And I mean that in a good way! This past week has brought all kinds of new things brewing with my art. I sold two collages to a nice new collector in Australia, created some large digital works for a design project, and got an email from a gallery saying they were very low on my paintings and would I please send more. In the process, I was able to get a “yes” from the gallery for me to send them three large pieces that I had in my inventory. Shipments of the 3 large paintings and the two collages went out on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
With the money from the sale of my two collages, I was able to order the supplies for the new paintings I’m currently working on (meaning more gel and more of my favorite 8×8 boxes.) I always like to do these in multiples, keeping a rhythm going if at all possible. Here are two peeks of their progress. Exciting times!
Summer has kicked in full force here in the garden. It’s still a work in progress, and I’m very much on a learning curve with it. Every year I try something new, just to see if it can grow in this specific climate zone. Some might be veggies or varieties I haven’t had before. Not all are successful, but many are.
Here in the Deep South there tend to be a predictable array of traditional vegetables, and locals are generally not experimental. In almost any backyard garden and farmer’s market you are going to see tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, corn, squash, peas, and okra. I have most of those things growing too, but this year I decided to try some new plants, for example:
- Tuscan kale and red Malabar spinach for their heat-tolerant reputations. Not many Southerners like beets, but we love them. I’m growing two colors of beets – red and golden — and surprisingly they’ve held up in the heat. I have long purple Asian eggplant, plus the old-time white egg-shaped variety.
- In addition, I have some of the cutest little white cucumbers, aptly titled “miniature white.” I still long for asparagus, but haven’t quite gotten the courage to go for it yet. But I did plant some artichokes from seed, which are about a foot tall now. I’ve been told that in colder climates they are an annual, but being in a borderline zone, I might be able to get them to winter over.
- The lima beans are another experiment. We ordered some very large white lima beans called King of the Garden. I didn’t know they were a vining variety until we got them. So I planted them at the ends and around the edges of several of the beds, some with trellises and some just with plastic fencing for support. Now the vines are taking over the entire beds, reaching out to grab each other in the walkways, and trying their best to cover the peppers and eggplants. (See picture just above the beet on a plate.)
- My son mailed me some seeds for Fijian okra, which he says gets huge tender pods on tall stalks. Those are growing well, but still small. They won’t really take off until well into July.
Here’s a small composite of what the garden looks like right now. The first one is the newly-weeded flower bed. Yes, I had help! And the bottom one, which I didn’t previously mention, are Yukon Gold potatoes in bags.
In the garden just like the rest of my life, I like to shake things up a little bit. So how is this connected with art? Attitude is the connection. The desire to push through known boundaries, always trying something new and slightly exotic. The willingness to experiment and just see what happens. Starting things, watching them grow and develop, seeing which ones have promise and which ones are best left to someone else. Which ones are “me” and which ones are “not me.”
And now the art . . .
At times like these, I’m happy for collage breaks. Here are a couple of new ones. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Citra Solv paper is one of my favorite things to have in the collage stash. It provides many wonderful accidental effects and unexpected colors. This first collage is a new one. The Citra Solv paper is the black and white piece at the top, and the bottom piece is from a sheet of hand painted paper, using a big brush and bold strokes in thin acrylic. (Click the link above for instructions for making these beautiful papers using Citra Solv cleaning solvent and pages from old National Geographic magazines.) Other magazines can be used too, but National Geographics have the best inks for this process.
Here are two more small ones . . .
And some of the Citra Solv papers in my stash:
A portion of this last one was used in the collage titled “Tread Softly.”
What are some of your favorite collage materials?
I came across the picture on my computer yesterday.This painting was sold at least 6 years ago. I don’t see the picture often, but it was nice to see it again. It was one of my first very textural paintings. I think if you click on it you will see more detail. I’ve made it my computer’s wallpaper for a while. For the past few days I have felt the need to paint. I don’t mean just the urge, or the impulse, or the desire to paint. But the need to paint. To paint for no apparent reason. Just for myself.
Doing collage and relief prints are ways to satisfy an urge to create. But for me, there is nothing like painting for taking me into a whole different place emotionally, putting me deeper into the zone. Springtime has kept me outside, and that is a good thing in its own way. But no matter how many rewards there are in having a garden or making my surroundings beautiful, it’s still not quite the same as cranking up the music and making a glorious mess, getting paint all the way up to my elbows and all over my clothes. When I haven’t painted for a long while, I can feel my world getting a little out of balance. I don’t sleep as well, and things just aren’t right somehow. This goes on for a while until it dawns on me what is wrong. And what is wrong is that I need to paint!
And so, without reasons like a show deadline, or a commission, or a gallery asking for more work, I shall go out to the studio, clear off a place, get out the paints and brushes and rollers and rags, and make a new start.
Here’s to new beginnings.
If one is going to have a blog, it helps to have something to blog about. Here at An Artist’s Journal, I pretty consistently require that I have something new for show and tell, or otherwise, what’s the point? And since this blog is very much about showing and telling, I constantly need new art.
First, the Telling Part of Show and Tell
The opening of the Arts Alive gallery show was this past weekend, and the gala was lovely as it always is. The art was fun and engaging. I’m noticing that the local art scene leans heavily in favor of realism, which is to be expected. But still, now and then I will have a sale or an award. Although I didn’t receive an award this time, I still hold out hope for a red dot – or two! We shall see.
And the Showing Part
I finally was able to sneak into the studio to create some more collages. This new one will go into my Etsy shop in the next day or so.
While I was looking through the mess I had left behind the last time I was out there, I came across a collage that I had taken down from my shop and tossed it onto the Questionable pile. Sometimes a piece just doesn’t excite me enough on a given day to keep it out there in circulation. But it’s amazing sometimes how a little distance provides a new perspective. I’m now seeing it with different eyes, and feel it holds up quite nicely. I don’t know what I could have been thinking. It makes me smile again. It must have something to do with summer and birds and flowers and all the beautiful colors outside.
It’s nice to have something for show and tell. There, I feel better now.