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SketchbookScribble.09.Buziak.2

I’ve had three Canson A3 (appx. 16 x 12 inches in size) 100-page sketchbooks “on the go” since early 2013, two of them more or less filled now with what I think of as “expressive abstractions” using acrylic paint, watercolour, Conté crayon, soft pastel and oil-crayon… sometimes combining more than one as in mixed-media.

Around a dozen have been for sale on my ETSY shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/SketchBuzz? for the past year amongst other works (around 40 pieces to date) with compositions and colour combinations more easy on the eye, as well as larger pieces of more recognisable subjects… and four, maybe five, have sold… although not anything resembling the above scribble.

I use the word “scribble” because that is what this is… daubs of different acrylic colours with wax crayon overlaid afterward, all in random strokes which, now I can recall more clearly, was one of more than a dozen similar works made shortly before my wife died last November after a very lengthy illness. Was I influenced, or frustrated, by what was happening in my personal life? Probably!

When I try to do similar work now – by allowing my mind and hand to wander in sympathy, although not necessarily synchronicity – I’m hesitant and feel I cannot achieve the same freedom. At the moment the only conclusion I can come to is that artistic scribbling is not very easy to do… despite what casual viewers will imply when mentioning their children’s primary school efforts during art lessons.

But I know there is more to it than that, and a number of artists have achieved world-wide fame, or notoriety, with artwork which has evolved in styles which baffle many people… there being nothing new with that when one considers how Impressionism, or many of the other -isms, created shock and horror at the time because they changed and challenged the accepted safe concepts of art. However, two artists I admire greatly are Joan Mitchell and Cy Twombly…

Notes from TheArtStory.org… “Joan Mitchell is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her large and often multi-paneled paintings. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognizable image, but to convey emotions. Mitchell’s early success in the 1950s was striking at a time when few women artists were recognized. She referred to herself as the “last Abstract Expressionist,” and she continued to create abstract paintings until her death in 1992.

Inspired by the gestural painting of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell’s mature work comprised a highly abstract, richly colored, calligraphic manner, which balanced elements of structured composition with a mood of wild improvisation.

Mitchell rejected the emphasis on flatness and the “all-over” approach to composition that were prevalent among many of the leading Abstract Expressionists. Instead, she preferred to retain a more traditional sense of figure and ground in her pictures, and she often composed them in ways that evoked impressions of landscape.

Mitchell’s abrasive personality has been a key factor in interpretations of her painting, which critics often read as expressions of rage and violence. Yet, almost as often, they have seen lyricism in her work.”

And from CyTwombly.info… “Some writers have concentrated on the materiality of the artist’s mark as aggressive, often illegible graffiti; others have followed the classical allusions to ferret out the references. Two elements might serve as metaphors for the predominant interpretations… However, Twombly’s painterly palimpsests trace the progressions through which form and content, text and image are inextricably linked.

Cy Twombly arrived in Manhattan in 1950 while the New York School painting of Pollock and de Kooning was in full swing. Upon Robert Rauschenberg’s encouragement, Twombly joined him for the 1951–1952 sessions at Black Mountain College near Asheville, North Carolina – a liberal refuge, a site of free experimentation and exchange in a nation growing increasingly conservative during the Cold War. Among the influential teachers present at this time were Charles Olson, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and John Cage. Building on the freedom afforded by the previous generation, the younger artists emphasised libidinal energy integrated through experience.

They focused attention on calligraphic gesture and word/image relationships resulting in work that was more syncretic, less spontaneously automatist.In the statement, Twombly describes his process: “Each line is now the actual experience with its own innate history. It does not illustrate – it is the sensation of its own realisation.”

With their works achieving millions at auction, can I put mine on ETSY or Saatchi Art, my two sales sites, for a hundred or so dollars? Or, as Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers” wrote, “…researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.” do I need to do those 10,000 hours of pure, creative and expressive work before I can get away with my scribbles? There are many creative types who think you do, and the Ten Thousand Hours website at http://www.10khrs.co show this with a recorded interview series about craft, creativity and putting in our time.

