Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Finishing Up Nike's Advice

(Above:  Nike's Advice XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, and XVIII leaning up against my Wall of Keys.  Click on any image to enlarge.)

A couple months ago I started the free-motion stitching on eleven scraps of painted, unprimed canvas saved after a public art performance work called Nike's Advice.  My initial idea was two-fold: 1) to finally use the paint, ink, pastel oils, and canvas I was saving without a prior plan ... basically, just "stuff waiting", a stash with good intentions that otherwise might never become a reality, i.e. REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE and 2) to face my personal demons with regards to painting, an artistic approach that intimidated me for years.

(Above:  Nike's Advice XIV.  16 1/2" x 10".  Assorted paint on unprimed canvas with free-motion stitching, copper roofing/slating nails, and UV filtering epoxy.

When I selected the eleven sections, I thought I'd picked too much.  Never was an end possible in so short an amount of time.  The process was multi-step and labor intensive  Every piece was free-motion stitched ... which is pretty much like "drawing with the sewing machine".  Then, the work was sealed with Golden GAC 400 fabric stiffener and carefully measured.  Stretcher bars were cut to the outer dimensions and a piece of acid-free, foam-centered board glued to the stretcher bars.  The sides of these substructures were painted.  The stitched pieces were lightly glued to the foam-centered board and nailed into place with 3/4" roofing/slating nails before UV filtering epoxy was poured over the surface.  That's a lot of steps, a lot of time. 

(Above:  Nike's Advice XV and XVI, presented as a diptych. Each side is 42" x 19".  Assorted paint and ink with free-motion stitching, galvanized steel roofing/slating nails, and UV filtering epoxy.)

The last four had UV filtering epoxy poured one-at-a-time.  The plastic covered work table in the garage wouldn't permit much more.  Yet, I had two pieces to catch the excess epoxy.  Nike's Advice XIV was small enough to fit on the table.  At the bottom of this blog post is Sheltering in Place: Paper Wasp Nests, a collection I'd put into a vintage English pub tray that seemed a perfect illustration of Columbia, a city under quarantine where everyone is both isolated but also closely situated to one another ... just like paper wasps in their hexagonal cells.  At just over $100 per gallon, I really try to use every drop of the epoxy as possible!  This seemed like a good idea.

(Above:  Detail of Nike's Advice XV.)

Galvanized 3/4" roofing/slating nails were used on the perimeter of all but the small piece.  The cooler tones simply looked better than the copper nails used earlier.

 (Above:  Nike's Advice XVII.  30" x 38".  Assorted paint and spray paint on unprimed canvas with free-motion stitching, galvanized roofing/slating nails, and UV filtering epoxy.)

I still own quite a bit of the canvas used during the earlier performance art event and for all these pieces.  I'm thinking about attempting to "paint" again.  Because Columbia is under lock-down and my business is deemed "non-esseential", I have the time to experiment.  I'm still very much intimidated by the act of painting but I also know that taking Nike's advice has worked out very, very well.  The weather is wonderful too!

  (Above:  Nike's Advice XVIII.  30" x 38".  Assorted paint and spray paint on unprimed canvas with free-motion stitching, galvanized roofing/slating nails, and UV filtering epoxy.)

Part of me is wishing that I'd kept more of the very little sections of the original 130 feet of canvas painted with the public.  The small piece turned out so well.  I really didn't think that would happen.  Honestly, I thought selecting small sections was some sort of desperate attempt to see promise in what was otherwise a mess.  

  (Above:  Nike's Advice XVII, detail.)

It doesn't matter now.  I've thrown away the rest of the canvas made in public.  Now is the time to see what I might make on my own ... though honestly, the pieces I saved were almost all sections I painted while others simply watched.  What I painted myself worked.  These were the most pleasing parts.  As a fiber artist, I'm not generally that worried about being "self taught", but as a "painter" is is hard to start at the beginning, to be clueless, to embark in a new medium without instruction.

(Above:  My studio ... the only place that I've found for capturing images of highly reflective epoxy!)

Yet, one of the most influential artists for my current work is undoubtedly Suzy Scarborough.  I was reminded of that when snapping photos in my studio.  This location is the only one I've found for photographing the highly reflective surface of the UV filtering epoxy.  It is also the place where I have three, large Suzy Scarborough pieces over which UV filtering epoxy was poured.  (Steve and I own three others by Suzy, encaustic works.  Her new works have evolved ... but similar pieces are found on her website under the "figures" tab).  Suzy and her partner Andrew were the ones who told me about the material they were using.  They encouraged me.  Suzy Scarborough is self-taught.  I think we met when I framed her law degree.  Like me, she turned her back on a lucrative career in favor of a life in the arts.  So ... onward and upward ... I'm going to paint some canvas! 

(Above:  Sheltering in Place: Paper Wasps Nests.  12" x 12" vintage English pub tray filled with a collection of paper wasp nests with UV filtering epoxy.)

1 comment:

Ann Scott said...

Your public painted pieces look great. I would never have thought to do THAT with wasp nests! If we can't do things our way in art, when can we? Paint away! Thanks for the link to Suzy Scarborough.