Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Hunting Series gets serious.

I'm settled back in Texas so it's time to fence in The Hunting Series, refocus, and get crackin'.  All of the paintings in this series are a combo of pastel, oil & acrylic paint, and embroidery on 5ft.x5ft. unstretched pieces of raw canvas.  I like the idea of them being transportable-I can roll them up and ship em out.  Research on tapestries and wallhangings has been pretty interesting.  Deciding how to hang them will be a project all its own.

Each work addresses a different facet of hunting:  exotic game ranches, collecting animals for captivity, "farms" harvesting from animals for medicinal purposes, and the use of animals as hunting tools.

Below are images of the paintings in various stages of progress.  (Side note:  it is quite a challenge to work on four 5'x5' paintings simultaneously in 600 sq. ft. apartment.)

 St. Francis and the Addax

 Casey the Elephant

 The Moon Bear Story

Hunting, Hunting

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Prairie Center Rez Extension

My flight for the last two days has been cancelled due to the Icepocalypse occurring in Texas.  It was the absolute best case scenario in a normally disappointing situation, I had a warm and welcoming house to stay in, a studio, and good company.  If I went home on my scheduled day I wouldn't have experienced the snowy woods below.  

Q:  What do you do when you can't go home?  
A:  Draw bugs.

So long Peoria, you will soon be an old friend thought of with great fondness.

Eeeeerrrrrrttttttt!!!  Put the brakes on that motion.  Flight cancelled.  For the THIRD day in a row.  Word on the street is that this plane has some hydraulic issues.  Hmmmm....the wings look pretty good to me.  There's one more flight out this evening, would you like to give that one a shot?  Sure.

I left the counter defeated with my newly issued ticket, grabbed a seat, and tried very hard not to go totally apeshit.  The forever looping Christmas carols were not helping.  I almost kicked over the nearest Christmas tree.  Why are there Christmas trees in a dang airport anyway?!  I was getting ugly fast.  But I looked up and saw this little guy sitting across from me and instantly knew that everything was okay.  Truly.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Day Fourteen - Prairie Center Rez

Day Fourteen:  the final day of my Midwestern adventure.

So long you dirty corn factory.  Your mass of  whirling cogs and wheels all working together day in and day out has fascinated me just as strongly as your smell has permeated my wool jacket.  When I think of industry, it is your face I shall see my friend.

Farewell my beloved upstairs space.  I have always had a longing for wide open spaces and I've fed that need with great expanses of land or sky but your contained vastness fulfilled me in the same way a landscape does.  You gave me the desire to hunt for hauntedness.

And so my Prairie Center Rez comes to an end.  I write this with one task left for the evening - to pack my bags.  The past two weeks has been full and will continue to feed me long after I leave Peoria.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Day Thirteen - Prairie Center Rez

For almost two weeks I've had a ladybug as a roommate.  I see her most everyday and wonder about her on the days she doesn't make an appearance.  This morning I realized I not only have one ladybug or even two ladybugs but three ladybug roomies!  So basically I'm living within a Lady B colony.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day Twelve - Prairie Center Rez

You didn't think I'd give up making janky stop motion films did you?  A lot of my perception of Peoria comes from my commute to and from the studio and it seems that the people of this town are always on a mission - they move down the highway with purpose.  The hauling of large, heavy things seems to be of importance here.  And tractors, I've seen a lot of tractors.  So I did this...

tractor parade

What's better than a tractor parade?  A kernel of corn from
the corn factory greeting you at the studio door, that's what.

It's hard to believe that my two weeks here is wrapping up, gonna ship out the work I've done and most of my supplies tomorrow so the painting portion of Peoria is done.  I may do some more embroidery on the Moon Bear painting back in Texas and I'm looking forward to finishing the hound/fox/pheasant piece.  As for the bugs, I have 2 full days with my drawing materials - we'll see what comes.

