Wednesday, May 27, 2020

This morning sketch that I did recently brought back more good memories…


She was a gift from my friend Sally Springfield after we did an Art Doll Collaborative together.  That was my first venture into doll making.   

Two artist friends had invited me to join the collaborative.  I immediately said yes because I admired both artists very much and was honored to be invited.  Then reality hit me.  I never even played with dolls let along make one!  But I had committed so I set out to see what I might do.

First I found instructions on how to make a head with a sculpted face – after a few tries – success.  But I couldn’t just send a head  I did arms but found stuffing them made them sort of lumpy so I decided finger weaving would have to work for the legs.  A cassette case covered with fiber fill and jersey became the body so she would be able to sit, yarn and ribbon became her hair and Elzabeth was ready for her journey.  She carried a small sketchbook so each of those who contributed to her finish could do a self portrait and tell about what they added.

Elzabeth traveled to Texas, California, Kentucky and to a few places here in Michigan before returning home to me.  Wish I had a picture of how she looked when she started, certainly not this good but here she is when she got back home. She even got a stand to hold her up while she was traveling.
We had so much fun with those dolls that another group started and I did a second collaborative.  This time with Nealie, a mermaid. When she left she had a face, hair and a body.  The rest of her decorative parts were added by the other artists. 

And that was the start of an adventure that has continued because it’s fun making dolls every once in awhile. My most recent doll was for a Day of The Dead Exhibit at the Gallery Uptown last November.  Meet Catrina, she lives on a shelf with a Christmas Doll that was a gift from my mother-in-law.

In between I’ve taken a couple classes and even entered a competition.  I won First Place in that competition with Aunt Agnes.  She’s the one in white in the middle. There are some others up there too, experiments or just fun to make.
I am a collector – and one of the several things I collect is angels – so why not make a few.  Some of these are from patterns, some my own experiments...
The one with the knitting in her pocket is a Guardian Grannie from a pattern by Marcia Acker-Missall.  I made her for my mother when her health was failing. I have a few others hanging around. This gal with the big feet was a class with Jacque Uetz.  And some using old quilts, you can see the finger woven legs on the one on the right. 




Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Memories Surface As Lockdown Continues

I started writing yesterday but didn't finish.  This morning more memories surfaced as I did my morning quick sketch so I'm starting over.  I'm doing the 100 Day Project and these tags were done for that.
The one on the right is yesterdays and the word remember is because it is a memory of my dad.  Ferguson's did framing. No, my dad was not an artist.  Well, he was but that wasn't how he identified but that's another story.  He was a collector and Ferguson's did a lot of framing for him. 

He was an eclectic collector.  The value of the piece didn't matter to him.  If he liked it he bought it.  We have some of those pieces.  Two are worth a few thousand dollars each, one is a calendar print. All three had prominent spots in his home.  All of them were boats.  The calendar print hung over the fireplace.  It was my favorite so he gave it to me when Ed and I bought our home on Lake Avenue. It hung over our fireplace there until we moved,  So where does the red come from if he collected boats?

My parents both loved red.  The house I grew up in was Fire Engine Red.  It was on the shore of Union Lake and Dad always said he painted it red so we could find our way home.  All the other houses were white. Truth was he and Mother liked red.  

She told us that before they were married they used to say they would get married when they made red kitchen appliances.  They didn't wait that long but they were together for10 years before they got married.  And while shopping for a new washing machine with my mother many years ago I spied a red oven.  Our kitchen was red so my siblings and I bought it for them as an anniversary present.

The day before I had used some of my sari ribbons on a tag.  It was blue so I decided the rest of that piece would be the finishing touch on the tag that was my memory of him.  He did love boats and the water.

And today's morning sketch was a doll.  It was a gift from a friend who had been part of an Art Doll Collaborative with me.  I was a tomboy.  I didn't play with dolls as a child but I was invited to be part of an Art Doll Collaborative by some artists I admired.  I said yes without thinking.  As I said, I didn't play with dolls as a child and had never made one. But I've rambled on long enough today.  I'll take some photos of some of my dolls and post about that next week.




