'Treats' Acrylic on wood assemblage ©robinrkent

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Footloose Art

I've been moving at a slower pace. Finding time to refuel while continuing to create without adding stress. A change in attitude. Recent pieces are fewer. And looser. Still I must be happy with the results.
"Magic Man' ©robinrkent
I guess when you keep at it, you're bound to notice changes as you go. Sometimes I think growth is not a conscious, deliberate act. More like one foot in front of the other.  If I already knew where I was going, I would have been there sooner!

Glad to find my new footing with this piece. I've had these shoe stretchers for a while and was wondering when the right piece would come along.

I must have been waiting for my 'Magic Man.' He was a compilation of many saved pieces. And they came with their own colors. I didn't paint anything but his hands and face. And even his face had his eye positioned from a suggestion where a previous screw was located. He's big too. Check the yard stick in his skirt.

It was almost automatic. I let him take the lead.
And tried not to step on his toes.

The header above titled 'Treats' recently sold at Stowe Craft Gallery , the new gallery carrying my work. Happy they went to a good home.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Fine Fit

I'm the newbie on the wall at the Stowe Craft Gallery - an established craft gallery in the heart of Stowe, Vermont. Stowe is a ski town, home of The Sound of Music von Trapp family, and a town of many cultural offerings. I remember visiting thinking 'this gallery would be a great fit for my work',  then had a call from them wanting to discuss just that. Here's the piece that piqued their interest and is offered in the gallery:
'Dining Al Fresco'  wood assemblage  50 x 21"     ©robinrkent

Glad they are a gallery with a focus on fine craft. Like the Shelburne Museum, this form of art deserves to been seen with like-minded pieces. The energy plays off each other.

A craft artist leaves hints of the creative process behind in their work. Look closely to see how a problem is solved, turning their medium into a cohesive piece. I can feel their steps though it may be months past its creation day.

The difference between craft and art is muddled, but to me that extra dimension is what craft offers: the tactile/visual sense of a hands-on effort.

Even wall assemblages fit this trait.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Is this a sign?

....or an art piece?
A new illustrious shop has opened in downtown this summer. One of our prominent interior and architectural designers decided to go public with a shop full of wonderful touches that make a house a home. Actually the name of her shop is The Home Shop.
I was happy given the assignment of making her sign. She had an image of her daughter in mind and it was easy to translate into reality.

This photo shows the finished sign, propped inside against the glass, waiting to be hung outside.
courtesy of Nancy Leary, proprietor. 

Below are some photos I took of the process:

(left) This became my guide for the finished piece. It has notes as to the size (big!) permitted as well as suggested hanging spots. 
Although I think in 3D assemblage, this showed the overall look of the finished piece.

(middle) I marked off the size limitation so I wouldn't make it bigger than desired (I know how things can get away from you), and eyeballed the drawing on primed sign board (plywood with a brown kraft paper finish) painted black. Chalk makes it simple to make corrections and easy to see while cutting it out.
(bottom) I make a pattern of the pieces to be in relief (face, hands, leg, house, sash), cut two of each  (it's a 2 sided sign, hung perpendicular to the front of the building), painted each element using my usual house paint palette and glued them in place following the chalk outlines.
And viola! Another of my signs hit the street in downtown Brandon. Now a rest then back to creating art for inside homes.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Breath of Fresh Air

I sold my two fine art acrylic on canvas paintings and the gallery wanted replacements.
Sold: 'Old Wooden Dock' Acrylic on canvas  ©robinrkent

Since they were hung above/below each other, I had a narrow, vertical space to fill. A tall order.
And my bandsaw is fixed.

Sold:'Away From It All' Acrylic on canvas    ©robinrkent
So I went 'shopping' in my wood shed for the right size 'canvas.' The shed decor is very eclectic. Many forms to choose from. Haven't figured what the ironing board (below) will be used for yet since I'm unfamiliar with its original purpose. 
Wood shed with sentry

I found the perfect size in the form of a garden gate that had been trimmed at the top to accommodate some special space in a previous life. Tall and narrow. And it wanted to be outside again. That was the inspiration for the subject. Many times I listen for hints of what the reclaimed have to say.

'Al Fresco Dining' wall assemblage  21x50"  ©robinrkent
Sticks were used for the overhanging tree,
wooden balls for fruit,
scrap wood leaves and robin,
two shingles make the table,
spindle splinters for chair and table legs,
plywood for dishes and napkins,
the key hole is original;
the rest is house paint.

A summer vacation would add the final touch.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Assemblage and disassemlage art

A new era.
I've learned so much recently. And not about fine art. Becoming a mechanic - an artist in tool appreciation - could be a future profession, if there was one.
When the band saw replacement parts arrived, I disassembled the saw, removed the worn pieces, bolted in new ones, stretched new tires on the wheels, found a new way to replace a 'metal self tapping screw' that no longer sufficed. The manufacture's tech support was very helpful with hints and tricks for assembly and complimented me on my own creative answers.
Never knew I would appreciate an exploded diagram.
Hearing a woman's voice asking technical questions may be more commonplace for them, too.
It's like a new machine. Runs like a purring kitten. Guess I really am an assemblage artist.

Band saw in pieces
A 'together' band saw

Saturday, June 15, 2013

When One Door Closes...

...another one opens.
Sooner or later.
Just make sure to grab the knob.
My screen door knob     ©robinrkent
I'm always surprised when I look back on moments and only now find the message and notice the convergence in its timing.
Generally patient, sometimes the answers to my wishes come slow. When put in context, I appreciate its karmic pace.
It's now my busy season, and my number one art tool is unavailable.
My bandsaw, a sturdy, trusted and loyal friend, has had a breakdown. Trying my hand at major surgery I found the problem, and sent away for replacement parts. But shipping is 7-10 business days. And not my kind of business days.
This week long reprieve has become a guilt-free gift from creating wall assemblage or sculpture. Clear the shop, make some room. And paint on canvas, maybe, too.
My bandsaw is giving me a summer vacation. What a nice boss.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Swinging In The Rain

(Continuing the story from last post:)
After thinking of (and attempting) many options of how to keep "The Chef' sign standing against the wind and rain, I decided on the most clever idea yet:
buy a plastic swinger sign frame
Swinging freely in shop    ©robinrkent
I noticed a small one used at the Town Offices, and then saw them everywhere. But do they come in a size and strength big enough for my 5 foot tall Chef? After calling Florida and Minnesota, I found a shop nearby.
I bolted front and back signs together with a horizontal post between them for the pivot. After slipping the sign over the crossbar, I nudged it a bit. It swung smoothly, like a well oiled machine!
Problem solved. Strong and neat. Happy artist. I couldn't wait to bring him back on the street in front of the Cafe Provence...

One hitch: the sidewalk isn't level. It pitches sideways to the curb and runs backwards down the street. The Chef was banging into the support on the bottom, not happy with the tilt.
After some fine tuning, (a full dimension 2x4 wired to the frame on the curb side), he's swinging again.
I will check on him now and again to make sure he stays 'straightened up and fly right'.

Cafe Provence was selected for the 2013 Editor's Choice Award (Best Food and Dining) in Yankee Magazine.