Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Day 401-406- The Making Of Falling Leaves

It took me a mere 2 days to make Flying Butterflies but it was almost a month's worth of experimenting before Falling Leaves was actualized. 

For Flying Butterflies, I knew exactly what I wanted. I was inspired by the story of the Greek sculptor Pygmalion who carved a statue so fair and realistic that he fell in love with her. Pygmalion eventually married his own creation after the goddess Venus made her come alive. I thought the Pygmalion story paralleled my own obsession with realism as well as my love for the fantasy in my small world. 

That was the genesis of Flying Butterflies, where the steel butterflies became real and then flew away. My poem, If I were a sculptor, was therefore both my tribute to Pygmalion as well as an insight to my own struggle for that balance between realism and fantasy when I create. 

A month after I completed Flying Butterflies, I started work on Tree. I wanted to continue exploring the same Pygmalion-Realism-Fantasy theme. One way would be if the sculptor's flowers could turn real

Some of you may remember this and knew in the comments that ensued that I did not like it. There was something else missing in this ensemble apart from all that I had complained about. There was no movements unlike the flying butterflies in the other one. I knew I had to get rid of the roses and give it something else but I just didn't know what.

 3 weeks went by. 

The day Falling Leaves was conceived was a special one. For the 1st time in the 18 years I have lived in this house, I decided to pick up the broom and sweep up the leaves from the driveway. I know, it is terrible, disgusting, sloppy (Birgit, I know you want to hit me now with your spade) that I have never done it but you don't understand what kind of an endeavour that is. The terrible heat, not to mention the deadly mosquitoes. Ouch! Ok, alright,  I am spoilt, I won't deny that now, but anyway, back to my story. 

After about an hour's worth of sweeping dead leaves and acquiring a tan that I have yet to rid till today, I decided I would re-work the tree. It came almost subliminally, the idea of having metal leaves falling from the tree onto the ground where they turned to real leaves. 

Anyway, I didn't associate then the idea of falling leaves with my earlier sweeping of the leaves on the driveway even when I was making this bunch that were to be the real ones on the ground. 

It was the next day when I was taking the pictures that my mind went Ding ding ding!

These were random pictures I took of the dead leaves and seeds in the drain (4 pictures up). In these pictures, I didn't see dead leaves anymore. I saw how attractive the colours of the dead and rotting came together. I saw beauty in decay. 

It kind of clicked then. The junkyard, the abandoned house and now this sculpture. They were all my attempts at exploring this whole idea of life in death, beauty in decay.  

It was almost inevitable that I should have a bird in this sculpture. Can you see why? Anyhoo, this was what it looked like before the bashing. 

Repainting the bird was fun. I finally got to use the really fine brushes I have been hoarding since forever ago

and tested the pastel chalks for the first time.

It took me a while to paint even simple accents like the strip on its head. I think I spent a good hour trying to blend the body colours.

The tail was the trickiest because the chalk colour didn't stick easily to the feathers. Even looking at the pictures now, I can't help thinking it could be more realistic and that I need more practice. 

Now who says we shouldn't sweat over the small stuff, huh?


Elizabeth S said...

Well Sans, this post was so interesting because of the way you so vividly describe the Process. Not just one idea but a collection of hazy forms that slowly emerge from the fog inside our heads and which present themselves unformed and needing the skill of the artist to flesh them out and give them an outline. From there the Process begins to take a real direction, step by step without knowing where you are going until you recognize the road and move forward with confidence. The reward is in the doing and knowing that you are hearing the call clearly and answering.


The Old Maid said...

Oh I was to write that maybe you had the backyard full of leaves but you have most clean brushes I've ever seen, dear Sam. Mine look like that only freshly bought and unused,lol! I am comforting myself thinking yours were also unused before,lol!
It took you a few weeks to achieve what you wanted with this small beautiful tree and it took me a year to finally make one done project looking good to me.;)
Hugs and kisses

Piikko said...

Falling leaves! Oh, you made them look so pretty. Soon I will see falling leaves in real. I must say that I don't wait that so much. But your autumn leaves..beautiful!
Hugs, piikko

Maria Ireland said...

Your tree is wonderful and I love your bird. I have always loved fallen leaves. I remember going for walks with my parents and walking in the leaves kicking them up in the air and watching them fall. Your lovely post brings back beautiful memories.
Hugs Maria

Susan said...

