It’s All in the Details

Posted in Art, Process, Technique, woodburning with tags , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2012 by scratchyb

Close-up photo of woodburn details

I once had an art teacher call me “tedious Eric,” because I worked over the tiniest details with careful precision. At least, I think he was referring to that, and not my personality.  Anyway, I never broke the habit, as you can see here. This is one tiny part of a larger piece I’ve been working on, and even as I asked myself why I’m focusing so much on this repetitive pattern, I understood that I couldn’t do it any other way. Repetition of patterns is almost meditative, and it allows me to get into a state of mind where I can think through other things, solve other problems even as I focus on the work in front of me.  Of course, when I changed over to stippling further down, it broke the rhythm and I started to feel a little fidgety and anxious.

Take Frequent Breaks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 23, 2012 by scratchyb

Something I normally don’t need to remind myself of, unless I’m working on an art project. During the sketching phases, I’m distracted and fidgety, but once the idea starts fleshing out, and I’ve tossed out or added new elements, I get into the zone.  And that’s when time slips out from under me, and I don’t snap out of it until I realize that I have to be at my day job in 15 minutes, or that my hand has cramped up, or my shoulders and back have cramped up. This can be bad when I’m burning, because I can forget I’ve got a hot instrument in my hand instead of just a pen.

I’m not one to glorify marathon work sessions. I value the downtime of a break, even a working break. Sometimes, when I’m working intently on some repeated patterns, other ideas emerge that need to be given some rudimentary form, or they’ll nag me all day and night.  So I stop for a while to sketch them out, and then let them sit for a while.

But the most important thing is to know when to get back to work.

Break’s over.

Asking questions, learning from others

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by scratchyb

My mom likes to chat people up. With a few pointed questions, she can get almost anyone to spill an abbreviated version of their life story, or their dreams, or their skill set. It was always the skill set that interests her the most. She used to bug furnace installers, auto mechanics, and maintenance crews about what they were doing, and as a kid it drove me nuts.

It was downright embarrassing, having your mother constantly asking these questions. I refused to do the same. As a result, I never learned unless someone took it upon themselves to teach me. I didn’t ask, because I didn’t want people to find out that I didn’t know. And I didn’t know, because I never asked. It wasn’t a lack of curiosity, I had plenty of that. It was a deep sense of inadequacy that kept me from researching anything that couldn’t be learned from a book. And I just avoided situations that required new skill sets.

It took me the better part of a decade to break those habits in my adulthood, and I still find plenty of progress to be made. Over the past couple of years I started the practice of asking about any topic that I didn’t know about if it came up in conversation. That’s a first step, working with people you already know and situations that are fairly familier. But just walking up and talking to people is not my default behavior, even though I know how enlightening it can be. So I’m steadily trying to trick myself into developing the habit of encountering new people doing things that interest me and asking about the process

Just today I came home to find that the people across the alley from me had torn down their garage and seemed to be rebuilding it, by themselves.  These people have always interested me, because they have sculptures in their yard and I always had the sense that they were working on something in that garage of theirs.  So, did I stop to talk to them? I wish this post could have a more positive end, but really, I pulled onto my parking pad and brought the groceries into the house. Lesson learned, boundaries discovered. Now I just need to start pushing my toes over the line. I’ve done it before, I can do it again.

Further Experimentation

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2012 by scratchyb

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I have also been playing around with the engraving nature of pyrography.  Here’s a clock I did that I then painted over with gold paint mixed with a little black, to create a brass color.  Then I cleaned up the details with a dry, stiff brush to bring back the fine lines.

Just Be Yourself

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 14, 2012 by scratchyb

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A new Etsy posting. This was something new that I put together for the Constructor Craft Fair last Saturday. It’s currently being used on a card, but I’m thinking of turning it into a T-shirt.

All images © Eric Battaglia 2012

Constructor Aftermath

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 14, 2012 by scratchyb

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Had a great day at last Saturday’s Constructor Craft Fair at Fitzgerald’s. This was the first craft fair where I wasn’t sharing a booth, so I took advantage of the space. A big thank you to people who came to my booth and supported me, and also to my fellow vendors, who were just plain fun and inspiring to be around. I shouldn’t leave out the organizers,  who always go out of their way to make this a great event.

One thing I have picked up from this show is that I am ready to start moving into more products, like a greater range of cards, and finally, T-shirts. While I’m still continuing with the major and minor pyrography art experiments I’ve been doing, I’m also going to explore some other avenues for my designs.

And now, it is time to return to work.

Forevertron!

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by scratchyb

I was so excited to have finally made it here. We took a special trip up to the Wisconsin Baraboo area just to see this amazing sculpture garden. The story is, Tom Every, aka Dr. Evermor, was a wrecker who had become depressed to see so much quality work just end up as unused scrap.  The Forevertron is the solution, an homage to Science Fiction afficionados everywhere. Mandy and I took so many more pictures than I have space for here. I’d been dying to see this place ever since a coworker described it to me two years ago.

The Epicurean is among my favorite pieces here, it all just comes together so well.

I loved this telescope. There’s something slightly ominous about it.

Saturday’s Art Events

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 14, 2012 by scratchyb

Collect-O-Rama was smaller than I expected, but still had plenty of weirdness to experience. This benefit for the Intuit Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art was one-day only. Maybe they’ll have another next year. Saw lots of weird stuff there and I also picked up this nice Mexican bark painting.

From there we went to Replica Chicago‘s storefront opening at 4425 N. Milwaukee Avenue . It’s great to see indie businesses open up storefronts like this, a sign that the Chicago independent art and craft market  is doing pretty damn good. Head up and check this place out, and if you need anything screen-printed, keep them in mind!

If you haven’t been to the Oh No! Doom gallery yet, you should. Saturday was the opening of Relentless, which featured new work from Matthew Ryan Sharp, Tyler Coey, Yosiell Lorenzo, and Brent Nolasco. The exhibit’s up through June 7th, at 1800 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Constructor Craft Fair

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , on May 8, 2012 by scratchyb

Head’s up to any Berwyn/Chicago locals: The fifth annual Constructor Craft Fair is Saturday June 9th at Fitzgerald’s at 6615 Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn.  Come check it out, it’s always a blast, with art,crafts, music, and beer.

Pyrography and scratchboard

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2012 by scratchyb

I’ve been working on a little experiment combining pyrography with scratchboard for a stronger effect. The contrast between the black and white and the comparatively lighter wood coloring intrigued me.  I kind of like the way this worked out, so I might be doing a few more experiments.

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© Eric Battaglia 2012

I just glued the scratchboard drawing onto the wood panel with craft glue.  Next I’ll seal it with an acrylic or polyurethane varnish. That should keep the edges from pulling up. I’ve debated using color, and decided against it, even along the border, which was my original intent for this piece.