Saturday, February 26, 2011

Growing Up On Water


There is no doubt I have been influenced by the people and places of my youth. I grew up on one of Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes in a family devoted to spending as much time as possible in or on that water. Both of my parents swam competitively when they were in school and I have no doubt that my dad would rather have been in a boat on that water than anywhere else. He loved the water and I adored him so that’s where I wanted to be too. I suppose being a Pisces like he was had an influence too. I spent my youth swimming, driving a speed boat or waterskiing in the summer; skating or sledding down our hill in the winter.

Now I have to admit my feelings about being on that water have changed over the years. I still want to be on it or in it; my soul needs it. However, the go fast boats I loved then are no longer a draw – well --maybe not all go fast boats, the sound of one of those wonderful old Chris Crafts brings back wonderful memories. But now I’m more at home with the quiet -- waves lapping softly on the gunwales of an old rowboat or a sailboat; peaceful -- restful. When I’m painting a water scene I want that quiet to come through. My process of pouring helps me feel that peace. I spend a lot of time with each piece, large or small. First, a careful drawing so I can work out the values; then transferring that image to watercolor paper so there are not eraser marks on the paper when I finally get to the masking and pouring; and the final step is taking all that masking off to see if I got what I was working toward.

Some of my poured watercolors and watercolor monoprints will be part of an exhibit opening at the Gallery Uptown in Grand Haven on March 4. Water and Light will feature Lisa Ambrose, Larry Blovits, Sheri Woodard and me. Sheri and I have decided to produce reproduction prints to sell at the exhibit and donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales to the Inland Lakes Protection Partnership. I’m doing this because I believe it’s important that these lakes be protected. I’ll have reproductions prints of  “Morning at the Lake” -- 5x7 matted to fit a standard 11 x 14 inch frame will be available for $30.

Morning at the Lake

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I do what I do

Watercolor is my primary medium; however, I also enjoy experimenting with other media.   My grandmother use to say “Jack of all trades, master of none.” She didn’t mean that as a compliment, she was trying to get me to focus. I imagine she’s up there now looking down and saying “she’s just never going to get it.” Focus is a good thing and I still struggle with it but I’ve accepted that I’m never going to really get it, it just isn’t who I am. Trying different media gets the creative juices flowing.  There are so many media choices and techniques and each one provides more ideas. When I see a demo I almost always want to try it and there I go, off on something other than my normal watercolor painting. I could be anything from collage to fabric to printmaking to metal-smithing. 

Part of my background is fabric and yarns, my mother and one of my grandmothers designed fashions, my other grandmother was a knitter. Learning all those skills was mandatory. I’m glad I learned them and for years I did all of them, it was my creative outlet; however, I rarely sew or knit anymore as there are too many other things to learn. I still love fabric and all of the beautiful yarns that are out there and that has lead me to venturing into dolls and thinking about art quilts. Dolls weren’t part of my childhood, I was a tomboy and much preferred baseball or climbing trees and I played a mean game of mumbley-peg. Another thing I loved to do as a child was coloring and drawing. One of the things I wanted so badly was a box of Crayolas with 48 colors but my mother insisted I could make any color I needed by mixing the colors that were in my box of 24. I tried and failed. I’ve since realized that she never tried to do that with crayons, mixing those colors doesn’t work the same with crayons as it does when mixing paints together. The other day I finally decided to treat myself; I bought a box of 94 colors. I love to just sit and look at them.  And looking at them makes me think I need to add more color to my paintings.  Spending time with other media always gives me more insight into my painting and what it needs.  A few of the things that I do…

One of my watercolor monoprints

Annie's Angel

some earrings

dangle earrings

a hand-decorated journal

journal unlined writing is a socially small file

and a couple guardian granny dolls from a pattern

grannie for meg grannie number 1

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I’m back….

I’ve neglected my blog over the past couple of months. Needless to say I have a variety of excuses but none are good. I think the main reason is feeling like I really need to find something worthwhile to say, as if my own thoughts aren’t worthwhile. So you see that really isn’t a good excuse because I know my thoughts are worthwhile, I really do. It’s just that every now and then when my muse leaves me I don’t feel like they are. But my muse is back. Truth is she’s always there just waiting for me to begin to do the work, then she makes herself available again.

There has been much going on and I should have been writing about the events and visiting the blogs I love to follow but haven’t lately. Time to get back in the grove, I’ll start with the current project my Creativity Class is working on. They decided they wanted to do an Art Doll Collaborative so here we go. Each of 9 artists made a basic doll with a journal to travel around to the other 8 artists. We won’t see our own dolls again for 9 months. Mine is Lizzie, a stump doll that has a face but no makeup and no hair. Since I believe what we become is very much influenced by the people and places we were exposed to growing up I sent Lizzie off to become whoever she is going to be after being exposed to these other creative women. She’s with Betty right now and I know Betty is traveling so Lizzie may get to go along… who knows.

I have Billy Bob; he’s going to sit in my studio for awhile so we can get acquainted before I decided what he needs first. Any suggestions?

Billy Bob for blog