Tuesday, March 31, 2009

. . . discovered art supplies

in the hardware store. I needed to go somewhere to get a few foam brushes, so instead of cheap, I went to the closest place, a small hardware store not too far from my house. As I cruised around, I stumbled upon the plumbing section and struck it rich.

There were all sorts of texture making things. . . the original use of these items escapes me. I'm sure the checkout lady wondered what I was going to do with the assortment of PVC things, none of which fit together in any manner, in addition to some ridged shelf liner and some diamond shaped plastic gutter coverings. It's so easy to find round things to make shapes and textures, but I found some square things and some round things with grids or lines in the openings. I can't wait to experiment with these plumbing supplies.

Monday, March 30, 2009

. . . watched snow melt

and everything become very green overnight. Hard to say how the snow and cold will affect the early spring growth. . . I'm hoping the buds of the hedge trees were frozen solid, but that everything else was saved.

This is a companion piece to the one I posted yesterday. Either I need new glasses or it's a bit blurry. But you get the general idea. I will make time today to get down to the studio, between doing a bit of housekeeping. The dust bunnies have turned into jack rabbits. Housework is such a pisser, because no one notices unless you don't do it.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

. . . just played around

This is another small painting, maybe 8 x 12, still using up leftover scraps of canvas. All these paintings are similar. I use the same techniques and materials, tools and texturing devices. I just try out different color schemes and use a limited pallette. Depending upon the size of the leftover piece of canvas, I make four small paintings of equal size. Two of them have a light background with dark texture, and the other two switch the colors around, with a dark background and light textures. They are so much fun to create. Messy is okay. Just playing, trying not to be too prissy in my painting. And I can use them as studies for the larger paintings that are percolating. . .

Saturday, March 28, 2009

. . . loved this guy

to pieces. This, of course, is Joey. He is two years old today. When I called him a while ago, he let me hear his new fire truck, which sounds exactly like the real thing and will drive his mama and daddy crazy soon. He held the phone up to the firetruck so I could see it. He and his mom and sister are getting ready to make birthday cupcakes. He is enamored with the color pink, but mom says the cupcakes will be chocolate. This is one smart little boy. He is already talking in complete sentences. His mother was like that, too.

Friday, March 27, 2009

. . .just slouched around

yesterday, did not even go to the basement/studio until late last night. I'm running out of art to show on this blog, and I am scraping the bottom of the barrel with this scan. It's another little experimental piece but it is on cardstock paper instead of foamcore. Maybe I can use this in future collages. I should have been hell bent to make new art after my exciting trip to the Crossroad area.

I guess I spent most of yesterday morning on the telephone chatting with friends and relatives. I was thrilled to hear that I managed to save my mother-in-law over $17,000 in income taxes by asking her tax preparer one question. To me, it means that I haven't lost my chops. . . I still know something about the work I used to do in my previous life.

The weather forecasters around here are predicting snow, maybe a lot of it, starting tonight and continuing through tomorrow. There are blizzard warning for places a couple of hours away from where I live. Usually when the weather folks get this excited, it all comes to nothing. We'll see. I think the stuff in the garden will be okay, because it's not supposed to get all that cold. I just wish it would freeze only the hedge trees, so that in the summer and fall I would not have to go around the yard picking up those nasty hedge balls.

Boring, boring, boring. . . I'm done for today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

. . . got a boost

Yesterday I met with Todd Weiner, the man behind this plan (above). I took all my canvases with me, and he took all my canvases from me. He loves my paintings, what can I say. . . He is holding this auction in a large warehouse-type building with white walls. The door to the place is painted red and framed, just like the image on the card above. The new sign went up this week, complete with what kind of looks like a bullet hole. Todd was full of energy and it was contagious. There were artists coming and going while I was there. There was a lot of art to look at. It was fabulous. Every size of painting. . . collages. . . sculpture. . . even furniture, the kind that is art. And he is just getting started gathering the stuff together. As much of a hermit that I am, as uncomfortable as I can get in unfamiliar surroundings, I felt like I had come home. Credit Todd, and oh, did I mention, he loves my paintings? He was extremely complimentary. Everyone needs a Todd in her life.

