Inspirations

Hey all,

I’ve been heavy-duty into the grunt work of my grant work (har har), and I know I’ve been slacking on the blog front, so I thought I’d share with you some of the things that have been exciting me lately.

1. Larissa Grima. I found her work by following the “prismacolor” tag on tumblr. She has such a beautiful quality of light in her work that I aspire to recreate one day. I especially love her use of cut-outs in her journals to reveal little pieces of the pages beneath. And I need that white pen!

2. The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing on Location Around the World by Gabriel Campanario. This 300+ page book examines the unseen city spaces through the eyes of these cities’ resident artists. Full of lovely illustrations of varied techniques, surfaces, materials, time-limits and skill-levels. For my own work, I’m paying special attention to the line weight used and how that influences perspective.

3. Jane Davenport. Specifically her quote (which I may be paraphrasing) “Life’s too short for crappy paper.” So true. No more crappy paper for Liz. Treat yo self!

Jane also is the master of achieving quality of light through layers. And she is a fellow art supply hoarder, which makes me feel normal about all of the pencils I currently have traveling around with me (count: 200+).

4. Iced Coffee. Massive, massive quantities. I’ve been making mine super-chilled by putting it into a martini shaker (which is, ideally, already frosty). Pair that with a groovy playlist (see: Kravitz, Lenny) and I’m in the zen zone.

5. WBOR. Our summer programming has a few gaps in the schedule, so I’ve had the luxury of being able to purge my demons in 1-to-3-hour chunks of impromptu DJ-ing. This summer has been moody and my tunes have reflected that.

On deck: Cocteau Twins- Four-Calendar Café, Gillian Welch- Time (The Revelator), Jeff Buckley- Grace, Neutral Milk Hotel–In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, Ryan Adams- Live at Carnegie Hall, Roxy Music- Avalon, James Taylor- Sweet Baby James, Elton John-Honky Château and, as always, The Cure’s Disintegration.

6. Prismacolor Verithin Pencils. I don’t use these nearly as often as I should. They provide a layer of color that won’t mask the color beneath it, which I’ve found has greatly improved the range of light and shadow I can create. They also erase pretty well, which makes them great for sketching, and even though their leads are harder than Prismacolor’s Premier line, they still have a smooth application. My usual colored pencil style is heavy-handed, and I am learning to be patient by layering with these pencils.

7. Nude eyeshadow. I’m also a makeup hoarder now because makeup is really just an extension of the art supply obsession. This Blushed Nudes palette by Maybelline is 10 bucks at Target and has offered me a change from my 50 Shades of Dana Scully 90’s coppery/brown thing I’ve got going on lately. How Gillian Anderson is so beautiful is the true X-File here, people.

8. Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. I’m not sure why this isn’t higher up on my list. This show only has two seasons (both of which you can find on Youtube) and I binged watched in a few days. Think Project Runway but with art. I watched it as I was trying to critique my own work, and it definitely helped me get back into the professional, conceptual artmind that has gone a little fuzzy from not being in class. It’s an easy, indulgent way to be exposed to a lot of different styles/working techniques.

9. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. I’ve been going to the BCMA the past few days on my breaks from the reference desk. For one thing, the library is not air conditioned and I’ve been dying. For another, I’ve been feeling kind of meh about my art, having crashing waves of self-doubt and a consistent impulse to compare myself to others.

The art museum has offered me a reset button and a clarity about the purpose of art and how I should be thinking as an art student. Art doesn’t exist for me to compare my own work to it and say “Damn, that’s really good, mine is nowhere near that good, nor will it ever be.” Instead, I’ve got to start looking at it like “Damn, I can do that if I give a little more patience, practice and effort to myself and to my work.” Easier said than done, I think, but we shall see.

The current exhibition at the BCMA is “Night Visions: Nocturnes in American Art: 1860-1960.” All of the work surrounds the theme of night and the transition of light to dark/dark to light. It’s an impressive collection featuring work by Andrew Wyeth, Georgia O’Keefe, Ansel Adams and Edward Hopper to namedrop a few of the big ones. You can preview some of the works, including my favorite Wyeth, here. The show runs through October 18th.

10. And last on my list (but first in my hearrrrt), my friend and fellow artist Julia. Thanks to her for rescuing me all summer, sending me rap jams, and making me feel like a person. My favorite words from her: “No one ever told me anything that sent me flying.” The thing I admire the most about Julia is that she lives with fearless intention, indulges impulse, and commits to herself.

She just flies, and so will I.

One day.

Soon.

Guest Blogger Elizabeth Snowdon on Fort Edgecomb, Ocean Point Walk & The Beautiful Unseen

Honored to have my first guest post on Misadventures with Michael!

Misadventures with Michael

Ram Island Light Ram Island Light (seen from Ocean Point)

Today I’m excited to welcome guest blogger Elizabeth Snowdon, a friend of mine at school with her own awesome blog and radio station. On her site Coffee & Lipstick she shares some of the pieces she is working on with info about her materials and methods as well. Without further ado, here’s Liz.

Hey there, Misadventurers! It’s Elizabeth Snowdon. My blog is an artsy one, but I realize the focus on things that are purely art-related is not everyone’s cup of tea. For that reason, my goal for my guest posts here is to keep you, the travel-hungry reader, sated with pictures, reviews, facts, and tips, but also to guide you through my experience with an artistic flair. This could be in the form of travel sketching, or simply through photography.

