New Artwork: ‘Chapter’ (and mapping satan with the aid of a couple of Cezanne’s card players)


Chapter

‘Chapter':  (c) Ann Isik 2014

I’ve just finished this mixed media collage  encaustic. It’s called Chapter.

There’s more than one meaning to the word chapter. The work has risen from a musing and a fusing of two.

In relation to books, particularly fiction, Chapter includes mystery and suspense, clues, symbols, theme, adventure, characters, mood and setting.

It’s a shot at all those things anyway. I plan on developing more coherent work on the Chapter theme.

The work is a development of a collage – one of a pair, actually – I began some years ago but was unable to push to a conclusion.

That I’m able to progress it now is because of a recent and substantial shift in consciousness, a Damascene moment.  If you’re more at home with the scientific paradigm, a cognitive therapist might describe the phenomenon as the uncovering of a skewed concept.

Chapter Close upShift in consciousness, Damascene moment, I might also choose to call it (Poetically) Mapping satan. If you believe in God and satan, or in some other definition of the good/evil concept, you’ll have experienced that satan or pseudo-satan, doesn’t want people to be creative, because making art parallels the art of the Great Creator). When you’re being creative, it could be said you’re communing with GC.

My hitherto hidden skewed concept was blocking my creativity at concept and discouraging me from even starting artwork.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASatan, your cover’s blown!

Enough philosophy. The collaged pieces are glued to small sheets of khadi paper. I like any excuse to use khadi paper as it has a kind of holy aspect in its connection with Gandhi. I’ve written about khadi and Gandhi in my blog Taking a Walk with Gandhi.

I brushed white encaustic thickly over the top of the khadi sheets, then glued-on the collage, which has various heights. I then added more encaustic around the edges, then scraped most of it off with a wood engraving tool, to re-reveal the khadi paper.

Chapter CLose UpI needed to add more pigment to the encaustic and while shovelling the powder into the melted wax, I was reminded of a dream, one of a group of dreams I had, night after night, for a period of time during 1997.

It was a coming of age dream, even though, in years, I was 47 in 1997. (I’ve grown up many times!) Everything in the dream was white. I was in a white room in a house. Two workmen – in white overalls – were sitting on chairs at either end of a small white table. They were playing cards. They were facing me, smiling broadly. Each held out his spread of cards to me. The cards were blank and entirely white. The room was coated in a white dust.

Chapter Close UpThe dream was a message for me. The white table was a tabula rasa – blank slate – and the blank white card spreads (mini tabulae rasa) meant: “Play the cards you have been dealt.”  The cards I have been dealt would be my talents, however humble.

Why card players? Why two men? I thought of Cezanne’s series of five paintings of card players. In these, all the card players are men – workmen, peasants. They are concentrating intently on their cards, on the game. The series has been compared with Dutch 17th century paintings of card players, but in these, the theme is of drunkenness and gambling; out of control behaviour. Cezanne’s card players are sober and contemplative.

There is no drama. There is tension in the works, described as a tension of opposites, but Cezanne’s card players are engaged in communion, I think, both sacred and secular. The men were peasant workmen, taking respite from their manual labour. They are silent. The card game was silent social communion. The bottle of unopened wine in one of the paintings is reminiscent of The Eucharist. The men are still using their hands, but they have switched tools of their trade for tools of social engagement. These paintings are quite holy, I think. Cezanne said of these paintings, late in life, to author Jules Borély:

“Today everything has changed in reality, but not for me, I live in the town of my childhood, and it is with the eyes of the people of my own age that I see again the past. I love above all else the appearance of people who have grown old without breaking customs”.

Chapter Close UpThe message of my dream was that I was to battle with the tensions of creativity, to play my dealt blank cards, to colour them in. That was how I was to be in the world. I now see that this was to be holy battle, a crusade against my own spiritual ignorance.  And to find a way of passing on my observations – my adventures. That was to be my card game.

The two men were messengers, angels in white overalls, rather than gowns of gossamer. I bet they’d tucked their wings into the back of those overalls!

The white powder? I had never been able to figure out why the room in this dream was coated in white powder. Talcum powder came to mind initially – to do with new life (babies) and it is to soothe and at the time of the dream I was sore, I’d just lost both parents and a younger brother in less than a year.

Now the white powder has meaning for me as pigment. White pigment. And I suspect, specifically, titanium dioxide. Titanium white pigment is referred to as the perfect white, the whitest white. It is also naturally occurring; oxide of titanium is generally sourced from ilmenite, rutile and anatase. Rutilated quartz, by the way, is considered an aid to creativity, if you believe that crystal has healing properties. I was to play my cards and to colour them by availing myself with the materials around me, you could say, God-given: the earth. I had the tools, I had the materials and I was to get on with it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll this talk of cards. A couple of weeks ago I made a small encaustic collage – of knotted paper – that was to be one of a pair which I was calling King and Queen. I finished King, but didn’t like it. I hung it on a wall on the first floor landing and went back to the studio. Five minutes later, there was a crash and the sound of breaking glass. Descending to the first floor, I found my collage had fallen from the wall. It had fallen onto its back, onto a rug which was on top of thick carpet; yet the glass had exploded and was scattered everywhere.

