Monday, December 24, 2012

Colored Pencils

I  recently downloaded a bunch of art workshops that were offered for $5 apiece for one day only from Northlight Books.   I'm so glad I opened their  email that morning, because these are great.   Watercolor, mixedmedia,, colored pencil, gouache, and drawing workshops.   Expensive ones too, but just $5.     The first one I watched was on colored pencils.    I had recently taken part in a Webinar on Colored Pencils and it left a lot to be desired in instruction and this answered many of my questions.      So, last night I opened a  new package of pencils and tried them on some black  paper.      Lulu was sitting on my foot stool, posing, so I just had to sketch her.    I'm going to enjoy more of this pass time as it packs well and does not take a lot of room.    

Mixed Media - fused glass

One of our members (JC Strote) does fused glass.  She makes beautiful things she shows in the gallery.  On occasion I purchase some of them.     This month she invited our group to her home to make fused glass pieces, ornaments or whatever.   She had already cut and readied a lot of smaller bits of glass and had made a number of samples of what we might want to make.      Well, hardly any of us followed her samples, as we are a group of art rebels and resist following someone else's path - but we came away having had a marvelous experience with friendship and camaraderie in abundance.   She did the firin the next day and left a box in the gallery so we could pick them up.     Here's a pic of part of the group and some of the finished works.  Thanks JC for a great day.  And to Patti Wallace who was her helper setting up and getting ready for us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Senior Holiday Faire

Last Saturday the senior center had their annual holiday faire.  the artist group that meets there weekly had tables reserved to show our art and do demos.    I didn't take anything to sell, but instead showed mail art I had received from around the country.   Maybe something you sent!     People were delighted with the whole idea and the variety of cards I had with me.    I didn't take any pictures, but wanted to note the event so I have it on record .     There were quite a few very fun games during the day, and food, and a number of vendors selling their wares.    Crocheted dish cloths were my big purchase.   I stocked up since I can't do these myself.     I won a pottery piece in a white elephant game.   It was something Frances wanted but she didn't want to play, so I won it for her.    I also bought a couple small paintings from the other artists, for my grandsons who are learning to appreciate art and know the gals who painted them.    Note to self -    Next year bring my camera!     

Party for La Dean

One of the artists at the senior center is celebrating her 90th birthday.     She's active, lively, and fun to be around.      Her party was this morning, so we all made favorite finger foods, and surprised her with a good turnout.      Here's some pics.   Even at a pot luck artists confer on new projects.     La Dean plans to live beyond 100 years.   She might just do that.     Happy birthday.  

December - a busy time

 Two of my friends had birthdays and we celebrated them on the same day  at Bev's house.   I made the round book for Sally's  birthday, and the beach  themed book for Bev.    In Bev's I used a lot of older photos and colored pencils.    

 this picture is of me working in Bev's book at the Senior center, on a day that Phyllis was putting finishing touches on some lovely scarves.    

Here's our little group working on projects at Bev's.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Altering an old atlas

What to do with an old atlas.   The world has changed so much since this one was published, it's no longer good for finding countries.  Borders and names have changed in some parts of the world.   But the atlas was lovely and I could not send it off to the library book sale, as it just refused to  leave home. 

  Then one day at our critique meeting, Roberta showed me the atlas she was using to paint faces.     AHA!    I can do that!    But I can also do a bit of collage and also use it to store some faces in print that I collected and love.   

Roberta is working in acrylics.   I chose to "paint" with oil pastels because the colors are so rich and I just needed a good excuse to get them out and see what they could do.     I did a couple in acrylics too, but will show them later.   

 You will often see the Modgliani influence with the faces I draw.  I love long necks and faces.   Even the girl with thte pearl earring has taken on his style.  LOL

Working in a series

My mailing list is pretty large, so I often make my post cards in a series, sort of mass production, although each one is a bit different from all the rest.   For this series, I used two kinds of paper napkins purchased from TJ Max yesterday.  I paid $1.69 per package of 20 napkins by Punch Studio in Culver City, CA.   It takes approx 1/4 of a napkin for each card.   

