I first came across Yupo paper a number of years ago in a George James video from Creative Catalyst. I always wanted to try it but a combination of not seeing it in art stores and George James’ media being watercolour, it never came to fruition. Then, I found Yupo paper when I was at the art store on the COFA campus with Andrew. I excitedly bought some and then left it for a number of months – as you do!
Finally this week, I saw a video with Jodi Ohl: “Graffiti Grunge Art: Abstract Painting on Yupo“. OK. It was time to experiment!
On my first attempt, I found out that it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Yupo paper is not paper at all. It is polypropylene. The paint isn’t absorbed by the paper; it sits on top of it. Paint can be ‘lifted off’, a technique very familiar to a watercolorist but not as common for someone who works with acrylics. Yet the layering is very familiar and enticing. Not long after finishing my first piece (above), I was already playing on a second one (see below).
Andrew was instantly in love with this new paper as there was not a piece of collage in sight. No little pesky bumps where the paper joins, or the inconsistency of finish (matte / gloss). Much to my amusement these things that I love about collage are the very thing that annoys him! Still, there is something quite beautiful about the slick finish of the yupo. It reminds me of that sheen you get off photographs. To top it off the process is perfect for anyone who wants to defeat their perfectionistic side as it is difficult to control the paint on this surface. It invites happy accidents!
This afternoon bidding on art works for the Fine Lines exhibition ended. The exhibition raises funds for a local community run organisation helping marginalised youths through creative writing programs.
Andrew’s donated painting sold for $3,000 after 32 bids. Much like people bidding for an item on eBay, there was a flurry all near the end.
I could not possibly be prouder than i was this afternoon. Not only was it a validation that there are people out there who like Andrew’s work; it raised funds for a good cause as well. I was more than a little chuffed. 🙂
I had the pleasure of going with Andrew this evening to the opening of the Fine Lines exhibition. It is held to raise money for Sydney Story Factory, a local community not for profit designed to assist marginalised young people through creative writing programs.
I wish I had a picture of the final framed piece as it’s colours are much richer than the one Andrew submitted for the catalog. Hopefully if he has a chance over the next couple of days to go back he can take a picture of it before it’s gone for good!
94 days of waiting for an answer. At the end of 94 days, the answer may be there, or it may choose to allude us for another 90 days. If it does arrive, the answer could be a relief, or an unwelcome intruder. After over 6 years of ‘waiting’ for an answer, another 94 days really shouldn’t be a problem. It seems quite a while ago that mum was given the probable diagnosis of ‘benign MS’. Right now, I’d prefer ‘benign MS’ to paraneoplastic neurological syndrome with an underlying lung cancer but I guess we don’t get to choose these things.
One can do a lot of thinking in 94 days. And given my recent history of chalazions, I have the potential to get a few more lumps and bumps on my eyelids from the stress before this is done. So I am trying out a different ‘meditation’. It seems that Zentangles have been around for a few years now. The blend of art with a repetitive action could be just what I need. So I’ve resolved to do 1 a day until we have an answer.
The cats approve of this. It doesn’t disrupt their winter lap perching like painting does. One cat has even been Tangled!
Here are the first few (in order from my first one).
One of these days I’m going to pour gravy down Licorice’s ear. Every morning without fail I supply breakfast. I am a loyal subject and feed my 2 furry masters a generous helping. Despite this routine and commitment, Licorice seems to feel that unless she sticks her head over the bowl with great gusto that the food will not land in it. I know the day is coming when gravy will end up in her ear and I don’t really want to explain that to the vet. Perhaps it is this vigorous activity she has each morning that has helped to reduce her substantial girth. The last time the girls both went to the vets there was much cheering when Licorice tipped the scales at only 6 kilos and Saffron at 5.5!
While the girls have been busy losing weight, I’ve been creating a new art quilt for them to distribute their fur on. The first quilt I made is at Andrew’s place. The second I gave to mum for Christmas (last Christmas that is). This quilt is mine. I designed it inspired by Gustav Klimt paintings. I wanted something which suggested a female form but was not pictorial.
While I dabbled in painting fabric for the first quilt I did, this one has had a more concerted effort. It’s been fun making ‘art’ on fabric and then selecting pieces of it to sew into my quilt , together with store bought fabrics.
Above is how it looked last Saturday. I’ve left it with my sewing teacher who is sourcing some woven interfacing to help stiffen the piece before trying to attach to the background. Interfacing or not… I’m expecting there will be a few curse words trying to fit the background into those curves. Still, it will be worth it in the end. A one of kind lap quilt for me to snuggle under… next winter!
‘I need a giraffe’, I text. The reply comes swiftly. ‘Can’t you just use a spotted deer and stretch it’s neck?’ I consider Andrew’s suggestion briefly. No. I get that it’s only a paper spotted deer but stretching its neck still sounds unethical. I decide to wait until I can photocopy and enlarge myself a giraffe from my well used Dover books.
Thankfully work has a new photocopy where the ‘mirror image’ option is not so hard to find. I used it infrequently on the old machine, so each time I would start my hunt again through the excessive number of incomprehensible icon splattered menus to find it. This is part of my work/life balance. I enlarge my giraffes at work rather than taking myself off to officeworks and standing in queues. Luckily for work I don’t enlarge that many giraffes. I fear lumping a 6 metre, 800kg+ african animal on the photocopy is probably not great for the machine.
