I think of myself, as many people do I suppose, as a Work in Progress. What started out as a small, wiggly, colicky mass of spittle-covered humanity just over a half century ago is progressing, ever so gradually, into something like Iteration No. 10,000,022 or so, and will (if all goes as hoped) continue in the same unpredictable path until death do me part. I like it like that, if you want to know. I have no idea where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, who I’ll be, a mere matter of months from now let alone in years yet to come, and that seems perfectly okay with me. Life continues to be a big adventure, and I’ll take it as it happens.
As a visual artist, I can say pretty much the same thing. Some works take their own sweet time to develop. Some take their own tangents and I just hang on for dear life and hope I can keep up with where they’re headed. I don’t always know what I intend to make when I begin a project, and I almost never know what I will make, given that art things sometimes cooperate and turn out similar to my imaginings and more often than not, they assuredly don’t. Sometimes the uncooperative piece ends up being much better than I could have conceived of it or even than I thought I could accomplish. A lot of the time, the end result of my artistic machinations ends in my being pretty surprised. Whatever happens in my life and my world, I’m pretty sure I’ll die surprised. Not a bad way to go, eh!
Just as an illustration, I thought I’d share a glimpse of ‘process’ that spans a fair amount of time and a couple of widely separated playtime brainstorms. Thanks to my exceedingly slow-simmering artistic processes, this piece incorporates a color background I scribbled a few days ago in colored pencil on paper and digitally melds it with an organ pipeshade design I did a few years ago (designed for Martin Pasi‘s pipe organ, an instrument made for Winnetka Congregational Church in Illinois, 2007), photographed as it was executed on wood panel in graphite and markers to prepare it for cutting and carving. Bit by bit and frame by frame, two rather disparate art projects merged into one, and that’s how it all went. This time.
A simple abstraction in colored pencil, scanned from the sketch paper.
Taking the original colored pencil drawing through a few painterly paces via Photoshop, I got a more cohesive background ‘starter’.
Rearranging the proportions of the digital artwork makes it a better fit for the mash-up I now have in mind.
The cartoon on wood panel, waiting for cutting and carving, was done in graphite and marker on the raw wood, crisp but not the look I had in mind for this use–more of a pen-and-ink appearance for now.
Photoshop to the rescue! Now we’ve gone back to black and white version and it looks more inked–almost tattooed, perhaps.
So now, I can smash together the two images–the pipeshade design and the colored backdrop. I think I’m almost there . . .
. . . ahhh, that’s better. Now instead of looking like the sun is underwater, I have a sense of sunrise or sunset. Now we’ll see if I can think of a *reason* for this image. Oh, who cares. I just like to Make Stuff when I get in the mood for it. So sue me. But if you can think of any reason for it besides personal entertainment, feel free to enjoy that concept!