I’m Officially A Cartoon Character!

I’ve decided to write a graphic novel. The premise follows:

After the conclusion of a long marriage, our hero [that would be me] gathers the courage to put herself out in the world in an attempt to find love and connection. Our hero must learn how to negotiate social interactions, the dating world, and seek to understand what drives people together and apart. She attempts this process, not only to learn about herself, but to recognize the humanness in all people that drives their choices, desires, and behaviors.

This story seeks to tell this tale with compassion and humor.

And here I am: Linda Superhero

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What Makes a “Good” Artist?

I asked this question of my professor and mentor Robert Godfrey:

Remember when I showed you a satchel of my latest work and you told me I was a “good” artist? I have wondered ever since, what you meant by that, exactly. Is it about skill, technique, execution or exploration of a subject, productivity? Will you clarify?

His reply follows:

“Maybe a good artist is someone who has a kind of an innate knowledge  of something she can experience and express plastically (visually) even though they, themselves, may not be aware of (sort of that period between dreaming and waking up). And a certain viewer or outsider (if not the artist) picks it up in an “ah ha” moment.  As I did.  Your drawings told me something about you and bridges that I didn’t previously see or know.  

Don’t think this can be taught – some have and some don’t.  I cannot “exactly” describe because good art is too elusive and slippery for “exact” analysis.  Like poetry, music etc.  But “good” art certainly has nothing to do with skill, technique, execution, exploration, productivity …. the totality of something that resonates can not be picked apart, though certain things you mention may factor in.  

I think it was Virginia Woolf who said something to the effect that she had to distance herself from consciousness in order to write freely.  

So I wouldn’t worry too much about it all.  Just keep doing what you do.”
Thank you, Bob.

Boomerange Tables Completed

original boomerang

Inspiration piece

Back in August, I endeavored to make replicas of this very groovy boomerang table that I found on E-bay. After 3 months of work due to time constraints, financial constraints, set back with finishing issues, birthdays, weekend coverage at work and the holidays, I finally finished my tables.

 

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Don’t look too closely. To be honest, this picture was taken before I secured the tops. There is still a teeny bit of touch up work around the base of the top tier supports. And I had to go buy feet so the my table could slide on the floor without scratching it. But for the most part, this is the finished product. Times two.

I’m pretty proud of myself for working in this new medium and having the end product come out looking somewhat like the inspiration piece. I should do my work justice and photograph my tables “in situ” next to my living room sofa. But that will have to be for a later post. I have more pressing projects right now. There is a turkey to cook and suitcases to pack.

Getting Back Up On The Saw Horse

Finally, I got the finish issue resolved on my boomerang tables. The next hurdle to jump was attaching the hardware to the legs and table bottoms. And the (almost) final chapter was screwing the legs onto the body of the table. Here’s the table upside-down with the legs attached:2015-11-08 17.16.47

And here’s the table right side up with the tops in place. Houston, we have a problem.

Boomarang table

It’s a good thing I haven’t drilled pilot holes or attached these upper supports to the tier tops yet. These proportions are all wrong! Ten inch supports do not match the look or the feel of the original table. I will need to take them down to 6 inch supports instead.

Boomerang Table Snafu

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There has been a bit of a problem with the finish on my boomerang tables. I don’t know what happened. The stain went on just fine, but when I tried to apply the polyurethane finish, the stain began to come off in places:

The picture to the left shows an area on the wood where the stain did not penetrate the surfaces. I met a gentleman at the Elks Lodge where I swing dance who is a carpenter, and asked him what he thought might be going on. He said that a lot of composite wood for home woodworking is glued together. What I likely am seeing is an area where the glue got wiped off. The thin film of glue left over is undetectable and the surface of the wood looked beautiful to me. But experienced woodworkers know to sand their wood before embarking on any staining or finishing steps.

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I asked if I could sand and refinish the few areas that were flawed. He said I could try, but he did not hold a lot of hope for the results. It turns out I had a lot of work ahead of me. Taking the polyurethane and the stain back down to the wood and then patching the stain and refinishing the patched areas made a total mess.

The stain over-lapped the pre-finished areas and did not come off with buffing or with refinishing. Ugh. I had to take the whole project down to the grain of the wood and start over again. All that careful application, days of drying time, and reapplication was for naught. Except, of course, for the education.

