Thursday, May 30, 2013


Construction of my daily compositions, as a friend calls them, has slowed down a bit, as expected. For two reasons; our summer semester started, and I had to slow down as I needed to start doing more composing of the forms.

The first group of works were kind of like 3d gesture drawings, I jumped in not knowing or really planing where I was going. As forms, commonalities, and relationships began to develop I knew I wanted to slow down and make deliberate decisions about where to go next. The hard part is not losing the freshness and spontaneity apparent in the first works. So far so good. I started adding larger laminated sections and fabricated parts that required clear decisions and planning in the construction phase. I like how things are going, and they are getting bigger and stronger. I also decided it was time to start experimenting with finishes. Hand painting was not going to work, too may inaccessible spaces for a brush and many of the works will not come apart to paint individual pieces. So I tried spray paint and although it requires great patience the results have been very pleasing, and I am getting the bold saturated colors that I want. I have an excellent spray system, but right now I am using too small a quantity of paint in any one color to justify the expense of the paint itself, and there are so many excellent spray paint choices.

Right now I will be doing more of my daily compositions in clay, mainly because my intense summer teaching scheduled will keep me in the USM studio pretty much 40 hrs a week straight for the month of June. I will have several hours a day to work side by side with some of my upper level ceramics students and so far it has been rewarding, and they seem to be getting a lot out of seeing me work too.

I'll still work on the wood ones, but at a slower pace and probably on weekends. My goal with the clay and the wood is to get bigger.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Daily Compositions

This rainy stormy day makes a perfect opportunity to get some writing done. The semester is finished and I have a short break before I have to get right back into it with a double header June semester; two studio classes, back to back will make for an exciting and probably manic start to the summer.

A tornado, a new chair search at work, and a number of other events have conspired to make this a hard semester to get into my studio. To some extent, after being extremely productive last year it seemed pretty natural to slow it down a bit but I was finding that as the spring wore on I was getting meaner and unhappier the longer I stayed away. I had sculptures in national shows in Wyoming and Louisiana in the early part of the year and found I was needing to go a different way with some new work, but which way?

By the time February came around I was jonesing for a fresh start but knew that with my university commitments I couldn't and didn't want to get deep into something large in scale. I wanted to work in my home studio; I knew the time alone would be very important. That on it's own proved be a huge project; with a major squirrel infestation last year it was a giant project to get the space back in order, never mind replacing all the insulation and cleaning out all the nesting material that covered nearly every surface of the shop. I also needed some new tools and had to repair another to get everything in place to get going.
A new Shopfox belt/disc sander, the "big" purchase of the year. Love it!

A router table for my router

New tires for my bandsaw
So I came up with my sculpture-a-day project. I am well into week two with a series of small works that I am doing out of MDF. It's going really well. Some very good ideas and forms are evolving. A few are less interesting to me, but I see them as exercises. For example the last one I did was all rectilinear forms all at 90 degrees to each other. Less exciting than some others but the idea of an exercise is to force yourself into getting it done and then realizing later the unexpected connections and relationships that have occurred within the piece. I may have to skip a day coming soon, but that is not so important anymore as now I have some really good ideas and am starting to build some that are bit more complicated in their construction. It's only natural to progress to more involved works where I am making more and more specific decisions about forms, relationships and construction techniques.

When I showed these to an artist friend of mine she called them, "my daily compositions", I like that idea.

When my mom viewed them she saw puppies, so I guess they have become part of my pack, my constant companions, like my dogs, that sit on the floor of my shop waiting for another to join the ranks.