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

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AngerManagement.1.Buziak.2

This acrylic painting was made on a 80 x 60 cms (31.5 x 23.5 inches) canvas at the weekend after having an unusually bad dream during the night. I rarely dream, and when I do from what I can remember they are in monochrome, but this time I awoke with the colours of flesh pink and red blood swimming in my head! My dream was not of gore, but more of witnessing my own death… not falling, but being sucked from a height onto a studio floor covered with tubes of acrylics. Then, I read somewhere that over the weekend ‘Pluto was no longer Retrograde’ and whilst unsure of the implication of that celestial happening, it could have triggered a malfunction in my subconscious brainwaves.

So, being curious, on The Psychics Universe site I read…

“Pluto in Retrograde – Most planets in retrograde are somewhat reversed—that is, their influences can be fairly opposite of what they are normally. In Pluto’s case, when in retrograde, its influences are not reversed or opposite; rather, it seems to go into overdrive.

It can be very intense and even more fearsome. As Pluto direct forces us to face challenges outside of ourselves, Pluto retrograde forces you to look inside of yourself and face challenges. This can sometimes be unnerving, because the transformations we undergo under the influence of Pluto retrograde tend to require a complete breakdown of the old ways and ideas before we can move forward again.

Pluto brings us face to face with our shadow self. We often consider the shadow self the “dark side”. It’s our negative emotions and desires that we oppress, often don’t even like to admit to, and deal with those parts of ourselves that we do not like. When Pluto goes retrograde, it’s a good time to take on any endeavors seeking regeneration.

Pluto retrograde is a great time for delving into any personal transformations you’ve been hoping to accomplish. However, you may have to go through what seems like a trip to Hell and back for it…

And on another site…

“The planet Pluto – the seventh planet from the Earth and is associated with the afterlife realm referred to as the realm of consciousness. This afterlife realm is the realm for the final development of full consciousness. The Pluto realm of the afterlife brings regeneration and a growth in consciousness, but also can bring self-centeredness. Pluto represents spiritual growth and development of the soul and its influence is just now developing in the destiny of humanity.”

However, once awake and fortified with coffee over a four minute burst of Steve ’n’ Seagulls playing “Thunderstruck” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Ao-iNPPUc – which I do every morning, I climbed the stairs to my studio and started working on three canvasses during the same session… the first one finished being the above “Anger Management #1” which is now on sale at Saatchi Art. Also unusually for my methods of working, I am studying and painting this series of canvasses from all four sides, only deciding on the correct orientation once the composition is finished.

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Anger-Management-1/395193/2173214/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

DriftingAtSea.Buziak.2

This is an acrylic painting on a large 76 x 56 cms (30 x 22 inches) sheet of Arches Platine paper made during the same couple of days I was working on the two “Pop Camouflage” works illustrated and described here last week. It uses an unusual combination of colours for me – Plum, Pea Green and pale Sky Blue, for want of better descriptive names, although I’m sure the tubes – despite a little mixing and watering down with Titanium White and Paynes Grey, said nothing of the sort. However, the colour combination has stuck in my mind for another not so complimentary reason.

The first visitor to see this piece said, in very direct terms, that I should more or less consider giving up trying to sell paintings and find an outlet for my creativity as a printed textile designer… her punch line being, “I don’t like what you’ve been painting recently as artworks, but I would certainly buy some of them if they were dresses or curtains!” When I think of it though, I was trained as an interior designer at art college, and since the mid-1960s have always admired, and sometimes bought, the printed cotton products under the label of Marimekko, the Finnish designer and producer, so perhaps subliminally I have been channelled in that direction. On their website I found one particularly relevant statement, “Marimekko design is communicative but not ingratiating. It exhibits contradictions and courage to see beauty in everyday life, stemming from a strong passion for creating something new and a belief in intuition.”

This artwork is for sale at Saatchi Art…

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Drifting-at-Sea/395193/2169175/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

WiltshireDowns.1.Buziak

This is my first oil painting for possibly 50 years… or at least 40. I spent yesterday recovering more than 30 tubes of oil paint which have survived from art college days in the early ’60s, plus a few more tubes I’ve found during my travels which needed serious work to free the stubborn caps to salvage the still soft and gooey contents without having to cut away the tube bottoms!

This imaginative landscape is of the English Southern Downs… possibly Wiltshire where I lived for around 20 years enjoying the rolling scenery and farmland from my abode on the northern edge of the vast expanse of Salisbury Plain. Of course this painting is created from my memory of how I still see the Downlands… very open, changing colour often, and always with the symbolic clumps of trees on the skyline which often delineated the route of the Great Ridgeway, that ancient thoroughfare of around 4,500 years of age and undoubtedly a principal route of travel and communication in the Neolithic, or New Stone Age, period.

