Thursday, December 30, 2010

follow the process

One of the things I loved about ceramics in college was the sensation of muddy slip and texture of grog, clay which has been fired then ground up, sitting in an encrusted bucket of liquid grit, oh yeah!!
 (above and below) Here are close-ups of a 1978 "floor piece," from my senior year at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I had my own 10 by 10 foot studio space on the second floor of Richards Hall. The 24 by 36 inch paper was taped to the floor, and I was dropping bits of texture right into the paint. Look closely and you will see sunflower seed shells. A "whole-other-wonderful" strategy was in place to savor and excite.
That "strategy" or "process" was about being physically engaged, reaching over, mindful of the taped edges, precarious steps across the image, looking down, hurling liquid color, drinking in silence that surrounds me, the intermittent cooing of birds from the eaves of Richards Hall outside my window, the sharpness of the temperature in the room, the charged excitement I felt within this Nebraska winter, immersed in the piano and vocals of Billy Joel from my Radio Shack cassette player. Independent, wide open and moving about in my studio space.  The swirl of it all, focused, creating, doing, moving, being intentional, occasionally stopping to assess what the image looked like. An entirely different mindset from "landscape painting." Enriched, hands-on, visceral.

       This morning, sponge in hand, my eyes creep over gridded particles, taking in the general appearance, and hand dabbing liquid pigment on raised grit, my eardrums awash with the jazz music of Spyro Gyra (above). That same "process" is taking place here twenty-two years later. A large heavy support is centered on a stool and rotated as I sponge. There is a balancing act, muscles wrestling the support, and an awareness of my studio space. The underlying grid, made earlier in the gel medium, resurfaces. Selective sponging the grit is key. 

In this video you can see the "intention" for yourself. I am watching as I dab. Surely my father worked in a similiar manner, that is, experimenting with materials, and expecting to be surprised by something new. Working from a calculated hunch. Setting the work aside. Coming back, drinking the image in, being open minded. Assessing "which results" I like, entertaining what to do next, moving forward with the next hunch. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

laying down layers sunday afternoon

click on triangle to view hands-on video (3 minutes)
close up - what would you call this material ??
click on triangle to view screen work (6 minutes)
wet - do not touch
click on triangle to view third layer (7 minutes) 
click on triangle to view residual materials (4 minutes)
Rein made art out of rubber tire patches, dryer lint, burnt waxed wood, and discarded woodwind instruments. In all the years I watched him create on his studio deck there were no cameras running to record his creative process. His manner of creating was up for speculation. Today I am out in my backyard applying layers to panels for a 2011 exhibition. My video camera is set up to record some of my manner. Perhaps my father went about materials in a similiar fashion. Trying this and attempting that, playing around with texture and glue, in the sunshine, out in the backyard. My artwork is not that of Rein. but Rein's grownup son does likes to build. What materials do you think I am handling?
wait till it dries

click on triangle to view overview ( 2 minutes)  
click on triangle to view the difficulties with drying too long (3.5 minutes)
works in progress for 2011 - warm weather - hands on with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Death Cab For Cutie and Stan Getz saxophone to boot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

my summer spread

June began with me eager to learn. On the way to scout a site Tuesday, June 8th, I back tracked to a wonderfully shaded hollow near Sixth and Locust. I began Hogan Creek (left), 11 by 14 inches, on a cradled Ampersand panel, 4 - 5 pm. It began to sprinkle and the tree canopy kept me dry for 15 minutes. Then I had to hurriedly pack up my kit. The truck up up the hill and around the corner. I set a wooden easel stand off to the right as a prop. Envisioned my figure standing beside it. Staying within my color palette of Raw Umber, Green Oxide, Brilliant Blue (phthalo blue+phthlo green+white), Hansa Pale Yellow, Chronmium Red Light, and Titanium White. Double click on images to view them larger.
It has been a very wet summer. On Wednesday, June 9th, all the places I had looked forward to painting at were underwater due to the heavy rains.
This turned around to my advantage. There is an area behind Eckard's Flooring on South Main and Wabash that floods. I parked and walked down beside the corn field where water was trickling out, scoping out a scene. Then, walked back to the truck, brought out a folded lawn chair and my paint kit. I selected a primed 9 by 12 inch Raymar canvas panel. Confident it might be a keeper. My notes say I worked from 12:15 - 2:30 PM. It seems that it is usually a two hour window that the work gets completed in when painting outside. I could imagine the-One-who-guides-me had flooded the field just so I could practice painting the sky reflection on water with greenery breaking the surface in rows. Oddly enough, the very next day the water level had dropped and that scene was all gone. (Wabash I, above) That panel got me fired up to try a larger 11 by 14 inch cradled Ampersand panel with the sides masked with blue painters' tape.

