Thursday, December 31, 2020

Good Bye 2020!


Optimisim is the faith that leads to achievement.

Nothing can be done without hope and confidence."
-Helen Keller

And I am optimistic about 2021.  It has to be better than 2020 right?  Well maybe not but I am hopeful so I am wishing a not so fond farewell to 2020 and looking forward to 2021.

Don't get me wrong -- there were some good things about 2020 and the lockdowns.  I got to spend more time in my studio and learned that there were some things I could say good bye to in there.   That left me more space to create new work and I did.

And this is one of the pieces I had time for --

I haven't done a drawing like this in a very long time.  It's something I did often when I was working in watercolor only.  Not quite this finished but close.  I was working out values so I could mask and pour paint, building up layers.  It was a long tedious process and by the time I was done I had no idea what was under all of the masking.  Sometimes it was good, sometimes not so much.  

Doing something like this to frame and show -- no, that required something a little more careful and more time consuming.  But I had that this year and the Gallery Uptown exhibit for January is New Year's Evolution V.  The challenge is to explore something new -- a new medium, a new technique, a new color palette -- whatever strikes our fancy. 

This is what struck my fancy -- new because it isn't something I don't do to exhibit, I do a lot of graphite in my grunge sketchbooks but that's only for me.  If you're in the Grand Haven area, stop in and see the exhibit.  You'll find details if you use the Gallery Uptown link above.

So this ends my posts for 2020.  I hope to be more faithful about posting in 2021.  I have learned that there are a lot of things in my life that I can do without permanently which will give me more time to focus on my own work and my faith as it relates to my work.  And Focus is my word for 2021.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Playing with Doodles and Scribbles


This is part of a Doodle and Scribble piece I worked on while watching a Hallmark Christmas Movie.  It is that time of year after all.  This practice started with a piece of Bristol paper that had accidently gotten a small slit in it.  It also had some scribbles on it so I decided to play a little and see if I could make something of parts of it.  This was the start.
Then I added some color.  Now you see the entire piece, including the slit.
That prompted me to try putting some ink down on a piece of 8x8" watercolor paper and, on another piece, try a color combination I don't normally use.  By movie time they were dry so with the papers, pens and pencils in hand I sat down to watch another Hallmark Christmas Movie. Here are the two 8x8" pieces that then got cut up into 4 4x4" squares.
You saw one of the smaller squares at the top of this page. Here's one from the black, grey & white piece. I see a little dog in the upper left corner of this one.  I may have to cut this even further and give it to my grandson.  He is a dog lover.

Since the original piece of Bristol paper was an odd size I haven't cut any of it up yet.  I think a piece of cut mat board will help me decide if there is anything worth saving on that piece.  


Thursday, December 10, 2020

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

My cards are almost done.  That is a record for me, I'm usually mailing just a few days before Christmas -- and sometimes way after the big day.  A plus from the pandemic -- more time.  Here's the card.  Well one of the cards.  Each one is an original... all similar but no two exactly alike.  

The Gingerbread House is done...

Some of the Santa's are in place.  One made from Dad's red sweater ....

Another made from one of Ed's worn out Pendleton...
Of course we had to have Sinterklass... 
My angel choir....
And finally, the tree is decorated....

There's still more to come up but for today, I'm done with decorating, back to wrapping. The only gifts under the tree now are from our grandson.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Clutter, I realized I need it

 My studio is off limits to visitors – usually.  Recently one of my very pushy artist friends came in and brought a few other artists with her.  I was horrified.  However after they left I had an aha moment.

I need that clutter and this woman may be the reason why ---

Grandma Foster, my mother’s mother, was a widow who lived in the back of her knit shop.  Well, it was more like a general store.  Needlework was her primary business but in addition she sold school supplies, Hallmark cards, gift wrap and Berkshire nylon stockings.  There was also a lending library in one corner of the shop.