Sunday, May 17, 2020

Another Watercolor Garden

Do you ever wonder why you choose to do some of the things you do?  Right now I'm wondering why I'm so drawn to gardens in watercolor.  Here is another one that I've recently finished and I have another started.
This one includes a few things I like, texture, colorful flowers and something man made.  Many years ago I took a short watercolor workshop from an artist I admired.  My work is nothing like his and I still love his work; however, something he said in that workshop stuck with me and I see it here.  He did gardens and always included some sort of pottery, garden gates or patio furniture.  His reason -- he liked the combination of God made and man made.  I like that too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Some New Directions

"I am passionately going somewhere, but I'm not sure where" Louise Bourgeois wrote that in her journal.  That's where I am right now.  Another artist, can't remember who, said she has a sign in her studio to remind her to "Stay In Your Lane."  The problem for me is I don't know which lane is mine.  It doesn't bother me though; every lane I travel down is fun … until it isn't anymore.  Then I change lanes.  Sometimes I'll be in two lanes at once. That's the case right now, an old lane that I haven't traveled in for a very long time along with one that is fairly new for me. The watercolor above is that very old lane when I actually used a brush to paint my watercolors.

A few years back I took a workshop on making an art journal.  It was canvas and gesso and very large, only two full pieces of canvas but large pieces.  I didn't like the result so I put it away for awhile thinking maybe if I look at it later I'll like it better. It recently surfaced.  The quarantine has given me time to really get into clutter that is my studio, purging is happening.  There will still be clutter, just not quite as much. 

So with the purging things began appearing that I had forgotten about.  That art journal was one.  About the same time my son asked if I had a sewing machine that could handle canvas; his dodger* needed repair and Melanie's machine couldn't handle the thickness.

I have an old Slant-A-Matic that can handle just about anything, new in 1955 and still works just fine so when my newer machines need an overhaul this one comes out.  I figured a good test would be stitching some of those gessoed canvas pages together. So I cut them into 6" x 10" pages, approximately, and stitched two together at a time to make 6 signatures.  Way better to use and easy to stitch.  I will eventually put them all together but for now I like working on the individual signatures.

Way better to use and easy to stitch.  I learned that my machine can definitely handle the dodger. I'll eventually put all the signatures together but for now I like working on the individual signatures. here are five of them without having added anything to them yet.  *For those of you who don't know, a dodger is a piece that goes over the hatch opening of a sailboat and it's purpose is to keep spray from going below and from hitting the helmsman in the face, hence,,,, a dodger.

This is one I started work on,  just added some color

And took this one a bit further....
Thinking maybe I'll make this art journal about my town and some of the things that I love seeing here.  That's not a given but it's the direction I'm thinking about.  Which brings me back to Louise Bourgeois and her journal, "I'm passionately going somewhere, but I don't know where."  We shall see where this goes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Something I realized from the Quarantine….




I’ve been training for this my entire life.  I know some of you will find that hard to believe but truth be told, I’m much more comfortable isolated.  It’s how I grew up. I’m happy in my own little world, people know me there. I’ve been told that people who are busy; involved in way too many things, are actually afraid to be alone.  That may be true for some but it isn’t true for me.  I’m involved because it’s a way to force myself to be out with other people

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that I don’t like people.  I do. Very much. I have many friends and I cherish those friendships. But … they reached out to me. Had it been left up to me, well I’m just not comfortable reaching out to people. It’s probably got a lot to do with the way I grew up.

I grew up in the country, the oldest of three. I was almost three when my brother was born and just 11 days short of 4 when my sister came along. The two of them were friends from the get-go and friends with all of the other kids that were around that were close to their age.  There weren’t any kids my age, except a couple boys and since I was a tomboy that sort of worked.

My cousin and I were buddies when she moved out from the city.  She was two years older but since our mother’s were sisters and best friends, we were together all the time.  Until she met Dick.  I think she was in the 6th grade when she met and fell in love with him.  True love, she married him immediately after her graduation from Michigan State. 

