PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF,

I’M A MAN OF CLAY AND GLAZE

PUSHED MUD AROUND FOR SEVENTY YEARS

OR TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DAYS.

Robin Hopper is a man of many parts, mostly worn out, rusty or dysfunctional, due to a lifetime of excesses! He started working with clay at the age of three and is still doing it over 70 years later. His lengthy, peripatetic career as a mudpusher has included side trips into working as a Professional Actor, Stage Designer, Property Maker, Stage Manager, Stage Carpenter, Grocer, Greengrocer, Jazz Musician, Teapot, Wine and Beer-Bottle, Trumpet, Trombone and Bugle Player, European Travel Guide, Founder of Several Clay/Art/Craft Organizations, Alchemist, Geologist, Primatologist, Linguist, Ornithologist, Botanist, Ceramic Historian, Educator, Author, Garden Designer, Lecturer on Japanese Garden Design, Laborer and Star of Stage, Screen and Potter’s Wheel!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

DRAWING TO A CLOSE!

THE END OF ANOTHER 
STIMULATING AND FRUSTRATING YEAR!


THANKS TO CINDY, BRACKER'S CLAY, KANSAS, FOR THE CAKE AT A RECENT WORKSHOP IN LAWRENCE.

THE MESSAGE ON THE FRONT OF MY T-SHIRT IS NOT WHAT YOU MIGHT BE THINKING! IT WAS MY ATTEMPT AT A LIFE AND WORK PHILOSOPHY. IT BASICALLY MEANS "GET RID OF ALL THE OTHER  INTRUSIVE CLUTTER OF YOUR LIFE, SIMPLIFY YOUR JOURNEY AND MOVE ON, UNENCUMBERED". 

I'M PRIVILEGED TO HAVE DONE NEARLY 200 WORKSHOP PRESENTATIONS OVER NEARLY 40 YEARS, AND IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. IN A TWO-DAY SESSION THIS WAS THE FIRST PHILOSOPHICAL STATEMENT. THE SECOND WAS "THINK BIG!". THE THIRD WAS "THINK TALL!" THE LAST WAS DOUBLE SIDED! ON THE FRONT IT SAID "IT'S IN THE BOOK!" AND ON THE BACK IT SAID "TRY IT AND SEE!" BY THIS TIME I WAS FEELING TIRED SO I JUST POINTED TO THE MOST RELEVANT SIDE WHENEVER THERE WERE QUESTIONS. UNFORTUNATELY,. I CAN NO LONGER DO THE WORKSHOPS, BUT THE PHILOSOPHY REMAINS INTACT. AS LONG AS I CAN RETAIN MY STRANGE BRITISH SENSE OF HUMOUR, THINGS SHOULD BE JUST FINE.



The Legend of the Crane
Throughout history, birds have been viewed as animals of special value and have been ladened with meanings often derived from legends and stories that have survived over many generations. The Crane may conceivably be the oldest bird on earth; there is fossil proof that they existed over 60 million years ago. Greek and Roman myth tended to portray the dance of cranes as a love of joy and a celebration of life. The crane was usually considered to be a bird of Apollo, the sun god, who heralded in Spring and light. Throughout all of Asia, the crane has been a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tradition, cranes stand for good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. Existing in fifteen species which inhabit five continents, the most majestic is the Japanese Crane which stands almost five feet tall with its wing span of more than six feet and its white body capped with its red crown. The Japanese refer to the crane as “the bird of happiness;” the Chinese as “heavenly crane” believing they were symbols of wisdom. The powerful wings of the crane were believed to be able to convey souls up to paradise and to carry people to higher levels of spiritual enlightenment.





Twentieth Century Copies of 17th Century Cranes from Thailand,
 standing at the edge of the pond in our Japanese inspired garden.

I'M EXTREMELY THANKFUL FOR HAVING HAD THE MOST AMAZING LIFE I COULDN'T HAVE IMAGINED! BEING IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME, MEETING MANY REMARKABLE PEOPLE IN MANY WALKS OF LIFE, MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS, HAVING THE RIGHT PARTNERS AND HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO FOLLOW MY DREAMS, AND HELP OTHERS FIND AND FOLLOW THEIRS.

