Tidying Up and Correcting Mistakes

Last week I was showing the painting of the dragonfly in the Specimen Series. How I had used the UV protective spray and when done a second time the whole image was covered with a white mist that needed to be completely repainted. Well it turns out that I grabbed a can of the UV spray by Krylon, which looks the same at a glance as the the Krylon acrylic protective spray. Somehow I just assumed that the can I could see quickly was the can I used the first time. Not so. After taking a look in my supplies closet, the can of acrylic spray was just where I put it down and then proceeded to put something down in front of it. Naturally I went for the then most visible can and it was not a good choice. Don’t use UV spray over acrylic spray.

So with that in mind I decided to do a bit of a pick up and put things where they belong. It is just so much easier to put something down than to put it away.

The dragonfly is now framed and the art group came and liked the outcome. They are very encouraging with this series. Actually they have been very encouraging with their sharing and input for almost twenty years now. Members have changed over time, but the premise remains the same…”what are you doing and why?”

Then we get into the endless discussions of how well those intentions are visible in the pieces we are looking at. There is no talk of “how” something is done. That is a craft issue and not what we view as an “art” issue.

So after having two friends in the studio for a couple of days this week…one working on an etching and another on a bound book and box, I proceeded to make another specimen for the series. I love this one. He is a water bug designed to fit onto a seven by four inch gessoed panel.

Now when I paint him and these two below I only have two more gessoed panels to spare. They are a bit smaller and I will have to make smaller insects.

That bottom moth looking one was inspired by the bogon moth I saw so much of in Horsham, Victoria several years ago. And just this past March dodged them on the porch in the Grampians. They have such tattered wings on their lifeless bodies the following mornings.

Anyway collecting the bits and pieces is like a treasure hunt in the woods or just outside my door. There are countless ways these scraps from Nature can be used in assembling some imaginary creature.

On another note this morning, still a bit in the tidying up the studio mood, I had the chance to burn some old artwork. The poor pieces had been languoring  away in the storage room and had not seen daylight since perhaps 2005. So off they went to the burn pile. There was no sadness or even a catch in the throat. It actually felt good and I will do more when there is another fire reminding me to keep cleaning up and clearing out.

Also this past week I started a sample journal made from leather. A simple structure, nothing fancy. But it is designed to hold a folded map in the back. If you have never made a map they are quite interesting in their format and information on offer. Because of now dealing with my husband’s dementia, I decided to return to the idea of the River Lethe. Remember this piece that I did for an exhibit in St. Louis?

I think I called it Voyage on the River Lethe. Anyway it is a river in Greek mythology that flowed into the River Styx which took passengers to Hades or the underworld. If one drank the water from Lethe they became forgetful. So in this boat sculpture the passengers place their “luggage” in the hold as they take the next ladder down to the seating lounge so to speak. Fragments of what they remember are on their bodies. Fragments flow out into the currents around the boat. I like that the ferryman must have joined them as he is nowhere to be seen and the boat is a bit adrift without him at the helm. He probably also became thirsty. Here is a picture of the hold.

But back to the map and journal. I have titled the map, “The Land of Lethe – A Map of What May or May Not Have Been”. So I can put whatever I want on the map. It not need be accurate or represent any place in particular. My journal can be filled with random thoughts, in and out of order.

Below is a tourist map of Australia that I bought several years ago when they still had Australia Geographic stores there. I love the artwork on this map. Lots of places in the border for me to add my own drawings and paintings which I did in 2008. There is a fairy tale likeness about this map. It is engaging to say the least. Don’t you think so?

And the very best part of it is this disclaimer along the bottom. A disclaimer that seemed to be just what I needed to read for my Land of Lethe documented adventures.

“This map journal is an artist’s impression only and not designed to be used as a navigational aid. The artist and publisher do not accept any responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any use of this map whatsoever.”

Isn’t that perfect! I am now planning on sustaining inconvenience. More next week and thank you if you lasted through all this randomness of the past few days.