DeStewart

WASTE OIL

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WASTE OIL

Fingerpainting timelapse

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Fingerpainting is all about the process, not the finished product.

 

Fracture No. 31

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The cushion on a 1950s-era lawn chair at my family’s farm.

Fracture No 31

What’s the most embarrasing thing I produced in grad school?

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Voila! An exercise in Photoshopping excess, this overwrought work is somehow featured on my professor’s webpage, alongside several more impressive tryptychs.
Tryptych Small

Jack Barker 1933-2012

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I’ve passed through the small town of Essex, IL (population 803) hundreds of times over the years. It was more or less the midpoint between my grandmother’s home in Thawville and Chicago’s western suburbs, where I lived. My grandmother passed away in 2010, but I had the occasion to drive through Essex last weekend. I was looking forward to seeing once again the metal artwork of Jack Barker, who routinely had dozens of his creations on display in front of his studio on the main drag through Essex. Sadly, I found only two recycled-metal sculptures outside his studio on Saturday, one of the horse shown below, the other a unicorn that looked like something a Game of Thrones Wilding might ride.

The spareness of the art studio was explained to me Saturday night, when a web search led to the discovery that Jack died a year ago this month.

 

That’s not a duck!

Animals, Art

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It’s sidewalk chalk season, and my daughter demanded that I draw her a duck. I complied, scribbling the feathered flapper below. “That’s not a duck!” she complained. Aside from the mysterious goiter, I think it’s reasonably duck-like. But then, there’s no pleasing a three-year-old.

Photoshop phiddlings

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This image is the result of thirty-some minutes spent absentmindedly fiddling around in Photoshop, testing filters and looking for the perfect orange hue.

Organic Chicago Picasso

Art, Environment

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Artist Paul Busse created this replica of the Chicago Picasso sculpture using only natural materials. It’s one of his many works on display at the Wonderland Express exhibition at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

You! Me! Dancing!

Art, Family, Music

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My wife and I celebrated our wedding anniversary yesterday, and the occasion motivated me to consider the many-numbered reasons why I’m thankful to have Pam as my partner.

Among the top reasons, I’m semi-ashamed to admit, is her willingness to tolerate — and sometimes even participate in — my half-baked schemes.

I’ve included the image at left as visual evidence of my wife’s good-sportedness. (Click on the image to view a larger version in a separate window.) For a project connected to my grad studies at DePaul, I needed to create a concert poster for a Los Campesinos concert at The Empty Bottle in Chicago. I had it in my head that I wanted the poster to feature a woman striking an empowered pose, so I asked Pam if she’d be willing to don sunglasses and a tank-top and be photographed while pulling back the string on an imaginary archer’s bow.

She’s a strong-willed and highly intelligent person, but she neither paused nor groused when I made this peculiar request. Pam went along with it, and it ended up being a fun and memorable experience for both of us. She didn’t even complain when I Photoshopped “You! Me! Dancing!” — the title of one of the band’s more popular songs — on her arm.

Is the poster representative of great design work? No. But it is an excellent visual representation of my wife’s willingness to humor me.

Thanks for tolerating and participating, Pam. And happy anniversary.

 

Art in odd places

Art, Environment

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What to do with latex paint that I never intend to use again? That’s the question I faced with a half-empty gallon of Tea Light, an unremarkable hue from Benjamin Moore, occupying a square foot of space in my cramped basement.

I’m not sure what I ever saw in Tea Light. Even on the sunniest days, it has a gloomy cast about it. Honestly, getting its remaining ounces out of the house had less to do with clearing up space and more to do with expunging the memory of it ever appearing on my guest bathroom’s walls (it was quickly covered over with Hawthorne Yellow).

Tea Light paint reflecting overhead clouds

As much as I loathed Tea Light, I wanted to dispose of it in an eco-responsible manner. So I Googled my way to a solution: line a cardboard box with plastic and pour a thin layer of paint in the box; after it dries, add another thin layer; repeat until the can is empty, and then throw out the paint-caked box.

I should have paid greater attention to the “thin” part of the process. My first layer was far too thick and took more than a week to dry. Around day three of the drying process, I took the photo shown here. Though I was frustrated by the painstakingly long time it took this layer of Tea Light to dry, I found the unmixed, semi-dry paint to be far more aesthetically appealing — artful, even — than the well-stirred and carefully applied paint that I’d once applied to my bathroom’s walls.