Too Much of a Good Thing is a Good Start

Mixed media artwork: Everything but the Kitchen SinkI’ve mentioned before that I follow in my esteemed father’s footsteps when it comes to his motto that ‘anything worth doing is worth overdoing’; my approach to many ideas and creative processes tends toward the Baroque, if not the Rococo. It’s not that I adhere to the design precepts and concepts of either of those eras, but I do have leanings that reflect their love of what others might easily consider excess. It’s one of the reasons I so often end up working in mixed media—combining a variety of seemingly unrelated elements into my works enables me to take advantage of the strengths of each while not laboring overmuch to accomplish a number of disparate ends with the same piece.

It’s also a reason I get pleasure out of making found-object artworks. There’s a lot of both fun and challenge in working to see the possible relationships, whether visual, conceptual, or metaphorical between all of the parts I’m using and figuring out how to showcase those ideas by the way I combine the multitude of bits and bobs. Old or familiar objects, put into unexpected juxtaposition, can take on new meaning or bring surprising revelations of their possible connection and mutual influence when my proposed paradigm shift begins to provoke any change in a viewer’s expectations and experiences. But it’s not necessary to alter anybody’s thinking very radically to make these kinds of artworks fun, provocative, and entertaining to make, anyhow. So I just throw everything but the kitchen sink at the project of the moment and see what the combination inspires in me.

Looking for analogues in the world that make fitting ‘ingredients’ for mixed media art and found-object pieces can bring useful and sometimes quite surprising insights into myself no matter whether anyone else shares my sense of the connections’ logic or my pleasure in the linkage or not. And since, as you must know by now if you’ve visited here before, I have never been skilled at making money of any sort from my artworks, let alone making a living from it, the ability to fully and effectively communicate my delight in making these odd discoveries and building relationships between unlike elements through art is just plain icing on the cake. I feel lucky enough to have had the happy moment of recognition myself. If I get a little carried away, can you blame me?

Little Alvin Grows Up

Just having a little fun with digital drawing tools again. It’s nice to have art toys, isn’t it. I know that my latest little dragon friend wouldn’t have been hatched, let alone gone through his spotty youth and prime and grown into a fully fledged friendly monster, if I hadn’t had access to such enjoyable and versatile playthings. Little Alvin here is happy to meet all of you.Digital illo: Little Alvin 1 Digital illo: Little Alvin 2

Alvin the Artful

From the day that he was born, he has been drawn to things

That make him want to skip and jump and stretch his wavy wings;

His destiny is in the works and he’s a tool of fate

Designed to entertain, amuse, and if it’s not too late,

To educate his artist friend in how to make him change

From skinny little squiggle lines to something rich and strange,

And older dragon, more mature, more layered, nuanced, wild,

And her, the artist, to more skilled—but happy as a child.Digital illo: Little Alvin 3 Digital illo: Little Alvin 4

I’m No Coward

Would that I had the blithe wit and urbane persona of a Noël Coward, but alas, I operate on a lower and more plebeian plane. And for those who are keeping score, yes, I am a big chicken, if that’s what you were reading in today’s title. Still and all, I think of myself as being less than hideously fearful when it comes to self-exposure as an artist.graphite drawingThough the upshot of all this may be that my audiences become unwitting consumers of drivel and bilge at least part of the time, I also remind myself that there is some credible evidence, historically speaking, that the greatest masters of the many forms of art are represented in the present age only by those portions of their respective oeuvres that they or others chose to retain. Long have I wished that I might gain access to, if you will, the Rubbish Bins of the Old Masters to see something more accurately representing the whole of the bodies of work that led to the known and treasured glories. So here I am, letting all and sundry look into the underwear drawer of my art closet, so to speak. After all, I think that I’m merely admitting to what my betters may have left to the artworkSo I’ll keep showing off process and behind-the-curtain action from time to time, knowing as I do that not only are folk wonderfully gracious and patient with me even when critiquing but also , and more importantly, that I appreciate those of my fellow artists who are willing to share the same access to their gifts with me. We all have our weaknesses. But when it comes to showing off my work, I’m no coward.