Well, I finally finished another painting. I’ve been spending more time on handy work than on painting lately… Not that I’ve done any handy work at all on my two re-do cabinets…
This piece is a sort of natural progression from the fish I painted on old wood a couple of weeks ago. While looking for old wood to paint on I found this cabinet door just sitting around doing nothing, begging to be made use of.
Yes, there is a hole in the large urchin. Came in handy!
I had planned to paint mostly white on white and shades of white, but in the end I put in more colour. Not sure what I’ll do with this but I have time to decide.
I’m planning/hoping to have an exhibition this summer and almost all my work will be recycled and art from trash type of works… (dog sculptures, plastic bottle naked ladies, sea rope baskets etc) This fits in with that so maybe it will be included… or maybe I’ll list it for sale on Facebook. Who knows…
Meet Monkey Boy. Well, its a dog with his toy monkey. The dog is one of my papier mache, fabric and clay dogs and I needle felted the monkey.
My first toy poodle, Timmy, had a rag doll I’d made years before I got him and he loved that long limbed thing. It was so much bigger than him but he dragged it around everywhere with him. He inspired Monkey Boy.
Other than that, Lainee’s growth more or less opened up to a crater the other night and when I checked it in the morning it looked like a volcano. Awful. And stenchy as hell.
So I took her to vet to get it cleaned out and to get her antibiotics. While there we did the blood work in preparation for surgery on Monday.
Poor Lainee. At least she no longer stinks, though it still weeps. I think I found a better solution though… baby onesies!!! Maybe she’s not so obsessed with licking it now the pus is gone, but at least she’s leaving it well enough alone. I think I’ll go buy another one or two onesies so I have a change for her. She’ll need to wear them to protect the stitches after surgery anyway.
She seems so much happier now the pus has gone. Fingers crossed for a non-eventful surgery!
I’ve been a day behind on the blog for days now so today you get 2 posts so I can catch up. At least I think this is catching up. I may be 2 days behind… hmmm…
Anyway, I’ve been working on art sporadically but seem to have spent most of my time lately doing things other than creative work. Like cleaning up the courtyard out the back, planting seeds and other such stuff. Considering I’m planning to have an exhibition this year, I really need to get cracking on art.
One thing I began and actually finished this week was another sea rope basket. I’m now officially low on sea rope so need to go for a walk on the beach to gather more. I had to buy more thread this week too as I finished the last spool. I like to use a crochet thread in a natural colour for my baskets.
Making these little baskets is kind of zen, I can do it while sitting quietly with my thoughts (though my thoughts tend to get loud at times…) or while chatting to someone or watching TV… They take a while to make and I’m getting calluses on my thumb from pulling the needle throught, but hey, you gotta suffer for your art.
I love finishing off the edges of these little guys with loose bits of rope, in this case knots I had to cut off the bits of rope in order to make the basket. It gives them a sort of whimsical feel…
They’re not really big. I’m considering making a bigger one but it will need a whole lot more rope…
Anyway, its time for another beach scavenger walk…
Sometimes when I think about making art I remember things I painted in the past so today I’m going to share some of them. I can’t share everything. A lot of my photos were lost when I had a hard drive crash a few years ago… backing up to a hard drive sounds great but its not fail proof… I guess I could learn to use the cloud, but haven’t yet. Luckily a lot of my old photos are still on my blog in past posts, and on my website – http://www.zefiart.com.
The main thing I was thinking about my art was how easily I get distracted from painting or drawing given its always been something I do so easily. I literally have no idea how I do it, it just comes out of my hands and fingers on its own, the art takes over my brain and takes control of my hand. In fact, if I overthink things I mess up. I have to let the painting itself take over and just go with the flow.
Over the years I found the way I work best is with the TV on something I don’t have to watch closely. The Gilmore Girls is one of my favourite paint-to shows. The Ranch is next. Having the TV on splits my focus between what I’m doing and what I’m watching and allows me to take a step back from the painting.
In a way, this is what my first art teacher, Mr Swan (in Campion School in Athens when I was a teenager) taught me. He made me draw without my glasses so I couldn’t see the details. If I could see details I’d get caught up in them and mess up the ‘whole’. He told me how Degas was going blind and that explained a lot about his work, which is brilliant – allowing us to fill in the details he describes so well without actually painting them.
