I do not often paint large pieces. There’s a completely different physicality involved. The way I have always worked, when I see a piece in my head before starting out, included in this vision/conception is its size. If I envision it small, it’s not merely a matter of using larger paper to make it big. I can only make a thing as I saw it in my head.
With Victory I saw it big.
I enjoy the challenge of leaving my comfort zone. Most of my paintings are 11×17, this one would be 20×30. I have a large wooden easel. It has heavy brass machinery. I pull on a loop below the ledge upon which the canvas sits to raise or lower it on the wooden axis. There is a wooden crossbar on the bottom which connects the two front legs of the large tripod.
While painting the lower section of the piece, I sit on a stool leaning forward. My feet rest on the crossbar. It feels as if I am on a ship, brush in hand. Seas calm, seas stormy, call me Ishmael.
When I started this Cinefield® I had decided to stretch myself as I had no deadlines. I work no digital magic on my pieces, but the photos I use are of course kept on my computer. Being a little under quarter of the way done with the piece my computer of seven years gave up the ghost.
I wanted to research what best option was for new one as unlike last time i bought one, I had concrete ideas of what I was going to use it for and what I did not need it to do. The research was the first delay. Once I determined what I wanted, it would take about two months for them to make it for me. I cleaned up the paper chad snowdrifts, switched to painting and some of my other visual projects.
As I was not merely sitting on my hands waiting, I did not mind. My third delay, the computer showed up and upon getting it set up, my equally old printer died. The amount of work she had done for me (ships & printers are always referred to in feminine form) made it not so shocking. I had already been looking at new printers anyways. Knowing ahead of time what I wanted and needed made the wait for a new one shorter.
The printer I got is geared towards photo film too. I bought few different types to experiment with while working to finally finish this piece. I was curious if I would be prevented from getting the flush edged fit as happens with my pocket printer mini-cinis. That film is akin to instamatic camera film, this is not, so I am able get the flush fit.
Aside from trying for more diverse color palette a few things made this piece different. The components consists of the paper on the old printer I always used, new printer with different type paper and three types photographic paper also from new printer. It was very different for me too in that I have never put down a Cinefield® for more than a day or so. The extended time away from it was totally new experience for me.
As is always the case, all the images are from photos I personally took. I use my tiny trusty scissors and adhesive applied with glue. The piece is 11×17 inches.
I had been about a quarter of the way through a full sized Cinefield® when my computer gave up the ghost. This meant I couldn’t use my printer, needed for components. I Switched to doing a painting. The computer I ordered taking it’s time to get to me. I missed doing Cinefield® work
I decided to use my pocket printer and do a smaller piece. Having the luxury of no deadline and no expectations of a collector, I decided to try some new things:
I inserted an In the Eights figure into the work (female figure for those not familiar with my 8’s project)
The pictures are printed on thicker, instant film like paper. When I initially was figuring out methodology with these materials, I used my regular adhesive. If that comes in contact with picture side of the film, it immediately clouds it. I Switched to glue sticks. Problem with that was that it secures the pieces only temporarily. Often times I would lay a piece down only to have a different piece fly off. For this piece I used regular adhesive, applied with a tiny brush as to control it. The tricky part was that I had to lay each piece exactly where it was meant to go because of the adhesive. A piece lain wrong I might be able to pick up but then adhesive had touched other parts.
The nature of pocket printer pieces is they are thicker and rigid so it’s an impossibility to get the pieces flat and flush. The visible seams/edge are part of the look.
The piece is 4×4 inches. All the photos are by me except the female photo which was done for me. The clock image is from photo I took of Orsay Museum clock in Paris.
I had been in the middle of a full sized Cinefield® when my computer of six years gave up the ghost. This rendered my needed printer into an expensive paper weight. I switched to doing a painting. This is 11×14 watercolor & tan paper.
errata thought on the elderly: In media & especially television, a shorthand for “old people” they often will reference big band music (usually Duke Ellington or Benny Goodman). A few Rolling Stones albums just hit their 50th anniversary mark. If you do the math, an “old” person was not swinging their gal arround on the dancefloor to “Take the A Train” but rather Hendrix’s electro lament for a decades turmoil & new found freedoms.
Lyra water soluble graphite sticks have become one of my favorite mediums. That with a brush and pocket pad and i can do painterly pieces even when sitting at a cafe table. And I need not sprawl out taking over the table. I am also able to maintain discretion as I would hate to be like one of those people stateside who feel it necessary to go to Starbucks to show everyone that they are “writing”.
Aside from fully realized works, i continue to woodshed, hands, feet, whatever is in front of me. It is akin to a musician practicing scales. Both Renoir and Matisse when in the twilight of their years said something along the lines of it being a shame that they did not have a few more years left as they both felt that they were finally starting to get it. Coltrane before and after a concert or recording session would still put in time practicing. This has been my overall approach too. Regardless of how my day is spent, an hour or two at night woodshedding.
I do not go for the outwardly dramatic thing in my sketching. I let the organic truth of whatever the thing is create the emotion. A sort of raw reportage without any preconceived agenda. All pieces are either 3×5 pocket pad or 4×4 pocket pad. My 3×5 pad has circled the globe with me more ties than I can count and is always besides my bed or in my pocket during the day no matter where I am in the world.
