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Monthly Archives: August 2007

It’s a funny thing to propose a conceptual work of art- using appropriated found objects in a nod to Duchamp’s “readymades”- then have to create a model of the work by fabricating no-longer ready-made objects: in this case, the dust broom.

This is about 1/5 scale- the model is some 20 inches tall representing the 8′ proposed tree. The initial material was a slightly smaller fiber, but synthetic and a bit yellow, and with much larger knotting (the central part of the broom). I had made quite a few before my girlfriend recommended trying a fabric store. The material we found there was much better- organic fiber, a bit thicker and longer, and the knots were tied three times rather than two, and tied much more compactly. I threw out all the prior brooms, as they looked like Barby-Brooms in comparison.
I started the Whisk Broom bush, but didn’t like how it was coming out. I went back for yet another online search and finally found some tiny brooms (I had been modifying tassels, and it just didn’t read well). It will be next week before they arrive, so that gives me time to play around with the Push Broom tree.

The base will be a grouping of stainless steel pipe, of at least 2″ diameter. The branches may be smaller stock, as I can weld the brooms together and bolster the structure. If the commission comes through, this will require a lot of tack-welds, positioning and repostitioning, marking, then taking the whole thing apart to start at the top and make solid welds throughout.

The image with the broom on the ground may be a better idea than the fully formed tree…hmmm.
I like the internal branches showing, but the skirt needed to drop further- as I want it to read more as a topiary tree. Since taking the images below I have gone back in and added branches similar to the ones visible in the images above- they would be visible for the viewer who gets up close to the tree, and a layer of tight branches also takes care of the issue of kids crawling up inside the tree and getting stuck.

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Closer to good news! I am a semi-finalist for the Broomfield commission. I am one of four artists selected to create maquettes that will be on view for the Broomfield public.
Now the question is whether I make a 1:1 scale model from real brooms, or if I make small brooms and create a 1/5 scale model. I started on the small brooms yesterday, and they may work out all right. I’ll give it another day and see if it works well enough.

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I traded some of the direct sculptural quality and gesture in refining it further.  The simplicity that looks so nice at this small scale didn’t hold together well at actual size, but now I wish I would have worked with a wetter brush and some extender to blend more of yesterday’s work- and maintained the values more clearly. We’ll see if it bugs me enough to go back into it…

 

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The detail of the yellow bands in the top of the sky, above the cloud of smoke and horizontally banded orange haze below, finally brought this one together. Shifting the color to vertical bands united the grass with the sky, and complemented the dynamic of the bail shadows. I shifted the manner of painting and the colors of the haybail shadows quite a bit as well. Another area of constant adjustment was the relationship of the mountains to advance and vibrate as a line of tension and weight behind the staccato of the bails. I referenced a large 2’x4′ landscape with haybails that I did while living at the ranch to formalize some of the qualities of this one.
After completing this one, I realized I need to go back into the two below and clean up a few distractions, so that is next on the agenda- then on to the second and last of the smoke ambered pair. Process images of the amber/smoke pair are posted previously…

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this week has disappeared into a blink of sending out for a commission.

Yes, that is a tree made out of dust brooms, and a little bush of whisk brooms. It didn’t start out like this, but the initial ideas were too complex, too large, too expensive to fabricate, and some were just too whatever. these are for a park in Broomfield, Colorado. They let me know if I’m in the pool of finalists next Friday- about as likely as winning the lottery, but you can’t win if you don’t play.

This drawing didn’t make the application- I wasn’t satisfied with the resolution for the top, but I probably should have included it anyway. It would be the long-needle pine, while the dust broom above is a Fir.

The drawings, once I’d settled on the idea, took only a day. But getting there took a few days. Then there was the blister on my brain of creating letterhead, updating everything, and all the related minutia of being a one-man show.

on the upside, my gal discovered that Rush has a new album out: Snakes & Arrows. I found an independent record store just down the road and picked it up. All of the above drawings were made listening to the album, and although I can’t say exactly why, though I do have many specific little things, the album became less shiny with every turn- I’ll spare you my critique of the album…as I realize that only old die-hard fans listen to the new albums of Rush anyway- and I’ll continue to listen to Snakes & Arrows till I have a better resolution of my non-plussed reaction to it.

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Smoke from forest fires burning across Montana turn the daytime sun a hammered gold, and the evening sunlight copper, orange, and red. I am making up all the color- expressive of the way the smoke changes the atmosphere. I did the underpainting (below) in hot colors to give what would have been the overpainting of greens/blues a vibrant bleedthrough- but the smoke this summer and the past few summers has such a tangible force, giving the reds and yellows a precedence I usually ascribe to the dusty air of the desert.
It is particularly humid here today, and the camera steams up as soon I take the painting out for a snapshot- so the intensity is off, but it is still in mid-process. As is the piece from yesterday. Both were begun years ago, and I’m finally getting around to them again…

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This is still in-progress, but much changed since this morning. This was taken near Belt, Montana at the foot of the Highwood Mountains. I began this a few summers back now, it had been a summer of wildfire hazes, drought, and record heat.
The image below was after about 40 minutes of reworking the original underpainting (I didn’t think to take an in-progress of the underpainting…oh well).

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