Phew! I'm exhausted just from reading about your journey to achieve this art wonder I am not an artist ;) I adore your little bird, it is as perfect as its' setting. Thankyou for a little insight into your creative mind.

Plushpussycat said...

I agree with those who wrote that following your process was interesting. Great result too! xo Jennifer

Sans! said...

Elizabeth, do you create in the same way too? You are quite spot on really on my creative process. It is like wading through a murky albeit familiar river trying to catch a fish with your hands sometimes :).

In my mini-making, I love doing a lot of research to make sure that I am as accurate as possible. But when it comes to art pieces, I find myself consciously un-thinking and just wait. :) When I sit down and start working on the minis, it was almost stream of consciousness, really. Letting my instincts do most of the work.

This post is a record of that stream of consciousness for the Falling Leaves. The rationale-centric side of me looking for some order :).

Sans! said...

Ewalina, all those brushes are UNUSED! I hoard them and keep them in the special case because they are the really fine ones (some are for painting nail art) that cost a bit more.

I have 2 cans worth of brushes that sound like yours. I don't throw out broken brushes.

The abandoned house has taken more than 8 months already :). Is the one project you like Laundry in the Backyard?

Sans! said...

Piikko, living in a tropical country makes me yearn for Autumn. I am not a fan of winter and as for summer, well, too much of a good thing can be boring.

I have always love the colours of autumn and of course the cool temperature makes everything lovely.:)

Sans! said...

Maria, you have conjured up for me a most beautiful image of a little girl kicking up a bunch of leaves and with the falling leaves swirling down around her, she is throwing her head back with delight and laughter :). I want to make that in mini :).

That's the other thing I always want to create. Movements in my miniature scenes:).

Sans! said...

Susan, I agree with you. Art can be tiring. For the maker and the audience.

For the maker, whether it is good art or bad art, it takes a whole lot out of you. If I have created something I am not happy with, the frustrations and self doubt and sense of failure until I come up with something I like can be exhausting!

And even then, the doubt never really goes away. Personally I am a rather irritated with that because I am quite a different person when I am not creating Making art is a humbling experience yet it is also very empowering. :)

Sans! said...

Thanks Jen :).

I find reading about processes and motivations very interesting too :).

Susan said...

I admire artists so much Sans because I know I lack the element that makes an artist but I love seeing the amazing things that come from your heart and hands.

Pilar said...

me encanta el pájaro!te ha quedado precioso!!!!!!!un beso

Ilona said...

Sans! Your tree is beautiful, so artistic! Here in my region the leaves are falling because of the drought, the rain still kept away for nearly 2 months now, except for some downpours after heatwaves. Nature is suffering now.
I understand what you mean by going through this process whilst you were sweeping the leaves into the drain. I often am busy in my head thinking of things, ideas and how to do this. Sometimes my family sees me like I am in a kind of "sleepwalking", my thoughts are wrapped in a kind of fog and they gave that "wellknown" expression of reverie on my face, then they know what time it is for me ;)!
Then suddenly you have clearly in mind what you were intend to do, it flows like a river through your brains right to your hands and they'll create what you wanted to.
I hope you understand what I mean, because my English isn't that good, it took me some translation to write it to you, Susan, but I think you know ;)!
Thank you for sharing and big hugs, Ilona

Drora's minimundo said...

If sweating over the small stuff gives such wonderful results, it was well worth the time dedicated. Your tree looks different now, it's as if it came alive.
Great change and beautiful photos.
Hugs, Drora

rosanna said...

First of all: why should you get rid of your tan? I am sure you look fab!
Second: love your tree but want to see more of the butterflies, just a small glimpse isn't enough.
Third: definitely ispiration can come in many ways and from many sources.
You "only" have to look with eyes wide open, with a child heart and willingness of being enchanted by anything around you.
Easy said but not done and you, my dear, have all these qualities: you look and you see, you enhale and the beauty of world remains inside your lungs.
Hugs, Ro

Fabiola said...

Everything is perfect. I like the flying buttrflies and the little bird.
Hug, Faby

Kikka N said...

Yes, it sure is worth all sweating:

The Bird is stunning, like a beautiful jewel! and the leaves like enchanted fairies!

carmen said...

eres una artista...

BiWuBär said...

