Saturday, February 28, 2009

. . .used monoprint technique

to paint some of the elements in this piece. I wanted the blue and the black areas to look random and a bit less structured that the rest of the painting. I painted these colors onto a piece of newsprint and smooshed them around, then pressed them onto the painting. Here is the result. From a distance it is eyecatching. Up close, there are lots of marks and textures. I am starting to loosen up here. . .

Friday, February 27, 2009

. . . used collage elements

in this painting. The yellow, blue and red geometric figures are handmade papers from my collaging binge. Lots of circles, dots, round things. I am loosening up a little here, but as I remember, still a bit rusty and unsure of myself. It is a bright and cheery 33 x 33"" painting despite the black background.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

. . . painted a collage

I did have a chance to photograph my paintings yesterday morning. If my neighbors were watching me, they were treated to a slapstick comedy routine. I used painters' tape to attach the paintings to the outside wall. I would have the center and one end of the tape attached and the other end would fall down around me. Over and over again. Very frustrating for me, but amusing in an idiotic kind of way.

This painting is one of the first I did when I got back into painting from my hiatus as a collage artist. It is approximately 36 x 48. And you ask, did your collaging have any influence on your painting? Well, I guess so:

At the time, I was having trouble switching from glue and paper back to paint, and from working small to working big. what better way to get back in the swing of things that to just basically copy something I had already created once? And I don't even have to worry about plagiarism.

Walt the Art Guy liked the painting. Happy colors and all, right? No gloom and doom colors in this gloom and doom economy. I like it, too; I'd put it in my house. I think you will find it interesting how much more freely I painted as I kept working on these canvases. I am going to try to post them in order so you can see the progression.

Have a great day, everyone. Let's make some art.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

. . . had to wait

until later today to take more pictures of my art, because it's supposed to be about 65 degrees today and I can take them outside and try to get some good shots. I decided after yesterday's post that I don't want to put up crappy pictures of my art anymore. So, with luck, I'll have some tomorrow. In the mean time, I was browsing through my stash of digitals and found this screw. Seems appropriate under the circumstances. The photo probably should be cropped a bit off the top to omit the shadow, but I like the colors, texture, and of course, the rust. I took this photo back in April 2008, on a walking trail over which construction crews were building a bridge. This is from one of the pieces of equipment on the site.

Yesterday was a good day: I was treated to lunch by Toni, a good friend from my working days; then a meandering drive from downtown to the Plaza; a visit to Barnes & Noble to kill time, and then the appointment to have my hair done. I'm blond again, sort of, and a lot less shaggy. Another slow meandering drive home with a stop at Marshall's, where I purchased a pair of blue yoga pants, which are apparently a somewhat dressier version of sweatpants, for $9.99. I will wear those in place of all the other pairs of sweat pants that are splattered with paint when I have to venture out into the real world. I do wish someone would invent something to remove acrylic paint stains. I could triple my current presentable wardrobe without buying anything but that stain remover. (While we are on the subject of things I wish someone would invent, how about a strong clear tissue paper???)

Hope everyone has a great day. Go make some art.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

. . . thought about it

Here is one of my paintings that will be going away on Friday, hopefully to be snapped up by a discerning buyer. I need to take photos to document my work and to keep a record of what and when I painted and where it is. However, it's a problem because, since they are unstretched, I have to rig the canvases up somewhere vertically to take the pictures. I brought this one up from the studio and taped it to the wall with blue painters tape. But the photograph is not of good quality since the lighting is so bad. Oh, well, I hope you get the general idea. This painting, as yet unnamed, is approximately 36 x 36". My son told me it looked like a garage floor. Is there a name in that?

I like this painting. It looks deceptively simply, I think. I spent a lot of time getting those blocks of neutral to be interesting, by varying the colors, making marks, lots of texture. That appears a bit in the gray area on the top right, except it just doesn't have that much of a yellow cast in person. And the blue, too, is actually the result of multiple layers of many different colors of blue. And what appears to be a black oblong on the left side of the painting is really a deep purple. I really took the quote in Nita Leland's book to heart. . . I tried to make sure that this painting actually had a change in color within every inch.

