Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blooms and other bits

The iPhone snippets from the week tend to have a botanical flavour.

Beautiful orchids blooms from Fiona's dad's place.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
A couple of bits of winter colour on the block.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
A disgusting fungi close to where Fiona and her team were doing the Poets on the Precinct for the Maleny Celebration of Books over the weekend .

©2017 Barry Smith
Micro lichen in soft sun on the peace tree at the front go the block

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith
And the difference a half an hour makes to the light  in the sky - before heading off for my walk and arriving home.

©2017 Barry Smith
©2017 Barry Smith

Friday, July 14, 2017

Finding fragments of time for peace

©2017 Barry Smith - Peace on the grinding wheel
Life on the block has been pretty hectic lately with community, family, art commission and friend commitments. Finding time to do a little unstructured creating has been a challenge. I have given myself a deadline of the end of July to complete my Peace Leaves for International Peace Day.

I grabbed a few hours yesterday to finish opening the last of the leaves - quite a line up as you can see from the photo below.

©2017 Barry Smith - Twenty-one groups of 10 Peace Leaves in the rough
I only just made the 210 goal as I had given a few away over the last month; and as you can from the photo below I lost 8-9 to poor metal.

©2017 Barry Smith - Fractured peace (leaves)
Anyway I took a stash over to the grinding and polishing bench. By the going down of the sun I had managed to grind and polish 50 leaves.

©2017 Barry Smith - About 100 peace leaves in the rough
©2017 Barry Smith - First group of 10 Peace Leaves off the grinder and polisher
©2017 Barry Smith - Small steel circular brush polishing 
©2017 Barry Smith - Fifty Peace Leaves reflecting a little bit of setting sun
Only 160 to go.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Lighting up the clouds and other fragments

Over the past week I have been taken by how the moon and sun play with the clouds. I was woken one morning at 4.30am by Fiona 'sharing' the beauty of the setting moon with me - and of course I had to get out and capture images of the moon as it played hide and seek with the clouds and vice versa. I loved the way the light of the moon bounced off different layers and types of clouds. Moon photos taken with the Canon Powershot.

©2017 Barry Smith - Setting moon dripping light into the clouds
©2017 Barry Smith - Moon - flitting through layers of cloud
©2017 Barry Smith - Unusual colouring of cloud and moon
©2017 Barry Smith - Dark clouds races across the face of the moon
One afternoon and amazing fay of cloud fragments was set ablaze by the setting sun.

©2017 Barry Smith - Blazing sky
This morning I started my walk in darkness and was offered the spectacle of the moon through the tree at the top of the block; and the morning star through the powerlines on Treehaven way.

©2017 Barry Smith - Bright moon against a dark morning sky
©2017 Barry Smith  - A tiny fleck of morning star through the powerlines
After my exercise the sky was blue and the moon hug silver against the sky.

©2017 Barry Smith
The dandelion gone to seed was brilliant in the soft morning light.

©2017 Barry Smith
As was this brave rose of winter.

©2017 Barry Smith
Looking up and looking around fills the senses and the soul.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Heavy work

©2017 Barry Smith - Some detail in the timber posts
Sometimes the work we do on our art is heavy and takes quite a long time with not a lot to show. Such was the case for me over the weekend. On Friday I had taken delivery of 5 large and very heavy posts I'm going to use in a five post sculptural installation.

The posts are 170mm square and vary in height from 1.25m to 1.75m. They are Tallowwood - hard and dense hardwood. They arrived sawn and roughly milled but required a lot of sanding. Getting them up onto the workbench required a bit of heaving and leverage.

©2017 Barry Smith 
Each post took over an hour of concentrated sanding with 80grit on my belt sander. But the end product is worth it.

I now have the five posts sanded and oiled with decking oil. I sanded and oiled them as soon as I got them to reduce-stop cracking.

©2017 Barry Smith - Some nice colour
©2017 Barry Smith - Standing tall
The posts will stay standing and drying waiting for me to add etched sheets that are still a couple of weeks off.

©2017 Barry Smith - Chainsaw marks in the top of the post - still to be sanded back

Friday, July 7, 2017

Gently unfolding

©2017 Barry Smith - Putting a gentle twist in an opened leaf
One thing that doing large numbers of peace leaves has taught me is just how many steps there are in my process for creating leaves.

Today I got a few hours in the garage-studio; and was determined to really push on with finishing my 210-240 peace leaves for International Peace Day. I finished the hammering of the leaf forms; and then was into opening the leaves.

©2017 Barry Smith - Last leaf form hammered
Because I use metal from old silver-plated trays I often don't know the quality of the metal until I come to unfold the hammered folded metal. So I have developed a 6 step process whereby I use a range of tools to gently open the leaves and so reduce the shock factor and in the main minimise splitting along the fold.

©2017 Barry Smith - Tools for opening leaf forms
Step one involves using an old oyster knife to just crack the two layers of metal apart.

©2017 Barry Smith - Small opening 
In step two I use an old carpet laying chisel in the vise and a soft faced hammer to open the metal right along the edge.

©2017 Barry Smith - Slightly opened all the way along
A vintage cooper's chisel is then used to open the form to about 45 degrees.

©2017 Barry Smith - Increasing the width of the opening
The edge of the anvil is brought into the act to open the leaves to 90 degrees.

©2017 Barry Smith - 90 degrees on the edge of the anvil
And the flat of the anvil is used to open the leaves to about 150 degrees. At this point two pair of pliers are used to give the leaf a twist and set it.

©2017 Barry Smith - Opened to about 150 degrees
So tomorrow's job is to do the anvil and plier steps on about 240 leaves; any then it is off to the grinding and polishing bench.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Winter light

We are almost halfway through winter. I'm noting the light flowing through the northern windows in the kitchen - spraying light on the stone bench through the glass kettle and on other objects
©2017 Barry Smith - Reflected winter light
Catching the spray of small orchids.

©2017 Barry Smith - This spray of small orchids continues to demand a smile in the morning sunlight
Light in the valley is showing its faded winter morning colours -  pinks, greys and blues; and a pinpoint of sunlight reflected from a glass building in the CBD of Brisbane some 80klms away as the crow flies.

©2017 Barry Smith - Pastel valley colours
©2017 Barry Smith - Soft light and a reflected pinpoint of light on the horizon
The beautiful red maple leaves and the camellia blossoms are all but gone - sure sign that winter is really here.

©2017 Barry Smith - All but bare
Dusk seems also still to be falling quite early.

©2017 Barry Smith - Peace dove in a blue-grey twilight sky

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Etching preparation

I have made a start on the five post sculptural installation that has snake and water motifs.

I needed 15 pieces of 3mm thick aluminium plate - each piece to measure 13cm wide by 39cm long - 3 for each post. I had a remnant of a sheet of aluminium that I had used for a couple of previous jobs. But I was not convinced that I would get 15 pieces out of it. But as you can see from the photo below - with a bit of juggling I worked out how I could cut 15 pieces from the sheet.

I cut the sheet with my angle grinder. This tends to leave quite a burred edge. So the cutting was followed up with grinding and filing the edges which resulted in 15 good pieces.

I gave both sides of the pieces a sand with a light sandpaper; and then painted the back with oil based pain to stop etching on the back of the plates. The painting took place on the gravel pile - left a bit of a silver pattern on the blue-grey gravel.

Then the process of transferring the snake motif began. I cut a template out of grey-board which I painted with a remnant bit of spray paint to stiffen the board. I traced around the template with an oil based paint marker. This enables me to the add the shellac.

A good start - I hope to do the etch of the 15 pieces in the next week or so.