An Eclectic Plethora of Media
On my creative journey I’ve explored many other media: murals, illuminari, carved ceramics, stained glass, mixed media sculpture, to name a few. Custom commission work assignments (such as portraits, murals, or ketubahs) are always an enjoyable stretch.
Sidewalk chalk painting = illuminari, a temporary mural
I represented several businesses including PlacerArts in more than a few illuminari festivals. This is the classic style of chalk painting. We use pastels, and never any water (unlike the more permanent chalk paints that are gaining popularity lately).
I love the feel of the media. It is much like pastel painting on a good toothed paper, only you can’t layer too much chalk. If you add too much, it blows away. If it rains or someone drops a drink, it washes away. That’s part of the appeal to me. It is so fragile and temporary.
Also, doing illuminari is physically challenging. Most of the pieces I’ve done were at least 10’x10′ and involved many hours either squatting or on my hands and knees on the cement. One time, for example, as a guest artist at a Sacramento valley middle school, I painted an 12’x17′ illuminari with the assistance of 240 6th graders in the middle of their “quad” area, and then hosted an illuminari festival for them. Working with the children, I had be able to move fast, so I spent most of that day doing squats. The price of this wonderful experience: I couldn’t sit down for a couple days.
Hand built and carved ceramics are part of my 3D-Maker history. A very good friend of mine was the ceramics instructor at a college where I also taught. She taught me to hand build using coil and slab techniques which I loved. The two of us commuted to college together and attended several workshops together.
One of these was a Susan and Steven Kemenyffy workshop. At that time, this husband and wife were collaborating on their large vessel pieces. In the workshop, they demonstrated on a large slab piece. Watching Susan draw one her beautiful women on the pre-fired clay, and painting it with underglazes was inspirational to me. One of these pieces below was directly inspired by that experience.
After that, I had bought some green ware teapots to paint for my sisters for Christmas. As I was sketching on the first mold-poured greenware teapot with an automatic pencil, the tip scratched the surface. O h, my! It opened up a whole new area of exploration: carving unfired clay. The first teapot became “The Sleeping Rhinoceros on the Road to Enlightenment.”
I decided I could use large commercial greenware vases as blank canvasses to carve and paint with underglazes. The lady at the greenware shop said that they were too delicate to carve. It became a challenge for me to see how much I could carve away, and paint with wet underglaze, without it just falling apart.