Am I, as the artist, supposed to have an explanation of why I painted this piece? I mean, am I supposed to have expressed in this painting my innermost feelings? Because I am unaware of it if I did. Granted, I'm not the deepest thinker. But can my explanation for why I chose to paint this piece be nothing more than I liked the colors? Or I was working on my neutrals? Or I was influenced to paint geometric shapes by the collages I had done for a couple of months before I went back to painting? I guess I could always say something to the effect that my personal life was in chaos and I chose to harness that chaos by painting something rather structured. That sounds interesting, but is it true? Was I actually thinking or feeling that when I painted this? Somehow I doubt it. There are other pieces, yet to be photographed, that reveal a lot of chaos, the latest one I did especially. Maybe there is a kernel of truth somewhere in there. . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

. . . fed my habit

I am a magazine junkie. Yesterday at the grocery store I stumbled across the premiere issue of "Color" subtitled "for collectors of fine photography." What a feast. . . The photo above was taken by Eliot Porter and is titled Macau (Incense) - 1980. Paul Martineau, assistant curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum in San Diego, California, wrote this about Eliot:

"In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Eliot Porter pioneered the use of color photograph to capture nature's intricate patterns and details by revealing the nuanced hues and tones of the natural world. Porter's work played a central role in bringing about the widespread acceptance of color photography as an artistic medium, and in transforming the genres of wildlife and landscape photography."

But this is only one of the many fascinating photographs included. The magazine features photography artists from the past and those who are currently working. There is such inspiration in the pages of this magazine. . . as an amateur photographer and one who can only use a digital camera, I have much to learn. I look forward to future issues.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

. . . scanned another experiment

This is another one of the four little experimental paintings I have made lately on foam core. It and its companions have been sitting in the family room for several days while I try to figure out what to do with them. Probably nothing. Maybe the Random Acts of Art.

For several years before I settled on painting, I experimented with all kinds of different arts and crafts, and I have the swag to prove it. Now that I am contemplating a relocation, I face the daunting task of cleaning out the basement studio. I could have a garage sale, but so much of the stuff I have is meaningful only to an artist or a crafter. First I tried scrapbooking, but after I finished one for my daughter and one for my son, I still had a bunch of leftover supplies and little interest. Then there was polymer clay; then jewelry making; then briefly I considered making assemblages. There are stamps of all kinds. And I have tons of fabric and trim and yarn etc. It's too good to toss, and frankly, I can't afford to do that. I have collected some pretty exceptional stuff in the studio and I know I will never ever use it. So it's going on etsy sometime soon. And it will be cheap, because the goal is to clean it out, not to make a profit. So stay tuned if you are interested and I will let you know here when the shop is open. And tell your friends who are artists or crafters, too, because I promise, you will not want to miss this.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

. . . had excellent adventures

with Betsy yesterday. After she had watched every Berenstain Bears cartoon on TV and I had finished up a painting, we decided to go see some art. Tonight is the fund-raising auction for the KC Artist Coalition and we went to see the art that was offered for both the silent auction and the live auction. The gallery is in the River Market at what used to be the dead end of Delaware Street. I had not been to the gallery for a few years and I was surprised to see that there is a huge construction project apparently between this formerly dead-end street and the Missouri River. The picture above is the view from the front of the Artist Coalition gallery looking west, and you can see just a small area of the new construction. I took the picture mainly to show the "ART" sign, one of several in the area. I enjoyed the art; my favorite piece was an intaglio print in the basement in the silent auction. It had a buy-out price of $1,200 and had already been sold, so someone else liked it, too. Betsy's favorite pieces were three multicolored mosaic stars. There were a couple of other pieces I could have purchased had I any money. When I told Betsywe were going to an "art show," she must have thought it was a real show, like the ballet or the plays that she has attended in the past. A lady at the gallery patiently tried to explain to Betsy what an auction was and why there were no people in the gallery although there were lots of empty seats. Betsy's analysis of the exhibit: horrible, because there were no people there.

