Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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07/09/2004: "Serendipity and art"

While I was in bed with the flu I was playing with one of those gray, gummy erasers, the kind you can mold and shape. I found that if you stretched it apart until is snapped, the ends would recoil and create these cool, completely random little coils (very dadaesque). I was thinking how I should check out one of the higher end digital cameras from our computer lab on campus, one with a good macro setting, and take up-close pictures of the designs it made.

I also had an idea to do a series of tryptics. I have these photos of tidal flats that I took from a small airplane last summer that I've been meaning to paint as larger works. The dean of Business and Career Ed (and skipper of the High Noon) told me last week that she might want to commission me to do a similar styled painting...I've been putting it off for awhile.

OK, my brain is kind of working too fast at the moment so hang with me if you will.

Originally, I was going to do the tidal paintings on driftwood (then later I experimented doing bas relief using modeling paste but that didn't turn out as cool as I thought it would).... BUT

Several of the large flat pieces of driftwood that I collected had these fantastic patterns on them, I think from insect burrows or something of that nature. In a strange way, they were reminiscent of the tidal photos/paintings and so I photographed them as well...(then lost the mini-disc I saved them too but I still have the driftwood so I can do it again)...

Then, I heard this radio program the other day about a scientist who is working on identifying whales based on the markings on their flukes (little scars and grooves that are unique to each individual whale) I don't remember all the details, I'll have to look it up but I thought a combination of those three patterns would make for interesting tryptics:
Alluvial flows
Insect burrows on driftwood
Markings on whales
Much more abstract than I normally work, and no a more subdued pallet, but I can see how they would look in my head...all roughly the same size, vertically oriented and 24"x36". I really want to start this series but...

I also what to do the Treadwell series (about the gold rush relics) and take those eraser photographs, and I guess what I was thinking when I was stretching that eraser, was how cool it was, and that I could do whatever the hell I wanted. I know this is a reoccurring theme for me but I had one of those, ah! Moments where I realized that life and chance can send you off in all kinds of directions and when you get so concerned about losing your "voice" that you quit experimenting than chances are, you're in a rut or your afraid of trying anything new, ie. YOU'ER DEAD INSIDE BABY! ADMIT IT! You know, shake the mortal coil. oh, "mortal coil" might be a cool title for the eraser photos/paintings.

So, many new things to keep me busy and I am feeling better tonight so tomorrow, the house gets a good scrubbing (I mowed my lawn tonight using my little non-motorized push mower and the grass was so long and thick I nearly pulled a muscle doing it...I'm sure the neighbors were having a good laugh)...

Oh yah, another thing, I was just writing in Howard's blog Gawking at the Creative Mind that I wanted to try doing some work in clay again. He's doing these very cool relief-painting pieces, very sculptural, and watching them develop has rekindled my clay lust.

I kid you not, right after writing that in his blog I open my email and there is a message from a fellow Juneau artist inviting me over for coffee and to talk about her recent trip to Spain (she knows how obsessed I am with that country) and oh yah, by the way, she was just given 250lbs of clay for helping with this youth art program and would I also like to play in the mud with her????

How cool is that???