitan Museum) and am ready to begin. Maybe I will do a bust of Joe and figures of the grandchildren. I have several other ideas...but to choose and start. That is the challenge. Too much fun! I've looked up many videos online and am ready to begin. I hope I might interest the grandchildren in trying their hands at it.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

New Effort: Urban Sketching

urban sketch by Andre on Harvard move-in day

         Always ready for a new direction, a new craft, I landed one on Joe's and my 56th anniversary. We were at the Fogg Museum on a Sunday, looking at art and enjoying a treat in the courtyard when I noticed a young man drawing and journaling. Later I saw him a block away entering the Harvard Book Store where I said, "Didn't I just see you drawing and journaling at the Fogg?" "Yes you did. Would you draw a picture for me?" "Certainly, what would you like?" He said he had the idea to send a wandering sketchbook out into the world. The idea was a person would draw in it and post at Instagram online and leave for someone else to find to draw. Andre Behrens handed me the book and it took a week for me to get up the nerve to draw in it. Then I passed it on to the head of the Belmont Gallery of Art who had someone to pass hers on to. I had to learn Instagram to post it and that is where the torture and fun began.

         Andre said there is a local and international group of urban sketchers. He works during the week and sketches on weekends at meet ups w other sketchers. I enthusiastically looked in urban sketching books and got a couple of sketch Handbooks at Artist and Craftsman Supply. A Pigma Graphic pen fits just under the elastic that Andre showed me. Quick sketches are not easy but I set up lindapaintingtime at Instagram for urban drawings and two other accounts for other art as well: lindadrawingtime and amovingline.I am trying to keep the photos consistent.I am thrilled to learn Instagram via online instruction. It is good to get out into the world w no purpose but to record what one loves and to show what it looks like today. Google urban sketchers to look for guidelines.It is fun to interact w strangers in waiting rooms, eating places, and on the street. I recommend the terror and the imperfection.Maybe not the snow in coming days.

Andre's sketching which caught my attention

Andre's instruction in the wandering sketchbook

small sketchbooks that hold a pen under the elastic
books to get me started

my first very nervous urban sketch

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Anita Hill and the Ships of Fools, a painting from 1991 plus the TIMING

     Today, the news is pretty disturbing that a person is being considered for the life time Supreme Court appointment with only a bit more than 10 per cent of his record allowed to be scrutinized. The rush to appointment is another disturbing element, not taking into account an FBI scrutiny of a credible sexual assault charge.Several people have encouraged me to post the painting I made back in 1991 when another appointment was made to the Supreme Court in a fashion with behavior I hope is not repeated. I was very proud of Anita Hill and not the inquisitors. (click photo to enlarge)

             Today, Joe was also disturbed by the present rush to push through the appointment and wrote:

You don’t have to be Einstein to know that perception of speed is relative to one’s standpoint.  In a car speeding above the limit, a parallel Olympic runner appears slow. 

The Republican protest that sexual assault accusation against Judge Kavanaugh was late reflects the viewpoint within the pedal-to-the-metal speed of the Republican controlled Senate review process.  Step outside the Republican rush-to-vote vehicle, and the timing of the accusation disclosure appears understandable and reasonable.  From the viewpoint of a woman privately tormented 36 years by a sexual assault, to disclose it to Senator Feinstein within one month of the Kavanaugh nomination, and to remain concerned for less than another month about disclosing her identity to public humiliation, is anything but tardy.  For Senator Feinstein to withhold acting on the anonymous disclosure seeking confidence in its authenticity, is not only reasonable but commendable.

Viewing the speeding Republican review process from the outside, 2 months and 10 days have passed to date since the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh.  Two months and 13 days passed between nomination and confirmation of Justice Sotomayor; 2 months and 8 days, for Justice Gorsuch – not to speak of the 9 months and 18 days that the nomination of Judge Garland was held by the Senate until expiration of the 2016 Congress.  Neither Sotomayor nor Gorsuch had nearly as extensive a public service record, or partisan combatant record, to be reviewed as Judge Kavanaugh. 

                                                                                    Joe Hicks

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sometimes you have a photo and want to paint it

    Sometimes you have a photo and want to paint it, regardless. Painting is never easy, no matter what. The most fun was taking grandchild's photo of Harry on a rug and making a quick sketch of it to see if an oil could be interesting. I was surprised a black dog showed up better on more color! I had the painting 3/4 finished when it was time for bed, so I scribbled on the last 1/4 of the canvas to use up the paint, and the brushing made the little canvas one I love. I intended to return to the painting, perfect the rug, and give Harry more dimension; but I like it as it is, messy and lovable, intractable like him.

    Next, Joe wanted me to paint the photo of Hannah running in a track meet. The frame helps. Then, I thought I would make a quick portrait of Joe and dog in the reading chair. Straight from a photo (almost), it needs something more interesting...a bigger rendition, wilder colors, Gauguin type composition? But sometimes this is all one is ready to do. I've been looking at paintings at the Clark, Fogg and MFA, am inspired to paint more, and this is a toe back in the water..

     With my new pochade box and the urban sketch group inspiration, I must work more from life, but this was fine for lazy summer's play which for me was really getting back to work. The three aren't framed yet, but Joe will do!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Rhythm and Hues: Songs of Home

   Rhythm and Hues is a promising art show title for the Belmont Gallery of Art. I have four songs that inspired paintings: Home on the Range, Don't Fence Me In, You Are My Sunshine and Take Me Out to the Ballgame!  I can enter only 3 paintings, but I am not sure which I will choose. You can match the titles to the paintings.

      Don't Fence Me In:  A Southwestern lamentation: the eclectic cacophony of civilization and childhood drowning out "the wide open country that I love." The painting is built on a map of the Texas Panhandle.
    Take Me Out to the Ballgame: Next door neighbor, Lloyd, now a young man,was a child surrounded by music of his mother and grandmother, cello and piano performers and teachers. Lloyd was also a Red Sox fan. The image of his dutifully practicing the cello with his mind on the baseball field struck the right note of harmony and contrast.
     Home on the Range: The Texas Panhandle of my memory: a melody simple and uncomplicated but rich in mirage.
     You Are My Sunshine: As if there is insufficient sunshine in the Western plains, the ubiquitous sunflower adds its own voice.
(Click on paintings to enlarge)

     In the meantime, I have been giving thought to why so many people are more impassioned to paint all the time than I am. I think it is because they are busy doing it, making discoveries and having surprises which are gifts that keep giving. One loses religion, family, government, writing and art if one is not doing it full time.I am determined to get busier drawing, painting and printing to feel the passion again. At least I am seeing art and reading about it. I look forward to the MFA pastel show to color passionately again.

"One ought, every day, to hear a little song, read a good poem, sip a tasty wine,
see a fine picture, and if possible, to speak a few reasonable words."
                                          -- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1836)