That being said, here is another card that he gave me after he asked me if I knew any other artists that might be interested in this auction. This is an oportunity for you to get your own dose of Todd. Send him a email with some jpgs or whatever of your art, and tell him I sent you.
Todd kept saying that my paintings were "controlled chaos" and that they were "feminine" paintings. The feminine part intrigued me. He said my choice of colors made the paintings feminine, that he couldn't imagine a man painting with those colors. Huh.
The other gallery that was at one time interested in showing my art is probably going to go out of business. I'm glad I stopped there before I met Todd, because I was pretty bummed about that, both for myself and for the gallery owners, who are just lovely people.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

. . . answered third question

but I cheated: I could not figure out what Leslie meant when she asked "What do you give back to your creativity?" As I've said, I am not a deep thinker. So I went to the source. Leslie and I had a wonderful, telephone conversation earlier this week. I asked her to explain what she was getting at with that question. She pointed out to me that I do, indeed, give something back to my creativity: I give it my time and attention, for one thing. Which is kind of a big deal, when you explore that thought a bit more.

We agreed that everyone is creative, whether they choose to acknowledge that creativity or not. Every time you solve a problem, you are being creative. . . you create a solution. We talked about the plumber, the electrician, and the guy at the hardware store who are fascinated with what I do, intrigued by it, and always say, "Oh, but I couldn't do that, I don't have a creative bone in my body." We talked about how not too long ago, I would have said the same thing. I was always too practical to be creative, I thought. However, those two traits are not mutually exclusive. I choose to honor my creativity by giving it my time and attention, by making it a priority. That's what I want to do. If I didn't choose to do that, then it's because I would rather do something else, or something else is more important. But it's not because I am not creative.

I made these little 6" x 8" paintings yesterday, using up bits and ends of rolls of canvas. The were inspired by paint splatters on a couple of pieces of foam core that were on the receiving end of extra paint from other paintings I had been working on. Art guy called, business is dismal, he seemed a bit cranky, but who can blame him. At his direction, I am meeting with a couple of people today, showing them my latest work, including these pieces. I'm hoping they will be creatively inspired to buy something.

P.S. A little gem from the internet that has some bearing on this topic: http://www.jetsetlife.tv/robsblog/lifestyle/

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

. . . answered fourth question

One of two similar small paintings where I tried to paint exuberantly

My head hurts. I've been thinking too much. But today I will try to answer Leslie Miller's fourth question, "What are your biggest hopes and dreams for your creativity?"

My wildest hopes and dreams, the ones I didn't even dare hope and dream when I started painting, have already been fulfilled to a great extent, much to my surprise. I make art, I sell art. I can say "I am an artist" and that little voice inside me doesn't always chide me by saying "Who are you kidding?" So one of my biggest hopes is that this will continue, despite all the obstacles currently confronting me. Those obstacles deal mainly with making a living.

Okay, this next hope is kind of silly, and it may not have anything to do with my creativity, but here it is: I long for the day that my kids ask me for one of my paintings for their own homes. Better validation than any number of sales.

I hope that my painting will improve, that I never quit learning; I hope that I will discover new and exciting ways to apply my creativity to my painting; I hope that I will have the guts to stay the course and keep making art despite the obstacles; I hope that I will never quit experimenting. I would like to encourage others to recognize and utilize their own creativity, inspire others to explore and experiment. I would like one day to be a mentor to others, like Martha Marshall and Karen Jacobs and others are to me.

These are just a few, off the top of my head, which still hurts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

. . . answered third question

Yesterday I tried to answer Leslie Miller's first question for artists. I'm skipping her second question because I have to think about it more. However, her third question is: "What gets in the way and frustrates you in your efforts to create?"

For me, the biggest obstacle to creating is my own inner critic, which is very harsh and unforgiving. It's that voice in my mind telling me I'm a fraud, that what I do is no good. It's the voice that discounts all compliments of my work, telling me that people are just being nice, or that they don't really know what they're talking about. It's the critic in me that parses every comment on my work, choosing to ignore all the good things and magnify all the bad. It's the critic in me that even takes the lack of comment as a personal slap in the face.

And the biggest step I have taken to overcome this inner critic is this blog. On this blog, I post everything: the good, the bad, the experiments, what I have learned and what I want to learn. Nothing terrible has happened as a result of this . . . no one has told me to stop posing as an artist. No one has taken away my paint and canvases and said, "You can't paint." So I soldier on, keep trying, keep learning, keep posting. I can't silence the inner critic, but I can try to put it into perspective.