I had to laugh. It seemed that the Great Creator didn’t like my collage either and it was a case of back to the drawing board. The following day, it came to me that I ought to have included some bits of playing card, specifically  the King of Hearts. I bought a cheap pack from my local Aladdin’s Cave (second-hand shop). They are running wild around my studio table, just like that unruly pack in Alice in Wonderland.

Strange weavings (and knottings)! I’ve been weaving words recently too.  More on that in another blog.

I’m going to revisit my dream journals. I’m so glad I began recording my dreams – which is almost 30 years ago now. I couldn’t even interpret them to begin with, but recorded them anyway and I recommend the practice of keeping a dream journal to all artists.

The use of white encaustic has also added temperature to my work. Temperature isn’t a quality I’ve considered before. I will be considering temperature in future works. This will help with mood-setting and colour choice.

Are you playing the cards you’ve been dealt?

Ann

http://www.galleries.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kh%C4%81d%C4%AB
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium_dioxide
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Card_Players
http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/collections/paintings/imppostimp/cezanne_card_players.shtml

 

 

 

Posted in Altered Books, Art, Collage & Assemblage, Consciousness, Digital Printmaking, Dreams, Encaustic Art, Inspiration, Mindfulness, Mixed Media, Monoprints, Philosophy/Religion/Spirituality, Photography, Printmaking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

1337 Likes Milestone Award


'Likes' on my blog as at 24 September 2014

‘Likes’ on my blog as at 24 September 2014

1337 – strange number to consider a milestone.  My grateful and humble thanks to all who have done me the honour of visiting my blog and hitting that like button.

Love and peace,

Ann

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Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: Nabat


(c) Dawn Q Landau

(c) Dawn Q Landau

Every Friday authors worldwide gather round the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Dawn Q Landau. Thanks Dawn. Your photo inspired a (rare) poem from me this week.

Nabat

I looked back, sin
more comfortable
safer than flight.

I should have soared away.
Zoar was not far
but sin was nearer.

I was cosy with sin -
a warm nest.
Now, inside this pillar

I work this salt patch
walk on salt tears.
I am a bird of sorts

one featherless wing grown
to the wooden handle of my axe
my beak a pick of pecking iron.

My nest is of salt-burnt thorn
I keep my eyes like my sin safe
in sockets behind hoods

blinkered looking
neither left nor right
up nor down.

I never look back.

Ann Isik 2014
100 words

Notes and acknowledgements:

Nabat is the Hebrew for looking back.

Wikipedia: “A Jewish legend says that because Lot’s wife sinned with salt, she was punished with salt. On the night the two angels visited Lot, he requested of his wife to prepare a feast for them. Not having any salt, Lot’s wife asked of her neighbors for salt which so happened to alert them of the presence of their guests, resulting in the mob action that endangered Lot’s family.”

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New Works In Progress


Landscape of Landscapes

Landscape of Landscapes

Landscape of Landscapes is the first of a series of mixed media encaustics I’m working on – still part of my Below the Line project.

It’s small, but includes a good number of mixed media techniques, including digital imagery, an altered (bleached) photo of a landscape, and the bottom bit (green) came about when I found my hands doing something entirely unexpected.

It has led me into new territory.

I’ll skip a long story, but the green bit is knitted paper.  The paper combines two sheets of rice paper which I’ve painted, stamped and coated with encaustic wax. I have quite a collection of likewise decorated sheets for which I’d not yet found a use.

I found myself pushing one of these through my little paper shredding machine. I DON’T recommend this – it almost wrecked my shredder! If you are going to try this, wax the paper after you’ve shredded it, not before.

I had such a strong urge to knit the strips together that I had to run round to my local craft shop and just as it was closing, shouting, “Knitting needles! I need knitting needles!” This is not an uncommon event, though unlike Archimedes, I have not run round there naked and wet from my bath, or at least, not to date.

Embossing GadgetI bought a gorgeous pair of bamboo needles, the thinnest I could get and knitted a little square from my shredded, waxed sheet – feeling very Kaffe Fassett – then flattened it with my hand, then absolutely squashed it by running it through this little embossing gadget (second picture).

My local craft shop sold me this gadget for just £1. (I am not ashamed to get down on my hands and knees and ferret around under their shelves to see what’s been lost and long forgotten and this was one of my recent finds, covered in dust and without a price label).

The gold wool and wire stitched through my knitted paper square is a reference to a little story I wrote some years ago about a hero archetype doing his journey.

The addition of the incense stick with red wooden stick is a hint in the direction of the divine and the sacred aspect of journeying.

Knitting, weaving, knotting: these are my key words at the moment. I like the idea – and act – of trying to combine disparate materials and in doing so, create beautiful harmonies.

A lesson for life?

