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Down the Rabbit Hole

November 17, 2017

Teaching this new arts and crafts class for a group of women has taken me down the rabbit hole. And I guess I mean that in a good way. The 1-1/2 hour class is every other Thursday, and I am doing it as a volunteer. Confidentiality rules prevent me from giving more specifics than that, but I wanted you to understand the parameters.

Some of the limitations are that we have two rooms, each with a large dining table, so the quarters are a little tight. Therefore, not a lot of room, or time, to really go wild and get messy as I typically like to do. Some of the women are artistically inclined, but for most of them it’s just a relaxing and fun time, and that’s also fine. I’ve noticed that they like making things that their family members will enjoy, and are proud of their accomplishments.

I have solicited from the community and received lots of free materials and supplies, and so I try to come up with projects that will put those to use.

For example, one friend went through her entire stash of ribbon and trims and gave me tons of them, and others have loaded me down with buttons, old jewelry parts, sequins, and bling.

From others, a collection of scrapbooking paper and stickers, used but good manila file folders, magazines and more magazines, and containers for washing brushes. I’ve received small donations of money to buy regular supplies such as glue, scissors, brushes, and paper. I’ve hauled out my own collection of pencils, pens, and markers, which I usually pack up and take with me. My big tote bag is getting heavy. The next thing I need is a cart.

But I thought I’d share some of the links I’ve bookmarked, and some of the projects we’ve done. If you’re like me, sometimes it’s fun to go down the rabbit hole. Warning! One video leads to another. You will find it necessary to step away periodically.

Session 1

We did a simple little 8×10 painting, in a negative painting style that I knew would be mistake-proof.

  • First we taped off the painting area and painted a colorful background and let that dry.
  • Then we painted over that with a pale color or white, allowing some of the color to peek through and leaving random circular openings where the background would completely show through.
  • Finally, using the resulting circular shapes, we created plant forms. (Exception: one person decided hers were balloons and drew spiral ribbons coming off them!)

Here is my demo:

And here is the video that gave me the idea. The results everyone came up with were amazingly diverse and exciting.

Session 2

At this point we were at peak leaf season, so I wanted an autumn-themed project. It took me forever to find the perfect one, but this was it. Every single finished piece was a work of art, and they thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of any of their projects. But trust me, you would like doing this with a group.

Session 3

Yesterday we did tags or bookmarks. I had a small stack of big inventory tags on hand, but made more by cutting up manila folders and punching them at one end. I had enough for each person to make 4 to 6 tags. I took collage supplies, watercolors, pencils, and pens for this project. They had fun coming up with their own designs, embellishing them with the beautiful ribbons and trims. I didn’t photograph any of the actual pieces, but here is one video that got my wheels turning. A quick time-hop through this video will give you the idea.

And for future projects . . .

Here is a video for one I’m definitely going to do with them some time soon. Mistake proof, and beautiful.

And another one on the back burner, which doesn’t involve poring over videos or Pinterest. This one is a simple grouping of little nature studies. I have a big stash of blank art cards in a drawer, some with backgrounds already painted on them. And I’ve been collecting all kinds of things from nature and putting them in a plastic tub for subjects to draw and paint. This is what I envision for that project, although it might be a little intimidating for anyone who has never drawn much from nature. Still, no matter the skill level, I think this idea would work:

Have fun down the rabbit hole. If you see anything interesting that you’d like to share, let me know.

 

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Unfinished Business

October 23, 2017

My studio is full of unfinished work at the moment. Several canvases from the workshop I attended need to either be resolved into paintings, or started over. And one table still has a few of the little cradled panels waiting for me to get back to them.

And over there on another table is a stack of new collages that I need to list in my Etsy shop, otherwise nobody will know they are available. I wonder which ones I haven’t shown you. Here are a few:

Underneath – collage, 4×4 inches, mounted on 5×5-inch backing

Tangle – collage, 4×4 inches, mounted on 5×5-inch backing

Meandering – collage, 4×4 inches, mounted on 5×5-inch backing

The biggest interruption in my studio time has been a new class I’m teaching every two weeks. I hope the time demand will level off as we get into the flow of things. The hardest part has been the initial planning, but there is a wonderful advantage — in searching for ideas, it inspires me to try new things. Now I just have to put some of them into action in my own work.

A Few of My Favorite Things

September 14, 2017

As you probably already know, this is one of my favorite things ever:

My order this time was for eight boxes. If you zoom in, you can see a slightly textural application of gesso. I can’t wait to see what happens with each one of them. They each progress in their own individual ways. Now that I have a new gallery, I want to stay ahead of demand. It’s not the best situation to have to create on a deadline.

