Thursday, August 17, 2017

string arrangement

The theme advances in the art room of Carrollton Elementary School, in Carrollton, Missouri. The classes that began on Wednesday in Ms. Jan's art room have something NEW to enjoy. Compare Vertical Color Tab #1 (2014) and Vertical Color Tab #3 (2014) to "String Arrangement (2017)." You will observe similarities. This time I am interested in putting thin colors end to end. Diagonal strands floating across vertical lines appears again.


Two minutes. First strand was red. Soon a dozen red strands. Then a yellow. A second yellow. Thin tied around thick. Standing back to see the whole arrangement. More trips to the bin of yard in the supply closet. Some lines attached with Tacky Glue. Sticks fast, quick. Easy. Then strands placed up high as I could reach while standing on a chair. Creating depth - placing some close to the wall, still suspended. Others hung from the ruffles of weaving that leaned outward. A gentle embellishment.

North wall behind the teacher's desk. Kraft paper weaving (2013) 5 feet by 10 feet. String Arrangement (2017) is the lower fringe.

Will the students notice it at all?
Ms. Jan tells me they will.

Excuse me. 
She has asked me to
dangle the cloth fish
and the colorful paper fish
from the ceiling in her art trailer
over at the second building.

Yes, I will.

Friday, August 11, 2017

University of Nebraska Art Alumni reunion

You were in the same sculpture class I took under Thomas Sheffield.  Duane Grosse
Friday night at the closing reception Duane Grosse remembers me. He has a sculpture, a cylinder of carved marble on a large organic section on tree. The bottom of which is gnarly bumps and twists and the table side up orange polished wood. A lamp crowns the marble tower. It looks solid and heavy and I know immediately Grosse approaches his materials with an engineer's mind. 

I remember doing a bronze in Sheffield's sculpture class. The bronze lady bent over with her hands on her knees and her chest hanging down. I shared with Grosse how it took me more than a dozen fitted section of plaster to make that bronze come out so well. Five inches tall by five inches wide - a bald headed female. These years later I have not ground off the unwanted metal. Not knowing what exactly to do with it. It has not seen the light of day - anywhere. Nude subjects are acceptable in college, but not for elementary grade school art.

The names listed on the wall are not familiar to me. Alumni participants my age, the ones who agreed to submit one work for viewing, mill from room to room in the Eisentrager- Howard Gallery wearing name tags, their graduation from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln some thirty-seven years ago. Conversations revolve around the classes we took in 1978 and 1979. Teachers like: Thomas Sheffield, James Eisentrager, Keith Jacobshagen, Michael Nuschawg, and Gail Butt.  

(photo courtesy of Brad Krieger)

Brad Krieger was a teacher aid to Professor Gail Butt. The instructor who had him paint all the still life bottle white. Reflections on glass bottles were a distraction to the students, Krieger recalled. Later Krieger did the same thing in the art classes he taught. It helped students to focus on the forms.

Bradley W. Krieger work (double click to enlarge)

In 2002 when I drizzled glue and paint over oyster shells for a painting I loved the dispersement of pigments. (See next detail.) This is why I REALLY ENJOYED the surface treatment of Brad Krieger's painting, ABOVE. Nuanced. His patience and careful produced an exquisite variety of patterns. The rinsing off of pigment using mineral spirits. Wow.

 More on 2002 painting here 
 And HERE.

Krieger recalled hearing my father speak once on the second floor of Richards Hall in the auditorium. The art professor from Seward spoke on serendipity, he said. Listening to the story just blew me away. Thanks Brad.

Me and the person I am talking to, we have both had Keith Jacobshagen in Illustration and Design classes. Though he painted he never taught a painting class. The oddness of teachers being older people. Can I call them people? Telling us what to do. Never seeming to "have a life." Now as grownups ourselves, look at the amazing artwork these "teachers' have created out there. I told her how I loved observing the passages of color Jacobshagen used in a skyscape at the O Street Kietchel Gallery. 

One gal who had once modeled for art classes - told how the watercolor teacher was kind and gentle to the younger female students in class. But she had seen him bark at older females, telling them how to watercolor by making a scene about it. She was glad that she remained neutral.  She had no troubles in watercolor class.

Matt was a current second year undergrad. He told me about working with resin epoxy. About the dusty free room and the two filter mask he wore to keep the fumes out.

(photo courtesy of Brad Krieger)

One gal had nine small square canvases. I enjoyed the thin white veil over portions of the red. And the mark making she did that tied the sections together. I learned later her name was Cathy Patterson.

Portions writing on notebook paper created ambiance for one work. Tiny hangers with sewn garments in a doll house closet. Two dozen folded notes with bright-colored ribbons on the spine. The details of the crafter exhibit so much care and precision. The name of which I do not recall.

The seven I listened to made remarks about my painting. Calling it "plein air." Noting that it was spatial. How it was done quickly. Michael Villarreal said that the acrylic work had passages that read like oil. Matthew Sontheimer said it was well observed. Soundbites I that appreciate.
Passages read as oil.  Michael Villarreal, MFA grad student at UN-L.
It is well-observed. Matthew Sontheimer, Associate Professor of Art Painting, UN-L.
This encounter was worth driving up for. Though home for me is in Carrollton, Missouri - I have seen that those who submitted artwork - continue to find satisfaction working with materials in 2017. Many live in Lincoln and have their support communities. I am glad to be counted among all of these artists.

Alumni from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s School of Art, Art History & Design showed their work this summer in the exhibition “Nebraska Alumni Artists 1979-1982” in the Eisentrager-Howard Gallery in Richards Hall.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

underneath brace

When the wind took down the two hack berry trees in May, large limbs were permanently pressed against the earth. I have harvested these long thick limbs with handsaw and hatchet. The one by four planks I am using require a brace underneath for the span they cross. 

Accessing the limbs I have, and figuring out how best to butt it and nailed together. I've been pleased how particular parts have fit. Grateful to Jesus for his help. The energy to hold elements in place, the endurance to hammer and nail, the balance to chop with my hatchet, to sweat and persist and succeed. 

With ground limbs out of the way there is more freedom for my tall 62 year old frame. Fewer protrusions above my head to run into. Ha. Ouch.

At first I only focused on a high platform on the north end. Dreaming that one day I might perch up there myself. The steel ladder is too clumsy and too large to maneuver from within. But I did manage one day and carefully rose the steel rungs to view the "said platform." And guess what? The space was much smaller than I imagined it to be. A six-foot man does not belong in that space. The younger version inside me says to hold out hope.

  Those are one by fours from the local lumber yard.

From the beginning I've been trying to figure "a path up" to the "high platform." The fallen trees lie on their side in my yard. Everything is parallel to the ground and inclines go this way and that. I shared my dilemma with Tad. The third grader-to-be pointed straight up. He likes the idea to make the ladder go from the ground straight up to the platform. The next week I located one solid branch to fit that bill. The other vertical had many smaller branches on it. I hog-tied the smaller branches in next to the core with clothesline. Got the entire package jigsaw positioned vertical, threaded upward between the fork of other lofty branches. IT WORKED.

The jury is out on the "ladder rungs." I nailed one inch branches that I could not bend. The boy will test that out next time he visits. Am hoping he is lightweight enough to successfully rise.

Last week I turned my attention to the south end. My goal: a platform just three feet off the ground, between the two hack berry trunks. A place to be within his capacity and mine, and anyone else for that matter. It is not shaded. The sun makes that area very hot. Working towards that solution.

Still under wraps is the short path, above. My hope is to see what ideas come out of the boy.

No power tools here. My short hand saw, the hammer, and the hatchet.