Sunday, September 13, 2015

Near La Cal Basin, San de Cristo Mountains, Taos, NM

Another incredible day up and on the mountains. Met some wonderful future leaders from the United World College (UWC) I wish I had that opportunity when I was their age. Video and sketches of the 16 mile journey to follow tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What's Your "Shake"?

Limitations may be the most unlikely of places to harness creativity, but perhaps one of the best ways to get ourselves out of ruts, rethink categories and challenge accepted norms. And instead of telling each other to seize the day, maybe we can remind ourselves every day to seize the limitation. - Phil Hansen

In artist Phil Hansen's wonderful TED Talk he speaks about and demonstrates how he learned to embrace at what first seemed like a limitation (an incurable shaking in his dominate hand) and later turned out to be extremely liberating.

I too have experienced something similar to Mr. Hansen and after watching his Talk I realized that the 'limitation' was a wonderful and life-changing experience; one that I am incredibly grateful for having and continues to provide growth and inspiration. 

"New York" Ink on Paper © 2014 Bruce Katlin

Have you too, experienced what once seemed to be limiting that turned out to be your best teacher or yielded incredible benefits? After watching the video can you see how you might embrace personal, team or organizational challenges? How can you use these challenges or limitations to grow, develop and prosper.

So, what's your "shake"?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How To Build Your Own Artwork Display Stand

Picture left: The Display Stand in Action

Last week I participated in the Harwood Museum's' Art On Tap show. The designated space for each artist displaying their work was only 4x6, I needed to make every inch count. There was only one way to go and that way was up.
(I also had prints to display and used a simple set-up of light tripods and PVC piping to hang them from.) 

After painting as much and as fast I could to have pieces represented, I had just two days to create a display stand that would hold my paintings on board. One self-imposed constraint required that I only utilize resources that I already had in the workshop. No going to the lumberyard or hardware store.

The main vertical frame that would support the art boards was made from 1x2's. (I purchased a bundle that was for "something" else. The base of the display is a 2' in
length cut from pressurized 4"x4" treated lumber. I used 1/4" dowels to lend support to the art board. Twine and wood glue was used to bind the 1x2's together.

In the pressurized 4x4" treated lumber base I carved (2" in depth) out the dimensions of the 3 - 1x2 stock that will be the vertical piece where the artwork will hang from. Next, I coated the carved rectangle hole with a heavy coat of wood glue and drilled pilot holes for the hex-headed, hot-dipped galvanized screws that will provide extra support. 

After the screws where inserted, I poured the wood glue onto the three areas of twine soaking them thoroughly. (I have tried this method in the past and it worked very well. The wood cross-support pieces for a bird feeder I made over a year ago were nailed and then bound in the same twine, glued and sun-dried to lasting perfection.) The base
and the vertical piece did not tip over and appeared solid. Putting weight on the stand would be the test.

To support the hanging art boards, (more about hanging later) I chose dowels over casings or molding again, to save space. I used 1/4 dowels that were inserted in holes that I drilled in the wide side of the center 1x2 stock. Since I knew the sizes of the art boards and how I wanted to display them. I measured the distance on the vertical stock and drilled 5/16 holes where the dowels would be inserted. 

Using a coarse riffler I made a notch in each of the dowels where the bottom of the art boards would sit.

Before I applied two coats of high gloss, oil-based paint to finish the stand. I applied and drilled two support struts on both sides of the wide vertical 1x2 stock. After
applying and letting the paint dry. I hammered small nails into the stand at a height that would match the slightly above the top of the art board. Next, I looked around my
workshop for something could act as cross-supports for the base. I was fairly confident that I didn't need the extra support but could see my stand and artwork come
crashing down on a customer or another artist's work. Lo and behold, laying in a pile of dust I noticed metal bookshelf brackets that fit perfectly on the base and provided the extra support and confidence that was needed.

I used medium sized binder clips to 'hang' the art boards that 'hung' on the small nails that I had previously tapped into the vertical stock. (I'm using sub quotes here, as I
don't want to anyone thinking that this type of "picture hanging" is the same as hanging framed artwork on a wall. The premise is the same except using different wall
mounting/hanging materials.) One by one, the boards were placed on the stand and voila, a handmade stand designed and built to meet the constraints of a particular art
show! Total material costs: $20 Questions? Ask away!

For more instructions click here to go to my Instructables page.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How do you, Stop versus go? Create onward, ho!

The fine line of knowing when to put down the brush and when to add another stroke is a consistent question that I ponder regularly.

Section of "Mon Ami por Tu?" Oil On board. 32x14
The above image was the original completed painting that was to be included in a benefit show that took place yesterday, but two days before the event it just didn't look or feel right, so I picked up brushes and knives and in the immortal words of Jackie Gleason, "Away we go!"

The texture more accurately portrays the energy that I saw and experienced when I first went to the location. (NW side of Taos Pueblo.)

Section of "Mon Ami por Tu?" Oil On board. 32x14

Section of "Mon Ami por Tu?" Oil On board. 32x14

It was and still is very wet, but I took it to the show anyway where although it didn't sell, it received a lot of looks and compliments. Now that the energy of the show is fading, I can get back to two more pieces that I'm working on along with putting the finishing touches on two woodcarving/sculpture pieces.

"Sitting Shiva." Cedar/Spruce Woodcarving

"Two Faces of Hope." Cedar/Spruce Woodcarving

Create onward, ho! 

All images ©2014-15 Bruce Katlin

Friday, January 23, 2015

New Year's Paintings

"Winter's Tale" Oil on Board

New year, new painting; renewed sense of purpose and joy and challenges.

Painting or any form of creating is like a dance: back and forth and around and around; using different parts of the brain to analyze and paint. But if you analyze too much you'll never take the next step and if you dance without stepping back you'll land on your partner's toes. I don't like analyzing, I like doing and that's okay if I just want to get lost in painting but just imagine if you were an architect and just like drawing - the results could be disastrous. 

Continuing on the Path of personal and spiritual fulfillment I sought the guidance and experience of the prolific American painter, Richard Alan Nichols and have been relearning how to be a beginner with patience. Richard is one of those very rare teacher's an art form. He's not one of those frustrated painters who turns to teaching to only because he needs to pay the rent. He truly loves to share his passion for painting and has an endless amount of energy. "Paint the squeal and not the pig!" Richard shouts out numerous times during his lessons and workshops. I could see and hear the 'pig's' squeal but wanted to learn application and implementation from eyes to brush to canvas. Richard is helping me to get there. The above pictured painting, "Winter's Tale" was inspired by a run up a Taos area mountain trail. A lot of " back and forth and around and around" was realized in the task at hand.

Because it's been said that it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours to master one's craft, I have created my own simple 10,000 Hour Clock and when I reach that goal I'll reset it and start anew.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

50% Off Partners

Partnering with the wonderful folks at Smashwords now through December 31, 2014 I'm offering 50% off the ebook version of, Birds Like Us, The Pi Phillecroix Story. Wow! Use Code: PM93G

Thank you and hope you enjoy the journey.