Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What do you see?

It's a bird! It's a plane! It is what ever you want it to be.
I read some where a wile back that, "Orange is the color of creativity".

Art can evoke a whole lot of emotions: laughter, sadness, anger, joy, love... It is interesting how two people can look at a piece of art and have two totally different views about it; what they like, don't like, and how it makes them feel! What do you see when you look at the picture above? (No it is not a psychology test)

I have always liked playing with colors, mixing them together to see what will happen. When my parents gave me my first watercolor set at about the age of 3 or 4, that was what I did. It fascinated me and I would sit for hours mixing the colors together to see what would happen. I still like to do that sometimes, it can be a lot of fun. It’s amazing you can make any color you want from the three primary colors, blue, red and yellow. Some mixed together are beautiful and others are not, but when they are put in the right place on the canvas they can make a masterpiece! No one ever told me to start painting or drawing, it just was something I wanted to do. It happened at about three or four years old and for me it has always felt natural to paint, draw or do anything that has to do with art! I remember I loved it when we started to paint in Kindergarten. When it came time to stop, I didn't want to. The teachers practically had to drag me away from it! Mark! It is time for a story and a nap! But I didn't want to do that. This was much more fun! When my parents came for a parent/teacher’s conference the teachers mentioned it to them. The conversation ended with, “Maybe he will be an artist someday.” When you are doing what you love time doesn't seem to matter. I believe that all of us have a God given talent. Something we were born to do. It is not the same for everyone. As you all know mine is art! If you don't know what yours is, find out and don't ever waste it!

The artist at work. I believe I was either three or four years old here. Sitting on the dining room floor mixing colors together to see what would happen. Still love to do that today. Well, not sitting on the dining room floor.

My Mom took these pictures of me. She was so proud of her little artist. That was my first watercolor set.

OK, back to the psychology test, just kidding! One day at work I was playing around, not while I was working, I would never do that. (I hope my boss is not reading this!) Anyway, I got this idea to mix some ink together on pieces of paper; I wanted to see what would happen. My first attempt was using blue, yellow and red ink, the primary colors. Then I went on to using whatever I had at hand from my discard ink can. I used to work in the press room and still do sometimes. When we get done printing a job, whatever ink is left over that is not worth saving, goes into a can for recycling. I took one of our ink knives, (Glorified name for a putty knife!) and I applied the inks on one end. We have a couple of different widths and I used one that was 1-1/2” wide. Then I took that and set it down at about a 60 degree angle and proceed to twist the knife with the ink on it as I dragged it across a sheet of paper. It starts out with the original colors and then as you continue to twist and drag, the colors start to mix. I got some pretty cool effects at times depending on how far I twisted or dragged the colors and how thick I laid it down. Well, I think you can see the end results!

This is my ink waste can. I would not use any of this stuff. At the time I did the first art I had a better selection in Da can! for my resent creations I used some of our process inks.

I know you can't see the color of the ink's vary well here but the two at the top are cyan and magenta, (blue and red). I try not to use to much of them because they turn black quick once they mix. 

The knife set and ready to go. 

Twist and drag. I like to use a light pressure on the knife so the ink goes down thick when I twist and drag it. Because I think the colors mix together and look better when I am done. 

The finished piece. The blue was probably to dark of a color to use but you get the idea.

Two more that I did with the one above. These where done about a month ago and the ink
dried a lot faster. We switched to a different manufacture with or inks. Maybe that is why I didn't have any drying problems this time.

The three above I did a couple of years ago when I first got the idea to do this. 

Printing ink was probably not the best to use for this because when I thought they were dry and stacked them on top of each other to bring them home they stuck together. Next time I will use acrylics. I know they can be laid down thick and will dry! There are some interesting mediums that can be used with acrylics and the results that can be obtained from them can be interesting as well. Check out Liquitex website. They have videos of how to use their mediums and the effects you can achieve with them.

The other “art” below (and that is what I am going to call it), is from when I was cleaning the ink out of the ink fountain on the press. I would use a 2” square piece of scrap stock paper to remove the remaining ink from the ink fountain rollers. When I scraped the paper on the rim of the can to discard the ink I happened to look at it one day before I threw it in the trash can and saw the results. I thought, “Hey that is pretty cool”. From then on I wanted to see what I could achieve. Most of the time it ended up in the trash can. Not everything is a masterpiece! You may not think that this is art or that I am weird for trying it and you may be right. As an artist, I get my inspiration from some strange ideas at times. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't! Maybe I should make some prints of these and sell them. You never know what might happen!

I love the shapes in this one.

