Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Inner Workings Finalized Sketch

In response to those who have objected to my integrating steampunk elements into this piece, I want to address a bit. While there is just steampunk for steampunk's sake (Claire's halloween costume for example. :) ), I feel that this piece is not in that category. At a glance it is swiftly slotted into what we all conceive of as "steampunk" these days because ANYTHING with clockwork is automatically put into that genre now.

What this piece is about, and what I hoped the title would convey, was not simply just jumping on the steampunk-wagon. It's a juxtaposition of man-made vs. natural and how the two flow in and out of each other (a common theme in my other works as well). It is the imposition of human conception of time parceled out into cycles of seconds and minutes, with the natural diurnal rhythms that exist regardless of our recording and observation of. The pendulum arc of the girl on the swing is an echo of this rhythm as well.

But also, however random nature seems to be, when you come down to the building blocks, at its heart nature is a vast, fantastic, incredible machine which manifests itself over and over in geometric and mathematical ways. There is a strange tie of such hard physical science to subjective beauty and life. When that becomes most evident is at that juncture where we meet the natural world.

Our bodies are aware of time on a level that our minds have more difficulty grasping. We have internal biological rhythms that coincide with the moon each month, and with the flow of day and night. I mentioned a month ago about Claire's first recognition of the moon in the sky, and it was a comment that Dana made that night about how she seemed to know it already that gave an initial spark to this concept. Even barely knowing the word "moon" and never having laid eyes on it, her physical body was already attuned to it and the cycles of time.


  1. I love the idea, Steph, and I love the execution. I think it's really neat exploration and I'm enjoying watching the process; thanks for sharing it with us!

  2. Well I like it. It's not just random gears with no meaning connected to nothing.

  3. This is so fascinating to watch...

  4. I think the idea is very interesting, it have a type of deep and complex meaning, i think, and it is very attractive (at least for me).
    And i also like the composition, i think is very well balanced. I cant wait to see the final result ^^

  5. I think it's beautiful (as ever!) I can't wait to see it finished. I too am bored with people sticking gears and goggles in pictures and calling it steampunk but this looks fantastic. I think your style will breathe life into a genre that is getting a bit tired.

  6. That is brilliant! I'm looking forward to seeing this as a finished painting... :)

  7. As a metaphor, I see where your coming from, our body's slowly unwinding, like a clock. How man-made time is not how we perceive time. For us time can move slowly or very quickly, depending if your in a dentist chair, or a deadline to meet. "nature is a vast, fantastic, incredible machine" I not sure, I would liken nature to a "Machine" because machines left to themselves don`t evolve, where as, Nature does, apart from me that is :D... which, must make me a machine, and obsolete ...see perfect logic ... haha!
    I really like this piece, and I`m sure it`s going to be amazing like all your work ...Steph

  8. I would dispute that a machine can't evolve. Having studied computer science and neural networks, learning and evolution is a possibility. Now, where man-made machines are concerned there is a limit to that capability, but nature's machine is what we aspire to. The computer of our brains is so far beyond constructed computers at this point, but we inch towards that understanding and goal.

  9. Absolutely... Steph! "but nature's machine is what we aspire to"... I totally agree, "The computer of our brains is so far beyond constructed computers at this point, but we inch towards that understanding and goal" ...then it won`t be a machine... Cogito ergo sum ...:)

  10. Depends on your definition of a machine. Our universe is built on tiny building blocks. You don't say that an atom evolves either. But the life it constructs is based upon rules and magnetism, and THAT result can evolve and learn.

  11. "Depends on your definition of a machine" viewed from a machine perspective, we are just carbon units, but thats not what Claire is to you.
    if we had the mathematical tools, all maybe revealed (Exorcism of the ghost), and you could describe one process driving another through out the entire machine.The "triune brain" is our computer, and our genes the program, that carry's our shapes, and instincts (and maybe Memory`s) molded out of natures hands, from the morning of the world.
    "but nature's machine is what we aspire to" I think what the human race aspire too, to be Gods, to control there own destiny...
    ask a computer to calculate infinity, I bet you would have a long wait till you get the answer...haha!
    P.s a little lite relief ... :D

    Monty Python

  12. An infinite loop is one of the simplest things to calculate :)

    "viewed from a machine perspective, we are just carbon units, but thats not what Claire is to you." But she is. My perception of that might vary, but that is exactly my point. Underneath what we see as art and beauty is mathematics and carbon. That's the whole point of the juxtaposition of the organic growth and machinery in this painting.

  13. right ...Times up! you haven`t paid for this five minute argument:)... I see!the pennys dropped ... shuffels forwards on my knees, for you to put a foot, on the back of my neck.
    Like Fibonacci number series, under lying of nature harmony and proportion, yes Steph ,I can see it now in your ArtWork, far more clearly.
    I know you can sent a computer into a infinite gosub routine, but what was the answer it came up with...:D

  14. Haha. Well, if there's an answer, it isn't infinite? :)

  15. And you are welcome to disagree with anything I say. But I'm just explaining that that's what I'm making this particular painting about.

  16. I so agree that it's not just steampunk. It does portray the feeling of time always ticking even when we don't see or pay attention to it. also, everyone and everything has inner workings that no one sees. Life happens inside of each of us first then we see it as it is expressed through actions and words. Super sketch! Super portrayal of that idea!

  17. I think it's just as beautiful and relevant as your other work; and really don't understand why anyone would complain.

    Have adored fantasy my whole life and steampunk is a great and in many ways, related genre.
    It also evokes feelings of wanting to read classics, learn about history (particularly the Victorian age), and is plain fun!

    Anyone poo-pooing it can go back to their Pollock era stuff and leave the rest of us alone. ;)