Monday, March 30, 2015

Flying on Half-Finished Wings

Night Hawk, salvaged objects and materials with polymer clay, oil paint and wax.
Tracie Thompson, 12.5" h x 8" w x 5.25" d
I hope you'll click this photo to enlarge it; the pared-down-for-fast-loading blog version loses so much. 

This was finished last night, and in a sense it was 5 years in the making: that's how long I've had the main piece, which was once part of a wooden planter but which, when I found it, was debris along the tracks in Robbinsdale. I took home several of these slats, and have now used all but one.

The "2437" piece, I picked up in a parking lot on Ford Parkway about 3 years ago. It was night, and I had a fever, but I was out walking anyway. I recall that I had a reason for that, but not what it was.

Originally the plan was to truly finish the bird's wings. There were going to be more feathers and I thought I'd paint them black. Yet the longer I worked, the less I wanted to do that, and the more I liked the feeling of the wings half-constructed yet still somehow working: It felt like life as I know it, and so it stayed.

This piece is available, $350. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Charm for Hope and Comfort

About seven years ago, when my Grandma Thompson was still alive and I was still in Florida, I found several of these little bluebirds half buried in her back yard. I'd been making art with rescued materials for a long time by then, so I plucked the little birds from the dirt and took them home. They came with me to Minnesota, and since the move I had used all but this last one, whose tail was broken when I found her and had to be glued. Over the past couple days I worked out this design and assembled it; it's one of the smallest of this series of works at about 6" high. 

All my salvaged-object pieces are about hope and comfort, even when they're also about a lot of other things. There's a meaning for me in choosing to use materials and items which have been deemed 100% worthless, either by being abandoned, forgotten, or outright discarded. It feels like a way to honor all the parts of our own selves which have taken a beating or been neglected or deemed unimportant. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Still in Art School

If you make art, and you want to do it really well, you're a student. You're always and forever a student, even when you're the instructor sometimes, even when you're getting into galleries and making sales and impressing your family and friends. This is because the moment you decide you know enough, is the moment you stop making really good art.

Red Coffeepot, 9 x 12" oil on canvas board, study from class. $60.

So here's me, being a student. This still life experiment is from my class with Derek Davis last week, where I'm continuing to learn about color and about how to loosen up my work and let go of some of my tendency to nitpick and to make edges too well defined. Is it a masterpiece? Nope. But it's a fun study that makes me happy and will probably end up brightening someone's kitchen. 

And I learn from each of these. For this one, I learned a little more about how much I could get away with blurring the edges, and how much form I could create with a big, shabby brush. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Remember the Owl?

I finished it last night, quite late, like the owl I've always been.

Any time there are owls in my art, it's got something to do with my dad, who could call to them and get them not only to respond but to come close. This is a barred owl, the kind he could talk to. I haven't titled it yet because there are so many associations I have with these birds that I'm having a hard time narrowing it down. Its working title has been Owl House, and it may just stay that way.

This is 17" high and -- I say this because I've had a couple folks ask if that was an actual, stuffed owl -- no owls were harmed in the making of this art. The owl is oil paint and black pencil on a thin piece of tin I found discarded around an old barn.

I salvaged the wire, both the heavy copper and the fine stuff, from a friend who had scrap she was throwing out. The central spire is a surveyor's stake I found while walking around Saint Paul. The heavenly bodies are bits of found-on-the-street jewelry, gears, washers, and punched-out pieces of metal from the mill district along Minnehaha Ave near 38th. 

I want to thank Bob at Front Yard Video in Florida, for giving me permission to use still images from his owl videos as reference photos. 

This piece is available, $500. I will have it on display in April at Saint Paul Art Crawl, at J.A. Geiger Studio, provided it hasn't yet sold. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Upcoming (small) Show!

I've been honored with an exhibit at Saint Paul's East Side Arts Council! If you come out on the 10th for the opening, you'll find me there creating art on site. The Arts Council Gallery is a compact space, so I'll be exhibiting a couple large paintings along with many smaller original works -- as well as some reproductions and greeting cards. These will be on display through the end of April.

Opening and Art Demo: Tuesday, March 10, 6 to 8 p.m.

East Side Arts Council is at 977 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul, 55130