I am fortunate to be at a point in my life where I really don't have many obligations or demands on my time from outside sources. Unlike many artists, I don't have children to care for, nor do I have a career or job other than making art. Sometimes fatigue is an obstacle to creating; sometimes there is just no inspiration, although I think that is a big excuse, because there is inspiration all around if I just choose to see it. Sometimes personal problems or other everyday concerns obscure my abililty to see artfully. And sometimes the mere fact that someone wants to sell my art is daunting. So instead of going with my instinct, I will take the easier route and just make something I think will sell, instead of something that I want to make, and that never, ever works out.

Studying all different kinds of art on the internet and in person has taught me that no matter what I create, some will love it and some will hate it and a lot of people won't care, and it doesn't really matter because I'm doing what I love.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

. . . answered first question

Leslie Miller asked four questions in her recent blog post. The first was "What do you get back from your art?"

In just concrete terms, I actually make money from my art, which obviously helps to support me. The fact that people actually buy my art gives me some validation and the impetus to keep making it. I consider making art my job, in a sense that it's something I have to do to keep the cash flowing in. Fortunately, it's also fun, so while it may be a job, it's not something I have to force myself to do (okay, sometimes it is.) I ask myself, "Would I still make art even if I never sold another piece?" The answer is yes. Because it's something I feel compelled to do. The monetary gains were of secondary importance until just recently. But here's what weird: I think I would make more interesting art if I didn't have the selling part of it in the back of my mind all the time. When money enters the equation, creativity and the sense of freedom required for creativity seem to skedaddle. Which is probably part of an answer to another of Leslie's questions, which I will address in a later post.

More abstract rewards are numerous. My art gives me an outlet for my creativity. I discovered that no matter how practical or pragmatic one may be, everyone is creative in some way. Anytime I solve a problem, I'm being creative. Many times making art is a matter of solving problems. I don't need instructions or a recipe; if I screw something up, I think of ways to either incorporate it or fix it.

For me, painting is a solitary experience. Since I am a hermit by nature, this usually doesn't bother me too much. But through my art, I have made connections, both personally and on the internet, with other artists. There is a community of sharing and mentoring artists that sustains me and encourages me and helps me every single day.

My art affords me the opportunity to learn new things every time I am in the studio. Maybe it's how two different colors interact; or how to use a medium of some sort, or what would happen if I put some sand in the paint; or how can I make this painting better; or why do I paint the way I do, when I really want to be able to paint like the guy in the YouTube video, flinging and splashing paint around and coming up with amazing art, when all I come up with a mess of mud. I'm still working on that last one.

Painting gives me a sense of accomplishment, of a job well done; or it whispers to me, "Mary, you have just mailed this one in. You can do better." It gives me joy, when things are going well, and it gives me grief when they are not. It redirects my attention, calms me down when things are upsetting, makes me concentrate on things outside myself. It teaches me patience. It has taught me to accept and enjoy many different forms of art and appreciate the efforts of every artist. And, perhaps subconsciously, it provides an outlet for expressing emotions that are hidden too deep inside myself for me to even recognize. And, like gardening, it's cheaper than therapy.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

. . .searched fpr texture

and texture-making tools yesterday. While I waited to have a prescription refilled, I wandered over to a scrapbook store just to check out the goods and see if I could find anything that would be good to use in making marks on canvas. I know, I know, I practically have a scrapbook store in my basement; I sure didn't need to buy anything else. But I had already checked out everything in the drugstore and I was bored and didn't intend to buy anything anyway. And, quite frankly, I'm a little sick of the circles and dots that appear in all my art. I need something else. . . All I found was a tiny little bottle of white ink on sale 40% off. I will use that in this cool little writing instrument that I recently discovered. There's a little cup at the end of the instrument that you fill with a few drops of ink or watered-down acrylic paint, and you can write with it or make all kinds of scratches and marks. Most everything in the scrapbook store was pretty or sweet, and I can't do pretty or sweet. I couldn't really find anything funky enough. The store had a huge area for teaching, with tables and equipment all set up. I thought about asking them if they would be interested in having me a teach a class on how to make your own collage paper. But then I remembered that the store sells mostly paper, so why would they want to have their customers make their own paper? So I didn't ask.

