Thursday, February 26, 2015

my alchemical vessel is finished!

The nature of ceramics can be unpredictable, especially when you don't have much experience with working with them yourself. Today was the moment of truth, when I opened the kiln, after a day of firing it, to see how my Alchemical Vessel turned out for the upcoming exhibit and fundraiser at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts/Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery in March. My first reaction was a huge sigh of relief. Nothing had broken, smeared, etc - the image was still fully intact, both top and bottom. Then I noticed how much darker the rhino got in the kiln after the firing, going from lighter shades of gray, to almost blackish, charcoal gray tones. Yet, I really liked it, and am well aware that there are rhinos in the world of this color. Then I got a closer look at the flowers and was more than pleased with the results. Flowers are not something I've spent much, if any time in my life painting - that's my wife's specialty, and she's very good at it.

The late evening, indoor cell phone pics don't do the piece a whole lot of justice, and it looks far better, in my opinion, in natural daylight. Still, I'm so happy with the piece and feel so much more confident about possibly pursuing more work like this in the future. There is a definite learning curve and the need for patience when working with glazes and underglazes and the whole firing process, not nearly as instant as working on paper, or canvas even. Now, last but not least, it's getting the vessel safely returned to the Smith Center. 

What a thrill and honor to be a part of this project, whose opening reception takes place on Friday, March 27, from 7-9pm at the Joan Hisaoka Gallery in Washington, DC.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share the artist statement for my vessel, titled "Hope and Strength in Times of Darkness".

The rhinoceros, as a species is under attack and in threat of vanishing from our planet forever, as a result of human greed and corruption. As these mental diseases place this benevolent beast on the brink of extinction, the rhino stands tall, and it has many allies among the very species that has put it in grave danger, willing to fight for its survival. Like the rhinoceros, we all have, at some point in our lives, found, or will find ourselves in situations that can turn our worlds upside down, and we all need something to remind us of the hope and strength that can be found deep inside, as well as from others. The rhino in this piece, offers the viewer a gladiolus flower - a symbol of the inner-power inherent in every human being, and a reminder that there is still great beauty in the world, even in the darkest of times. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

dc creepers invade kefa cafe in silver spring, md!

My friend Eric Gordon has an excellent art exhibit going on at Kefa Cafe in Silver Spring, Maryland, which I wrote about HERE at the Comics DC blog. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

alchemical vessel progress with color

So far I think I've finally completed the rhino portion of my Alchemical Vessel for the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts exhibit and benefit next month. It's interesting, working with mediums I don't normally explore, and this project is pushing me in new directions, as an artist. Adding underglaze was a challenge, as it required many layers. It's also difficult to read, as the color changes somewhat while applying it on, unlike when adding paint. The use of underglaze hasn't allowed me to achieve the detail I would normally desire in a painting since it absorbs so quickly into the bisque-fired ceramic surface, yet I've taken a liking to the almost naive style that has resulted from it. It's progress, but I now consider the project only about a half of the way finished. Today I'll begin the underside of the bowl, applying underglaze to the pattern of Gladiolus flowers that span its circumference. I'll let it dry for a day or two, then finally, gently add a loose layer of clear glaze on both sides, with an emphasis on the word gently. Then it's one more layer of clear glaze, a day or two of drying, then finally into the kiln for a low firing at about cone 04. It's the application of clear glaze, and finally the kiln firing that has me a bit anxious, though I'm optimistic it'll all work out fine. Just have to stay patient and work carefully to the very end. More to come soon!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

magic bullet issue 10 and dc conspiracy tenth anniversary party at fantom comics!

On Saturday, February 21st, Fantom Comics in Washington, DC will host the tenth anniversary party for The DC Conspiracy comics arts collective from 3-9 pm. The party will coincide with the release of Magic Bullet issue ten, with amazing cover art by Matt Dembicki, featuring work from local comic artists, including many of whom belong to the DCC. Fantom will also be exhibiting art by DC Conspiracy folks, both old and new, including some works by me (see above photo) one of which was featured on the cover of MB #8, and one inside the pages of the current issue. You can find Magic Bullet 10 at shops all throughout the greater DC region and beyond, including the CD Cellar in Falls Church, VA (below pic). The artwork and the stories in this issue are pretty spectacular, so check it out, and hope to see you at the party!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

aviary exhibit at washington artworks in march

I'm pleased to announce one of my larger-scale paintings, The Great Blue of Plaza Street (36" x 36" acrylic on canvas) made it into a juried show at the Washington ArtWorks Gallery

More from the website:

Please join us on Friday, March 6th , at Washington ArtWorks for the opening reception of “Aviary”, a juried gallery exhibition in the Urban by Nature gallery to showcase the splendor and versatility of birds.  “Aviary” has been juried by Washington Post’s Science Graphics Editor and artist, Patterson Clark. At The Washington Post, Clark specializes in visually reporting science and natural history topics. He also harvests District of Columbia’s exotic invasive plants, from which he derives inks, paper, printing blocks, lumber, fuel, chemicals, medicine and food.

Hope to see folks there!