Friday, July 31, 2009

July 30-Year of Ox/TX Longhorn

2009 is the Chinese Year of the Ox. This paper cut was
reprised for a University of TX longhorn custom card.
It was used as a congrats card for a freshman from his mum.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

July 29-more character study paper cuts

Looking out the front window of his California bungalow, he and his cat can admire their pink flamingo. Why did this plastic bird along with a metal ball on a pedestal and deer grouping become so popular as lawn ornaments? ...those random "decorations" for an expanse of grass.

Monday, July 27, 2009

July 27-monday, Paris by way of stripes

cartoon paper cut couple with an awkwardness that flows. Parisian only because of the stripes, short skirt and beret. Most of my day disappeared fiddling with files, paper and tasks.
This image begs a story. The paper cut scanned a little blockier than I likes so I selected the paper, shrunk the form in by three pixels and filled with white then refilled with black.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July 24-diving into the stream of conscious

After I finished my undergrad degree, with no particular plans but a strong desire to study further and with several months of grant money I went to Japan. It seems naiive and adventurous to me now. I enrolled at an art university that offered a printmaking seminar under the auspices of its oil painting department. Oil painting in Japan is a relatively new medium. Printmaking, though a longstanding form of visual communication and expression, was not held in very high esteem and thus relegated to seminar status. There were four students in the class. The interesting thing to me was that two of us worked in a stream of conscious way-drawing, erasing, creating and destroying until in that process of experimentation, we arrived at a satisfactory composition. The process of the other two students was markedly different. They would draw what they envisioned and change very little if anything from the initial concept.

My process of working has not changed so much. Today's paper cut and some of my more successful compositions have been born out of a scribbled line. Reminiscent of Rohrschach's inkblots, there is a puddle of ink, a scribbled line or a scrap of paper suggesting a form that yields a graphic.

wikipedia says that "...Rorschach's use of inkblots may have been inspired by German doctor Justinius Kerne, who published a book of poems, each of which was inspired by an accidental inkblot; and the French psychologist, Binet had also experimented with inkblots as a creativity test." Today's paper cut similarly to Fish Dreaming emerged from a scrap of paper cut away from another larger composition. I will post more of these "Rohrschach" paper cuts. The big hunks of paper are odd shapes but too large to throw out. I like the idea of using these odds and ends; it helps me to loosen up, be more fluid, less judgemental in my process and produces workable image. These paper cuts prompted this blog. The dailies are sort of like my version of a short story or rather there is a narrative with these that does not exist in say my botanical images. Today's image reminded me of the (fool)hardy fellows who go swimming in icy waters.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 21-tuesday and fish dreaming

This image was done on fragment of paper, the outline of the original square incorporated into the design. Some elements are awkward but overall it hangs together. -makes me think of someone daydreaming about being underwater.

July 22-wednesday's lily

Calla or Arum lily a la paper cut, which looks a bit art deco-"ish" possibly because of the treatment of the leaf.

It is originally native of Africa. The genus name is Zantedeschia, a tribute to Italian botanist Giovanni Zantedeschi. All parts of the plant are very poisonous.

Monday, July 20, 2009

July 20-paper cut kit

Right-click the image and save it to your desktop, print it out on any decorative paper that has a white back. You can maintain the black frame around the paper cut or once you've cut out both pink and green areas, cut it away from the sides to float or back it onto another decorative paper. You can play with collaging different patterns and colors of paper once you have the basic outline of the paper. I often use black origami paper to give a flat, bold outline. Let me know how this works for you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 18-too hot? J.G. Ballard

It's the heat that's making me think of JG Ballard. He was brilliant. His book, The Drowned World is pretty disturbing...I read the first chapters and just found it so dismal but at the same time he describes perfectly that dragging around stupid feeling that comes with the heat....oh yah, torpor. That said, I will post this tonight in the cool.

There was an ad on craigslist soliciting artists... I have a dim view of ads written by the marketing guys AND requests for "ideas" or speculative work... But! I was working on my polar bear fold-out, believe in educational and environmental messages and materials so I went ahead and sent in the image to the left. There was NO response, not even an electronic form mail.

Would you wear this?
(If you see someone who is, let me know.) More polar bear images coming. I have two or three full papercuts of pbears ambling along the ice. Think cool thoughts and get busy.

July 17-friday, bird color and two variations

Two (stylized) renderings* of upward movement and birds in flight. I started with a pencil drawing, very loose and reworked it with color. The left is an earlier version. The right is a translation of the sketch into a paper cut. I like movement and flow of lines....sometimes, it seems to me that the drawing does evolve out of balancing lines. It feels sometimes very important to break out of that reliance, not only to challenge myself but also to avoid any formula of problem solving visually. It's an internal conversation or argument that I suspect makes me work more slowly and is full of that tension of creating and destroying.

