Just Thinking / Wondering What To Do Next

an autobiography by Sandy Webster

I am thinking about what it is I am supposed to be doing now. All the parts of me above were documented in this autobiographical drawing done a few years ago. It is far from a complete picture. But right now it is like I am drifting through things. Not settled in a direction. I tried explaining it to a friend this way, “Suppose you have your right shoe on and the laces are all tied up tight and even. Then you notice the left shoe is nowhere in sight, let alone tied, straight or otherwise. You were so careful to get the things just so in what you already have done, and now you are not even sure you need to wear shoes. Do you understand what I am saying here? Is it age? Is it a mood that will pass? I hope so because there are things that need doing. I need, really need, to find that missing shoe.”

But last week I did go back and redo a white line wood block. Before it was just the nest and about the third white line I ever attempted. I thought it looked good. I was wrong. It was just a nest floating there in space and took a whole lot of time painting and transferring the color of all those little twigs and leaves. I don’t know what I was thinking back then. Just go ahead and do it, I suppose. Don’t think, just carve, just paint.

Well to stay out of my students hair I decided to redo the block and put the nest in an environment. I did the same with the rufous-sided towhee birds – gave them leaves and ground. Here is the nest as of this morning. Both of the new images make for a good lesson to myself and to students. The lesson is: You can always do better.

Nest redone

And sometimes there is just bad stuff with good intentions. Here is a detail of a piece I made for an exhibit in Tasmania many, many years ago. The theme was something about island and we could interpret it any way we wanted I think. I chose how alone and subject to acceptance the new queen bee must feel when she arrives in a new hive of judgmental female companions. Do you know that if they don’t like her, they just kill her? But in the meantime they do help her escape her cage by gnawing through the sweet plug that seals her in. At least that part is rather nice. Anyway I made this many layers of glass framed with her delivery cage and a tin bee inside of it. Each layer of glass had some buzzing text and images of honeybees gathered around her.

She is Not Like Us 2

The whole thing is about 12″ x 8″ x 4″. And to get it in the mail in a hurry, I painted the metal frame with a gold paint (honey gold, of course) and wrapped it in plastic bubble wrap three times over and popped it into the box. Note: All the wax is well inside between layers of glass.

Anyway it arrived and so did a note from the curator that when they opened the box, the smell was so bad they feared for other pieces in the exhibit, so it was quickly wrapped back up and was waiting for me to advise them as to what to do with it next. A friend picked it up for me, kept it until I arrived on another trip down under and then we mailed it back home. I have not unwrapped it but still have it. Why? It was not that good a piece in the first place, but it was fun to make and I liked the new bee’s fate in the stingers of the sisterhood. I am sure the paint needed to be left to cure longer than the likely half hour I gave it but these details of the piece are fun to look at. So perhaps the documentation of the making is more important than the end product. There were lots of things besides “Buzzzzz”. I remember another thing the bees said was, “Will she look like us?” I am sure they would have killed her had she made her way out. She was a shiny, glossy tin bee and they were pretty plain and ordinary looking – for bees.

And that brings me to the pieces I recently entered into more Australian exhibitions coming up soon. All three are using Robert Hughes’ book titled, Fatal Shore. I am going to not do this again. Making work for exhibition in Australia is so much fun for me to do because I love the country and find it endlessly inspiring but then there is the cost of shipping pieces over there whether they are accepted or not. And the work should be there. No one here would be all that interested. But I will show them here on my blog because they have all been entered and I certainly hope are accepted. But if not they will still need to find a home there.

They are combining the book and it’s title with the effects of global warming in Australia. A new burning tool was essential to do the works….that and a blow torch. Each also includes the use of watercolors made from the soils of Australia.

Fatal Shore Raft lo resFatal Shore Boat lo resFatal Shore Dustbin lo res

By next week I will have found that shoe or be back into writing the novel….I really have no idea.