Next, worked from 2:50 p - 5:15 p. Wabash II (above), 11 by 14 inch, flood water on field owned by the Lock family. I re-worked the left tree bank to drop back further.

Thursday, June 10. Content with the first two panels, I wondered if I could capture a larger scene in the same manner, 16 by 20 inches on cradled Ampersand panel
. Notes say I worked 6:30-11:00 am at dawn. Starting with light wash dabs, focusing on the lighter cloud patterns, laying in dabs for placement of the tree tops and bottom vegetation. As the morning progressed, the light changed.

Click on two minute video on site.
Moss Creek Crossing (left).
After lunch at home, I went out again Thursday, June 10th, worked on Hogan Creek, from 3:30-5:30 pm. I stayed within the light and shadows from the other day.

Friday, June 11, regular morning bicycle jaunt begins thirteen miles south of Carrollton, bikes are loaded in the truck at home and transported to Highway B blacktop, from there our group pedals eight miles, half way out and then back to the truck. Photo of me and my bike from last winter (right), minus the heavy coat, of course. When I am out there most times I take in the scenery, making mental notes of where I should return to paint. Following the routine, bikes are transported home, unload the them, load paint kit and supplies and return to the tarmack. Today was a wash out. I looked at sites and wondered about clouds. Set up my lawn chair on top of the Kipping levee, and let the wind blows through me. Later, moving to the a edge of field, sat in that chair, wondering about clouds.

Worked from 5:00 p - 5:30 p, Vista IV (Cloud Arch) (right), 8 by 12.75 inches on panel,

and from 5:30 p - 6:00 p, Visa V (Cloud Capture) (above),7 by 12 inches on panel

Tuesday, June 15, our group pedaled further down through the hamlet of Wakenda. Low, big, awesome clouds filled the sky, monumental gray behemoths overhead. This gave me hope. I could paint "any horizon" with those clouds in them and have a great painting.

Click on three minute video to see the clouds I was thinking about.

Thursday, June 17, I was on my way down to Route B, when a hollow with water next to the south-bound on-ramp caught my eye. Carefully pulled off onto the grassy shoulder of the ramp, out of the flow of traffic, set my safety blinkers on, set up my paint kit beside the truck on the grass. Worked over a 10 by 7 inch study (left) from in 8:30-9:30 am

Then, pulled out a primed 11 by 14 inch canvas, and composed a scene that used elements from the study. The orange dill sprigs to the left, the bright leaves in the lower right foreground. Pushing back the upper left tree bank to create some distance. The trail of light blue leading back to a horizontal willow branch and further on. The lavender tree trunk to the right. Playing with the orange brown tree reflection on the water left.

South Main Hollow, 11 by 14 inch (left)

Tuesday, June 22, parked on bridge north of Wakenda, walked up and down the paved black top, looking at flooded farm land. Interested in dashes of light orange next to blue sky water.

Decided to push back tree row and make bluer like the sky. Light red used for clouds and horizon. Worked 10:10 am till noon.

Vista 6 (
North Field, Wakenda) (above), 9 by 12 inch on panel.

Click on triangle to see sweep of Scott Levee, out where I bike, three minutes.
Wednesday, June 23, bike routine, return to B blacktop with paint kit, worked from 1:30 p - 3:30 p.

Scott Levee I (above), 8 by 10, raymar canvas panel, blonde frame masked with blue tape.

storm clouds rushed over with a halo of rays at the top of the cloud, hurried to catch it all as it churned, from 3:30 p - 4:30 p.. Scott Levee II (left), 10 by 8 inches on Raymar canvas panel

Saturday, June 26, biked first, return with paint kit, worked 1:30 p - 3:30 p, looking south from route B.

Vista 7
(left), 8 by 10 inches on Raymar canvas panel.

Next, used Raw Sienna with blue, instead of Cadmium Red Light with blue, to create another kind of haze, 4:30 p - 6:15 p. Scott Levee III (above), 8 by 10 on Ampersand cradled panel, with edges masked with blue tape.

Wednesday, June 30, returned to levee south of Floyd property, scouted out two scenes, worked 11 a - 12:30.

Floyd South Levee I (island) (above),8 by 10 Raymar canvas panel

Next, from 2:00 p - 4:00 p. Floyd South Levee II (island) (above), 7 by 10, cradled panel.

Next, drove across levee toward kipping farm, scouted out pool, set up on the tailgate of truck, worked from 4:00 p - 6:00 p.

