Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

This morning, working with New York Times magazine pages and my favorite color …. blue, I finished this piece in my collage journal.  The rest of the day I spent putting a bit of Christmas away getting ready to have a few friends in tonight... It is New Year/s Eve after all.

One of the things I did to get ready was make a special cracker spread... the one I watched my dad concoct one night while we were out to dinner.  Waiting for the meal he asked the waiter to bring him some Roquefort Cheese, a glass of Harveys Bristol Cream, some crackers and one of their soup cups... empty..  There was butter on the table.  With everything assembled he proceeded to mix up a delightful spread for those crackers.  It was the first time I'd seen him do it but it was also the first time I had been with him in a restaurant when I was old enough to drink.  Mother said he did it often when they were out without us kids.

Now I'm sitting with a glass of wine, looking at all of the ornaments on our Christmas Tree and remembering …  So many years and so many good memories.  Yes, there are a few not so good ones too but tonight I'm concentrating only on the good ones.  As my 79th year comes to an end and I look forward to my 80th why think about the not so good... there are way to many good ones to think about.  And most of them are represented in one way or another on our Christmas Tree.

I have ornaments from my childhood and several collected or given to me through the years.  I still have the first ornaments I bought for the first tree I had in my very first home away from my parents home.  At one time I did two trees, one was a designed tree, the kind that decorators and artists do, the other was like this one... just a lot of special ornaments that have been collected through the years.  And for the last few years the main decorator has been our grandson.  He would decide which ornaments went where... all my angel ornaments went in the back or up high because he didn't like angels.  This year he changed his mind, still not his favorite but okay to be spread out around the tree.

My life has been good, I am feeling blessed as I look forward to 2019.

 I wish you all a very Happy and Joy filled New Year

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Collage Journal

I bought a few sketchbooks, mostly hand book and Strathmore visual journals, to be ready for 2019. I also bought one that was new to me and when it arrived I found the paper was grey and more like construction paper than drawing paper. I set it aside thinking I would send it back but in the mess of Christmas wrapping and piles of clutter, I lost the shipping papers. 

Since I'm beginning to play with collage I decided this journal would work just fine for that. I'm also playing with tack down collage which I find to be less messy. Papers and substrate are prepared ahead with polymer varnish, then an iron glues everything in place. 

Our Family Christmas celebrations happened on the weekend so yesterday was quiet here and there were some scraps of prepared paper on my work table and I had already prepped a couple of pages in the journal.  This is the first collage in the new Collage Journal. I'm feeling so so about it but this is a place to practice after all, not working for a masterpiece here.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

The Christmas Bird and he was my mother's favorite.  I didn't paint him because of the season; however, it seems appropriate to use him as my Christmas wish to all of you.
Wishing all of you A Merry Christmas & A Joy Filled 2019

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Getting Ready

The Gingerbread House is finished.  I put the house together, our grandson does the decorating.  The first thing he did was add a chimney.  "How is Santa going to get in without a chimney?"  He had been telling me we need to do this since before Thanksgiving and he reminded me that he is bigger now so we need a bigger Gingerbread House.  So, it's bigger than the 5 or is it 6 previous ones.  It's one of our Christmas traditions.

I have to admit, I cheat, I bought a kit.  Baking is not my thing, my son was deprived growing up, the only time he got cookies was when Grandma Percy came or we went to Grandma Lystra's.  They both baked and there were always cookies when they were around. Since Grandma's are suppose to provide cookies, I buy them for our grandson.  I really should learn to bake, it isn't too late.

I did a gingerbread house for our son once.  Mother was visiting so she did the backing, I put the parts together.  It was a very elaborate Queen Anne complete with wrap around porch.  I wouldn't let Marshall eat any of it.  It was beautiful but, of course, didn't last.  Never did another one until I found the kits for Warner.

I've also been working on other decorating but going slow.  The tree is up and the lights are on it but no decorations.  The nativity Ed's brother gave us is up and so are my angels in the clouds.  Ed's brother is a florist and he sent me some fake snow he had used to build a life size snowman.  Well, life size snowman is going to take more time that I have unless Dick comes north and gives me some instruction.  (He lives in Florida)  In the meantime, I found that it is a great way to revive very old worn out ornaments and the went nicely with my angels in the clouds.  These ornaments are about 40 years old but the snow makes them almost like new.
Our grandson is usually here on Wednesday evenings so that may be when the decorations go on the tree.  He's here mornings before the bus too so we may get started tomorrow morning.

Did I mention, I love Christmas!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Stones, Birch Trees and Dolls

Another Cairn with a couple of stones and two birch trees.  A strange combination, at least the way I have them on the pages.  I paint with a group on Tuesday mornings.  I'm sure I've mentioned them before, last week they wanted to know how to do the stones I had been doing so those on the right were the lesson.  The page already had the trees, another lesson awhile back, and the paint along the bottom. One of the artists wondered what would happen if she used this technique over stones that had already been painted and were boring.  So, I did a couple over the painted strip and it worked fine.  Yes, on mine you can see the line but that wouldn't happen on her rocks because they had been painted completely.