This season, I was really able to trim down the amount of equipment I brought with me. For painting, I had my custom cut 4×4 in both standard white watercolor paper & brown multi media paper. The plan was to buy a standard block once here.
I actually enjoyed challenge working small, and people liked the weird hanging chads too. So I decided to stick with it, forgoing other paper.
With smaller paper you have less space to create tension & release. The density I prefer in my compositions also trickier to achieve.
Here is my portrayal of flesh which I never tire of doing, a night scene trying to show shadow without blatantly showing darkness of a room and detail from a favorite statue in The Luxemburg gardens. All are 4×4
About to head back to Europe shortly. I had previously written about being able to utilize a pocket printer as to be able to do Cinefield® pieces in my Paris studio. As I live right around many great art supply stores i am sure that I will be able to find adhesive. However, I have never been one to leave things to chance. So i have been experimenting with glues which i can bring with me and are not as outright industrial as my adhesive.
The nature of my pocket printer pieces is that they are small, index card sized at most, 4×5. The first one I did, I tried a liquid glue stick of Elmer’s glue. This wasn’t ideal as when it got on the front side of image it caused discoloration. Also it was so liquid-y that there was no way to really control it despite the fact it was in a pen like delivery system.
In an absolute pinch I could have made due. My final attempt was with the glue sticks with which school children work. This took a bit of learning curve as pieces and sometimes entire sections after the fact would pop off making a brief snow flurry of cut pieces upon my table.
I got a handle on how to best utilize the glue stick, although it made everything more labor intensive. The good thing about it is that I can easily pack a glue stick in luggage w/no hassle from TSA.
There is very little chance though, because of the nature of the glue, that pieces I do would last. The photo I take of the finished piece will be the work/the art. I can’t fully explain why, but there is a freedom in this.
Of course it may be non issue as I find my preferred adhesive once moved back in.
Like all my Cinefield® work, every image is from photos which I personally took. One can see more edge/line of each piece, that is the nature of using pocket printer. The printed material is akin to business card sized photos, there is the impossibility of seamless edge blending as i often achieve w/my regular paper pieces. this piece is roughly 4×4.
My collage work in a very short amount of time became part of who I am. I lamented the fact that for longer trips/residencies I would not be able to do them. I began to investigate ways to perhaps make it happen.
The easiest thing would be to just use magazines/newspapers from wherever I was. This didn’t appeal to me as I have always prided myself on only using images from photos which I personally took. I researched pocket printers.
My Cinefield® are very time consuming and how to get the images aside, I had already had it in my head that were I able to do them on the road I would go far smaller as it would render a trip pointless were I to spend entire time alone in studio working on a piece. I also have other creative things that I want to do while on the road and the way my normal Cinefield® are made would have eliminated that possibility.
Another practical aspect of going smaller is that all the pocket printers I was finding seemed to utilize types of film. I did not want the raw materials to become cost prohibitive in constructing them.
For obvious reasons it was important that the photos not be laminated which eliminated many of the choices.
I found a device which literally fits in jacket pocket and feels solidly built. It connects to phone via blue-tooth which allows me to use any/all my own photos. The film is not exorbitantly priced although I will stick to my normal paper when not on the road.
My in general goal for doing pieces on road is small in size and utilizing no more than one packet of film per piece. Time wise, no more than two days working on it as this will allow me to also paint, write and absorb wherever I am in the world still.
The small size allows me to also do other things for the hour or so at a time that I am pressing a piece (basically laying heavy books atop it to get rid bubbles).
The film required a completely different touch and technique. In general I have only done several smaller pieces. Surprisingly, they are harder to do than normal size. There is less room to create rhythm/tension & release. What were already small piece often need to be made even smaller.
This is my first piece using the pocket printer. As always, it’s only images from photos which I took utilizing my trusty scissors and adhesive applied via brush.
It is 4×5 inches. surprisingly, it only took seven photos (the photos for pocket printer are about the size of a business card) I did it in two days. I was pleased with result and the fact that I pretty much met all the “rules” I had in mind.
The news is bleak. The internet is fertile grounds for scams masquerading as charities or people who want to help. A hero of mine, José Andrés has a charity whose goal is to feed those in need. It eschews any politics for the basic notion that you can change the world by feeding everybody. This charity is not solely concerned with the Ukraine, although they are boots on the ground there now. Over the past few years, wherever there have been natural disasters he and his colleagues could be found trying to help out via feeding those who are hungry for whatever the reason.
I recommend to all to at least take a look at their site as it’s worthwhile.
I draw every day, no matter where I am in the world. When on the road, at the very least I will do quick guerilla sketches and woodshedding in my ever present trusty pocket pad. Of late most of my formally done works switch off between Cinefield® and painting (during the execution of which I will still woodshed every night).
A new painting had been started but then it rained out every day with the forecast calling for the following week to be more of the same. I only use natural sunlight to paint by so this was not good for me. I put the painting aside and went on to start Cinefield® Where the Sauce is Deluxe. Between the weather and how labor intensive that piece was the painting sat untouched for four weeks, something I had never done before.
When I went back to work on it, it felt strange initially but I quickly found my rhythm. I am very pleased with the piece. Although I always end up over the course of working on a painting having to let it dry a day between coats. As matter of personal preference, I was not a fan of having a piece left untouched for that long a duration.