Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.
Art. Art. Art.
Saturday, July 28 – First, a look at some paint brochure work I did while TV-watching on Friday night. I like to do this kind of thing for relaxation. I have a few brochures on hand pretty much all the time just for this purpose…I realized too late I was using a non-water-resistant pen and so there are some smears. Oh well. In order to preserve the images from harm, once I’d finished, I gave the page a spray with a matte varnish kind of thing that seals it.
In the afternoon of Saturday I had time to work on coloring the set of figurines I had fired a couple of weeks ago. I was finishing some figures and clothing some naked ones:
Here is where I ended the session (please excuse the blurred photo, I didn’t notice until later)
and a closer view of this larger guy:
Here are the in-process figures.
You may say – where did those two small black figures come from, as I thought you’d started to color all of them? And you would be right. Sometimes, though, I get off on the wrong foot with designs or colors or whatever and then I never get back on track. I usually try to “fix” it and make things worse instead. It’s better to do what I did here – wash off the color, repaint a black base, and start over. I guarantee these people will be happier for this extra care.
Sunday, July 29 – I finished up the coloring of the remaining small figurines. I was right, they are happier with these new outfits.
I also did a few 2″ square tiles. They are perfect for using up color on the brush when I am working on larger projects. Here you see them getting their initial coat of Jet Black Velvet underglaze.
These tall figurines are all that are left right now. They will need to wait for a different kiln firing as they need to be on the bottom shelf, because of their height.
I added the completed figurines to the kiln. It’s ready for a firing.
A couple of notes about that kiln picture. That mint-green thing? I made a tray-like dish thing some time back. It has been sitting around for a while – it’s not really functional because it has not been glazed, only underglazed. You need a glazed surface on a functional item for health reasons – a non-glazed bowl, for instance, is not sealed so that bacteria can be washed off – instead, they can grow in the porous surface. Bad.
I decided to glaze this dish so that it could be used. The glaze is that green color. It will be a shiny clear when fired.
You also may recognize some sgraffito tiles. And you thought my assortment had all been fired? Yes, I had done so, but upon examination, in various tiles I saw small white flecks and other imperfections in the black color, where maybe clay crumbs had landed or some other thing was a little wrong. It occurred to me that I could repair these flaws quite easily. I touched them up with Jet Black underglaze (you can see where I did the repairs as a somewhat grayer-toned area) and put them in for another firing.
Last, I made some cylinder people. You know, they are very easy to construct – the time consuming part is in the color application. I’m currently really enjoying coloring (my version of adult coloring books, these figurines?) and I’ve decided to make a dozen or so of these to submit to the Baum School (Allentown, PA) holiday market that I participate in each winter.
Monday, July 30 I had time for a few more cylinder people today.
Also, I rolled out this slab of leftover terracotta clay. It was too dry to do much with. On impulse, I covered it with black underglaze and without even waiting for it to dry (a big no)I did this quick sgraffito image. We’ll see how that turns out.
I also did a firing – no pictures of the kiln at work, but it was.
Tuesday, July 31 – I opened the kiln. Everything looks good
except for that glazed dish.
See the cloudiness at the bottom of the picture? I believe that it is a sign of glaze that did not completely vitrify. I had the idea this might happen – I fire my work at Cone 06, usually, and I think the glaze requires Cone 05 (which is hotter) to get the right results. I didn’t check the jar…I just kind of knew and did not want to know…)
I do not like to fire my underglaze work at Cone 05 – I think it burns out the colors just that little bit too much – meaning that they are darker and muddier. I think I’ll send the dish back through – nothing needs to be done to it – with a bisque load that I will fire at Cone 05. See what happens. If it still looks bad, into the trash it goes.
Wednesday, August 1 – Time continues to be short for art activities this week. I decided to unload the kiln and photograph the work – and to clean up the clay area and studio. I want to work on my secret project later this week and I need to get the area, and my head, clear and ready for ideas.
I photograph most of my work and always have done, even when I was making fabric collage work in the 90’s and did my photography using film. I had a plywood board covered in black fabric that I hung from a pipe in my basement; I set up lights and taped the works to the board in order to photograph them. I did not get very good results but at least I had a record of my work.
Now I use a digital camera and PhotoShop Elements to achieve my images. Today I was photgraphing clay – tiles and sculptures. For tiles, I lay them on a surface, usually white, but since I was doing white tiles as well today, I also used a black background.
I don’t photo each clay item I make – there are too many of them. I will post only the ones I like most and the rest, well, they go their way, wherever that might be, undocumented.
I took 112 photos today, of which I will probably keep 25% or so. I do know I’ll re-photo the terracotta/black sgraffito tiles – they were done with a back blackground but looked awful.
As far as sculptures, I usually set up a little stage like this:
Two pieces of matboard on a chair. I set the item onstage and photo it.
Overall, I want to have a record of my work and I don’t worry much if the pictures are not all perfect. I just need a few really good ones to use in submitting to shows, and with all the things I make usually something comes out well enough to add to my application-worthy category.
I do think it is important to document my art, if for no other reason than that it represents a lifetime’s work and is valuable to me as a record of my past and how I have grown. I have thousands of images now and I am really glad I have taken the time (and it does take a lot of time) to create this archive.
Friday, August 3 – I finished up the week by working on some clay – new puff people and some mini-cylinder people – this time working in terracotta clay.
And that did it for today.
OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.