Friday, July 20, 2007


my painting teacher
i took a grand total of one oil-painting class in college. My teacher, duncan just sent me a nice hello note. He left my senior year (or the one after) to go paint in the big wide world, and its great to discover that years later is still doing just that - painting, and showing work on both coasts.
After a primer on mixing paints and cleaning up, Duncan let us loose in the field. Every afternoon, students armed with folding tripods and bags of paint and palettes wandered off into campus to find inspiration in the shingles, pathways, and foliage. i had worked in greyscale (charcoal and ink) for so long, that I was surprised to find myself filling each painting with oranges and blues as soon as I got started. What did I paint? fire hydrants, building backsides, and coca cola cans. Sounds familiar.

My eye remains fixed and fascinated with these elements, but the color and the method of painting slowly change. It's a neat gift of the craft.
I love discovering what will emerge when I show up at the canvas with a little time ahead of me, and a little color in my pocket.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

homemade books

book covers - paper glued on
book covers - paper glued on,
originally uploaded by robin kibby.

A nice by-product of showing in the Live Oak Park Fair was meeting Elaine Chu, a bookmaker and graphic designer from Berkeley. She teaches the craft to newbies and veterans, so my neighbor and I signed up for a (what's this fold called?) neat expandie origami-like book class. Over three hours, we sat at a round table, picking out papers, folding, gluing, and smoothing our work. It was a sunny saturday. While busying my hands, a side-entertainment was the yelps and laughter and foot-padding of Elaine's kids who were busy moving water from kitchen sink to backyard, in pursuit of summer fun. We talked crafts, art supplies and book publishing software (quark vs. indesign - mouseclicking vs. handmade craft). The experience was reminiscent of the crafting I have done since age 3 -- sitting around a table with family and friend, assembling, scribbing, cutting, and gluing. So fun. At afternoon's end, we had each made 2 books that tie closed with a ribbon. At home I kept opening and closing my book, absolutely satisfied with both process and product. Now I am eyeing the residual bits of museum-board saved from my last large mat cut. Future books they will be!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

on industry

originally uploaded by robin kibby.

Been painting frantically. The subject of this entry (the industrial series) is still in the works. This is why I have I have included a picture of something completed -- part of the latest trio of overpasses.

My nails are rainbow colored from two good days in studio. It's a relief to haul out the 30 x 40's and fill them with color. I started on the industrial paintings in January, but sporadic workdays have made it difficult to gain traction. For anything larger than 4"x4", I need over 5 hour blocks of time. It helps to do several pieces at once. Makes it easier to discard mistakes, and hold onto the good stuff.
I started the industrials as part of a commission piece for an architect up north. Was thinking about the way varied building materials come together. I started out looking at agricultural industrial buildings, and ended up working from the forms in my own backyard - the varied and plentiful cement (aggregate) plants of the east bay. While sketching, I became captivated by corrugated metal, heavy steel beams, rusting metal and broken out windows. I like the residential suggestions in these massive structures.
The sketch the architect liked the most was created in my traditional mode - more poetic than intellectual. So I am exploring two approaches at the same time. I may have to abandon some initial plans in order to fill the studio walls with a cohesive set. I started by looking for unique abstractions. But, in the meantime, the completion of the latest highway stretch has affected my thinking about how a series could work together. Now I want it each piece to be obviously related by both color and content. We'll see what the 4th brings! It's another good day for work.