Recently I have had the thought of adding some rusty elements to my small experimental paintings, with a view toward integrating that into my larger art someday if my experiments work out. I was looking for my stash of rusty washers when I came across an old set of tiny carving tools, like for making your own rubber stamps. The kit included numerous different sizes of those little curvy knives, and a old dressmaker tool. I remember using it when I was learning to sew, about 150 years ago. After you pinned the pattern to the fabric, you inserted a piece of carbon-like paper between the pattern and the fabric, and then used this little serrated wheel to run over the pattern markings, leaving the markings imprinted on the fabric. Too cool. . . I will be using that little wheel for my canvases.

Above is another little painting that has to be done, because it is groaning under the weight of the crunchiness now. I think it looks sort of forest-y.

Friday, March 20, 2009

. . . scheduled worry time

Some time ago, I signed up for The Daily Ohm. Maybe some of you get these free messages, too. Sometimes I even read them. Mostly I skip over them. But yesterday I read one. It was about giving yourself the opportunity to experience your natural emotions, mostly the bad ones, instead of suppressing them deep inside yourself so they will fester and interfere with your mental and physical health and well-being. It was recommended that you schedule a time to experience these emotions, when you will be alone and feel safe. Then just let yourself go. And supposedly when you're done, everything is better.

I don't know. . . is worry an emotion? Or is it an activity? I am a worrier by nature, and I'm good at it. For the past few years, I had less to worry about, so maybe I was out of practice. But all of a sudden. . .at least it seems like all of a sudden. . .oh, my, there is so much to worry about. I tried ignoring everything that was worrisome, only delaying the inevitable. I tried to take action on those things that were problems, with some success, but sometimes creating more cause for worry. So now I'm going to schedule worry time. I'm not going to do it all day, every day. I resolve to worry for about 15 minutes every day. During that time, I will absolutely wallow in worry. Then I will move on to other things. Hopefully I will worry constructively: I will come up with a plan, a solution, a way out, an escape from a trap, a path out of the maze. I figure I can handle anything if I have a plan; it's when your back is up against the wall and there's no way out that things fall apart. Maybe I'll limit myself to one topic per day, whichever worry is greatest at the time. That's it. It's a plan. This afternoon I will worry. We should start a worry blog. Post your own worry for the day. Get it out there. The blog world is teeming with problem solvers. We should plug into that expertise.

Above is another accidental painting. Right now it reminds me of caramel and chocolate and nougat and nuts, which is making me want a candy bar. This one will undergo several more transformations before it's done, probably. Depends a lot on what I paint in the next few days. Something to worry about later.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

. . . created accidental art

Here is another small 5"x8" piece created on foamcore using bits and pieces, tools and brushes, paint and parts left over from my larger pieces. It's a little bit dismaying that I sometimes like this accidental art better than I like the pieces I've created purposely. As usual, this piece, like the other little pieces, has just layers upon layers of stuff on it. I think this one, however, is complete now and it will be hidden away so that I won't be tempted to alter it even more. Others that I'll show you in the next few days still need some more goop added. I'm trying to figure out a clever way to mount these small pieces. They are almost too crunchy to have a mat around them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

. . . watched YouTube videos

Here is a video I saw on Facebook of Michael Kessler's paintings. And go here to see how he creates his art. I was so interested in seeing the tools and methods he uses. Very few paint brushes were harmed in the making of his art, which is one thing we have in common.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

. . . hate being sick

but I sure was sick yesterday. And even today, I'm not up to par yet. So I decided to post this piece to show you where I am on it. . . it's the same one I showed a couple of days ago. Maybe I'll go down and work on some art later today. No St. Patrick's Day celebration for me, but to all who look forward to this day, have a great time.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

. . . visited the farm

It was my Uncle Albert's 85th birthday. In our family, the birthday years that end in 0 or 5 are the biggies, at least for the oldest generation. So Albert's daughter Pam and her family came from California and invited the families and neighbors to celebrate. The farm is a great place to take pictures, especially when it's not getting dark and your camera batteries aren't dying (again.) The picture above is of a huge pile of pipes, taller than me by a ways, behind the shed. Don't know what they are used for, or if they will ever be used. They've been there a while.

