I started on an assemblage with some techniques and themes that are similar to the last one’s. It’s going to have three or four chambers, so a lot of what I did today was cut the inner walls to size and sand them. I also worked out the string pattern for the lower-right chamber (you can see the plan on the paper in the foreground) and drilled most of the holes in the walls for threading it through. I’m still not sure how I’m going to do that, but I’ll play around with it tomorrow.

I also had a great time drilling successively larger holes in the door (lid) to make a peephole. The cigar box wood splinters so easily that I thought for sure I’d have a disaster if I tried a large bit first, so I worked my way up to a 1/2-inch bit.

I’m trying to stay in that indeterminate head space where I’m lightly holding a theme and some images, without knowing how they all relate to the theme or even being entirely sure that they do. I know I am looking at the difficulties of understanding each other across gulfs of culture, experience, language, etc., and the extraordinary fact that we ever reach any understanding at all.

The virtual vase that emerges from the strung thread expresses this in one, hopeful way. The unspooled, unidentified videotape is more expressive of the frustration involved. If I look too analytically at these or other images that are coming to mind, I’m afraid their meanings will shrink away from me like a snail retreating into its shell. So I’m letting them float in my peripheral vision, hoping that while I paint and drill and sand, they’ll take more definite shape of their own accord.

Day 91, #100days of making art

Another in a series of “maps” modeled on those in The Penguin Atlas of the Ancient World and drawn over its text. This one is titled “Yet Perhaps.”

I just realized I never posted a photo of this, though I finished it in early November.

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Problems in Translation. Mixed media, 15x28x5 cm. (c) 2019 Amy Zucker Morgenstern

I got onto Craigslist yesterday and found someone selling some small wooden boxes, used, so I’m excited about continuing my explorations in this vein.

 

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Here on Day 70 of #100days of making art: the drawing in progress (above) and the model (below).

Portobello. And now I know sonething I’ll draw with the scratchboard and knife my daughter gave me this morning.

My wife got into the car on Sunday and passed me a handful of seed pods she had picked up on the sidewalk: different than the kind I drew in Sacramento over Thanksgiving, smaller and darker, though again I don’t know the species. “Here,” she said. “I know you like this kind of thing.” It’s so good to be known.

I put them in the well of the driver’s side door, and there they have been getting drier and rattling around. They’ve also given me an idea for the linocut workshop we’ll be taking from Katie Gilmartin at SOMArts in February. I want to have drawings ready when I go in, or I won’t get far on the print. I’m going to make a series (triptych, maybe) of these pods in various states, from fresh to freshly fallen to dried up. It’ll be a further exploration of something that’s interested me for a long time: the ambiguous nature of decay. “Decay” sounds like a judgment, as does “progress,” though one could use either word for what is happening. “Change” is a more neutral descriptor. That’s what fascinates me. Since they are growing more wrinkled and fragile, we would probably say that they are decaying, yet their beauty is not diminished. It is only different, and to some eyes, increased.

I don’t know how much they have really changed over the last five days. They might only rattle more now because they were damp when Joy picked them up, and now they’re dry. I have the impression that they’re more wizened and bent, but I can’t be certain because I didn’t look very closely at them on Sunday. I’ll know better when I go get some more and draw them at intervals.

For tonight, I just drew them as they are now, twice, quickly, in ink pen, as a first stage of getting to know them.

#100days

It’s been fifty days of making art every day. I missed two. It’s making me very happy, especially when art is one of the first things I do in the morning. That seems to be when I have the most energy for creativity, and whatever I do then stays wiyh me the whole day.

In the meantime, Joy has completed the drawings for our new art room, and will take them to the city permit office tomorrow, so that the builder can get going. It won’t be large, but we’ll be able to have a table for us all to work at, the way we did in Oaxaca three years ago, and enough shelves for all the art supplies.

We’re setting aside a little time, reserving a little space, for something that’s important to all three of us.

#100days

On the way to work this morning, three things in particular made me grateful for this life. (1) In the shopping center where I stopped on an errand, there is a restaurant called Hella Halal. (My daughter would say Hecka Halal, but I like the rich consonance of the original.) (2) Just now, as I turned into the church’s street, a fire engine was coming my way with its siren and lights whirling, so I pulled over next to a preschool, and thus enjoyed the lovely sight of the children running toward the fence, hands over their ears, faces alight, to watch it go by.

And (3) all along the route there have been trees in their autumn glory.

These are all over the yard at my relatives’ house. I knew as soon as I saw them that they would be today’s subject.

It’s a quick drawing because I am tired from every cell in my body’s being concentrated on digestion. I don’t set out to overeat at Thanksgiving, but I have to try a little of everything.

I’d like to draw these again, more slowly, and larger, in sepia conté crayon. Their beauty is something for which I am very thankful. I’ll bring them home.

#100days of art

“Or,” ink and colored pencil on a page of The Penguin Atlas of the Ancient World, 21 x 17 cm

More about this piece here.

#100days

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