Thursday, April 24, 2014

Art, photography and progress.

It's been an out of studio experience for me this week.  Time to pack up my newest masks, sculptural and functional pieces and take them to the photographer's studio.  
I firmly believe if you want to be seen as a professional artist, then good quality, professional photographs are very important.  I look at it this way, applying for a professional job requires a professional presentation, so, as an artist, I want to present my work as professionally as possible.  I also feel this is another way to respect and honor the arts as career choice.

I have an artist resume, an artist statement, a website, business cards, and a portfolio on cd.  I make an effort the keep it all up to date.  So all of these elements can be put together into a professional snail mail or email artist packet anytime I need it. 

Art work is an inside out job.

The inside work is about concepts, concentration and dedication.  Developing a new body of ceramic work meant lots of time in the studio throwing, under glazing, glazing.  Using my new kiln.  Learning which glazes work and which don't.  

The outside work is about connections, collecting information and communications. Getting involved in new art groups.  Gathering information to problem solve from more experienced artists and venders.  Listening to art lovers and buyers about what excites them.  Watching and participating in social media in and around art and my community all helps me learn how to market my new work.   And getting professional photos to put on my website, facebook page, Pinterest and here on my blog, too.

It's been a busy few years for me and time to catch the inside up with the outside.

When I set out to create a whole new body of ceramic work a few years back, I had dreams and ideas and hopes.  I had no idea how, when or even if it would work out at all.  

So the most important thing about getting these new photos of my work was realizing that some of my dreams and ideas have come true.  Professional photos helps me see not only how much work I've done but how far I've come.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

As The Wheel Turns: Deadlines.

​Deadlines loom.  There's a photo shoot scheduled for next week and a big ceramics show in two weeks.  i need my new work finished and ready for the photographer and the show.  

As of last week, I had six masks, a small sculpture to finish to meet the deadlines.  There were design decisions to be made.  Painting to be done.  Metal masks to create.   Hanging hardware to be attached.  In addition, there were new greenware pieces that needed triming and underglazing, even though they won't make these deadlines, the process must go on.

I admit, I had my doubts.  But, then, I always do.  

I fell asleep counting things to do and woke up early still counting.  Of course, the list expanded in the night and somehow no matter what I got done in the studio, there was still more to do.  Somethings worked and others, well, caused even more work than I thought they would.  I don't know about you but I always seem to underestimate how long it takes to get somethings done.  

But, I kept working even in my sleep(or so it seemed).

I sculpted aluminum masks.  Mixed up epoxy.  Printed labels. Mounted D-rings and wrapped wire and attached labels.  I re-painted one mask completely due to some mysterious scratches.  Maybe it was the aluminum or maybe I was sleep working.

Magically, things got done.

Today, new masks hang on my studio walls.  
Sculptures, mugs, vases, bowls are stacked on shelves.  

They are all ready for their close ups, Mr. Photographer.  And, hopefully, to delight someone and find new homes.  Once, I get the price labels on, inventory done, pieces packed and delivered and set up at the show...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Digital Drawing: Learning in Layers

I had a cracked mask.  I fixed it and filled it but I could still see the crack.  Instead of looking at the fill line as a mistake I needed to hide, I saw a design opportunity. 
It was time to get out my digital drawing pad and try out some design ideas.
Here's the photo of the mask after bisque and repair.

Here's the mask repair photo with different experiments with transparent colored layers and lines.
Here's the actual mask, finished with layers of acrylic paint.
I learned a lot during this process.  
On a technical level, I learned much more about the SketchClub app.  How to upload a photo correctly to be able to manipulate the layers while keeping the photo the same.  How to paint with transparent layers on my iPad.  How to use transparency, pens and brush tools to design different parts of the mask.  How to translate what I designed on my iPad to the actual mask.

On an artistic and spiritual level, I learned more valuable lessons.  How to accept and own kiln  cracks as part of the clay process.  How to decide which to fix and which to forget(see last week's post).  How to embrace a mistake not as a fault but as an opportunity.  How to let go of the strangle-hold of perfectionism and flow with what happens to happen accepting the new results with happiness.  

Now, that's truly learning in layers.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

As The Wheel Turns: Not a Bondo-ing experience.

(Picture 1-mask at greenware Picture 2- mask after bisque)

I've used all sorts of adhesives from regular glue to fancy epoxy.  I've soldered copper and done mitered joints.  I've even used escutcheon pins which are tiny, rounded headed copper nails.  So, I'm no stranger to using hardware or hardware products in my art making.  
I've heard about Bondo, an automotive repair material, for years from various artists as a great way to repair or reconstruct or form sections of sculptures.  When the nose blew off my recent mask, I decided it was time to give it a try.  Before getting into a large sculpting job, I decided to start small and I'm glad I did.
This black porcelain mask cracked on the chin in such a way that my normal epoxy would fill it without leaving a shiny bump.  The white mask had a small crack on the right side which I could use one of my normal glues to fill but since I was going to experiment, I decided to use it as another test for Bondo.

It worked.  But I hated it.
The fumes were instant and powerful.  I had to open all the windows in my studio just to work with it.  The first try filled the small crack fine.  The second try on the black mask became an instant bumpy mess that had to be ground down with a dremel tool. 
I decided that using it to fix the cat mask nose would not work for me.  A large area would mean more smell.  It mixed up into a horrible pepto bismol pink.  And the speedy set up did not give me enough time to use it to re-sculpt the nose before it hardened into a bumpy, lumpy mess.
The question from last time was - fix it or forget it?  The answer this time: Forget it.
Bondo and I, regrettably, did not form a lasting bond.