Friday, March 27, 2009

Illustration Friday: Poise (Art in Action)

A deviation from what I've been working on. I volunteer for Art in Action at my son's school. And my five year old daughter tags along with me. So she does the projects too. Today's lesson was based on Albert Bierstadt's Buffalo Trail. It was about drawing trees and forest animals. The image on the left is my demo, and the image on the right is my daughter's work. Besides the obvious comment on it taking a certain amount of poise to stand up in front of a group of third graders and talk to them about a painting that was created 140 years ago, I'm going to mention the amount of poise it takes to create art in a classroom setting. I take a lot of the creative process for granted. I hadn't really thought about the performance pressure to try something new in front of your peers. It takes a great deal of poise to put something down on paper while others are watching. As simple as my trees are, the kids were wowed as I took the oil pastel to the blank white paper and made a tree. I made sure to point out my out of scale rabbit--that seemed to relax them a little. "See even I can make mistakes. Yes it is okay that your table mate is painting with her sponge like that."
My daughter on the other hand, had no problem laying her drawing down boldly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Illustration Friday: Subtract

I thought this topic would be really hard, but then I started thinking about subtractive art processes. My process is subtractive. I start with a black field and then erase to reveal the image. Sculpture is a subtractive process. And sculpture led me to thinking about classical sculpture with all the missing arms and heads because many of the statues were found in trash heaps and had been damaged by time and wars and whatnot. (Which leads me to the theme for the Lenten period at my church: Beauty in Brokenness. With the metaphor being beach glass, how it is something once broken that has become beautiful again.) How many of these broken statues grace our museums in places of honor? Time to try once again to let go of the Perfectionism demon. There is beauty in mistakes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Illustration Friday: Legendary

(I've been working on another project--so I'm posting an older work.) This is Quan Yin a legendary Goddess of Mercy. A legend is, in a way, a stylized story. It has been repeated and honed over the years. But I've noticed we are all interested in stories, and the stories behind things. (like the prevelence of DVD extras--even if some survey I took claims that watching them counts towards being a geek.)

So here's the story behind my painting. It is the ink resist version of a sketch I did while traveling. In 1992 I participated in Semester at Sea. One of the countries I visited was Taiwan. I took a trip to the National Palace Museum where I saw a beautiful carving of Quan Yin. Back on the ship I did a watercolor sketch related to the carving.

Also in Taiwan, some friends and I went to Lion's Head Mountain where we encountered a statue garden that was full of identical Quan Yins. Opening our umbrellas, and posing with one hand up in the gesture of mercy and the other pouring the waters of life from our water bottles, we had another friend photograph us.

So that's my legendary encounter with Quan Yin.