Since we can't always get outside, some weeks I take along things to paint.  One week I took a few of my dolls, some made by me, one a gift to me from a friend.  I did the full doll first, then chose to just paint their faces... here are the pages I did them on. The one with black hair was the gift doll.  The owl is actually white fabric but I kept getting the tint wrong so finally just gave up and left her green.
I do have a few more dolls, have to fill those other two spaces.
I don't consider myself a dollmaker though I do enjoy making them every once in awhile.  Guess I'm recovering something missed in my childhood.  I don't remember playing with dolls that much then.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

More Cairns and Thanksgiving

It must be the color that reminds me of Thanksgiving.  I did this guy awhile back, still love how bold he is.  

I have so much to be thankful for!  Our day was quiet, our grandson was with his mother and our son was with a friend; Ed and I enjoyed dinner with friends too.  It was a traditional meal beautifully prepared and served by our hostess.

And as we walked back home that evening, the clear sky and crisp weather, not cold, just crisp brought to mind other Thanksgiving Days, times when we ate too much and then had to go for a walk to work part of it off.  So many Thanksgivings and so much to be thankful for.  I don't think I am as thankful as I should be at times but reflecting back, there has been so much good.  Far more good than bad in my life, that's certain.

Meanwhile, I'm still playing with the cairns.  I haven't photographed this morning's yet; however, here are a couple more.  I think this first one needs a couple more tiny stones to make it believable.  I think I can take care of that... I'll post when I do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Another Cairn

I think this one is not as good as the first two but that's okay.  It was fun playing with the wet on wet.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Cairns And A Collection Of Stones

I am a collector of stuff for sure and I’m working at getting rid of some of it; however, there is one collection that I’m thinking can’t go away but can be used somehow.  I collect stones.  Why?  Who knows why but I have bowls filled with stones, bags filled with stones and jars filled with stones.  Some are a certain kind of stone like these chocolate rocks from a beach in Fennville.

Others are just random stones.  Some I’ve written a date and place on but most are just stones I’ve picked up on the beach.
Every summer during my art retreat at Spider Lake I build tiny cairns on the dock.  One summer I lined them up on the open stairway.  I have a photo but who knows where that is.
A couple days ago I came across Tonia Jenny’s website.  She too is a collector of stones and she had a little workshop on painting them.  I checked it out and here are two little 4x6 watercolors that I did, one yesterday morning and another this morning based on what she taught.  

How fun was that and as she said… very meditative.  I think I’ll do a few more.
A little history of Cairns (pronounced sort of like Karen but it’s a very quick en.)  I always thought of them as a stack of balanced stones much like I’ve painted; however, according to Webster and some photos I’ve found it’s actually:
a pile of stones that marks a place (such as the place where someone is buried or a battle took place) or that shows the direction of a trail”  There is an interesting article in Glass Magazine that tells the history of cairns and shows images of some that are different than what we think of as cairns today.  Here’s a link if you’re interested, GlassMagazine.
And now back to sorting clutter but first... so much to be thankful for and I hope all of you have a nice Thanksgiving Day.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Catching Up

I am working at collage most days but every now and then something pops up that gets me going in another direction.  Such was the case a couple weeks ago when my friend Kay posted an old fella that I just had to draw.  I got out my grunge journal and here he is....
I realized when I did him that I was at the end of that journal so I've started getting another one ready.  I do have one done that is a larger size but I don't like it as well as this size so I'm back to gluing pages together and gessoing.

I'm also beginning to think about Christmas.  I usually make a new holiday table runner but so far haven't been inspired to do that.  I did start working on a new centerpiece though.  A small scene... home, trees, potting shed.... snow.  Nothing firm yet, still in the thinking stages.

And thinking about 2019... new word, new goals, look back at old goals and see what I got done and what I no longer care about doing.  Something I haven't done in many years is a Vision Board, I was in my studio on Lake Avenue when I last did one and that was several years back... my 40 year old son was still in college back then, in undergraduate school.  I've begun tearing images out of magazines... not all will make it to the board but it's a start.

I've also done a few more of my 4x4 collages... here's another one...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trying Tack Down Collage

I've been reading blogs by collage artists and found Laura Lein-Svencner.  She does tack-down collage using gloss polymer varnish and a tack iron.  I don't have a tack iron but I do have a small travel iron in my studio.  I also had this mono-type that I had intended to paint but instead dug out collage papers in some colors that might work.

The first step was to add a coat of the polymer to the print and the collage papers, then cut the papers and iron them on.  It works beautifully.  Then I dug out a cradle to mount the piece on, added a coat of gesso, some rice paper and after everything dried, a coat of the polymer varnish.  Hooray, that worked as well.

