Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Experiments And A Studio 360

Texture as Topography, 4X6"

Composition With Red Mistake And Ornaments, 4X6"

These two volunteers would better be classified as experiments, I suppose.  They're not about anything in particular.  Is that a failing on my part?  Perhaps.  But the fun meter went way up into the red zone. They both incorporate a new twist [for me anyway]--transfers.  The topographic one at top includes a print of an illustration I did for a developer--an illustrated site plan.  The plan to transfer the print to the already prepared panel failed gloriously.  Parts of it worked--parts blew away.  The result is pure delight.  You don't know what you're looking at as you gaze into 49 layers of transluscent nonsense, and then you see recognizable land features intertwined in and under the surface.  Wild!  Stand back a couple feet and it's a mudpie.

The other one was coming along fine when I spilled red glop all over the place.  It actually looked like a slab of slate before that happened.  Deep, deep mysterious surface.  Anyway, I kind of liked the red all out of order and everything.  Then I decided to see if I could transfer a magazine picture of a mountain.  All I got was the black area at the bottom.  I kept rubbing into it until the prevailing texture came back a little.  The ornamental stuff too--applied and then rubbed out.  There's something old and worn about all this that is satisfying to look at.  Other than that the thing would be a  wonderous flop if I was in a serious artist mode. I have to tell myself that to keep from crying a bitter tear.  

Any way here's the studio.  The room is versatile if I do say so myself.  I use the drawers as utility trays full of stuff such that when you close it, it's gone.  That's a light table in 1, where I can toggle between underlight and overlight.  The wall where all the new panels are displayed (3) is actually a vertical drawing board, and that aluminum strip just above the paintings on the floor is a parallel bar that covers the entire board (works on a weight system).  I used this to create patterns for lettering and illustration on truck sides.   That shelf is removable.

In 4 that's an oil pallet (1/4 inch plate glass) in the first drawer ready for business.  The second drawer pulls out to become a computer desk in 5 and that's the new dynamo humming away.  To the left is a scanner, printer above.  The roll around table in 6 is always useful for the more unwieldy projects, and those fruit crates serve as completed project files.   The painting on the wall was done in 1977, curiously, using the same techniques I'm experimenting with now.

Finally, yes that's a  boombox with a hard hat on top.  I wear that on my more unstable days.  Notable is the bottom shelf where all the shoes are supposed to be--the ubiquitous little buggers.  That's it.









Casey Klahn said...

Full circle, Bill.

The swords are the nicest touch, but you keep them unmentioned. We want to know about those, too!

The mixed pieces are tremendous fun. I wish my mistakes were as brilliant.

William Cook said...

Hi Casey--I've been thinking of doing this 360 since yours a while back. As for the swords, I wish I could say the Katana was a five header, but alas, it wouldn't even trim the hedges. They just sit there and quietly remind me of all the years I wished I had them, and the crazy/wonderful art culture they came from. The one on the wall is a Confederate officer's sabre made in 1863--Cavalry (long). I had to paint the ceiling down here because of all the sword marks from it. A respectable piece, it'll trim the fuzz of a knat. Thanks for the comments--regards.

Jane said...

These two works are wonderful, and mistake or not, I think the red gives the second one just that extra something...must have been such fun making them!
Your studio is a fantastic place, so full of drawers where to hide things!! and so tidy! xx

Debu Barve said...


Very interesting post! personally, I loved the outcome of your art accidents and experiments.:)Thanks for sharing this.

AutumnLeaves said...

Gosh William. Lets trade studios, k????

L.W.Roth, said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sonya Johnson said...

I always try to get a window seat when I fly so I can see views like your first painting - tracts, blotches and creeping intrusions of humanity from above, smaller in scale and IMO, far more interesting than ground level. So, I really dig the painting. But, I also love maps, so there's that, too.

And, I am unashamed to admit that I have major studio envy after seeing the pictures of yours. What a great space, full of storage and functionality.

John Brisson said...

Well, no wonder you are so productive...your studio is so much more 'together' than my work space. Note to myself, Spring clean!

William Cook said...

Thanks Jane--They were indeed fun to make. They sure went in their own direction though, didn't they? I don't know what I'd do without all these cabinets!

