Saturday, May 19, 2018

Trompe l'oeil

What we see versus what we perceive has been much on my mind this week. First, after hearing a talk at the Wimberley Valley Art League during which Texas State University art professor Jeffrey Dell described his use of maquettes to inform his choices of color, light, and shadow in printmaking. And then again while looking at the sphere and cone shadow studies by Deb Sposa's students over at Artisun.

And so, after some pondering, I decided to revise (re-envision) Southbound 35 Oklahoma Spring to more closely match what I saw versus what my brain wanted to depict (and yes, I know I didn't see square clouds, but Anna Lisa's comment yesterday made me realize each square is like a snapshot impression of the things I wanted to remember) ...


Many stitches were removed and replaced with more lightly stitched overhead power lines, this time guided by a French curve (which I serendipitously found while looking for something else) ...


And still more stitches were removed from the road, although my latest impression will probably require another reworking to get the perspective right before all is said and done ...


But wait, there's more! I also started testing out ideas for Moon Myth in the form of an appliqué sun and a reverse appliqué moon ...


As always, I'm tempted to use the back instead, at least in the case of the moon ...


but it's still way too early in the process to make any hard and fast decisions.

And looking at the magical bit of Deb Lacativa cloth on the dark side of the moon reminded me of the colors we encountered on our journey through the lunaresque landscape of the Meramec Caverns last week ...


dark beauty ...


a false sense of great depth created by the high cave ceiling reflected on perfectly still water ...


and a new appreciation for the limestone structures that may (probably) lie hidden beneath our own home in the hills ...


All this was in my mind as we had our well tested by representatives from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District a few days ago.  Before they arrived, I dug out the original well drilling records from the first owner of our property ...


I always knew our well was over 900' deep, which in my mind had translated into an imagined weeks-long drilling process. But  informed by our recent travels and thinking of this recent cave discovery in a nearby north Austin neighborhood ...


along with listening as the education coordinator explained the average water level in our neighborhood is 350' below ground, I began to look more closely at the drilling record and started to reconsider. Apparently, after 42' of drilling, there was a free-fall through about 300' of open space and then another 600' of water before the end of the drill touched down on solid rock. So the drilling only took one day.   

Which leads me to believe that our little piece of heaven may actually be perched atop a vast cavern, the likes of which boggles my mind. Could this be? 


Gulp ...

14 comments:

Dana said...

Whoa! A cavern underneath your house, maybe? That is seriously disconcerting. What a great example of the complexity of the world. What can be seen is not all there is.
I love your "square" piece, which plays so beautifully between the abstract and the literal. Snapshots indeed. I also love your sun and moon, back and front. I am excited to see these works unfold.

Mo Crow said...

love seeing the journey cloth evolving, your Moon Myth beginnings and imagining the still lake in the cave under your house!

Liz A said...

Dana - Mind blown, right? A new kind of landscape

Mo - Yeah, those imagined waves in the sketch are totally not right ... but I'm a child of the sea and always in my mind the water moves.

Now I'm off to re-listen to Jude Hill's SunMoonStars ... which I first heard in part right after our now almost-four-year-old grandson was born. I say "in part" because the audio kept cutting out and we were out of town, so I never really got the full impact of that teaching. It's time to go there again ...

Liz A said...

P.S. to Mo: thanks for the nudge ... taking stitches out was a good call

ARTISUN said...

I love watching your process unfold Liz. You are such a deep thinker, both right and left brain. It's so exciting to see them both come together in your work. And thank you again for another shout-out! Can't wait to read what you wrote to me today to my students. Sending love your way xoxoxxo

Fiona Dempster said...

Isn't it wonderful how we can re-work and re-make as we respond to our own work? The re-working has softened the piece a bit I think; and left a little more to the imagination...it give s a sense of things, an indication, rather than a direct storyline now (to me at least!). And oh my glory - the cave...I love you imaginings and can begin to see upside down art - a house not on a hill top but on top of a hole...kind of sort of...What a wonderful idea to explore! And may the earth hold strong beneath you.

Liz A said...

Fiona - I don't know if you follow Hazel Monte's Handstories, but she recently created a piece that feels like our imagined cavern http://handstories.typepad.com/blog/2018/05/wonderment.html

And thank you for your comments about the revision ... I wondered if I had gone a bit too far in the opposite direction, so your thoughts were reassuring.

Liz A said...

Deb - I so look forward to Artisun posts ... when/if you ever retire, I shall just have to go back to the very beginning and read my way through to continue my morning routine.

Anonymous said...

oh my god, a cavern under your property? like Dana, I find that seriously disconcerting. I don't even like rooms above garages! But this is of such a scale as to feel almost mystical.

Love the disappearing road. You nailed the perspective.

Liz A said...

Dee - When we first moved in our next door neighbor made a comment about how you could hear an echo if you banged on the exposed rock on the flood plain at the back of the property. Yikes. Hopefully 40' of rock in the vicinity of the house is sufficient to keep us above ground.

On the lighter side, I had to laugh when I saw a news report about the sinkhole that has opened up next to the White House. It said something to the effect of Trump having opened up a hell hole.

Sue McQ said...

Wonder if there are any little gnomes living in the cavern?

Liz A said...

Sue - As a long-time fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I love this notion ... can't believe it didn't already occur to me, but that's why I love having visitors to this place!

Nancy said...

Since I live in earthquake country...I know the ground is not as secure as we would like. That being said, Oy, your drawing!!! I'd have a hard time living with that idea! Even our tiny sinkhole out front a while back left me so uneasy. It has been repaired of course and my neighbor, the one whose car was stuck in it, parks right there in that exact spot again! I say on a regular basis, "Why would one park on a sinkhole?"...knowing it is not longer sinking, nor a hole!

Liz A said...

Nancy - Jude recently commented "every place has its stuff" ... I used to say I preferred the east coast with hurricanes you can watch coming to the west coast with its unpredictable earthquakes. Our current situation is quite beyond anything I ever imagined.