A Cosmic Christmas to One and All

by Alden Cole on December 25, 2013 · 0 comments


XmasTriptychWPfrom the Christmas Past series, airbrushed Luma Dyes on paper, 12″ x 24″ •  $432

1978. At the height of my experiments using airbrush, I devoted a number of hours to creating today’s artwork, an ambitious project which entailed drawing the composition on paper, first in non-repro-blue pencil, then inking the drawing with my trusty triple-0 Rapidograph, before beginning the tedious and time-consuming task of cutting layers of frisket to mask the areas not to be painted. I gotta tell you, airbrushing with color is one of the most fascinating ways I know of to paint. It can also be frustrating on occasion, but that’s another story. I understand the fascination felt by street graffiti artists using cans of spray paint to create their illegal, but ofttimes amazing, signature artworks that dot the urban landscape. An accomplished airbrush artist can paint a fine line, or a broader wash of color, all manipulated by how close or far away from the surface the brush is held, plus the pressure of the finger on the trigger of the airbrush. I suspect that continued use of the instrument would have made me an excellent candidate for carpal-tunnel syndrome; however, my time of use was relatively brief – a period of about six years of occasional, not constant, use from ca. 1975-1981, with a reprise in the late ’80s to do a couple of cover arts for friend Jim Wassermann who was designing editions of Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger volumes 1 & 2. But that is also another story…

In time the artwork, which was painted with water-based Luma dyes, was accidentally spritzed with water, causing a small area on the left to run rather badly. In early 2002 I scanned the image, then repaired the water damage in Photoshop. While at it I pumped up the shimmer around the stars in the sky, making them brighter than they had been in the original. What a tool is Photoshop! In December 2002 I printed and mailed copies of the repaired artwork as my Christmas card that year.

OutsideWPI should also mention that today’s art is actually the inside of a triptych 12″ x 24″ that measures 12″ x 12″ – vinyl-album cover size – with the side doors closed. This outside cover art, a mandala created in black and white – an extended exercise in mindful focus – has faded with time and the wear-and-tear of being taped to walls here and there where I have lived; the fading primarily due to the fact that it was drawn with a fine line marker using alcohol-based ink, rather than a fine line rapidograph using the real deal. C’est la vie! So one learns, if you want something to survive the test of time, use the best materials available that you can find, and treat it well – in art as well as life… Merry Christmas Everyone!

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