What I'm bringing away as far as paintings go is the inclusion of embroidery work which I'm excited to further explore but the painting and time hunkered over the drawing table has seemed almost secondary in regards to absorbing the atmosphere.  So up the stairs I went to soak up my new favorite space...

sticks: a serious documentary about a space I love

What's a great way to end a day?  Well, checking out some Christmas 
lights with long since seen family of course.  Thanks Paul and Pat!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Day Eleven - Prairie Center Rez

Every adventure provides unexpected inspiration and Peoria has provided me with many, but there are two in particular that continue to peak my interest day after day.  The first (and I think you'll see this one coming) is the corn factory.  Here it is from the bridge crossing the Illinois River.

The corn factory looks like a hell for lighthouses, all encased in structures and so many connecting pipes, buildings, and scaffolding-type platforms - too complicated to understand how it all connects with just the naked eye.

Two views of the corn factory from the second floor.  Which 
leads me to the second major inspiration:  the space upstairs.  

There is an area upstairs as large as a universe.  It's the kind of space best explored alone.  I walked the perimeter sticking close to the brick walls, picking up small trinkets to take home in hopes that they would harbor some amount of haunt within them.  An arrow made of masking tape on the floor led me to a corner where I found two bug-eaten feathers and a few bird bones so clean the death must have happened the year I was born.  Under a work table I selected a piece of cut wood small enough to fit in a jar but big enough to hold the memories of the space.  No matter how many photographs I took looking out of the windows towards the neighboring factory - image after image only showed more of the space I was standing in.  It kept me inside of it's belly - a happy captive.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Day Ten - Prairie Center Rez

Weather report:  wicked foggy.

So I had to make my regular rounds to the corn factory.  Two things were revealed today:
1. CORN!  I saw an actual pile of corn.
2.  The corn factory emits a foul stench which reminds me of spoiled breakfast covered in expired beer.  Apparently wet, foggy weather magnifies the smell to it's greatest potency. Wretch.

I retreated to the safety of the studio.  The Moon Bear Story painting is 99% finished - it might actually be totally finished but I won't know until I see it first thing in the morning.

Next...bugs.  I brought these 5"x5" with me from Texas.  I painted the backgrounds at the Madrono Ranch Residency in April.  Turns out they're pretty nice for a few quick bug portraits.

A well rounded day should include some exploring.  Where to?  Well, there just so happens to be this offensively amazing space upstairs from the studios.  It's used for installations and exhibitions and is downright awesome.  The vastness is just waiting for dreams to come to fruition.   

I took a shot at each end of the space and married them
 together. You know why? To show how magical it is.

Heelllllloooooo over there!

 Person A:  "Is there anything cool outside?"
Person B:  "Totally."

Man, sure wish I could find some cool words etched in cement.  
BOOM!  I'm guessing Gert has blue eyes.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Day Nine - Prairie Center Rez

Today was pretty stellar.  How could it not be when it began with a visit to Riverfront Museum to spend a little time with some beetles?  I had made arrangements several weeks ago, so I've been looking forward to this visit and it was worth the wait.  

I've worked with entomology drawers before but it was more of a free for all - eyeballing a shit ton of specimens in a short time.  Today I spent two hours with only three drawers of insects (all beetles).  I've never had so much time, so up-close and personal with bugs before.  Try it sometime, it just might make you see things differently.

Their antennae and legs make the most beautiful lines.  You can compare their faces and shapes with other living things and then you begin to realize these extraordinary skeletons once held tiny lungs and hearts and stomachs inside - all of the things that make us tick but bug-style.  Here are some of my favorites...

I brought my workbook along and did some quick sketches and a lot of note-taking.  This visit was set up to do drawings from the collection but it's so much more than that.  It's the experience as a whole.  It's the physical space surrounding you, the background noise, it's how the specimens are arranged within the cases, and the other non-related objects that are within view.

What I love most is how certain specimens pull you in.  There is always one in particular that is utterly fascinating and you can't guess which one it will be in a million billion years until you actually see it - then you think, "That's the one".  

My "one" for today is the stag beetle below (3rd row up, 2nd from the right).  And it's not stag beetles in general that I became enamored with (because I saw a lot) it is this very specific stag beetle.  I guess it's a little like falling in love.

Pages from the workbook...