We had taken the camera with us downtown, and as we walked back to our car, I shot this vignette, which happens to capture many of the colors I've been using lately in my paintings,

as well as this wonderfully grungey wooden door or fence. Betsy asked if she could take pictures of the "skyscrapers" downtown while we drove back home, so I gave her the camera. She took many many many pictures of the back of the front seat, the back of my head, her foot, the Skittles that Joey had dropped on the floor of the car. But not even one skyscraper.

Friday, February 20, 2009

. . . played with paint

This is one of four pieces of foam core that I kept beside me while I have been painting for the last few weeks. Whenever I remembered, I would use the leftover paint and texture material to decorate these pieces. These things are heavy. . . there are just layers and layers of stuff on them. You can kind of tell the color pallette I've been using from these paintings. . . lots of blues, grays, white, black, and a spot of red here and there.

I also realize that I haven't used many paint brushes in these paintings. . . mostly I've been using trowels and squeegees to apply the texture medium, and then using a brayer, squeegee, or a crusty old dried-up paint roller with lots of texture on it to apply the paint, which results in rough surface coverage and allows for variations in the colors. I have discovered Liquitex extra-thick gesso is good for an underlayer of texture, as well as black and clear gesso to which I can add color.

On these little pieces, I have also seen firsthand the effects of multiple layers of paints and washes. Although I layer my paintings quite a bit, I'm sure many artists apply more layers than I do. Much of the paint on these layers is quite opaque, but even so, I can see the underlayers have an effect on the "finished" product. So even while I was playing around, I discovered things I can use in the future.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

. . . listed good things

about living alone. It's been three weeks since I became the sole resident of this house. I am a statistic. It occurred to me that I have never lived alone in all my life: I shared a room at home with two sisters and a house with an additional three brothers, parents and an aunt; at college and the first few years I worked I had roommates. Then I had a husband, and then some kids. That may explain why I'm a hermit. Because living alone is not bad at all. Except I worry about becoming the neighborhood cat woman. . . you know, the old lady who lives with 86 cats and all the neighborhood children are frightened of her, and like a neighbor we once had, only puts on her underwear to go to the grocery store.

Of course there have been changes: I am much more aware of keeping the doors locked all the time. In fact, my son had to call me the other day and tell me he was at the front door, because I had locked all the doors to go to the studio and I can't hear the doorbell down there, especially with the Ipod turned up. But I'm not really frightened to stay by myself at all. If you live alone you can:

5. Get up or go to bed at any time you feel like it without being perceived as a whacko. If I want to get up at 4:30 a.m., okay; if I want to go to sleep at 8:30 p.m. or 1:00 a.m., fine.

4. Go down to the studio at any time, early, late, all day.

3. Do laundry once a week. Wait till tomorrow to sweep the kitchen floor. Keep the shower clean.

2. Go anywhere any time you want to. . . except you have to figure out where you want to go, and if you want to go by yourself.

1. Eat chocolate cake with whipped cream for dinner. (I just did this once, but it was delightful.)

Okay, so it's only been three weeks. The road ahead sometimes look pretty bleak; other times I can't wait to get on with my life. But I know that I need to remain calm and rational and not rush into things. I realize that I will probably lose my home, my studio, my garden; I may have to get a "real job." I don't think I'm as tough as I once was, and change is difficult. But then I looked at a picture of some of the victims of the civil wars occurring in Africa, and I think, what am I worried about? My life is so much better than that of so many people in the world. I'm thankful.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

. . . had nothing today

except for this juicy red photograph and some eye candy here, courtesy of Nancy Richards Davis. Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

. . . did other things

besides art. . . can you imagine? There are actually other things to do? I didn't completely avoid the studio and finished straightening it up, cleaned some brushes and tools, rearranged and puttered. Flicked some paint here and there, added some color, and just generally fretted and fussed until my brother and sister-in-law showed up. Vickie brought me a big bowl of chicken and dumplings. . . exceptionally good. I wish my brother Steve lived next door. . . he kept finding little things to do around the house, like reconnecting a gutter downspout, taking down a Christmas wreath (I know, I know, it's a bit late, but it was way up high and I kept forgetting about it); he would be handy to have around, plus he's amusing. . . just big funny 55-year-old kid.

