Saturday, June 27, 2009

Afternoon at Lakeside

I don't believe I've painted a boat before. I think this one is Frank Roncalio's. (Is it your's, Frank?)
The BLT with avocado for lunch was delicious too.
14x11 oil on panel.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Very Cool Workshop

Attended a great workshop this week. Gregory Wood of Ft. Collins Co. offers several workshops in which participants learn about and make a piece of Anasazi style pottery, using only prehistoric techniques. We made "Mesa Verde mugs" which are an authentic Ancestral
Pueblo pottery style, used traditional surface decoration patterns and materials and learned an amazing amount about native pottery and prehistoric technology. Greg did a tremendous job with the workshop, and has an amazing wealth of knowledge that he shares with the passion of a zealot. I had a ball, and can't wait to try some of the things I learned at home. These photos are:

My Mom (who took the workshop with me) grinding clay with mano and metate

My begining, using a sandstone work surface and batt

The first lift in progress, where I used a large coil then applied gradual pinch techniques to thin the wall

The finished pot shape along with the gourd smoothing tool and flint flake cutting tool.

We looked at shards to stimulate our designing juices, and to understand design principals as they apply to this particular historic style.Posted by Picasa

Then we made our own brushes out of yucca leaves.

Planning my design. We painted the design on the burnished slip with a plant extract. My understanding is that this this black on white style is the only known example of an organic paint being used as coloring on a fired pottery.
My mug, ready to fire, with yucca brushes inside. The plant based paint reacts with this particular white clay to chemically create permanent black lines on the finished ware. Unfortunately, the steady rains over the few days leading up to the scheduled firing day filled the pit kiln with water, saturated the surrounding ground and rock lining. (Not to mention the firewood.) The group was offered the choice between going ahead with the firing, which would likely be unsuccessful, possibly destroying our work and the kiln lining, and leaving our pots with the instructor for future firing at a yet-to-be-scheduled date. Hard as it was, we decided to leave our babies in the capable hands of the master. So, I'm disappointed to return home with no tangible evidence of my hard three days work, and a little sad not to have participated in a pit firing with someone who actually knows what he or she is doing (my only previous experience was a dismal failure), but I did glean lots of good info about outdoor firing, and am eager to replicate a pit kiln and try some experimenting on my own.

In all, I had a wonderfully rich and educational few days, and I'm thankful for the chance to attend such a unique workshop. I encourage anyone interested to look into

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weld County March

Another 11x15 pastel in the classroom from a photo reference (thanks, Dad!). This one really is much nicer in real life - there is a pink glow in the sky that didn't photograph at all, and the colors are much softer and hazier than they came out, even with all the tweaking I could do. I think this one is begging to be a big watercolor. I might try that.

Really, I'm not enjoying the pastels very much - they kind of drive me nuts trying to find just the right color, fighting the texture of the paper showing through, buggering up the surface of the paper trying to blend and's just that they work so well in the classroom setting. I can tape WIPs and finished stuff up to the wall when I'm done, they don't stink or dry up or get my hands or clothes too yucky... and they really lend themselves well to a 5 minute session here and 10 minutes there.... no cleanup. Maybe I should invest in some better paper. I find myself wrecking the surface of this cheap "bogus" paper I'm using, and filling the tooth way too quickly. I have a little Wallis paper at home, but I can't justify the price of that stuff for these quickies. The Canson that I've used has a texture that bugs me.... if you have suggestions, post them in the comments! If I'm going to do these, I probably should be doing them right. As it is I wouldn't feel right selling any of them because they're all on paper that won't last.
Well, I do appreciate my administrator's (Thanks, Greg) willingness to let me do a little work in the classroom. (Some aren't willing) Very theraputic way to spend my lunches, etc., and I feel so much better keeping my hand in it a little.
Posted by Picasa