Saturday, October 11, 2008

Working with a Theme

"The Temps Coffee Break: Pandora and Eve"
Ellen Sereda

My not so daily- daily art blog at Wordpress hasn't let me load any images into posts for 2 days. So I'm posting art here, because I can't spend any more time trying to find out what's wrong without it resulting in fistfuls of my hair.

This sketch had Pandora in it originally, but I messed up her face, then reworked it and reworked it, until finally she looked like Dr. Zira from the Planet of the Apes and couldn't be improved, just cropped. And surprisingly, I think it works better edited.

I was browsing through my bookshelf and picked up my copy of Bulfinch's Mythology and thought I'd give it another try. The link I'm providing is to the entire book, so you can read mid 19th century discussion of Beowulf online! What fun!

The writing style bored me a few years back when I initially bought it, and although it's not any less pedantic to my contemporary ears, the first myth was about Pandora. Pandora was given a box from the god Jupiter that she must never open. When she can't resist, all the good flows out of it and from the world. She manages to get the lid back on before hope flows out. So that's why when life gets kinda sh*tty, people always say, there's always hope. You can blame and thank Pandora for that. I simply can't resist stories of innocent women with natural curiosity being blamed for all the ills of mankind. I also like the idea of working in the confines of a theme at the moment. Because choice can be overwhelming, I'm going to keep my little sketches or illustration exercises as contemporary interpretations of mythology for a while.

My artists blogging friends have been working within themes that have been great to view online and see how they develop. Melanie, is creating a series of abstract art quilts based on Moby Dick. I was moved by these, they have a literal and celestial quality about them that I love. This one is Baleen.

Andrea Pratt is reworking some of her mixed media drawings from her celtic lunar tree calender series. She has a wonderfully distinct style. I also love this drawing, adapted from one of her paintings, Birdland. I'm lucky enough to admire this every day as one of 3 of her great pieces gracing my mantle.

Melody Madden "paints" with a sewing machine in a way that completely intrigues me. She is inspired by the natural world and here is a piece I love, Undercurrent in Red, it's beautiful and earthy.

Angela Rockett recently finished a show in New York City, exhibiting her abstract paintings that explore watery blues and grays. Living on the rainy westcoast, I can relate to these works. This is my all time favourite. Mapping the Depths It's gorgeous.

Paula McCullough creates art from found objects. She's been working on a series of 100 clocks that are as much pieces of contemporary sculpture as they are functional objects. Currently she is auctioning off one in a series of 10 identical smaller clocks. Click on the image to get to the auction

There are more artists I'd like to mention, but the day is slipping away and I have to go see Beverley Hills Chihuahua with my kids. Bet you wish you were me!


andrea said...

You have excellent taste in art and you'll have to kill me first before you get that particular one of Angela's! :)

As for Pandora, I was just reading one of Antonia White's autobiographical novels and in it there is an old grandmother, consumed with curiosity about everyone's lives, and she is painted in a very negative way. I could *so* see myself in her and was slightly offended, like I was when my MIL used to disparage my naturally curious personality. Apparently it was not *done* to be an early 20thC lady and exhibit too much interest in the world. What exactly is it about being curious that offends people so much? (and generates myths like Pandor's?)

I could yammer on and on but better remind myself that this is the COMMENTS BOX. (I do like the word verification, though: fgeegs.)

self taught artist said...

that sucks about wordpress...i've tried that before and just got overwhelmed by how long it took to up load among other things. its a great looking site but i need simple.

thanks for the linkage elllen!

katie jane said...

Ellen, what a delightful post! These are all terrific artists and I will visit every site.

I love the story about Pandora's box. I think I vaguely knew the story, of course, from childhood. But I didn't realize that "the good" and "the hope" were the items inside the box. I too, am a naturally curious person, so at the risk of letting out all the good...I seek. I love your painting.

Melody said...

Thanks so much Ellen for including me in this wonderfully talented group of artists

Ellen said...

Andrea: I was scolded for my bookshelves in my living room as "dust collectors" by a much older family member who proudly claims "I only read what I have to". She has an unshakable belief that a woman's role is about servitude to her men and her family. An acceptable profession for a woman is nurse or teacher, but to exchange that for doctor or professor and it becomes unattractive and too ambitious.

And I think it time we ended this online feud over Angela's painting and one of us get off our butts and buy it before it's sold. Oh fgeegs!

Paula: And I thought Wordpress was supposed to be easier than blogger! grrrr. Congrats on the clock! Bidding went great, lucky duck who got it. If my art buying budget wasn't $0 right now, I'd so have one of your clocks in my house.

Katie: In another version Pandora is given a jar with all the evils and pestilences held inside which she lets loose into the world. Hope is the only good thing in the jar that also escapes and is the saving grace.

But good for you for curiousity! I put it as top trait along with compassion. Without it what are we in danger of? repression, stagnation, dogma, ignorance, intolerance. We NEED more healthy open curiousity in this world and more than just being curious about what Brad and Angelina are up to! OK, sermon over.

Ellen said...

Mel: You work is wonderful. I hope everyone clicks to see more of it. Your process is so interesting. When I first saw your work, I couldn't believe that all that detail was actually thread. Very cool.

Angela Rockett said...

Just catching up on my blog reading here, and hey, that's me! Thank you so much for posting Mapping the Depths. And I agree, stop fighting and just buy it already! Maybe you two could do a timeshare type thing?:)