So instead of art on canvas or paper, I'm showing you a digital collage I created, with Picasa, a long time ago. I can't even remember where I got the cell-like image, but the background is from a photograph I took. After reading on various website about the American Watercolor Society's controversy over the use of stock photographs as the basis for paintings, I'm a bit wigged out. . . but I don't use stock photos for anything that I would attempt to sell, and I don't enter art contests, so I think I'm pretty much in the clear.

Monday, February 16, 2009

. . . made more collages

while waiting for paint to dry on my big piece. The one I thought was done yesterday. . . I added some more detail and I have an idea about adding just one more thing, a subtle little detail. So as I waited, I made a couple of little pieces on foam core. In this one, it may be pretty obvious that I used a secret ingredient. . . yes, that's painters' tape on the right, tape that I used to leave a margin around my big pieces. I try to reuse them until they don't stick any more, so many times the pieces are nice and crusty and have several layers of paint on them.

On this piece, the tape is on the bottom, but the blue shows through as the greenish specks, because I placed a transparent piece of golden yellow tissue over the top of the whole thing. Then I started to clean up the studio and picked up this sheet of rub-ons that I accidentally laid on top of the first collage, and the little "3" stuck tight, so I left it there. Then I thought I 'd also add a rub-on to the bottom one. . . and I just liked the saying. There you have it: junk art. Just fun and experimental and it all counts to the 10,000 hours needed to mastery of my art.

. . . couldn't upload pictures

Blogger is not letting me upload my pictures. . . I'll try later, so check back.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

. . . finished another piece

but alas, this isn't it. I have finished another 36 x 36" canvas, only in the sense that if I screw around with it any more, I will screw it up. I'm not completely happy with it, but I worked on it a lot, with a lot of washes, different shades of the same color, then wiping most of the latest color off. . . it goes on the done pile for now. There is only the tiniest bit of red in this painting. A small rebellion on my part.

I don't know what this picture depicts, maybe an engine of some sort? But I know where I took the picture. My brother has an auto body shop in my home town, and last summer I was snooping around his back lot where a lot of good junk is hidden. I'll bet that he doesn't know something this cool is stashed back there.

On Friday, I found that I had made my first Etsy sale. I won't divulge how it almost turned into a complete disaster, because you will all think I have lost my mind, and maybe I have, I don't know? Everything worked out finally. Does everyone have certain periods of time when everything they touch turns directly into shit? I'm in the midst of one of those times now. I used to dread them when I worked. . . and the more I worried about my screw-ups, the more I made. Nothing could warn me of the onset of these times, and I could never identify how I got myself out of them. Just another good reason to set aside the painting until later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

. . . had no Valentine

Okay, I'm cheating. . . this is the same Valentine's Day picture I used last year. But that is the only thing that remains the same since then. This year, I am alone, no one's Valentine. Usually it's okay, I don't mind it. But honestly, I can't wait for this day to be over. The Halllmark holiday of all time is everywhere I look. . . on TV, in the newspaper: stories about kissing and brain scans of those in love, stories about young love, old love. . . Even the grocery store had huge displays of bouquets and men were there in droves buying them up. Even the book store. . . first thing inside the door, books about love, 365 days of wild sex, etc. All of it just reminds me that I am no longer the most important person in anyone's life. That is, of course, not to say that I am not loved. . . it's just the romance has gone. And maybe that's not all bad. . . but I just want to hide until this day is over.

I gave myself a Valentine's Day present. I used the last of my Border's gift card to buy Nita Leland's Confident Color. I have just started it, first looking at all the pictures, then going back and enjoying every page. Here's two things I have discovered (I hope Nita doesn't mind that I share):

A quote from Millard Sheets: "Don't go an inch without changing color." Nita provides the template for a color checker and advises to "place it on your artwork and move it around to see how much you've varied the colors of a background or other area." That is one eye-opening statement . . . and it's only in the Introduction.