 MOST OF THE LAST TWO YEARS HAVE BEEN LESS THAN ENJOYABLE WITH VARIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT HAVE ALMOST CUT THE ABILITY TO DO THINGS TO ZILCH. WHEN PARTS OF THE OLD BODY GIVE UP FROM USE, ABUSE OR MISUSE, I TRY TO SMILE AND MOVE ON TO A NEW DIRECTION IN MY ARTS, EXPAND AND EXPLORE SOMETHING NEW. I ALWAYS COME BACK TO MY FINAL T- SHIRT MESSAGE AND THE CLOSING STATEMENT OF MY FIRST BOOK,
 "THE CERAMIC SPECTRUM",

"TRY IT AND SEE!"


JAPANESE CRANE 
I'VE  ALWAYS HAD SEVERAL THINGS ON THE GO AT THE SAME TIME. I ACHIEVED A LOT BUT AT QUITE A COST TO HEALTH.  I'M NOW DOWN TO JUST TWO - WRITING AND GLAZE PAINTING.  I WILL CONTINUE AS LONG AS I HAVE THE ENERGY AND HAND CONTROL THAT I NEED. TODAY IS THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THIS BLOG. IT HAS MAINLY BEEN A PLEASURE, TOUCHED WITH FRUSTRATION FROM LACK OF A DIALOG.  LIKE THE TOPSY-TURVY LIFE I'VE HAD, THIS MIGHT BE THE LAST POSTING, BUT THEN AGAIN, IT MIGHT NOT!

ALL MY VERY BEST WISHES FOR 2013 AND ONWARDS.

ROBIN

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

BRUSHSTUFF #3

"THE BIG SWEEP"

BRUSHES FOR LARGE COVERAGE

MOPS, FUDES, DAMI-FUDES, MULTIPLE STEM AND HAKEME BRUSHES

THIS IS MY THIRD AND LAST BLOG ON THE TOPIC OF BRUSHES AND BRUSHWORK. IT DEALS WITH THE VARIETY OF LARGE BRUSHES THAT ARE DESIGNED FOR LAYING DOWN LARGE SWEEPS, OR WASHES OF COLOR. AS WITH MOST OTHER BRUSHES, EACH HAS BASICALLY THREE VARIATIONS OF MARK - TIP OR STIPPLE, 
FULL-STROKE AND SIDE-STROKE.

DIFFERENT BRUSH TYPES HOLD A DIFFERENT
 DEGREE OF CHARGE OF LIQUID.  THE LARGER THE CHARGE, THE LONGER ONE CAN STROKE.  YOU DON'T WANT TO RUN OUT OF WHATEVER THE LIQUID MIGHT BE HALFWAY THROUGH A STROKE, SO PICK THE BRUSH SIZE THAT ALLOWS A COMPLETE SWEEP. REPEATED BRUSHMARKS OVER A PREVIOUS ONE LOOK MESSY AND  USUALLY CAN'T BE REMOVED. USING BRUSHES TAKES A LOT OF PRACTICE IN GAUGING THE AMOUNT OF LIQUID, THE CORRECT DEGREE OF PRESSURE AND THE SPEED OF MARK. WHEN APPLYING LIQUIDS TO CERAMIC SURFACES BY BRUSH, EACH STAGE - GREENWARE, BISQUE, UNDERGLAZE AND ON-GLAZE - 
HAS ITS OWN PARTICULAR IDIOSYNCRASIES THAT TAKE TIME TO MASTER OR EVEN GAIN BASIC CONTROL OVER. IT IS A LITTLE LIKE LEARNING TO DANCE 
 WITH ONE'S HANDS. WHEN IT IS DONE WELL IT IS SPIRITED AND BEAUTIFUL AND LIFTS THE MUNDANE TO MAKE MAGIC. WHEN DONE CLUMSILY, BAD BRUSHWORK CAN WRECK THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FORM.