So while Michael takes the blog on the road in the States and abroad, I’m holding down…

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Art Journal 5.2

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I have given up my quest for the perfect image transfer. There is much more detail and interest in the inbetween spaces left behind by my inexperience and impatience with the technique. Imperfection communicates the rough and the raw. I am surrendering myself and releasing ideas of what I “should” be making, what my art “should” look like, and creating what comes out of me naturally. I am focusing myself on releasing that rawness.

Art is self-reflection. Art is self-healing. Know thy art, know thyself.

Materials used: Golden extra heavy gel, collage elements, coffee filters, deli paper, black Stabilo ALL pencil, watercolor, Derwent Graphitint pencils, charcoal, Golden crackle paste

Attack of the Sinister Beet Creatures (& QOR Watercolors)

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I’m bad at math, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that Heaven = a massive cold brew coffee from Little Dog + a warm, partly cloudy, summer day + new art supplies.

Right now I’m test-driving QOR watercolors by Golden. I have been eying a more vibrant palette for months and couldn’t justify buying 6 new colors at 8-10 dollars per 15mL tube. Luckily for me, QOR offers a few starter sets with 5mL tubes so I could get a variety of new colors to try for a smaller cost. Three of these starter sets have 6 tubes in earth, high chroma, and introductory palettes, and there is also an expanded set of 12 introductory colors. I bought the high chroma set for about $25 from Blick. The high chroma set contains: cobalt teal, green gold, quinacridone gold, transparent pyrrole orange, quinacridone magenta and dioxazine purple.

First impressions: The colors are exactly like their Golden fluid acrylic namesakes––vibrant, bold, and intense. A little goes a long way with these. QOR watercolors are supposed to have a different binder than traditional watercolors which makes them hold their color better, and so far, I find that to be true; I found little difference in the strength of the color between wet and dry states. I’m not a true watercolorist, so a lot of the other benefits these paints boast (bold color, yet lifts off the page; doesn’t crack or flake; makes excellent glazes) I have yet to try.

But for my sinister beet creature, they did exactly what I bought them to do: give me snazzy color.

Other materials used: Da Vinci watercolor (on the legs), Micron pens, Prismacolor Premier colored pencil, Sharpie white oil-based paint pen, Prismacolor colorless blender marker.

Monday Moodscape

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Here’s a work-in-progress shot of a page in my current art journal (which was made with one sheet of paper). Rain and overcast skies yesterday and today reignited my love of grungy, moody, smoky, watercolor/watersoluble graphite layers.

When used on top of acrylic grounds and mediums (which I have let dry before applying wet media), watercolors take on a whole new textural life. I’m using Golden extra heavy gel and some DAP Patch-N-Paint from the hardware store that I’ve mixed with Collage Pauge for better adhesion. Patch-N-Paint is a lot cheaper than an acrylic molding paste, so I don’t feel like I have to be precious about slapping it on the page. It’s surprisingly velvety and doesn’t shrink as much when the glue is added.

For more experimentation, you can alter the consistency of the paste by how much glue you add, and, just like any other acrylic medium, you can tint it with inks and paints, or add sand and fibers. Apply it with a palette knife or a course bristle brush as-is, or, incorporate a stencil.

Infinite options! Go forth and spackle!

Art Journal 5.1

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Art Journal 5.1. To be fair, I’m not entirely sure what volume of art journal I’m on––probably 6 or 7 at this point, but since I left off at 4, I’ll start new at 5. As I work on a new posting schedule, this “cataloging” system will change, but anyway…

Those funky dots were created by dropping denatured alcohol onto a thin layer of wet acrylic paint on a lightly gessoed surface. I used Golden fluid acrylic in I think phthalo green (blue shade). The alcohol will push away/resist the acrylic and leave you with a halo effect. You can see a similar technique here.

The mottled purple at the top of the page is watercolor bleedthrough from the other side. Sometimes, using cheap paper in my journals comes back to bite me and alters a page I was otherwise happy with. Sometimes, I get unexpected added details that I otherwise could not have created.

Ch-ch-changes

A new look and a new name! Welcome to my revamped site! A lot has changed since March when I last posted, and I think it’s time for my page to reflect and embrace those changes––my style, my attitude, my hair, my priorities, perspectives, and knowledge… out with the old, and in with the new!

Here’s the gist of what’s going on:

I am a 2015 Kaempfer Summer Grant recipient! I’m working on an extension of my final Bio Art project that combines botanical and anatomical illustrations to create new forms through collage. I’m planning on making the final body of work be interdisciplinary––exploring paintings and drawings of my initial collage studies. Below is one of 9 collages in my final project’s series, which I presented as digital prints.

img051The grant’s conditions require that I exhibit my work on campus in the fall, as well as give a gallery talk with the other grant winners. I’m excited to have a showcase of my work and to expand my breadth and quality in my portfolio.

I also plan on making prints of some of my work, which will be available for sale at a date TBD (probably in the form of a Society6 page).

Also, I’m the new programming director for Bowdoin College/Brunswick’s radio station, WBOR. You should know this for two reasons: 1) I am really, REALLY excited about it and 2) It means more music/mixtapes/twitter updates. I am confident that a good playlist makes all of the difference in your art making.

Given these recent additions to my life, it’s important that I give everything in my life a similar level of commitment. I’m trying to live up to my accountability, and that includes fulfilling my responsibility to you, Dear Reader. And while this blog’s primary purpose is as an exhibition space for my work and exploration, I recognize the need to cater its content to meet the needs/wants of my visitors.

So let me know what you think. About anything. Leave a comment below or send me an email!