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Documenting a period in my development that could become pivotal

Thursday, June 30, 2011

In art the blurry point where discoveries become inventions when the discoveries are used in a not obvious application.

Hooks found in nature include porcupine quils, cactus thorns, hooked seed pods, sperm to peninsulas that hook water. Man discovering how the hook functions in nature uses the physical properies of the hook form and puts his knowledge to a new use. The new purpose modifies the hook in nature making it an invention.
As an artist what if I used a honeycomb of hexagons to identify geometric pairs in nature? Artists use the grid to enlarge or reduce the scale of photographs as a tool in making representational copies of photographs. Why not study the skies for repeated pairs of hooks forming a mirror image of heart shapes? Pairs of heart shapes curved sides overlapping form a hexagon. The hexagon is inside a pair of equalateral triangles in the shape of a six pointed star. Inside the triangular six points a hexagon with a pair of hearts mirroring the orientation of the hearts on the opposite side. The fractal geometry is not new and has been discovered by artists and mathmeticians. My application of hexagons is an invention of using geometry in making a picture of swirls of clouds so they have a natural look. This application is not original.
Furthermore, in applying this invention I do not draw the honeycomb and fractales. I just use my geometry invention instintctively. The blurry point where discoveries are employed is blurry because artists do not recognize their science in making art.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Swimming Free of Hooks

This is my entry into the July "Community Exhibit," at La Selles Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus. "Swimming Free of Hooks" is 24" x 36", acrylic with some interference colors on museum wrapped canvas.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Red Fishing Hook Facing a Reflection

I am planning paintings based on reflections of fishing hooks because I am interested in the emotion of the hook shape and mirror as well as their symbolism.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hooks in many media

A porcelain hook on a bathroom door intended for towels or bathrobes or such is not my ideal of beauty.

Don with two of our grandchildren at Lava Bute, Eastern Oregon points at the caldera.

There are many hooks that are not attractive. Hooks are on burrs and I pull them out of my socks. I like hooks too. Yelled warnings hook our attention. We then avoid danger. Multiple hooks rip loudly when pulled from the fuzz of Velcro. A hook on ear hangers keep my glasses in place. A hook on my buckel keeps my belt in place. A porcelain hook must be made chunky or it will break easily.

I am surprised that the symbol for the heart and love is made of two hook shapes and I have been cutting out hooks to make hearts.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hooks, Hearts and Hexigons

Two hooks joined at the point of action at the lever end of the hook facing each other seeing one another in a mirror for a strong bond of the heart. Two hooks that are back to back let their relationship space out. They break easily.

Two hearts back to back make a hexigon dream cloud.

Two hooked hearts overlapping.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Art Activity in Riparian Workshop for science teachers grades 5 -8.

Today I assisted Joseph O'Neil at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center. Joseph O'Neil explained that the object of the entire workshop activities was to help students learn the skill of being scientifically inquisitive and solve problems by thinking outside of the box. The activities were designed for scientific enquiry outdoors. The art project, however, was inside and asked students to close their eyes and imagine being in a healthy riparian meadow with a stream live with flora and fauna.

Usually I work by painting something in general and then the colors and random shapes suggest an imaginary scene. But I thought I knew how to help students put the mind's eye image on paper. I asked them to count the elements in their riparian image and keep the total 5 or under. Pick the one that is most important to them first and decide if it should go on a landscape orientation or a portrait. Then decide if the paper needs to be wider or more narrow and crop as desired. Figure out where to place your most important image and maybe draw the cookie cutter outline of it. Keep it big so there is room for you to comfortably paint the general color upon which you will come back later with detail after it dries. When you have your favorite image planned, the others can be placed.

Some students had five images completed with white space around them. The white was a little stark. So after the paint dries they put very faint color in with a paper towel leaving some white of the paper. Some had nice atmospheric effects in the background but some hard edges where the back of the river met the misty grass. The edges were softened with a cleaned wet brush.

Even without my saying they needed to think about concepts that they had been learning in other exercises. Some did illustrate them in spite of my help. For example, trees bending over the river creating shade for fish spawns. Or the grass being greener closer to the river.