For everyone who wonders what a small family farm in Kansas may look like: this is an old silo, pretty sure it's not used any more. If you will look past the silo, to the horizon, you will see what I have been told is Rattlesnake Hill. Probably because there are rattlesnakes there. But it's also where the old farmhouse used to be before the new house was built. Uncle Albert sold that piece of land in the last year or so. I think it's the extension of his neighbor's cattle feeding operation now.

I love this old Ford truck. Only the front end survives, in a manner of speaking. I guess we can assume that chrome lasts a lot longer than metal.

I think these are the neighbor's cattle. Betsy took this picture. The cows were coming in to eat, and stayed back until we all left them alone. As long as there was a fence between them, the cows and the kids were comfortable.

Even though I grew up and lived around farms and farming communities, I know nothing about the details of making a living in this manner, and even less about Albert's particular farm. I don't know if he still raises any cattle, or if he actually farms any land, or what he might be growing on the land. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Albert, at 85, is cutting back on some of his physical labors. But I believe he does go out into his fields every day, still. It's a way of life.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

. . . wrested inspiration from

cracked concrete. Here is what I'm currently working on, just the beginnings. I haven't been in the studio for a couple of days. Happily, I was busy with Betsy and Joe yesterday. I don't know what happened to Thursday. . . did it occur? I don't remember it. Note that I am not using taped edges on this canvas, trying to keep anything of interest or any kind of material build-up away from the edges. I have marked roughly a 2-inch border, but only to keep the texture away from that area. Maybe this will solve the problem I mentioned the other day. My other thought is that on the next painting, I will use the tape until after the texture is applied, then remove it to paint. Only problem, I tend to apply texture throughout the entire process. I am so dim sometimes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

. . . am absent-minded

Yesterday I headed over to the UPS store to ship a package. I had been painting immediately before I left. . . no make-up on, hair barely combed, looking like a big mess, but not really caring because it was a quick trip and then back to painting. Looked in the rearview mirror. . . gasp. My eyes were ringed with white. Both of them. Hilarious. Don't ask how they got that way. Something to do with gesso on my hands and itchy eyes. And sadly, the effect was not rejuvenating. It did absolutely nothing for my dark circles and bags.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

. . . waited until daylight

to take this picture today. I thought I could just turn off the overhead lights in the family room and end up with no glare. Wrong. I ended up with a really dark picture that couldn't be fixed by editing. Then I taped the painting up in the dining room, with the dark brown walls. But the sun was shining in from the east, glaring onto the painting. So I ended up laying it on the floor by the front door. As long as the painting is small enough to fit in the frame while I'm standing over it, I think I have found the right place. Bigger paintings will just have to wait until it's nice enough to go outside and take pictures.

I spent my art time yesterday trying to repair cracks in a painting. I suspect that the cracks resulted when I used cheap, nonartist-grade materials as the texture base (i.e., spackling compound, anything from the hardware store.) Now I use Liquitex Extra Heavy Gesso for the texture base. Much better.

The other issue I'm having is that the framers are telling me that when they try to stretch some of the canvases I have painted, the paintings appear to be askew on the canvas and they end up with bits of unpainted canvas on some edges. This is disheartening to me, because I am soooo very careful to cut the canvas straight off the roll. I use a big metal yardstick that has a 90 degree angle on it, and I start with the selvedge edge of the canvas, which should be straight, right? My first thought was that the canvas was woven at a slant (which I used to encounter frequently when I sewed, especially on cheaper fabric.) It used to be you could tear a piece of fabric and make it square up. I haven't been able to do that with any canvas for a while. But I consulted with my friend at the art supply store and he told me it had more to do with the canvas stretching one way and not the other and also with using premade stretcher bars as opposed to making them from scratch. He told me the canvas I was using was fine. The solution is just to overpaint my canvases. So suppose I quit using painters tape for making a nice clean margin around my paintings, and just paint clear to the edge of the canvas? Would that work?