An interesting exercise that I did with a paper cut was to photograph the stages in process and play back as an ImageReady file. -will post this in the future.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 16-forget me not, women's wear and another botanical

Forget-me-nots paper cut is used on women's shirt. Check out her collection. The ginkgo graphic is by me, too. I really like the asymmetric placement and secondary color! Wish more things utilized space in such a creative way.
The flowers are tiny and perfect blue. I saw them up on Skyline at a trailhead during botany class lecture and they've been a favorite ever since.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15-tree pose, upward facing dog

...and one serious yoga student (Daphne)
makes for a slightly cartoony papercut.
There've been times when I have had a more consistent meditation practice and have wondered while setting the timer whether one could get "stuck" in a moment by coming in to the present.
Afterlife is a Japanese movie about a way station, that each person visits at the moment of death to select the one, sweet memory he will relive through eternity. Those people "stuck" there have yet to resolve something in their lives which will allow them to move on.
What memory would you choose to relive over and over again?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 14- road to fairfield

I've been traveling this road twice a week since May.
The highway runs outside of Fairfield along the estuary and bird preserve. Egrets gather in the dozens. They are still individual but not such solitary figures as they usually seem along embankments and on the median. Pelican flocks can be seen, too.
In fact, I was up here once before in January to deliver a couple brown pelicans from the San Mateo animal shelter. They traveled in towel-draped, dog carriers. Two of four birds that were moved up to Cordelia's International Bird Rescue Research Center.
Another volunteer brought the other two. During the winter, there had been numbers of distressed and downed pelicans along the California coast. At the time it was not clear why they were so sick. These birds were transported from the receiving shelters to specialized care facilities.

The wind is so consistent here that trees and bushes grow slightly bent as though reaching out rather than growing up towards the sun. If you continue on 12 east, you will find that otherworldly landscape of windmills. As for the sheep, I can not tell you where they crept into the picture but there they are.
This image is not quite finished as my intention is to add color, texture and possibly rework some elements.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13-monday, monday

Three views of a shell without color. Original sketches were made of a neighbor's collection. These were particularly complicated and I liked the challenge of seeing if they would translate into paper cuts. What kind of shells or creatures who inhabited the shell before being collected, I've no idea.
At some point, color will be added together with grains of sand and might as well add the scent of salt water.
I live inland but seagulls periodically remind me that the ocean is not far from here.

July 12- a day of rest, missed and the soybean

This is for Sunday and this papercut is of the soybean, a surprisingly graphical plant and an ingredient in so many foods and products, veg and non-veg.
One of my favorite foods is tofu fresh, which has a nutty, subtle flavor IF fresh. One "factory" in California still makes it by hand, i.e. San Jose Tofu, located in San Jose's Japantown on Jackson Street.

Okara is the leftover soybean pressings when the soymilk is extracted. It is low in fat, high in fiber, and also contains protein, calcium, iron, and riboflavin. It contains 76 to 80% moisture, 20 to 24% solids and 3.5 to 4.0% protein. On a dry weight basis okara contains 24% protein, 8 to 15% fats,and 12 to 14.5% crude fiber. It contains 17% of the protein from the original soybeans. (wikipedia)

Here's a recipe for for a traditional Japanese side dish called unohana
PS I am notorious for NOT following recipes so this dish is traditionally made with
addition of sugar, sake and soy sauce but I prefer Bragg's aminos(better for you, too)
season to taste and sautee the vegetables or add for flavor some sesame oil. yum!
Okara is also a really good ingredient to use in making veggie burgers and cheap, cheap since most tofu "factories" will either give you the okara or charge you pennies to carry it away.

Recipe for Four
1 cup okara (tofu lees)
1 carrot
3 green onions
2 Tbsp Bragg's aminos
2 Tbsp mirin
1 c. vegetable broth

Saute carrot, onion(shallots, green or leeks) in a little olive oil. Add okara.
Combine mirin, Bragg's aminoes and the vegetarian soup stock with the sautee
and continue to simmer on medium heat 'til liquid is absorbed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11-seahorse confetti and the aquarium

Seahorses are so elegant and graceful in the water! I remember as a kid having a dried one that had been purchased at a museum and I kept it like a treasure in a little plastic jewelry bag.
The initial paper cut was in black then used as an element in an underwater illustration for one of my fold out cards; and as a decorative element for party place settings. The ones on the left were lased in packets of hundreds for confetti!

Currently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a special exhibit* called the Secret Lives of Seahorses. The site article mentions three ways one can help to safeguard these delicate creatures 1) don't buy them dried as mementos....2) help preserve their habitat and 3) follow this seafood buying guide with notes and chart on which shrimp to buy. Apparently seahorses get scooped up with certain types of shrimp so as a consumer you can avoid damaging the seahorse population and eat your shrimp, too.