Lady of Bones – My Art Exhibition Self Challenge

My joint art exhibition with my sister has been absolutely fantastic so far. I have made a nice amount of sales and met some interesting people and had lovely conversations. In the quiet time between visitors one day, I decided to challenge myself to write a piece about each art work I have sold – and as of today that total is 25 items, so I have some catching up to do! Anyway, here is the first one.

Lady of Bones
I am the keeper, the protector of bones
lost or alone, I guard their hope
that time will return them, to warmth of earth
to nourish the world, to feed new life.

© Ceenoa 

Pondering if I am a “real” Artist

Hello, is anyone there? Probably not, as I’ve been gone for ages, eons, a very, very long time. In fact, I see that I haven’t posted here since October 2020, so lets just round it to “missing, alive, but just not talking because she ran out of words to share”. Seems to cover it!

I’ve just read a few of my last posts, and I’m always a bit amazed when I do, as I usually wonder if it was actually me that wrote it, because, mostly, it doesn’t sound like the me in my head does. It sounds better! Now, I don’t mean that in an egotistical way, I just mean that I am a bit surprised that I managed to write something that has an effect on me when I read it again, and that it doesn’t make me go “oh, that was just me writing it, so ignore it completely as a bit of fluff, because I doubt it can be any good”.

Ahh, I can’ express what I’m actually trying to say without sounding like a big head, but it just surprises me when I read it again and think, “actually, that is quite good”. So there, me big-heading myself on the internet.

All the above preamble is an aside to what I actually wanted to post about, which is that I am taking part in my first, real, legitimate, art exhibition, jointly with my sister Lindy, from Lindy Whitton Studio. From 19th to 30th May 2022, we will be at the Sidespace Gallery, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania. Our exhibition is called “Nature Preserved” and it’s made up of my Resin Nature Art, and my sister’s fabulous paintings, collograph and botanical printings.

This has, of course, made me question whether the taking part in an art exhibition actually makes me an artist! I am not convinced, but I pretend that it does because it makes me feel grown up, and justifies all the dosh I have spent on my hobby of the last 3 years!

The thought of this exhibition has also caused some level of anxiety, in that i just don’t actually feel like an artist, so therefore it follows that my creations aren’t art and can’t be worth much; and must, in fact, be useless amounts of money, time and energy invested into my hobby which then resembles something that isn’t “real” art!

I have been given many compliments on my art, people have paid for my art, requested I make art for them, I even love most of my art, yet I can’t quite believe it is “Art”, and that I am worthy of sticking a $$$ cost on it (that isn’t excessively humble) and displaying it in a gallery. Ah, the delight of self doubt!

Even though I have all this “am I an Artist” internal monologue going on, I WILL actually be participating in this joint exhibition, so if you are out there, reading this rambling post, wish me luck; ask the Universe to send me good vibes; say nice things to me so my self-esteem gets a little boost; if you live in Tasmania come and visit the exhibition; and finally, support my hope that someone buys something from me, from a real Art Gallery!

In Pursuit Of … #2 – Part 2

Here is Part 2 of the second “In Pursuit Of”, and as it has been a while since I posted that one (well 3 months actually), if you need a recap this is where we last left off.

  • dreaming of wood, and it’s future melding with resin
  • waking up and realising that the form I built isn’t high enough for the wood that I wanted to use 
  • making mental note to measure properly next time
  • deciding to take a detour down another creation path, and make something else that will fit into the form
  • looking through my bits and pieces to find something to inspire me
  • finding “the thing” that will lead me to creation

  • finding another “thing” that can be combined with the first “thing” to hopefully make a complete thing that will be pretty nice
  • realising that the colours of the two things are going to work really well together (happy happenstance)
  • adding other bits that will (hopefully) complement the two “things”
  • starting to create
  • much fiddling around, and many resin layers later, “Burgundy Grape”exists
  • deciding I don’t like the square corners, so doing some therapuetic destrutive shaping with the sander to get this final shape
  • this piece is still undergoing it’s final finishing (and yes, it has been months), but everytime I think it is finished, IT”S NOT!
  • I shan’t bore you with the recitation of how much sanding, repouring of resin, more sanding, coating the wood part with latex to keep it clean, and pouring resin on the other part, then more sanding – and THEN realising that there were some only part-cured wet spots in the resin, so more sanding and recoating, and on and on and on
  • oh, I just did bore you – oops
  • anyway, suffice to say this morning I am recoating the Huon Pine with latex in the hopes of doing a FINAL coat of resin on the remaining part later today, in the hope of getting an acceptable finish.
  • cross your fingers for me

This piece has tested my patience, and my need for it to “look good”.  I don’t strive for perfection, because I think that is unrealistic, and because I also think it looks unnatural in these botanic pieces.  I want folks to know that this was handmade: by a real person, who struggled with it’s birth and upbringing, but kept persisting till they created something that was pleasing to them.

Hope you enjoyed this little excursion into how my process works (or doesn’t).  I will post some finished pictures at some stage (if it ever actually gets finished).

