Thursday, August 27, 2009

The battle of the windows...

I'm working on a thematic series this semester for my Drawing 4 class and because I've long had a fascination with old-fashioned wood-framed windows, decided I would try to work with them for a sort of...installation-y piece.

Back in Drawing 2, I worked with a broken up collection of jellyfish in chalk pastel. Since then I've really had a thing for disconnected imagery, especially when it comes to natural forms. I've also really become absorbed with a love for the unexpectedly beautiful in nature, especially where there are double connotations...times when we look at things that we think of as both "bad" in some way and yet "pleasing" in another. Jellyfish are some of the most deadly creatures in the world and yet so elegant, graceful, delicate and ethereally lovely. Insects annoy the heck out of people, disgust and frighten them, and yet we still consider ladybugs "cute," butterflies and moths "pretty," and think fondly of summer when a dragonfly buzzes past. We think of dead grass as a problem and unwanted, and yet we relish the sight of fields of dried plains grass bending and rustling with the wind.

And more than that, I wanted to screw with reality. My style has so often been called "pseudo-realism" by others that I have started to embrace that idea. The idea that what I'm drawing is both "real" and "not." So my idea is to place images on the glass panes of vintage windows -- jellyfish on one window, flying insects on another, dried plains grass on another -- and then line them up so that if a viewer were to look through all those windows at once, there would be a bizarre suspension of reality, of what SHOULD be seen through a window. Jellyfish in the sky with insects over plains grass? More than a bit bewildering, don't you think? But I also want a viewer to be able to think about how what they're looking through affects what they're looking at.

Yesterday I drove out to Wheat Ridge after classes and acquired some windows from a couple people I found via Craigslist (thanks to Nathan and to Sarah) and even a big old door! I might use the door as an additional artwork if I have time, or it may end up being an independent project at a later date. The drive home with all this stuff piled up in my minivan was...interesting. I had to have one hand on the door, which reached all the way to the back of the van and right up between the front seats, at all times to prevent it falling this way and that coming around corners, especially since it was holding up the big white window as well.

Some of the windows (and the door) still have hinges and other things such as latches or handles intact, so of course I am excited and want to work with those as well. Some of the wood is very weathered and even splintering, paint chipped, left to the elements for so long, and the glass is often pretty dingy. My weekend is going to involve a lot of cleaning and sanding and other such things to get the windows to a more presentable state, one that doesn't involve me picking splinters out of my hands every time I touch them and that makes it easier to get images on the glass.

Getting the images on the glass has proven to be the most challenging aspect of this project. I do not want to have to use paint, since a) this is for a drawing course, and b) I'm not very good with paint or other such liquid-y mediums. I have a variety of ideas for ways to accomplish the conquest of the glass, whether by drawing directly on it or via acrylic transfers, heat transfers, xylene transfers, or lazertran paper transfers. I'm reluctant to use lazertran just because I've never actually seen the stuff in action... Anyway, guess we'll see what happens!

Meanwhile, a couple of big daddy-long-legs spiders played stowaway with the stuff and are now loose in my van somewhere -- I'll have to take the shopvac to the van later to deal with all the paint flakes and spiderwebs and pine needles and other debris left behind when I hauled them out of the car and down to the backyard last night. All in all, an adventure.