A history lesson: After working in the shadow of the geometric abstract nanoscapes for more than five years, 38 small friends have declared their independence and moved to a website all their own. Find them in individual galleries for amphibians, birds, cats, fish, LLLamas, and mammals. 31 LLLamas appeared in Facebook in May, and all but Rainbow LLLama left abruptly on the first LLLamaWorLLLd Tour. Rainbow stayed behind to represent them at this new website.
Moose on a Hill: the 1st small friend
Their first principle is WE WERE FIRST. Before the first nanoscape kaleidoscope or molecule, the Alaskan Moose on the Hill and the the first Musk Ox appeared on post cards that I made as souvenirs of my first visit to Alaska in 2003. One copy of the Moose remains in the archives, and the all of the Musk Ox are lost. These friends were painted on Arches and Canson post cards with watercolor pencils and brushes with water reservoirs.
In 2006, shortly after taking my first watercolor class, a few extra cats showed up in my studio for portraits. I wasn’t surprised because I feed, water, and obey Flying Tackle Phil and Darwin, Felinus Emeritae. Ever since, there has been a steady stream of whimsical creatures either visiting (Mary-Anna Musk Ox) or making their home in my studio. Fortunately, they don’t eat, and even the largest (Darren Dragon at 32 feet) take up no physical space.
I stand second to none in my delight with color and my need to have and to use as many colors as possible. I am lucky to be a 21st century painter. I can get any color that I can see and many more that don’t exist in nature simply by going to my favorite paintmakers, Daniel Smith, Winsor Newton, Sennelier and Holbien.
I am (slowly) reading Philip Ball’s Bright Earth: Art and the Invention of Color, a fascinating history of the discovery and creation of the pigments and dyes that are a painter’s tools. Long ago, artists relied on what they could dig up, what could be imported from far away, and what might have been created by optimists or adulterated by greedy or ignorant manufacturers. The continuum of alchemy to chemistry is a long one, and artists were the beneficiaries or the victims of the materials that they could acquire. With respect to William Longfellow, when it was good, it was very very good, and when it was bad it was horrid.
While I have no doubt that I could go out and acquire some lapis, grind it and then bind it with the appropriate 100% consistent binding material, Daniel Smith does it for me, and demo’d it in a video.