ABOVE - 
BRUSHSTROKES FROM DIFFERENT BRUSHES


THREE SIZES OF JAPANESE FUDE FOR BROAD STROKES.
SMALLER FUDES ARE USED FOR MID-SIZED BROAD STROKES


 JAPANESE BROAD AND CHINESE MULTI-STEM FUDES FOR WASHES


A RANGE OF LARGE BRUSHES FOR VARIATIONS OF LARGE APPLICATION


MOPS 


HAKE BRUSH FOR WORKING WITH SLIPS IN A JAPANESE STYLE CALLED HAKEME.  THIS IS ONE OF MANY VARIATIONS OF BRUSHES THAT MAKE COARSE OR TEXTURED MARKS. THEY ARE OFTEN JUST A HANDFUL OF TWIGS, PINE OR CEDAR BRANCHLETS. WITH THE COARSE SWEEPING MARKS AS BACKGROUND THEY ARE OFTEN OVERPAINTED WITH FINE BRUSHWORK.
BRUSH MATERIAL.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF BRUSHES ARE MADE WITH FRAGILE ANIMAL HAIR OR FUR. ITS CARE IS VERY IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE BRUSH WORKING AT ITS BEST.  UNFORTUNATELY, MOST CERAMIC SURFACES ARE FAIRLY ABRASIVE AND WEAR DOWN THE FINE TIPS OF HIGH QUALITY BRUSHES. WHEN NEW. THEY SHOULD BE CAREFULLY WASHED WITH WARM WATER TO REMOVE THE STARCH THAT HOLDS THEM TO A FINE POINT. THEY ARE BEST LEFT HANGING TO DRY.  AFTER USE, THEY ARE BEST CLEANED DIRECTLY WITH A WARM SOAPY WATER SOLUTION AND THE COLOR OR GLAZE GENTLY MASSAGED OUT FROM THE BRUSH FERRULE TO THE TIP. ONCE CLEANED THEY SHOULD BE WASHED WITH TEPID WATER TO REMOVE ANY REMAINING SOAP RESIDUE. WHEN THEY ARE TAKEN CARE OF PROPERLY, THEY WILL NORMALLY LAST FOR AN EXTENSIVE TIME, BUT CERTAINLY WILL DETERIORATE WITH TIME AND USAGE. THINK OF THEM AS AN INVESTMENT, AS THE BEST AMONG THEM COST QUITE A LOT OF MONEY, AND ARE OFTEN IRREPLACEABLE.

MY FAVORITE BRUSHES ARE THOSE THAT ARE HANDMADE, USING ROOSEVELT ELK HAIR AND MADE BY THE LATE KEITH LEBENZON FROM OREGON. THE BOB HOVEY BRUSH COMPANY ALSO MAKE HIGH QUALITY HANDMADE BRUSHES. IN MY OPINION, THE BEST PRODUCERS OF COMMERCIAL BRUSHES IS THE ROYAL BRUSH COMPANY OF MUNSTER, INDIANA. INFORMATION ON THESE PRODUCTS CAN EASILY BE FOUND ONLINE. WHEN BUYING HIGH QUALITY BRUSHES IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO TRY THEM BEFORE PURCHASING.
______________________________________________________

SPRINGTIME IS ON THE WAY ON VANCOUVER ISLAND IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST.



 PRIMULA


SNOWDROPS

HELLEBORE

I STARTED THIS BLOG ON LAST NEW YEAR'S EVE. IT HAS KEPT ME VERY BUSY FOR THE INTERIM TIME ALTHOUGH I DIDN'T MATCH MY PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS WITH IT. THIS IS POSTING #93.


MICKEY, MY ALTER-EGO, WISHES YOU ALL THE VERY BEST FOR THE COMING YEAR. IF I CAN MUSTER UP THE ENERGY, I HOPE TO BE BACK IN 2013 IN A SLIGHTLY REDUCED FORMAT. TUNE IN TO CHECK.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SANTA BABY!



 ALL THE VERY BEST 
 FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON 




GETTING BACK TO WORK IN
MY STUDIO AFTER OVER A YEAR'S
ABSENCE WAS THE BEST PRESENT
 THAT I COULD POSSIBLY 
IMAGINE. 

I'M NOT MAKING ANY POTS, 
BUT USING GRAPHIC SKILLS, 
PAINTING AND PRINTMAKING 
IMAGERY AND HAVING 
A WHOLE LOT OF FUN
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL.

ALL THE VERY BEST OF THE SEASON
TO ALL MY READERS, 
WHEREVER YOU MAY BE.

BRUSHSTUFF #3 IS STILL COMING SOON.






Friday, November 23, 2012

EXTRA BLOG POSTING




CLARIFICATIONS ON WORKING WITH

 PC SUBSTRATES


"CALENDULA" - GLAZE PAINTING BY ROBIN HOPPER
TERRA SIGILLATA GROUND AND CHROME RED GLAZE TRAILING
PC Substrates are a new expansion in the range of surfaces for drawing, painting and printmaking on. They are particularly useful for creative ceramic artists with graphic skills as well as innovative painters, draftsmen and printmakers.  They follow in the line of paper, canvas, linen, parchment, vellum and ivory, as a flat, usually white, surface. Mineral pigments, conte, underglazes and glazes are used to develop the images. When suitably fired in a kiln, they are rendered permanent and waterproof. Their potential is practically unlimited. 
 Try them and see!



