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‘Tis the Season

December 20, 2017

It’s holiday time again, and I hope many of you are planning to spend it with family and some great friends to celebrate the traditions you love.

That tradition for me is Christmas. And, for me, every year seems to be a little different. Some years in the past, depending on the family’s big plans, the holidays were a marathon of cooking, cleaning, decorating, and late nights standing over a bed or counter wrapping an endless assortment of gifts. But there were years when I couldn’t quite anticipate them with joy. Couldn’t quite get into the spirit of things. My Scrooge years.

Then there was the occasional Martha Stewart year, when I would string lights all over inverted tomato cages and put them on my front porch. And then I was over it for a couple of years. This year I have my same little table top tree, and a few lights strung across the mantel. And it gives me a cozy feeling.

But as an artist, the constant for me has been the anticipation and relishing of the quiet time right after the madness of the holidays. When others are happily occupied elsewhere and digging out from under the trappings, I love the solitude of my studio and more art supplies than any one person deserves.

It’s a season of creativity and promise, and like the dormant bulbs in my little flower bed, a lot is happening just under the surface. I can feel the shift already. My thoughts (and dreams) are already turning once again to creating with a renewed energy.

Yesterday I started cleaning my studio, which I’d been avoiding, plugged in all my big lights, and turned on some music. Next, I put the finishing touches on a painting that I hadn’t quite managed to resolve back in the summer. It’s been shown in this blog before as a work in progress. It’s now finished and ready to find a new home.

Fire and Ice – Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 20 x 24 inches.

And here are a few works in progress. Just like me.

On a table over there . . .

In this corner by the window . . .

And in another corner:

So many possibilities. Have a wonderful rest of the year and a fabulous new year!



A Brand New Day

November 25, 2017

This brand new day is full of possibilities and promise. So before someone, or something, tries to grab it away from me, I will claim it as my own. My very own day to spend as I alone choose. How will I spend it?

I will definitely include a second (or third) cup of coffee.

A little background music — this might be a nice choice.

Add some paper from the stash . . .

maybe a canvas or three . . .

some paint . . .

Get out the glue, and maybe some other interesting things . . .

And I’ll see what my very own day brings. Perhaps some buried treasure just waiting to be brought to light.

. . . out of all the chaos.

Have a brand new creative day!

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.


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.