Monday, April 30, 2007
This week will feature cyanotype prints with a "tea" theme, inspired by living in HK I suppose, as it's a daily thing for one and all, whether medicinal or as a great way to wash down a meal. We've a rosemary bush growing in our front yard, so I'll occasionally use the stems to make a fresh, pine-flavored tea.
I printed an impression of this steel tea strainer and rosemary stem onto a silk pocket from a cute 60s-style dress that I bought from an export store in Central - thus the unusual shape.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Have a great weekend!
I'm looking forward to a Sunday junk trip with Lamma-based artists and several visitors from Australia.
Photos to come - if we don't fall overboard, that is.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Great news - yesterday I put a deposit on a brand new studio, so no more messing about and messing up our home. It's on the "Back Street" of Yung Shue Wan village, near the ferry and everything else in town.
Best of all, it's got a seaview rooftop for developing cyanotypes, and indulging in the odd glass of wine.
Move-in date's in early May.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
A photogram is simple to make in theory - placing objects onto paper/fabric that's been coated in photochemicals, then developing them in the sunlight - but it takes plenty of experimentation to find out what looks nice.
The imperfections could be anything from a trace of soap to a stray drop of water to irregularities in the fabric.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
While the water can get choppy in rough weather, I've never seen a tsunami like Hokusai's:
Some time ago I decided to paint a dramatic woodblockish-looking wave onto a long dress. Last week I finally got around to it.
One day I found this creamy silk dress at one of the many "export stores" in town, for HK$10 (US$1.25). A ground-level shopfront with prefab walls and unflattering fluorescents, it's filled with clothes from factories over the border in Guangdong province. They're factory overruns or seconds, often in western sizes for the US/European market.
I prefer to shop at these places - not only are they much cheaper, but many clothes for sale in local shops are full of frills and flounces, with incongruous patterns printed onto cheap fabrics.
Lately I've been amassing a collection of clothes in silk and linen from export stores. Some are for wearing, but most will be for printing. Or more rarely, painting. There's nothing like watching a painting move as it drapes around someone's body, whether the silk is slippery or stiff.
Somehow a painting doesn't have to be quite as perfect in three dimensions as it would if it were hung onto a two-dimensional wall.
I mixed the cyanotype chemicals together, let them "cook" in the sun for ten minutes or so, til they turned from a lime-green to dark turquoise. This way I could actually see what I was painting, and not have to wait til the fabric was wet to see where my brush had been.
This was painted freehand in a half-lightened room, while glancing at a couple of sketches I'd made. Any "erasing" would have to be done with water, and would be so complicated it's best to simply improvise with any mistakes made, as when drawing/painting with ink.
I exposed the dress for an hour or two that late afternoon, keeping an eye on it as the image developed in the sun, then touched it up with the remaining chemicals.
A few nights ago, I opened Expression Magazine to find this.
Guess I was being even more derivative than I thought - Galliano had painted his wave-dress first!
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Not long ago, another person I'd just met said: "Wow, how old are you? The writing on your weblog was good but I thought you were much younger because of the way you wrote." Because, it was insinuated, he thought I'd flitted from job to job in Cambodia, which didn't make sense at my overripe age of 32.
Banana trees in front of our house
The reason I'd been misunderstood by both these people - and doubtless everyone I'd met for the past ten years - was because of the way I'd presented my disparate work experience, much of it done on a freelance basis.
As I put together my CV for the nth time around a month ago, I wondered: "What do these diverse jobs have in common?" I made a list of them all, from creating customized portfolios for artists and photographers in NYC to working at a tour company in Boston to freelance painting to teaching art&english in Korea&Hong Kong.
The answer initially appears to be, "Not much," but of course that's no deterrent to finding connections in them. There always are.
Teatime on our tropical patio
Halfway through writing them down, it was obvious: they all involved travel, art and/or education. The freelance life I've led for many years has had its part to play in these diverse interests - it's unstable yet invigorating, full of possibilities and pitfalls, with sporadic profits.
In the past I've refused to specialize in one medium of painting - or, some may have said, in anything else. But after several months of reflecting where I've come from and where to next - both geographically and otherwise - it's time to bring these inclinations closer together. Part of that will involve better synthesis, both on paper and in practice. I'm also working on ways to connect the different kinds of art I make to the writing I do and the trips I take.
Limiting your choices can be a good thing - sometimes there are simply too many options. For many artists, an exercise in exploration is to create 100 images of the same subject, in different ways. Typically they'll use the same size matrix and medium, and sometimes even the same few colors.
Headshot of my better half - sometimes I wonder "how on earth did I ever land this handsome Englishman?"
As I've been sorting this out, some recent good news was dropped into my Inbox: I've been contracted to paint a public mural with the Hong Kong Mural Society. It'll be a pleasure to work with Joel Ferraris on this project.
During the last week I've made dozens of simple cyanotype tests and just one attractive, but very derivative, cyanotype painting. On a silk dress. In a style I've never attempted before. Photos to come in the next post.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Hong Kong Cafe in Greenland got my attention thanks to its name. And check out the girl's blog, too. Might actually learn something while being entertained.
Finally have a computer at home - just in time for the book deadline today! More on that soon...