DISSECTED DECAL BY MORGAN SADDINGTON
FIRED IN OXIDATION AT CONE 018


Hi readers, wherever you are! 



This is an extra posting to clarify a number of questions regarding the availability and use of CERAMIC SUBSTRATES that have come up over the last few months. With product name changes, there has been a great deal of confusion about the material I personally work with. I wish to clarify the questions. First of all, I do NOT use any material with the trade name of "Porcelain Canvas Substrates". 


STARRY, STARRY NIGHT - ROBIN HOPPER
CONE 9 GAS REDUCTION FIRED

There are a few images of my own and other artists to show what I am talking about. If you want to see more, please check out my Blog postings for March 19, 21, 23, 26, 28 + 30, 2012. I wrote an article titled “Working With Ceramic Substrates” for Ceramics Monthly Magazine, that was published in February 2011. It told the story of my experience in finding this incredible, more or less unknown, high-tech material and working with it as fireable surface for doing glaze paintings and drawings on. As an artist trained in painting, drawing and printmaking, as well as ceramics, I have looked for something like this material for about 50 years, but it was just not developed yet. When I found it a few years ago as a completely unrelated  product for the space and computer industries, it opened up all manner of possibilities for graphic/ceramic interaction. There was great interest in the article with many follow-up questions. Unfortunately, I wasn’t informed about the questions and they were often unanswered, or, if answered, it was often done incorrectly, by people who,  most likely, had never experienced using the material. This blog aims to answer those questions and clarify the situation.


RANDY BRODNAX - UNTITLED - FIRST EVER RAKU-FIRED SUBSTRATE
IMAGERY ACHIEVED WITH FERRIC CHLORIDE AND RAKU GLAZE

PC Substrates are the ONLY substrates that I use for glaze paintings and ceramic drawings. They are manufactured in the USA and exclusively available from: 

www.CeramicArtCart.com   

 as PC Substrates and from selected Supply Stores under the name Blank(s). This product has undergone rigorous mandatory ASTM D4236 SAFETY TESTING for Schools and General use. It is the only advanced ceramic substrate guaranteed non-reactive. The fact that these products have been through the stringent US Federal toxicology testing ensures that they are safe for handling and multiple studio firings is really important. PC Substrates are tested as safe for school-aged children, with no chronic health warnings required. From the hundreds of substrates that are manufactured for various purposes, only ONE type of substrate has been approved for art usage, and that is PC Substrates, also sold as Blank(s). The test is mandatory per the Federal guidelines for art materials sold in the US for any application. PC Substrates are the only ones that have been tested and approved.




RIMAS VISGIRDA - UNTITLED
DECALS AND CHINA PAINTS FIRED AT CONE 018 IN OXIDATION 


Some of the other advanced ceramic substrates that are manufactured for various industrial applications are not suitable as an art material either because of the color, the high cost of production, the low quantity of fallout (SECONDS) available, the small manufactured size, or that it wouldn't pass the handling or re-firing safety testing.




GORDON HUTCHENS - FIRST EVER
CRYSTALLINE GLAZE TEST ON PC SUBSTRATE



JAMIE KOZLOWSKI - BACKLIT CRYSTALLINE GLAZE 





There are some lookalike products with a similar name often stating “As used by Robin Hopper and shown in his DVD “INSPIRATION AND INTERPRETATION”. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE ADVERTISING AND WAS DONE WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE OR PERMISSION. 

In order to be available for sale, these lookalike materials should have the mandatory testing certification. None of them have. Technically, their vendors have been breaking the law in selling illegally. The lookalike materials have not been tested and have been creating many problems for users. They are likely made in China and use inferior raw materials for manufacture. The sheets that I use are the only ones that are tested as non-reactive, compliant and safe! They seriously affect color and glaze development in a negative way. With tested products you know what you are working with. Untested could be just about anything with no quality control.
ROBIN HOPPER - CLEMATIS - GLAZE PAINTING
MULTIPLE GLAZES AND BLACK PIGMENT BRUSHWORK,

REDUCTION FIRED AT CONE 9
PCS is a super-thin, super-fine, porcelain-like sheet that has been pre-fired to well above cone 12. It is non-porous and has no shrinkage. It can be re-fired multiple times, at different temperatures, as appropriate for the artwork being done. For doing drawings, mineral containing ceramic tools like AMACO underglaze pencils and pastels and the red-brown forms of Conte crayons may be drawn directly on the sheet and fired to cones 6 - 9 in any type of firing and kiln. Black, white and colored Conte crayons are made with graphite, carbon or synthetic colorants and will burn away in the firing. So stay away from them. I also use black and colored underglaze pens from Axner/Laguna Ceramic Supply. If you wish to do preparatory drawings with ordinary graphite pencils, the prep drawings will also burn away in firing, so there is no need to remove them before firing.