I had already decided and printed out the vintage image I wanted to use this year and glued them onto the post cards.    Next I separated the napkins from the back two layers of white.  That leaves a fine layer of the design which can be glued onto the surface.  I tore them into strips and applied glue stick to the card and pressed the napkin strips onto the card.     It's more lively and interesting to use both napkins on each card.

Try as hard as you can to find two just exactly alike - and you'll find it's impossible.    One of a kind, each and every one.

Next I will trim the excess off and do some colorizing with inks and stains.    Then a coat of liquid gel medium to make sure everything stays stuck down well.    I have not decided yet whether to stitch around the edges, or use some glitter somewhere on them, or whether to layer on some tulle.     I like the holiday cards to be extra special, so I"ll probably do more tweaking and adding as the days go by and more ideas spring to mind.    To keep me company this a.m. while I was working on these, I was playing a DVD of The Vicar of Dibley.      That also put me in a good holiday mood.      Here are the pics up to the moment.  

Art jourals

 what is an art journal?    hmmm.... a book type structure that holds clippings, sketches, ideas related to art?   Perhaps this piece is more of an altered journal.     It was going to be an art journal but went another direction.  This one started with a catalog that came in the mail.  Well, two catalogs arrived the same day, and both of them had Tshirts with cute sayings.    I wanted to remember them, so decided to cut them out and put them somewhere.     This little journal was purchased at Michaels in the dollar bin years ago and I had never touched it.    I covered it with fabric and then started collaging in the tshirts and other images and sayings from the catalog and from my stash.    Here are some pics.   This is going to be a gift for a friend.    These are just a few of the 62 pages covered with art... if you want to call it art.  My friend will get some good giggles from this little friendship gift.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Surprise, two more in the mail box today

The California Art Girls swap brought in two more post cards today with fabric used on them.    The first one is from Beth, with the four photos and the words They Came t Stay stitched on.    It seems to tell a story - a story of two young men, two young women from a year book, I'd guess circa late 1950s.    What became of these people?    we'll never know. 

The second card that arrived has four trees on it. Terrie did not sew anything but used glues to attach the pieces.    It's adorable.    Another collage with layers and old fashioned writing mostly hidden with the fabric strips.    Very intriguing.    

Thanks gals, this is one of  my favorite swaps with our group.   I've loved every card that comes in.   

Critique Group

Critiques are such an important part of being an artist.   Learning from them.   Learning to give them.    Learning to ask questions.  Show your weaknesses.  Show your strengths.   

I have met for many years with a very small select cirtique group in Sacramento.  we all work in different mediums and have very diverse styles.   But, the group works.     Recently Roberta was asked to join the group as we had never invited anyone to replace our dear friend Jackie.   But it was a good thing.      And Roberta was the right person to bring some new energy and youth into the group.   Years ago, she invited Jackie, Sally and myself to join her in Ann Baldwiins' studio workshop.   It was the first workshop I had taken and  the first and last for Jackie, who usually preferred exploring art at her own pace in her home space.   We came away having learned so much and also enjoying the critique portion of the day, which Ann did so beautifully and thoughtfully.   This month we had a temporary vacancy, so we invited on old friend to come along, not to explore her art as her life has taken different turns and she is not active artistically right now, but because we enjoy her company and she can seldom get out to see these gals.    She also has some good insight during critiques as her creativity springs up from the depths.

We met at Le Bou in Elk Grove, which is kind of mid point between those coming down from Sacramento and those of us coming North from Stockton.     So, over teas and coffees in the morning, we caught up with each other and shared some new art, some still in progress.    Suzanne Ventura is getting works ready for her gallery showing.    All about books in one form or another.   Some are constructed, some are destructed, some are portions only.    Very interesting the things that come out of her brain.   I won't show pics because they are saved for her opening.     If they have an online gallery, I'll post a link later, because you really should see her  amazing works.     Roberta brought paintings  in progress for feedback,  she is always open to hearing opinions and it does generate some interesting discussions.    She also showed us some recent things she's done.     Pat did not have work to share, except part of a new novel she's working on.     That generated a discussion on writing and poetry.      All of us occasionally dabble in poetry or written words in our works whether they be in fabric, or paper, or on the web.        Pat was an English professor and is a book reviewer, so she's always up on what to read.        Sally is busy making samples of invitations and announcements for her granddaughters upcoming wedding.   So, other art has taken a back seat.     It was interesting to hear later that the GD liked our favorite sample.      I took some things I have not shared here yet.    Only because I have not photographed them yet.     Maybe this week I can get them online too.

