Grit and Grace - Week 1

January 18, 2016

It was a pretty exciting week, all in all.
For me, this first week was all about setting intention, getting my space ... physical studio as well as mental ... in order. The warm up exercises have been just that, a warm up, and while I've kept them all, because some bits will work their way into other projects, I'm sure,  other than seeing them here as I post the photos, quite frankly, I haven't looked at them since "completing" them.


My journal is really moving along. I've tried to do 2 spreads every day. Many pages are just bare bones, slap'n'glue-downs with little else done. And I'm okay with that. I finally FINALLY understand that an art journal is or can be a work-in-progress. And if it remains unfinished? That's just as legitimate as a "prettily composed" page. After all it's for ME. (I know. duh. right?!?)

This page though, "All the Old Dudes" came out a few days after David Bowie died. A weird but heartfelt tribute. RIP Mr. Bowie.

I've started on my big painting ... the first gestures really. What I realized is that I don't actually know what the surfaces are and when I was working on the crow's head bit found out that I hadn't actually gessoed the entire surface. I think that part was bare crackle paste. Charcoal doesn't smudge very nicely on it. Not sure whether I'll just go with it or make an effort to gesso the entire canvas before I move on. I guess after reading Monday's lessons I'll decide.

And finally, my 3 raw canvasses attached together. This was both the biggest learning curve for me AND the most satisfying. The top and bottom in this triptych were stripped canvas from (I think) 10"x10" wood stretchers. The top one had had all MANNER of stuff on it before it was gessoed awaiting its new life. The bottom had just a coat of black gesso. The middle piece was mostly raw canvas with a few bits of a previous painting on it.

I tried to keep it really loose and let the individual pieces have their say. Once both the top and bottom ones had crows on, though, I ended up adding a really light stencil on the middle bit in transparent oxide so there would be some continuity.

Once I'd decided ...and really THEY decided... they were done, the joining was so much fun. MY wheelhouse ... and I cut loose, some hessian ribbon, a vintage mat attached with wire, a piece of 8mm film, vintage buttons, the print code from some scrap material and a leftover metal tile piece forms the top hanging border. I'm really really pleased with how this turned out. Bring on Week 2!

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