ROBIN HOPPER - RED BRIDGE - ELECTRIC FIRED
 WITH UNDERGLAZE PENS AND UNDERGLAZE PENCIL

Water-based glaze paintings are best done on a heated substrate. The easiest way that I have found is to place the sheet on top of a kitchen warming tray to evaporate the water content. Sheets may be repainted and re-fired many times to achieve desired results. Multiple firings at different temperatures allow the layering to develop amazingly complex results. When I was doing initial testing, I fired many sheets up to 20 times with no apparent deterioration or fatigue in the material. 



  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
  •  PC Substrate  AND KERAFLEX?

PCS has already been fired to vitrification. It is translucent and can therefore be backlit. It may be cut or drilled with laser or waterjet. KERAFLEX, manufactured in Germany, is also sold by www.ceramicartcart.com  is unfired as purchased and thus malleable and moldable. It can be cut with a pair of scissors or knives. It is then fired within its recommended temperature range. It doesn’t work for the type of work I want to do, but there are many artists around the world who are using it in amazing ways.



  • PC Substrate can generally be fired and cooled very quickly for most applications with the exception of Crystalline-type glazes which that need slow, often staggered cooling for optimum crystal development. Crystalline glazes are fired flat, eliminating flow problems.

ANGELA MENZIES - ENCAUSTIC PAINTING
ON PC SUBSTRATES

Retail packages of trademarked Blank(s) are now available from Ceramic Art Supply Stores, Art Supply stores and Ceramic Art Cart. They contain custom laser cut sheets of the highest quality material available. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses.




Fallout material (with the occasional tiny flaw, that do not impact the material for art usage) is available on a first-in -first-served basis from the Ceramic Art Cart online store ONLY under the name of PC Substrates in generic packaging. They are also available in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses. Information on availability is given on the Website. 

This covers some of the most asked questions. If you have more, please post a comment and I will answer there. I believe that I have researched this material for ART use more than anyone else in the world, so if you want answers, get them from the Horse’s Mouth and buy your sheets from:




    The Website is full of information and includes gallery images of both PCS and Keraflex.  My CM article is also downloadable from there and answers many more questions. The online store also carries a very interesting range of glazes from Germany named BOTZ.  My LATEST educational DVD, "INSPIRATION AND INTERPRETATION" is also available for purchase from this source. It is about surface decoration processes that I use. Approximately half is devoted to working with substrates in both cold and warm methods. As yet, this is the only video that shows the process in action. SKUTT KILNS built me an excellent, computer-controlled, special small test kiln for my research. That model is now part of their general line and called "Glazetech". It is perfect for the job in hand and holds several substrates at the same time, making for very economical firings.



BLANK 4.5"X4.5"  SQUARE LASER CUT PC SUBSTRATE
TILES, ALL READY FOR YOUR ARTWORK!



TRY IT AND SEE! 
 IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO ASK

IF YOU KNOW OF OTHER PEOPLE IN NEED OF THIS INFORMATION, PLEASE PASS IT ON.

BRUSHSTUFF #3 BLOG POSTING WILL BE COMING
 IN ABOUT TWO WEEKS IN MID-DECEMBER. 

SEE YOU  AGAIN THEN!



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SHOT IN THE HEAD!


SHOT IN THE HEAD
 AT CLOSE RANGE 
FROM BEHIND - TWICE!


(AND WITH MY PERMISSION!)

The head puncturers were not lead or silver bullets! They were needles full of Cortisone to break down Rheumatoid Arthritic calcium deposits that have been crushing a nerve at the base of my skull, with resultant 54 week nonstop headache. It finally showed up last week on the second cat scan after trying just about every other option. I was beginning to think I was psychosomatic. 

The specialist says that it should repair 100%. Right now I live in hope that he is right. Improvements seem to have started. The longterm crackle sound, like walking on walnuts, whenever I moved my head from side to side, seems to have disappeared in 24 hours.
That's a great start!

 I really want to get back to glaze drawings and paintings with the Porcelain Canvas Substrates. Been on hold far too long!

My pen, brush, pencil and gunslinger trigger hand seems to have less of the shakes. If it all keeps improving like this, I should be able to get back to my work quite soon. 