I am constantly trying to work that way.
I also like to live with my work in progress. I’ve always loved painting in my living space. I know I go on and on about wanting a studio and workshop, but what I’m really saying is I want a workshop to do dirty work in (power tools, making stuff) and a studio to live in. If I had a bigger house the living room would be similar to here now, but with space to keep my easel out all the time. Its what I used to do in Australia. That way the work was there and I could see it all the time, no matter what I was doing.
This is how I tend to work: I start something. At some point I hate it and stop in disgust. I leave it and do something else. Sometimes I’ll watch TV, other times I’ll move on to another project. The whole time its there… my subconscious is working on it. Sometimes even when I hate it and don’t want to work on it I can’t keep myself away. I’ll stop and sit down, then get up and do a bit here, a bit there, stop, sit down, get up again. Or I’ll stop for days and then suddenly I’ll change a line here, add a smudge there and it all comes together. That process is necessary for me.
Right now I want to paint, I do sometimes paint on pieces of marble and I have some small cardboard pieces I’ve prepped to paint on, all things I can do on the table… But I long for the easel again…
So enjoy looking at some of the artwork above. I know I do. And every time I do, I marvel at what I created. It may sound strange, but I really do. At how I got the feathers on the birds to look like feathers without thinking about how to do it. I marvel at how something like that came out of my fingers. I am grateful for the gift I was given.
Meet Petey. The first portrait dog sculpture I’ve made. And the first black dog!
Petey belongs to a good friend and one of his photos inspired this. He’s a newfoundland x gordon setter, ie huge, loving and drooly. He’s one of Lainee’s good friends though she regularly walks under his stomach.
I love how he turned out.
Petey was found in a dumpster. He was covered in fleas and ticks and his tail had been cut off. I’ve given him a full tail again in this sculpture. He’s the sweetest dog you’ve ever met and his colour and size scares the crap out of little old greek ladies (a bonus).
Petey (the sculpture) was made the usual way: cardboard, paper, masking tape, wire, alfoil, paper pulp, air dry clay, recycled fabric, glue, paint. 90% recycled.
So, other than finally getting around to photographing work, what have I been doing that kept me from posting? Well… A couple of great days where the sun shone and it was warm again meant a little more time spent outdoors. More work at my aunt’s unit, though its so slow progress. Another coat on this, another on that. Let’s put on the handles. Ooops, don’t have the pliers to cut the excess off the screw that goes into the knob. A coat of wax on the one finished piece…oops they gave me the wrong stuff. A trip to the hardware store to swap it. Take mom to the doctor, spend hours in town waiting for her to finish her chores. Groom a dog, meanwhile Lainee is getting hairier.
Bascially, the usual.
I took Lainee to the vet again. Most of the smaller lumps have disappeared with the treatment so thats good. The big lump remains though, and might be angrier… The vet was concerned cause I said Lainee seemed to be coughing more, not less, with her heart medication so we added a diuretic to her treatment. That seems to be working great. First thing she did was pee on a friend’s good rug. Ooops. But the coughing is definitely reduced now. Fingers crossed.
Eric is beginning to look like a cat now, no longer the cute little kitten… he’s an adolescent cat with a naughty face. But he’s still cuddly between bouts of insanity so there’s hope.
To be honest I’m not sure I should be calling this a lockdown any more. Schools are back in session for the most part and retails shops are open. The only things that remain closed are restaurants and cafes. We still have to send sms when we go out and wear masks and abide by the safe distance rules, no large gatherings, festivals still cancelled, limits on how many can travel in one car, still not allowed to travel from one county to another… but is it still a lock down? This seems almost like back to normal life… funny what you get used to.
Should I continue to number my posts by lockdown days?
Anyway, thought I’d share another of my projects… I’ve started making naked ladies. I’ve done something similar to this before but not the same. I’m going with a sort of greek statue-esque look. Maybe some will be more fertility goddess looking… for now this is the first one ready to share.
And for those of you who haven’t clicked yet… given I love art from trash and recycling and using everyday things to create art… Can you guess what she’s made from?
She’s made using a dishwashing liquid bottle as the base with DIY paper pulp, recycled cardboard and air dry clay.
As we continue in our lockdown with very little light at the end of the tunnel, I find myself reading the odd article online and this particular article sort of played right into my ‘big questions’ posts of the last few weeks.
