I thought the concept of giving Mom an afternoon of nude figure drawing for her day might be odd. At least for my mother—I am sure that there are Mom’s who it wouldn’t be. Like me.
So, in the pouring rain, I carted paper, charcoals, and pastels to Dover and spent 3 hours on a drawing horse. We did 1 minute to 30 minute drawings. A flashback, to be sure. By the time we started the longest drawing, I was ready to be done, but the results (shown here) are respectable.
Happy Mother’s Day!
I was diagnosed with Small Cell Carcinoma in October. There have been chemo and radiation therapies since. Last Sunday, I slept from 2PM on with the help of one of my anti-nausea meds. The last several days I have been up until after 9, my old bedtime.
A week ago I dropped off “Imperfection” (above) to the Harlow Gallery, easily a two hour drive from here. And, two hours to return. I was not up to that kind of a drive. Today, it might have been more fun.
Today, I also thought about a proposal that could go to 3S and Space. And, I continue to think about it though I haven’t put pen to paper yet. I worked on the next two of the “Imperfection” series, both of which are larger than the one at Harlow.
And, here I am.
The Rochester Library show went up last week, which incorporates most of what I have completed since I was diagnosed.
“Holding It Together 1” demonstrates another of the artistic concerns that I have embraced recently. Both this series and the “Imperfection” series are monochromatic. These, however, utilize a myriad of materials that are either painted to approximate the color of the canvas or inherently are a similar shade.
“Homage to the Surrealists” uses no paint. The native color of the materials is what is important, along with the textures and translucency.
So, along with a renewed interest in Photoshop, which I also purchased this week, I am exploring my best in 2-D art.
“The Shadows of the Everyday” has a sister piece which was started a few days earlier. “Transparent Passage” utilizes a similar list of materials but is less regimented and .linear in composition.
Since I now own a camera with a long lens, I will probably rarely use the shorter of the two. My 75-300 was the go-to lens when I shot film.
I shot a few back-lit birds. They were lacking in detail, and have been deleted. Since I am supposed to have my slide scanner today (Amazon has made me wait the full nine days for the free shipping), I will start compiling the nature photos tonight. There are a ton of bird photos on film.
I can hear the local Blue Jays now. Since they occasionally visit the deck, I expect to get some great pictures of that subject as I get more and more familiar with the new camera.
With a nice layer of fog, once again I am limiting my palette. The touches of color from whats left of the flower is all I have. The rest is very subdued, like the latest MM piece and the “Mesh” photos.
I am sure that color will return to all my work, and in a big way.
For those who follow my blog: I mentioned a strong desire to get a DSLR but also said that I should allow my work with the smaller point-and-shoots that I own to pay for that purchase. I bought a new Nikon yesterday without a single sale to go toward it. I think that the purchase will pay for itself.
In the meantime, I have been working on a few other shows. An annual non-juried show that I consistently do is called Art PM, and the only requirement is that the work presented must be done in its entirety in the month of February prior to the show.
“The Shadows of the Everyday”, completed start to finish today, MM including handmade paper, wire screen, nylon fabric, foam sheeting, leather and graphite on canvas, 22″ x 28″.
I am forcing simplicity again, like I did with the “Mesh” photographs. The textures are very dominant in this piece because of the lack of color. The graphite on the canvas demands the attention it gets not because it’s hand-applied but it accentuates the texture of the canvas.
This piece is another of the “Real” series as it deals very much with my health. There will be reminders in the everyday as I pick up my life after chemo.
“Invisible Storm” is one of the earlier pieces with the almost non-chromatic color palette which relies heavily also on texture. As a much smaller piece, it is more intimate. Since it describes the beginning of my cancer, it is also rougher, grittier in the textures.
The original piece planned for Art PM isn’t finished, and will require some reworking. It did present some fun surfaces to experiment with, with the new camera.
This detail has been digitally enhanced beyond recognition, but this shot is of another MM piece that utilizes many of the same materials as “The Shadows of the Everyday.”
What a year so far! The point now is to get my “program” back to normal. There are really only a few days out of the chemo cycle that are difficult and those are the days that the steroids have interrupted my sleep rhythm. I had one of those today, and called out “sick.” I slept until around 11 AM to normalize.
So, I am trying to balance the art/work life and in that, trying to develop a signature work. I allowed myself lots of experimentation over the last four months, including MM, watercolor portraiture and surreal photography.
The photography almost brought me to the point of purchasing a new camera today. Rather than buying an expensive new unit with income tax return money, I want to make the little cameras pay for the new big sister. I purchased a little devise to help transfer my slides onto disc, however, which will help integrate the film work that I did 20+ years ago with what I do now. Oh my, that will be a fun snowy Sunday project!!
The “Mesh” series wasn’t accepted to the show they were intended for but I am framing several of them for upcoming solos. Here are a few examples:
I considered stopping at the Goodwill also today to start shopping for random dolls to include in this series. I might also start to build “rooms” like miniature set-ups (though surreal), for those dolls. But, as I am stretching my creative outlets, I am also trying to get back into a “groove” where everything starts working together again.
So little of being sick has to do with the body. The mind can take the healthy and make a real mess. Or, more commonly, it can take weak and make it weaker-and that’s what I am fighting.
I was seemingly getting along with my new chemo until last Friday. The HR department of the company I work for called to tell me that my short-term disability would be ending today. I thought I had until February 5. Then, the spiral started. By Friday night, I was having serious gastro-intestinal issues which I am still having, though not to the degree that I did on Friday night or Sunday morning.
I called my doctor today. I will be getting mid-treatment blood work and hydration tomorrow. The insurance has also been straightened out.
Aside from watercolor portraits, I am starting a large installation piece entitled “Real”. The premise behind it is that all 2-D art has a semblance of reality, and everything I put on canvas reflects mine. I had originally thought that these pieces would all have a direct relationship to my “cancer pieces”. That would be ridiculous since so much of my life has nothing to do with being sick.
So, there will be an element of randomness about the series that will make up the installation. I sat down today to work on another abstract and ended up painting a small portrait of David Bowie. In a very mysterious number of ways, that makes so much sense. His album “Blackstar” was released today, and he would have been 70 also today. Blackstar is a type of cancer lesion. He died of liver cancer. (Blackstar is associated with breast cancer.)
For the last two weeks, I have been honing, or at least, rehoning, my watercolor skills and applying them to portraiture. The first two I started at the hospital—I am a cancer patient and I sometimes paint while I’m in chemo. They were at best “practice” pieces, and I will redo them.
I drew out most of this one also while I was undergoing treatment. The last two days it got color, and I am now confident enough to start looking for commissions. Please feel free to email me if you are interested in a possible commission. firstname.lastname@example.org
“Malynda and Bri”, 2017. Watercolor on Windsor Newton paper, 11″ x 15″
This photograph was taken with my phone. I need a fairly clear photo to work from.