I've been working on a 3Dish mixed media encaustic piece for some time. It's one of those things where you just start without really knowing what you're going to be doing, and then you do something, and it makes some sense, but then you lose the plot and float around again until something else makes sense. So it has been for "Narwhal, Sea, and Sky." I decided long ago that I wanted to use joint compound to create a form of some kind that would then be covered with wax; I'd heard it's a wonderful ground for wax and it's very easy to shape and mold--much easier, I imagine, than wax itself would be. So I sat down with a cradled wooden panel and smeared on some joint compound and just kept playing with it until suddenly it became a whale. Well, not quite a whale. A Narwhal. Or at least that's what it told me it was.
Narwhal went through a lot of phases, with me alternating between thinking it was delightful and complete junk. This is not unusual for any artist who works on a single project for a long period of time, I don't think. I seem to experience this in reverse with my photography; I'll look through the camera roll and suddenly spot something that seems wonderful that I had previously dismissed as a throw-away shot. (This is why I never actually delete anything.)
I think I've probably been working on Narwhal for six months, wondering what it would be. Here is a little bit of a visual representation of its journey from start to what I believe is completion ... although you never know. Ha.
The hand-shaping made it more like sculpture and more personal, somehow. I enjoy tactile experiences, and as a photo/video/mixed reality artist, I have not generally had the opportunity to have this when making art.
As it turns out, narwhals have quite a fan club. Just Google "narwhal" and you'll find Narwhal pictures and Narwhal cartoons and Narwhal oddities (what Dr. Who would look like if he were a Narwhal) and Narwhal huggable plush toys. I've added a few images to my Pinterest. There is just something delightfully unusual about them.
I hope that is at least what people think about the work I've created, that it's delightfully unusual. I'd especially like people to consider it and wonder about it (what was that Narwhal doing in the sky? And why, after all, is it a Narwhal and not a whale or a dolphin or a seabird or something else?). I'm very fond of it, and I'm beginning to think I've underpriced it ($310). But we'll let it fly out there and see what happens. I know it means something to me, and the next step is to let that meaning percolate up and make itself apparent to me, and to find out what it might mean to other people. All in good time, friends. All in good time.