The Labyrinthine Journey

#20 – Tuesday August 2nd

Time is almost up. In just seven short days, my contribution to the SRAM pArt Project must be boxed up and sent on its way, so I’m bolting things down, and finalizing all the little details, and it’s the details that are an exercise in maddeningly entertaining fun. Maddeningly because the mechanics of turning what’s in my imagination into a three-dimensional reality is a labyrinthine journey, and fun and entertaining for the same exact reason. My favorite fastener resource is Artie’s Ace, a locally owned hardware store, where I can still find (and buy) just one 3-48 nut & bolt then rummage through tray after tray of spacers, bearings and washers to find the one perfect fitting joining the  “what if” to “this is how”. Besides my excursions in search of connective bits and pieces, whenever I can use an actual bike part I do, both by tapping into my own personal library of bike flotsam jetsam, (including disassembling a wheel to harvest the spokes), and from my LBS, in this case Sunday Cycles, for red anodized spoke nipples. (I’ll take any excuse to visit a bike shop).

I’m always working on multiple pieces, canvasses and/or objects, all in some state of becoming. I find a wonderful synergy in the bouncing back and forth. It’s a mechanism for solving problems, illuminating mysteries, and generally lending a helping hand over the stumbles and bumps inherent in my creative process . . . plus it offers the opportunity of time. Time not only to look but to actually see. I’ve two canvasses in progress concurrently with my pART piece (images of both have appeared in several prior posts). And yes, one has been turned right side up. Another quandary happily resolved (at least for now).

Thanks for reading.

Charles

Hacksaw to perfection

#17 – Tuesday July 12th

The pART project is on. To review the parameters of the project, 50 artists will be making sculptures out of bike parts supplied by SRAM. These sculptures will be auctioned off with the proceeds going to support the programs of World Bicycle Relief. My parts arrived last week and to me, in their anodized glory, they are amazing . . . more jewelry than pieces of bicycles.  To say I’m attracted to bikes is a bit of an understatement. Yes I do love to ride, but I also love the bike as a machine and riding and wrenching on my bikes is a little slice of perfection. So here I have a box of Boxxer stanchion tubes cutperfect parts, but when it comes to my own object making, my  aesthetic leans toward what has been used. I want to see and feel the history of that use and abuse, and I almost wish I had the opportunity to install these parts on one of my bikes, ride them, beat and bash them. . . and in that sense demystify them. Just to clarify, I’m a dyed in the wool mountain biker and riding on dirt is just hard on bikes, and the first dent or scratch in a new bike is like an arrow to the heart . . . but then it’s . . . thank God that’s over, now I can just go ride. So the first Boxxer stanchion tube cut and re-assembledthing I did was hack one of these big Boxxer front suspension stanchions apart, and now the real fun begins . . . my pART project ride. Yahoo!

Art, bikes, and dogs, and that dog is our Molly Teardrop. Miss Molly turns 6 months old this week, which is a bit of a canine milestone, and Molly doesn’t disappoint. Yes, at some point in every day she runs around like her brain is on fire, but mostly she behaves like she’s more mature than her young age might suggest, for which we are ever thankful. So to celebrate her 1/2 year birthday, a photo of Molly on our hike this morning, sitting on the biggest rock on the trail. (Molly likes to be up high!)

Bits and pieces. Where does it all start? The inspiration for this canvas came from simply looking up through the trees, mid-morning light streaming through, and thinking of swimming in green . . . then diving in.

Thanks for reading.

Charles

A different kind of focus

new painting in progress

#6 – Tuesday April 26th

Yes, its time . . . the intersection of art and mountain biking . . . When I’m in the studio painting, time stands still . . . My world exists completely  in the moment, implement to canvas, charging ahead, guided by intuition and the thousand upon thousand of marks made and colors put down or scraped off . . . each and every endeavor opening a new universe . . . and riding a mountain bike brings me to a very similar and familiar space. Being on a bike, navigating narrow, challenge strewn trails, requires my complete attention at every moment . . . charging ahead, guided by intuition and the thousand upon thousand of pedal revolutions turned, each mile opening a new universe, gliding over the wonder that is terra firma.

I grew up on a bike, and with the exception of a few short years in my early 20’s, I’ve ridden some kind of bicycle ever since. This week our friends Rebecca Rusch and Greg Martin are in from Idaho to ride the Whiskey 50 . The Whiskey is a 50, 25 or 15, mile mountain bike race in Prescott, Arizona. Rebecca makes her living riding a mountain bike and while Greg isn’t a professional athlete, he could be . . . because he just rides that hard and fast. So Rebecca will race the 50 mile distance in the pro-class, as one of her  tune-up events for her racing season.  Greg is racing the 50 mile distance also, but on a single speed bike . . . and  I’m riding the 25 mile distance in the amateur class.  The Whiskey is a weekend of awesome fun, celebrating human-powered two-wheel adventure!

Even though I’ve been paying a bit more attention to my bike than usual, getting ready for the race, I haven’t been dithering in the studio . . . I’ve painting in progress, and I’ve stretched a new canvas
The jumping off point for this painting, is a sculpture of cast concrete, eucalyptus tree branch and stone. I love making things, and the things I make often function as three-dimensional drawings from which the paintings are derived. It’s the constructing of  physical objects that helps energize the line and spacial relationships in my paintings.
The newly stretched canvas is a blank slate just waiting for me  . . . in anticipation of the touch of my hand . . . and I in turn, in anticipation of the journey of its creation.
Thanks for reading!
Charles