Archives for the month of: March, 2016

punch drunk

Happy Easter everyone. I love Easter: four days of peace and quiet, the weather is still warm, the homely sound of the lawn mowers in the neighbourhood. It is not unlike the Northern Hemisphere, unfortunately we are now heading into the colder period.

Anyway, I have to give you a run-down what happened in the Dede world since my last post. So Evan G List said to Milky Bar Devil he should read up on morals, values and beliefs to understand what a devil is. Punch Drunk (picture above) thought it was hilarious that Evan G List wanted to teach a devil morals. But Milky Bar Devil is an eager and conscientious student and he grabbed all the books he could find on the bookshelf. We are pretty sure we won’t see him for a while, we all know how difficult it is to read a philosophical text :)

Here a little gallery of what else happened

 

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Devil pushed Bad Conscience to free Mr Vague from his grip. We all know it is not particularly nice when Bad Conscience latches on to you, but now that he was on the receiving end of unpleasant treatment, he made a big scene. He fell to the ground and whinged incessantly, calling Devil a bully. Devil immediately checked whether he sustained an injury and once he found out that this was not the case said, “You really deserved that!”

Devil is also responsible for educating the little devils – there are quite a few among the Dedes, not all of them show their horns openly. As a good educator,  he likes to make his teaching relevant and posed the question; “What actually makes you a devil?” Milky Bar Devil, who is the starpupil, immediately raised his hand to give the answer, but Devil wanted to hear from the audience. Sadly no-one came forward with an answer, so Milky Bar Devil got his chance in the end. But instead of answering, the inquisitive little mind asked if being a devil wouldn’t be a matter of perception.

Now Evan G List, who is a stickler for rules, entered the scene. Very patronisingly he patted the little scholar on his back and said while there is something in the question, the pupil should look into morals, values and beliefs. Milky Bar Devil got a little annoyed and reminded him that he is only in Lesson 1 of his training. He can’t possibly know the ins and outs of such a tricky and contentious subject already.

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When Mr Vague realised how hard the Dedes had tried to warn the little Walrus about Top Dog he became very worried. While he is at pains to not draw any attention to himself, he is well aware he has done some pretty dumb things at times. He thought the Dedes might now gossip about him behind his back. Bad Conscience is always on the lookout for a tormented soul to latch onto so immediately jumped at the opportunity to grab Mr Vague. Once Bad Conscience has you in his vice like grip he likes to move in with you. While he doesn’t need much space and doesn’t say much, he has a big problem with reflux and regurgitates a lot. The room fills quickly with an air of sour grapes. A truly unpleasant smell. Devil spotted what was going on and came to Mr Vague’s rescue.

He considers himself a sly fox

Easter is not far away and if you follow the Dedes you might recall that around this time last year I tried to sacrifice my Dede puppet Top Dog for the benefit of the others. (https://dedepuppets.com/2015/03/27/top-dog-has-to-go/).

With his narcissistic personality  he was unsettling the Dede community big time. In the end I put him in the garden to expose him to the elements and hoped for a quick decline. Unfortunately, he was stronger than me and he resisted his demise. After a week or so I felt sorry for him and let him back inside. Subsequently, I wanted to send him to a dog training centre. It was all agreed, but the handlers never came to pick him up. It seems I can’t get rid of him and he is still with us, and annoying as ever. The other Dedes try to ignore his antics. To find out what his problem is read the post https://dedepuppets.com/2014/12/07/top-dog/ and https://dedepuppets.com/2014/12/14/top-dog-deciphered/

For a year he tried to recoup his rightful position at the top of the pack. After all, he is convinced he’s the best. This time though he is going after the lil’Dedes. Maybe he expects less resistance. But what do I know? For a week or two now he has been wooing the cute little walrus, crooked teeth and all. With his watchful eye he spotted the money she keeps under her mattress and would love to get his hands on it for a new “business venture”. The Dedes have tried to warn the little Walrus but they might have to admit defeat. Isn’t it futile to warn someone who is infatuated?

mum-comp copy

This is the very last composite I did in Photoshop and it is a very personal and painful one. I think I did this one in late 2014 or early 2015. (I haven’t even dated it, as I am not sure whether it is finished). It is a reflection of my mother who was an enigma to me all her life. I think you have to be German and of a certain age to understand.

