Wabi Sabi is wonderful concept of aesthetic values that originated in Japan, placing value on older objects. They might be scratched, nicked or tarnished. But over the years, they have acquired a distinctive character, a patina.
As part of my mosaic work, I search through second hand stores, looking for older objects such as vintage, silver plated trays that have character, patina.
In selecting the object, the rim is important as it frames the mosaic and becomes an essential part of the art. The pattern on the rim of the silver plated tray is distinctive and adds a sculptural element to the piece.
These older objects are usually tarnished and scratched. With a little elbow grease, they can be cleaned and restored. The flat surface of the silver plated tray is polished so that it reflects the light as it passes through the glass, creating depth and a luminous appearance to the mosaic.
Chicago has been in the grips of an Arctic winter, 20 days, now, the temperature has dipped below zero with wind chills that are too painful to record. To those of us, living in the Chicago area, this is not news, just a frigid reality.
However today, the sunlight playing off the stain glass in my studio tricks me, creating a warm atmosphere. I forget about the cold. But then, I go outside (dog duty, errands, etc.) and the cold reality hits.
When I paint or work with glass, I begin with simple line drawings, known as gesture drawings. These are continuous, fast line drawings, pen never leaving the paper. Whether it is a thought, an expression, a memory or a live study, it is important to express a sense of movement and rhythm. An example of the quick gestures or scribbles, if you like, are the initial drawings that I made of bikers on the bike path in Lincoln Park.They were the initial studies for a new series of paintings that I started over a year ago, called At Play in the City. I am back at work on the series.
The concept of gesture drawing and its importance to creating a piece of art, is best described by Kimon Nicolaides in his book, The Natural Way to Draw. He writes: “You should draw, not what the thing looks like, not even what it is, but what it is doing. Feel how the figure lifts or droops, pushes forward here, pulls back there, pushes out here and drops down easily there.”