These problems make me realize how little I know about the nuts and bolts of painting. I suppose it's all part of my education, right? One learns by doing, and screwing up. Some experiments just won't work.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

. . . copied a collage

After using up most of a roll of canvas, I had one odd-sized piece left. I cut it into two smaller equal-sized pieces and decided to paint something with eye-popping color. I used one of the little collages I did during January as inspiration. I took five pictures of this painting this morning. Every one of them had that hazy whitish area in the upper left corner. Apparently it's just the glare from the overhead lights in the family room. Just try to imagine it isn't there. And try to imagine that the black looking rectangle in the middle of the right side is deep purple, because it is. I wonder why I bother to take pictures. I could just tell you about it and you could try to imagine how it really looks. There's a companion piece to this one that I'll show tomorrow. Try to imagine it until then.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

. . .stamped circles, grids

on this small piece of experimental art on foamcore. I am likely to use anything I can put my hands on as a circle stamp, from pencil erasers, paint lids, and makeup bottles to these little fake foam marshmallows that I found at a hobby store. The spiral is a stamp I carved myself and of which I am inordinately proud since carving stamps is not in my set of skills. And the plastic cross-stitch grid is perfect to use as texture, as is some screening material I found at the hardware store. This is actually one experiment that doesn't have too many layers on it. I think I'll just keep it the way it is now. I had better hide it or I'll probably keep playing with it until it's beyond artistic, all the way to a jumbled up mess.

Monday, March 9, 2009

. . . get a kick

out of these little accidental pieces of art made on foamcore with the leftover paint and texture material on my painting tools. This one is very crunchy; I would almost have to include a depth measurement along with the height and width (which is about 5 x 6".) I didn't really pay much attention to this one until I put the black mat on top of it and then it seemed to take on an exaggerated importance. Pay no attention to the white spots on the mat; my scanner bed needs to be cleaned from something I scanned that hadn't completely dried.

The trick for me on these experiments is to know when to stop. But actually, I can't screw them up, because they are total serendipity. And the more layers to them, the more interesting they become. I need to remember this when I'm making the "official" art. . . everything I do in the studio is a lesson, an experiment, gaining knowledge by doing something, anything. . . living up to the "what if I" tried this or did that.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

. . . were in style

According to this morning's style section of the newspaper, gray is the new beige, not only in clothing but in home decor. I guess that means my sweatshirts are the latest fashion, as is this painting which went out the door a week or so ago. See those five squares? Think they are black? Nope, they are deep deep purple, stamped on the canvas with the end of a small block of wood. And they correspond to another stripe of deep purple on the left side of this painting, that I managed to cut off when I took this picture. Lots of texture, markings, and the requisite pop of red. Still working on those neutrals.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

. . . decorated my walls

Mary Ann at Blue Sky Dreaming wants to know what art is on our walls. Leslie at Textures Shapes Color says we are rich in art, if nothing else. And I needed something on my walls for when the realtor showed up to analyze my house.

This is just the beginning of a painting. It is probably in its third incarnation. Once I painted over it. Then that paint flaked off, so I sanded it all back down to the bottom layer. Then occasionally I would put some paint on it as it sat in the studio, taking up space. It's the only painting I still have that is already stretched and framed. And since it is destined to stay with me, I haven't done much to it, preferring rather to spend my art time making things that might sell. Kind of like the shoemaker's children go barefooted, or another irony like that.

I'm pretty sure that at some point this painting will be radically different than it is right now. There is only one layer of each color on this canvas. . . who knows how many more layers it will end up with. In the mean time, against the dark brown of the dining room walls, it's eye-catching if nothing else. But I wouldn't want anyone to get up close and personal with it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

. . . framed random art

In an effort to have some art hanging on my walls when the realtor came over, I framed and matted this foamcore experiment. I hung it in the entry hall, to the left and a bit below a large black-framed round mirror, above a narrow antique mahogany table upon which I placed a couple of small green topiaries and a skinny lamp with an amber shade with little amber beads. Perfect. And a total coincidence. Good comments on the art from the realtors.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

. . . showed more papers

(Above) Example of two-sided poster.

(Above) An example of a folio of reproductions of Picasso works. The art is attached to a heavier piece of paper and under the art is a description of the work. There are probably 15 of these pieces.

(Above) An example of reproduction posters, possibly from an exhibit of old posters. Printed on paper like cardstock, nothing on the reverse side.

(Above) Complete magazine from '30s, but unbound, not together any more. Great ads for all kinds of things.

(Above) Complete magazine, 1944, still held together, kept in a plastic bag. WWII themed ads, articles.

. . . asked for advice

Another day of making no art, but I did have a chance to (badly) photograph some of the papers that came in the file cabinet I purchased from an artist and art teacher several years ago. I have no idea if these are valuable to anyone, but they are interesting.

