Thursday, January 16, 2020

No One Is Left to Bear the Rain of Stones

No One Is Left to Bear the Rain of Stones

It is time again to be inspired by an online workshop by my mentor, Michael deMeng. This workshop is called Master of Disguise and it is a mask making tutorial. I will probably make more masks but when I started No One Is Left to Bear the Rain of Stones it just took off all the way to the finish line.

The first mask that I worked on was a cheap plastic mask from the costume store. I hardened the mask with plaster cast material in order to be able to do the things to it that I wanted.

At the same time, I went to an auction and bought a whole bunch of wood including some old clock body parts.

I was also reading a book, The Art of Mesoamerica by Mary Ellen Miller and when I saw this picture of Tlaloc, the Aztec Rain God, this project came into my mind.

This sculpture of Tlaloc is located in the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan.  This information about Tlaloc is from the History Crunch website: "Tlaloc was an important god in Aztec religion.  In Nahuatl, the Aztec language, Tlaloc translates to ‘earth’ and modern historians interpret the name as meaning ‘he who is made of earth’.  The Aztecs considered him to be the god of rain, earthly fertility and water.  He was a popular god throughout the Aztec Empire and widely recognized as a ‘giver of life’.  The name Tlaloc is specific to the Aztec and their celebration of the rain god, however there is evidence of Mesoamerican people honoring a rain god going back to the city of Teotihuacan in the 1st century AD.  As well, the Mayans worshipped a god similar to Tlaloc.  While the Aztec considered Tlaloc to be a god that brought life, they also feared his wrath, because he also represented thunderstorms, floods, hail, and lightning.  Due to his positive and negative nature he is often pictured with rain, maize (corn) and lightning.  As well, his likeness is usually shown with goggled eyes and large fangs."

Here are a few more images from the web that I found that gave me inspiration:

So, once I slipped the mask into the clock box with Tlaloc in my mind, it was pretty cool the way it actually worked for me.

Then after a lot of painting, it was done.

And, thus we have, No One Is Left to Bear the Rain of Stones. The title is from "Two Elegies, 2:  The Rain of Stones is Finished" from the collection The Rebel’s Silhouette: Selected Poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 01 Of Wonder: As Part of the World Faces Down, Why Does Not the Sea Fall Off?

Of Wonder: As Part of the World Faces Down, Why Does Not the Sea Fall Off?

This piece of art began its life as a project in Crystal Neubauer's Shrines & Shadows: Finding Symbolism and Meaning in Your Work Workshop, September 13-16, 2019, held in her 16th Street Studio in Racine, WI.

The Supplicant
(photo by Melissa Hall)

Here is the workshop description: "This is a project oriented workshop with a focus on developing a structure, shrine, or shadow box that moves the viewer to enter in to our stories without feeling the need to be overt or literal in the creation. Class discussion will center on exploring the deeper meaning in our work, understanding and using symbolism, and developing a narrative through the selection of objects and materials used. Techniques will include light deconstruction and assembly, alternative attachments (with glue being a last resort for construction), creating niches, openings, veils, sculpting objects and details with collage, encaustic, and more."

Crystal's studio

Crystal Neubauer

(Photo by Melissa Hall)

From my basement stash, I brought this vintage wood clock body

My first goal on every project I work on is: how the hell is this thing going to hang on a wall? In this case, it required me to reinforce the vintage wood with a piece of stronger, newer, wood. 

I love nails

Me, in that moment when an artist is thinking: This is a piece of ...

The central figure was made from a plastic bottle and a raccoon (?) head

I don't do encaustic at home so it is always great to do it in Crystal's space. In this case, the central figure got a coat of encaustic. 

At the end of the workshop, we all got a chance to explain our projects to our fellow workshop attendees and to hear a critique from Crystal.

At the end of the workshop, this is as far as my project got.

Crystal added an open workshop on Monday for those of us who were not done. I stayed and started the painting process. 

And, thus we have Of Wonder: As Part of the World Faces Down, Why Does Not the Sea Fall Off?