Mica Collage

January 27, 2008

I’m working on several paintings for a poster presentation that I’ll be taking to a botany conference in two weeks.  The poster is mostly about using handground mineral pigments in egg tempera for botanical illustration, but will also include scratchboard art and a couple of craft projects like this:

mica collage

Jaguar Tracks in Blue Oak Canyon  10″x14″

Amate (Mexican bark paper, which represents rocks), muscovite and biotite mica flakes and powdered pearlescent mica pigment (flowing water), copper foil (blue oak leaves), gold metallic powders (acorns), silver scratchboard (forefoot track), red ochre (hind foot track), malachite and azurite pigments (the moon, and the copper ores which are found in the canyon).

TURQUOISE has been turning up more frequently in my art recently, and it looks like that will continue for awhile.  I have an ambivalent relationship with this stone.  I’m not fond of most turquoise jewelry or its various cultural trappings – my attraction to it is much more primitive.  My favorite cuts are the round “donut” discs with a hole in the center, large smooth but irregularly-shaped beads, and some very simple cabochons.  When I use it in jewelry, I’m trying for a look that is primitive but universal – something to display on a blanket on the ground, that could have come out of a trader’s pack yesterday or three thousand years ago.  I just finished this necklace of hammered and hot-forged copper, African cast-glass beads, a Chinese turquoise donut, and an antique Chinese cast-bronze bell (this is OLD, and the subtle design on the surface was worn and obscured long before the beautiful patina developed).  The bell has a lighter, more tinkly sound than my iron bells.

bronze bell necklace

bronze bell necklace

A few days ago, turquoise entered my creative life in a different way when I accepted a commission for a lion doll made with the same pattern as the one on my website.  But this one is to be a Tibetan snow lion, white with a turquoise mane.  I am already having fun planning his blanket and ornaments, even though I won’t be able to start on the project until after the botany conference.


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