The one above is representative of probably about ten reproduction paintings of famous artists. The art itself is reproduced on some type of linen, then the linen is sandwiched between a mat and a backing. There is another two-sided page that comes with each painting, listing the name of the painting, the artist, and the historical background of the painting.

The above are four cards, nothing on the reverse side, reproduction of old Vogue covers. So colorful and interesting.

Here is the repro Elvis painting by Leroy Neiman. The reverse side is also a Neiman, red, of Ali boxing.

Above is a reproduction of a French poster. There are several different styles, nothing on the reverse side.

and here is a calendar page with I believe James Dean.
There are many many more of these papers. I must have been in a hurry to snap them, because they turned out really bad, blurry, out of focus. I will try again. If anyone has any idea on how to price these things, please please please let me know. Also, tell your friends if they have any interest in old papers. AND, if you want any of these things yourself, leave a comment, make an offer, and it's yours. I will go back and take better pictures of the stuff for etsy, as well as measurements and other pertinent information. I will post more of them later today for your viewing pleasure and assistance to me.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

. . .decluttered the house

and cleaned it up so that the realtor coming today won't think I'm a total slob. It looks pretty good. (Don't go in the basement. . . it's like one of those horror movies, you know something terrible will happen if they go to the basement.) I think we improved the place while we lived in it, except for the nasty carpet in the family room. A few things need attention, I'm sure. . . there is a central vac system that I always hated and never used. I think it's screwed up. The water softener is probably kaput, too. A few nicks and dents in the painted woodwork. Just stuff you know is messed up but you learn to live with it until you can afford to fix it or forget about it because you don't really use it. Soon it will be time to clean up the yard and work in the garden, and if potential buyers see the garden in spring, it will blow them away.

So I had no time for making art yesterday. As I worked in the house, I noticed that I had almost no art on the walls, with the exception of a couple of small pieces I had purchased or received from other artists, and a small piece of my own that is small and perfect and that I can never duplicate. I have some spare mats and maybe a frame or two hanging around, so maybe I'll put a couple of my random art pieces up, the ones I create from leftover paint as I make the big pieces. Maybe it will be advertisement to potential buyers, both of the house and the art. That's assuming facts not in evidence: that there will be potential buyers coming through the house.

I have been involved and buying and selling a number of houses. Once it took two years, and we had two mortgage payments. Back in the day when interest rates were 18% or so, it was tough to sell a house. One time the kids and I lived in a house for months until it sold, while the husband lived and worked three hours away. So when we sold the house we had before this one in four days, it was a wonderful surprise. I am thankful that this is not an emergency situation. If needed, I can stay here for a while. And I don't have to take a low-ball offer, I don't have to arrange a short sell.

Everyday I hear another sad story about the effect the economic situation has had on families close to me. Very few of these people lived beyond their means. They were like me. . . we worked hard, saved up, didn't owe a lot, and somehow ended up losing everything. I sound whiny when I say it, but it just doesn't seem fair, does it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

. . .were totally overwhelmed

at the prospect of putting my house on the market. I have been in the studio, trying to sort out what to keep and what to sell and what to throw away. All I have done so far is to make an even bigger mess. The realtor will come tomorrow and let me know what I need to do to make the place more saleable. . . I suspect it will not be what I had thought before I talked to her. For instance, I have needed a new floor of some type in the dining area of the family room for a couple of years. I was all ready to pull the trigger and have some hardwood floors installed late last summer. For some reason I decided to wait and I'm glad I did. That extra bit of money has come in handy since then. I just figured I could have the carpet cleaned, throw down a rug on top of the carpet under the table, offer a carpet allowance and leave it at that. Now I bet I have to replace the carpet. I asked her if she thought I could get at least what I owed on the house; her reply was iffy. . . she was talking about a short sale. Whatever that is. We had 25% equity in the place when we bought it. That has apparently disappeared. So now I'm overwhelmed and disheartened. Maybe I'll just stay put. The mortgage company apparently can't help me until my payments are in delinquency. What a catch-22.

