Friday, September 11, 2009

I Blue It

I read about this artist who makes all kinds of crap for his house – sculptures, paintings, textiles. And though I didn’t really like any of his stuff, that was beside the point. This guy sat surrounded by a dozen projects in various states of becoming. He had the gift of compulsion.

Compulsion is a beautiful thing, provided it’s not for drinking, drugs or something else that will get you arrested, killed, or thrown out of public office. To feel compelled to take that photo, paint that picture, play that piece, puts you, temporarily at any rate, at one with the physical universe.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t born with the do-something-safe-with-your-hands gene. I’ve tried. The latest venture at oneness has been through ceramics. I may retire that smock in the near future.

Take my nude. My neeeeeuwd. We have a couple of problems here. One is shape, the other color. Let’s deal with shape first.




As a nude, you might notice a distinct lack of naughty bits. All I can say is, she lost them along the way. In the beginning there were plenty, but they kept pointing in wrong directions and I eventually obscured them in a series of corrections. Next, she appears to be sitting on half a rock, whereas the original intention had been to recline on a large soft cushion. And finally, her legs are pocked and nicked all over the place, indicating a medical problem of either a dietary or vascular nature. (We won’t even discuss what she could possibly be doing with her hands.)

Now let’s talk color. She’s blue. Was she holding her breath? Was the room too cold? Was I (gasp) taking a stab at creativity? No, blue indicates a glazing error -- strawberry creek over copper red purple, rather than the other way around.

As a result of shape and color choices, my nude now looks suited up for her next diving lesson.

Results might have been different had I consented to learn the basics. But no, I charged straight from the first lump of clay headlong into Batchelder tiles.

My teacher loves me because I make him laugh with basket weave bowls that look like pies. A ghastly pink sushi platter that looks like a dead tuna. Tiles painted in wedding cake icing because I used opaque white instead of clear.

So if I hang up this beret, what now? What next? What’s left to keep my hands off the streets? Sam Maloof has always held an attraction for me. A rocking chair – how hard could that possibly be?

35 comments:

  1. Okay, we can call the blue color whimsical and "creative" and I think it would probably fly, at least in some circles. But the chest...sorry, but that needs some work. It looks like the concave chest of a skinny pre-pubescent boy.

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  2. A friend of mine once began painting a coffee cup and ended up with a vagina (you can still see traces of the coffee cup rim...it's actually a bit disturbing). At least your woman was always meant to be a woman, naughty bits or no!

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  3. Did anyone ever become good at something without doing it over and over again?

    Don't answer that.

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  4. K, I went to art school, and have an insider's advice: Never admit mistakes, always say you meant it that way. Say vague, but smart sounding things, and let others comment, and take your clue from there.

    I don't have compulsion either, but I have obsessions.

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  5. You are wonderful, Karin! Maybe not the tile, but you and your words and creativity. Cheer up!

    L Y.

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  6. My one and only ceramic vase was made out of coils of clay and bore a disturbing resemblance to a uterus (unintended). (This was for a high school ceramics class, so it was mortifying.) So I'm not really one to talk about ceramics. Though if I were to do ceramics today, who knows? I might deliberately do uterine forms.

    Wonderful story about your blue lady.

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  7. I think the Batchelder colors are spot on.

    The mysterious hands? Now that's more problematic...!

    I like the shutters, too.

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  8. Is that why I do what I do?
    I didn't know where to put my hands...

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  9. I would have thought it an outstanding, odd piece of art - something that would sell for BIG $$$ at Sotherby's. But now that I know the failings of it... I see it as even more priceless!

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  10. Stop making me laugh about your art! I will grant you: she is blue.

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  11. Geez Hiker. Pablo had this problem by the short'n'curlies (and he had no problem with knowing where to put his hands either).

    He splodged the NBs off the side. Twisted the head backwards. Yanked legs akimbo. Placed uterine-alley centre stage.

    The good ladies of Avignon never recovered!

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  12. you know? I kind of like it. All the joints bend in the right place. You can tell what its supposed to be...I don't have to guess. I like the shade of blue. I think she looks very thoughtful, and the fact that you were able to capture that emotion in a simple tile means.... I wouldn't hang up that beret

    Speaking of Maloof, should anyone be at the LA County Fair, the Millard Sheets building has an art exhibition with a little section dedicated to him. Mostly just photos of his work but they are stunning.

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  13. The good ladies of AvignonSeptember 11, 2009 at 5:08 PM

    I don't know which is funnier, the coffee cup or the vase.

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  14. Leave those dang tiles behind and come take up welding with me. You get to where cool clothes and operate dangerous equipment.

    What's wrong with a steel rocker?

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  15. I still like your tile, kB! The long legs, the long flowing hair.
    Is this what they call a self-portrait?

