Archive for December, 2008
Each functional, comfortable 29 x 29 x 29 inch replica of ancient Art or artifact re-utilizes vintage plastic lawn chairs that were considered Art during the 1960’s. The original structures, damaged or unusable were refurbished by a process of weaving canvas strips along with white glue paper-mache style over the entire plastic top and bottom, and multiple layers of drywall compound sanded in between coats. Designs are drawn with graphite, painted with Acrylics and a few coats of varnish for durability, then waxed to finish and enrich the colors. Two more Solaire chairs and other styles of chairs are in various stages of completion yet to be embellished with historic Art themes from other cultures. Other styles of chairs are also in progress.
The skeletal structure of these chairs, called Solaire chairs, were manufactured during the 1960s and 1980s. Art in their own day, these particular ones were unusable; in poor condition they were bound for the landfill sight. Originals designed by Fabiano and Panzini, a French Canadian team, the Solaire chairs are now collectors items, some selling for $500 a piece.
The first chair given a facelift produced a large replica of a Mayan bowl. The Mayan culture (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and parts of Honduras, 900 B.C. – 900 A.D. Common Era) developed a very complex written language using pictographs. Many of these were facial expressions and hand gestures. The bowl displays the birth of the Maize God, and along the top edge the name of the bowl’s owner is written, as well as possibly what it was used for.
Salish Carved Wood Whorl
Whorls are weights that stabilize spindles used for spinning yarn. The yarn in this case would have been wound just above the whorl. Spinning yarn and weaving fabric are some of humankind’s oldest technology. Left: example of a spindle with whorl, Eve Spinning Illuminated Manuscript c. 1170 A.D.
Historically everywhere wood has been used for tools, utensils and everyday items, they were often carved. This spindle whorl was used by a Salish Northwest Pacific coast community living south and east of Vancouver Island. Here a central human figure holds two otters. A Kwakiutl (also living in Vancouver Island territory) prayer to a Cedar tree prayer was very much a part of the inspiration for this chair. It reads: “Look at me friend! I come to ask you for your dress, since there is nothing you cannot be used for. I come to beg you for this, Long-life maker”.
December 18th: Finishing details, further definition with Acrylics and two coats of varathane, waxed. Decided against the decoupage of the Kwakiutl (also living in Vancouver Island territory) prayer to a Cedar tree because it does not look as good as hoped. December 16th: Carved the plaster in areas then inlaying purple for contrast rather than black. Purple glazes also make yellows much richer. Right: back of chair, rubbed off areas give a carved effect. The undercoat of yellows shines through succeeding layers, and carved wood textures are created with varathane leaving raised brushstrokes..and trying whatever else I can think of! More modeling with plaster and light sanding, then redrawing with graphite, and the design is continually adjusted.
This functional replica of a Salish Carved Wood Whorl re-utilizes a 1960′s plastic lawn chair, 29 x 29 x 29 inches that was considered Art in its own day. The refurbished chair has woven canvas strips and white glue applied paper-mache style over the entire plastic top and bottom. Multiple layers of wall plaster are sanded in between coats. The design is sketched with graphite then painted with acrylics, and drawing is continually adjusted as layering of materials continues.
This is the second chair of four in the historic Art-themed series. The other two chairs are in the earlier stages of progress.
Dec. 13th note: On exhibit at Oxide Gallery in Denton TX until February 28th, 2009.
Dec. 7th: Approaching Winter, 60 x 40 x 3 inches Acrylics, wrapped canvas. More contemporary than my usual work, thought I’d try a new approach to painting…with more attention to editing rather than overworking. Shown in two detail images above, full view: right thumbnail. Large paintings don’t show as well on computer screen, so there are two detail images that were sharpened 2X to reveal the actual texture as it is close up.
Dec. 6th: Colors mixed with matte medium: Ultramarine, Pthalos Blue, Prussian Blue, Cobalt Blue, Pthalos Green, Sap Green, Unbleached Titatium, Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red Deep, Mars Black (rarely use black). This morning I scrubbed and washed away a lot of paint in areas then reapplied more. Trying to stay with the less is more principle. Hope to wrap this one up by the end of the weekend if not before.
Dec. 5th: Stage 1, first coat of Ultramarine Blue and matte medium, very watered down, then applied thick in places. Inspired by photos taken by my good friend Ray Muskego in my home town, Cold Lake, Alberta during sunrise December 4th as misty fog drifted off the lake.
The brush swishing against the taut canvas makes a music of its own.. gentle drumming sounds. Priming the canvas is a soothing task. It’s purely a sight thing, straightforward, doesn’t need study or thought. There are so many small efforts toward the creation of a painting. The process of defining a scene on the front is probably 40% of the entire amount of work considered.
We’re result-oriented, but details matter: the materials underneath the paint, the quality of paint, to frame or not to frame, tidiness, cleanliness back and front, hanging apparatus…these are just a few of the details behind my scenes.