Anyway, back to the studio clean up: a few years ago I went to the garage sale of a local artist and retired art teacher. What a treasure trove of stuff at unbelievable prices. I purchased a two-drawer cabinet, kind of like a lateral file but old, wooden, and stuffed with papers this guy had accumulated over the years. I wanted the cabinet, but got the stuff for free. I suspect some of it is just crap, but some of it may be worth more than I think, especially after cruising around etsy and ebay for prices. Here's what I think is probably worthless: a bunch of those black old-time photo album pages to which are pasted reproduction art work of famous painters, taken from magazines and newspapers. Here's what I think may be more "valuable". . . reproduction of French caberet posters; reproduction of an oil painting of Elvis; a limited series of black and white drawings of old barns, etc. complete with Certificates of Authenticity; and the list goes on. I don't know how to put a price on these kinds of things.

Then there are the papers: mostly scrapbook papers, 12 x 12, in every color and pattern you could possibly think of. I am sorting these by color and will sell them for ten cents a page. Unless you all think that is too much. For instance, the first set I have completed is the blue, 50 various sheets for $5. But then I think, wow, what if I need that paper some day? Maybe I should keep it. Hah, the question is, where would I keep it? Ruthless is the word for this job.

Monday, March 2, 2009

. . . had lotsa fun

painting this piece. It's about 44 x 44" and although it looks crooked in the picture, it's not. . . that's just my photography and the fact that the canvas kept falling down around me as I tried to tape it to the wall. Anyway, there are lots of layers, marks, splashes, circles. . . just really letting go and seeing where it all took me. I used the brayer on this, too. And, just for good measure and because it felt good to do so, I had a piece of twine that I had embedded into another canvas, covered it with white gesso, and then removed it, and I flung this twine onto this canvas in random places.

In other news: my mother called last night to tell me that "Osage City is on fire". . . I made her explain what she meant. Apparently several buildings were damaged and/or destroyed by a fire in my hometown, and she, along with apparently everyone else in town, went to watch the fire. All the buildings in the "downtown" area are old and usually they have not been repaired or restored, but rather covered in lovely vertical sheets of metal siding. Or just left to do whatever old buildings do. So it's a wonder that the entire downtown didn't go up in flames. There's not much left of it anyway. But it's sad. . . the entire block that included my dad's store back in the day was razed a few years back, because the last building on the block just fell down. The city decided that the rest of the block was just minutes away from collapse, so now there's nothing where there used to be a bowling alley (movie theater before that), grocery store, doctor's office and bakery. See video here.

And perhaps you read my previous post on the status of the lovely junkyard on I-35 just south of Kansas City. A 20-acre veritable treasure trove for photographs of rusted piles of junk. And an eyesore. The State has moved in and started crushing everything in sight and hauling it off. I'm sad. . . I thought that mess would be there for a long time for me to take pictures. According to the paper, however, there are armed guards there now, keeping sightseers away. And apparently other people saw the treasure in that pile of junk, too. Historical automobile buffs are sad about the demise of the junkyard, too. The owner and the state got into a pissing contest over the area, and of course the state won.

And finally: I put Joe and Betsy into the shower last night with plastic bowls, measuring cups and a can of shaving cream. They would have stayed in there for hours playing. And they created some of the coolest contemporary abstract art with the shaving cream on the doors of the shower. I only wish I could have run downstairs and picked up the camera to record the masterpieces.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

. . . painted by brayer

On a lot of this painting, I used a brayer. . . a set of hard rubber printing brayers that have paint and medium crusted on them. . . so that when I ran it over the canvas, the paint would only be deposited on the peaks, the high points, of the texture. It was while I was working on this painting that I read the quote in Nita Leland's book about different colors every inch. There really isn't a solid one-color section in this painting. I think I'm getting back in the swing of painting, loosening up, having a lot of fun here. Still very geometric, a remnant of making all those later collages where I was really working with squares and rectangles.

Friday night and yesterday, my art rep teamed up with a local gallery and showed not only my paintings, but tons of other original art work: large, small, oil, acrylic, on canvas, on paper. Wonderful art to look at. Tons of invitations, a respectable RSVP response, and very light traffic. It is so rude, I think, to not show up when you've said you would. The gallery owner was a bit disheartened. The art rep said it was just the way things are going right now. It's hard to sell art at any time, but during difficult economic periods, you have to be a real optimist to continue in that line of work. I feel like the gallery owner and I made contact, which could prove valuable if and when people want to buy art again.