Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Integration of collage!

If you recall my adventure at the Bull Run Art Jam last spring, I came across some old blueprints in the control room of the Bull Run powerhouse and became very inspired. With the help of historians at PGE I was able to procure a few blueprints of the powerhouse and painted a picture on top of it. This has set off a new direction in my art. I am starting to integrate collage elements in my work.

This painting is "Celilo Canal and Mt. Hood" based on a 1940 photograph from the Oregon State Archives.
Here is the same image, only over a blueprint. This piece was purchased by a professional land surveyor, with an enthusiasm for blueprints.

This is a piece named "Develop". The blueprint is from the archives of my father's engineering practice, Peterson Structural Engineers . It is from a long time ago, and he has no recollection of the specific job. The photograph I found at an antique store.

"Squares Make a Building" is on a floor plan I found in the trash. The photograph I found in an antique store. I like the way the squares emerge faintly from the scene.

This is a special painting that I suspect will be the first in a series of sorts. The newspaper (The Oregon Journal) was saved by my paternal grandfather. The boy in the photograph is my own father. The date of the newspaper is also the title of the painting: "September 27th, 1939" I suspect that is also about the time the photograph was taken. Dad says he thinks this was taken on a ferry to Port Orchard (near Bremerton and the Puget Sound Navy Shipyards are located) where his father was from.

The matching up of collage piece to photograph is an intuitive process that leads to meanings that are more rich, obscure and personal.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Unusual subject matter

The great and chock-fulla-heart gallery and studio The 100th Monkey Studio put out a call to artists with the subject of maps. I became very inspired and created three small works just for the show. I am happy to say they were accepted, and there is an opening Friday July 9th (Which unfortunately I will not be able to attend!) and will be up through the month of July.

The subject of the three paintings quickly evolved as I started to play with images and maps. I did not intend at first to have a distinct narrative to them. Below is the statement I submitted to the gallery, explaining the meaning of the art and how it relates to the show theme:

"With these three images, I use maps as a way to depict history changing events in U.S. history. They span a hundred years and the breadth of the continental states. The first, “Promise of the Future”, depicts a victim of the dustbowl in the early 1930’s, traveling with her baby to California in hopes of finding work. “After the Shot” is based on a photograph taken minutes after Martin Luther King was shot in Memphis Tennessee, April 4th, 1968. “Before the Crash” is based on a video still of an airplane, just before it hit a World Trade Center building in New York City, in 2001. I am telling a story of the United States, using maps as the medium."

"Promise of the Future"
"After the Shot"
"Before the Crash"

Attempting to develop

My desire is to free myself up as an artist and become more creative in my interpretations of photographs and other source material. Sometimes I get a bit frustrated with myself because I tend to stick so close to the literal appearance of the photograph. So in November I took a very inspiring workshop from the super duper Portland artist William Park called "The Spirit of Drawing". I have to say that the change in my art has been visible, though not dramatic. I move very slowly, but I am persistant!

BTW! If you are intersted in seeing William's work or taking what may be his last workshop for a while, visit

This is a piece I like very much called "We Came for Work". It is from a very early photo, probably 1900-1920.

This piece is also from an early photo, probably from 1910-1920, called "Love and Adventure". I enjoy doing snow scenes quite a bit. I usually I use acrylic medium when I want to thin my paint and make it translucent. In this one I use water as a thinner, which has a different quality in its results, more matte and soft.

This one is called "I Knew You'd Come" It was featured in a previous post "An Artistic Conundrum" This is the results of struggling with that conundrum. I may never be sure how successful it was.

This piece is called "Humbug Mountain State Park; The Park Ranger's Family" It is of my mother's family. If you look very closely, you can see a small white bundle being held by the man on the far right; that bundle is my newborn mother. This painting also uses water a lot as a thinner, and I let the energenic charcoal drawing of the bushes remain exposed.

Tune in next post to follow the exciting saga of Leslie's art.

Moving to smaller paintings.

Where did the time go?? What the heck have I been up to? Honestly, I find it difficult to believe it was September that I posted last. It has been a heck of a 9 months, and a lot has happened in my life personally and artistically. I will give you a quick over view so you can see what I am doing now and hopefully, a bit about how I got there.

First I concentrated a bit on doing work that is smaller than I usually do. These three pieces are all 6"x6" on simple white birch panels.

"I Needed to Believe in Something"
These are all 5"x7". This first one is "Site". I love the clothing. Painting fur is more difficult than I thought. The little boy is wearing a cap and coat similar to the one John Kennedy Jr. wore at his father's funeral.

This one, "Marbles" is on 1/4" panel stained with tea.

This one is named "Blackbirds"