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21 July 2011

2011 Kansas City Fringe Fesitval Under Way!

View of my work for the KC Fringe Festival
Wine Gallery
19th & McGee, Kansas City, Missouri
Through 31 July, 2011

Bone Spider
Copyright 2011 by Keith Russell
polymer clay over wire armature
10x10x5 inches (unframed dimensions)

I worked on the sculpture Tuesday night 'til after midnight, and worked on a new painting last night 'til around 2:30 in the morning. I finished the sculpture at work (off the clock) around 4:45 today, and installed both pieces in the gallery shortly after 6 PM.

Nothing like working 'til the very last minute!

The sculpture was basically a "do-over"; I had made [i]Bone Spider[/i] in time for the April show, but it broke inside the frame just as I was taking it out to the car, so it didn't end up in the show. I didn't really like the way the spider's body turned out, so decided to start over fram scratch.

The new version almost didn't make it into this show!

I'm far more pleased with the second version of Bone Spider than I was of the first attempt--and I'm more pleased with it than I am with the new painting. It's not that the new painting is necessarily bad...but I know I can do better!

But it's done, and hanging at the gallery.

(And, being that I'm my own worst critic, the painting is probably fine, and--with my luck--will be bought first!)

Anywa, now I can concentrate on working on the stuff for my next show; six full months away.

As I think I've expressed here before, I feel that I have some very solid ideas for the next six or so paintings, and the next few sculptures. I'm going to be in the studio for a couple hours tonight, at least, drawing. If all goes well, I should be ready to start airbrushing the background on a new painting, in the next week or so.

And, as I've written before, when most of the problems are worked out at the drawing stage, the painting part shouldn't take "too long".

That's the plan, anyway!

16 July 2011

Another day, another spider...

I will most likely be hanging my art at the Wine Gallery, 19th & McGee, on Monday night. I'm hoping to have at least one new sculpture, and one new painting, for this show, which opens the Visual Arts part of the Kansas City Fringe Festival, Thursday night.

The sculpture, Bone Spider, was originally sculpted right before my April opening. One of the spider's legs broke inside the frame as I was putting pieces in the car to take to the gallery, and there wasn't enough time to open the frame, repair the sculpture, and re-frame it, and get to the gallery on time.

Over the past couple of days, I've completely re-sculpted the piece (I thought the spider's body in the "April attempt" looked cartoonish...rushed), and I'm hoping to bake it tonight. If all goes well, I'm going to put an acrylic glaze over it, and get it in the frame tomorrow.

And I'm going to need to spend several hours this weekend painting, too.

I have a frame for a second sculpture, but I don't know if there will be time to sculpt another one in time to hang it, too, Monday night. I still might try to get it finished this week, and if nothing else, I could hang it right before the show opens, Thursday night.

The photo shows the progress on the sculpture last night; the two sections of the body, and three of the legs. I have seven of the eight legs done now. I still need to sculpt the pedipalps & chelicerae (mouth parts), and add the eyes.

If I can get a good photo of the sculpture in the frame (glare from the glass may pose a bit of a problem) this will be the image for my new business cards.

I'm really excited about the Fringe Fest. That the Visual Artists are all exhibiting together, and in an "actual" gallery, is terrific. And it's a short show, only about a week and half. If anything sells (hope, hope, hope), I shouldn't have to wait too long to "get paid" (always a good thing!)

And, I'm really anxious to get to work on the "next" stuff; the stuff for my second solo show in February. I have 50 lbs of porcelain in my studio now, and five or six decent-sized (24x36 up to 36x48 inches) traditionally-gessoed panels ready. (Better still, I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to end up painting on most of them!)

Lots to do.

Have a great week!

10 July 2011

Making the Hard Decisions...

I decided to do some more work on The Presentation of Spiders (see the January entry) Friday, and I noticed that an area in the upper right corner was scratched, revealing the "old" background colour. I didn't remember the painting bumping into anything hard enough to scratch through a layer of dried oil paint, so I took an Xacto knife and "scratched"--very lightly--into an unobtrusive area of the new background layer, and it peeled right off.

Not good!

I've visited with a couple other oil painters, and received the same advice from them both: start the painting over. Perhaps the new layers were not "fat" enough, or perhaps there was something chemically "wrong" with the first layers--but, clearly, something isn't "right". There doesn't seem to be any way to "fix" the problem while insuring the long-term durability of the painting.


I was really hoping to exhibit Presentation at the Fringe Festival later this month, and there's no way I can re-do this painting in less than two weeks--not if I'm going to have any other new work in the show. So, I'm putting Presentation on the back burner, and will concentrate on finishing the other new, smaller and less complex, in-progress paintings.

But I am going to start the new drawing for Presentation this week, along with drawings for two or three other "conceptual" spider paintings, all of which should be finished in time for my next solo show, which opens in February.

As always, pictures coming soon!