Around the World in 80 Days: Day 77, More of My Art

My work took a strange turn when I got to the Obras Holland residency.  I landed on drawing the images of historic sculptures of Medusa because I liked the rage in her face and I was relating that to the way I feel about our privacy rights being whittled away.  I thought that’s what I was going to focus on while I was in Renkum but I found myself dissatisfied with the results.  Now, if you were my student, I’d tell you to push through that idea.  Keep scratching it like an itch and eventually it will welt up and bleed for you.  No…  Wait.  If you were my student I’d tell you never to go with your first idea.  I’d say, “Come up with ten more ideas and then we’ll talk. You need to brainstorm.”  Well shit.  I LOVE brainstorming!  So, back to the drawing board I went.  No… that’s not right… Away from the drawing board!  Time to research.

Loose sketch on newsprint.


Detail of a finished work.  Did the drawing but wasn’t happy with it.  Went in to triage mode and got experimental.  Painted several layers of white, added grids, and yellow reflective dots.  Remember the printers spying on you?

With flash.  Drawing is about 2.5 feet by 4 feet.

What about snakes?  You keep having visions of magnificent drawings of snakes with retro-reflective scales.  Remember?  Ooo.  What if I make their heads into cameras?  Ok!  Draw that!  Ok!  Not feeling it.  Ok, table it.  You definitely need to come back to that.  More research.  No no… now you’re researching the project you want to do for the next residency.  Stop that.  You need to make some work.  Aw!  But I’m so excited about the next project!  FOCUS.  Sigh.

It’s been a struggle.  The vibe is different here.  I thought I had read somewhere that I’d have a show at the end of this residency but that is not the case.  Neither here nor there but I’ve found that having a deadline makes me a production dynamo.  Not having a deadline allows me to start getting a little lazy.  You know what really really helps get the creative juices flowing though?  Making art.  So it’s time to make art.  Anything, something.

Europe is the birthplace of classical drawing so I’ve been teaching myself some new techniques from videos I’ve been watching and I’m learning a lot.  I feel comfortable saying that I am of the age where I’m smart enough to know how not smart I am.  I’m learning a lot.  A classically trained artist is part artist, part draftsman.  These artists finish their work up to meticulous detail.  I thought I was already doing that.  The bad news is that they work very differently than how I was taught but the good news is that they work very differently than how I was taught.  I’m actually really enjoying the challenge and happy to bring my newfound knowledge back to my future students.

All this to say, I’m working methodically and meticulously.  I decided to do some drawings of some spy gadgets to actual size.  I still think my drawings are a little big though.  When I get home maybe I’ll work under a magnifying glass.  This actually stimulates the old, dormant jeweler side of me.  I find it funny.  Enough about me.  Here’s the work.

Bug mic.  Detail.

Full size with reflective dots.

With flash.

Micro camera.  Detail.  It still needs to be half this size.  Roughly 3cm.

Full size.

With flash.

Tiny little Robobee from Harvard.  Read about it here.  Wingspan 4cm.  Ugh – apologies for the crappy photos.  All I have is my phone.  Better pics when I get home.

Really small spycopter.  This is drawn on vellum after I saw an artist in Amsterdam that really inspired me.  Body of the actual helicopter is 4 inches long.

Slightly different series.  These are a little more from inside my head.  Was fixating on the many definitions of “privacy screening.”

Second one.  Those of you who know my work know how much I love repetitive mark making.  I’ll probably do more drawings like these.

Annnnnnd here’s what happened after Dutch Design Week.  These are square holes cut in vellum.

Checking the alignment of my drawing underneath.


A yellowy image of the final piece.  It’s yellow because it’s evening light.  I worked about 10 hours on this.  12 camera lenses underneath.  The flaps can be adjusted to the viewer’s liking.

That’s all for now.  I’d like to get one more piece in but time is short.  I leave in a little over 48 hours!  Looking forward to being home.  Cats.  Husband.  Car.



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