Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Red Cat Platter

Since I have been writing about my "critter" art work, as I call it, I thought it was appropriate to show my piece entitled  " Red Cat Platter". Here you have two kitties checking out that little creature in between them. I wonder if they are thinking ," Now there is a catch".  
I have recently become acquainted with some felines. The older cat often lets out a howl of victory as she drags up an object of prey to her master. No matter that it is a wrapper, she is still the huntress. I'm pleased that these animals still have a wildness within their domesticated selves. I remember many years ago seeing a pride of lions in the wild. My main thought was how similar they are to our house cats. 
I like painting  cats with their recognizable silhouette. Dog owners want to see their specific breed. Since this is a low fired ceramic piece, I can use brighter and more unusual  colors.Who says cats can't be purple?
My  platters  are  fairly large, measuring about fourteen inches across. A nice quality here is that not only can you hang it on the wall as  decoration, but it is functional as well. How much fun to get to eat up all the finger food and see these creatures looking at you.
 I enjoy making  art that makes you smile. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"El Pescado " Platter

People often  ask me, "which of your arts do you love more, your ceramics or your calligraphy?" Truthfully, I am equally passionate about both of these media.When I can combine the two, it is the ultimate for me.
Here is a platter entitled    "El Pescado". 
This was an inspiration of the owner of Adelante, a gallery located  in Carefree, AZ. She carries my brightly colored cat plates. There is lots of Mexican folk art there. Speaking some Spanish, I like using  it on my artwork! The literal translation is " the cat wants,or desires, the fish.
This is piece made of porcelain, measures about fourteen inches across, and is functional as well as as decorative. Using a smooth white clay gives me a great surface on which to write.I find a brush to be the best tool when writing on clay. The  style is basically Italic. My tool is a very fine, sable  brush. It is more  flexible than the straight edge of metal  pen, which gives it a softer edge. The  color is  cobalt. It comes out a strong, dark  blue that pleases me, and reminds me of the deeper water when looking far out in the ocean. Where else to  find your pescado?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Jerome on Clay

I am  excited about this latest ceramic platter I created. The piece is entitled "Jerome". It  is currently in a  show happening right now in that very same town.
 A large ceramic platter, about fourteen inches in diameter, it can be hung or put on the table, since it does have  a foot to stand on! As you can see, it is not perfectly round. I like the altered shape to make it stand out a bit, not unlike it namesake.
As a calligrapher of many years, it is always fun for me to use my lettering in a new genre. Here is the perfect canvas of clay, brightly decorated in low fire glazes. I chose the bright shiny colors because I wanted to make it  whimsical and fit in with my folk art series.As a kiln fired piece, it will stand the test of time. 
There are always technical difficulties when doing something you have never tried before. Many years ago I remember a  well known calligraphy teacher telling me" Remember, practice creates practice. Do your best every time..." I took those words to heart. I do not usually try a preview piece. I envision in my head where I am going, then let my hands do their work. 
How great when the finished piece  pleases me even more than the image with which I  started.That is my definition of success.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Small Turquoise bowl

Here is a small turquoise bowl that just came out of my  kiln.It fits so perfectly in my hand it almost feels  like a miniature. Yet it  is totally functional. In fact this is the size I start out my day with, containing some yogurt or fruit.
 It started out bigger than this, by almost 18% . There is quite a lot of shrinkage when firing ceramics. The first thing that goes is the moisture  within the clay body itself. I like the smooth white texture and results of  a porcelain clay body. Hopefully it is Very dry when I start the kiln, or it can blow up or crack. That doesn't happen too much to me now, but it can and it has. This hot dry climate of Arizona is a real boon to clay artists. Things dry quickly and well.
 With the first firing there doesn't seem to be such a decrease in volume. The second firing is to a much hotter temperature, and  that is when the size changes. It seems so big when I make it, then it gets down to its true size. It is then very strong with the clay inside and a glaze to make it really waterproof and decorated. 
I guess that is like a lot of things in life. Something starts out very grand, and ends up more in proportion. If it is a good thing , we feel happy. If the story isn't what we anticipated, than it is not so much fun. I have the same thing each time I open my kiln. The art and  surprise  in both life and art.