Lately I have been foiled in my attempts to display my Fat Baby Bird in a couple of locations, so I turned to digitally foiling my fat baby birds here. And as you can see, I have gone into a little “mass production”. I make and sell a limited number of cement casts of my limestone carving. The stone original is the unpainted bird shown above, which I display on a cement “honeycomb” base I designed. The painted birds are two of my limited edition casts. So far I have made my original carving plus eight cast cement birds, each painted differently. I plan to limit the edition to 25 or less.
Numbering the Edition
I want to keep track of the order of these casts, and where these baby birds go, but I may be confused already. I failed to note the order and the location of their new homes as I worked. The numbered list below is my best reconstruction of the sequence of my cast birds.
I hand chiseled my fat baby bird from a small block of limestone. You can see it in the first photo above. I cast the original, making a silicone mold with a plaster mother mold, and it is my very first stone carving. I plan to keep the original carved bird for myself!
The “Numbered Edition”:
Fat Baby Bird #1 sits on an inverted flower pot, since I had not yet come up with a good default base. I donated #1 to the local animal shelter to adorn their dog walking trail.
Fat Baby Bird #2 has my chosen base, for use when a bird does not find a unique home perch. It visited the Pettygrove ROW for a while, then moved to a home with a friend & neighbor.
Baby Glitter Bird is out on the town: for now she nestles on a stump along the Spruce St. public trail near the Ft. Worden back gate.
Dark Bird will stay home with me for now, as I am fond of the darker colors and his golden tears.
Quiet Fat Baby Bird moved a few blocks away, to a sheltered garden on Olympic Ave, to be at home with someone who needs her.
Iridescent Baby Bird perches a bit aslant on a rock, very much at home in the lovely garden of friends who live nearby.
And Buff-breasted Baby Bird, the most quizzical of the lot somehow, is trying out perches in the garden of another friendly home almost next to me on 33rd St. B4 may settle on a spot soon, or maybe not!
Just painted: Baby Bird with Bill, pun intended, will move to the home of another immediate neighbor! BBwB has a stacked log perch already and waiting…
Not yet finished, Yellow-Breasted Baby Bird expects to have a new home soon, across the street in a rockery.
In these three manipulated images I soften the summer shadows. Perhaps I hope to also soften the harsh reality of a pandemic and our dysfunctional government! Sometimes we all need to soften things a bit; we just need to take the edge off. Blunt truth is not always the best way to stay sane, or to communicate. I am all for facing reality, but perhaps just not at every moment of the day, or especially in every conversation. Of course, I do not always remember this truth!
And yes, art making is a conversation of a sort, although that may not be evident. I think artists are always in a slow long conversation with each other, in the present day or backwards in time. And sometimes the conversation is with the audience, with culture, and with politicians; that can happen if the art making goes well.
I am not sure what all my various shadow self-portraits have to say. Certainly one message is a simple one; the message is that I am here! I exist! I make art! Let’s hope some of these say more than that, however. My hope is that there many of my images and artworks will resonate with you somehow. I want my art to convey something particular and special to the viewer.
Back to the topic of shadows: the bright summer sun can be a bit harsh, even here at Pacific Northwest latitudes. So in these images I soften the summer shadows in order to soften a too harsh reality, and play with the colors to create new summery images. The original photos were taken on a trail by Port Townsend Bay, and although there is no water in the pictures, I wanted to evoke the bay and the light on the water. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Maybe it is due to the lovely summer weather, or the madness of the current politics, or the isolation and oddness of the pandemic, but there is a shadow on my art; I struggle to create new durable art. After all it just piles up in my studio and yard. So I fill my time with walking, taking photographs, and reaching out to neighbors for “safe” outdoor socializing. My art time recently is mostly manipulating, and I hope enhancing, my photographs. Often I photograph my shadow, as my preferred form of self-portraiture. I love the digital effects I can apply to my shadow in my art.
In my indoor and outdoor studio spaces, I struggle with mess, and sometimes I just pick up parts & pieces I will save for future projects, then put them back down. I have no good filing system for my mixed media “treasures”, but I have to make room to work. The mess is building up in my outside work spaces also: being a mixed media artist is a mixed blessing! So I turn to my computer, and to digital art. And to shadows!
The mess in my studio is a shadow on my art, but I love shadows in my digital art. Shadows are a premium material when I have my camera in hand. Self portraits are a time honored tradition, and very convenient: but I never want straight up realism. So my shadow is much more appealing than a direct photograph.
My shadow in my art can represent any and every woman. Of course my shadow is with me everywhere, as long as there is sufficient light. Digital enhancement of shadow portraits can be so beautiful; the trick is find a way to add meaning, a bit of soul, to create a more enduring artwork.
I am trying out various options for this arrangement before I work up a final piece. I am currently quite in love with the concept and the arrangements, but of course that will change. I will probably hate the finished work when complete, for at least a few days if not longer. And then I will fuss with it, possibly altering and even ruining it. I can usually “fix” my ruined pieces, but not always!
I think the dimensional pieces will need to be embedded to be secured in a finished artwork, with the paper protected. I don’t like putting anything behind glass anymore. This may mean an epoxy resin pour, with all the stress and mess that entails. I don’t really want high gloss though. Must think!
Jump Rope with the Moon is a bas relief mixed media artwork, original pieces of artwork (paperclay, epoxy resin, fiber) set in poured resin into a found wooden drawer. Somehow playful but serious at the same time, two field workers play jump rope with a somewhat puzzled moon, attended by a swooping bird.
I decided the “shooting star” & grasses, shown in the upper photos, make the piece too busy. So these are not present in the resin set version below, and probably will not be added back in. I am considering the possibility of adding lighting inside the box/drawer, either on the left side or along the top. Would be a pain to do, but not terrible, but I am not sure it is a good idea!
I have another option at this point: I can “dull down” the glossy resin. Again, I have not decided to do this, as I find this artwork pretty satisfying as is!