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Making Space and art squared
On Pasadena, cosmic wonders, and an upcoming show.
Hello, lovely friends, subscribers, and purchasers of my art (thank you!!) So much for the July update, huh? It’s been a busy summer.
Making Space workshop
I had the pleasure of attending my first Making Space workshop last month in Pasadena, organized by the lovely Dr. Jamie Molero. Old Pasadena was delightful, I met a plethora of interesting scientists, engineers, and artists, made some art, and learned about Europa and icy moons. The workshop was great! The trip was… mixed. Flight delays caused me to miss the talk I wanted to hear the most on day one, a stomach bug caused me to miss half of day three, plus more flight delays on the way home. (It was actually faster for my husband to drive up to Portland and retrieve me. Also, we went to IKEA.)
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I had very little time to sightsee, but I did manage to go see the Gamble House, an amazing example of Arts & Crafts architecture. (For Back to the Future fans, it’s also Doc Brown’s family home, which he burns down for the insurance money in order to invent time travel. The more you know….) Also I drove past Cal Tech every day on my way back to the motel. [choir of nerdy angels singing]
Communicating Cosmic Inspiration
Last time I wrote, I set down four “purpose statements” and released them into the universe, and promised to talk about them more in length. My first one is:
Communicate the wonders of our planet and the universe to a larger public audience, marrying my knowledge of science with my passion for storytelling.
I want to use my background in science to inspire people through my art, and my first test of that resolve happened this month:
I was smitten by this HiRISE image showing a complicated fault zone of layered rock formations on Mars. I randomly found a very Mars-looking paint (Daniel Smith’s Iridescent Scarab Red, granulated reddish-orange with exotic steel-blue sheen) at my local art store, and suddenly I was rendering a technical ink illustration over a watercolor background. Absolutely no part of this piece was easy, but that only fed my resolve to finish it.
I submitted it to a new-to-me science-art/poetry publication (their next theme is “structure”), and was thrilled when they emailed back, with “just a few notes” asking me to elaborate on several geological principles seen (how faults work, for one), and compare them to terrestrial analogs. My first two thoughts were “could I WHAT” and “…without DIAGRAMS??”, which happened simultaneously, crashed into each other, and set off a small fusion reaction in my brain. (Internal meltdown remediation is ongoing.)1
Dear reader, with three simple block drawings, I can explain to you how faults work:
In all three examples, imagine you’re standing on the left block, looking across the fault line to the dot on the other block. (I gave you a hat. Sun protection is very important!) If the dot moves down and away from you, this is a normal fault, caused by expansion in the crustal plate (think the Basin and Range area of the United States.) If the dot moves up and towards you, this is a reverse fault, caused by compression. If the dot moves to the right or left of you (no vertical motion), this is a strike-slip fault (think the San Andreas fault.)
It’s a lot easier to explain this stuff with a drawing or two. It took me about six paragraphs without one. But in the end, after an evening of studying the Martian landscape in STEREO-VISION (yes, 3D glasses were involved) and digging through my old notes, I wrote a description I feel reasonably confident in. I’ll be writing up explanations to go with my current and future space/geology-oriented artwork, and including it online and with the originals, especially the ones I’m painting for the……
EQUAL SIDES Show, September 2023
I was invited to participate in an upcoming group show at Central Art Gallery, opening September 15, 2023! The theme is EQUAL SIDES, and all of the artwork is to be 8x8”. Each piece will sell for $80 and will be available for online sales if you’re not local to southern Oregon! (Bonus: these are painted on a cradled art board, varnished, and wired to hang, so NO FRAMING REQUIRED.)
Here’s the first two paintings, with three more in progress. #3 will be another pearlescent James Webb Space Telescope image, #4 jumps from the macrocosm to the MICROCOSM in a geological sense (ooh, so intriguing, so vague), and #5 is an amazing Moon photo in a DIFFERENT MEDIUM (not new to me, but I haven’t used these in a while and it’s going slower than I’d like.)
I do enjoy my square pieces, and I’m excited to see this show put together. A very diverse group was invited to participate (from all over the country!) and they plan to display the pieces en masse, no labels, just lots and lots of art. (Could be 100+ pieces!) I’ll send out an update once the new show is live on the website—in the mean time, please enjoy my bestie Adam Bunch’s beautiful show, 31 Tails!
Until next time, I’m comin’ atcha LIVE, from Fhloston Paradise…
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Just to be clear: a writeup providing context is 100% reasonable to ask for. This was just my initial reaction, it having been almost 23 years since I took structural geology and stratigraphy in college. I’m rusty. And for all I knew, that knowledge may have been overwritten a decade ago by movie quotes and song lyrics.