Sunday, July 11, 2021

Art Tribe Inspired, a New Exhibit and New Work

Art Tribe – an inspiring and supportive group of artists. The new exhibit in the Gallery Uptown's Walburg Gallery features work by one such tribe. One of its members is a world traveler. When she recently shared a boatload of travel photos with the tribe, the concept of this show came to be. Each of us selected photos that inspired at least one of their works in the show.

These are two that I picked.

The two images inspired paintings that don't look anything like what I was seeing. But that happens often.  There often is a circuitous route to the end result.  The piece below, The Lord Potted Clay & Put Words on it. Sumerian epic poem c1800 BCE  was inspired by the bottom photo above.

and this one, Sarciphagi  was inspired by the top photo.

So how did the two top photos lead me to the two totally different paintings?  It certainly wasn't what I had in mind when I picked them.  I love old walls and old cemeteries.  I also love water and arches which the curve of the brick reminded me of. 

As I began to scribble on the supports I was using I remembered a trip to San Antonio when we visited some of the missions.  Who knows why, it just did. I went digging for some of my photos.  Those I found brought me back to the photo on the top, the arch of the wall and the colors.  Recently I’ve also been studying some ancient marks and symbols that seem to be universal.  Going through my San Antonio photos I found several that included some of those universal marks so I included them in both of the pieces; however, more of them are visible in The Lord Potted... than in Sarciphagi.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

10 Feet Tall and Bullet Proof

And a clutter free studio so I can get back to work on this piece.

10 Feet tall is the feeling to strive for – when you finally don’t care a wit what others think about your art you feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof, at least I do.  Travis Tritt’s sings about a fellow who achieves that feeling with drink but that isn’t necessary for most artists.

It isn’t easy to achieve the feeling, but it is what I strive for when I’m painting.  My current work is abstract, both paintings and collages. Every now and then I think I shouldn’t be veering off in that direction, I should stick to the realistic watercolor paintings that I know I’ve had success with. That is especially true when someone tells me they don’t like something about a current painting.  Even if that same person really likes some of my new work – just not that one.  But my studio has become so cluttered it was difficult to work.

It was time to do a serious sort and purge.  I began to pull boxes off the shelf and empty them onto my already cluttered worktable.  As I pull boxes out to go through them I realized that much of the stuff that is just taking up space says perhaps my work is actually going in the right direction. 

I have boxes full of papers and paintings that didn’t work. The blue one shown below is part of a watercolor painting, the only part I liked.  The house is a painting that didn’t work but I love the soft colors that just happened on the back.

The paintings were in there upside down because it was usually the back I was saving.  Many had colors blending in unusual patterns, not necessarily good patterns but something I thought I could do something more with.  But I never did.  The papers got put in a box on a shelf and there they stayed – out of sight, out of mind.

Which also made me realize that I need to see things I’ve been keeping or it just isn’t there. Now any boxes that were randomly covered with colorful bits of paper, probably when my 42-year-old son was still in college, have been replaced by plastic bins that I can see into.

Having started this project I decided I had to set myself a deadline and stick to it.  An exhibit opening at the Gallery Uptown in July is one that I’m hosting and participating in.  I need to get some work done!  June 1st was my deadline and as of the morning of May 31 I did it. 

When I started emptying drawers, shelves and boxes every surface in my studio looked like this


And you couldn’t open this door; good thing there was another way in.

And now the surfaces are clear, our large recycle bin has been filled twice and three large garbage bags have gone to the curb. I posted a video of the clear space over on Instagram if you're interested, here's a linkIt feels so good to go in there, I took a day to just enjoy it.  Now it’s time to make some new art!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The 100 Day Challenge Finished. What Next?

Here is a random selection of my challenge to do an art journal page every day

And the final day's entry

I have no idea where April went but here we are into May and I am just posting.  Certainly haven't kept my pledge to post once a week.  However, I did manage to do an art journal page every day so I'm taking that as a positive sign -- I'm going to do better about posting.

So what's next?  Well the rest of this week I'm concentrating on the ongoing reorganization of my studio.  There are so many things in there that I don't need so I am getting rid of.  I have more shelf space since I packed away used up sketchbooks and gave away or sold several art books.  I plan to have some very clear surfaces to work on by the weekend so Monday morning I can start a new challenge.  Not totally sure what it will be yet but I am leaning toward a small painting or collage every day.  I have time to think about it as I move things around or out.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Still Working On The 100 Day Challenge

 And another on-line challenge popped up that fit right in. Karen Abend's Sketchbook Revival.  The posts short tutorials -- sketchbook ideas with instruction.  I don't watch all of them but if it's an artist I know and like I check it out.  This little accordian sketchbook from Karen Stemper is made from a piece of copy paper.  Kind of fun and could be used for just about any thing.  The dark on the left edge of the pink polka dot pot is a shadow.  I cut out the pot using the fold so it was even and inserted a piece of paper behind it to add the color.  

If I need a break I grab a cup of coffee and my ipad and search for abstract art first looking for art I like then looking for who did it.  That's how I found Karen so when I saw she was one of the instructors in the Sketchbook Revival I decided to sign up. Karen does a lot of her work in the accordian style sketchbook.  She's British and calls them concertina sketchbooks.  Here in the U.S. I found they are called accordian or zig zag sketchbooks.

