June 24, 2011

Getting Ready for Europe

View Europe 2011 in a larger map
(zoom back if you can't see all the cities)

Next Wednesday, my wife and I are headed to Europe for the month because she is involved with a study abroad program at the university here. We're both treating it more like a work abroad opportunity and less like a vacation (though we're fully aware of how most of our days are going to look more like a vacation). With a short stop in Chicago for the day, we should arrive in Brussels, Belgium by 6:00pm on Wednesday night. Over four weeks we should make our way into the likes of Paris and London and whatever cultural beacons attract our fancy. Pray I stay organized to have a heap of relevant material spilling out onto this blog about what kinds of museums, art, or music I see while we wonder their streets and hotspots.

At the very least (because I know this is going to be an uphill battle) I have some pretty important things I do want to walk away with on August 2nd, whenever we finally make our voyage back to familiar shores:

  • Loads of new photographs of artwork and architecture to organize for studying later
  • Have the majority of the surfaces I take over completed, or at the very least, taken as far as they can for finishing when I reach home.

I purchased about 40 of these small Ampersand Claybord's a couple weeks ago, specifically because I knew I was going to Europe and didn't have a way to transport large pictures over there. So instead I picked up anything that could fit in a backpack.

This would obviously mean that my work was going to change quite a bit. I saw it as an opportunity and implimented some changes on a couple pieces, including one that I discussed June 21st on this blog [See Untitled (516)].  One of the effects of the changes implemented resulted in a loss of deep time for building large streams of data in thousands of tiny dots or slashes [see Snakesong, and Snakesong - detail], for a return to life drawing which quickens my square inch coverage time. This affords immediate benefits to the work. I only know how to successfully work from life at a speed higher than that of my imaginal works, meaning my marks come out faster and less refined for capturing an image in an impressionistic manner, imbuing a liveliness that I normally have to carve out of space over inflexible hours of tenacious "adjustment" through repetitive marks [Snakesong-detail]. My more patient techniques show aptitude and patience, but they sacrifice a breath of mark and require ever-so-slow build-ups to make the pockets of spacing that become reminiscent of looser media and materials like stains, and brush trails and watercolor [see Adrift-detail]. Only obstinate lookers and critical devils sense the wavering of my hand in most of my pieces and I consider that a loss at most times. Drawing from life switches the strengths of the mark from highlighting the higher, but sparse and calibrated decisions of my pictures to the lower, relational aspects of ground-level effects occurring on the surface. I hope to bring both to a newer table in the future.

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