Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time Snapshot #1

So early on in my time project I feel like I'm on my way to achieving -"Artists Take Risks"

One thing I haven't really done yet with this project is "Artists Develop Art Making Skills". Although pine cones are an unfamiliar material to me, I am painting them with acryllic paint, which it turns out isn't all that different from painting on a canvas. I'm hopeful that as I progress with this project I am able to develop new skills as I craft the pine cones into a mobile.

I've never worked with pine cones before but I've always thought wanted to paint them. For my time project I am going to paint the pine cones and craft them into a mobile. Then I'm going to cover the pine cones with peanut butter and birdseed and hang the mobile outside. By exposing the work to the elements as well as the birds the painting underneath will slowly be revealed. Although I've made peanut butter-pine cone-bird feeders before I've never worked them into an art piece before. I'm not sure how long it will take for the seed and peanut butter to come off and reveal the designs underneath, and how the painting will react to being outside in the elements. One of the biggest risks is will the birds scrape the paint off as they eat the seed? I don't think this will necessarily create an undesired look, just a different look.

Although many people have made pine cone bird feeders, I feel as though the way I'm incorporating them into the project of time as an element in way that fulfills "artists create original art". My inspiration came from a time at work when I helped kids make pine cone bird feeders. When I was brainstorming for this project I wanted to think of a way that I could harness the constantly changing characteristics of nature to act upon my work. First I brainstormed what could act as my catalysts of change - I thought of weather such as wind and water and then I expanded my thoughts to include animals. Birds came to mind and so I contemplated ways in which birds could impact my art. I needed to ensure that they would interact with whatever I created. The best way to ensure this would happen was by enticing them with food. To make the mobile more interesting and the changes it underwent more visible, I decided to paint the pine cones, a technique I'd heard of before. I decided on painting the pine cones and then covering them with seed.  Lastly I decided to make a mobile containing multiple pine cones because that would be a lot more asethetically interesting than a single pinecone.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Snapshot #2: Appropriation

2.  Artists develop art making skills.

As I continued to work on my caterpillar I began to try to figure out what to form the blades of grass that I want to surround the caterpillar with. I planned on using tissue paper, but after talking with Mr. Sands, who suggested using raw canvas, I decided to give it a try. The only way I'd ever used canvas before was to paint on, but now I would not only be using the canvas to paint on but affixing it to my existing canvas in order to add texture and 3D elements. It was a new experience and a little frustrating as the canvas reacted differently than I had anticipated that it would. For instance, the edges of the canvas unraveled if I cut it into the blades of grass before painting on it.  After learning this, I instead chose to paint on the wider strips of canvas before cutting it into blades so that the edges would be less prone to unraveling. Also, I discovered that once I painted on one side of the canvas and allowed it to dry, it's edges folded in upon itself. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this effect actually made the canvas grass look more realistic. I am close to finishing the process of painting both sides of the grass and am planning to affix it soon.

3. Artists communicate through their work.

One facet of my project that really interested me was the idea of the paradox between a caterpillar and a Caterpillar machine. Caterpillars as the creatures are seen as beneficial players in the environment, whereas Caterpillar machines are stereotypically viewed as destroying the environment. By portraying the caterpillar as destroying its own environment I hoped to hint at the idea of how humans are degrading the Earth, our own environment.  I am considering majoring in environmental science, so examining the forces at work on the environment is a topic of interest to me. 

7. Artists reflect.

After spending multiple days mixing various shades of green and painting and repainting the blades of grass, I am reflecting on where I am in my project and how much further I have to go. The shading of the caterpillar and the background colors are complete, as is the large styrofoam ball that will form the head of the caterpillar. I have almost finished painting the grass, which leaves  me with the task of assembling the blades of grass as well as creating and affixing the attachments of the machine and the tracks on which the caterpillar will roll. One of the most confounding dilemmas I encountered was choosing and mixing the colors for my caterpillar as well as my background. I wanted to stay true to the colors of Caterpillar machinery, while also being able to convey shading. I also struggled to figure out how to create an interesting background while not taking away from the caterpillars or grass in the foreground. Finally, when taking pictures for this post, I realized that I think I need a few more blades of grass, so after this is finished I will commence to painting grass...again.