Another artist I found that I like is Robyn McClendon.  I found her because she was doing one of the tutorials and I liked her work in the introduction so I checked out what she offered.  I loved it!  I do enjoy making books and have made several.  Some I use, some I don't like using but had fun making.  Robyn's little tutorial was about making a journal from an altered book so I was hooked.

It was such a simple concept and provided me with an idea that I think I can use.  She uses collage papers she has made to cover a page, tearing the page so the bottom half of the image can become a pocket. She backs the bottom half with a bit of heavier paper so it's sturdier.  Then she makes tags or cards to put in the pockets, again using collage papers or her art.  

I had an old hardcover book that had been on my shelf for as long as we lived here and I knew I was never going to read it so it is in the process of becoming my new art journal.  I used images of some of my paintings and then decided the tags needed an additional pocket that was separate from the book to be stuck in my purse or pocket.  I usually carry a small sketchbook but this can do the same job.  And when the tags are full they go back in a pocket.  It would take up less space than a sketchbook.  I've spent this week doing pages and spreads.  This is one of the spreads and some tags.  The tags are backed with part of a file folder and I've either gessoed on it or added a piece of vintage journal paper.

And this is the extra pocket I made to carry tags in my purse.

And adding one more sketchbook prompted me to finally clear some bookshelf space.  I've started going through all of the sketchbooks that are piled every which way on those shelves and if they are full they're going in a file box to go to the basement or garage attic for storage.  I have several boxes already stored from my many years of sketching.  The current box is half full and I'm not done yet.  I can see light at the end of the tunnel!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Is all this going to be over soon?

 I truly have not minded the isolation but have to admit -- it's getting old.  I've been busy in the studio working on some paintings and the 100 Day Challenge.  Here is one of the paintings in process --

This has several layers of stuff -- just doing a lot of wondering what would happen if.  I'm now at about 10 layers of stuff.  Here it is when it was about 8 layers --
You can see I changed the direction and lightened it up a bit.  I still don't feel that it's done.  Who knows how many more layers before it is.  The other one that I've been working on is done -- I think.

And the challenge -- I mentioned that I was doing art journaling.  Actually I think what I've ended up doing is a lot of collage in a sketchbook.  I suppose that counts as art journaling.  At least it's what I'm still doing every day and getting rid of a lot of scraps of paper.  Here are a couple of the new ones.

Friday, February 12, 2021

This Year's 100 Day Project


If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.  

Joseph Campbell

Once again I've started the 100 Day Project, this will be my third year doing it.  This year I'm trying to do more exploring in my sketchbooks, more art journaling.  Trying different things.  Since abstract or non-representational is new to me I need to explore more.  

In January I did a series of collages in a collage sketchbook I found when I was clearing a shelf.  This was the last one in that series and the first one in the 100 Day Project. I realized I was having fun with the collages so I kept going. The collage journal is getting pretty full so I may move on to something else.  I didn't specify which journal I would work in daily, just that it would be an art journal.  To me that means it's not a sketchbook.  I do sketch daily anyway so this has to be something different.

 Here the next 12 days.

this one is in one of my grunge journals

Another one in the grunge journal

One more in the grunge journal

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Playing With Rusty Nails


To stay fresh, constantly experiment.

Jim Pallas

For the past couple of days I've been experimenting with rust marks on paper and on fabric. I tried first on fabric without any instruction and had a little success but nothing really worthwhile.  

While the first batch was sitting in vinegar water I did some sorting of magazines and articles I  had saved.  Some got pitched but some were saved and what to my wandering eyes should appear -- an article on rust spots.  Aha -- I had been doing it wrong!  

Armed with instructions I started over using tea for rust on paper and vinegar for rust on fabric. The vinegar on fabric worked beautifully.

First I put the fabric in vinegar, rung in out and layed it on my waxed paper.  I have a stash of rusty nails the were perfect for this piece of fabric, they were layed out on half of the piece, then I folded the other half over the top and carefully rolled it up.  Once rolled I wrapped string around it to secure it then placed it on our kitchen radiator.  Once it was dry I unwrapped it and ironed it.  Happy with this so I did a few more pieces.

The tea -- well it didn't turn out like it was suppose to but it wasn't a total loss.  Here's a sample --

For this I used paper in two different sketchbooks.  One with heavy watercolor paper and the one above is paper that has a smooth finish and is not as heavy as the watercolor paper. I placed the rusty items on the paper and then covered with wet teabags.  Waxed paper was placed wrapped around the page so the water from the teabags didn't run all over when I closed it up and clamped it closed.

I used the same process for the other sketchbook and this is how that came out --

But the teabags -- those gave me some interesting collage papers --

And I used one for today's daily collage --

Sunday, January 24, 2021

A Few More Daily Collages

 “Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.”

–Bhagavad Gita

Well, I've done the imperfectly part -- but haven't we all!  Some of my daily collages are certainly not perfect, a few challenges but not all bad.  

Some were more challenging than others.  For this one I decided to see what I could do with one teabag.  The two little pieces at the top were all that was left of the bag when I got done.  These collages are 4"x 4".
And some offered advice

 one attempt at an image of something
And today's --

Do you have a favorite?

I plan to keep doing these to the end of the month, then I'll decide about continuing.  But the end of the month is also when the 100 Day Challenge starts this year and I'm still thinking I may do that again.  Not sure yet but I'll have to make up my mind soon.  Anyone else doing it?