Mid November

It's November 23rd.   Black Friday.    Who's out there shopping?   Not me, for sure.      I thought I'd take today to finish up some things and also to update this blog.      I've been in another swap with the CA art girls, and this time the one requirement is that there is at least a little bit of fabric on our post cards, or they can be totally fabric.    No other theme.    So, I think the variety will be great.    So far, I had one card from Roberta, who does not sew, but is game to try using fabric scraps.    This one has a piece of one of her husband's neckties.     Interesting in itself, as she does not even have a stash of fabrics like so many of us.   So, she used what she had.   Good for you Roberta.     The fabric and collage elements all work so well together, it's a really nice card.

Debbie sent this lovely card on which she used a fabric background, a stamped leaf image with copper paint on another bit of fabric, a piece of yarn/ribbon, and stitched it all together with turquoise thread.    This is very lovely.   It only had to come less than 50 miles, and it took $1.95 worth of postage according to her post office.   

The next card is one from an online group challenge.  It had to come all the way from Canada , and it cost Mary Lou Curry $1.05 to mail it from there.     The theme here was two colors plus a button.    I'm particularly fond of her color choices, and all the different things she used to create this quilted card.    She mailed it in a clear envelope so none of the attached yarns snagged in the postal machinery.    

This next card with the line up of women, is the one I sent to Roberta.   I made 8 of them for the swap and didn't make an extra for myself.  Wish I had.   I guess I"ll have to dig out that special fabric again and do it later.      I've saved the fabric for several years, waiting for the right thing to use it on.  It seemed like a good opportunity to share it with some artist friends by using it on post cards.  

I made a fabric envelope to house a birthday present I made for my granddaughter in Boston.   I thought the fabric was so lovely I could not resist.   One the other side I stitched on the address labels, and a piece of paper where the postal stamp would be attached.     I wonder if she'll recycle the fabric?  

The next sample I'd like to share with you is a stitched piece of fabric which was done with a layer of paper napkin stitched to the front, then dampened and the paper napkin rubbed away except for close to the stitches.   I loved the sampled I'd seen of this technique online, but am not really happy with my results.   I'll be trying it again soon, and maybe I'l use a double stitch with the machine from Rosemary.    I think the lines would be more dramatic.    I'm showing the front and back so you can see the process better.      

The last one is using the same technique over fabric with a collaged paper element over it placed with gel medium, and then the whole piece was coated with a diluted white glue,, so it's sort of plasticized.

These are a few of the things I've been up to or have received.    Enough for one post.     More to come.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mail art In box

I've had some nice things come into my mail box recently.   Some from swaps, some from friends.   Here are a few pics. The blue button is from Pam Crawford, the leaf is from Mary Szot, Halloween girl is from Nancy Sadoyama, Find Out is from MicheleAttaway, and the one with the little car is from Margaret.  Thanks gals.   I love the new additions to my collection.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

End of October

Goodness Gracious.  Another month sped by.       I'm busy working on the brochure proposal for the art center, and have been serving on the Small Works Show committee.    The show is up now, having een hung earlier this week.     On the first day of taking in the art for the show, I was encouraged/badgered into brining in some work the following day, to enter in the show.   So, first thing in the morning I reframed the fabric face collage, and did some changes in the background of the matted version of my great grandparent's farm   I needed some color and found an old hectograph pencil with green lead in it.   I don't know where it came from, I must have inherited it from either my mom, or my aunt.    It worked perfectly by tapping it lightly with a damp qtip to add another layer of trees behind the farm, and I used it very faintly in the  foreground to tie it together.    I was much  happier with it, and found a frame and popped it in before it was even dry.   Then thinking I should enter something dimensional because the first day, there had not been many entries.  I chose my little asian inspired fabric book, called Wisdom.    It has Charlie Chan quotes in it, and some embellishments handed down from my mom and my aunt.    It is meant to show the wisdom passed on through families and other sources.

