Friday, July 30, 2010

Fractured Glass Meets Kaleidoscopes: Day 8 (with a respectful tour of origami)

When Wet Paint in St. Paul has a sidewalk sale, I do my best to get there. Last year I snagged my easel; this morning I found a treasure trove of Schmincke Horadam watercolor tubes, and some beautiful watercolor paper. Waiting to pay, I saw some origami papers and kits, and began to think about how many triangles I saw in their designs. Might there be a kinship between origami and Fractured Glass?

It took no time at all to find Robert J. Lang and his breathtakingly origami masterpieces on the web. A physicist and engineer, Lang has been doing origami for 40 years, and he is one of the pioneers of the cross-disciplinary work between origami and math.  Yesterday, I admitted to being inspired  by solid geometry. Today I am inspired by origami, which takes a one-dimensional piece of paper and goes straight to three dimensions.

Peter's Snowflake, is part of Robert J. Lang's collection of Geometrics & Tesselations
At the end of the eighth day, the finish line was in sight.  On the morning of the ninth day, I have a flock of new colors in hand...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fractured Glass Meets Kaleidoscopes: Day 7

Day 7:  7 blank bubbles to go. 
We spent a lot of time with triangles in 9th grade Geometry, including the unforgettable Pythagorean Theorem Project for which we had to create 50 word problems, do the drawings, and then write out the math IN INK with no mistakes.  Our teacher was a terror, or rather, she was a stickler for accuracy that was even then decidedly old fashioned.
9th grade grumpiness aside, my favorite math that year (and forever), was Solid Geometry, whose mathematical purpose of measuring the volume of solid spaces has never come up in conversation. While I don't recall the mathematical properties,  I love the shapes.  This lovely Small Stellated Dodecahedron has been used in art, and its celebration of the triangle makes it very dear to me.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fractured Glass Meets Kaleidoscopes: Day 6

As the canvas fills up, it becomes more challenging and interesting to fill the remaining spaces with colors that keep the balance, maintain the energy, and keep me entertained.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fractured Glass Meets Kaleidoscopes: Day 5

Because the canvas (140# Arches paper, actually) is beginning to look half-finished, I started to count the bubbles, dividing them into three categories: complete, partly-painted, and undone.

No matter how I calculated, counting and re-counting, there are just 9 finished bubbles with all of their painted lines, and I'm nowhere near even half done.

I should have known better.  When I painted "100 Buttons," I began to count and learned that there were far more than 100 buttons, and that the finish line was far, far away.

"100 Buttons" was inspired by a line drawing of a shoe  with covered buttons.

I said "Ah ha! I can do that!" and traced nickels, dimes, quarters, and an assortment of French coins, painted Davy's Gray outlines, and then painted in their solid colors.

These "buttons" were particularly engaging, and most of them have multiple layers of watercolor underneath their painted threads.

Although most of my paintings are part of families (Bright Boxes, Small Friends, Kaleidoscopes, LLLamas, Cats, Rings & Links), 100 Buttons is now and probably forever will be an orphan -- just one in the family.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Fractured Glass Meets Kaleidoscopes: Day 4

In the ordinary course of painting nanoscapes, I paint in all of the shapes before painting in all of the outlines.

However, as the Boss of Myself, I can test, bend or break my rules. 

I couldn't resist painting the lines in the orange ball near the bottom left, pointing the way to the shape of things to come.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fractured Glass Meets Kaleidoscopes: Day 3

I had imagined that each of these bubbles would be absolutely monochromatic, but I find that colors that complement and contrast are irresistible.

For the record, I took this photograph at the end of the third day of work on this painting.  This is the second blog post.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

When Fractured Glass and Kaleidoscopes Collide

Having acquired a number of new paint colors during the past few weeks, I want to explore them and to see how they work with one another, and with the related colors on my ever-expanding palette.

As you can see, I am not yet finished with Fractured Glass (three paintings unambiguously celebrating random color), nor have I abandoned the nanoscapes' vision of Kaleidoscopes and Molecular Biology. DISCLAIMER: My version of molecular biology is not a reflection of what I may have learned in 9th grade Biology in 1963 at Hyattsville Junior High School in Hyattsville, MD.

Fractured Glass #1 celebrates random color and begins to answer the question "What happens when triangles go wild?" It is 12x16 inches.

For a painter who can't have or make too many colors and who (as she learned from Russ Dittmar) never met a color she didn't want to enhance, Fractured Glass is a platform for fun.

