Friday, May 25, 2012

Mixed media - Ceramics Day

Our mixed media group likes to mix it up a bit and do something different now and then. Yesterday we met at a ceramics shop and had some fun painting on ceramics. Each of us picked out a piece of greenware and then the glaze colors to paint them. We each have our own styles of working and tackling projects so our pieces vary greatly. I took pictures of the before firing pieces. I will later post pics of them after firing when the colors will show correctly. We all have our fingers crossed that what we see in our heads will translate to the ceramics. These are the last of the gals finishing up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fabric flowers

The Cloth Paper Studio group online is having a fabric flower swap. I thought I'd signed up for it, but when I checked the database, I had not. The pictures posted by the swappers made me want to make some anyway, but Rachel emailed that I could still get in the swap. So, this morning I set out to make some. No pattern, no real idea, just messing about. At a quilt show last year I purchased a darling little green and pink fabric flower for my hat, and I thought I'd copy that idea. But then I remembered a cutter quilt in the closet and thought I'd make them with an old quilt. Well, that idea went by the way when I reached for a hot pad in the kitchen and noticed the edged which had been clipped and then washed to make an interesting edge. Thought it would work for flowers too, so that's the direction I went. First to the drawer of fat quarters, and picked out some fav colors. I used a single piece of the cutter quilt in each one, and about 6 -8 circles traced around the bottom of my gel medium container. Stack, stitch, and clip. Sew on a button or two. How easy can it get? I washed a couple in the laundry and they really curled up on edges. Here are some pics.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Keeping busy

How did we ever find time to have a life and work a regular job? There are so many fun things to do all the time. I went out and bought a new car to replace my old Toyota Rav4. This was a great car, so dependable and worry free. But, since it passed the 160,000 mile mark awhile back, I've been starting to worry about being on long drives in the summer heat to come, with two little helpless dogs along. What would I do if something went wrong along the road and we had to stop and wait for help? Well, not that a newer car couldn't have problems - but the likelyhood is that an older car eventually will start to have problems. So, now I have a much newer Rav 4. It's quite a bit larger than the earlier version. In fact, it's very roomy - particularly in the back seat with lots of knee room. And it feels so much more powerful. AND--- the ride is so much more comfortable. My old one drove like a little truck. I felt every bump and pebble on the road. I got used to it. Now I feel like I'm driving a luxury car - it's very cushiony.

I bought it on Monday last week. I've already driven friends to Sacramento to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, to Herald on anther day with friends along to visit a friends' horse ranch, and then back to Sacramento yesterday for a meeting of our art critique group.

Linda, the one with the horse ranch has challenged us all to make some art inspired by our visit. we could pick up things around the ranch, or use photographs - anything. I started carving a rubber stamp yesterday. I'll post pics soon. I'm using a photograph of her daughter's huge black horse. It was so beautiful and majestic. The miniature donkeys were so friendly and adorable, but the horse was so impressive, he was more inspiring.

Tomorrow the mixed media group will be painting ceramics in Lodi. That will be fun since many of us have not done ceramics for years, or even decades. I probably will go to the country for the big Memorial Day celebration with bake sales, arts and crafts show in Arnold, bingo, and lots of activities.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Gala

The art show opened last evening with a crowd of 280 people. Most of whom were wearing "Vintage Hollywood" kind of things. Any kind. We had Norma Desmond, we had Joan Crawford, King Kong, Elvis and Goldie Hawn, gangsters, kings, and we all dragged out our old furs that have not been worn in decades. It was lots of fun. Here are a few quick pics. My fearless fab friend Francis is Mae West. She could not find her mascara so she used Marks-a-lot. Yikes. I just called her and told her I read you can use toothpaste to remove it from things. I don't know about faces!!! Dont' give permanent ink pens to children - or to wild women in their 80s! That's all I'll say about it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Using rubber stamps

I joined a swap in one of my online groups, and the challenge is to carve a stamp with a number from 1 to 9. Each player selects the number they want to carve. Then we each make 9 of them. We mail them off to Diane in Texas and she deals them out and send us each a full set. I'm so anxious to see what the others are creating. I enjoyed the #1 set so much I signed up for the next swap and picked #3 to do. These will go out in the mail next week and I'll be watching my mailbox for the envelope containing the other ones. If I get permissions, I will post them here so you can enjoy them as well.

A little free time

Now that the program is at the printer's for the Spring Art show, I can call my life my own again. Whew! One day on a break I looked into a boot that's been on the shelf for several years. "New Directions in Altered Books" by Gabe Cyr. In it, there are a couple pages of self portraits by artist Pamm O. Hanson done in watercolor on pages in an old book. She painted one a day for a month. and a few more. I really like images over text, so as soon as I had a break, I had to try painting in a book. I used watercolor crayons and water. Here are some samples done on various break times. I'll want to revisit this technique again soon. The bright one is enhanced by increasing the contrast in Photoshop Elements. The pages are old and dry and soak up the moisture immediately. And they dry much lighter in color than they appear while painting them. I may go back with some pen and ink on them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rubber stamps

These are pics of a few images stamped with the new ones I carved. I did the cat facing each direction. Think it will make an interesting border. Also the hats will make good borders.

