Forest Wrap is a recent labor of love. I used the twisted branches found on my nature walks as the “wrap” that embraces the “forest” of walnut, cherry, mahogany, and cedar tesserae. I work intuitively, so the patterns are not pre-planned, I simply allow space for things to unfold naturally.
Each of the pieces in the composition is initially rough-cut on the band saw. This is followed by fine-tuning: beveling the edges of all pieces, fitting, layering, then many hours of sanding and re-sanding between finish coats – as each tile is hand-painted with various layers of paint glazes.Detail of “Forest Wrap”
I had the idea to create these mosaic “wraps” a few years ago, and had even begun to experiment with cutting “ribbons” from poplar; the ribbons were meant to overlap at a point, and wrap around a deep-panel backing.
Well, I finally revisited this idea! I spent much of the Summer working on them and have completed three to date. These are the first two:
“Gold Wrap” – I first applied metal leaf to a black-painted wood panel, and then scratched a pattern into that. From the panel, I created individual wood tiles. Each tile is cut and hand-shaped, then given a finished, painted edge. Because of the free-form ribbon, I decided against the look of a neat flush edge on the overall composition, and instead let each tile overhang. The “ribbon” is cut and hand-shaped, with gold-mica paint on poplar. This measures 17 x 17.5 x 2 inches.
“Ruby Wrap” – I applied a decorative pattern of dyes and paint to a wood panel, and from this cut many individual tiles to compose this wrap. Each tile has a hand-finished, painted edge. The ribbon is cut and hand-shaped, then gold mica paint is applied in many coats. It measures 17 x 17 x 2 inches.
Next post will be about the much more complex: “Forest Wrap” Mosaic
Update: I’m so happy to tell you that “Vespers” was selected for the Wall Sculpture Award in the 2018 Works in Wood exhibition at New Hope Arts. Many thanks to the jurors, Sarah Cutler, Modern Design Specialist at RAGO Arts (Lambertville, NJ), and Adam Capone, master of wood assemblage sculpture.
“Vespers” measures 46 x 16 inches; materials are painted poplar, bamboo, 23k gold leaf.
This is one of my recent bamboo & wood relief works, measuring 46 x 16 inches.
The word vespers calls to my mind whispers. Whispered evening prayers. That is the pure and simple inspiration behind this very vertical work.
The central decorative column of bamboo is leading our eye upward while the blue petals gently slow our hurried pace. The curved pieces of bamboo, covered in 23kt gold leaf, flicker like candle flames in the evening.
“Vespers” is one of three works that will be included in the Works in Wood 2018 show at New Hope Arts in New Hope, PA beginning November 17 and running until January 6, 2019.
“The Visitor” – silverpoint drawing on prepared panel, 6 x 6 inches
“The Visitor” is one of several silverpoint drawings that I’ve done in the last few months.
It is based on a photo I took while meandering through Longwood Gardens and admiring the waterlilies. The quiet presence of the dragonfly going about its day was a special thrill to witness.
“Safe” – silverpoint drawing on prepared fine paper, 6.5 x 11 inches
It looked as though the fingers of this seedpod were meant to be cradling or protecting something – so, why not a glass sphere? After spending a sometimes noisy, hectic day of working with wood and bamboo, I turn to the contemplative medium of silverpoint to relax and unwind. No complaints, I love doing all of it.
There’s simply no end to the exquisite designs and sculptures of Mother Nature. Being seduced by Her beauty, we artists continually strive to express this profound bond. At least, that’s what it feels like to me.
~ Your questions or comments are always welcome ~
This was such a pleasant surprise! It is uncommon to hear of an art exhibition that is focused on the Renaissance Era fine-line drawing medium of Silverpoint, let alone be asked to participate. The gallery card shown here lists the 12 contemporary artists whose works are currently featured at The Arts Barn in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The show is running until closing hours on Sunday, January 7, 2018.
Silverpoint requires patience of an artist, as tones are created by the gradual build-up and layering of lines with a wire of silver. Over time, the lines will acquire the warm sepia patina that is characteristic of tarnished silver. I’ve enjoyed being a silverpoint artist since the mid-1980s. It’s a meditative medium for quiet explorations. Below are three drawings that I have in this show.