Artist Karen Becker Benedetti. I loved the paintings that Nita exhibited in her book so I looked the artist up on the internet and found her website. Amazing.

Thos two things alone are worth the price of the book to me (well, almost. . . but I'm sure there will be additional nuggets of fascinating information in it.)
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 13, 2009

. . . combat bad luck

What better day to start my Random Acts of Art hide-and-seek game than Friday the 13th. Someone, I hope, will be lucky to receive a piece of art. And I need to get out of this house for a while anyway. Not sure where I'll leave the first little masterpiece, but I do need to get groceries. . . I'm tired of ramen noodles.

This is just another piece of paper that I brushed, swiped, scraped, and flopped paint on during my artist endeavors of this past week. I know, it's a lot like yesterday's bits, except with a black base. I have three more pieces started, but yesterday I kept forgetting to use the tools and materials left over from the big piece, so none of them are even close to presentable.

I tried to photograph some of my art, but again, my camera batteries were dead, dead, dead, plus the lighting in the studio is completely unsuited for photographing art. I'm fairly happy with what I turned out yesterday, essentially because it has layers and layers and the texture is strong. Soon I will shoot pictures. . .

Thursday, February 12, 2009

. . . created random art

Since I haven't posted anything original in about a week, I thought this little happy accident might convince my blog readers that I really have been working on my painting.

The blue background is the result of sort of a monoprint I placed as a focal point in one painting. I wanted the blue area on the painting to look random and accidental, so I painted a combination of different blues on this piece of paper and pressed it to the canvas. Perfect, exactly as I wanted it to be. I finished that painting and still had this lovely piece of blue-painted paper sitting there. So I think, let's see where I can go with it. I stretched the next canvas and painted on a layer of gray gesso. There was some left on a homemade matboard squeegee, so I wiped it on the blue paper. I put some netting in the gray gesso to add texture to the painting, and then just flopped the wet netting onto the paper too. Same with the white gesso, applied both to the canvas and to the paper, using a plastic grid and the edge of a squeegee. Had a bit of red left over on a brayer, so I rolled it on. The same with the bright blue.

I love it when these little random acts of art turn out to be something interesting. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they look like mud. Or worse. But this one is as done as I want it to be for the time being. That's not to say I won't change it at some point, because as I've said before, nothing that stays in the studio very long remains the same.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

. . .loved this wheel

the shape, the rust, the dirt, the markings, and most of all, the soda can stuck smack in the middle of it. I must say my companions on this outing thought I was pretty weird taking pictures of junk.

I keep forgetting to tell this story, so, for lack of anything fresh and new to relate today, I will now. Back a few days ago, shortly after I had posted my 365th blog posting, I received a email. It was from Kathleen Sebelius, the governor of the State of Kansas. The reference line read something like "It's been quite a year. . ."

This is not the first email I had ever received from Ms. Sebelius; and there are a couple of very tenuous personal connections between us. . . very very tenuous. I do receive a Christmas card from the Sebelius family every year. . . but I always thought it was because I contributed a small amount to her election campaign six years ago. Rarely do I read the emails from her office, because I expect them to be requests for additional campaign contributions.

However, this time, my mind being full of one year of blog postings, I thought, "Oh, my god, she reads my blog." Not totally out of the realm of possibility, right? Feeling pretty flattered, I opened the email. Imagine how foolish I felt when I found that it was a report on the State of the State address she had just presented. Too bad, because now I hear she may be nominated for President Obama's cabinet. Wouldn't that have been sweet. . . the Secretary of whatever reading my blog.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

. . . started doing taxes

and other non-enjoyable financial things most of yesterday. I love that so much can be done over the internet, by faxing or by emailing or by on-line banking. Should speed things up a bit.

