February buckeye

Once again, I beat the month to the punch and started on my Feb. buckeye rendition in January. Lately I've been noticing that from a certain angle, the tree looks like a checkmark. This particular tree has not had an easy life, we've had to prune off some dead branches, and the result is a little lopsided. It will grow out of it, they always do. But I wanted to capture that simplistic single stroke that represents the way that tree looks at this time.

Ok, it's a checkmark with a stem. I picked out a piece of hand-dyed silk for some color in my life (it's been rather grey around here) and the texture in it. I decided to keep things simple and do the tree with a brush and Tsukineko ink. I started out with brown, and while it was still wet added some yellow to shade it a little. I went back in some places with more brown. Left to dry, some of the yellow blossomed out of the left hand branch--which kind of resembles how plants are trying to force the season with the warm days we've had recently.

I added some words (February The Hope Springs Forth if you can't quite read them) and some yellow rays of sunlight, and finished off the edges. It's probably done, it's just a journal piece, only 8x10 inches, and it says everything I want it to say.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the whole abstract/realism thing. I'm kind of put off by photorealism at the moment--why not just take a photograph? And I'm sure I don't quite understand the official definition and meaning of abstract art. But for me, what I'm doing is taking an inspiration from my microcosm, and capturing the essence of that in fiber by whatever means works. The question is, does the viewer understand that process without a long caption, and does that even matter? What my art is to me may or may not be what it is to the viewer. And I'm pretty sure I'm all right with that. While I make my art to sell, I also make it for me.


Ann Miller Titus said...

FOr me, abstraction works at a deeper level of understanding. One that does not get interpreted linguistically or even cognitively. But strictly understood at the level of line, rhythm, of color. As if the image is enjoyed outside the filters of any shared meaning.

bj parady said...

So you work strictly from a design (Design, with a capital d, as in real art) point of view? No inspiration from outside sources of the world around you? Or just inspirations that you don't examine,or think about? That's not how it works for me. I can look at, for example, a sunrise over the ocean on a grey day, where everything is tones of warm greys except for the yellow glow where the sun is just barely peeking through the clouds. From there I would make a piece with mostly horizontal lines, shades of greys, touches of yellow. The yellow wouldn't necessarily be on a horizon line, or round like the sun. No one but me might ever guess at the inspiration. But almost always I start from such a point consciously, deliberately. Maybe that comes from my background as a scientist--I just don't make it up from thin air. Maybe I can't.

Ann Miller Titus said...

I suppose that everything has some reference to the natural world. When I'm working in the abstract I work not to represent some object or scene. If it starts to be too recognizable, I'm not happy with it. But, there is definitely a reference with regard to proportion, figure-ground, how elements connect or repel each other. For me, it's more about creating a sense of space. But that space would only be informed, consciously or unconsiously by my knowledge of the natural world. I haven't spent much time on halucinogenics or submerged in flotation tanks! We might see some really interesting things in that case!

bj parady said...

so we're not that far apart in how we work, just in how we think about how we work. I'm quite conscious of my references most of the time...but sometimes I do slip into that fugue of timeless/thoughtless creativity. Then who knows what the driving force is. But all the work I've done up to that point informs it.