Alebrijes

I’ve been asked to begin blogging again, but all the fiber stuff has been dormant (I put up some old handspun for sale and then forgot to tell anybody…) as I’ve focused on painting, which isn’t our usual focus here, so I’ve been reluctant to share. Today however I’ll tell you about another rabbit hole I fell into.

I joined an online school/community here in DK that feature a lot of different classes, and this month is something I never thought I’d be interested in: sculpture. More specifically the technique for making Mexican mythical beasts “alebrijes“. But the course was so well presented that I found myself rearing to go and full of ideas. Too many ideas in fact, that after just a couple of days into the project I’m beginning to wonder what to do with them when they’re done – I can’t imagine dusting off 20-30 figurines around the house, not to mention picking them off the floor constantly when the rowdy bunch have been through. (aka cats) Seems a shame to just fill up the hay loft with boxes, don’t you think?

The process is very simple, like something you might do in elementary school, except you begin with a wire frame/skeleton instead of using pulp. This adds stability, and I hope durability too. It’s a bit like going back to 3D computer graphics as well, where you also coat a mesh like these with a virtual surface.

I ran into a migraine weekend the second day, so instead of making one sculpture from start to finish I’ve decided to make a bunch of frames, then begin adding the paper-maché, since the glue is made from flour and goes bad after a few days. I’m also experimenting wildly with balance, because a challenge only makes it more fun, right?

The theme of the course is A: begin with a sphere, and B: “does it fly?” I’ve been taking the title quite seriously but focus on the “?”, such as a bull with tiny little wings and goats with propellers…. There’s also a turtle with balloons on the drawing board – they just keep lining up for my attention.

I’ve been wanting to get figures into my paintings, so I’n curious whether these sculptures will be a way in for more stories rather than just abstract or empty landscapes, as it often happens for me with cross polination between different crafts.

Hopefully by next week I can show you the coated figures, then I will paint them all together. Possibly there will be art yarn tails included, or is that a bit twee, what do you think?

Sculptures by Else Frøsig, teacher of the class

 

Paraphernalia

Didn’t get ready today to show you a full version of my pigment experiment as planned, as I’ve had other things to attend to. So I thought I’d show you my latest finding, a book press which I thought could help me get water out of new paper sheets, rather than stacking cinderblocks on the floor. One way of tackling multiple projects could be doing so as efficiently as possible!

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Constant focus change

Wax on Wood

Last week I mentioned the absurdity of a health challenged person embarking on time consuming physical tasks such as gathering natural malerials, making paper, prepping and studying new branches of the art tree, and it surprised me that nobody mentioned “productive procrastination” aka Resistance. (dah-dah-DAAAAA)

Because really, it’s exactly what I’m doing. After all I am the champion of painting these colourful random backgrounds and then leaving them for years while deciding how to proceed because I never had a plan. Not having a plan and just slathering colour is a GREAT way to beat performance anxiety if you feel like you can’t get started, it will get you into the groove or at least the studio. Unfortunately, when you come back 2 weeks later after a migraine etc, you’re not really “feeling it” (pout) and it’s so much more fun to begin something else. (especially if you spent your downtime on Pinterest) Otoh you don’t want to keep erasing the same two pieces of board or canvas in all eternity, because you wholeheartedly intend to finish all those wips, obviously. (I do finish paintings actually, but a lot of them are testing ideas and methods and not really for publication. Not that I don’t on occasion publish them anyway…)

Partial background of very large panel. It’s not done, but it does have a title!

And then it’s so easy to pull the “as long as I show up and do something it counts, so how about clearing the table and gessoing ALL the things to make the workspace nice and ready?”-card. Or the “I should totally make it my thing to paint on my own handmade paper, to make it sooper special”-card. That is what I call productive procrastination, you use new and exciting endeavours as an excuse to put difficult projects on hold. Because you’re still working, right? And “each of my hobbies spark the others, right?”

I guess I’m especially disadvantaged here, because even if I lack ideas for halfdone images all the time, I have a supply for 2-3 lifetimes in general. It’s just that they veer off in every possible direction; forget about lining up ducks, my thoughts are gibbons.

Small stamp collection. In a row.

I think I know what I lack, however: Stories. If I had a collection of those, I could always pair them up with a background. I’d like for something to happen in a painting, not just pretty colours arranged in a pleasing combination. I don’t want to try my hand at realism per se, but I’m getting bored with empty landscapes. A suggestion of figures, or an imprint of some sort is what I’m looking for. Does that make sense?

So how do I go about finding and collecting stories, and how would you keep track of them? Write them down? “Fat man walking tiny dog in November”. Or by making a lot of sketches of stuff (but even then, doesn’t the story come first?) Working from photos or real life doesn’t really light my fire unless I see something unusual (which can be turned into a story). I don’t go out much, so I don’t see a whole lot of unusual things.

This week’s supply of stories in three languages to keep me on my toes.

Well, at least I’ve come a ways since I started talking about this years ago, I do actually paint a lot more than I did then. Having my own room in the loft has also helped enormously, and I have a bag of tricks to get me going, so all I really need is more uninterrupted time. And stories.

To begin with I’m taking note of all the recurring themes and keywords which overlap all of my interests to see which ones can be used as a common base, then make a list of activities in each hobby which fit those parameters and perhaps weed out the ones that don’t, for now. And in the way of stories I collect quirky titles and sentences to peruse when I need inspiration.

My table usually looks like this, so I must be doing “things”.

Breaking news: We had a rain storm Saturday evening and my water barrel is completely full. That means I can begin testing for my new plant pigment project. To be used with my handmade papers obviously. I’ll even test them on yarns.


 

Micro foraging for art supplies

It hasn’t rained here in 3 months and has been unusually hot too, so most blooming things are over and done with if they have even survived. I’m glad I didn’t make a dye garden this year, as the cost of watering would have been massive.

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