This window is in a building in my hometown I remember as being The Creamery when I was a kid. I guess it was where the farmers brought their milk to be processed. But the front end of it also sold ice cream and there was some type of soda fountain in it, too. It had that peculiar dairy smell I have always associated with raw milk. Lots of kids went there after school; everybody walked to school back then, and since this place was only about two block away from school, on the way to downtown, it was a natural gathering place. My mother did not allow us to go there. She must have thought it was a racy place to go, because a lot of high school kids hung out there. We would have been in BIG TROUBLE if we had stopped by there, so it's probably a good thing she never found out that I went there. Not often, because I never had any money, so I could not purchase the nickel cokes and ice cream cones. It was also across the street from the city jail, and it was always an adventure to see if anyone was incarcerated. I can remember seeing only one man in all the times I checked it out. After The Creamery closed, the gathering place changed to what was known as the Middle Drugstore, because it was in the middle of the block. The Rexall Drugstore was on the corner. We were also not allowed to go to the Middle Drugstore. I never knew why. It was okay to go to the Rexall Drugstore, but no one else went there after school. Strange rules for a different time.

This picture is most different from my usual photos, isn't it? Something about the rough texture of the painted bricks contrasted with the soft tracery of the winter weeds just appealed to me. I would like to be able to make marks on my paintings as randomly and freely as in this photo.

Monday, February 9, 2009

. . . couldn't think today

Seriously, I can't think of a topic to write about; I couldn't even think of a title for this post. I had a hard time picking which photograph to show today, too. I'm not so much indecisive as boring, I think.

Here's something though: I have finish three large paintings, but I have not taken any pictures of them. And I hesitate to post them on this blog. The small collages I have done for the past month or two have definitely had an impact on my art in two ways: (1) the collages were small, easy, fast, and it didn't really matter so much whether they were any good, because I was just playing around; and (2) I have used a lot of geometric figures, primarily squares and rectangles, in the new paintings. And it does matter if the paintings are any good, because I cannot just play around; my continued livelihood depends more than ever on whether these paintings sell. And that is a paralyzing thought.

Someone close to me told me they had an assignment: think of ten things they love about their lives and then think of ten things they hate. This person was worried about coming up with enough things in both categories. I can think of ten things I love in about ten seconds. The hate category is more difficult. I don't hate a lot of things about my life. It seems to me if you hate something in your life, you get rid of it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

. . . shot trashy pictures

I don't pretend to be a photographer, but I do love to take pictures. I tend to point and click at something interesting and then take it to the computer and crop until I get something even more interesting. That's what happened with these two photos.

These are actually pictures of the same pile of trash, one side and the other. I love the color (or lack thereof), the bits of graphics, the texture of the papers. Thumbnail-sized, they look like fabulous collages. Look, in the second one, there's even "arts". . . although I believe it's a parts box, considering that I took this picture at a place called "General Muscle Cars" in my hometown.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

. . .took artsy pictures

but just a few . . . it was a very nice but windy day in Kansas yesterday, as the babies and I went south to visit family. We all took a walk after lunch, then went to the Post Office and the library.

Here's Joey, perched on a cool rusty thing of some sort,

and here's Betsy carrying the mail for us.

The fastest way to get to my hometown is to go south on I-35, which I think is an interstate highway that extends from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, so it's a pretty busy road with lots of truck traffic. For the last twenty years or so, we have been watching a place on the west side of that highway just inside Miami County . . . it's a salvage yard that has been growing steadily, said to have reached 20 acres now. There are no fences around it, and it is full of buses, semis, and tons of other equipment, no cars, all beautifully rusted out. About a year ago, we got off the interstate and found the place, but it was marked with "no trespassing" signs (which wouldn't necessarily stop me) and the ground was so wet and muddy that I couldn't get very far into the place. I heard on the local news that authorities reached an agreement with the owner last week to have the salvage yard dismantled and removed. While it is definitely an eyesore, I regret that it won't be there much longer. I need to get out there and take some pictures before it's gone forever.

