Monday, March 31, 2014

Not Quite a Vision of Spring

This is what Spring is looking like in Erie as March came in like a lion and ignoring the old saying,  went out like one as well. Pretty much acted like a lion in between for that matter. So not only are we the snowiest city in the US, but this is the coldest winter in the last 30 years for us as well. It has put a huge impediment on any winter beachworks and I've been working in the house since mid-December as the studio still has ice in the water bucket. We just hold out for the inevitable. All the Spring birds are back in town, so it can't be long.
Went down to the beach to see if winter had done anything to the Beachwork. This is what it looks like under last night's snow. There is some damage to the top and somebody has vandalized the lower wall, but it is still encased in ice in places which might cause some problems as the thaw begins.

Here is a shot of the lake. Some open water is visible way out, but there is still more ice than not and I would expect that to last another week before we start to see the big break up.
Just a shot of the ravine with the latest five inches to fall.
In anticipation that the lake will return to a liquid state at some time in the near future, I've been doing some Pattern Recognition pieces of water. Below is a 24 by 24 study to test out some new colors and techniques for imaging water. I like the result, so I am currently working on an extended experiment that will include some 3-D forms that will be floor pieces placed in front of a wall mounted piece. The wall mounted piece is under this study. It is 30 by 40.

 This is the first piece of the year. It is 6 feet tall and 2 wide and three deep. It took so long to do that I am so worn out by it that I can't really say anything more. I need some distance from it before I can talk. So that is what I've birthed in 2014 so far. Hi Julie...I must admit I was not in any way tempted to eat it. Thanks for the information.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Frozen In Time

In the first week of February and the deep freeze continues. Day after day of single digit temperatures and lows below zero. January had a couple of days above freezing but the new year has been the coldest that I can recall. Erie also is the snowiest city in the US according to the media, but I question that. Somebody has to have had more than us. I have not been able to work in the studio yet this year. I have moved operations indoors for the time being. Usually the cold will drive me out of the studio for a week or three, but I have now been in exile for seven weeks. The piece below is the last piece of 2013. I have incorporated some of the "Beachwork" ideas into the painted medium here. It is six feet long and two wide. It is not exactly what I had in mind, but it turned out OK. I'm closing in on the first big piece of 2014. I hope to have it done by the end of February. It is another sculptural type painting.
I have attempted to add a video here. It is the first time I have tried such a thing. It is a panoramic view of the frozen lake from atop an ice dune right in front of the current Beachwork. If it works I might be motivated to branch out. My fingers are crossed.
This is what the "Beachwork" looks like at this point. It survived the winter storms intact and is now awaiting further work once Spring unlocks the beach. This is the view from straight on...

This is the view from the check dam facing west out over the lake.
This is the view of the whole wall from out on an ice dune. To give you a sense of scale the project is over seventy feet long. New ideas for extending the project are brewing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Magic Mushrooms

The latter half of October has been grey and wet and cold, more like a November, but one of the things that kept it from being a total wash was this amazing crop of fungi. It was almost supernatural, the way these things kept popping up. The first one was right outside the west door of the school, under a pine tree. It was about 10 inches in diameter. It had collapsed under its own weight.
This monster was attached to a side of a tree on the bluff overlooking the lake. It was a good 18 inches across and a beautiful orange that didn't reproduce so well in the light of the overcast sky. Like a fungal corsage for the tree , it was beautiful against the bluish bark.
The gills on this one, also found outside the school, are just amazing in their delicacy and precision. Mr.Bass from The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet would be experiencing paroxysms of delight. If you didn't read that book growing up, you missed a wonderful flight.
 Another spectacular umbrella, this one had a spectacular orange and yellow cap with sesame seeds on it. What will nature think of next?

 This thing is the behemoth of mushroomdom. It was at least a foot across and about as round as a basketball. I've seen some big ones like this before, but this was by far the king. It had split open which kept it from looking too egg-like, but the first time I had seen it, it looked fit for a dinosaur embryo.

Friday, October 11, 2013

In Preparation for the Fall

The Fall has been kind to Erie. The rains have been few and gentle and the lake is keeping us warm. This day is not the first 70 degree day of the month, nonetheless the leaves are starting to change. Here are a couple of paintings from the summer, the top one early, the bottom one most recent. I'm still making excuses to use the Alizarin Orange. The bottom painting has doors that open up and inside there is a strange little bone and wood construct that I didn't photograph, so you will have to come and see it yourself. It is a most unusual relic.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Long Time Gone

I am not entirely ready to return to this place. Much has happened since the last post that has changed  my life in ways that I am only beginning to understand. So this is my first try. The painting immediately below I finished on May 20th, the painting at the bottom is the first painting I finished after May 21. They are for Jesse, whatever that means.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fishkill Art

The last time I went down to the beach to make, the ice dunes had just disappeared allowing the winter fishkill to come ashore. It had already occured at the peninsula weeks earlier with great pungency, but ours was not nearly so intense. Not to say that we didn't have a good deal of carnage, but not like the carpet that the bay received.
 So when the beach gives you fish, make fishonade...metaphorically speaking. So here is a nice fish circle about 4 to 5 feet in diameter. Made from the lake's largesse of fishkill.
 Frankly, I like the results, but they didn't last long. The following day when I went down to work, school had been let out.

Silence Broken

So it has been a while since I have had time to update things, but I have a space right now to turn around in. I have been busy finishing up some paintings for a show that I had opening in early April and some other responsibilities. I did a lot of work on the beach as well so I have been busy making. But prior to March, I wasn't spending much time on the beach as the weather has been so bad, but I'd rather not dwell on that depressing stretch of winter.
 In preparation for the show at Campbell's Pottery, I did some practice pieces like the above piece. There was an abundance of sticks on the beach as of late so I worked up a couple of variations. I also continued to add to my cobble pile below.

This weekend I went down to check on it and either it was damaged by surf or by idiots. I'm not entirely sure which. I will restore it when I get the chance. It was getting pretty big. The stick project above was also damaged, but it could have been a dog and not an idiot.

I have been able to addto the west end of the wall as a large seam of stone was revealed when the ice dunes receded, so here is a shot of where we are as the season begins. Right now we are in the dangerous time. Ice dunes are gone and Spring storms can be pretty destructive. One has already approached the front of the wall. If it makes it through April, I'll have high hopes for survival, but there is no telling what freakish storms the lake has in store for us.

Here is a couple of shots of the ice dunes calving off and disappearing into the April lake. This was one of the few sunny days we had since February.

Even when the weather is unpleasant, this place can still pack a beautiful punch.