Ann

External Links:
http://www.kaffefassett.com
http://www.soulcraft.co
http://www.karenmichel.com
for photo bleaching technique:

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Seth Apter’s Studio Table Blog Hop


aftermath-iii-studio-30-april-2012

Seth Apter (The Altered Page) is running a blog hop of photos of artists’ studio tables.  Here’s mine. Look closely and you’ll see my cat Keeks, who often keeps me company as I work. Well, mostly she sleeps.

It’s always fascinating and often revealing to see artists’ work spaces. Francis Bacon’s studio popped into my mind as I wrote that and I found the You Tube video below, which is about the re-creation of his studio.

I’m looking forward to ‘visiting with’ the other participating artists in this blog hop. If you’re interested, just click on Seth Apter’s name  at the start of this blog – I’ve embedded a link to the list.

Enjoy!

Ann

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Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction Challenge: Parked and Hitched


Parked (c) Roger Bultot

Parked (c) Roger Bultot

Every Friday authors worldwide gather around the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Roger Bultot. Thanks Roger.

Parked and Hitched

“Driver parked the truck and vanished.”
“Abducted by aliens.”
We roared with laughter. The waitress glared.
“My ancestor ran off to California – gold rush era. Just disappeared.”
“Abducted by aliens.”
We groaned loudly.
“Happens all the time – man leaves the house to fetch a newspaper; woman leaves her bed in the night; …”
“Aliens don’t exist,” I protested, as usual.
We were a bunch of carefree university kids, messing about in a coffee shop.
“There’s tons of evidence.”
I slapped one of his faces – coyly – with a tendril. We’re married now, Kkur and I.

(c) Ann Isik 2014

100 words

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Another Quote to Encourage Creatives: Rumi


As my broken shoulder mends (at a rate described as ‘amazing’ and ‘astonishing’ by my consultant and physio respectively) I am able to do more and more with my left hand and arm – I’m a leftie, so it’s important! – I’m bit by bit picking up my creative threads. There are some exciting developments brewing.

Nonetheless, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about my creative hiatus. My hands fell this morning on a little book I have* of extracts from the love poems of Rumi, described on the cover as, “The great Sufi saint who embraced God through the path of love.” I opened it upon words which resonated strongly with my present state of spirit – and body.

The Search

“Whether slow or speedy, he who seeks will find.
Always apply with both hands the pursuit,

For search is an excellent guide.
Though lame and limping,
Creep ever towards the goal.
Now by speech and now by silence,
Now by smell and now by sound,
Catch from every quarter the senses of the king.”

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Rumi’s king is, of course, God. I like this line: “Now by speech and now by silence, …”

I have long found silence to be more powerful than speech, … yet I so rarely practise it.

The great spiritual leaders all practised silence. It could be said to have been the first act of ministry of Jesus, who, straight after his baptism by John, went into the wilderness for 40 days and nights (wrestling and conquering satan); and in Luke 6:12-13, Jesus “went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples to himself; and from them he chose twelve whom he also named apostles.”

It seems from the above examples, that silence – withdrawing from the world – is something to do before making important decisions. Well, it makes sense.

I’ve been contemplating this and seeking ways of getting more silence into my life. More on this another time. Meanwhile, I hope the Rumi quote resonates and comforts.

Ann

Acknowledgements:

*The Love Poems of Rumi by Philip Dunn, (c) The Book Laboratory 2002; Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City

Poet Seers

 

 

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A Quote to Encourage Creatives


Blue Red Zig Zag Grid BTL Collages March 2014I come across encouraging quotes all the time. And I certainly need courage, as an artist. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of sharing them before now. Here’s a first one. Some might not, but I find it encouraging, a source for some of my angst. There’s comfort to be had just in a correct diagnosis.

“Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of contradictory aptitudes. On the one side he is a human being with a personal life, while on the other side he is an impersonal, creative process … To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.”    

Carl Jung:   Modern Man in Search of a Soul

Do you have a favourite encouraging quote?

Ann

 

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Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Flash Fiction Challenge: The Grand Tour


(c) 2014 Bjorn RudbergEvery Friday authors worldwide gather around the virtual fireside of Rochelle Wisoff and share stories of 100 words, prompted by a common photograph, and exchange constructive criticism. Readers’ comments are also welcome. This week’s photo has been provided by Bjorn Rudberg. Thanks Bjorn!

The Grand Tour

I went travelling. The Grand Tour, they called it. All the rich young men went and marvelled at ruins, as fashion dictated.

My guide told me a tale of one youth, who, unfulfilled by ruin, ventured further than fashion and found himself amongst mountains, in a snow storm which died into a cradling mist, then lifted, revealing to the boy walls and tall towers, girdling gardens of rill and incense trees, a sacred river plunging to the sea.

I asked my guide what was this place.

“The folly of a great king.”

“And what of the boy?”

“He became a child.”

(c) Ann Isik 2014
100 words

Acknowledgements:
Kubla Khan; Samuel Taylor Coleridge, (1772–1834), courtesy The Poetry Foundation

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A Drawing and On Drawing


A Drawing and On Drawing.

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