Thursday, April 18, 2013

FINISHED (Part One, anyway)!

Last week, late in the day before a trip out of town, I thought I possibly had finished a project I've been working on for quite some time.  It took some living with it, but I think--yes--this part is finished.

This is Nine-Part Herbal Fantasy--Light Cycle. Stand by (but don't hold your breath) for Dark Cycle.
The project began with a series of line drawings, first sketched in pencil, then finalized in ink.  I scanned them, assembled them in an Adobe Illustrator file, and began applying color.
Here's an ink drawing for the "Flower Arch" section.

An early view of the original Adobe Illustrator color build of this piece made an appearance on Artdog Observations in January.  I showed pieces of it in the works in February. At the time, I actually thought the Dark Cycle would be finished first.

I shared this image in February.
Why two cycles?  It's actually not that complicated.  

As I was doing the color builds, I realized that some of the sections were coming out considerably lower in overall key than others.  I couldn't decide which version I liked better.  Yes, I confess: indecision actually was the inspiration.

A comparison of two sections, built on the same "base drawing" and adjusted one each for the two variations, may offer a glimpse.

Here are Light Cycle and Dark Cycle variations of the "Herbal Arch" section (mirrored, you may note).
One of the developments that came up very late in the process of putting the piece together was an idea that developed at my newly-resumed Monday night Art Group.

Corners and sides are tilted inward.
Toward the center, everything lies closer to the base level.
The bases of the sections do not lie flat, except for the "rootball" center.  The others are tilted: higher toward the outside, down to base-level farther in.

IMAGES: All artwork and photos are copyright (c) 2013 by Jan S. Gephardt. You may re-post them without alterations and with attribution and a link back to this blog post; otherwise, all rights are reserved.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ernie Button's "Vanishing Spirits"

Visual experiences are where we find them--and they can literally be anywhere.  Part of "seeing the world through the eye of the artist," (one of my mother's favorite phrases), is to pay attention to the visuals around us everywhere.

I'll give you a case in point: Ernie Button.

When was the last time you were inspired by dirty dishes?
Ernie Button is quite a wonderful photographer, as you can see if you wander through his website (I recommend it!).  But he didn't get picked up by National Public Radio until he neglected to do his dishes.

As Audrey Carlson described it, in her piece The Wonderful World of Whiskey Art, "Ernie Button was putting a Scotch glass left out overnight into the dishwasher when he noticed something — a white, chalky film on the bottom of the glass. He held it up to the light and, upon closer inspection, could see a series of fine, lacy lines running along the inside of the glass."

Having spotted (sorry) this interesting visual effect, he did what artists do: he explored it. Photographers, as their name suggests, work with the medium of light.  

Button shined different colors of light through the residue, looked at it from different angles and with different backgrounds, and--being a photographer--got out his macro lens and took pictures of it.

Dalwhinnie 122
As you might imagine, a scotch enthusiast could find this project irresistible.  While he seems, from a quick overview of the images posted in his Vanishing Spirits portfolio, to favor Aberlour (at least for his photos), he has documented his willingness to try other brands, such as Balvenie, Dalwhinnie, or Glenfyddich.

This admirable broad-mindedness has yielded a growing trove of images that range from the celestial to the otherworldly to the weirdly interesting.  Since he only posts the ones he considers most aesthetically successful, it has taken him about 6 years of drinking scotch (it stretches my credulity to think he'd buy top shelf scotch and not drink it) to amass the current collection.

I wish him many more happy years of photography . . . and a stout liver.
At L: Balvenie Double.  At R: Glenfyddich.

IMAGE CREDITS: The photo of the dirty dishes is courtesy of a Real Clear Science blog post by Ross Pomeroy, "A Scientific Argument for Cleaning Dirty Dishes." The images for Aberlour, Balvenie Double, and Glenfyddich are from the "Whiskey Art" post (although they also may be seen on Button's portfolio, along with Dalwhinnie 122.  Many thanks to all these sources!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Fun in the Freight House Neighborhood-Part II

I had a wonderful day, between lunch with a good friend at Lidia's Kansas City, and a stroll through two of Kansas City's great small art galleries on Baltimore St. near the Freight House, in the southern part of the Kansas City Crossroads.

Julia Fernandez-Pol's Lily Pad Light is rich with texture.
The two galleries are similarly named near-neighbors, the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, and Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art.  This entry focuses on my visit to Sherry Leedy's gallery.  In an earlier entry I talked about some fascinating artwork I found at Leedy-Voulkos.

The Texture Tour
The artwork that really spoke to me at this gallery all seemed to be playing with texture in one way or another. 

In the artwork of Julia Fernandez-Pol, it is the actual, physical texture of the oil paint, which I'd guess must have been applied with a palette knife, that is the most riveting aspect.

For me, the rich colors and textures in these images added up to a delicious visual feast that rewards the eye on many levels.

Mark Lyon's Michael Rees
The textures of Mark Lyon, on the other hand, are created as two-dimensional visual texture, and created in a most unusual way.  Lyon describes his evolution into using the "machine-assisted" "humidrawer" technique in an interesting essay on his website.

The artwork appears to be a large photograph, from a distance.  Move in closer, however, and you'll discover the amazing patterns within. 

My favorite, I think, was the portrait of Michael Rees (shown at right), because when I looked very closely, I realized the areas inside the eyeglass frames had been rendered like a spiral moving in from the frames to the center.

To give an idea of how these textures work, I pulled a couple of examples from Lyon's site.  These are two different renderings of an eye, one using only black lines, as in Michael Rees, and the other using both black and white lines on a toned surface.

Mark Lyons 2-D texture created with mechanical help: Left: black and white lines on a toned surface; Right black lines only. 
IMAGE CREDITS:  Many thanks to the Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art artist pages for the images of Julia Fernandez-Pol's Lily Pad Light and Mark Lyon's Michael Rees (click on the artist's name for images; the image pages themselves don't seem to have a URL).  The "eye detail" images are from Mark Lyon's website.  Many thanks for all!