Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 2

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Here we embark on a new week and new art.

Saturday, January 27 – I opened the kiln. Everything came out fine. Always a relief. Compare the before and after shots. The tiles are more brilliant in their fired state.

Also, on Friday night as I was cleaning up, I took all my collage scraps and quickly and randomly glued them on to postcard-sized recycled cardboard. No thinking, just slapping on the acrylic medium and sticking on the papers. It looked like this:

On Saturday I trimmed them. I will use these later in a project of some kind.

AD 1-27 #4001

Sunday, January 28 – My husband and I took a walk in the mall before it opened. The weather was cold and rainy so we wanted to be inside for some exercise. I took a lot of photos of the store windows – I like reflections. Here are a couple of shots featuring shoes.

Monday, January 29 – I rearranged my schedule a little, as it looks like snow tomorrow, but I had some time to work on paintings and clay.

First. Paintings. I have three 6″x6″ boards to work on and two 8″x10″. I laid them out on my table.
AD 1-29 #1012

I like to work in groups, you know that. I decided the small pieces would feature animals and that I’d do the other two as different floors in a house. I just started in and got going. Here are the small paintings.

I’m going to have to wait and see how they develop, the animals, I mean. I feel a little out of my depth here, I don’t think I’ve done anything like this before.

The rooms are more inside my comfort zone. They will need a lot more work, too, though.

End of the painting day. I’m not sure I’ll keep the eyes on the animals or not. Or if I need to add some ink or crayon, maybe. I did like their blank faces. We will see.

AD 1-29 #12001

I spent a little time with clay as well. I have an idea to make a lot of  @ 2″x 2″ tiles with designs in underglaze. A giant series. I have some white and some terracotta clay in bags with about 1/4 left in each, that would be about 5-6 pounds. Not that much.

I am making slabs; then I am going to cut the slabs all into little squares, fire them, and then put simple geometric designs or maybe tiny faces on them as a kind of low-thinking and mentally restful project. It will take a long time.

Today I cut the white clay. I rolled it out on my slab roller.

I transferred the slabs to my work table and cut them with a needle tool. I’ll let these dry and work on terracotta clay another day.

AD 1-29 #11002

Tuesday, January 30 – We had a little bit of snow today, enough for me to decide to stay home and catch up on lots of home things. I took the assortment of recently made tiles upstairs to my living room and wrote my name on the back of each one – a task that needs to be done but is not too exciting. I indulged in an episode of vintage TV Perry Mason to help me through it.

I don’t store the tiles long-term in this manner; I wrap them in bubble wrap as they can damage each other’s colors if they bang against each other. I’ll do that step after I price each tile – another day.

In the afternoon I checked on my clay work. The tiles I had cut yesterday were at a good stage – stiff enough to handle, but not so dry that they had become brittle. I needed to clean up the edges of each one. I used a round sponge and wiped around each tile, putting some force into it. Now they will not have sharp edges or look unfinished when fired.

AD 1-30 #3003

This work is also pretty tedious. I listened to an audio book; I do that quite often when I’m making art. Somehow in my head I can separate the art thoughts from the book thoughts. I do like a good thriller – that’s mostly what I listen to.

AD 1-30 #4002

I then went through the same cutting-out process with the terracotta clay. I try not to move the tiles too much; if they are bent in the wet stage, they “remember” that and want to go back to it when fired, even if they look flat when they enter the kiln. Small tiles like this, though, are usually not much of a problem. I kept some slabs just as they were cut out but some tiles had to move so as to allow me to do more work on the table. That’s why you see this arrangement.

AD 1-30 #5001

Wednesday, January 31 – I was out a lot of the day so much not art time happened. I did clean the edges of all the terracotta tiles I did yesterday. Now I will wait for all these tiles to dry. I like to give them a couple of weeks. You can tell the clay is ready for the kiln when it no longer feels cool to the touch – I use that test and then I wait a little bit longer…to be sure.

AD 1-31 #1002

I took a moment to look over those 6″ x 6″ animal paintings. I decided they needed some India ink. I gave them some faces and made a start on background work. Just enough to see that I liked it. Once I finish up with the ink, well, who knows what is next? I have come to understand that these creatures will figure out their own destiny and tell me, not the other way around.

AD 1-31 #2001

Friday, February 2 – I spent the afternoon finishing up some projects and starting new ones. First, the starting: I had a cradled masonite board in storage, 36″ x 24″, which is very large for me. I don’t make many paintings this size, but I sold two in these dimensions last year and so I just got the feeling of wanting to make another large one. I do not know what I will paint on it. Luckily, today all I had to do was prepare it.

I sanded the masonite surface (forgive the bad picture) to give the surface some tooth for the gesso to hang on to. Then – I gessoed it.

It spent the afternoon drying. I’ll get to work on it in the next week, I think.

I finished up the small animal paintings.

AD 2-2 #8005

I added India ink and crayon details.

Blots and irregularities are welcome.

Now I think these animal paintings are pretty much done. I also worked on the “home” paintings and I also feel they are close to being finished. I’ll let both of these sets of paintings come upstairs and sit in my living room for a few days to see what I think.

AD 2-2 #7006

And just for fun I made some paper dolls while watching TV at night this week. Haven’t done it for a while and I was glad to get back to them. I am sure there will be more of them soon.

Well, that’s it for this week. On to the next. Happy Art.

16 thoughts on “Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 2

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    Yay! I am glad to see the return of the paper dolls. I love the way you allowed the animals to evolve in that way. You really communicate with your art and have the confidence to go with your instinct.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I’ve made lots of weird animal tiles but the process works differently and so the subject seemed to work better, but – I think I found my way with these. I’m still not sure but I think they may grow on me. As for paper dolls, it’s a matter of directing my attention to them — and now I can’t stop making them. We’ll let that play out for a while! I have quite a few already from the past. I am starting to think they need dioramas or something. If I do that, well, I’ve really reverted to childhood as I did a lot of that kind of thing way back when.

      1. Laura (PA Pict)

        That reminds me of my childhood too. One of my sisters and I used to make paper stick puppets and dioramas that slotted into cardboard box stages and write scripts and put on puppet show performances for our Granddad. It was great fun.

        1. Claudia McGill Post author

          We collected scrap ends of lumber from all the houses they were building around us at that time, drew various scenes or furniture on them, and arranged them all over our garage floor as homes or as environments for our paper dolls cut from discarded sewing pattern books my mother bought from the shop for a dollar when they went out of date. Many hot summer days spent in this way.

  2. memadtwo

    Once again I am in awe of your productivity. I love the paper dolls of course. I also really love the mandala in the kiln. It looks like a tarot card reading…(K)

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I love the idea of mandala in the kiln. Usually I don’t arrange the tiles this way as it is inefficient, but this time I had room. And the idea of tarot cards, well, I’m ready to hear what they have to say!

      1. memadtwo

        Me too! My cards are packed away, I don’t know where, but as soon as I’m in a position to find them, I’ll try this layout and see what happens!

  3. Jeanette Clawson

    What an amazingly productive week! I love seeing your art come together like this. Of course your animals turned out so charming, as always. You are an inspiration to me. I’m curious about the big painting…

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I hope the big painting doesn’t disappoint. So far it is struggling with me but… that is how it usually goes. I do have more trouble getting a grasp on big images! Stay tuned…

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