Thanks Debu--I'm so glad you're enjoying this open ended approach! Thanks for checking in--all the best. Wm

Hi Linda--I actually have flung a little paint in here in the past, but I just painted everything and did the floor. So yes you busted me. Through the doorway you are looking at a long table (which includes a table saw) that I've been useng for the current artwork. Keeps the mess out there for now. The large (10'w)projection wall/drawing board has been a great observation wall. This room had to accomodate at least four different art carreers going on at once--artmaking, signage/trucklettering, illustration and graphic design. At one point this became a darkroom with a process camera where the rollaround is now. The processor was where the boombox is now. The computer made all that obsolete (thankfully). There's so much more re this space to talk about, but suffice it to say that all in all it's been a great workplace over the years. Your compliments are greatly appreciated, knowing that you design this sort of space for a living. All the best, Wm

William Cook said...

Hi Autumn--Ha! Thanks for checking in--love the new icon!

William Cook said...

Hi Sonya--Interesting--a whole new perspective from the air isn't it? I love maps too--and I spend way too much time soaring around in Google Earth. Wild. Thanks for the visit!

Hey John--Thanks! But it didn't always look like this. Last fall I redid this room--painting, clearing, cleaning--spiffed it up. It was deplorable down here. But you're right. A little spring cleaning would do you a world of good. I speak from experience. I spring clean several times a year to keep my head right. Great to hear from you!

SamArtDog said...

Heavens to Betsy! You're studio is scary-clean. When mine gets looking that spiff, I start to think of it as a piece of art. Have to remind myself it's supposed to be a crucible.

P.S. Who's Betsy, anyway?

William Cook said...

Hi Sam--Well, I did just clean it up for the pictures--don't worry it'll be back to normal in a few days. Had an art rep once named Betsy. I'm no Tintoretto, but she didn't have to drop me like a hot potato. We were truckin along fine and then poof she was gone. That Betsy?

SippicanCottage said...

Hi William- Always fascinating to see where others work.

I work in a bowling alley full of rotating knives, so I especially like to see where sane people work.

William Cook said...

Whoa. Here I rotate on the furniture and the knives stay still. Thanks for stopping by. W

hw (hallie) farber said...

Wonderful, organized space. So where's your real workplace? I can't imagine spilling red glop all over this one.

The top piece reminds me of looking out the window of a small plane. In your red mistake I see Ringo Starr.

William Cook said...

Ringo? In a black turtleneck? With red glop all over his face? Of course! Are we seeing the same Ringo? As far as the workplace goes, don't worry it'll be back to normal in no time. Already the shoes are back.

Katherine van Schoonhoven said...

Love the studio tour! It's the best of all possible worlds. Functional, open, well-stocked, and obviously well-used and loved. I am missing the shoes, though.

William Cook said...

Ni Kvan --They're back, don't worry. Thanks a bunch.

Jan Yates, SCA, Canada said...

hey Bill-i echo Sonya re 'plane view' and maps

actually i felt like i was being drawn into a vortex of some sorts with the top image--and it makes me feel like i am part of the earth looking back out -if that makes any sense and i hope it doesn't because when good art hits that gut note words don't work with me--and i also quite like your red mistake. Bill i think you go about art in such a playful way which i try to aspire to-just finished reading Janice Mason Steeves' post re allowing yourself to make 'mistakes' and play to grow and vice versa.

re your studio i am smitten with the storage--what i find astounding-not only with you but other artists--KVan comes to mind immediately-are the very clean and spotless floors..i don't get it...i will have to post mine and you will understand this perplexity

William Cook said...

Hey Jan--Like I said above, I did spiff up a tad for the pictures. Of course this room currently looks more like an illustration lab, and I did just paint the walls and ceiling. That said, there's no excuse for a spotless floor in a painting studio (I've been doing the "wet work" in the next room where the floor is starting to look better than the art).

Kvan's floor is way over the top gorgeous. I bet she puts plastic down before she flings the paint around. That floor commands respect!

Seriously, can't wait to see your operations center and that floor patina.

You're absolutely right about mistakes and the playfulness factor--without that it's all such a drudge. With a playful but attentive attitude everything lights up doesn't it? Thanks for the heads up re the Steeves post--I'll go there next.


