Tuesday, July 19, 2011

today, inspiration, and a work in progress

Here is what today looks like, in my studio.

today, in the studio

On Sunday, Mike and I went to the SoWa Open Market in Boston's South End (only 10 minutes from where we live in South Boston) and ended up strolling through a couple art galleries near the market. Bromfield Gallery was showing Kathleen Volp's "Meridians and Parallels" collection, which explores the geometry of ordinary objects and simple lines, and I was in complete awe of the crazy amount of different textures and materials in every piece. I especially loved "the Veronica" and "Meridians and Parallels"... the second canvas of Meridians and Parallels was so intricate, with so many layers of graphite, collage, pvc, gel and (I think) image transfer that I got so caught up in the details I barely noticed that the canvas was representative of a white men's button-down shirt. In the Veronica, a rough stick and layers of crusty graphite and gesso sat upon a delicate canvas of lace, while in "I Still Miss You", only a sliver of corrugated cardboard or or some kind of wood was peeking out from the seam in what might have once been an embroidered tablecloth. More than one of her paintings had "rust" written in the materials description... how cool is that?

I think the universally present theme in Volp's work that I appreciated, and in all artwork I'm drawn to, is that it initially appears as a whole cohesive work. But, upon closer inspection, there are lots of individual works within it that play off one another, usually where contrasting techniques collide or different subjects contrast... Mixed media is such a great medium to both work in and admire because it allows for a lot of varied textures (and thus, stories and expressions) upon a single canvas or board (or in many of Volp's pieces, vellum and pvc or a shirt.) 

Seeing her work, and enjoying the surprising inclusion of such a vast amount of materials, inspired me to go home and pull out a few bits and pieces of wood, fabric, metal and hardware I've been saving to use in just the right piece-- which I have decided is this one.

today, on my desk
today, on my desk
today, on my desk
today, on my desk

I'd love to get a little more inspiration for this project... have you ever used a particularly unusual material or medium in your art or craft?


  1. Ooooh!
    I am so excited to follow you, Mae!
    I love your heart and you provide such
    inspiration to me!

    One day, (when I have more readers!) I would love
    to feature you on my blog! Would you like that?
    But I want to wait until my readership grows so that it would be more effective!


    (It's a little tattered in there; currently working with a graphic designer to bring together some element to make it more cohesive...)

  2. I do love using gesso as a painting medium (rather than just a primer) as its chalky texture is like nothing else... but I've also done a couple of paintings with cement!

    If you decide to try it, don't forget to wear protective gloves as cement suddenly gets very hot while setting.

  3. I love to use rusty bits... washers, nails, metal screen, doorplates, etc... And I used to do the same thing, save my finds to use on "the perfect piece", but I realized there is no perfect piece (but sometimes I still have to remind myself of this). Just use it... get it out of that drawer and let it see the light of day and use it. You will ALWAYS find more stuff so you might as well stop hoarding and start using... it's so freeing and so much fun!
    I really like your art and can't wait to see what comes from this wonderful pile of inspiration that you're showing us. Enjoy.


  4. Kelly- thank you so much! I'd be honored to be on your blog anytime!
    Caroline- I feel the same way about gesso... I never used it on my canvases when I'd paint with only acrylics, but I love using it as a layer or texturizer on mixed media peices!! I've never thought of using cement... Do you use industrial/Home Depot grade, or a craft store brand?
    Esther- I totally agree about using materials rather than saving them... I'm almost the opposite of a saver, I'd use everything right away if I could but sometimes I can tell a scrap or material just doesn't look "right" and I don't want it to look forced, you know?