   The glass popped out of the top of the frame on the larger piece and the Jean Justeau, chair of the show, fixed it because she said she really wanted it in the show.    Thanks Jean.   That can happen when we use cheap narrow frames.     Note to self.     Dont' do that again!

Now the show has been judged and I'm so glad I did enter because I took first place in mixed media wall art with the little farm scene, and a third place for the fabric collage face.     The little asian inspired book took first place in the 3 dimensional mixed media category.     Opening reception is Friday night.      Francis took a third in 3D MM, Patti took a 2nd.      The big winner was Janet Hayden's Best of Show, a MM piece done with Citrasolv.     Janet and Patti each took other ribbons as well.   Our mixed media artists did well at this show.   It was judged by Susan Richardson, of   I think she's from Tracy.   The show was hung by Richard Bepristis who took an honorable mention for an acrylic painting.    He's a fabulous painter and another judge probably would have given him higher awards.     Judges have their own preferences and this one favored mixed media.    She will come to our next membership meeting and give a critique of the works.      That is always an interesting experience, I learn a lot from them.

Halloween has come and gone.  Here is a pic of Candis all grundged up.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sharing art with kids

Well,  my friends, let me tell you, yesterday was a fun day!  A one of a kind day.      A first for the senior center.  We hosted the second and third graders to a day of fun and learning.     The kids attend a church school that's within walking distance.     All cleanly scrubbed in their school uniforms, they filed in and took seats at assigned sections of the big room.     John, Jean, Frances, Phylllis and I had two art tables that would fit 10 kids.    We spread out papers, glue sticks, stickers, ribbons, glittery foam shapes, scissors and old magazines.    Originally it was to be a paper and fabric collage exercise, but one of the gals didn't have the "right stuff" and ventured off to the dollar store and got kid friendly stuff.     Probably a really good idea for kids this age.   I had looked at it as a teaching opportunity, but instead it turned into play.   I relaxed and went with the flow.    Kids loved it, and considered it art play time.    Each group of ten kids would rotate after 30 minutes they would move to another activity.    

Two more tables were set up in another part of the room where kids made something else artsy.  I was too busy to go see what they did there.   At another work station, the kids each had a pumpkin to decorate with veggie trims.    Green pepper slices, olives, lettuce leaves, and grapes.      Seniors assisted them with the hammer and tooth picks which were used to anchor the veggies.  Some of them added marshmallows.

Another work station let the children build little apple tarts, which were then baked, so they could eat them later.     In one corner there was a senior lady reading story books to her 10 kids.      In another room kids learned a little Tai Chi and some Salsa dancing.    

We were tired out by the end of their time with us, and so were they.   They still had the walk back to school.      It was so much fun to be with them, and just watch and help them.     It brought back many good memories and warm fuzzy feelings.     

Looking for inspiration

What better place than a ride in the country with friends to a wonderfully colorful quilt show held at a premiere winery?   With the threat of rain coming in across the valley, we were lucky to have this one free day to enjoy the countryside.   We didn't see a lot of color, but enough to know that Fall is definitely here.   Here is a quilt done by my friend Mary, I tagged it as one of my favorites before I noticed her name on it.

   So, see, I was not prejudiced! 
   I also liked a zen tangle wall hanging.

I had not seen zen tangles in the quilt arts before.  

 In the wearable arts, there was a sweet little dress made of an old embroidered table cloth.   How sweet is this?

Since this quilt show is held in Calaveras County, the home of Mark Twain's Jumping Frog Jubilee, there are always some frog quilts.  Here is one sample. 

 I put that one in for Diane!     Here's a hello from Murphys for the gals at Cloth Paper Studio, one of my favorite Yahoo groups.