SW Levee From Kipping Farm (left), 8 x 10 inches.

Thursday, July 1, parked on Floyd levee looking east, yellow triangle of corn, with tension from foreground over to the farm buildings, worked from 10:00 p -1:00 p.

Palette colors for corn work.

Click on triangle. Five minutes. Staying hydrated in the sun, sizing up picture using finger frame, establishing triangle composition, rechecking composition with finger frame, establishing horizon line, rechecking composition with finger frame, my preliminary sketch is with wash.

Click three minutes. Mixing off palette, laying in colors.

(left), 12 by 12 inch canvas

Saturday, July 10, scouted pool along Standley Branch creek, west of Remedies Pharmacy. Created composition to include sparkling water edge, reflection of wood shapes, and some sky. Worked from 3:00 p - 4:30 p. , Tenth Street Pool (above), 9 by 12, on 90 lb watercolor paper.

Monday, July 12, returned to Moss Creek pool along Highway 10 to Norborne, to make the reflection work with the sky pattern I had chosen, set up kit on truck bed to give me the height and angle to correctly view the clouds and sky on the water, worked 2:30 p - 4:30 p.

Moss Creek Crossing (above), 16 x 20 inches.
Next, continued from back of truck, 4:50 p - 6:50 p. The Brilliant Blue has a tendency to go dark fast, tried to mix lighter hues, make the shaded clouds work better. Along The Rails (above), 11 by 14 inches.

One day, while out biking I noticed the bean field under cloud shadow with the distant light patches here and there. I wanted to paint a scene like that. Tuesday, July 13, could I do a painting like that today? A cloudless day? The above photo shows you how cloudless is was.

Click on triangle to view two minute video. This is the bug repellant I used all summer long with good results, Listerine in a spray pump. Here is my infomercial on that and some of the photo references I used to get the shadows I wanted.



Vista 8 (above), 8 by 10 inches on Raymar canvas panel, 11:30-2:00 pm

Monday, July 19, muted farm buildings,
lightened sky, finished piece, 8:00 a - 10:00 a.

Monday Corn (left), 12 x 12 inches

Behind me and this corn scene lay the Missouri River, scouted location, set up kit.
How to make near tree bank look farther away? Make 'em faint and smaller, worked 10 a - 2 p.

Missouri River, West of Floyd Levee (above), 9 by 12 on 90lb watercolor paper, framed.

Friday, July 23, scouted two scenes along Floyd levee property, worked 9:45 a -12:15. Lunch break in cab of truck.

Floyd South Levee III (left), 9 by 12 inches on 90 lb. watercolor paper.

After a peeled orange, string cheese, and lots of water, created this composition, envisioned tree bank as an island.
Floyd South Levee IV (above), 9.75 by 13.75 inches on cradled panel,

Saturday, July 24, worked three hours on this representational scene.

Willis Hollow
I (left), 9 by 12 inches on 90 lb. watercolor paper
Next, to liberties to create composition that was behind me, to my right, and connect the two scenes into one, added my legs and paint kit.

Willis Hollow
II (above), 9 by 12 inches on 90 lb. watercolor paper

Next week my school day job resumes.
I am recupping indoors, with medicine to fight off an infection I got from being out in the elements.
Except for being laid up the last three weeks, this summer has been fantastic.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

* * *

I am the one who ran away.

The Disciple That Fled by Karl Marxhausen 13.5 x 16.25 inches
Crayon and ink on paper

Double click to enlarge image

The Flogging of Christ
by Karl Marxhausen 17 x 17 inches

Crayon and ink on paper

In the 1800s, a public hanging occurred downtown, outside the courthouse. That time a murderer was hung. Had Jesus been put to death during modern times, the mob that killed him could easily have been the Missouri Klan or angry farmers, housewives or villagers like me. In the background, the Carroll County courthouse towers like a silent spectator by the glow of imagined torch light. Christ Lynched Outside the Carroll Country Courthouse by Karl Marxhausen 17.5 x 14.5 inches Crayon and ink on paper

One so sincere so remarkable decided to let public injustice flood his senses with trauma exhaustion swollen eyes bleeding back torn ligaments stomach cramps pain name calling hatred and shame, so that I could forgive myself and my oppressors just as he did. He would die, be anointed for burial, lie dead in a rock tomb for days, be raised from death and be fully alive, but for now he is alone, aching, tempted to back out, hounded by doubts, hot and sweaty, determined to do it for a people he has yet to meet, readers like you and me. Despair of Christ by Karl Marxhausen 23.5 x 18 inches Crayon and ink on paper