Friday, February 6, 2009

. . . hit the road

to visit my mom and mother-in-law, and I'm taking Betsy and Joey with me. Betsy is thrilled at the prospect, and is packing a bag, although we will only be there a few hours. She wants to eat at Wendy's, and she can't imagine there could be a town in which a Wendy's does not exist. I'm not sure Joe knows what's going on, but he's along for the ride. When Joe was here the other day, he kept going to the computer and saying "Han tana." At first I thought he was saying "Auntie Anna" but then I figured out he was saying "Hannah Montana", because that's what Betsy always watches on the computer when she's here. He tries so hard to keep up with his big sister. His mother is dismayed.

I got some new canvas, refreshed the paint supply, prepped a 36 x 48 piece, and started painting the layers. But I'm stuck now. And yes, it's got red in it. Maybe taking this day off from art will help me figure it out. I'm hoping that my brother will be around and he will take me to my favorite metal recycling place in my home town and I'll get some photographs that maybe will inspire me.

I still need choices and address for some folks who wanted a collage, namely Jazz, Jeane and Martin. I think almost everyone got the collage they requested. And I discovered I had lost some of them, too, and that I had not posted a few others.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

. . .fixed the canvas

I was pretty worried about my ability to repair the chips in one corner of the canvas that had been returned. After my disasterous day spent with a totally screwed-up canvas that I could not rehabilitate, I figured there was potential for complete destruction. Then Joey came to spend part of the day with me, and I put everything on hold to play with him. After he left, it was time to work on the canvas. I dislodged all the pieces that I could, then sanded very lightly and applied gesso. Then, being very cautious, I actually waited until that had dried. I gathered my paint choices and very carefully dabbed layers with my finger, waiting for each to dry. It was nerve-wracking, but it worked. No one could possibly tell I made that small repair. This is the first time I have had to do this. I feel a bit more capable now.

Playing around on Twitter the other day, I came across an artist who is using her art to perform random acts of art, kind of like random acts of kindness. She arranges to leave small pieces of art in public places and asks only that the finder contact her by email to tell her where the art was found. I cannot find that site back. I emailed her at the address provided, but it was bounced back to me. I'm thinking that this is both a great marketing tool as well as a nice thing to do. . . I can think of all kinds of places to leave a little art that would make anyone's day a bit brighter. . . how about the courthouse? Or a dentist's office? Or the grocery store check-out line. I once found a pass-along book on the edge of a McDonald's pick-up window. So I'm going to do this, too. I'm going to use the little collages I've been making lately.

If you can think of any good places to leave these little collages, please leave a comment. I'm also going to leave them in places that have art traffic, too, like the Plaza or the Crossroads District here in Kansas City. I'm going to give a few to my nieces and nephews who are in college in various cities and have them make a drop, too. Another thought I've had is to get a sponsor who will pay like $10 for my art supplies and in return I will add a coupon or some incentive for the finder of the art to visit the store that is sponsoring me. I hope this isn't too slimy, marketing my art in this manner. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

. . . scrapped a canvas

Yesteray was not a very successful day in the studio. I was going to write that it had not been a very good day in the studio, but any day to make art is a good day, even if not completely successful. I don't remember a time that I have actually had to completely scrap an entire canvas, at least not while I was trying to paint it. Usually even if the painting is complete crap, I will stick with it until something emerges from the mess, whether good or bad. But yesterday, the gods of glue were not watching over me.

Despite all my experimentation, (or maybe because of it) I have decided to stick to the "good stuff" for my paintings: that is, artist quality paints, medium, gels, etc. So I probably can't blame the product. Nothing, but nothing, seemed to want to stay on that canvas. Layers of paint, washes, paper, nothing. Everything kept bubbling up. And the more I tried to fix it, the worse the whole thing got. I tried sanding, which had a really cool effect, but didn't actually help anything. I reapply gesso; I scraped stuff off, I put stuff on. I made a huge mess. And finally, I gave up, rolled up the canvas, and dumped it in the trashbag. I will probably check on it later today in the hopes that something amazing happened overnight. Like maybe the art fairies came while I slept and created a masterpiece.

