This piece is one I uncovered in a box of art supplies I’d left sitting for a while (as in years), so I don’t have a precise date of completion, however I’d ballpark it at 2015. It’s one of a series of small pieces I did to keep my hands busy while I thought about a problem. It has one or two very minor flaws, but the precision is very good to my eye, and I enjoy the humor of the squirrel in one corner and the nuts in another, hence the title.
This blog is stale again, and I apologize to everyone who’s a regular follower. My work as a technical consultant for Improving has been taking priority, and though I’ve never entirely stopped creating, my ability to make meaningful progress on art has been substantially curtailed for a while.* Fortunately that’s changing, because of a major exhibit I have opening soon that I’ll be covering in my next post.
These are the sculptural works that I promised in my previous post. They were created using the wax from Baby Bel cheeses that I ate over lunch at the office. The wax becomes very malleable after being worked for a few minutes by warm hands, and it has reasonably good shape-retention characteristics after it cools back to room temperature, which makes it a great medium for casual, fingers-only sculpting.
Most of these came out very well without tooling, though of course they could always be better. Working exclusively with my hands limits my ability to do details, but it makes the work more challenging, which is what I enjoy. I’d like to do more of this kind of thing in a more permanent medium, maybe also with tools. However, I’m concentrating on new work for an exhibit I have coming up at 20 North Gallery that will be in my signature pen-and-ink style.
If you’re a sculptor, do you have a favorite medium? What properties does it have that appeal to you?
* Being a technical consultant is challenging, not least because the nature of the work changes on a regular basis as you move between clients. Improving in particular has what we call the Employee Improvement Program, or EIP. By participating in the program, we accumulate points every quarter for doing things that benefit the company and the technical community at large, whether it’s speaking at users groups or conferences, bringing in prospective recruits or sales opportunities, volunteering in the community, and dozens of other activities. We’re given a bonus at the end of the quarter from a pool of cash that’s based on our percentage of the points earned by everyone in the office, so there’s a financial incentive to do these things, and they also make decisions about promotions, equity stakes, and other things based on our performance in the program. I greatly appreciate that they’re putting their money where their mouth is as far as Conscious Capitalism goes, which is the philosophy we follow, and which is a topic I’ll cover another time. However, participating in the program aggressively has eaten up most of the spare time I’d been using for art.
I realized the blog was getting stale (sorry about that), but it’s not because I haven’t been busy producing art! I’ve spent the last few months stretching myself in some new directions, and even though this is nominally my record of my work in pen-and-ink, art is often about breaking the rules and trying new things, so here we are.
These pieces were created between May and September of 2018, and are in the order they were drawn. They were derived from photos posted online (not live sittings) of personal friends: Claire, Shelly, Dawne, and Sanazi. Claire’s was a quick sketch I drew to test the new materials I acquired, and I was so pleased with the results that I produced the others in relatively quick succession. (By ‘quick’, I mean over several months, as the time I have to devote to my art is extremely limited at the moment.) Each of them required a fanatical attention to detail, and though I know I didn’t get everything perfect in any particular piece, I’m deeply pleased with aspects of all of them, and I learned a great deal along the way.
I’ll be posting photos of my sculptural work soon – Stay tuned!
This is another in a series of small pieces I’ve created in my spare time at work. I used a new flavor of pen (Staedtler pigment liners), which didn’t work out quite as well as I would have liked. The ink stays wet just a little bit longer than the ink coming out of the Microns I usually use, which made it too easy for me to smear the ink accidentally. I also burned through an entire (.1) pen in one piece; the Microns tend to last longer.
As far as looks go, I’m pretty happy with how this one came out. I didn’t have anything particular in mind while I was creating it; it’s more of a stream-of-consciousness piece, like most of those that I generate at the office (I can’t do much in the way of controversial material there.) I’m especially happy with the textured section under the bird’s neck, which has a surprising amount of depth. The bird itself was an interesting side-effect of the drawing process; it wasn’t a pre-planned element.
This is another in a series of small pieces I’ve created in my thinking time at work. I took a bit more time than usual going back through and addressing the details, which made it look very sharp and well-defined. I like the fact that it’s entirely abstract, which is a departure from my usual, and I’m especially happy with the density of the coverage. If I had my druthers, I’d rework some of the shading in spots, but I’m pleased with the overall effect.
This is the latest in a collection of small pieces that I’ve been creating in my spare time at work. I’m very happy with this one; I especially like how I was able to balance the flow and scale of the arrows to provide a sense of motion and depth, and the tessellation (which is the same as that featured in another recent drawing) came out well. There’s also a non-obvious EKG element I enjoyed creating that references some tests my daughter underwent to rule out possible explanations for some chest discomfort she’d been suffering. (All is well.)
This is another piece in the collection I’m creating in my spare time at my ‘real’ (read: pays-the-rent*) job. To be candid, I’m not especially thrilled with this one, but there are a few things with which I’m very happy (e.g., can you find the finger?) This was the first one I created in my role as a Scrum Master at MaritzCX.
* I should note that I really love my work! Being a Scrum Master at a forward-thinking software shop like MCX is a very rewarding way to make a living.
This piece evolved over several weeks, and was created to honor both Philando Castile (who died at the hands of a police officer in St. Paul; the investigation is ongoing), and Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith (all police officers who were viciously murdered by a gunman in Dallas.) In spite of the grim content, I’m satisfied with most of the technical aspects of this piece, notably the larger tessellation and the tadpole. I’m designing a unique frame for it that might require trimming the excess paper surrounding the main drawing. If I find the time to complete that project, I’ll post a photo of the results.
This piece honors the victory of the U.S. Women’s National Team in the Women’s World Cup of 2015. In particular, it celebrates the accomplishments of Carli Lloyd, who won the World Cup Golden Ball and the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and scored a hat trick in the World Cup Final. I really enjoyed working on this, though it required a substantial amount of effort to complete. I’m especially happy with certain aspects that worked out well, such as the shading. There are a couple of weak points, but the overall effect is very satisfying.
This piece pays homage to Maya Ramirez, winner of the first Project Runway Junior design competition. Maya is a student at the Toledo School for the Arts, where one of my children is also enrolled. Unfortunately for Maya, I’m still experimenting with shading faces (I’m not especially thrilled with how her visage came out.) However, the model to the left is wearing one of her designs from the final episode at New York Fasion Week, and it looks reasonably pleasing to me. There are a number of other aspects of this piece I liked, so I’m calling it a keeper.
Side note: This was the first opportunity I’ve had to work with one of Strathmore’s higher-end papers. It’s impressive how much more readily the ink takes to the page; the flip side is that it’s hard to be patient enough to let it dry (there are a number of smudges that will attest to that.)