Andrew Finnie said...

Hey William well I must say that I am flabbergasted and supremely jealous of your set up! My studio is bursting to the full with paintings all higgledy piggledy and lots of art related junk scattered round -= iot reflects the state of my mind - incoherent and incoorigable, wioth a dash if misspelling :(

I like these small works, they are very encouraging, its good to see how you experiment.

Can I suggest digital transfers using overheads? You can see where you put the transfer. It hasn't worked for me unfortunately but for lots of others (my laser is too hot I think and binds the pigment to the film too well.

also check out http://www.googleartproject.com/museums/moma if you get a chance and zoom in :)

see you!

looking forward to more of your work

Narayan Pillai said...

I love your studio and your works...will look forward to your future posts.

RH Carpenter said...

What a great studio space! I hope you put on the hardhat and boogie to the boombox and don't think about committing hari-kiri with those Japanese swords! I like both of these paintings - the top one really would have to be seen in person but you can delve into it a bit by enlarging it and sitting and looking a while (of course, I still see a woman's back in the viewer's right side of the painting - but that's my bias). Keep experimenting, playing, fighting the good fight and keep on with your bad self!!

indira lakhsmita said...

how are you today?

you are always so kind to me, thank you, your blog makes my blog look silly, ahaha :))

im so happy to meet you so that i can learn some art.
what is Red Mistake supposed to mean?

oh, i love looking at your studio too.
i wish i had one like yours.

so how are you today?

m.gaudreau said...

Hey Bill. I love the zen monks attitude about mistakes as they relate to raku pottery. I remember pulling a plate out of the kiln ready to place in the reduction pit (fancy name for pile of sawdust) and the tongs put this big mark on the front. I was dissapointed until my potter friend Gretchen says "No,man,the zen monks,they honor that stuff!" In fact if there are cracks sometimes pots are repared with gold to show that our faults are what make us unique and mistakes can lead us down pathways we would not think to go.

William Cook said...

Hi Andrew--Thanks for stopping in. Always a pleasure. Tried to respond yesterday but used up all my time over at your site looking at your paintings and the works of Sieglinda and Bob Birch. Lets just say I'm in like. Wow! I'm not sure what a 'digital transfer using an overhead' is. I'll Google it perhaps. Thanks for the art project reference. Very cool.

Thanks Narayan for your comment, and for the follow. Welcome.

Hey Rhonda--Putting all that together is hilarious. That's the trouble with these abstracts [and these man caves], all kinds of hell shows up in the details. Whoop, there it is--the woman's back. I trust you are referring to my bad self in the 'ebonics' sense.

Hello Mita--Nonsense. I love your blog--and your wonderful spirit. You seem to communicate at a very poetic level that is refreshing and unique. I admire that, since it is a much deeper level, difficult to access. But whales and fishmen and lighthouses and runes really do exist in there. You make poetics look easy like it should be. As for the red mistake, alas, it really was a goof-up. The mystical, poetic thing happened when I accepted it as artworthy. At that point it became the purpose of the piece that I had worked on for a month. In that sense, maybe it wasn't a mistake after all. Hmmm. Today I'm lost, adding layers to these paintings, praying for a mistake--or some other excuse to call them finished. Love, Wm

Hey Mike--Thanks for that. This series has been all about paying attention to the moment, and the crazy sequence of stuff that goes on as these surfaces develop. Mistakes are welcome, and I can only be the mechanic--no thinking, no politics, no religion, no anxiety, no art world--just whatever presents itself. It feels so right to be in this state of mind. Love the Zen stuff as you know. Like the gold idea--metallics--hmmm. We thinking about the same Gretchen? How many Gretchens could there possibly be? Thanks for stopping in. Bill

Patty Oblack said...

I love your studio, I'm so jealous. My little & very efficient room is plenty to get the work done, but not as beautiful as yours. I do sport a new iMac OS X 10.6.7, which I love & holds all my tunes, it's the best thing in the room.
Hope all is well

William Cook said...

Hi Patty--Thanks, although I suppose this room is more of an illustration lab than a painting studio. I've been keeping the messy stuff in the adjoining room for now. Eventually I bring it all in here--better light. That Mac sounds like a great machine! Thanks for checking in.