Tuesday, August 2, 2011

refract and reflect

The drop in temperature is welcome, the rain picking up flecks of red light reflecting in puddles on the roof next door, the flickers of lightning, the thirsty garden watered.

I've been off-kilter the last couple days, a little more visibly cranky as opposed to the mercurial moodiness, brought on by the accumulation of small pet peeves and larger frustrations still minuscule in the great scheme of things. Tacky and catty women and pretentious wuss rockers are nothing compared to dealing with things that really suck, which is what the rest of the world has to deal with all the time.

But it's welcome to finally having a night of some degree of inspiration and time to execute after poring over piles of art books accumulating in the living room of gold covered icons and luminescent stained glass, illuminated manuscripts, architecture of Goa churches, and intricate jewelry from wilder parts of ancient Europe, not really sure why I've been inspired by the medieval and Arts and Crafts lately, maybe it's the abstraction and the richness in detail, the subject matter timeless, the intensity and translucence, the labors of love and sweat for patronage and devotion, great beauty made in dark and uncertain times.

Things have always been corrupt and lame and empires inevitably fall so I've checked out of the political debate, keeping up only enough to know what's going on but nothing more, because each side keeps blaming the other when both sides do the exact same thing especially when it comes to dealing with people on the other side of the world whose blood and lives are evidently considered less worthy than our own. My cousins are stocking up on silver and gold and I guess they have their reasons, but if the shit hits the fan, you can't eat it or wear it to stay warm or burn it for fuel. I don't know.

I've got three weeks left of enameling before the city moves that part of the arts center to the east side and the process of cleaning, scrubbing, filing off fire scale and sifting powders with names like 'flame' and 'wisteria' made of unknown quantities. After a few months of doing this, I can kind of figure out what I'm doing, but I don't do anything all that epic after the unsatisfying attempt at cloisonne, considering that beautiful and handmade Christmas gifts containing unknown amounts of lead and who knows what else may not be the best plan.

Theophilus in his 10th century text on the 'Divers Arts' describes the processes of metalworking, mixing paint, and constructing stained glass and enamelled pieces, and it was even more labor intensive, to keep the coals hot and the pieces melting at the right temperatures, making ones own bellows out of sheepskin and glue from the gooey bits of sturgeon and eel, pigments from mercury, sulphur, lead.

Being unvocationally trained and not affluent, I use canvases found in the closeout section of Marc's, Magic Markers to trace designs and fill in blank spaces. When mixed on gesso, spread by brush, they're forgiving and wonderful, especially when mixed with the wax of Prismacolor pencils. A late night tomorrow means finally getting to break out the acrylics. It's been too long.


Randal Graves said...

No more lead? You'll still at least have access to the uranium, yes?

Hey man, don't punch me in the face, I'm no pretentious wuss rocker. I've got a Troo Kvlt Mug +1 that'll do serious damage.

I wonder if Theophilus ever engaged in fisticuffs with those eel-worshiping Emos.

thatgirl said...

Scurvie alchymie can still be done, but if I should continue in those studies, I may have to take an hour of vacation time to traverse to the Lands of the East in the Woods of Collin.

It is true that you are no Conor Oberst, and you do procure powerchordy lovely music of heavy sweetness.

And I would love to see fisticuffs with eels. Does one wear gloves so that one doesn't get zapped by currents electric?

Randal Graves said...

In yon un-mapp'd lands, a lass must carrie a blade of the equatorial nayshuns or a blunderbuss, for verily thou mayst encounter mafiosi.

An excellent point, and there is rumor of a Bulgar scientician laboratizing a pair of opera gloves with anti-galvanic properties.

Anonymous said...

see elkins' what is painting

Anonymous said...

sorry that link is limited, on his page check writings and then trade

susan said...

I think the reason some of us spend so much of our free time enjoying or emulating things done and made in ancient dayes is our complete and utter disgust with those who worship mediocrity.