I was given advance warning that one of my canvases was headed back here for a touch-up. I was worried about it, wondering just how bad the damage was and whether I could fix it. The canvas came yesterday. The Fed Ex guy had a hard time finding my house. That's because all the house numers fell off and broke last summer (they were ceramic tiles put up by previous owners) and I haven't put the new ones back up yet. In some ways, it's a good thing not to be able to be found. Anyway, that tube sat there in the hall for the rest of the afternoon, unopened. Finally, after the fiasco of the nonstarter canvas, I thought, what the hell, it can't get worse. I opened the tube. There is a tiny little chip in the paint in the bottom left corner. Easily fixable. That's what I'll do today. Please let the gods of fixing canvas be with me today so that I don't screw it up.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

. . . discovered an artist

in the pages of the January/February Metropolitan Home magzine. This home is a complete redo of a place in Seattle. The above scan of a page of the article shows the interesting contrast between two very contemporary abstract paintings and the extremely ornate gilt mirror. Of course, the paintings caught my eye. And this is a magazine that names of the artists. The green (not red, see yesterday's post) painting on the left is by Angelina Nasso and the painting on the right is by T. L. Lange. I like both, but the Lange really appealed to me.

So when I saw this painting a few pages later, I was happy to find out that T. L. Lange had painted it, too. The caption for this photo reads in part "In the living room, a. T. L. Lange painting echoes the colors in the African mask. . ." Loved the colors, and it's just wacky enough to be intriguing.

This home is filled with serious contemporary art. . . serious in quantity, anyway. It's a very cool space. I wanted to see more of T. L. Lange's work, so I googled him and sure enough, here's the definitive site, a gallery that shows a bunch of it, as well as more work by other interesting artists.

Article produced by Linda O'Keeffe and Linda Humphrey; photographs by John Granen; writte by Fred Albert.

Monday, February 2, 2009

. . . realized I'm old

Here's the gist of a conversation my daughter had with her daughter, Betsy: "Mommy, what did Nana look like before she was old?" "She had long blond hair that she put in a bun sometimes and she wore dresses and high heels." "Why doesn't she still wear high heels?" "I don't know." "I do, because she doesn't have any. I know, I've been in her closet and I've never seen any."

That first sentence just put a dart in my heart. . . no, make that a spear, a javelin, a harpoon. I'm sure that to a four-year-old, I am as old as the world. But I don't feel old. I try not to look OLD, just appropriate to my age. I have never considered my age to be a defining characteristic. Both my kids thought that comment was just the funnniest. . . just wait, you guys, your turn is coming.

And, Betsy, let me tell you, the glam look these days isn't high heels worn with paint-stained sweat pants. I suspect that Betsy has been snooping around the closet looking for dress-up clothes and high heels. She just didn't look in the right place. There is an entire wall of shoeboxes filled with high heels left over from my working days, as well as a whole room full of work clothes. I guess I kept all that stuff because I suspected I would need them again. Wise move on my part, under the circumstances, although most of the stuff is seriously out of date.

And speaking of old, the collage above was inspired by a photo of an old paint-splattered piece of equipment. . . hey, wait a minute, that could describe me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

. . . finished a painting

as well as this collage. I'm liking this little collage; it looks great in the double-matted black square frame that I use to test the look of these collages. Once again, it was inspired by an old wall.

Walt, my art rep, called to tell me that he needed large paintings in jewel tones, especially paintings that include the color red, but not the red-orange that I usually like to use, just red. I can do that; in fact, I did that. My camera is currently indisposed (that pesky little battery issue) but I will post a photo of the finished painting one of these days.

Maybe it's human nature, but sometimes when I'm told to paint something in certain colors, I blank out, lose any semblence of creativity, want to rebel and say, NO, I want to paint yellow, orange and turquoise. That's why I can't do commissions. But I think I have hit upon a solution. I will paint those jewel tones to keep selling art, and make these little collages that please me so much and not worry too much about what happens to them. Am I a sell-out? Well, I guess the key word would be "sell". . . it's now a necessity.