4th entry, April 3rd 2008

the base coat of "Breathe" a recent work in progress as outlined by my previous entries it is 24 inches by 30 inches

When a person desires to do something so badly that they want to do it well and even communicate that way they have a “passion”. When they make that passion a way of life it becomes, in a way, a “discipline”. They are different creatures and the change is a noticeable one.

A quiet focus assumes them where the thought of that very thing become omnipresent, and saturates their existence and they are pleased with that. The world responds to them differently as well, with a kind of respect if their dedication is complete.

For me simply being passionate about a thing is not enough, it is the half step or the half read book. It needs the discipline in order to hone it in its own way toward a form of independent personal perfection. There are several types of this occurring all throughout nature, human and others, putting a proverbial “reason” to rhyme and creating desired balance.

I was watching the Bravo TV show tonight “Top Chef” and I have to say that the amount of admiration for people in the art form of cooking is so very great. It is a combination of science and method, palette and placement. A mix of passion with discipline and look at the diversity in cuisine and presentation throughout time it has made for us.

After the show I read some of the blogs on the bravo site and realized something. That there was a string of familiarity in the way they talked about food, the way they all “lived” food and their art, the way they work their art and how they know it and came to know it.

It’s a competition of discipline, knowledge, style and passion where individuals are not so much judged on the conformity of their dishes but really on how well they execute them and the result. It is in a way for them to express themselves in as a master of their art and be tested as to how well they know how to. I think that’s why I love to watch shows like that. There’s a level of bravery to expose something so personal as ones art and say to the world, “what do you think?”

In the show it’s a bit fairer than in real life, usually the ones without the required amount of basic technique are removed first then the ones without the right levels of passion and/or discipline are removed. What got to me is that, so far with few exceptions, in this particular season the contestants are either too distracted or really afraid to express themselves – to go out there. When there’s a really great opportunity for them to show who they are as artists they’re tending to waste it on burying themselves in the process and technique. To me a master does not do that, a “top plumber” does not do that. They stand aside and focus on how to do it themselves, autonomously/independently and know themselves better for that.

In retrospect I think it’s because I have personal experience here. Although I use the same ingredients they prepare for consumption orally, and I use them for consumption visually I think it’s very much the same. I am able to create these visual dishes because I know myself and know how to express myself in a way appreciated by others. That was not always the way and WHEW was it brutal sometimes trying to progress. It's easy to become complacent or discouraged. Becoming an emergent is a learning process, and its good to be reminded to be brave and continue to learn and communicate better in my own art form. Funny how I got that from a cooking elimination reality television show but it really does make sense to me.

The picture of “breathe” was taken a few days ago, it’s still in it’s baby phase and needs about 200 or more hours before I really get it to where I need it to be. Then I’ll begin hiding the underlying images (little things I think of as rewards for those who really look at the piece) which will eventually be overlaid by a master image. The photo really does not do what’s going on justice. This blog arena can’t host the required definition needed to honestly give someone the real gist of what’s happening. I’m thinking about moving my blog altogether to a better site but I digress.

I used a concentrated co co, henna and coffee mixture to create the darker hues. To that I added vanilla and cinnamon which created a burnt sienna color and thinned out the co co mixture to allow for stretching those hues over the canvas. As stated in an earlier entry I wanted to give the idea of being underwater and opening your eyes and looking up at the sky in an early cool morning setting. It’s a depiction of the experience really, married to the idea of taking one breath, this is not a photo realistic painting – it is an impression.

After the base was applied I took a concentrate of violet and thistle with bay leaf to make my prime colors. When mixed with either clay, polenta or flour they change in color and after it is dried appropriately it makes the desired textures for the piece. At first the smell was really pungent and it took awhile for it to calm down lol. After it had settled a bit small brushings of the original violet concentrate then lilac, platycodon and egg yolk were applied to add variation of hues and bits of shine.

I’ve been asked several times as to what methods I use to extract the colors and I’ve taught a few people in informal demonstrations. Really it’s not extraordinary and has been done for ages and anyone can find that information anywhere. What I do to get the exact colors I use though are methods I keep personal, those are mine but there are many resources online should you want to try the general technique of making your colors from things like fruit, spices, vegetables, flowers, roots, bark etc.

I really think that so far the piece is coming together; it’s still a baby though and needs quite a bit more work. I’ll be looking forward to showing you another picture once the next step is completed.

More Later


Anonymous said…
you're absolutely amazing

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