Character Concepts: Super Heroines

Role Playing Games are a great way to generate ideas for stories, artistic projects, and costumes. Last summer I played in a home brew game with some of my girlfriends who wanted to girls only game. We settled on a super hero setting and went on to tell a tale of heroic deeds and comic antics.

My character was the Avant Guard, who had come to own a magical set of paintbrushes from ancient China that let her manipulate the world around her. Formally an artist, she was determined to make her whole super hero career into a performing art piece. One of her first ventures as part of a super hero team was to design costumes for all of her colleagues. With nothing better to do I went ahead an drew out the costumes.

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A Week in Review: California Sun (Part 2)

Last time I blogged about anything was a while ago, and back in November I only talked about half of my trip to California. Since then I have made a lot more art, and been to a couple more places around the country. However, before I talk about all that I felt I should finish discussing my adventure in LA.

ORIGAMI! If you have never played with folding some paper into fun shapes I recommend you give it a try. I love folding origami, and although I only know three shapes to any level of proficiency I want to learn more. Our art project with the High School student’s in LA was origami, and we used the numerous pieces to create a wonderful set for their final performance. The elementary students also made origami, but the majority of their set was also made by the high schoolers. In about 1 hour 45 minutes the 60 students we worked with cranked out over 600 pieces of origami. It was awesome!

We made three shapes: The Cootie Catcher/Fortune Teller, the Pinwheel, and the Lotus. The 3 shapes are relatively easy to learn and sort of build on each other. I taught everyone how to fold from the front of the class. I think I could fold the three shapes in my sleep. After all the shapes were made we took them home and strung them on strings. Some the shapes were stacked into lanterns- pinwheels on the bottom, fortune teller in the middle, and the lotus on top. I think it looks like a whole flower and they spin in the wind which is a great effect. The students each took a lantern home with them after the performance.

On our final day of the trip we had some free time. During my free time I visited the Getty Museum. The Getty is perched at the top of one of the hills surrounding Los Angeles. You have to take a tram up the side of the hill, winding through greenery and gardens to get to the actual museum. And once you step off the train you have to ascend a grand white marble staircase. The Getty has no qualms about putting art of a pedestal and I was pretty impressed by the grandeur of the entrance.

Image: Canterbury and St. Albans exhibition at the Getty Center. Foreground: St. Albans Psalter, about 1130, Alexis Master. Tempera and gold on parchment. Dombibliothek Hildesheim. Background: Panels from the Ancestors of Christ Windows, Canterbury Cathedral, England, 117880. Colored glass and vitreous paint; lead came. Courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury

Image: Canterbury and St. Albans exhibition at the Getty Center. Foreground: St. Albans Psalter, about 1130, Alexis Master. Tempera and gold on parchment. Dombibliothek Hildesheim. Background: Panels from the Ancestors of Christ Windows, Canterbury Cathedral, England, 117880. Colored glass and vitreous paint; lead came. Courtesy Dean and Chapter of Canterbury

I only had a short amount of time to visit and I really wanted to see their illuminated manuscripts and stained glass. As it so happened the day I visited they had a temporary exhibit up on the Cantebury Tales, filled with rare and exciting manuscripts and windows. Illuminated Manuscripts are hand made documents intricately painted with beautiful inks, and are often focused on religious themes. They began appearing as early the 6th century and were still being made as late as the 16th century. To learn more about illuminated manuscripts you can go here.

I enjoyed sketching the strange images found on many of the pages. Cameras were not allowed in the exhibit so I had to capture inspiring images on paper in ink. This sketch was done in about 5 minutes and I loved the deer eating the octopus. It was such a bizarre picture that I couldn’t pass it by.

GettyMuseum

 

The day I visited also happened to be part of the Getty’s children’s weekend. As part of the festivities they had a live medieval band playing and an art station for children. The project was to make an illuminated manuscript of your own to take home. I was allowed to make one even though I’m not a child anymore. It is pictured above next to my sketches from the exhibit. We were given a pile of papers of various colors and textures and then had access to numerous stamps and inks. Again, pressed for time, I quickly through something together as a momento of my time at the museum. I just let myself be drawn to colors and images and words that I liked.

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That was the final artistic endeavor of my trip to Los Angeles. I will be back in LA in March to be a part of a major theater production, “I Knew That Once”!

