In the Eights: The Beautiful Orlov sisters

This is part of an ongoing series. The genesis of the project can be found here with new installments appearing throughout my blog;

I now have two printers. One is black and white and used just for text. The other is a high-grade/hi def photo printer for my visual work.

As I went to print up the first of these 8’s I forgot to toggle the switch so that it printed on regular paper in black and white. I actually liked it and so am including it here. The other black and white image was an element of chance occurrence, I lifted the paper up and the unfastened components formed the face. It’s looser than my intentional 8’s but I still liked it.

I am always seeking models for the series as it continues to be ongoing. When I am not the one taking the photos, they are done specifically for me (as opposed to found images). There’s no digital magic just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with brush.

this was by chance composition when all parts not glued down slid during moving paper

Cinefield® We Are Romans

This was my most labor intensive piece. I am very fortunate to have the luxury of what I refer to as “wiggle room” which means no deadline, no audience or collector expectation. Untethered from these things, I can explore and evolve.

Regardless of how accomplished a finished Cinefield® ends up being, I always feel as if I have come away having learned something new. The desire to evolve and go one better as to best deliver an emotional payoff being my raison d’être.

This piece is 11×17. Like all my Cinefield® every i mage used are from photos which I personally took. There is no digital magic. I used the traditional method of scissors and adhesive applied with a brush.

We Are Romans

Cinefield® Go,Baby Go

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.

addendum:

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.

https://wck.org/

“Cinefield® Go,Baby Go” 4×5 inches

Cinefield®-Van Dyne Annulated

Once again, I sought to challenge myself with my Cinefield® as to avoid lapsing into mere mannerism. As with my last piece, I went with a limited color palette, in this case one reminiscent of some of the submariner greens Degas used. I also stuck to sea changing via my cutting, only one image.

I was pleased with the results. As is the case with all my work, I only use images which I personally took the photo(s) of. There is never any digital magic as I utilize the traditional method of my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush.

Cinefield®-Van Dyne Annulated 9×12

Lyra

I have specific pens, pencils etc that I use. Of course I constantly challenge myself by using lesser quality equipment, it makes using preferred stuff feel easy. As far as travel kits, i am forever tweaking that, the cases and holders all my equipment goes into. I always have three kits; the one for just bopping around the city. This is the smallest and its just a refillable pocket pad, retractable pencil and in the pocket sleeve of the pad a blender or two. This is used as I sit in cafe or bar locally, just doing quick guerilla sketching. As a side note, this is always within reach of my hand and has been around the world with me. I realized that because of the pandemic, it saw zero action for a year plus! It has sat in drawer of one of my tabourets awaiting its chance to see some action. My other kit is for short trips four days or less of being away from home. This is pocket pad, 5×8 pad few traditional pencils of different degrees of hardness and two types mechanical pencil & blenders. It’s still fairly compact, easily carried in book bag. Short trips, I do not bother bringing any painting accoutrements. My last kit is for longer trips week or more and this includes paints etc. The long trip kit is the one i tweak the most often as it’s important for me to work but very quickly space within a suitcase can be taken up.

I discovered during the pandemic a small company that made cases geared towards road warrior artists. The case was very flat and it came loaded with “free” pencils, erasers and all kinds of other sketching swag. Obviously I have not had chance try it out on road. I did try the pencils and sharpeners. All of it was of such low quality it got thrown out. It contained a small cellophane pouch inside of which was three short, pudgy graphite sticks. It reminded me almost of tailors chalk. I had never used it before, so decided try for hell of it. I enjoyed challenge of it and was actually pleased with pieces i did. My way of thinking was that if I could make something happen with low quality version, then using some made by a quality company would be even better. I started doing some research. One thing i found was that the Lyra graphite sticks were said to be basically the same thing, with benefit of being able to sharpen to a point where as the sticks were basically short rectangles.

I had bought one along with a sharpener ages ago but had not used it. I started messing around with it and found i really liked it, the pieces I did were loose and had a painterly effect. Lyra also makes water solvable ones. I bought one to try. It is a game changer for me. It fits in my pocket and all i need is that and one brush and I can do monochromatic watercolors. This will allow me to paint on short trips and not have to up the equipment i take. The actual process is quicker than my normal painting and best of all, I do not need sunlight and can actually do these at night. Two things not possible with my regular painting.

here are my first tries with it. I am sure that the more I do this, the better i will get but I am already pleased with results.

Cinefield® – Dante

I never want to repeat myself. There are some of my direct peers whose works I enjoy but after knowing them for a few years came the feeling that once you had seen a few of their pieces, you have seen it all. One way to sidestep this is by constantly mixing things up, leaving one’s comfort zone.

For myself, I do this by shaking up my methodology, intentionally putting aside things which I know will work procedurally or which I have done already a few times.

I always like to have my work possess a sort of open ended quality so that the viewer feels that there is a story within but it is up to each person to decide what it is.

This time I changed that up making a work which is intentionally programmatic.

The two books i return to time and again over the course of my life are Homer and Dante. I am far from the first artist in visual arts or letters to find inspiration within the pages of these two works. The appeal for all of us is that they offer so many possibilities of dramatic moments. And even two artists showing the same scene will present two completely different works.

I did not choose a specific scene from Dante. Instead, it is the idea of him following the shade of Virgil, seeing all the shades in their free falls on their way to the various rings.