There was a sign above the counter in the front of the store.  I remember two lines, the first -- “Maybe Helen has it.” And the last -- “you wonder how she found it.”  In the back of the shop there were three rooms and a bathroom.  One room was her living room, bedroom and office.  Her couch was her bed and when I visited I slept on a cot.  When my bed was set up there was just a path to get through to the kitchen. Off the kitchen was a small bathroom and a storage room.  Extra merchandise was stored there but the overflow was everywhere else in her living quarters.  Clutter – everywhere.

I stayed with her often.  Looking back on it now I realize why – I was comfortable there -- and loved.  She accepted that I was a tomboy, smarter than some thought and an artist. She encouraged my art while others tried to steer me away from it.

Guess I’ll stop trying for a neat as a pin in my studio – it’s just not going to happen and I probably wouldn’t be able to work in there anyway.  As long as the rest of the house is neat I can still shut the door. And maybe I should get a lock.   

I did that sketch of her several years ago.  Since I've recently been doing family drawings in my grunge sketchbooks I think it's time to do Grandma.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Supporting the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is free and open to the public except now during the COVID pandemic.  It features a collection of objects that span the 70-yearcareer of the sculpture.  We have one of his sculptures here in Grand Haven and Meijer Garden in Grand Rapids has several.

The museum is doing a Mail Art fundraiser.  What is Mail Art?  The concept has been documented back to the 1950s and has been used throughout the decades for artists to share their work.  A perfect practice for times such as we are going through right now. Media most often used in mail art include postcards and other visual arts on paper though it can also include other items.

This fundraiser is asking for 5x7 unframed works of art.  I'm offering three studies in black and white.  The one above and these two --

Thursday, October 8, 2020

New Work Off To The Gallery

And even newer work matted; getting ready to price and put in my Etsy store.  It hasn't opened yet but I'm working on that too.

But before more work on the Etsy Shop it's time for a break so I'm working on a drawing in my Grunge Journal.  The Grunge Journal is an old book, usually one that is falling apart.  I gesso come pages, glue some together and tape some that are coming loose from the spine.  Sometimes I add collage papers but not always. The Grunge Journals are just for me -- no pressure to get it done or to get it done well, if I don't like it I just do it again on another page.  This time I'm working on Uncle John.  Actually, he's my mother's uncle but I claim him because he was an artist -- and I like the photo I have of him.

Here is the work in process.  I may post it again when I finish 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Another New One


Once again, no title.  I was thinking Calm but there's a whole lot going un under the surface so perhaps not.  Once again there are many layers under there.  Layers seem to suit me as I experiment with three things -- acrylics, mixed media and abstracts.  

Without something specific to paint I just put things down, cover it up if I don't like it and try again -- several times.  I do enjoy the process and finally arrive at something I like but I never have been good with titles.  My husband usually ends up doing that part.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Where Did Summer Go?

 It's been a good summer but it went too fast.  I love being able to do my morning routine of diary entry, devotional reading, journaling and sketching on our patio.  The sketches are simple, quick and a long way from perfect but that doesn't bother me.  It's doing it that matters.

The Zen Painting workshop I was working on at Spider Lake continued and I had two more pieces that she wanted us to do.  Those weren't so relaxing.  I did finish but after several layers and do overs.  These are both 16 x 16 inch and I'm happy with them but it was not a Zen like process.  I'm glad I did it and I did enjoy doing the smaller ones. I'm glad I took the class and will do more -- but not 16 x 16. These are suppose to be non-representational.  They aren't but they aren't realism either.  I did learn a lot about crackle medium while working on them.  I learned that it doesn't always work and sometimes it works too well.  Any crackle that did show up got covered up in the end.

Now I'm working on new pieces for the October exhibit at the Gallery Uptown.  This is one that is finished.  It's 18 x 18 inches.  I have two more this size and four 8 x 8 inch pieces in process.

I'll post the finished pieces as I finish them.