In Pursuit Of … #2

So, here is the start of my second creation in this irregular “semi-regular” post series.

(Yes, that sounds confusing to me too – best just accept that I will randomly post stuff when I feel the urge to do so, with no set pattern or regularity, even though I may have alluded to the fact that I would, in fact, do so on a semi-regular basis!)

These posts seem to need the “stream of consiousness” approach to how the pieces start to be created, so get ready for the dot points:

    • decide I need to create something
    • look around my work space to see what is waiting for “inspiration”
    • select a 2/3 finished project that has been gathering dust on the bench for months
    • celebrate the fact that this project needs wood, and thus, a trip to my local supplier is required
      • note: it is always important to justify my emerging addiction
    • go to The Wood Guys and appreciate all the gorgeous timber
    • touch the timber
    • smell the timber
    • feast my eyes on the timber – the knots, burls, grains, colours and textures
    • let my soul free to find the weird shapes, the cracked, broken and void filled remnants of a living entity, that I am so drawn to
      • (yes, I get a bit carried way, but have you ever, truly, looked a beautiful piece of raw timber to appreciate it – you really, really should)
    • sadly accept that I cannot buy all of the timber
      • – I CANNOT!
    • buy more than I need for the current project, because, you know, timber is GOOD.
    • drive home, savouring the aroma of raw timber lingering in your personal space.
    • Table #1 (1)
    • Tabel #2 (4)
    • change your mind about what you are going to create first, and go completely off plan!
    • start all the boring prep work
    • sand all the raggedy bits – but not TOO much – I like the character of them
    • chop them in half, and arrange them till i get something I think will work
    • lay them on acrylic sheet and mark out the size for the form
    • measure, cut and sand pine boards to sizes to form the boxwork
    • curl up in chair exhausted (but satsified at the progress made)
    • daydream of wood, and it’s future melding with resin

 

………..  to be continued

 

In Pursuit Of …. #1 completed – “Inlet”

She’s finished!

Well, she still needs an Orange Oil rub down to protect her (she is at the beach after all).

To help her get to this point I just had to follow these steps:

Well, actually, there were a few more steps involved, at various non-pictured times, that went something like this:

  • pour colour layer 3 – over fiddle AGAIN!
  • wait 24 hours
  • pour clear layer four
  • wait 24 hours
  • remove the sticky embrace of the plasticine – be happy that no resin seeped out
  • turn her over and look at her back – be happy that only minimal resin seeped under the acrylic backing
  • remove acrylic backing sheet – be happy that it released so easily
  • remind self to weight down wood better next time so no resin seepage occurs
  • spend some time admiring the back – colours and “worm” pattern are lovely
  • regret that the front is not as nice as the back
  • admire the back again
  • Unmolding - Inlet - Huon Pine & Resin Serving Board (12)
  • take some photos that won’t do it justice, but you have to try
  • stop procrastinating and move on to unmolding her
  • remove layers and layers of tape – be happy that the tape did, indeed, keep the resin where it was supposed to be
  • remove the screws at each corner
  • say “there IS always one” as the last screw refuses to unscrew with the power drill
  • get a hand screwdriver and give it a twist, and it comes undone easily!
  • use the tip of the screwdriver to wedge the frame open in the corner
  • easily remove the four frames – be happy again that the tape didn’t stick to the resin
  • remind self to get more tape
  • trim off the little bits of resin that went under the frame
  • take more photos (because you are so impatient) even though you know she still needs a lot of sanding to finish her off properly – especially her back
  • go out to the wonky workshed and get the sander out – make a mess of resin dust everywhere
  • wish again that you had a dust extractor system, and a proper workshed, but then be grateful that you have a space where you can do this messy stuff – even if it is a wet, gravel floored garden shed!
  • come inside to the kitchen and get the hand sandpaper out – spend the next hour hand sanding from 400 to 12 000 grit
  • accept that your back and arm are not going to like you later
  • apply abrasive paste and polish and hand buff some more
  • take more pictures tha tyou will have to edit later – and probably discard ’cause they don’t look good enough when compared to the real thing in front of you
  • fall in love a little
  • be happy

In Pursuit Of … #1

I have just (as in right now) decided that I will start a new semi-regular (you now I actually mean “whenever-I-remember”) post about my creative pursuits – hence the title!

So, for the inaugural IPO, here is a Huon Pine & Resin Serving Board I am in the process of making.