There was discussion on how the experience of painting an imaginary riparian zone could be utilized in their classrooms. Several made suggestions on how the experience could be more vital outdoors. There are watercolor infused papers and watercolor pencils that could be used with much less problems.

In retrospect, I think the paintings could be started outdoors. All the students need is one rock and one paper for each student; two containers to be shared, one with clean water and one with a dilute watercolor. Students could pour clean water on their paper. Then drop the dilute color into the water and watch it spread. Then leave it on slightly sloped ground with a rock weighting it down so it won't blow away. The rock will leave an image of a rock with water swirling around it. After several hours the painting should be dry enough to take inside. The faint image on the paper helps break the terrible feeling of facing a blank page. The image stimulates imagination. Further help could come from listening to Beethoven's Symphony Pastoral. The instructor could read poetry. Real poetry and maybe only parts of what the syllabus suggested.

I would say the text book reading was written by a scientist and would be better if by a poet. Someone suggested music and recorded sounds from a creek. I suggested bringing history into the assignment. That riparian environments have good clays. On river banks the potter's wheel was invented and then the idea of the invention was carried to far away continents by ship. Also the Scythian bronzes were made with bi-lateral symmetry of dragons around the 8th century B.C.. These dragons look like logs reflected in a river at low tide. Early inventions were made when man had leisure time. Inventive investigation and making art were one and the same activity.Inventions can be used in so many different ways that an artist perspective is necessary to insure the use of inventions really does improve the quality of life.

Joseph O'Neil says there is science in everything we do including art. And that in research there is a need for art skills that young researchers do not have. He says many of his research students come to him deficient in building and welding skills.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Illustrations From Aleph to Ze'ev by Ze'ev Orzech

(Ze'ev and I signed his book for Beit Am members and friends.)

Last night was the celebration of a book by Ze'ev Orzech, From Aleph to Ze'ev, Excursions into Jewish Culture, History, Rituals and Beliefs contains a 110 articles about topics of interest that have appeared in the Beit Am's monthly newsletter over the past 20 years. My small supportive role in making of the book consists of a few illustrations that appear mostly on the cover. I was surprised that my work was adapted to the cover. Under the contract I drew up I gifted the digital images of the illustrations to Beit Am and gave my permission to Ellen Perlis to make any changes she saw fit to give the strongest support to her vision of the book. I am more than pleased with the results.

Beit Am Publications is making the book available for sale for, $19.95. It is at the Grass Roots Book Store in Corvallis and on line at http://www.beitam.org/publications

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lisa See's book signing at Powells in Beaverton, Oregon

To meet Lisa See, the author of the number one best seller, DREAMS OF JOY, I missed an art opening of a group show with three of my paintings at LaSelles Stewart Center's Guistina Gallery, in Corvallis. I certainly had a treat as the crowd gathered, I was not surprised that there was standing room only. Finally the gate was opened into the mall promenade.

Lisa talked about her life and writing process which is similar to a fine arts painter. She first thinks about the emotion in relationships. In SHANGHAI GIRLS she wrote about sisters escaping Japanese occupied Shanghai. In JOY'S DREAM a worried mother searched for her daughter in Mao's Communist State. A painter also looks for an emotional hook to draw the viewer into their paintings.

Lisa keeps a notebook of Chinese anachronisms. For example, a mother sets a direction for their child in adulthood and they will do what they want. This becomes the movement in her book. She does research about every aspect of Chinese history. Painters do drawings expressing the energy of an overall impression that they want to achieve in their finished work.
Lisa does extensive research everywhere. She goes and lives where her characters live. She even eats their food. Likewise the painter is immersed in their subjects.
One of the most important comparison between Lisa's writing and that of a painter is discipline. She writes I think it is a 1,000 words a day. Sometimes she writes it in 2 hours . Some days takes 10 hours. Discipline and balance between work and family is what women writers and painters have in common.

I highly recommend all of Lisa See's books including SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN and PEONY IN LOVE.