A Week in Review: California Sun (Part 1)

Two weeks ago I took a break from my blog to do a weeklong performance project with Turning the Wheel  in Los Angeles, CA. I had never been to California before the trip and I was eager to see what all the hubbub was about.

When I arrived in LA I found myself to be staying in a beautiful home filled with books on art. Wonderful! I spent my first morning perusing Milk & Honey: Contemporary Art in California by Justin Van Hoy.

The book covered a variety of different artists working and living in California at the time the book was written. The main themes I found California artists to be working with are the quality of light, the variety of landscapes found near Los Angeles, and traffic. I liked the cover a lot, with all the butterflies, but apart from that most of the art within failed the capture my attention.

Monday night we visited a fantastically fun restaurant – Cafe Gratitude. The food at the restaurant is deliciously prepared and you can feel good about eating it because its all vegan. My favorite part about the food was ordering it. All the meals are given uplifting names and when you order them you become them. I was humble, elevated, and irresistible. Along with the uplifting atmosphere was some great art. My favorite work was a stunning mural found in the ladies bathroom. I wish I had ventured into the men’s to see if it was as wonderfully decorated.

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I liked the level of detail as well as many of the motif’s. When went to learn more about the artist Jon Marro I found some interesting things. His bio states that his work

“Currently is inspired by the teachings within Pneuma System, a path of synthesis, which brings together the inner wisdom of the major traditions of the world.  This knowledge illuminates a path of Solar Art – giving form to light and providing a sanctuary for the eyes…which I am now remembering.”
 

He calls his style shown above, Solar Art. Each line he draws gives form to his vision, like the sun – hence the name for his art style. Marro’s spiritual art is a great fit for the bathroom of a restaurant called Cafe Gratitude. Part of why the mural caught my attention so much was because it pulled together a lot of themes that I like to play with in my own art; whales, frog princes, butterflies, mandalas, intricate lines. It also made me wonder why I like those motifs. Is it because I see them all the time in popular culture, or is it because they resonate with the world today… or possibly a bit of both. It also made me consider branching out from common themes and discovering something fresher.

Barely into my week I had already seen a lot of great art, and as the week continued I got to play with bringing my own art to California. Check back soon for Part 2.

 

Stages of a Drawing: Altered Book

Today I wanted to walk through the steps of creating a poem from the pages of an old book. The book I have been altering for quite some time now is “Prepatory German Reader”. I bought the book at the Trident book store on Pearl, in their $1 book cart. I loved the feel of the cover, the color of the pages, and the super cool german font. Although the majority of the book is in german the footnotes are often in English and can make great poems. I learned this technique in my Intro to Poetry class in college and really liked it. We had to make a poem like this for an assignment after researching the Poet Tom Phillips work, The HumamentThere are many ways to go about finding poems in old books, and a quick Google search will enlighten you the possibilities. However here is my process:

Step 1: Circle the words you want to turn into a poem. This is easier on some pages than others. For example the introduction and afterword were in all English so I found quite compelling poems. The page I am using for this post was less engaging but I made it work all the same

Ancient Power Progression

Step 2: Ink the lines you have created. I decided I didn’t like how heavy the bottom of the page was so I circled some stuff around the page. Another charming feature of this book is the handwriting of the previous owner. I circled some of his/her writing and some numbers.

Ancient Power Progression-1

Step 3: Fill in the rest of the page. I have been really enjoying squiggle arts. They are so calming to create. I drew lines around the shapes created by my words until the page was filled. I ended up with something looking somewhat like a topographical map

Ancient Power Progression-2

Step 4: Color it in! I used Crayons. (The ones from the other day)
Ancient Power Progression-3 Ancient Power Progression-4 Ancient Power Progression-5

Step 5: Make final edits. I decided I really hated the little shape in the middle of the page and filled it in the pen I used earlier. I also decided to embellish the page with some of my own words to add meaning (or not). Finally I signed it.

Ancient Power Progression-6

The Poem Reads-

singing tribe
56 25 30
mythology of the air, the storms
powerful rivers
twelve tribes. race twelve goddesses.
ancient power
 

Keep a look out for more pages of my altered book “Prepatory German Reader.”  I would like to have it filled by January 2014. *Fingers Crossed*