Monday, August 17, 2020

A Relaxing Week Away

My annual art retreat at Spider Lake was a refreshing week away from any news, just water, art and conversation with my dear friend and fellow artist, Terry.  I was taking advantage of a workshop, Zen Painting by Jodi Ohl. Like many artists during this pandemic, Jodi offered some of her classes at a discount rate.  Given all that has been going on this year I figured I could use some Zen time. It was relaxing -- some of the time.  

I got carried away with the doodling and think I over did but it was/is relaxing once I accepted that I wasn't in charge of the outcome.  This photo is four 6" x 6" pieces.

I have a few more mixed media pieces in process and I got a couple watercolor pieces done before coming back to reality. This is one of the watercolors.
and this guy done in mixed media was fun --

Saturday, July 25, 2020

A Rant And If You Think I'm Way Off Base Please Let Me Know.

I truly would like to hear if you think I'm way off base and why.  I do listen to both sides. 

Before you read the rant know I support Women's Right to Choose. A woman's right to choose is her business, not mine.  While I may not agree with her choice it is her choice and it’s between her and her God or lack thereof. In spite my support of women's right to choose, I don't support people who don’t believe in abortion having to pay for that choice unless it’s for the woman’s health. 

I wasn't going to post this but there has been so much going on. so much hate, and these thoughts wouldn't go away.  So on to the rant....

So Planned Parenthood finally learned that its founder was a racist and Nazi and Klan sympathizer and her organization's mission was to have black women abort their babies - ethnic cleansing. Slow learners those Planned Parenthood folks. Some of us have known that for a very long time and wondered how anyone could support an organization or person who held that woman in high esteem, one of them being Hillary Clinton. Perhaps they realized that many of us knew about her and with the Black Lives Matter movement we were questioning the hypocrisy.
It's very much like the Democrat party now saying "well, we should have been harder on Bill Clinton when he was in the oval office." Why? Because it wanted to bring up Trump's dalliances and figured it would get called out. Well it was right but a lot of folks saw right through that one.

And you wonder why some of us think Democrats are hypocrites ,,,

At least Planned Parenthood now recognizes her for what she was and I hope many of those who admired her also realize it … or at least realize that many of us know. However, just taking her photograph off the walls isn’t going to make her image and connection to Planned Parenthood go away.  It’s been there too long.  I know, it provides other services but there are other organizations that do that too.  If it is an area that doesn't provide them -- start a new organization. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Stitching A Robe

This was going to be a quilt....
But then I saw a robe that Jude Hill (Spirit Cloth) made and I knew this was suppose to be a robe.  So, I gathered together a bunch of little experimental stitched pieces ,,,

And some scraps of blue fabric.  Now I need to decide, will it be a summer robe or a year-round robe.  I'm leaning toward year round which means I'll need one more layer which will be quilted before I stitch it together.  Here it is so far.  The yellow is a sheet on my work table, not part of the robe. I can add more embroidery any time.  I think it's going to need some orange on the left front since I put that pieced leaf patch in on the right front. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

And The New Direction Continues

Work on the new art journal continues along with more new watercolors.  This small piece is from a photo that had been posted over on the Weekend Drawing Event at last weekend.  This is a more common scene for me to paint.  I do love the water.
And I have one signature done for the new art journal.  It looks like it's going to be an art journal reflecting my town.... at least thats what it seems to be so far.  Here are the pages in the first finished signature; not that it will be the first one in the book, just the first one finished.
Evidently there were windows in the basement of the Cutler House, now the Oakes Agency and condos.  The windows have been bricked over.
One of the lights at the entrance of Duncan Woods.  Before we moved to the house we're in now we were across the street from the woods.  I miss looking out at them.
Part of the gate at the entrance to our cemetery.  It's a lovely cemetery, a good spot to do some plein air painting because there are some very interesting tombstones there.  Maybe I should add one to this art journal.
I'm not sure what it's called other than a chimney but this sits on the roof of the Elks Club and I've sketched it many times.
And the last page of this signature, the two steeples on the Presbyterian Church, These are aged copper, we have a few other distinctive steeples in town.  I may include a couple more.

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.