I only used images for which i personally took the photos. The very bottom section is water rather than flames/lava. I felt that any kind of flame thing would be a little too on the nose, also i had not taken photos of any flames. As always, there is no digital magic. I just used my trusty scissors and adhesive applied with a brush.

Sheltering in place (still), I used whatever materials I had in hand. With all the figures, I got some cardboard, from packages delivered and constructed a little stage. I then painted it white. I painted each figure, applying different coats as to get color variations of darker and lighter blues and reds. I then took photos of the figures from various angles as to have it seem a myriad of different types of people rather than merely the five or six. Top views, side views etc, further create the effect of many types of people on their way to the deserved rings.

I always have a design in mind beforehand and primitively sketch it out. More often than not, as I am actually creating the piece, i tighten up the design. This piece originally had several clock faces from photos i took of the great clock at the Musée d’Orsay. I was going have a row dark blue versions of the girl seen in upper left corner as if the line were falling off top each clock to join all other shades. I was so pleased with the effect of depth and movement in the background of the vast crowd, i decided against it, feeling that it would detract.

The piece is 14×17

In the Eights: Six Sisters

I had been working on a large project and so knew doing a full scale Cinefield® was not possible. I get equal enjoyment from my ongoing “In the Eights” series. Their benefit being that they do not take up as much studio space and so I can do them at same time as something else.

For this series within the series, I had the pleasure of Kini Rao posing for me. She fully embraced my ethos of truth is beauty and her pieces are all the more stronger for it. No digital magic is used, just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied by brush. Each one is roughly 3×5

I am always considering new models for the series. If interested send me an email.

In the Eights: Six Sisters

Cinefield® – Bing-Bong

Over the course of the past year have adopted the rhythm of doing a  Cinefield® then a painting (while maintaining steady flow of nightly drawings & 8’s). At the start of a painting it rained for days off and on. I put it aside, the novelty of doing so being in itself of value for my creative process.

I started a new Cinefield® , the creation of which I do not need sunlight for.

Even though the shapes are lush and abstract, I wanted to see if I could achieve an open ended, open to interpretation sense of narrative.

“Bing-Bong” The piece is 11×14. As always all the images are from photos I personally took. There is no digital magic just my trusty scissors and adhesive applied by brush.

CINEFIELD® -Constellations

To anyone that reads my blog, it is immediately apparent that I take what I do very seriously. I am writing from the point of view of someone who is a professional working artist, so some of my advice or point of view will not apply to the hobbyist or anyone who has a “regular” job to earn their daily bread.

Numbers on social media & blogs still seem of the utmost importance. Whether intentionally sneaky or not, many people hunt for images, taking without attribution anything that strikes their fancy. You can copyright your image and if it is taken you have recourse. With concept or ideas however, it’s a different problem. If you have a concept that you work to articulate and brand and someone comes along with ten times the followers or who spends half their day online working their sites, it oddly becomes theirs. Unless you have taken the proper precautions.

I have gotten really into my collage and every time I do one i have learned a bit more. I feel with life in general, one must every now and then have an inner dialogue, even about established things that they know, as further articulation can provide more depth and layers to the thing(s). This week marks a year that I have been doing collages. (not my sole output as there has been a novel, short story collection, essays, paintings and countless drawings). While I still like my early ones, I recognize that they have gotten better and better.

One of the reasons this occurred is that I was constantly refining my methodology and philosophy while honing my skill. It may not be necessary for every artist but I came up with a description & mission statement for my collages. I created a word Cinefield® which is now a legally registered trademark.

Cinefield® “Flat, two-dimensional visual works of art on paper which create the feeling of movie like narratives through a composition of image rich and story like printed pictures”

I did this to show my seriousness in the medium but also the great affection which I have for it too. This is my second piece under this newly minted label. As usual, there is no digital magic. I used my trusty scissors on photos which I personally took, applying adhesive with a brush. The piece is 11×14.

CINEFIELD® -Constellations 11×14

Toronto

During the pandemic I have made constructive use of my time about 90% of the time. Of course now and then I need a break from working & thinking. I’ve tried watching some of the genre shows people talk about. The shows which take place post-apocalyptic, the writing at best is “I wonder what is going to happen next?” Missing from all of these type shows is a largely untouched upon important component.

Of course in middle of a zombie outbreak first consideration is escape, safety. Shelter, food and ability to defend oneself are the primary concerns understandably. Some of these shows have been on for years and they do not really show the toll which would be taken on humanity collectively with the loss of culture. Making things (of beauty) just for the sake of doing so or if one does not have those skills, then viewing them. Life without culture as non-stop collecting or searching for the basic essentials would see a profound rewiring of mankind’s way of acting and thinking. After “X” amount of time, would it even be worth sticking around?

This mental fast food made me reflect on our current situation. I do not think it the duty of artists to put specific messages, rhetoric or agenda in their works. I do however think that, especially in in trying times, it is every artists’ duty to do their thing, create something beautiful.

It serves as a reminder of the better part of humanity awaiting us all when the trouble is over. It unites us all in reminding us there are things which are not unpleasant that link us all all together. One can not avoid bad times, we are all trapped by history. As artists we can put beauty out there, a page saver for when our thoughts and actions can once again look past merely surviving.

Offered up beauty. As usual all the images are from photos I personally took. No digital magic was used, just scissors and adhesive applied with brush.

“Toronto” 11×14