And now for my thoughts, cause I know you’re just dying to read them!
“Could behaving horrendously make the art better?“
One of the things we grow up believing (well, I did) is that artists must suffer for their art… that they are troubled people, live difficult lives and often die poor. At least that’s how it seemed to be in the past. Read My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok if you don’t believe me.
Artists are supposed to be moody and troubled in some way. Its the ‘creative’ spirit. You can more easily forgive someone for being a temperamental git if they’re gifted in a creative way. ‘Never mind him, he’s an artist/musician/opera singer’ will excuse a multitude of sins.
I always felt my being prone to depression was part of being an artist.
“Some link the unhinged mind to creativity, as if chaotic living might be evidence of a gift. But chaos doesn’t make for great art. Rather, it sells the artist as great.The wildman is what we devour in artist bios, much as we admire mafiosi on-screen. We who submit to the rules of society, repressing natural selfishness, view outlaws with a shiver of admiration. They enact our fantasies, scoffing at rules, earning respect nonetheless. Nobody relishes a well-behaved artist.”
Is that true? It is true that people see artists as being different – they’re expected to dress a bit different, not conform, be eccentric. If you’re not, then you’re just like everyone else, so how can you be more creative/talented/a genius?
When I was working as a graphic designer for years in office environments, I didn’t have to conform to the same business attire rules as everyone else. I was ‘a creative’… and as such people didn’t just accept me going to work with 102 ear rings in my ears and nose, wearing leggings with striped long socks, mini skirts and ripped Tshirts… they actually expected it.
So, right now I’m too normal to be an artist. There is nothing different about my look. Everyone has extra ear rings. Everyone has tattoos. So many people have nose rings, so dress funner than me. (Its a word if I say it is!)
I may have to dye my hair pink again in order to stand out!
“The industries of culture have a stake in perpetuating artistic myths because an idol is invaluable for marketing. It’s diabolically hard to sell a cultural product on its merits alone. Look around: Nearly all arts publicity is backstory. About the maker. About a work’s origin. About anything except that which was intended to speak for itself.”
And this quote puts into a nutshell what I was saying before about the ‘story’ attached to the work that makes it valuable. Its all about the story, not the work itself any more.
So its a natural extension to my ‘am I an artist’ questions.
Eric has begun to leave little hairs on me when he’s on my lap.
The reason I never wanted a cat.
But its a trade off I guess. I have the cuddles, the cuteness, the purring… vs the hair! (oh and lets not forget the kitty litter!)
I better get back to brush training. Sigh.
Meanwhile what have I been doing? Not that much. Yesterday I had family related things to do in the early afternoon, so when I got home I started work on some more clay things. They’re all on my ‘drying rack’ (the shelf in front of and above the tv, under the air conditioner).
I saw this on FB this morning and I think it sums up my house:
I need a studio. I’d like to be able to work with ‘real’ clay, not just the air dry stuff. That needs space and makes a mess.
(Everything I do makes a mess.)
I’d like to be able to redo furniture and make things…
I began dreaming of how/where I can find myself a workshop for cheap and went off on all kinds of tangents: a container fitted out as a workshop, a caravan gutted and used as a workshop…
My options are rather limited. Renting will cost more money than I have to spend unless I can find a garage or something cheap. Real cheap. Huh. A challenge on an island. I have land, but no power or other amenities to it, and to build is not only expensive, it also needs permits and the costs just escalate from there. So, back to something temporary like a container or caravan unless I can find a cheap rental space. If I’m not renting those are the only options since kit shed/home/office buildings are not allowed on the islands.
Something temporary still needs a site with access to power. I know I could use a generator, but generators are expensive to run and I hate the noise and the stench of fuel.
What do I do?
Not having the space to work is getting me down.
Last night I tossed and turned for quite a while, thoughts of how and where running through my head, ideas on what I could do with a container or a caravan, what I would need, what I could work on, how I’d gut a caravan, how to fit out a container, what type of clay I could get, what I could make, how to organise firing of my stuff, what kind of pottery I’d like to make, what kind of glazes I’d use…
I do love sculpture it turns out, so I’d enjoy doing more of it. But what happened to painting?
It just got too complicated. In the end I think I fell asleep cause I was too exhausted thinking.