Friday, January 28, 2011

The Challenge Process:

"The Ice Cave"

Every year Muskoka Arts & Crafts challenges it's members with an exciting theme for a show in February. This year the challenge was to make a piece in the style of an artist who inspires you. I chose stone sculptress Camille Claudel who was also Rodin's assistant, lover and muse. Her own sculptures were stunning, unfortunately she destroyed much of her work in her tragic rage against Rodin who never left his wife Rose - in fact the last 30 years of Camille's life were spent in a mental institution and she never sculpted again. I was inspired by her style of smaller pieces "Sketches after life" (1895-1905) in particular "The Wave" and "The Chatterers".
My piece is called "The Ice Cave" and let me tell you about the process: First I cut out the cave using a hacksaw and chisels and mallet. I used the rifflers to shape the sculpture (Quebec Soapstone) and make the small person (Brazilian Soapstone). Once I had the desired shapes I wet sanded with a series of different grits of wet sandpaper from rough to polished. I mounted the pieces on a slate base with pins drilled in to attach the people and the cave. After that I oiled it and etched in any last details. The show "Reflecting the Surface" opens at the Chapel Gallery in Bracebridge on February 5th and till the 19th. I feel the people represent different facets of Camille Claudel - the stone carving goddess, being Rodin's lover and the tragic muse praying for relief from her madness while institutionalized. Of course "The Ice Cave" can be interpreted in many different ways depending on who is contemplating it. I was inspired to write a song called "The Ice Cave - A Song for Camille Claudel" on YouTube if you would like to listen to it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Papier Mache Medusa Pinata

The evolution of a pinata for my daughter's birthday party. First step papier mache a punching baloon a couple of times (dry well in between). Make a small cut to fill the pinata from and tape up well with masking tape. Next build it up with newspaper coils and masking tape to make the snakes and lips & nose. I painted the whole thing green with some leftover house paint. Once that was dry I painted on eyes and lips and used darker green paint to define the snakes with a sort of dry brush technique. I used that technique to add a shimmer of gold paint to her face. Cirvan and I had fun posing with Medusa's head as our own. My daughter came home from school and was unhappy with the green skin so I painted over with flesh coloured paint and made the lips red to make her happy. Medusa is filled with fake snakes, silly bands, hair elastics, and candy.... she will be smashed to bits on Saturday ;-D

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Inspiring Trip

We filled up the creative well, by taking a mini vacation. First stop Wolfe Island to visit my grandfather. Great to see him and his wife Claire! Scenic drive to and on the island and through Perth to get to Lanark County where our friends live on Maple Lane Farm. En route we stopped in to see the new location of Rosewood Studio in Perth (formerly in Almonte when Cirvan studied the Craftsman program). It was great to see the owner Ron and Mary Ann. The photos are from our visit to Nick and Hilary's farm which is Teamwork CSA organic farm with a sugar shack, horses, chickens and beehives too. Fun for our daughters and our dogs (and us!).