So, the process goes something like this:

  • I want to make something!
  • Ponder what I want to make ….
  • Grab wood that appeals to me – which means it usually has holes/rough bits.
  • Go out to the Wonky Workshed and sand timber viciously, then gently.
  • Marvel at how beautiful Huon Pine really is – it now feels like silk.  Admire it.
  • Sand the boring timber pieces I will use to make the frame
  • Come inside and put tape all over the frame inside edges, screw them together and add more tape on the outside – several rounds.  (The tape is to stop the resin sticking to the wood, and make it easier to remove the finished work once it is cured).
  • Cut acrylic sheet for backing.  Add to frame with more tape.
  • Put it on a support board on the workbench and insert the Huon Pine.
  • Make sure it is level – shim the support board where needed to get it level.
  • Squish plasicine around all the outside edges, because my faith in the tape has been broken before – and I don’t want resin all over my floor.
  • Squish plasticine round the front corners of the support board so it doesn’t move and become unlevel during proceedings.
  • Mix up the resin, mica poweders and pigments (no pictured – it’s too sticky to take pictures when I am doing this).
  • Pour colours into the form, mix them up, heat them up, swirl them around until I get something I like – or until they get too sticky and I am stuck with whatever it is even if I don’t like it!
  • Regret the last minute fiddling I did to the resin – but too late, now I am stuck with it (see point above).
  • Admire the gorgeous colour pattern in “The Inlet” (pic 9)
  • Take pictures so I can make a post for Instagram and Facebook – you know it’s not real till you put it online!!!!!!
  • Wit 24 hours for the first layer to cure.
  • Mix up more resin, trying to be careful not to mix too much of the colours I don’t want to take over in Layer 2.
  • Can’t control my mixing frenyz and I make too much dark blue – it is such a gorgeous colour, but a little goes a long way.
  • Pour resin and use heat gun till I get a pattern I really like, even if the colours mix a little too much.
  • Sigh when “The Inlet” first layer disappears, but hope to replicate it on Layer 3.
  • Use the left over resin colours on the underside of another ocean piece I have had sitting on my bench for repairs – hope that works out ok.

So, this is where I am now, waiting for it to cure for 24 hours before I can pour another layer.  I think Layer 3 will be a deeper layer with only a little colour in it, in an attempt to get a semi-transparent look that will let me see some of the darker colours in the depth, and have lighter colours towards the top.  Like looking at the ocean with poloroid sunglasses (I hope).

Who knows how it will end up, sometimes it’s just going with it and hoping that you don’t hate it when it’s finished.

Take care folks, have a happy and safe Easter.

…………………………………………………………………..and remember – Clean Hands mean you Care

 

 

Laying it Out

I collected these leaves from my garden and then I played with layouts for a new resin art piece I am going to create.

Gum Leaves
Dried Gum Leaves

I like to use a frame, and then take a photograph, as it helps me “see” them better.

I wanted to use the ferns branching out from the corners, but I couldn’t get a design to work that I really liked. I think the last frame in this set is the best.

I made minor adjustments to the seeds in each of these frames below, and it’s interesting to see how each small variation impacts on the flow of the piece.

My favourite is #4 then #2 (I think) .

This was a fun exercise, but I will probably go with the first arrangement I tried (below), because I like it’s simplicity, and the fuzzy lichen on the twig.

Layout Design Options (1)
Leaves and Lichen

Wine, the Beach, the Garden & Goodnight

I have been ramping up the creativity in the last few weeks, as my big annual market is approaching very quickly – only 7 weeks to go!  So here are a few of my latest bits a pieces, hope you enjoy looking at them.

If you don’t, then quietly click away onto something you do – time is too precious to waste on things you don’t like – and truthfully I shall never know, so where is the harm?

I decided to kick things off with a bit of red wine – no, not drinking of, spilling of.  After contemplating the mess it would have been if it was real, I thought some relaxation at the beach was in order.

I didn’t want to drive anywhere so I decided to make my own – in my empty pool (well, big glass platter – but let’s not quibble with the artisitc licence).

As you know, you need to be careful of bare feet at the beach, there are all sorts of hazards, like little crabs waiting to nibble on your toes. I successfully avoided them and found the water lapping the edge of the sand which was nicely bestrewn with shells and driftwood.

After that I thought a bit of garden time would round things off nicely.

Wandering through the flowers was very peaceful, and by then it was nearly time to go to sleep, so my last little offering (especially for Brian – if he has made it this far) is a little inversion to welcome the evening star.

Deep Purple Crocus inverted and framed

Oh, and everyone knows that good things can make you a bit melancholy during the week of your anniversaries, when your special someone is no longer there to share it with – but do not worry because there is a solution apparently:

Absinthe Spill (3)

“Absinthe –  makes the heart grow fonder”

P.S  perhaps I should have drunk it instead of spilling it 🙂

Flowers – and how to preserve them

Spring has Sprung in the South of the world, and in my little slice the daffies, crocus, hellebores and camellias are flowering.

So, what better way to preserve these lovelies than suffocating them in silica sand for 7 days and drowning them in resin (to use in my art).

Dried Florals
Dried Flowers – silica sand still dusting them

Here’s a camellia that has just started her bath.

Camellia in Resin in Glass (1)
Resin – Layer 1

Once you have suffocated and drowned your flowers, you are ready to hang them.  Here’s a new method I am trialling using black organza ribbon – appropriate for hanging, don’t ya think!

For those who struggle with the trauma associated with suffocating, drowning, or hanging flowers – don’t despair, or feel blue, as inversion therapy can assist.

 

Note:  No flowers were harmed in the making of this post (well, not anymore than if you picked them from the garden and put them in a vase to slowly die from soil starvation).