WHOOPEE!!

MY SINCERE THANKS TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE SENT GOOD WISHES, ADVICE AND HEALING THOUGHTS OVER THE LAST YEAR OR SO. IT SEEMS LIKE I'M DEFINITELY ON THE MEND.  I THINK THERE WILL BE NO MORE POTS, BUT MANY MORE GLAZE PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS TO COME. MAYBE EVEN A FEW MORE WORDS!

BEST WISHES,  ROBIN




BRUSHSTUFF#3 WILL BE THE NEXT BLOG POSTING.
I HOPE I WILL GET IT TOGETHER IN A COUPLE OF WEEKS. I STILL HAVE TO WORK SLOWLY









Sunday, November 11, 2012

"BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN!

AMAZING HOW MUCH ONE CAN FORGET IN TEN WEEKS OF NOT WRITING A BLOG ON DOCTOR'S ORDERS!

THIS BLOG POSTING IS NOT A LONG DISCERTATION ABOUT ANYTHING SPECIFIC, JUST A FEW IMAGES FROM THE GARDEN IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS. AS I'VE SAID MANY TIMES BEFORE, OUR GARDEN IS ONE OF MY PRINCIPAL SOURCES FOR IDEAS. THE VIBRANT FALL COLOUR OF THE MAPLES NOW LEADS INTO THE LINEAR PATTERNS OF  LEAFLESS, DECIDUOUS TREES AND SHRUBS - TIME FOR PENS, PENCILS, TRAILERS AND SCRATCHY TOOLS AS THE GARDEN REVERTS TO LINES RATHER THAN COLOURS.


BRIGHT EYED AND BUSHY TAILED YOUNG SUMMER VISITOR - 
RED-TAILED HAWK

JAPANESE MAPLES - OSAKAZUKI (BACKGROUND AND  SUMINAGASHI (FOREGROUND)


PARROTIA PERSICA LEAVES


INNER GARDEN 

JAPANESE MAPLE LEAVES


INNER MAPLE MEDITATION GARDEN DETAIL


INNER GARDEN - ROYAL FERN AND DARMERA PELTATUM
AFTER 54 WEEKS, MY MEDICAL TEAM HAS FINALLY FOUND THE SOURCE OF MY NONSTOP HEADACHES  -  A THIRD CATSCAN  FOUND ARTHRITIS  SQUEEZING ON A NERVE. THEY ARE GOING TO DEAL WITH IT THIS COMING WEEK. I HOPE FOR MUCH RENEWED ENERGY AND STEADY HANDS TO RESUME MY WORK WITH PORCELAIN CANVAS SUBSTRATES™, CERAMIC DRAWINGS AND GLAZE PAINTINGS.

I WILL TRY TO DO BLOG POSTINGS AS AND WHEN  MY ENERGY IS AVAILABLE. THEY WILL BE SPORADIC, SO JUST CHECK IN WHEN YOU ARE IN MY AREA.

MY NEXT POSTING WILL CONTINUE THE SERIES ON BRUSHES AND BRUSHWORK. TITLED "THE BIG SWEEP", IT WILL FOCUS ON DIFFERENT VARIATIONS OF LARGER BRUSHES AND HOW THEY ARE USED.











Sunday, September 16, 2012

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS - BYE-4-NOW!


AU REVOIR

THE OLDER I GET, THE SLOWER AND MORE  ACCIDENT-PRONE I BECOME!



LARGE SNAPPING TURTLE - ONTARIO

THE LATE GUY THE GORILLA FROM REGENTS PARK ZOO, LONDON
I ALWAYS IDENTIFIED MYSELF WITH ICONS OF ETERNAL YOUTH, SUCH AS
 MICKY MOUSE AND PETER PAN




NOW I CAN REST UP, WORK IN THE GARDEN, BE PATIENT AND RELAX!


PRE- COLUMBIAN BABY FIGURE - ECUADOR


TEAHOUSE WAITING BENCH OR MACHIAI

WATCH PLANTS GROW, WATCH FALL COLOR DEVELOP AND MAYBE GARDEN NAKED!


TOO MANY VISITORS AROUND FOR THIS ACTIVITY


 TAKE MY OWN T-SHIRT ADVICE


OR, AS A LAST RESORT, READ ABOUT IT!


THE PROBLEM IS, AT MY AGE, I CAN'T
REMEMBER WHICH BOOK!

TIME TO QUIT FOR A WHILE AND RECHARGE THE BATTERIES!!

