01 August 2008

Engineering co-creation

It's the day of a Total Solar Eclipse, and I've been painting since about 5 a.m. I woke around 4:04, when the eclipse started (on the East Coast), and I tried to get back to sleep, but it was nothing-doing. So, I got up and went to my studio to see what was becoming of the pieces I've been working on.

I had given some thought to modeling some figures for friends of mine, to capture the spirit of the day, but I got caught up in painting.

I've been wanting to paint for some time -- with brushes, I mean. I do that type of work periodically, when I want to hone my brushwork. But honestly, it's just not me. I don't have that kind of dexterity to manipulate the brush pressure and direction, and my lines end up being more blobby than I want.

A whole lot more blobby.

Not good.

Now I'm presented with several choices that I can see:

Either keep at the brushwork and try like the dickens to sharpen that skill, running the risk of developing a skill that really isn't "me"... and losing valuable time in the meantime, when I could be creating works that are much more in line with what I'm like, and my orientation to the world. I figure I stand a pretty good chance of becoming a middlin' brush gal, if I keep at it.

Or I can cut my losses and limit my brushwork to occasions where I'm not as dependent on precision as my smaller works are... and develop ways to "engineer around" the blobbiness that tends to emerge from my attempts at straight lines. And let the paint do the actual work.

I choose the second option. Already, I'm coming up with ways I can not only have the precision that I want, but also work with the media I have in ways that are totally appropriate to them... and in ways that let them "do the work," using their very qualities to achieve the effects I'm seeking, rather than trying to impose my will on them.

It's an interesting concept I'm working with here -- how do I relate to my media? How do I work with them? How do I honor them as equal partners in the art I create, while still bringing my own vision through?

I think it's a new approach whose time has come -- a new approach for a new time.

The "standard issue" approach to creating art (and being respected as an artist) appears to be all about "mastering your medium/-ia"... putting in long years of work in your preferred media and then showing that you've got total control of it.

It seems (to me) to be the way folks go from art aspirations to art school to art vocation out in the world. And it seems to be what folks look for when they're considering the skills of artists in question.

But my approach is not to "master" the media, but collaborate with it. Learn its ways, its temperament, its moods, its inclinations... and then blend it with my own vision and bring forth something that is not all me, not all the paint/pastels/gouache/watercolor, but rather an amalgam of us all, equal partners in the creative process.

It sounds a little hokey to me, talking about "co-creating" artwork with the media themselves. A sort of "media animist" approach. But I am essentially an animist at heart, and I do believe that all things have spirit within them.

I'd much rather work with the media, as the media, and allow it to "do its thing" in the creative process.

Ultimately, what comes out of it is an exponentially greater expression than I could achieve on my own, by exerting my own "mastery" over the colors and textures I choose to work with.

25 July 2008

Re: Testing my posting from afar...

It's time to start posting more of my artwork on this blog. I've got literally tens of pictures and paintings and drawings, and it's time I digitized them and put them up.

The past six months have been eventful in ways I can't even begin to express.

Now, it's time to get back to art.

Update before July is out...

I've been really, really quiet, for some time, now. I've been doing massive amounts of research on creative process and visual thinking -- just kind of following different threads, and seeing where they lead me. Researching as an artist in search of material, as an individual in need of explanations, rather than a hard-science inquisitor with facts to prove or disprove.

It's been a deeply personal process, and I can't say I'm entirely comfortable with everything I've found, but it's all grist for the mill. It's all material for my ongoing work, and in that respect, it's been a very productive number of months.

I've been drawing a lot. I've been writing a lot. I've been "distracting" myself a lot... which is what I used to think, till I realized (just this morning, in fact) that I haven't been distracting my attention, I've been deepening it. I just didn't realize until very recently, how it was all put together.

I really have to "trust the process" (much as I detest that expression) in this. Have faith that there is some underlying reason why I'm "scattering" my attentions and going off on different tangents. I really have to believe that the visual/spatial part of myself that's so very, very hungry for information and understanding, knows what it's doing, knows its own needs, and knows how to get itself fed.

I've been feeding that part of myself, lo, these past 8 months... or rather, it's been clamoring to be fed, and I've indulged it. I can't say that I was feeding it, 'cause at a very fundamental level, it wasn't a conscious choice on my part... I wasn't fully aware enough to 'get' that I was feeding it, only that I was running around in all different directions, compulsively consuming vast amounts of information about stuff that a part of me suspected might just be very, very important -- and it was.

Well, whatever the process, that part of me that was aching to be tended to, did in fact get fed. It had its fill (for now), and I am coming away from the past 6-8 months with a vastly more complete understanding of myself, my life experience, my way of relating to the world, my way of relating to myself and my friends and family, than I have ever had before.

So, the distraction has been well worth it. And I am feeling a whole lot more centered, more capable, more able, more connected, more comprehensible, than ever before in my entire life.

It's quite remarkable. But enough of the words. That's where I'm at right now, but only time will tell how this plays out in the world beyond my head. And that, for me, is where it truly counts.

21 January 2008

Angel Heart Ruby at the Heart Art Gallery

Angel Heart Ruby, originally uploaded by kaystoner.

"Oh, my God...." is what everyone has says to me, when I first show them this fractal, Angel Heart Ruby.

I've now got an online gallery of my heart art -- www.heart-art-gallery.com -- where you can see this and other Angel Heart works. The detail is just breathtaking, and when each image is available as a desktop wallpaper for your computer (800x600 and 1024x768 resolutions).

I had Angel Heart Ruby printed at Imagekind -- I've got a gallery there of my Heart Art -- http://kls.imagekind.com/HeartArt -- that lets you purchase fine art giclee prints (on paper and canvas) of this and my other fractals.

The print quality from Imagekind is just astounding. I never expected it to look as great as it does, with all the gradations and color contrasts... but the first time I opened the tube and unrolled the 30x24" matte print, I gasped... Such vibrant colors... such intensity... and I'd never fully guessed, from working on my laptop, just how dramatic the effect would be.

But then, it does look different in a large printed format, than it does on my little laptop screen.

Truly, this is a miracle of computer science, and I'm incredibly blessed to have "midwifed" it.

02 January 2008

New fractal artwork at my Imagekind Gallery

I've got new fractals posted at my Imagekind Gallery

Earth Burst
This round, reflective fractal holds the darkness and deepness of the earth, while at the same time nestling the intricacies of Gaia's innermost secrets along the meridian of the work. It stands in sharp contrast with Gossamer Burst - which is much finer, much more delicate than Earth Burst, and it makes a fitting compliment to Gossamer Burst, which feels much lighter and airier than this piece. This is a more "basic" treatment of the same concept -- as above, so below. Very much in and of the earth.


Gossamer Burst
This round, reflective fractal really jumps out at me as a sharp contrast with Earth Burst - it's much finer, much more delicate, and it makes a fitting compliment to Earth Burst, which feels full of earthiness. This is a more ephemeral treatment of the same concept -- as above, so below. But this time, in dreamtime.