Now that I see them together I think the cat is sneaking up on the hat . Perhaps there is something hiding under it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

New Art

Here's a new Post Card by Roberta Schmidt. I have a little painting I purchased from her Etsy site and this will be a companion to it. Thanks Roberta, she's lovely. I'm so tickled to have her.

The other pic is of a rubber stamp I carved this a.m. I use rows of little people often in my work, and thought it would be fun to have it carved. Sometimes I draw them, sometimes I use stencils that I cut out, sometimes I paint them. This is just one more way I can apply them. I used a new carving tool , a Staedtler brand with the #1 tip, and a hand friendly handle. I like it a lot. I'm using the Speedball Speedy Carve block. It is my block of choice since it carves cleanly and easily.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mail Call

I've been too busy to post the cards I've received lately, or the ones I've been sending. Here are some I received. Thanks gals for these fun additions to my collection. The silhouette is a new thing for Roberta, and I'm lucky enough to get one of them. The digital one is from Sally, who usually is a cut and paste kind of gal, but either there was too much stuff on her table, or she just needed a little break. Thanks Sally. The longhorn is from Susanne. The "loaded" card is from Pat. Hmmm... what was she thinking? She is too funny. The parrot and cracker one is from my humorous friend Norma. Very funny. I'm sure you will get a giggle out of it. The dancers is from Phyllis. Doesn't it make you want to kick up your heels and dance? The card with the collage inset is from a Lodi artist/friend Suzanne. She has such a knack for using specialty papers in unique ways. I see mountains and clouds in her torn papers. And gold in the hills. I doubt it shows that well online, but if you could see it up close - there are tiny little flecks of gold on it. Makes me think of Gold Canyon in Nevada with the color amped up a zillion times.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Art Shows - behind the scenes

On the surface an art show looks like it's easy to put on - but I tell you there are so many people behind the scenes and people are scrambling. This year registering art pieces for consideration in the juried show was done online. A first for our group. A bit confusing and some of the older people had a lot of trouble. First there is getting a good photo of art work without glares. Then converting it to a size and format for the entry. Then establishing a presence on the website to pay entry fees and to add photos. Once everyone is done with that, the judges make decisions on what art is accepted and what is not. Everyone has to be notified of their status, and not everyone has a computer.

At this point art has to be delivered and registered as received and placed into the appropriate categories for judging. More volunteers to do all this. (Bobbi and I worked on that the first day.) For two days. Then the big judging day, when panel of three judges look at the art. Everything in each category is set up so they can see it all. In this case, they put sticky notes on those that might be prize winners. Then those pieces are moved to a location where they can see them together and debate their merits. Finally a decision is made as to first place, second, third, 1st honorable mention and other honorable mentions. All this is recorded by a volunteer (Phyllis) and the show chair. Then temporary ribbon markers are placed on the winners (this was my job). The first place winner is moved to another location where it will be in the running for best of show. Then the judges move to another room where another category is set up for their viewing. The same steps take place for each category. In the background however, volunteers (my two grown grandsons and a buddy were among the volunteers doing this) have cleared the first room and set up a new category there, so when they finish the second category, they can move on to the third. As judges finish with the second category and move on to the third, the volunteers whisk the art away and start setting up another category there. It was like a beehive, with everyone either working, or waiting for their next assignment. It's actually a lot of fun for everyone as we are viewing the work and making our own predictions. Being in the room with the judges and the show chair is a really fun job - it's my fav. I love hearing the judges comments and debates. We try to blend into the background so as not to be a distraction and not to apply any pressure to hurry them. It is a great educational opportunity to learn what criteria they use and how they often do not agree, so it is either by wearing the others down, or by putting u p a convincing rationale for giving one piece a prize over another one favored by another judge. Very interesting. As the last step, all the first prize winning entries are placed side by side and they pick best of show. That one gets $1,000 as a prize. Woo hoo. If you want to see who wins, google Lodi Community Art Center Spring Art Show. My favorite piece did not win best of show, but it was immediately purchased by one of the judges. It will stay in the show, she will pick it up at the end.

My next duty is to prepare the printable program for the event. We list each artist, each category, the medium used, winners, where they are located, etc. These are handed out to everyone at the show. I will use part of the collage I did for the cover. The tickets for the gala were made with the post cards, and the name tags will also use a cut down version of this art piece. It's getting a lot of use.....

Other volunteers will load up the artwork in trucks and vans and move them to the winery which is about 10 miles away from the gallery. Then they will be hanging the show. They hang them on the wine barrels. It always looks wonderful. You can see last years' on the website.

These are just a few of the volunteer opportunities (jobs) that are done to get ready. A group put together beautiful gift baskets which are up for raffle prizes. Catering the gala event is done by an outside group, but during the two day show, food is provided by the membership.

So much work for the two day event. It is our biggest fundraiser for the year. This year the funds made by ticket sales for the gala will go to support the art programs at the local high schools. They had severe cutbacks in funding for supplies and art materials. We are hoping to make a sizeable donation to help them. Wish us luck. I wish you could be here to see the amazingly wonderful art!

these photos were taken last year.