I will not be putting this item for sale on Saatchi Art or ETSY because it has been painted on a canvas dating from the 1950s and overpainted twice by me and possibly before that by the previous artist, my late wife’s uncle. There are two very small shallow dents in the canvas surface, hardly visible in normal light, but Saatchi Art would have reason to refund a purchaser under certain circumstances. However, if any viewer is interested in this work which measures 76 x 51.5 cms (30 x 20 inches) then I would be happy to discuss a price… otherwise it will hang nicely on one of my own walls.

Quiz.Collage.Buziak.2

As I wrote yesterday, collage – from the French word coller, to glue – is a technique of art production, primarily used in the visual arts where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

And after a productive month in the studio – and preparing to throw-out the scattered newspapers and out-of-date street advertising posters used for paint spills and splashes – I looked at some areas of accidental spills and splashes with deeper interest and thought of a collage arrangement.

It took the remainder of the day to measure, select, tear and paste the three basic elements of this piece into place; carefully wrapping each piece of pasted paper around the edge of the canvas’ frame and then stapling in place for a permanent fix. Then I added an air-gun target, found at a fairground a few years ago and kept in my bag of printed ephemera, old maps, tickets, labels and wrappers, before finally dropping more blue paint “droppings” to tie the three bands of torn paper together.

I must add that visually and experimentally I am very excited by this piece. Although some viewers will look upon it as “grunge” I feel very encouraged by progress in a different direction with my artwork… maybe it is a seminal piece. Obviously I hope it sells… but if it doesn’t I will be equally pleased to have it hanging on my own walls for a long time to come!

This artwork is for sale at Saatchi Art…

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Collage-Quiz/395193/2160101/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

Balloons.4.Buziak.2

After a fourth and fifth day (last weekend) in the studio working specifically on ‘dribble’ paintings I decided to take a break from that subject and technique to experiment and create in other areas… currently I have many ideas in my head and not enough hours in the day to proceed on more than one of them at a time. I suppose I’m lucky to be in a position where I’m not stuck for an idea! So, here is the last current one of the series on 75 x 55 cms card… a multi-coloured release of balloons floating upwards…

This painting is currently for sale at Saatchi Art…

http://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-Organic-State-4-Balloons/395193/2159750/view

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

StudioCollage.3.Buziak

Collage – from the French word coller, to glue – is a technique of art production, primarily used in the visual arts where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.

A collage may sometimes include newspaper and magazine clippings, bits of coloured or handmade papers, portions of other artwork or texts, photographs and other found objects, glued to a piece of paper or canvas. The origins of collage can be traced back hundreds of years, but this technique made a dramatic reappearance in the early 20th century as an art form of novelty.

The term “collage” was coined by both Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso at the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art.

According to the Guggenheim Museum‘s online art glossary, collage is an artistic concept associated with the beginnings of modernism, and entails much more than the idea of gluing something onto something else. The glued-on patches which Braque and Picasso added to their canvases offered a new perspective on painting when the patches “collided with the surface plane of the painting.” Furthermore, these chopped-up bits of newspaper introduced fragments of externally referenced meaning into the collision… the juxtaposition of signifiers, “at once serious and tongue-in-cheek,” was fundamental to the inspiration behind collage – “Emphasizing concept and process over end product, collage has brought the incongruous into meaningful congress with the ordinary.” – Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collage

And so after a productive month in the studio I thought it time to tidy-up the scattered newspapers and posters (out-of-date street advertising posters) I use as floor protection against paint spills and splashes. But, the more I looked at some areas of accidental spills and splashes the more I thought they could be used in some form of assemblage… or collage.

After much selecting, measuring, tearing and overlaying, I mixed a small bowl of wallpaper paste and carefully glued the three strips to an 80 x 60 cms stretched canvas. I then weighed the covered canvas down on each corner with my hand-exercise weights to make sure the wooden frame stayed true and flat whilst drying. By tomorrow I will know whether or not, or perhaps what, to add to the assemblage.

The finished artwork will be for sale at Saatchi Art in 24-hours…

Image © 2014 Ed Buziak

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