A Fine Masquerade

June 12, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Well, I’ve been hinting strongly at a story with these collages. The narrative connection between the masks really came together after I finished designing them. “A Fine Masquerade” consists of the thirteen collage mask images along with a short story that I’ve made into a small (4” x 5 ¾”) accordion-style booklet. Although not an “artist’s edition” in the traditional sense, all of the work is completed by me in a numbered and signed edition of 75.

In the pure sense, an artist’s edition consists of hand-pulled prints (etching, block, linoleum, etc.), while these were printed with an inkjet printer. The interior pages are cotton paper printed with archival ink, then hand-cut and put together using Yes Paste (also archival). The covers are individually collaged and unique. Each booklet is finished off with a wrapping cord and an African krobo bead.

The price of each booklet is $23.50, which includes CA sales tax. Domestic shipping is $2.00. You may order this via credit card (PayPal) or check. Contact me at joan@joandesmond.com to add A Fine Masquerade to your collection.

Louder Than A Rooster

June 10, 2008 at 11:38 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Erebos Raven

He’s been rocking in the forceful wind, long claws dug into the top of the phone pole across the road for months. Black feathers rise and fall with gusts, and at times glint white in the sun. Daily, his scratchy Caw! Caw! demands Peanuts! Peanuts! Come scatter the morning peanuts! If ignored he moves onto a pine branch above the house for the thunderous effect. At night he beds in those trees.

A smaller female has joined him.  They’ll both chase and dive-bomb hawks venturing into this air space as if somehow a red-tail might steal the precious meal. Lately, their biggest competitor is a coyote who also likes goobers. Not as successful as expelling that raider, they boldly swoop and hop around him hopeful of leftovers.

In an opportune moment, the ravens stuff several peanuts in their beaks and fly off to dissect them. Only then is it quiet.

Of course there had to be a raven collage mask!

Evening Fire

June 6, 2008 at 8:12 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Magenta Cat

She is fat-cheeked and cutesy, but don’t underestimate her. She is a mask after all. Magenta is a balance to that which is darker, in a world that’s all about balance. She also represents the colors of the evening, the colors of the setting sun. 

Borrowing and Burrowing

May 30, 2008 at 10:13 am | Posted in Art Studio, Considering Ideas, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Amethyst Rat

Did you ever read the children’s story series about The Borrowers, the tiny people that lived under the floorboards and freely took what they could from “human beans”? In grade school I eagerly read Mary Norton’s fantastic tales.

We‘ve all had small household items mysteriously disappear. It’s a lovely imaginative plunge to consider a world of minuscule people carrying off safety pins, socks, buttons, and usefully recycling them on their scale, glove fingers into pantaloons for instance. Norton, a British author died last week and as far as I know, didn’t reveal her muse for “the borrowing” story.

I’m speculating that her inspiration could easily have been the antics of pack rats. One has been scurrying through the garage and pump-house this past year. Can’t leave anything out overnight. Every portable item is fair game. Nails, bolts, pencils, are carted off and later found piled up behind a toolbox, in a flowerpot, or buried in a nest. The foot ruler must have been a challenge as it only made it to the floor, but the bit of Velcro, store receipt, and plumber’s tape roll carried to the hoard just fine.

That’s how Amethyst Rat scampered into the mask story.

Following Where Water Flows

May 23, 2008 at 9:20 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Hydros Goat

Can weather be bi-polar? Today the thermometer has flipped over to 50 and it’s drizzling rain.

It’s a good time to introduce the goat mask image.  Hydros is the Greek word for water. You may have noticed that many of the mask images have Greek names. The goat represents the aspects of water in the story: blue watered creeks winding through the woods, deep dark purple pools, and bubbling water running over rocks.

Opposites Attract

May 16, 2008 at 9:04 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Mandarin Fox

For several months this past winter two gray foxes visited in the evening. One has lived alone around here for years, and at some point completely lost his tail. He’s a strange sight, like discovering a new animal species. The new fox is smaller and sports a long, lush tail. I’m hoping it’s a vixen.

As the design work on the collages continued, a thin story thread dangled in front of me. The collages became more symmetrical in design and more symbolic. Masks are symbolic. Look at the symbol and there is often another level of masking underneath. The collage animals all represent certain character traits but there’s also a color-wheel relationship between the bull & the fox.

Malachite

May 15, 2008 at 9:34 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Malachite Bull

Malachite Bull

The bull breaks the earth and kicks up the hidden stones. He charges around in a circle between the red and green.

Where Has All The Cerulean Gone?

May 5, 2008 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Art Studio, Considering Ideas, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Cyanea Monkey

Someone is monkeying with the color of the sky. The sky here used to be intense blue at times, bright cerulean, straight out of the paint tube blue. That’s rare these days. Today it is a subdued light blue, grayish blue in the South East, evidence of the wildfires burning in Southern California. Looking toward the West there’s a definite yellow tinge to the blue where the air comes up from the populated central valley. There’s some green in it where it sits on the mountains.

We see color because of the light and its various qualities, reflections, refractions, and affected by weather conditions, seasons, etc. We know that the appearance of color changes throughout the day as the light changes, a concept fully explored in the work of the French Impressionist painters, particularly by Claude Monet. At the same time colors appear differently depending on where you are in the world.

I’ve been wondering if that will also apply to various periods in history. Would the Impressionists find that the colors in the south of France look the same today as they did in the late 19th century? Amid all of the discussion, through hard facts and figures, of the human impact on the world, of global warming, and climate change, what I’ve noticed here, is that the blues in the sky are changing.

 

while painting in Bordighera, Italy

I haven’t yet managed to capture the colour of this landscape; there are moments when I’m appalled at the colours I’m having to use, I’m afraid what I’m doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understating it; the light is simply terrifying. -Claude Monet

More On Green

May 1, 2008 at 11:38 am | Posted in Art Studio, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Phyllidos Owl

In the black space of night the deep rhythmic calls of owl bounce round. Unseen, only those hoots, and perhaps the swoosh of quick wings mark its presence. Even in the day it stays hidden, merging into the tree.

Black, White & Red

April 23, 2008 at 9:52 am | Posted in Considering Ideas, Mask Collage Series | Leave a comment
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Salt & Pepper Cat

As the mask series developed the images became characters. Salt & Pepper is a composite of all the feral cats I’ve known, the independent ones that wander through periodically or stay awhile, sleep under the deck and let you feed them, but who always maintain a certain distance.

Hadrian was the toughest one of that bunch. His character traits were on my mind as I worked on this. He lived in this canyon for at least eight years dodging coyotes, raccoons, bobcats and other predators. Once I saw him hold his ground and not flinch in the face of a barking, snapping dog, surely knowing that to turn and run would invite disaster. Yet he was capable of babysitting kittens on the lawn letting them pounce on him and chew his ears. He’d be gone for months at a time and then suddenly appeared again. He resisted most of my attempts to tame him, but as he aged he didn’t mind spending a snowy night in the garage in a blanketed box. Here’s to you Hadrian!

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