Thursday, May 12, 2011

#5 - How did they know?! & Where the heck I've been ...

From the Onion, Amerca's Finest News Source.

What's Our Special Dish? "Individual saltine-cracker houses with tuna-salad mortar" I mean, I'd use cream cheese, but still! It's like they know me! This is so tomorrow's house.

In case anyone is wondering where the heck I've been lately, never you fear. I'm still making houses but haven't had a chance to photograph and post. I'm playing catch up this weekend, so there will be tons to see come Monday!

And in other news, I am going to be starting grad school in the fall. I'm so excited! Lots of new & exciting stuff going on here. Details to come.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

House No. 128: Little Red House

House No. 128: Little Red House
polymer clay and acrylic paint
.5 in. x 1 in. x .5 in.
128/365; 05/08/11

I like the simplicity of this tiny house and its wavy sides. It has a lot of spirit.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

House No. 127: Constellation Houses

House No. 127: Constellation Houses
pencil and white out tape on repurposed matboard
8.75 in. x 6.5 in.
127/365; 05/07/11

Today’s piece is sort of a variation on yesterday’s. Both have three houses and use some of the same materials, but yesterday’s deals with space and today’s piece is about line.

I like the idea of constellations: people playing connect the dots with stars to create pictures and mythology. It is a common trait amongst all people to find patterns and make visual sense out of randomness and stories to explain the unknowable.

I invented a sky in this drawing where I found houses pictured among the stars. For the Skull Appreciation Day exhibition in Richmond, Virginia, I did something similar.

Friday, May 6, 2011

House No. 126: Achromatic Trio

House No. 126: Achromatic Trio
ink, pencil, and collage on repurposed matboard
8.75 in. x 6.5 in.
126/365; 05/06/11

The process that I used to make this piece started with a piece of vellum. It is very similar to a thick piece of tracing paper. It is actually used to diffuse light for photography, and I had a piece of it that had been damaged on a photo shoot that I was on. I had been holding on to it in my collections for awhile. 

I worked on both sides of the translucent paper before adhering to the matboard, which was another classroom salvage.

The white is correction tape that I pull out and transfer with a pencil to make varied lines. Again, I like that the process is indirect and makes me give up some control of the drawing. (This is something that I do a lot in class with my students, removing them from the direct process of mark making. It really frees up the artist to lose complete control.) The process is similar to printing and transferring.

I made the white, transferred marks with the correction tape on both sides of the vellum, and I colored with graphite to the point of going through the paper. I love how shiny the pencil gets on the smooth surface of the paper and how the marker soaks up the light almost completely, making the surface a very flat black.

The texture and quality of the surface, along with the change in tonality, indicates depth in a mostly flat drawing.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

House No. 125: White on White House

House No. 125: White on White House
collage on matboard
8 in. x 8 in.
125/365; 05/05/11

Today's house relies on texture rather than color, line, or contrast. And it was rather difficult to photograph because of it.

The matboard that I used as a background for this house was salvaged from my classroom, and the paper and strings were also upcycled. The paper is from the same source as House No. 121: Spring Cottage. The strings were left over from the tags from House Number 71: Tagged Houses.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

House No. 124: Connect the Dots House

House No. 124: Connect the Dots House
collage and encaustic on chipboard
18 in. x 12 in.
124/365; 05/04/11

Those of you who know me in life outside of the innerwebs know that I am super Safety First Girl. Somehow, I threw that caution and conscientiousness to the wind whilst working on today's house.

I was not exactly thinking about what I was getting hot, and I had glue and packing tape on this piece that probably should not have been heated and inhaled. 

That customer card is from the late Minerva Books in Petersburg that closed down a couple years ago. I loved that bookstore. Sigh.

I just love the way the wax pooled and beaded-up on surfaces, especially the metallic paper that is most likely toxic when heated but oh, so pretty.

Below, you can see the packing tape that shriveled up from the heat. I ended up getting a headache and feeling light headed and nauseous. I'm not sure how much of that was from toxic fumes and how much is from working over a hot pizza stone and oven

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

House No. 123: Rooftops

House No. 123: Rooftops
encaustic on paper
18 in. x 12 in.
123/365; 05/03/11

I started to get more controlling about the encaustics, which is sort of funny considering that I was excited about them loosening up my hand. I wanted to push them though, so I started to crudely control the temperature with two pizza stones (one was heating in the oven while I worked on the other) and two cookie sheets cooled in the freezer.

By controlling the heating and cooling, I was able to solidify goops of wax where I wanted them (sort of) and cool the surface enough to get thick, chunky lines. See the black accents in these details for examples of that line work.

I re-melted portions, wiped them smooth with paper toweling, scratched into the wax with chopsticks and pieces of cardboard, spread the wax around and cooled it into dimensional surfaces, and melted colors together.

Above, you can see where I wiped off a lot of color and pooled it on top in the yellow and grey areas. Then I worked into the cooler wax with the black crayon to get harder edges with more contrast.

Different shades of brown and red made up these tile roof, above. I wiped the areas clear to layer the color and then cooled chunks of molten wax to create dimension and texture.

I used a lot of white in the above portion to make the windows look reflective and to create highlights. Different color tones and hues and layers of wax create shading and dimension, as seen in detail below.

Stylistic inspiration for today's house came largely from Egon Schiele. (A warning about following that Schiele link: a lot of his works are Not Safe for Work.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

House No. 122: Encaustic Panel House

House No. 122: Encaustic Panel House
encaustic on wood
6 in. x 6 in. x .25 in.
122/365; 05/02/11

For this house, I put the wood right in the oven and let the panel itself get hot before working the wax into it. I would not recommend this. It smelled, burnt a little, and kind of gave me a headache. Still, it looked cool and had a lovely glossy surface.

The wax was absorbed into the wood and smoked a bit, and the colors became very rich and concentrated. The colors also blended well, as you can see in the multiple greens used in the grass and where the door melds into the house color to create the front stoop.

I liked working into the negative space, such as the panes of the windows, as the wood started to cool. I gradually added lighter and lighter blues into the sky to build up the negative space and make it as interesting as the house itself. I love the way the layers create a rich surface.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

House No. 121: Spring Cottage

House No. 121: Spring Cottage
encaustic and ink on cotton rag paper with flower petals
6 in. x 4 in.
121/365; 05/01/11

As Thomas Morley wrote, and I dare say put it best,  Now is the Month of Maying. In honor of May Day, I created today's house out of a piece of handmade flowered paper that had been an invitation lining that I had been holding onto for some time.

The oils from the wax caused the ink to spread, and I really like the soft lines that it created. Also, the absorbent paper changed the feel and look of the encaustic. It made it possible to layer the wax more and caused it to spread less.

The wax was less creamy and malleable on this paper, but it gave me the opportunity to build up on the paper and treat the wax more like paint.

The petals were in danger of charring a bit, and I had to work fast and continuously pull the paper off the heat. The ink seemed to react to the heat, and the paper smoked just on the spots where the ink was, creating smoky, brownish-grey areas.