Monday, May 10, 2021

The Messiah of My Unhappiness

My friend Robin Larson stopped by for a driveway gathering in these Covid-19 times and brought me a gift she could not pass up at a flea market. I love masks and this little mask was so intriguing and painted so colorful that I immediately decided to make a piece based on it.

Last year when I was making paper in the driveway I made two things: an old tin pan full of paper pulp that I intended to use as a substrate and a baking mold of a heart that I used to make a pulp heart.

I decided also to take the plunge on another thing I wanted to try: resin.

So I painted the heart. The substrate got painted and stamped to my satisfaction. Then after laying a bed of nails, I poured the resin into the tin and let it sit. 

I also painted the mask, highlighting the colors it was already painted. I added two chair back posts and some shredded cardboard into the mix as well.

At this point I thought the piece was done...but something still bothered me about it. I found some wood trim in the basement along with another chair post and added them to the tin. This was much more the direction I wanted this piece to go. 

Thus we have The Messiah of My Unhappiness. It is 20"H X 24"W X 5"D and weighs a ton! The title is from the poem Wrong Question by Tony Hoagland.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Jerry the Bellboy

This is my second Ramshackle Robot made in the online Michael deMeng workshop Ramshackle Robots and Antiquated Androids.  

The base of this robot is a Mr. Potato Head mechanical purchased at American Science and Surplus in Milwaukee. 

As I added the bits to him to robot him up, I started to think of Jerry Lewis, a comedian I have enjoyed since I was a child. The movie, The Bellboy (1960), was the inspiration. 

After all the construction was completed, it was time to paint, paint, paint. 

His bellboy cape hides the battery box so batteries can be replaced with ease. 

Thus we have, Jerry the Bellboy, we below stars in his own version of The Bellboy.

Saturday, May 1, 2021




Here is my first work to come out of the new Michael deMeng on-line workshop, Ramshackle Robots and Antiquated Androids. This one is called Potpourri-Bot.

The project started with these basic ingredients. I knew from the start that the mixer was going to be converted into a potpourri jar right from the start. What I did not realize was that the idea of using a baby doll head made this robot to human like and was quickly rejected.

Denice got me addicted to Starbuck's Chai Latte and having a lid around on this day proved perfect timing to create the base I needed to have.

I found this pool cue in my stash and screwed off the handle to use for the bot.

Dang! these dang bottle caps will make perfect hubcaps.

Have a stash of fans helps when you need to power a bot.

I decided that this one is going to start black. After many hours of painting, painting, painting--I completed The Potpourri-Bot.

Thus we have, Potpourri-Bot which still has live, rolling action.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

All the Blind, What Are They Looking For In the Sky?

It may be slightly sad that I can remember where some of my "finds" come from but on this particular occasion I decided to use an old, worn out and very dirty window I had rescued from a great barn sale I went to.

While it might have been cool to figure our a project which utilized the dirty and grime, I decided that I would clean up the window and use it as a substrate for a collage. 

Now it comes time to audition the collage.

While this initial layout is good, you will notice that over the process it keeps changing in the fine details.

The first step on the window was to lay down a coat of black gesso to be the background. Then I did some painting to get the night sky effect I thought I needed.

At some point you have to commit to the idea so now it was time lay out the collage for gluing. 

But like with most of the collages that I do, I can never seem to get it glued down the way I planned or, perhaps more helpful, I make changes in the structure as I glue. Either way, the collage changed and here it is in its final configuration. 

At the last minute, I decided to add some objects to the collage. At this point while making the collage I came across a video of the band Heilung with lead singer singer Marie Franz. I decided to imitate her makeup. 

Thus we have, All the Blind, What Are They Looking For In the Sky? The title for this piece came from a Charles Baudelaire poem called The Blind which I modified from the original line, "All these blind men, what are they looking for in the sky?"

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

If Only I Were a Root of the Tree of the Sky

This project started with the inspiration that came from a piece of birch wood I picked up at the Restore. This wood was way (WAY) more expensive than I usually indulge in for substrates for an art project but the piece spoke to me so it came home.

While I knew that I wanted to use the board as the substrate for a collage, I also decided that I wanted to add some objects. I used my mini-table saw on my Dremel to cut a channel into the board for a box structure.

For the box, I selected what I believe is a single cigar box (Independence) and then covered it with paper. Inside the box I constructed an assemblage out of wood, stick, lens, and bottle cap with a chain and a decorative jewel that could either be a tooth--or a heart. From the chain I dangled a little bell.

The wood came with a knot hole that I had to deal with. I decided to go with a astronomy feature and just left the space as it was.

The collage work on the entire project was the interesting to accomplish. After the collage was finished I spent a lot of time painting on the work to get it to its completion. 

Thus we have If Only I Were a Root of the Tree of the Sky, a line from the poem "Egret" by Andre Breton.