On my recent trip, I ferreted out the location of an interesting destination. I had seen an advert for the place on a friend’s website, so I decided that it was a must see.
And what might Novelty Automation be? Well it’s got coin-operated machines inside, but they are not like regular commercially produced arcade machines. They are all artist created, satirical machines (the only similarity to arcade machines is that it takes one’s coin).
Right inside the front door was this machine. You put in the coin, crank the handle, and the spinner above the figures whirls around while the lamb on top shakes it’s head. And then the decision.
The diorama spins up or down to show the final disposition of the lamb. I got ‘pet’ which is how I would treat a lamb. The other diorama has the lamb as the main course for dinner. (Noooooo).
This artist has made a variety of machines, I hope that this one was not based on personal experience.
Of all the machines, this one was my favorite. It is the art critic who will give a yea or nay as to whether something is art (note the plastic cow encased in lucite on the side, obviously it must be art). I could not resist the challenge and so I put Pteri into the little box on the side of this machine. Pteri rose up to be judged by this critic, how could he not be impressed? Well it just goes to show the fickle nature of art criticism, Pteri was declared to be not art. The judgement was obviously flawed, I assert that any picture (or art) can be improved with the addition of a pterodactyl.
We here we are, just past the month of Inktober ( a month in which one does a drawing, in ink, every day of the month). This year I decided that I would give this a go. Why? Well not because I am good at it, rather that I am bad at it, but hoping to become better. And here are a few of the results.
This was one of the first drawings that I did. The subject is Wyatt B. I did a pencil sketch first, then used ink brush pens to make it truly inky. I’m a novice at the pen, and I half like this, and half don’t. I think I over-worked the picture, but it does look like Wyatt.
This sketch is of Freya B, done in an extra fine Sharpie, so I don’t think it came out too bad. I usually draw dogs and I think this may be the first time I ever drew a cat.
This is a portrait of her brother, Thor B. I did these first three drawings from photos that I took, as I am not fast enough to do animals from life.
As I usually draw pictures of dogs and since there wasn’t a dog handy, I made this from a photo I took in front of a fancy butcher shop.
I didn’t have any interesting photos to work from, so this is what I saw on the nightstand.
Once again I didn’t have a photo, so this is a drawing of part of the living room. I worked hard on getting the proportions right, but I am obviously not very good at shading and filling in the backgrounds. Perhaps that is something to aspire to when the next Inktober comes around.
When I was a young teen (which would put this at a very large number of years in the past) I loved to walk the 2.3 miles to the local art museum and draw. What I didn’t love was people coming up to me and asking what I was drawing. (It would be the thing in front of me.) So I was careful not to disturb these artists at work, but I did appreciate that they all were taking the time to get out and about and do the work of drawing what they saw. Well done, random people.
This seemed to be an organized outing for this group of folks, as there was a large number of artists working on the same bit of statuary.
This solitary artist was making a large drawing of a small object (and doing a fine job of it too).
This young woman was in a different part of the hall of statues. It’s a lovely thing that the museum provides these chairs (I used to just sit on the floor to sketch).
I don’t know why I think this, but I somehow got the impression that this young woman was doing this for a school project. Perhaps it’s because the statue is so ugly.
This brilliant portrait of Sir Francis Drake was done by a five year old artist. I wish that I had been this talented at that age. I did tell her how much I admired this picture too.
Just off a very busy street, this fellow was doing more than a sketch. He was painting the scene (there is a bit of license taken with the view, the sky was not very blue on that day) and I imagine that it must be hard to concentrate in this busy setting.
So I say bravo to all of these artists. Out there in public and pursuing their muses.
One of the advantages of making a statue is that on the whole, a statue is much more durable than a painting. Paintings need to be forever retouched (painted all over again in the style of the original artist) and fiddled with. Paintings are rather fragile as well, with just a thin layer of paint over canvas, wood or even paper. But a statue, well, they are mostly made of bronze and require no more than a light dusting from time to time. Unless of course they are out of doors, then statues require maintenance from the depredations of pigeons (really, these birds have no respect for art!) So as these statues are safely ensconced in the Tate, one might think that they would be safe. But that thought would be wrong.
Whatever this 60’s thing is supposed to represent (possibly the artist has seen the horror movie “The Manster” or “The Thing With Two Heads), I’m sure the artist never envisioned that a pterodactyl might attack it.
And I’m afraid that in this stare down, Pteri wins.
Snakes aren’t much of a challenge for Pteri, especially when the snake is already being strangled. Too bad for you, snake, now you have two problems.
And of course unconditional surrender is always accepted, and some are wise enough to take this course.
This girl seems to be rather nice, and it is a relief from all this terrorizing to spend a quiet moment just resting.
Then it’s back to work. This statue has no chance against a pterodactyl attack, or does he? Safely protected in a plexiglass box, it’s obvious that someone, somewhere anticipated this eventuality. So Pteri had had enough fun for one day, and it was on to the next challenge.
Once I start noticing a thing, like the white stickers on car windows, I start seeing them everywhere. Of course the very best ones that I glimpse are the ones I see as I am driving along. And it would be impossible to pull my phone out of my pocket (the seatbelt holds me securely in place) and snap a picture before the traffic light changes. Oh well, sometimes these things are just meant to elude one’s grasp. But I did manage to capture these images on parked cars.
In lieu of stick figures, Star Wars seems to be the next most popular way to graphically illustrate one’s family. I have seen Darth Vader as paterfamilias, various storm troopers, and this one, with the large war machines, At-At’s, for the parents and the smaller war machines, At-St’s to show the number of kids. Must be some sort of fan, eh?