LIGHT – 25″ x 25″ / bamboo and poplar, cedar, mahogany blocks
Earth’s sunrises and sunsets were the inspiration behind “Light”. Bamboo, with its pale color, is the light source at the center of this work; sliced into thin strips with a knife and assembled into a pattern. Like a sunrise, the light gradually travels across the forms, as do the eyes of the viewer, in search of light. I made good use of the bandsaw for this work, to cut asymmetrical facets into each of those blocks of poplar, mahogany, and cedar. They are painted and then sanded to catch the light.
“Light” won the BEST IN SHOW award at “Works in Wood 2017” at New Hope Arts, in New Hope, PA. It is a real honor coming from the juror / woodworkers: Mark Sfirri and John McDevitt.
There are so many artists who work long and hard on their creative path. It is filled with uncertainty, sometimes luck, and a great amount of trust in one’s self. 2017 has turned out to be a wonderful year of recognition for my artistic efforts. The following work was awarded during the SCULPTURE show…
SPACE – 23″ diameter / bamboo and paint
I was thrilled to discover that “Space” received a Jurors’ Recognition Award for Wall Relief in the show SCULPTURE 2017 at New Hope Arts. This work was created from a pole or two of bamboo that I honed into rings, strands, and thin flat curves. The inspiration for this work came during my nighttime walks. I’m a daydreamer, night dreamer and sky-gazer, who enjoys the challenge of turning my abstract thoughts into visual things.
Wanderlust, Walk with Me, and Of Field and Sky are some of my most recent landscape drawings in silverpoint, all are approximately 6 x 8 inches.
I’m honored that two of these images are currently being used as the banner for two Facebook groups: The Society of Metalpoint Artists, and Silverpoint / Metalpoint.
“Walk with Me”
“Of Field and Sky”
My interest in this centuries-old art technique began a few decades ago when I was an assistant in the shop of an artist-woodworker. We experimented with traditional grounds and with many modern ones, and then designed and built the frames for our drawings.
Silverpoint is a drawing that is made with a silver wire on a specially prepared surface. The surface must be slightly abrasive to provide a way for the silver to deposit its shimmering trace. A silverpoint drawing initially appears gray, like pencil, but over time it will acquire the characteristic luster of tarnished silver. (The term Metalpoint encompasses any metal, including silver, that can be used to draw on a coated surface.)
The months since I last posted here have passed quickly by. Time is gathering speed, or so it seems! At some point in life you get to the heart of things. This year was a turning point for me as I said a last goodbye to my beloved mother. I learned to live in the moment with her, as that was truly all that mattered.
We took many walks together over the years, through the parks in Bucks County, PA, picnicking by the water, and gathering seedpods, twisted vines, and other natural objects that I would later include in paintings or silverpoint drawings.
Life seamlessly blends into art in my world. During this time, I created a trio of bamboo relief sculptures that were inspired by the bird feeder activity outside my front window. At the swaying, cockeyed feeder, there is always a lot of movement with finches coming and going, jostling for position at the feeding ports, or waiting in the nearby bushes.
“Tree of Life” (39.5 x 11.5 inches)
“Songs of Nature” (23.5 x 11.5 inches)
“The Meeting Place” (23.5 x 11.5 inches)
Many thanks for your interest in my work. As always, I’m open to your comments and suggestions. I’ll meet you here again in a few weeks. ~ Norine
I’m so happy to report that I’ve received the 2016 Craft award from the American Bamboo Society!
The American Bamboo Society Arts & Crafts Competition (ABS) is held online every two years to celebrate bamboo in craft, design, fine art, literature, and the performing arts. This year I submitted 14 sculptural bamboo mosaics to the competition, work that I’ve created over the past few years. In late September, I was thrilled to discover an email informing me that I won the Craft award!
An article about my work, with accompanying photos, was published in the current issue (October) of BAMBOO magazine. Many thanks to the people at ABS for the opportunity to see and share the excitement of bamboo in all its forms!
Here are a few of the pieces that I submitted to the jury: Vigil, Of Sea and Sky, Pipe Dreams, Offerings.