akua, journal, tile pattern

Sketchbook Thoughts

Lately my sketchbook has been a place to catch spare ink, notes from podcasts, and stray thoughts I don’t have time to tend to just yet.  The page below is bit of a breakthrough in my thinking.  The letters are from a liquor store sign in a nearby town, carved onto a plate and stamped here.


Below is the same idea with the LIQUOR sign, but I didn’t like the scale and the obviousness of the whole thing, it seemed too too.  N’est-ce pas?

Colored pencil, pen and ink, birch bark, duct tape, akua ink.


And here is the Islamic pattern, although I goofed it up with too many circles.  Gouache paint, colored pencil, stray ink from a plate my oldest daughter carved.

I need to call it something else, do more research into these patterns and who made them.


I took the journal apart to photograph, intending to put it back together.  It’s one of those wire bound journals that the pages are forever falling out of.  Which turned out, in the end, to be rather useful.  However, middle child decided the wire was intriguing and gave it an entirely new shape.  It might be time for a new studio journal.


MFA Boston

These trips to the Boston MFA are beginning to blur. I can’t say how amazing it is to go back, to look again, to look from a different angle or even from a different state of mind.

Here’s a fragment of a fragment, Jasper John’s Fragment of a Letter, in which he presumably added his own handprint.


Below are 2 shots from a Shinique Smith installation, a small room entirely missed on my first visit in which I was chased away by an obnoxious woman who began asking me questions while I was trying to look.  Forgive me but I didn’t write down the title, but I did write down my thoughts:

“It’s like painting with smoke, bright primary colored edges keeping it from flattening into the wall.”

Okay- that actually refers to a triptych called ‘the step and the walk’ and not the installation, but still…


This installation incorporated sound and smell also, although I didn’t smell anything.  The light bounced off the mirrors and hit the wall in beautiful shapes, seen here:


Of course it’s interactive in that you can see your reflection in the mirror.  It felt a bit like being in an inner city subterranean environment without so much the frisson of danger.  It’s also calligraphic, the implication of Arabic script, the gorgeous interplay of light, sound, reflection, and sinuous line.  I spent some time in that little room.

Finally, here’s what Jen Mergel (Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at MFA Boston) wrote about Shinique (referencing Cy Twombly and the famous “zips” of Barnett Newman):

“Fully aware of this American art history, Smith lets her liquid line flow as calligraphy with its own freestyle and emotional force.”

I just can’t seem to get enough… back to the studio.