It's not as messy as glue but not sure it will work with some of the things I add to my current 4x4 series.  I am going to try it but those are on hold for a little while.  The Holiday Show at the Gallery is coming up soon and I need to get more Wonky Angels finished for that.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Exhibit Opening At The Gallery Uptown

The October exhibit, 4 X 4 X 4, opens tonight at the gallery.  The reception is from 5:30 to 8.  I'm excited to be hosting three super artists, Chris Brown, Ken Widing and Glenda VanRaalte.  I'm the 4th artist with some of my daily collages.
Here is a sample of the other artists work in order
Now that the exhibit is up I can get back to reorganizing my studio.  I'm pleased with how it's going though there is still a long way to go.  Patience is not one of my virtues, I am easily distracted if I find something that inspires action while I sort.  Often I end up finding something I had forgotten about and stop sorting to work on what ever it is I found.  I've been pretty good this time.  Instead of stopping I've set up files where I can put things like that so I can go back to them when I'm done with this task.

Did I mention that I am working on a memoir?  It's not necessarily my life but stories about the people and events in my life.  As I'm sorting through old papers and photos I'm coming across things that I should include.  That is one of the files that I've started.  

It's time to head back into the studio.... more sorting today.

Monday, September 24, 2018

A Studio Makeover In Process

This past weekend my husband was out of town.  Since I was alone I took advantage of the time to do some reorganizing.  The studio is still a mess but this new corner will help to eliminate some of that mess.

previously there was a small cabinet like this one....
It left a dead area where boxes that I couldn't get to where piled up.  Since I was alone I could move things around without someone telling me I had to completely clear the area in order to get it out.  No, I didn't need to do that, it is now in my sewing room where it will be much more useful.  

I built a new table in our garage using a piece of plywood and IKEA legs.  Then managed to move it from the garage in to the studio space.  I did have one heavy cabinet that had to be moved but I managed and the table now fits snugly in the space and I can use all of it.  Carts on wheels hold supplies that can be moved out and one permanent shelf unit holds other supplies.  That unit can also be moved though it isn't on wheels.  I don't plan on moving it anywhere.

I'm pleased with the results.... more workspace and more storage space... all good.  Now to finish sorting and putting away so I can finish the pieces that will be going in the October exhibit at the Gallery Uptown.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Almost half way to 100

Still working on the little 4x4's.  My aim is to finish 100.  Some of them have been a little bigger than 4x4 but they are in the count so far, may or may not stay in the series.  Here are a few more...

5 more to be at the halfway mark.  And I'm still working on the black and white workshop so the last half of the 100 is going to take awhile.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dailies, Black and White and Spider Lake

My annual art retreat at Spider Lake... thank you brother Charlie and Vernell.  Terry and I do appreciate our time here so much... This is the view out the door to the deck.

I've been doing my dailies; now I'm aiming for 100.  Here are a few I've recently finished...

And I started an on-line black and white workshop with Jane Davies.  Here are a few collages from the first lesson...

Making art and enjoying the water … that's our week.  This year I'm only enjoying looking at it.  Good swims the first couple days but then I injured my big toe and have to stay our of the water.  That's what I get for not paying attention.  Slipped on a slippery step coming out of the lake.  Oh well, lesson learned and I can still enjoy looking at the water, listening to it lapping on the shore and hearing the loons that come to our bay to visit.  Life is good.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Dailies Continue and Now Some Black and White

This is the last of the July dailies; however, I am still doing them.  A friends thinks I could easily do 100.  Easy for her to say but worth trying anyway, especially given that I'm almost halfway there. Here are August 1, 2 and 3.  but from here on they will just be numbered so these are 32, 33 and 34.  I may not do one every day and some days I may do two or three but I will keep going because I love doing them and I have tons of old ephemera.

 Meanwhile, I'm taking a Jane Davies on-line workshop... Working in Black and White.  That started August 1 and here are the first three days of lesson one.... grey scale and black and white collages.  I like committing to doing one piece every day and I prefer doing it first thing.  That way I am free to do more clutter clearing or painting or rearranging or whatever and I can still feel like I've accomplished something.  Especially given that the clutter clearing seems to be a never ending job.  I have managed to take 6 huge bags of trash to the curb in the past few weeks.  That's progress!

For this first lesson we painted several sheets of drawing paper black, then more sheets painted varying shades of grey.  I did all right with the black, fairly simple.  But the varying shades of grey were suppose to be solid grey, not variations within each grey.  That is not as easy as one would think.  Practice.  My reading this morning from Julia Cameron basically said if you want to be good at something you have to be willing to be bad at it first.  So.... here are my greys and three black and white collages made with the black painted paper collaged on to printmaking paper.

I'll be doing a black and white collage every day, maybe even two a day, until the next lesson.  Even then I may keep going with these until I do some that I really like.  Jane said just play with the collage and that's what I've been doing.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Almost Done

This is today's; one more day before I start the black and white series.  However, since I still have lots of ephemera from all the old papers I've unearthed I'm planning to continue this series.  They won't all be 4 x 4 but most of them will be.  

Some will be even smaller.  A friend gave me a bunch of small canvases that will make their way in to this series.  Here are a few more of the recent pieces.

Once they are all done I may go back in and make a few changes.  I'm also thinking that encaustic would be a good way to finish them.  That's yet to be determined since I haven't done a lot with encaustic.  Then.... I've not done a lot of collage before either so may as well go for it.