The piece above is actually two put together. When I took the art out to scan it for this post I got the idea to do this. Sitting here putting this post together I was thinking to myself, "This is a psychology test". For me! I just love colors and shapes! 

When I started writing this post I thought about some artist back in the 80's. One did a painting that was just gray paint on a canvas. It sold for a god awful price. I also remember a sculpture that was just urinals attached to a wall. Say what?! They were the kind you would see in a men's public bathroom, nothing special about them. Any of you ladies want to come over and see my bidet art? It has pretty flowers on it! I'm being sarcastic again! Although I have gotten some good ideas while sitting on the toilet! They were both prominent artists and I don't remember what their inspiration was for doing the art. I was trying to find the two pieces on the internet but couldn't. I did find some interesting sculptures that I thought were cool art. Go to the link below and watch the video.

There are times when I find it hard to understand what some people think is art and what they will pay for! Please know that I am not trying to complain that I am not appreciated as an artist for what I do or that no one likes my art. Well, maybe I am! I have to tell myself, “Mark, they are a least doing something with their art and you need to do the same”! As an artist, trying to get out there and get recognized can be frustrating at times and I will admit that I can get angry or depressed and think “why am I doing this?” Especially when I see artists doing stuff that I don't think is art. I can't be judgmental about what other artists do though. I have to focus on what I am doing! I am not a patient man at times, maybe I should say most of the time, and I want things to happen sooner than they should! I know I have to work hard, keep painting, and show my art so I can get recognized.

The pastor at my church has had some great sermons over the last few years about not giving up on your dreams or endeavors! They have come at times when I needed to hear it. To be honest, those have been times when I have felt like quitting! The pastor made a comment one Sunday, “Do you ever feel like you are so close to making things happen but you are just not there yet? Hang in there! Don’t give up! Don't quit!” Some dreams can take a lifetime and I am the kind of person who is more likely to want to quit when it seems impossible than to keep at it. I will get an idea for something I want to do or see, something I desire but I am not willing to work hard enough or keep at it each day to obtain it. Or I will let my doubts and fears control me and I start feeling sorry for myself and sit on the pity potty! I tell myself, I can't do it or it is never going to happen so why keep trying. More than often that is why I fail. It is hard for me to talk about what is going on in my head and heart sometimes because I don't feel like people will understand! And not everyone will. Lately it has been a big help to me to seek advice from other artists and I would encourage everyone to do the same. Don't forget your family and friends also. Some days getting encouragement from someone has been just what I need to keep me moving forward with my art! There are times when I need a proverbial kick in the backside too. I have come to hate my response of, “I know”, especially when someone tells me what I know I should be doing. Hello Mark! Then why are you not doing it? There are no excuses but we all seem to have one, right! Human nature!

Over the years I have not always liked what some people have said about my art. Boy, at times it feels like they have stuck their hand in my chest and ripped my heart out. I think most artists will agree that we wear our emotions on our sleeves! As much as I don't want to admit it, I am an open book when it comes to my emotions. I think I am good at hiding them but I am not! A friend of mine, Patti Gabrielson, who is an artist also and that I work with, has been trying to get into the field of writing and illustrating children’s books. You can go to her web page by clicking on her name above. She has been going to seminars and having her work critiqued. We were talking one day about it and she made the comment that she wanted to go in with an attitude of, “Not that she was the best artist out there but what could she learn from it and apply to her art”. It reminded me of my experience with my recent painting and what I learned by wanting to have the same attitude about getting it into the art show I did last year. Always be willing to listen to what people have to offer. No matter how old you are you can always learn something new! You are all probably thinking that I am not the best person to be motivating anyone. The kettle calling its self black! But I hope that my honesty about my triumphs, failures, doubts, and fears will encourage and help others. Stay focused and don't give up on your dreams! Sometimes I think I should call this blog the tormented artist! But I refuse to think that! I am not going through anything that any other artist is or has not gone through in their lifetime. I have dreams and desires that I want to accomplish this year and my art is one of them. There are days when it seems like the dream is a million years away. I know I keep beating this drum and I will continue to do so. For me it is to keep painting this time, not giving up or quitting no matter how long it takes!

When I thought about doing this art it reminded me of when I was that little kid sitting on the dining room floor mixing colors together. Mixing colors and doing finger-painting as a kid gave me the idea to try this. I have to admit that I will use my fingers at times while I am painting. Hey, you can do some pretty good blending with them. Speaking of that, check this link out, This woman is an amazing artist and what she does with sand. Sometimes it is fun to just play around and experiment. You never know what you might create.