Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sculpture and Bulgaria

Figures in the monument now include Superman, Ronald McDonald, the Joker and Santa. Photograph: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters
Global graffitti?

A military monument that commemorates the 1944 Soviet "liberation" of Bulgaria, has been liberated from its own history by rascals who updated it to be more "in step with the times."

Everyone was suitably outraged. Members of Bulgaria's ruling party said that only the government gets to "destroy the monuments of socialism."

More about the scandal here

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sculpture and Brietenbush

I was drawing the dancers at Breitenbush when the kids entered the room. "Draw me!"
When a six year old takes a pose and HOLDS IT, what can an artist do but comply?
10 minutes and counting..... Sahar at six years old.
 If you draw one child you must draw them all, so her brother and sister sat down for their portraits.
Brother Ishmael

Sister Ginko
I felt very rusty as I haven't drawn portraits from life in years, but glad to know it's like riding a bike...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sculpture and Brietenbush

This week I've been at Breitenbush Hot Springs for the annual Fall Contact Improvisation Jam.

Here's Carolyn Stuart improvising with the studio wall.

Watch how sustained her movement is, no part of her body is unaware.... (It's a lot harder to do than it seems. Try dancing with the nearest wall to see for yourself.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sculpture and Imagination

Sculpture at it's best means working in three dimensions, using your materials in the simplest, most direct way. This video shows that there is no distinction between art and life.

Creative awareness is good ecological living.

Thanks to Theresa Cheek for calling this to my attention.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sculpture and a Provincetown Garden

Wouldn't you like to live on Pleasant Street?

 For having such long winters, this Cape Cod Garden celebrates the summer. I walked by this lovely garden every day. Thought you'd like it too, its carefully orchestrated colors cover the clear bones of its structure: patios, paths, urns and evergreens.
This is the view from the sidewalk. I'd love to see what the garden looks like from inside the house.

Greys, whites and pale pinks are the color scheme in the upper garden.

Fragrant Nicotiana.

The garden steps down several levels between one street and the next. On each level is a paved terrace to enjoy the view.

This is the last of my Cape Cod vacation postings. Back to Portland, Oregon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sculpture and Gravestones - Old and New Art

Memory Graphite and oil pastel on paper. 22 x 15 inches. Patrick Gracewood ©2011
I selected words and motifs from the old gravestones to create new art inspired by Cape Cod.
Old Friends Graphite and oil pastel on paper. 22 x 15 inches. Patrick Gracewood ©2011
 I see I missed an opportunity to use the arc of the gravestone to create a giant horseshoe crab......

Good Morning Graphite and oil pastel on paper. 22 x 15 inches. Patrick Gracewood ©2011  
Good Morning is my favorite of this series. I saw it happen. A robin flies through the fog to perch atop a gravestone, calls twice and then flies away.  Everything in cool greys as if LIFE were just part of the fog and the only reality is death and stone.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sculpture and Horseshoe Crabs

They look like Greek war helmets, but are much older than the ancient Greeks.
Older than the dinosaurs by millions of years.
Horseshoe crab study, watercolor and pen & ink by Patrick Gracewood ©2011
They are Horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus, and are considered a living fossil. We were at Cape Cod last month and took a trip to Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, where the crabs come to lay their eggs and molt their skins.
Horseshoe crab study, watercolor and pen & ink by Patrick Gracewood ©2011

I made these watercolors and ink studies because the shapes of the crabs are so beautiful. Sharp armor and beautiful smooth forms. The shed skins are translucent gold and very fragile. You can see one between my hands in the photo above.

Have you encountered any fossils, living or otherwise, this summer?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sculpture and John Frame

Do you know the work of John Frame, an American sculptor and filmmaker? His art is beautifully detailed and dreamlike.

One Minute Preview of Three Fragments from John Frame on Vimeo.

(I'm cleaning my office and studio after what seems like weeks away. The reassurance of order and routine and work seem like good medicine right now.) 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sculpture and Hands

Touch is our first sensation, and also our last.
 Dorothy's hands, ballpoint pen on paper 8 x 9 inches Patrick Gracewood ©2011
Dorothy had rheumatoid arthritis as a young woman. It was extremely painful and made her self conscious about her hands, but it didn't stop her. She worked until she was in her late 70s' taking care of children.
Dorothy's hands were a perfect expression of her strength and vulnerability.

Dorothy's hands, ballpoint pen on paper 8 x 9 inches Patrick Gracewood ©2011
Towards the end, her hands were the only way she could express herself: pushing away our hands offering food or liquids, grasping, holding and touching our hands as we held her.

Wednesday evening Dorothy Mae let go.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Drawn from Life

Dorothy, my mother in law, had a major stroke on Thursday and is in hospice.  Mr. D and I are taking turns with her so she's not alone.  Sometimes I watch her hand explore the texture of her satin pajamas or the cotton sheet, other times I'm holding on to her hand for dear life. Not sure who's.

I'm drawing her.... Drawn from life..................................................

I used to worry that people would think it's macabre to draw someone dying. I don't anymore.
Drawing is one good way of truly seeing Dorothy and honoring her struggle.

Drawing from life means observing who and what is in front of me. It's a means to stay fully present, rather than getting lost in a story about what Dorothy might be experiencing. I can't do anything to take away her dying,  but I can be her witness.

A drawing can be testimony. (Some interesting definitions of testimony that you might not know.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sculpture and Lars Bech

Abstract paintings of the 20th Century?
They're not paintings. They're the micro-photography of Lars Bech, who died earlier this year. 

Mr. Bech was a photographer of worlds unseen. His artistry spanned film to digital photography.  The images in this video are not identified, frustrating for those who are scientific, but it does free you to simply enjoy them for their beauty.

For more information on Lars Bech and his art click here

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sculpture and Patterns

Do you believe what you know or what you see?

People walked right through the construction zone at the central Library oblivious to the shadow patterns cast by the bright orange protection plastic.

I stepped inside the tunnel and just about fell over. The pavement was no longer flat. It rippled with dizzying sets of Op Art patterns with many depths of focus. Layer upon layer of glowing orange shadow patterns.

I walked through because of the people behind me, let them pass, and turned around and went back in.
Repeatedly. I couldn't stop grinning upon discovering the best free amusement ride of the day. It made me want to ask strangers " Can you see this? Does it make you dizzy too?"

What insane paper cuts these patterns would make.