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What a mess!

I’m philosophical. Woodworking teaches patience. There is a reason Christ was a carpenter! Wood keeps you humble. And being new at any project teaches presence. The smell and look and texture of the wood is so earthy and sensual. The flow of the stain is so different than paint. How the stain interacts with the thirsty wood requires diligent and proper handling. This table is full of flaws and has my clumsy hands all over it, despite my best efforts to be careful or cover it.

 

Staining My Boomerang Tables

I’m making a pair of Boomerang tables from a series of pictures I saw for an end table on E-bay. I’ve been looking at contemporary furniture in the stores. I like the look of really dark wood, but not the tones from the 70’s called “walnut.” More contemporary tones have some black in the stain and refer to it as “espresso.”

Stains have changed since the last time I refinished any furniture. Most of the better quality ones are gel stains. I was going to use MinWax, but the dude at the woodworking store steered me away from that because it contains wax in the stain and can yield less than satisfactory results.

Since I come from the school of “what else do you know?” I decided to ask a few more questions about my project. I was directed to master woodworker Tom Noffsinger of The Sore Thumb Woodworking Studio in Raleigh, NC. He graciously agreed to meet with me at his workshop, and on a rainy Sunday morning. I brought my cutouts, boards, hardware, and stains and got a quick rundown on the steps I needed to take to accomplish my task.

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I am so grateful I got advice from Mr Noffsinger. Because I am working with cheap pine, he advised I prep my wood with a mixture of shellac and alcohol to preseal the wood. That way the stain would spread more evenly. And, I also got to view some of the projects he was working on and different finishes. I hadn’t considered finishes because I originally thought the stain and the finish would go on together. I picked a satin, rather than semi-gloss, finish after viewing the beauty of some of his projects.

 

Raw Wood Boomerang Tables

I decided to make a pair of Boomerang tables from a series of pictures I saw for an end table on E-bay. I started making my paper templates based upon the product dimensions listed in the advertisement (see prior post for description). Then I cut the paper forms out, lay them on my pine boards, and out-lined them with a grease pencil.

I used a reciprocating saw to cut out the table bases and tops. Then I sanded the edges to make them smooth and remove imperfections from my cutting. I was blessed with a beautiful, cool and dry, day.

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Boomerang Table

On a lark, I went on E-bay and was looking up mid-century modern furniture. I saw lots of beautiful and expensive pieces and also some real crap. And then I stumbled upon this little gem:

original boomerang

The description was as follows:

“Offered for sale is a mid century table that I purchased from an estate sale in New Rochelle, New York that was like a time warp of the 1950’s (including the house).  It is in somewhat rough condition and sold as-is with some veneer loss and a couple of crack lines as shown in one of the pictures probably from heat within the house but unsure (it was in the topmost floor of a split level home).  It has great lines and really speaks of the time.  If anything the legs could be unscrewed and used for another piece or it could be painted a funky color etc.   I have never seen one quite like this.  It roughly measures about 29 inches long, about 19 inches wide, and about 24 inches tall.I may be able to ship it if I unscrew the legs but can’t guarantee if it would be able to be re-screwed. Thanks for bidding!”
-David

 And I thought, “What the hell! I’m an artist. I can make this!”

So I drew templates on newspaper, went to the hardware store, bought some pine boards and got to work….

My Work Acquired for EB Fine Art Permanent Collection

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Elmwood Beach Fine Art Curatorium announces its Roots & Wings Foundation awards – used to acquire artwork for its permanent collection. The Roots & Wings Foundation “lends support and boosts creative endeavors and unusual occurrances that tend to be under the radar, out of the box, and over the line.” EB Fine Art Curatorium chose my work from my pop-up exhibition in Park Slope, Brooklyn in September of 2014.

From my Facebook post: “I am so excited and grateful that my work is included in the permanent collection of the EB Fine Art Curatorium in beautiful Hudson, NY.”

Commission is Received and Hung!

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My client contacted me stating she received her painting. Yay!

Just wanted to send you a quick message to show you how well the painting ties in to my office. I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE it!!!!! Thank you so very much….

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I’m surprised! It really does fit in well with the view from her desk. And it serves to cover the ugly X-ray reader that occupies that space.