Don't worry - I would never do you any harm (even not when it comes to shoveling jokes *teehee*)! If my trees' leaves would fall on a ground like yours, I would neverever think of sweeping them away. But ours fall on the lawn and would cause damage to the grass, that's why I have to collect the most of them. But I don't care about survivors, I don't like it to be that neat and clean... not like our neigbour, I swear he forces his wife to collect every single leaf from his holy lawn by hand... *blarg* As I always say, you need silly people to be able to recognize the good ones... *grin* But after that little train of thought back to the important things - it must have been some chain reaction, that sweeping leaves were leading you - without noticing it yourself - to create this piece of art. The falling leaves are perfect... and in a way the perfect counterpiece to the butterflies who are flying up. And I truly understand why there had to be a bird... there's beauty in decay and death is the price for living. Both are masterpieces and I'm really thankful that you allow us to follow you on your "How-did-I-get-there"!


Emanuela Valenza said...

Il tuo albero è splendido e in esso si respira aria buona e tonificante, lo si vede dalle farfalle che svolazzano e dall'uccellino dalle splendide tonalità che cinguetta allegramente.
Un abbraccio, Manu

SaMiRa73 said...

Hi Sans! Your tree and the flying butterflies are so beautiful and poetic, looking at them makes me think about goodbye, decay and new beginning, change. Hm...if it ends up with something like that, I might ask you to take care of your fallen leafs more often, lol! My best ideas usually come at work when my hands are busy (I´m a bookbinder) and my mind is free :D
Hugs, Sandra

Liduina said...

Dear Sans, everytime I see your trees in your posts I realise how fabulous I think they are. And the birds and fallen leaves make their beauty even greater! Hugs,Liduina

Daydreamer said...

I LOVE your pictures of the leaves... the subliminal inspiration... it is often like that for me... the Idea appears from nowhere, but then you look and see it was Everywhere... you just didn't SEE it before.... Art is an ART... after all...!
Your bird is GORGEOUS and Makes the piece "Sing" in a way it wouldn't with only the fallen leaves! (I don't know how you are using the chalk... but it usually needs a "fixative" to stay permanent... otherwise it just rubs off on everything!)
I Love hearing about your process... the frustration that goes with trying and not quite succeeding... but you know when you need to keep going and then there it is.... the Inspiration!!! And this theme of yours... Beauty in Decay.... Ahhh... what a Deep one That is! And how Fitting that it should take so much TIME to bring to pass the effect you are looking for...!!! Mother Nature just making you "sweat" a little to get there.... no Instant transformations.... but A whole World of Explorations on the way...Life... Beauty... Death... Decay... Time!!! Love!!! :):)

Sans! said...

Susan, lunch break at the office :). You must be in slumber land now :). But I am going to have to wake you and anxiously, sincerely tell you while shaking you awake: YOU absolutely HAVE it! I think all who loves dollhouses must necessary have "it" whatever you think "it" is you need to be an artist. I have seen what you do. I know what I am talking about :).

I believe that as long as you are able to imagine, you can make art :). Doesn't matter if others don't see it as art or don't like it. Even the best artists make crap sometimes.

In fact sometimes, artists don't even make the art themselves. They commission glass makers, builders, weavers to build what they conceive.

There are so many definitions of what is art but if you are interested, you can read Tolstoy's idea of real art as opposed to counterfeit art here :
To sum it up in 1 paragraph, this is what he said :
There is one indubitable indication distinguishing real art from its counterfeit, namely, the infectiousness of art. If a man, without exercising effort and without altering his standpoint on reading, hearing, or seeing another man’s work, experiences a mental condition which unites him with that man and with other people who also partake of that work of art, then the object evoking that condition is a work of art. And however poetical, realistic, effectful, or interesting a work may be, it is not a work of art if it does not evoke that feeling (quite distinct from all other feelings) of joy and of spiritual union with another (the author) and with others (those who are also infected by it).

How many of us agree with that, I wonder?

Cinderella Moments said...

You are in a league of your own! Your art is so deep. Beautiful work! Truly mesmerizing.

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

Sans... Its the small stuff that makes or breaks a piece of art.You are very deep into detail. I love detail too.
Great job sweetheart,
XXOO Marie Antoinette

Arani @ Add that Xtra in the Ordinary said...

This is a lovely space you have it here,loved going through the posts.Iam your newest follower. Would love it if you could drop by mine.

Virginia Isabel CoMa said...

Adoro la forma que tienes de pintar las cosas.
El pajarito me ha enamorado.

Natalia's Fine Needlework said...

You are a genius, Sans!

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