We lived on a lake and that lake was my best friend.  I was either in it or on in summer and on it skating in the winter.  I was also happy sitting on our porch looking out at it, dreaming of adventures or drawing pictures.  

It didn’t matter if the pictures were good or not.  I always showed them to Miss Dewey, the visiting art teacher at the two-room schoolhouse I went to for most of my elementary school years.  She liked whatever I did.  I think it was because she knew I liked to do it and she saw a spark of talent.

There were kids my age at that school but they all lived close to the school. I lived 3 miles away and walking that far to play with a friend was out of the question.

In the 6th grade I was moved to the big school, kindergarten to 12th grade. I made new friends there and some lived within walking distance.  I was old enough to walk a bit further. But, still a tomboy, my favorite thing to do during recess was play softball with the boys. 

That was an age when the other girls were beginning to get crushes on boys. I wasn’t one of them, I just liked playing softball.  I remember Valentines Day in that class.  For some reason the teacher asked the boys to vote for the Valentine Queen.  Guess who won and it had nothing to do with crushes. That didn’t make me real popular with the girls in that class.  Except a few realized being friends with me got them closer to the boys they had crushes on so I did make a few friends.

The next year my parents moved us to the city for school.  I wrote letters back to the few friends I'd made but none of them wrote back. The new school I went to was just 7th, 8th and 9th grade and was as big as the school I had just come from.  Add to that, moving to a new larger school as the new kid is never easy.  Most of the kids have friends who came with them from elementary school. And, we went back to the lake just about every weekend.

I was in high school before I really made friends there … and even then, they reached out to me.  I’m blessed to have those friends.  The girls, 11 friends from high school who still get together at least once a year.  We’ve lost 2 but found one so we are now 10.  

And there is Terry, my best friend. We met when she came into my boss’s office with her mother.  Her mother had to discuss something with my boss, a lawyer. Terry is one of those outgoing people who strikes up conversations with people easily.  She started chatting with me while she waited.  We talked all the while her mother was in the meeting. When the meeting was over and she and her mother left my boss asked how long Terry and I had known each other.  Our friendship was instant and lasting. And as outgoing as she is, she understands me and the fact that I am quite content in my own little world but also willing to get out with others, I can be happy either way.

And right now, I call that a blessing.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Some In Process and More New Ones

Another post already!  Well, I've been busy.  I have sorted, put away and thrown away all sorts of stuff that has been taking up way more space than it should have.  In addition all that stuff has hidden some works in process. Here are the works in process, the one on the bottom is 16" x 16" so you can tell the other ones are very small....
We'll see where how these end up.


I also have some almost done and I have a question.  These are 4" x 4" and all I need to do is decide on the finish for the edges.... black or white?  Any thoughts?


Monday, April 20, 2020

What Goes Around Comes Around

One of my favorite sketch artists is Shari Blaukopf.  Last week she offered a Garden Sketching Workshop.  It was Tuesday, the day I usually paint with my Tuesday Painter friends but it's still too cold to paint outdoors and with the quarantine that's our only option. In warm weather we often paint in gardens so I decided to take the workshop. My sketch is more painting than sketch....
But I learned a few things - mainly that she is much more patient than I am when I'm sketching outdoors.  I ended up working on this all week.  Just so you know, I did other things too, I had to wait for parts of this to dry before moving on.

Looking at it I was reminded of a piece that was in my first one person show back in 79 or 80.  It was a piece that I really liked and it wasn't for sale.  I was thrilled that a person known for her extensive art collection wanted to buy it but I didn't sell it to her.  It was enough for me to know she wanted it.  I did sell a couple other paintings at that show, one a boat and one an abstract.  This is the garden painting I did back then, the glare on the right is from the glass; it hangs in our bedroom.
Interestingly, of the three divergent paintings that I sold or came close to selling at that exhibit the only one I continued to paint regularly was boats.  I've recently started playing with abstracts more seriously.  Maybe I should also go back to gardens too.