Friday, November 12, 2010

“Work: In Progress,” The Fantasy Collection

My artwork was on view September 2-19, 2010, at the Johnson County (Kansas) Library’s Central Resources Center.  The "Work: In Progress" show spans several decades, and gives kind of a past/present/future view of my work. It included some of the 2-D work from my "first art career" in the 1980s, all of the current paper sculptures, and sketchbook pages, which show some of my works in progress--a glimpse of the future.
The left-hand (southern) display case focused on my fantasy artwork, and this collection is the focus of this post.  I'll focus on the other display next time.   
The fantasy collection included three images from my “first art career” as a science fiction and fantasy artist/illustrator in the 1980s, as well as my current, mixed media paper sculptures, many of which have been shown at the ConQuesT, Conestoga, and Capricon science fiction and fantasy conventions.  All of the paper sculptures were displayed in the “Paper Dragons” show, Roeland Park, KS, March 2010.
"Stormwings" 1985, acrylic on Masonite.
This painting took 6 months to create, from first sketches through final brushstroke. Back in those days, I had to rely on images clipped from publications, for reference material. It took a week to find a grainy newspaper image of ducks taking off from a pond, that I could use for "wing" reference. Nowadays, I'd have hundreds of images available with one image search!
"Harmony" 1984, graphite on paper.
I used this drawing for our "Christmas Print" in 1984, and displayed it at numerous shows.
"Enlightenment" 1988, ink on Bristol board.
This piece was used for a "Christmas Print" in 1988. The model for the little boy was my son Ty, who was two years old at the time. The titles on the spines of the books on the shelves behind him were all titles of books written or published by people on our Christmas mailing list that year.
"The White Dragon in His Cloud" 2007, mixed media paper sculpture.
This was my first piece of paper sculpture.  I'd been thinking about the possibilities of making dragons in paper sculpture for quite some time, and a few months earlier I'd spent a fun afternoon doing somewhat nonobjective acrylic paintings.  I wasn't sure what to do with them, however, until one day I sat down and began to make my little dragon.  This piece took an afternoon (and the better part of two years) to make.
"A Nest in the Wildwood" 2009, mixed media paper sculpture.
I used painted bits for the background that date back to 2007, but the rendering on the feathers is more sophisticated than my little "White Dragon."
"The Wild Thing in the Weeds" 2009. Mixed media paper sculpture.
This piece was completed not long after "Wildwood," and I drew my materials from the same sources.
"Bone Dragon" 2009, mixed media paper sculpture. 
Kindly lent from the collection of Karin I. Frank.
This was my first exploration of some of the more abstract possibilities of paper sculpture.
"Denizen of the Winter Trees" 2009, mixed media paper sculpture.
I spent several months developing the prototype pattern for this dragon form. You'll also see that I created variations on it for another piece, "Treetop Primaries." This artwork also incorporates a real silver maple twig.
Development pages for "Treetop Primaries," 2009.
The "Work: In Progress" show attempted to show something of my process for creating artwork. To that end, I included four sketchbook spreads, including this one.
"Treetop Primaries" 2009-2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
Completed in 2009 (see the "Development pages" that were displayed with it) and adjusted in 2010, "Treetop Primaries" is the largest paper sculpture I had created by the time of the "Work: In Progress" show. I developed the dragon forms from the pattern originally developed for "Denizen of the Winter Trees," and also incorporated several real silver maple twigs into the design.
"The Leaf Thing" 2010, mixed media paper sculpture.
I so enjoyed working with the leaves in the background of "Treetop Primaries" that I made some more . . . then wondered what kind of fantasy creature might inhabit trees where tiny dragons live. I kept calling this piece "my 'leaf' thing" while doing the initial development, and finally decided that the creature also was a "Leaf Thing."

The fantasy collection made up half of my "Work: In Progress" show.  In the next post on "Artdog Observations," I'll show the rest of it.

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