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Studio Art

All three aero-mods with reinforcing weld along the bend lines. The raised tabs (left & right top) are fortified with triangular wedges, and I extended the mid-plate with tabs (bottom of image) to grab the factory original holes on the bumper.
To bend the metal I cut a groove along the bend-line, then used boards and clamps to apply even force (so much force that I snapped off the edge of my workbench table top). Once bent these lines become brittle, and the vibration and wind-force could cause them to shear- the little bead welds rejoin both sides of the line without blowing out the thinner metal of the cut-line.
Burly male model. At L are 1 & 2 minute gestures in sienna, then run once more for brown, black, and white. 5 min at R.
10 min. x 2 The whole session seemed just on the verge of collapse, and I felt I barely made it out alive. The struggle is in not copying, but in responding to the form. This means seeing the architecture of the body within the multitudes of specific confusions, and modulating response of eye to hand with a subtle constant corrective. Sometimes this is a fun flow, and others it is a mental gymnastic that seems just behind physical coordination- while also being the inverse, a physical infirmity that lags just behind a vast intellectual problem.

Putting lots of gestures on one bigger page, as I have a few old mostly used up drawing pads around. I like seeing the sketches all in relationship with each other. The gestures are 5 x 1 minute, 5 x 2 minutes, and 2 x five minutes; and then I break from the reality of life-model drawing and run the set twice more, so 5x3min, 5x6min, 2x15min. I do the initial set in a light h (hard) led pencil, the second set is an hb pulling out form, and the last set in b(soft) looking for weighted line and values.

I did the two longer drawings from this set in pen and ink, not picutred (and one from the set below)
I do like working one image per page, as the smaller size is constraining.
Big swooping gesture is particular to bigger drawing.
When a bigger individual piece is working, I may give it another five minutes- as in this 20min session.
A funny part of stopping when you stop, and not fiddling with it: the “sword wound” to his ribcage is a shadow from the original sienna sketch-up.
I removed R her arm as it hung straight down, blocked out her entire side, and deadened the composition. She moved just enough to catch the contour of her ribcage. 5 min
Here again her arm was blocking out the curve of the back and thrust of the ribs. 5 min.
30 min. Turned wooden with over-fidgeting after the session. My instructor note to myself: work on shape definitions internal to the figure via direct marking of contoured shadow as an essential expression of form.

The conte / color drawings are done on an easel out in the sunroom looking at my laptop, and the pencil drawings are done in the basement cast to the TV- I draw them on a little clipboard held on my lap which means lots of looking down and up with my whole noggin vs looking in one field with eye movement only. Artists use easels for exactly this reason; zillions of quick side eye movements that instantly transfer to hand vs cumbersome head movement with up/down eye movement causing reorientation with every move. Flow gets stuttered and drawings lose vitality. I’ll have to crowd the basement den with my old drafting table, in from the too-cold studio.

Afternoon doodles with Glen Vilppu’s draw-along-with-Glen; draw from the same pose and he discusses what he is seeing/doing- which helps me drop out information and focus on the core forms.

I stopped by the great little neighborhood art store this morning and picked up some toned butcher paper, conte pencils in sepia, brown, black, and white; two filbert style long bristle brushes (I’ve been using some ancient nubby cheapo’s from Michaels); canvas “paper” for more Zorn Palette studies; and Naples yellow light oil paint to add a bit more complexity. I tried out some conte pencil on the toned paper for an afternoon set.

5-minute gesture from my apres-Java early morning wake-up set.
2 hour Zorn Palette, expanded with blue and deep crimson.

I set up an artin’ station out in the sunroom, and have been trying out some of the 2-D sections from the online art school New Master’s Academy (I’ve been through most of their 3-D already). I’ve been working from the painting section with Joseph Todorovitch using the “Zorn Pallette”, which is limited to Black, White, Yellow Ochre, and Cadmium Red; this pushes color mixing while also simplifying for tonal cohesion. There is an instructor view of his painting, his palette, and the model (pretty small view)- but it is a great way to teach by example.

Working portraits got me to draw from life again; this is a nice medical-grade skull I picked up years ago.

Friday mornings are live-model draw-alongs with the elderly Glenn Vilppu- a great classical figure instructor. A life-model is in a studio at the college HQ, and he draws in his home studio on his computer with a view of his screen while dialoguing his process as he draws. I have him on my tablet, and the live model on the computer. A great way to amp up the drawing process.
Another two hour painting with the Zorn Palette.
There are timed life-drawing sessions as well, that I can cast to the big TV. Like any good life drawing session: many 1-minute gestures, then a slew of 2-minute gestures, a few 5-minute poses, 10-minute poses, and maybe a half-hour pose. This was a 10 minute.
Five minute.
I found a decent portrait in Wired magazine, and Zorn-painted on my own.
More skull doodles. E and I watched Ink Masters on Netflix, as it has a focus on creativity adjacent to fine arts. Lots of terrible skull tattoos out there, but some great ones as well. Watching ham-fisted permanent work being done on live human “canvasses” is a fun motivator.
I had an idea yesterday for an improvement to my sculpture stand tool box.
After standing around fitting and fidgeting in the pipe section, I arrived at this, then came home and drilled a hole through the middle.
It rests on a washer from the specialty bin of the hardware section, so it spins easily. The wheels on the stand are an upgrade from years ago, but still feel new enough to mention.
I cut an mdf circle to fit the middle, still short enough to fit under the big washer (with another specialty washer on top for less friction) that rests on the stand’s steel sleeve-pole; this way the weight of the sculpture won’t rest on the tool caddy.
The sculpture stand spins independently of the tool caddy, a big improvement from the tired old wood box I threw together in grad school on a Sunday afternoon running the wood shop.
Tools will now caddy out of the way, and come easily to hand.
All the tools for modeling in clay.
I sez to her, I sez, “What are yuh, 18 years old now? Time to get out from under my roof!”
I had some extra steel in the shop from building out the Rocket Mass Heater and decided to put it toward art’n. Yesterday I welded this cantilever base, bolted her back leg through the metal tube and welded a strap across the bronze between her feet to make sure she stayed put, then set her in the yard with a concrete footing.
She feels like she has always been here.
The aluminum figures around the ponds aren’t sure what to make of a bronze figure.
This 4’x3; painting was begun last fall, and then I was crowded out by the plants coming in for the winter. With the plants out on the deck for the summer, I’ve been back at it for awhile now and thought I’d post some progress picts.