The creation of this – unfinished – piece, is also part of my work / life balance. Someone asked me if I had a new year’s resolution and I said no. Upon reflection I realise it is probably to have a little more ‘painting’ time. I have even tried to take my art to Andrew’s place and do some there. I’m not sure if this will be a successful strategy as I tend to be a very messy artist, unlike Andrew who seems to paint in a contained fashion. Personally I don’t understand this. Perhaps it is because he only uses paint and drawing materials (charcoal, pencil etc). He doesn’t tear up papers, transfer images (which results in paper splinters all over the art surface) or work at quite the same ‘everything in my way is collateral’ pace. Then again, only a bad workman blames his tools. I make a mess when I cook; when I work; when I do anything actually. I am just a messy person. I seem to become so absorbed in what I’m doing that I develop a tunnel vision. It’s not until later when I turn my head that I see the trail of destruction I’ve left. Sometimes the ‘turning of my head’ can take days, or weeks.
As for the meaning of this art piece? I have no idea. Its had quite an evolution. This must be the third incarnation of this piece. Instinct said, ‘I want a giraffe.’ Discovering that all giraffes from my stash had already been used, I tried to consider other animals but none would do. A giraffe was my first thought, a giraffe was what it had to be. I know this piece isn’t finished. I’m just waiting on instinct to tell me the next move.
‘What are you doing tomorrow?’ asks Andrew. I think I should reply something sensible. Buying cat food. Tidying the house. Doing the Christmas shopping (my mother has already finished – GROAN). But I don’t feel like doing any of those things. I feel like playing.
Isn’t it odd that a child who doesn’t play is considered peculiar, weird, ‘at risk’ of developing life’s essential social skills, yet playtime as adults is something we sneak into the crevices. If we can disguise our play as having a physical or social benefit, then that’s ok. None of my play does. There is nothing physically strenuous about mixed media painting, or sewing (aside from stabbing myself unintentionally with pins).
I started to write this post by taking the photograph of the partially completed quilt top to the left. I then hopped across to the daily prompt at WordPress to check out the theme. It’s a daily prompt that I use maybe six weekly! It was playtime. It surely must be a sign from the internet gods that it’s ok not to do all the things I should be doing today. (Why are your cats going hungry? Because WordPress said it was ok!)
Some people would consider Christmas shopping ‘playtime’. For me, it is when I’m inspired… but right now I’m out of ideas and that’s the problem with a deadline. My creativity doesn’t work to a deadline and I suspect many others don’t either… otherwise they wouldn’t have invented the gift card.
The quilt above has been an on again / off again project. It has been interrupted for at least 3 other items. It has one flower / mushroom / leaf / [insert whatever you call that thing here] to go. Unfortunately it must have 55 strips, using 13 different coloured fabrics. It was my dressmaking teacher who started this fibonacci number lunacy and now I am almost there I cannot skip out on it now. This will be my first – and last – fibonacci inspired effort.
I can see why people make quilts to patterns. Of course there’s the obvious benefit of knowing what the next step is, yet, I was thinking more about fabric planning. Throughout this quilt I find myself rummaging through my sewing bag counting up small strips of colour in an effort to ascertain how many more strips I need and of what colour.
Of course my squirrelling, resource hoarding brain is already planning what I can do with the leftovers. I was painting the other night and had collaged on a woman with a ‘fright’ plastered all over her face. As the only other thing in the piece was a butterfly, I felt this looked rather stupid. Andrew face-timed me in the middle of my pondering. (Is face-timed a word?).
‘I can’t find what I’m looking for… I want a gargoyle I think!’.
Seizing this opportunity he says to me – ‘See, you have too much stuff.’
‘No! I have not enough!’
The postscript to that particular story is that I found a dragon, only to have a paper transfer failure. (See that mottled dark patch between her and the butterfly… that is the failed dragon. More like a decomposing dragon… hmm… wouldn’t that be smelly???)
Hmm… now I have lost my train of thought. What is a train of thought anyway? I’ve got an image of a freight train carrying alphabet soup in each carriage… ok… I think I’ve lost it now. Whatever piece of sensibleness this blog post had at the beginning is now truly up the creek with a beetroot and ham sandwich! It’s time to play for real instead of with words.
Oh… and buy cat food.
The base of this piece is all newspaper from last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald. I bought the paper thinking that I would do something else entirely. As I flipped through it there were a number of articles on bushfires including photos. I picked these out and then started to select any photograph that had a warm ‘glow.’
After creating a background, the piece hung around for a few days before I decided to draw a woman with a fish on her head (based on a blend of two drawings from a Dover Pictorial Archive book of 1930s Spot Illustrations). Unfortunately I’m very rusty. The fish was fine. The woman’s head was not.
And so it was that I fell back to my collage materials to find a head that would fit under the fish… which as it turned out was mine!
I did make some attempt to blend the photo in to the background with paint but my ear and hair remain untouched.
I wouldn’t call it a great piece, but it’s finished just the same. I of course had cat assistance throughout. This time mainly from Saffron who seems to think the art table is her table (photographic evidence below to support this accusation). There’s so much junk on the art table it’s a wonder that she fits at all.