I loved this sticker from the moment I saw them pull into the parking space. The combination of the cheerful yellow truck and the image of the elephant, it was really quite striking. (Although they probably don’t have a pet elephant waiting at home).
I saw this one in the same parking lot as the elephant, and I somehow don’t think that it has an ulterior meaning, it was just a pretty thing.
And then there is this creepy sticker. It’s on a rather nice SUV, but this girl wants everyone to know that she is a scary person at heart.
So we have seen these people’s obsessions, and you see my obsession, taking a peak into their souls.
I had ended up downtown at the terminus of the annual cattle drive through town. It always starts near the private college and ends at the former county courthouse, which is now a museum.
I had always noticed the large faces on the facade, there is a Native American (also known as Red Indians in the UK) over each of the large windows in the place. These faces don’t look to be too pleased with the goings on in the building, but perhaps that is only fitting.
The animal kingdom is represented by this lion’s head. He would be part of a fountain, if only the water had been turned on.
The intermediary between man and beast can be seen in the base of this light pole. With cherub faces and lion feet, one wonders, ‘what on earth was the artist thinking’?
This woman is just part of the woodwork in this former district courtroom, but she appears to be happy about it.
Unlike the previous sculpted faces, this figure is painted and shows the entire body. And what exactly the figure means is rather enigmatic. She has wings (is she an angel?), she is holding a banner labeled gold (representing Fortune perhaps?), and has a dangling, trussed up person in front of her (no idea what so ever). The more usual figure of blindfolded Justice holding a sword and a scale is nowhere to be seen in this courtroom. Perhaps this is an allegory of how our local justice system works.
If ‘eyes are the windows of the soul’, what are actual windows? And more specifically, the windows of one’s car? We generally live an anonymous life, one can’t tell much about a person’s interests from just a quick glance at the person. But on one’s car it is easy to put out the information about what one is interested in.
Although it is sometimes a puzzle to figure out the enigmatic meaning behind the window. Is this a romance reader, or a cynic?
To graphically show one’s stick figure family, was an early trend, mostly it was parents and the number of kids. But this person has a complete family and doesn’t need anyone else, just her two dogs and a cat.
This one is based in a realistic depiction of the pooch and it was quite a large sticker.
This person wanted people to know that they were not a local.
This is my friend’s car. While the end stickers are easy enough to decipher, the middle one is a little harder to figure out as it shows a rotary cutter, which is what one uses to cut up fabric for quilts (’cause scissors are just too slow).
Another enigmatic sticker (well it’s enigmatic to those who don’t follow anime).
I don’t know if there is any particular part of creating art that could be said to be the hardest part, it’s all hard, just in different ways.
I suppose the first hard part is having inspiration. Some people fill endless sketchbooks with ideas, and then struggle to decide which one is worthy to finish. But I typically have a single notion of what I might want to create, then the next step is to figure out how to do it.
Of course the model is the late Miss P.
And because I always work in fabric, I need to have a bunch of choices to try out. Does the fabric play together nicely, or do they clash? And the eternal question ‘Do I have enough fabric?’ (the answer is always ‘No”.)
And I also needed fusible web, sharp scissors and, wait a minute, how did Pteri sneak into the pile?
So here it is, the finished product. I had an amazing (to me) amount of trouble with this piece, many things that could go wrong did go wrong. I cut pieces out backwards, the fusible stuck to everything but the fabric, I actually sewed two important finished bits together and had to re-cut them at the last minute. It was due at a show by 4:00 pm and I delivered it at 3:37 (so it was 23 minutes early, thank goodness that the traffic wasn’t bad). And then the best bit, it was juried into the show.
I think the entire experience can be summed up in this quote from my e-friend Shreve “It’s when I’m under pressure that I realize what a great procrastinator I really am.”
There is the sort of physical and permanent art, well known genres like painting, sculpture, or some such, and then there is the ephemeral conceptual sort of performance art. And after never being exposed to conceptual art (unless you count those 60’s be-ins), I have recently been to two of this type of event.
What are you looking at? Why it’s part of a multiple lens camera obscura image of a flowing creek, so the image is upside down. The artist had manufactured the camera obscura out of plasticized black cardboard, binder clips, nylon fabric, blackout cloth and lenses ingeniously working together to make this ephemeral piece.
Flip the image around and it makes perfect sense. And it was only there for a limited time, it’s gone now.
And then there was this performance today, which involved a San Francisco artist and free beer (but only one beer, sadly). I must say that this was a more interesting piece than the previous one in this gallery, which involved real and fake hair going up a wall. And it did get a rather large turn out, the room was full of chattering people instead of the more usual echo of one’s own footsteps.
My one lonely beer was served by this nice young man. He was tonight’s guest bartender, serving up this Mexican beer. He writes about food and drink for the local free newspaper and seemed to be happy to be part of the event. And I suppose that I was happy to be there too.
Well there I was having another art day and I had ended up at a rather swanky hotel. The hotel was having a plein air day with a number of their artists who show at the gallery out and about painting the scenery at the hotel. As I was leaving I stepped out of the front entrance and saw her.
What you can’t see in the picture is that she is quite near the front portico, with lots of valets and doormen standing around. There were a few tourists milling about as well. She calmly was trimming the shrubbery and enjoying the tender freshly planted flowers that come from the hotel’s own greenhouse.
And after a hearty meal like that one needs a bit of a lie down.
And perhaps a little scritch to make one’s self completely comfortable.
And if one cared to memorialize the day, and one had several thousand dollars just rattling around in one’s pocket, one could purchase something like this bronze deer, available to buy right there in the hotel gallery. Or perhaps some other wildlife art to remember encountering the fauna of Colorado right outside the fancy hotel lobby.