That is enough about my art and from tomorrow I will write about the puppets again :)

feather

I am still not sure what an artist actually is. I tell others that everyone is an artist, even though I have problems calling myself one. Do you need an audience who appreciates your work and puts a value on it? Is someone who produces stuff without selling or exhibiting merely a creative? I create to understand the world around me. That is it!

I took this photograph in 2010. I even had a large 10-colour print mounted on dibond, which I gave to a friend when our ways parted. The concept of the image is such a cheesy stereotype and I can see heaps of things I could have done better, but at the time it felt right.

 

beads

This is more stuff I made over the weekend. I came across an interesting tutorial on the internet about burning glue to create a textured surface. In the video the result looked amazing, so I had to have a go. I used some air dry clay I found in my art cupboard as the foundation to apply the glue to. I wasn’t too sure about burning PVA glue but it didn’t smell bad. Actually, it didn’t smell at all though this doesn’t mean it isn’t toxic. (Okay, I found a site on the internet that said it wasn’t). While I like the look of the beads, I don’t like touching them. It irritates me that they feel warm, not cold like stone. It’s a fail in my book :) It made me realise, I don’t think much about the temperature of objects, but I certainly have a subconscious expectation.

 

europe

This is a sneak preview of the base plate for my reflections on Europe (the photo was taken with a macro lens to show the detail).  Once again, it is acrylic on MDF board. But this time the texture is not entirely built up by paint. I tried an alternative technique using a modelling compound from the art shop. I guess it is some sort of polymer. To achieve the right texture I added wood shavings to the paste. Once it dried I painted layers of colour. Surprisingly, this time it didn’t take too long before I was satisfied with the result. The red in the valleys and the virgin white on the mountains are perfect. The rest of the plate is a blueish black. At this stage the work will have to sit for a while because I haven’t decided which way is up. I am also worried I will stuff it up when I hammer in the nails. This can absolutely ruin it. Therefore it will have to rest until I feel confident enough to continue. In the meantime, I will coat it with a clear gloss coat, so that Europe becomes nice and shiny!

x

My interest is in the process of painting, rather than the end result. Therefore I am by no means a fast painter. I am not a prolific painter either, partly because I have no idea what to do with all the finished canvasses. They collect dust under the bed. Every so often I create an image I am very happy with and this might get hung on the wall. Others may be overpainted at a later stage. I scratch and scrape away paint as much as I add it and with time the canvas gets covered with a thick layer of acrylic paint. A unique texture evolves. For the viewer it might look as if the paint is just slapped on but I think about each step. I am also led by the emerging features .

Today’s image is from 2010 when I explored the meaning of x. X is a very ambigious symbol. In English, signing a letter with two or three x’s means kisses. X also means the ‘unknown’ as in Mr X or ‘forbidden’ (don’t go there). Ambiguity is my other big subject. If you follow the Dedes you might have realised nothing is what it seems to be. One puppet says one thing and the other says the opposite. We all have our own realities. Once again, our own brain fills in the gaps and often tricks us into believing things that are non-existent. But I am digressing.

I can’t remember how long it took me to finish this very simple painting and a photograph certainly doesn’t do it justice. This one does hang on the wall and even after six years I still enjoy looking at the paint that is breaking open like a wound and the fraying edges of the x. So this painting is definitely safe from being worked on again.

x detail

 

Modern Man

Tony, who is not only a puppet maker but also an x-ray artist (visit his blog: xraygraphics), commented on my post yesterday that the artwork I put up is very tactile. He put his finger right on the core of my art. To explain where it comes from I have to dive down into my personal history. In a nutshell: back in the day I took to Photoshop like a duck to water and have been teaching digital imaging for 20 years. In the beginning I really enjoyed working with blend modes and masks to create amazing textures. But along the way, I realised how much our brain tricks us into perceiving surface properties. When you touch a print it is always flat. The appearance of texture is created by our brain interpreting what we expect to be there. So we see texture that really isn’t there.  Over the years my yearning for honest textures grew stronger and stronger.

I created the picture I’ve put up today in 2007. This is one of my favourites from my Photoshop era. In this triptych I used 4 different background photographs (a wooden door with flaky paint, a stone wall with a window, an iron watch tower in a forest, and a 200-year-old lace curtain) and combined them in different ways to bring different properties to the fore. My work is generally about relationships. This one describes that in a good relationship you should be allowed to be strong or weak at times.