Among the earliest nanoscapes, Molecular Biology 112 shows things heretofore unrevealed by electronic microscopes.  It is 4x6 inches.

In 2007, in the beginning of the nanoscapes' creative process now called Painstaking Enthusiasm, I used cookie cutters to create the circles, drew the patterns, painted them with Sepia (now abandoned for the lighter Davy's Gray), painted in the shapes, and outlined the shapes with a Rapidograph,  a technical pen with a very, very tiny point. Once I was brave and confident enough to use a tiny watercolor brush, I ditched the Rapidograph.

This first and as-yet-unnamed marriage (or collision) of the Fractured Glass and Kaleidoscope Families (12x16 inches) may be an exploration of patterns of surface tension on bubbles of unknown origin.  Or perhaps not.

But each color will be fun to explore.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Robert the Tap Dancing Rooster

After six weeks of painting with Painstaking Exuberance entirely in the world of Fractured Glass, I needed a break.

And what a break!  Today, through Pass the Baton, I booked some "Alternative Careers" and "Professionalism Has Attached" programs, and then I painted a rooster. 

Meet my new Small Friend, Robert The Tap Dancing Rooster.  Because tap dancing 'til 2 a.m. annoyed the hens and cut into his ability to crow at dawn, he was banished from the hen house. He has landed in my studio.  Except for attacking the paint brushes while I worked on Robert's portrait, my cats have ignored him.

Robert will appear on a note card and in a small (6x9") print. He and the now completed 22x33" Fractured Glass #3 will be on the nanoscape website next week.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday July 17, Woodbury Lakes Art Faire (Woodbury, MN)

I have been painting on Fractured Glass #3 non-stop for two days, and hope to finish tonight...if you are out and about on Saturday or Sunday July 17 and 18, drop by the Woodbury Lakes Art Faire and check out the work of members of HandmadeMN, a group of Minnesota-based ETSY artists and craftspeople.

I'll be there on Saturday with nanoscapes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fractured Glass 3: Painted outlines bring the triangles to life

Painting the outlines of each shape -- Step 4 for every nanoscape, is my last chance to make the shapes  as perfect as possible by making their corners meet and connecting them into their swoops and swirls.  I expect that it will take six days to finish outlining the 726 square inches of Fractured Glass 3. 
Here is a closeup that lets you see the difference between lined and unlined triangles.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 4th Weekend Fractured Glass #3 Marathon Report #5

Huzzah!! All of the triangles have color. Every single one. Some are light; some are dark; but every single triangle in this 22x33-inch painting has color.

Today I will begin the 4th step in the Life of A Nanoscape: painting the outlines for each shape.  Line by line, shape by shape, triangle by triangle. 

The big decision in this step is selecting a color for those lines. In the earliest nanoscapes, I used Rapidograph pens and black India Ink to create the tiniest imaginable lines, but the outline effect was visible within just 10-inches of each painting.  I switched out first to Winsor Newton Sepia and then to Daniel Smith Sepia watercolor for the outlines, and then decided that those gray-ish-brown-ish tones weren't the most helpful for the nano designs.  Not that the sepias deadened the nanos, they just didn't enhance them.

Since then, I have used Daniel Smith's very dark greens, purples and blues.  Decision time today.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th Weekend Fractured Glass #3 Marathon Report #4

Fractured Glass #3 has  hundreds, if not thousands of tiny spaces that I hope to finish painting today.

Fortunately, I have a deep and abiding fondness for triangles, a treasured memory of creating 100 Pythagorean Theorem problems in 9th grade geometry, and an ever-growing admiration for the people who cut tile and glass for mosaics and stained glass art.

Today (July 5) will be a busy day.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 4th Weekend Fractured Glass #3 Marathon Report #2

After 11 hours -- the shapes are definitely in motion...

Fractured Glass #3 is 22x33 inches, but while painting triangle after triangle, I lost the size and reveled in the tiny spaces.

Friday, July 2, 2010

July 4th Weekend Fractured Glass #3 Marathon Report #1

Welcome to my July 4th Weekend Painting Marathon!  The only way that Fractured Glass #3 can be finished in time for State Fair framing is for me to paint and paint and paint and paint.  What a great gig!

After nearly three weeks, I am well into nanoscape Step 3 -- adding color.  Just last night "Frac 3" crossed the threshold into the place in the paint/space continuum where the glass "pieces" began to show their potential for motion. 

Because I can paint and cook, too, I've also been able to begin to work on an interesting recipe for baked beans for the July 4th picnic (even Paint Marathoners have to celebrate.)