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  16. To avoid dealing with hands, my dad used to carve his vikings standing behind small hills and large rocks. Which made them look like they were taking a piss.

    The blue girl: Does anyone doubt an expensive Apple notebook lies on the floor and those hands are working on a blog post?

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  17. Now that I've recovered from crying-laughing - say, I kind of like it, too! {Perhaps I shouldn't say "It". But the lack of bits leads me to that.} Speaking of which, much easier to put on public display with no naughty bits. I did a nude sketch that hangs in our bathroom {and was embarrassed when drawing naughty bits} and I made a paper dressing-gown that I stick on top of it whenever my niece and nephew come to visit.

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  18. OH GURRRRLLLLL,
    I so love this post. I'm right there with ya. Miss Impulsivity here. Want to know all the ways I've tried to express my inner Georgia O'Keeffe or Henri Cartier-Bresson?? Let me count the ways. I"m at this age ( I ain't tellin') still trying to hop from one creative lily pad to another. Where on earth will i land??? Ribbet!
    V

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  19. There is no question but that I wanted to write. I composed short poems as a child as I walked my paper route, delivering the Memphis World on the narrow streets in my quiet city of the 40s and 50s. Again in the military I functioned as an Air Force Historian for 3 ½ years under a Master Sergeant who taught me Air Force Speak. Later in College as an ersatz musicologist, I attempted to decipher the intricacies of Gregorian chant malismas while at the same time ghost writing for graduate students who had never diagramed a simple sentence in their lives. Funny thing, I wrote two Masters Thesis and co-attempted a PHD tome before I completed my BA. I’m not complaining. The MAs allowed me to pocket between $300 and $500 EACH, while attending college on a monthly GI Bill allotment of $120. I never really made it big, obviously, in any of these endeavors, thought for a while I did OK while ghost writing for the graduate students at my country club university. Is there any University of Arizona Alumni watching that profited from the work on my veggie green Royal typewriter in the early late 50s and early 60s? You know who you are. You probably still owe me MONEY! Now, in the winter of my declining creative juices, with bifocals perched on the crown my nose, I attempt exercises in writing the perfect 5-7-5 haiku strophe. They suck!
    Yo, Hiker! I wanna be like you, if I ever grow up. Luv ya’, babe. Don’t think of changing.

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  20. I don't know how my previous message got here on this post. It's one I sent some time ago. I have this new plugin for filling in web forms. It stores stuff. When I clicked it to post, apparently it blew away one of the greatest pieces written in this time/space continuum and replaced it with something from the past. Everyone's loss. I wanna buy your blueueue!

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  21. You always make me laugh, I think it's because you're always showing us the world through Everywoman's eyes. You're that good.

    As for the tile, I love it, especially the blue (think Blue Horses by Marc) woman,(she's definitely blogging), but if you get the chance to weld with PA you should DO EET! Not only will you get to weld you might get to use a cutting torch and you can MAKE THINGS!!!! Also, I once had a job fabricating metal and I loved using the grinder. Oooo baby!

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  22. Gee, never in a million years would I attempt a nude. Or hands.

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  23. PJ, you think in your wildest dreams PA would trust me with a blow torch? Oh sure, I'm game, but...

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  24. Well, I don't know if trust is the issue, safety definitely. Virg photographed plenty of women at Schloss Furnaces gettin' their hot metal on. It happens.

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  25. Blue nudes worked for Matisse. Just sayin' ...

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  26. WEll one day if I get desperate enough on one of my blogs , I'll post a bronze nude I photographed in France. She was already in a somewhat "compromised" postition and damn if I didn't siddled right up between her legs and get one more parting shot! That's what happens to Alabama girls when they stay in France long enough! Whoooeeeee. I've still got my beret on girl, and you put yours back on and let the creative juices flow.

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  27. I wish more people could read this, altho to judge by all the comments, many already do and that's a good thing.

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  28. What's next, you ask? Can it be that you don't know? Banjo lessons.

    Surely you realize I wouldn't have known that this piece was un-good if you hadn't blabbed all its flaws. OK, I'm a ceramo-moron, but there are lots of us. (I promise I wrote this before I read Vanda. I'm gonna quit now and read the others later, before there's a bevvy of thunder-stealing accusations).

    Thanks for more great humor, AH--after that nicely serious start about constructive obsessions--also known as passions?

    Cool new photo too.

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  29. She's just a little abstract. It happens. In a previous life, I was a figure model. I was frequently made into abstract art. Not that I ever mentioned that to them out loud though.

    If you succeed with rock chairs, let me know! My house is sadly missing one.

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  30. Thanks K. And I like that Banjo -- I'm not a blogger, I'm a blabber. Amy, is there anything you won't try?

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  31. There are lots of things I won't try. Especially if they involve the ocean - no scuba, no surfing...and lots of others. :D

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  32. Yup. Found it.

    Are you still making ceramics?

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