Thursday, August 05, 2021

Fever Dream


I haven't made any new art since last year, and I am looking forward to getting into the Studio and trying to do a woodcut.  I feel like the skills I had before my surgery have returned, or maybe never left, so it's time to test them out.  

An idea that I've been playing with for a while is another complex composition, in black and white, but a bit smaller than the 2 foot by 3 foot pieces I was making a few years ago.  Partly this is to make printing easier, and partly this is to be able to use frames I currently have, since all the places I used to buy frame parts and mats have gone out of business, and plexiglass is getting harder to find as well.  

While still in the hospital I started to work out the idea.  I had a working title of "Fever Dream", which is a term that usually applies to odd dreams that are sometimes a result of the brain being a little warped by fever and other bodily problems.  What I have done in this case is gather images from strange dreams I have had recently, plus a few things I remember from the past, plus one very strange event in the hospital while I was there that included some odd delusions that may or may not have been an effect of my surgery and hospital stay.  As with some of my larger prints, I thought about organizing them into a single composition, which would be a little strange because of the nature of the dreams.  (the really disturbing ones are being left out; the art world and viewers aren't ready for those yet)  

Several weeks ago, I started sketching some of the elements that I expected would appear in this image, based on still life or digital images found on the web.  I found a piece of wood that was about the size that I use for supermarket prints, which I thought might work.  (I have more wood, but when I tried to cut up that board recently I found my dependable old saw was no longer working;  I've had it since I was in Carbondale, and it was used and old when I got it before then, so this is not much of a surprise) 

Today I decided to finally start the block drawing.   I brought my block (had been at home), my sketchbook, a set of pencils and eraser, and a hand mirror, since I may need to reverse some of these sketches to fit my composition.  I also wanted to measure some of the architecture in the room, using myself as the measuring unit, since I want to see how these things worked with humans.  I had finished my business with Nichole, so put on some music and got a little drawing done.  I had brought home my two CD cases so I would have some music at home besides this computer, but left the boom box there and a small stack of loose cased discs that I knew Molly liked, in case she didn't want to listen to the radio, which is what she usually does. Relying on what was there, I selected an album from Toshi Reagon, "The Righteous Ones."  (a burned copy of the original in my main collection in storage)  I had first learned of this record from Vin Scelsa, who had played the opening song on his radio show, so this must have been a while ago.  I was impressed enough by it to write down the artist and title, and later picked up the album after listening to it at a CD World, which also places this as a long time ago. (came out in 1999)  The singer is the daughter of one of the members of Sweet Honey In The Rock, a well known Gospel/accapella group, which may be how this album happened, and that group provided some back up vocals on that song I had heard.  Unlike most contemporary female recording artists, the lead singer is not particularly attractive and I'll leave it at that, but she had a great voice, which is all a singer needs in my opinion, and the backing band is pretty good as well.  

Didn't get too far with the block, doing the first element of my sketched ideas, but at least it is now started.  I don't have sketches of everything I am planning yet, but have enough to start it at least, and I have no deadline to get it done.  

Still have no camera, or the one I have is in storage to be more precise. It's old, probably dating to around the start of my university teaching, but it worked with this computer and had features that many new ones didn't, so I have stuck with it.  However, I don't know when I will get that one back, so I may have to get myself a new one before long.  So no current image of the new block, but probably before it is done.  


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