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, 
BEST WISHES,
ROBIN


















Monday, September 10, 2012

BRUSHSTUFF #2


BRUSHES, BRUSHWORK
AND BRAVADO!



COLCHICUM OR AUTUMN CROCUS 



A SMALL SELECTION OF ASSORTED BRUSHES FROM MY LARGE COLLECTION OF MARK-MAKING TOOLS. THEY HAVE BEEN COLLECTED OVER MANY YEARS TO FULFILL MY SPECIFIC NEEDS.


WITH THE EXCEPTION OF MY TIME SPENT IN PROFESSIONAL THEATER AND EUROPEAN TRAVEL INDUSTRIES, I CAN HARDLY REMEMBER A TIME WHEN I DIDN'T HAVE CLAY UP MY FINGERNAILS OR A BRUSH IN MY HAND SINCE I WAS 3 YEARS OLD!

BRUSHES ARE MY FAVORITE TOOLS. THEY COME IN A HUGE VARIETY OF SHAPES AND SIZES FROM TWO MOUSE WHISKERS TO A WHOLE HORSE TAIL. THEY HAVE DIFFERENT TYPES OF HAIR OR BRISTLE THAT ARE USED FOR DIFFERENT PURPOSES. THIS BLOG WILL EXPLORE SOME OF THE BRUSHES THAT I USE AND THE DIVERSE MARK-MAKING POTENTIAL THAT THEY EACH HAVE. MOST BRUSHES HAVE THREE DISTINCT MARKS - THE TIP OR STIPPLE, THE FULL-STROKE AND THE SIDE- STROKE OR DRAG. IN ADDITION TO THE VARIETY OF BRUSHES AND THE MARKS EACH IS CAPABLE OF MAKING, THE DEGREE OF PRESSURE, OR LIFT, DURING THE STROKE WILL GIVE MANY FURTHER VARIATIONS.

TO ADD CIRCULAR DOTS AS DETAILS, I HAVE FOUND IT BEST TO USE Q-TIPS OF DIFFERENT SIZES. IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO MAKE CIRCULAR DOTS WITH ALMOST ANY BRUSH.



BRUSHWORK USING A MOP (RED PART), A DRAGGED, LARGE, ORIENTAL STYLE BRUSH, A FINE WATERCOLOR PENCIL BRUSH WITH LIGHT PRESSURE AND A FLICK AT THE END OF MANY STROKES AND Q-TIP DOTS.





BRUSHWORK USING A MOP (RED PART), A DRAGGED, LARGE, ORIENTAL STYLE BRUSH, A FINE WATERCOLOR PENCIL BRUSH WITH A FLICK AT THE END OF MANY STROKES AND Q-TIP DOTS.




TO DEVELOP CONFIDENCE AND FLUENCY WITH BRUSHES, IT CERTAINLY HELPS TO TAKE COURSES WITH GOOD TEACHERS. THEY CAN SAVE A LOT OF TIME IN LEARNING HOW TO MAKE A GREAT VARIETY OF STROKES. I HAVE HAD SOME TREMOR PROBLEMS WITH MY PAINTING HAND FOR THE LAST 18 MONTHS, SO MY CURRENT DEMONSTRATION BRUSHWORK IS VERY ROUGH. HOWEVER, IT WILL BE ADEQUATE TO SHOW DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRUSHES AND BRUSHSTROKES.

BRUSHES NEED TO BE CARED FOR PROPERLY AND CAREFULLY WASHED, DRIED AND STORED AFTER USE.  THEY WON'T LAST FOREVER, AS THE MATERIALS USED IN CERAMICS ARE ABRASIVE. THE BETTER THEY ARE CARED FOR THE LONGER THEY WILL LAST. VERY GOOD BRUSHES MIGHT BE VERY EXPENSIVE, BUT IF THEY ALLOW YOU TO DEVELOP A "SIGNATURE" STYLE THEY ARE MORE THAN WORTH WHATEVER YOU PAID FOR THEM. GOOD, EXPRESSIVE BRUSHWORK CAN RAISE THE AESTHETIC AND MONETARY VALUE OF AN OBJECT.  BAD BRUSHWORK CAN EFFECTIVELY RUIN A GOOD PIECE, WHEREAS GOOD BRUSHWORK CAN GREATLY RAISE THE CALIBER OF LESS THAN EXCITING PIECES. 

