Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bristle Blocks Acrobats

One of the best ways to restore sanity while raising a toddler is to steal his toys and play with them. I recommend buying earplugs so that you can ignore the screams of "mine! mine! mine" when he sees you playing with his stuff.

These Bristle Blocks Acrobats are great fun but you have to keep them out of your two-year-old's reach or he'll tear them a apart. This sculpture was placed on top of a tall bookshelf, well out of reach of the little tike.

Bristle Block Momma with her two babies and upside-down husband portrays the struggle of motherhood and marriage: she does this with great skill and beauty. Note: her flowering breasts and the three hands - two outstretched in both strength and love, and the third reaching forward into the future. All this she accomplishes while carrying for her children and supporting her useless husband, who spends his day writing on blogs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Doodles and Icons

While it is very rewarding to spend hours drawing or painting something suitable for framing, little compares to getting so lost in the doodle zone that you lose a sense of time or troubles. You are not self aware. You are not drawing to impress or please anyone else. In fact, you are not even drawing with intent to please yourself. The drawing just emerges while you observe.

It is similar to that feeling that you get reading a great story or watching a really compelling movie: you are transported to another world.

I don't recall where this doodle began - probably with the face - that is usually where I start. The starting place is always a self-aware decision. It is sometime after that as the drawing begins to take shape that you stop trying to draw and just draw. That is why doodling is somewhat therapeutic as a way to relax.

This sort of doodling is a faint echo of an even more significant form of artwork that transcends personal therapy: iconography. For monks who paint icons, the process of painting is a form of prayer as they paint, understanding that the finished icon will be a vehicle of prayer for others. I am not trained in the method of painting icons, but the general concept is one that we can embrace. Several years ago when I was drawing portraits for a living I took this concept to heart and adapted it for my work: while I was drawing the subjects portrait, I prayed for him/her. It transformed the way I thought about the subject and the process of producing a piece of artwork. It was no longer just a creative effort or a business transaction, but took on a sacramental significance.

Block Head

This is a concept drawing for a tactile sculpture that was designed for children.

Each mouth is a cavity, which contains objects that can be felt, such as marbles, feathers, water, et cetera.