Friday, November 28, 2008

New Paintings

I've taken off work this past week to both start on a large framing project (more on that later) and to also try and bash out some new paintings. So far I've finished three (they're available at my Etsy shop):

Balls to the Wall 2. 2008.
encaustic, collage, oil pastel, and ink on panel.

5 x 5 x 1-1/2"

Serpent and Halos.
encaustic, collage, ink, and enamel on panel.
5 x 5 x 1-1/2"

Black Cat. 2008.
encaustic, collage, and oil pastel on panel.
8 x 5 x 1-1/4"

Apropos to the last painting, here's U2 performing
An Cat Dubh (Gaelic for The Black Cat):

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Balls to the Wall

Here's a new encaustic painting hot out of the studio titled Balls to the Wall #1. This framed piece is made up of encaustic wax with oil pastel and xerox transfer additions, measures 5-3/8" square, and is available at my Etsy shop. I'm planning to do a series of Balls paintings - I'll post them here as they are finished.

So where does the expression "balls to the wall" come from? A 2006
article in Slate sheds some light on the subject:
Somewhat disappointingly, it has nothing to do with hammers, nails, and a particularly gruesome way of treating an enemy. The expression comes from the world of military aviation. In many planes, control sticks are topped with a ball-shaped grip. One such control is the throttle—to get maximum power you push it all the way forward, to the front of the cockpit, or firewall (so-called because it prevents an engine fire from reaching the rest of the plane). Another control is the joystick—pushing it forward sends a plane into a dive. So, literally pushing the balls to the (fire)wall would put a plane into a maximum-speed dive, and figuratively going balls to the wall is doing something all-out, with maximum effort. The phrase is essentially the aeronautical equivalent of the automotive "pedal to the metal."

It's also the title of a totally awesome 1984 song by the heavy metal band Accept. Here's the video (warning: content includes synchronized headbanging, fingerless gloves, and lost Germans wandering around a junkyard at night):

>Balls to the wall - Accept

Now if you're in need of a palette cleanser or you're unable to embrace your inner metalhead, here's Cannonball by The Breeders:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some New (old) Pieces on Etsy

Today I listed some older framed collage pieces in my Etsy store. "Second Notice" is a collage I made 24 years ago (!) and is from a series I made using scraps of paper (bills, invoices, canceled checks, receipts) that I collected from my grandparents house after they passed on. "Shroud" is a collage that I made in 1995, shortly after moving to Savannah. "Bookworm" is a piece that I started in 2001. I wasn't real happy with it so I filed it away for a couple of years and finally finished in 2006. I'm quite pleased with all three pieces, and would love to find good homes for them.

Second Notice. 1984. collage. 7-3/4 x 7-3/4 in. framed

Second Notice (detail)

Shroud. 1995. collage, shellac, graphite, and pencil. 8-3/4 x 7 in. framed.

Shroud (detail)

Bookworm. 2001-2006. collage, ink, gesso, and shellac. 8-1/4 x 7 in. framed.

Bookworm (detail)

Friday, November 7, 2008

What the Pictures Sound Like

So where do the ideas come from? It depends, but most times I try to work intuitively within a predetermined set of guidelines (specific materials, display format, size, etc.). Afterwards I may notice some connection between a finished piece and something I may have recently read, seen, or listened to. For this post I'd like to give two examples of the latter.

Planet of Sound. 2006.
collage, pastel, gouache, ink, and gesso on paper, mounted on glass.
8-1/4 x 7-1/2 in. (framed)

This piece sat around half-finished (the bottom half) for several months - the mirrored solid shape at the bottom center was clipped from an old geometry textbook, the form of which reminded me of an example of brutalist architecture. The piece was finally resolved when I paired the bottom half with a leftover scap from another collage for the top half. The boxy form at the top again reminded me of architecture, but with rays or beams entering (or exiting?) from a hole in the roof. Once the piece was finished I knew the title would be Planet of Sound, after the UFO-inspired song by the Pixies from their 1991 album Trompe le Monde:

Next up is a more recent piece:

Inca Dinka Doo. 2008.
collage, ink, gesso, pencil, and shellac on paper, mounted on glass.
8-1/4 x 7-1/2 in. (framed)

This collage is a jigsaw of leftover scraps from other projects. The trick is to both get the pieces to literally fit together (just like a jigsaw puzzle), and to balance everything visually. The completed collage reminded me of a wall of Inca masonry (see photo below), which then lead to the title for the piece, which I cribbed (and bastardized) from the old Jimmy Durante chestnut, Inka Dinka Doo.

Inca stone wall (photo courtesy flickr)

Due to copyright restrictions I couldn't find a video of Durante performing Inka Dinka Doo. However, here's Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin performing Inka Dinka Doo as part of a Durante tribute on The Frank Sinatra Timex Show, October 19, 1959 (it's a long clip well worth watching; the song starts at around 2:20):

Finally - just to show how everything's related, here's Jimmy Durante performing In Outer Space (We're Going UFOing):