MOST OF THE TIME, THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONAL BRUSHWORK TAKES MUCH PRACTICE AND YOU ONLY GET ONE CHANCE WHEN YOU APPROACH THE SURFACE TO BE PAINTED. THIS IS WHERE THE "BRAVADO" COMES IN. IN THE ORIENT, IT IS QUITE THE NORM TO PRACTICE A SINGLE STROKE FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS TO DEVELOP THE FREEDOM OF TOUCH. THE MORE THAT YOU DO IT, THE EASIER AND MORE FLUENT IT BECOMES.  TRY IT AND SEE!



 ABSORBENT  PRACTICE PAPER AND Q-TIP VARIATIONS

IT IS BEST TO PRACTICE ON ABSORBENT PAPER SUCH AS NEWSPRINT, BLOTTING PAPER AND SPECIAL PAPERS AS SHOWN ABOVE. THEY MIMIC THE CHARACTERISTICS OF PAINTING ON BISQUE, OR GLAZED WARE, WHERE THE LIQUID IS "SUCKED" FROM THE BRUSH IN MAKING THE STROKE. VARYING THE PRESSURE IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING THE STROKE GIVES "LIFE" TO THE MARKS.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE 
 IS THE BEST WAY TO MASTER 
BRUSH-WORKING.



"DAGGER" WATERCOLOR BRUSH


"FAN"WATERCOLOR BRUSH. DOWNWARD PRESSURE CAUSES THE  BRUSH TO "OPEN" AND MAKE MANY LINES AT THE SAME TIME. YOU CAN ALSO SELECTIVELY CUT OUT SOME OF THE HAIR WITH A RAZOR BLADE.

TIP. FULL AND DRAG STROKES FROM A KEITH LEBENZON ORIENTAL STYLE BRUSH WITH ROOSEVELT ELK HAIR. KEITH FELT THAT THE HAIR FROM THE NAPE OF THE NECK MADE THE BEST BRUSHES.  UNFORTUNATELY HE COULD ONLY GET ENOUGH OF THIS PREMIUM, SUPER-SPRINGY FUR FOR SIX LARGE BRUSHES FROM A WHOLE HIDE



TIP. FULL AND DRAG STROKES FROM 
A WATERCOLOR "PENCIL" BRUSH OR LINER. CIRCULAR DOTS FROM Q-TIPS

SIGNWRITING BRUSHES 


SMALL CLIPPED "FAN" WATERCOLOR BRUSH 


LARGE "FAN" WATERCOLOR BRUSH 


SMALL "PENCIL"LINER WITH PRESSURE CHANGES AND TIP FLICKS


SMALL SIGNWRITERS BRUSHES AND Q-TIPS

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DUE TO CHRONIC AND INCREASING HEADACHES THAT ARE LIKELY EXACERBATED BY SPENDING AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER KEYBOARD AND SCREEN, MY MEDICAL TEAM CONTINUE TO RECOMMEND ELIMINATING THIS ACTIVITY.  UNFORTUNATELY THIS POSTING WILL BE MY LAST FOR THREE MONTHS WHILE THE MEDICAL PROBLEM IS ASSESSED. IF THINGS IMPROVE SATISFACTORILY, I HOPE TO BE BACK ON LINE IN EARLY DECEMBER.

MANY THANKS FOR YOUR READERSHIP OVER THE LAST 8 MONTHS AND 87 POSTINGS. I HAVE REALLY ENJOYED THE OPPORTUNITY OF WRITING IT. IF YOU ARE FEELING CUT OFF, YOU CAN ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE BEGINNING AND START ALL OVER AGAIN! 


ALL BEING WELL, I WILL DO A SINGLE POSTING IN EARLY NOVEMBER ON FALL IN THE GARDEN. IT WILL TAKE THE FORM OF ANOTHER PHOTO ESSAY. THIS WILL COMPLETE MY LENGTHY TOUR OF THE GARDEN THROUGH THE SEASONS THAT STARTED EARLY LAST SPRING. THE GARDEN IS ONE OF MY MAJOR SOURCES OF IDEAS FOR MY CLAY AND GLAZE PAINTING WORK. WITH 25 DIFFERENT JAPANESE MAPLES AND MANY OTHER ORIENTAL TREES, SHRUBS, PERENNIALS AND GRASSES THAT HAVE OUTSTANDING FALL COLOR, I FEEL THAT IT IS A GREAT TIME IN THE GARDEN.

KEEP SMILING!

ROBIN PLAYS "THE LAST POST" or "TAPS" ON HIS B-FLAT WALKING CANE. 
Photo by Dania Haufschild  - aged 10