Another one of my favorite things — My gelli plate — is visible on the table in the background, as is a little stack of papers for depositing excess paint from rollers and brushes. Those eventually become collage papers. I sometimes use the gelli plate just as a surface for rolling out color onto a brayer and then onto a painting. And sometimes is use it as a big stamp. The picture below is of a big sheet of paper onto which I stamped many different impressions from the gelli plate. It was kind of fun, but has long since been cut up and used as collage papers.

36 x 60″ sheet of paper

Here are three new boxes I finished 2 weeks ago. All are 8×8 inches, like the ones in the picture.

Elements 19, acrylic on cradled panel, 8x8x2 inches

Elements 20, acrylic on cradled panel, 8x8x2 inches

Elements 21, acrylic on cradled panel, 8x8x2 inches

I’ll update you when the rest of the fun begins.

 

Busy August

August 28, 2017

Isn’t August supposed to be a slow, lazy month? Nothing slow or lazy about August here. A busy studio, lots of time working on and tweaking my website, attending a three-day painting workshop, becoming a new artist in a beautiful gallery, two sets of house guests in the span of a week, and rehearsing with the church choir over a period of weeks, culminating in a combined 6-choir performance yesterday, after an all-day final rehearsal on Saturday. The music was spectacular with around 100 blended voices, and so much fun preparing for, that I didn’t want it to end.

I will begin with the painting workshop with David M. Kessler at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts. Lots of great brushing up (pun intended) on color, value, and composition, as well as some new things to think about regarding paint mixing and application. The experience of working with a roomful of other artists is always a treat as well. Here are some highlights.

One of my experiments, Day Two, I think

 

This building at the Arts Center is a beautiful and spacious old home. The workshop took up three adjoining rooms.

 

My new friend Glenda Sartain working on a few value studies

 

This is another one of my color experiments, Day Two

 

Our instructor, David M. Kessler – We told him he should get a high-resolution image of that apron and get it printed onto more aprons and sell them. (by the way, on the wall behind David’s painting is one of my paintings from the Center’s permanent collection. A nice surprise.)

Working and collaborating — another of my paintings on the wall!

We had every level of artist experience in the workshop. But somehow, when in the midst of a workshop or class, trying to absorb the concepts being focused on, everybody tends to feel like a beginner. They are a great equalizer.

I am eternally grateful to Glenda Sartain for telling me about Kathleen’s Fine Art and Interiors, the gallery where her art is sold. She urged me to contact the gallery. Because of all the things I’d been juggling since the workshop, I had procrastinated, and she ended up calling me. As a result, I got hold of the gallery, made an appointment, and took some paintings over there, which they immediately took on consignment. They were delightful, and I know I’m going to enjoy my association with them.

I hope you’re planning an artful week. If so, tell me about it in the comments. It’s good to touch base with you all.

A Most Excellent Adventure

July 26, 2017

Wow — so that happened. I went to Alaska and attended my grandson’s beach wedding. For an old girl with a bum knee, this was quite physically challenging. No, not hiking in the wilderness. Just staying in a 2nd floor walkup motel and walking daily with family to downtown shops, attractions, and restaurants, and then the slog back up those steps at the end of every day. Or twice some days.

But in spite of the challenges, the experience was just unspeakably beautiful and awe-inspiring. The wedding party and a larger group of family and friends stayed at a church camp and lodge outside of town, and those of us who stayed in town spent a lot of time out there, where all the celebrations were happening. This was about a 30-mile wilderness drive, along which you could see literal flocks of bald eagles waiting for salmon to come in with the rising tide, and the occasional bear along the road. I had some trepidation about visiting the bathrooms along the wooded path, imagining bears behind every tree. I sang and talked loudly to myself, which I am sure was enough to scare any bears away.

The little town of Juneau is glorious, even right in the middle of town, as it is surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. We spent a day whale watching, and my best photos were from the boat.

Here is the most important part — the wedding.

It was cloudy and chilly, but the rain had stopped. The beach where they are standing is always muddy, because of the receding tide. I love that some of the bridesmaids wore rain boots. My son officiated — partially hidden in this picture.

Here is flower girl Laurel, in her red raincoat and boots. To the left is my great-granddaughter Alexa, another flower girl. There were three. Here’s Lexi:

My 8-year-old granddaughter Piper was in charge of getting the flower girls to walk in the general direction of the wedding party, with varying degrees of success.

 

So many pictures, so little time to share them all! Here is my favorite one from the whale watching trip. These are two of my grandchildren on the boat.

I loved meeting so many new friends and members of the bride’s family. Just a wonderful group of people.

The rest of my Juneau pictures are in my flickr album here.

If you look closely at the water in some of them, you might see a humpback whale just breaking the surface. I wasn’t lucky enough to get more than that.

So all in all, it was an excellent adventure.

Art next time, I promise.