Mount Arikaree and Arikaree Glacier are the subject of this painting. I’ve summited this 13 thousand foot peak more than 20 times. After the last ice age 10,000 years ago, the glacier retreated into its cirque. Glacial meltwater passes through the talus field to emerge on the low shoulder of the mountain with only 1 part per billion of sediment- some of the cleanest water imaginable. Colorado State University’s Alpine Research Center is based in this glacial watershed, and last year they predicted Arikaree Glacier would be gone by 2025, with the sister valley’s Arapaho Glacier meeting its end soon after. I was the protector of these glaciers and their watersheds from my 18th birthday though to my 30th; I kept individuals from leaving physical footprints and infecting the watershed with giardia, but all the billions of humanity’s footprints are stomping it into oblivion now. While painting I’m streaming interviews with arctic / antarctic scientists, biologists documenting the 6th Mass Extinction, investigative climate journalists, climate activists such as Extinction Rebellion, Dark Mountain poets and authors; keeping my head in the game of reality while memorializing the heart of the mountain, already so much smaller, and ever smaller, and gone. Climate Collapse is finally obvious in everyone’s back yard, and if your back yard is alpine wilderness, it is already over. There is a white-hot place in my mind now that wasn’t there in my patrol days, a spot the glaciers kept cool, and now with them dying- it is a strange inescapable light, an ultraviolet long wavelength, a wave form of oblivion.

This is the underpainting combined with blocked in color from last fall, just a few layers along. Before any painting, I had to create the “canvas”- MDF sanded and primed, and a new hanging system using a French Cleat on the back ( I may go back through my other large paintings and retrofit them with French Cleats as well).
Acrylics allow opacity or thin transparent washes, so I’m going back and forth a bit with bold areas of saturated color followed with multiple transparent washes to tone and shift.
Eventually I hope it will feel as if the sun is setting far below us, shining back up to the mountain- creating the indigo/violet/magenta spectrum that can’t be seen on any other solid object save a high mountain at sunset/sunrise. Unless you are there seeing it, it will seem impossible and even fake- however within the large field of this painting I am pushing and pulling with value/intensity/saturation and hot/cold contrasts trying to find an immersion that allows the odd sensation of being there in that strange light. These pure colors are invisible to the eye in the white light of day, and occur only when the sun has already set and is long past the horizon for all the lower elevations, allowing these wavelengths of light that vibrate on the extreme ends of the visible spectrum to reveal themselves with a clarity that stuns the imagination. Still a long way to go…

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Epiphany of the West¬† (27″ x 31″) Collage.¬†

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hanging against a white wall, for irregular edge definition

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the best overall light balance- photographing is challenged by the glossy reflective images

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The book sale at the downtown SLC library is what sparked this. Two identical Remington books with oversize fold-out prints and dust jackets of “A Dash for the Timber”, plus a 1960’s era book on Remington with a small bland print of the same, and a fat coffee-table book of Impressionism.

Romanticism was the European stylistic period of painting prior to and somewhat contemporary to Impressionism; the middle east and India were often the theme of mythic manifest destiny of proto-industrialization serving the same appetite as the American West across the pond. Nature as sublime and overwhelmingly destructive, ruined civilizations, inescapable human cataclysms (war, slavery, revolution), immersions in lust, and inescapable death were also thematic of Romanticism.

The modern Anthopocene, or Pryocene; an era of collapse and consequences e.g. the Sixth Mass Extinction due to direct human pressure on local ecosystems coupled with a world wide collapse of the environment via human forced global warming. Portraying the inevitable future of now via Remington’s fantasy images of a West that never was, running roughshod over a landcsape created from images that titillated European culture with a proto-industrial remembrance; this is what sparked at the library sale: an Epiphany for an image of Epiphany (sacred manifestation) to Epiphanize a complex of art historical memes and ‘isms that grappled with industrialism v nature, culture v the individual, the individual v death, the present v inevitable. Shifting this perspective from the sentimental view of a past era, to a contemporary future of collapse already written that cannot be undone is the aesthetic driver for the recontextual use the of art of Romanticism, coupled with the gentle and genteel escapism of Impressionism from the reality of 19th Century industrialization, married with the jingoistic American West of Remington.