Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bridge Implosions, mini-canvases, and new works....

Yesterday, around quarter after 7 in the morning, when Michael was in the shower, I heard a tremendous rumble, one that sounded like a thunderstorm was directly overhead. The house shook, and I stopped what I was doing (wrapping items for shipment) and said, "What the heck was that?" Michael asnwered, from the shower, "It sounded like thunder." And then we realized, almost at the same time, that it was the detonation of explosives used to demolish the Fort Steuben Bridge, a bridge that has linked Ohio and the northern panhandle for 90 years. It was a demolition that made national news last night.

When I realized that the local news station had rented a helicopter to capture footage, I felt immediately cynical, thinking that it only fed people's desire to see things blow up, like a real-life Jerry Bruckheimer film. The news anchors spoke about the multiple camera angles they had planned, how their correspondents were the only ones allowed close enough to take genuinely visible footage of the destruction. I continued to think how sad this was, that it reflects how much our culture is obsessed with pyrotechnics, deafening noise, and destruction rather than nuturing quiet, sustained creation. And I think there is truth to this, on some levels. However, when Michael sent me a link to the video of the bridge imploding, I realized that there is an art to destruction. Really, I mean it: the first few seconds of the bridge destruction are visually stunning. Specifically, before the bridge exploded, an orange line of light zipped across the floor, growing brighter for an instant at each ignition point. It lasted just a few seconds, but it was a kind of performance art in a way. You can see what I mean here: Fort Steuben Bridge Implosion Videos

Illustration for "Pigeon Lover"
appearing in The Famous &
The Anonymous
(BNS, 2004)
 In other news, I'm really excited to share that I sold three Famous and Anonymous illustrations to a very nice Bakersfield, California man, who read the book. He purchased the original illustrations for the front cover, the back cover, and the chapter illustration for the story, "Pigeon Lover".

I've also been working on conceiving some new illustrations for my story about the radium girls, which I titled "The Color of Silence is Radium Green". I originally wrote the story in response to a sci-fi prompt from a journal whose name I no longer recall. And I have a very specific 'film' reel in my head for the way story plays out. I just have to determine how best to divide the moving imagery I have--what stop-motion images should I focus on to effectively tell the story? And when we focus on each of the girls, especially Doreen who is both troublemaker and victim, how does she look, down to the last detail (especially since this is historical fiction and should have some basis in fact). I see the project as a single-edition booklet, graphically executed in a palette of greens and yellows.

Also, I've gotten a double packet of these! They're little mini-cavases that come with their own easels. They're tiny, but perfect for abstract works involving vintage buttons and sparkly sequins. Oooooo....I can't wait to get started on them!

 Finally, I've been using up my spare squares and rectagles of watercolor paper, and doing my daily Zen-ritual. Obviously, it's not genuine Zen, but it is my daily kind of meditation, which I've labeled my "illustration in an hour" series. In the most recent installament, below, I've incorporated India ink, colored pencils to the usual watercolor and ballpoint pen combination. It's made a darker, more dusk-like atmosphere for the stars to shine in, but in the process, I'm getting more used to working with media, with which I was less comfortable working before. It's exciting. Here's the newest work, called "Serpent Stars":

Savannah Schroll Guz,
"Serpent Stars" (2/21/12)
India Ink, watercolor, colored
pencil, ballpoint pen

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