Friday, May 31, 2013

More Journal pages

These pages were  done by stamping multiple images from 2 cube style stamps, the kind that has a related image on each side directly on the journal page.  Diluted liquid acrylics were then washed over the areas around the images and circles were added of the same paint.

This spread was done by first cutting the stencils and keeping the masks.  They were placed directly on the blank pages.  Lumiere paints and Golden's titan buff acrylic were blended for the random background.  The circular stencil is one of those old photo disks that used to come with certain photo packages.  I just popped out the negatives.  The xxx at top right is crayon.  Sometimes when you need a little color added, it is so simple to use our plain old school crayons.   They are so often overlooked with all the fancy products that are available, but I hope you continue to use them too.    When's the last time you colored something with crayons?   Hmmm.....

The first step here was to sketch the outline of the face on a piece of paper, and cutting it out. .   I used the cutout as a mask, held it down on the paper and sprayed watercolors and inks on the background, then blended them together by rubbing with a paper towel.  Lately I have been wearing latex gloves for a lot of my projects as it protects the hands and nails from the products that stain my hands and ruin my nails.  The man in the cage is a rubber stamp of the cage stamped over a portrait on a book page.     Other collage elements were added, then the face was colored in with aquasticks and blended with my fingers through a latex glove.    Then the cage was outlined with the aquasticks also and rubbed in to blend.    The collage scraps were left overs which had been sprayed with the inks and paints.   

This page faces the previous one.   I had made a rough outline sketch of a face with white crayon and then sprayed the background with the watercolors and inks and blended with a paper towel.   Well the white was not successful, so I decided to put a face here with other products.  It's kind of ugly, but I like it anyway. Aquarelle sticks were used for the color, with a few touches of black sharpie pen.    To get the silhouette of the man at the bottom, I put down a mask cut for  a previous project down and outlined him with aquarelle stick.    Then the collage elements were added.  

As you can see, there is no real theme here.   These are just pages done at random to exercise skills and to use the various materials on hand.   And to use up some of the collage elements that surround me.   I'll  post more later.   

Thursday, May 30, 2013

art in the park

Senior Awareness Day is a great way to show and see art created by seniors.   It is very diverse, both with materials used and subjects.   One of my favorite things today was wire sculptures of cowboys, cowgirls, indians and other humans done by this cowboy.    Here's a pic of me posing with him.  I could not resist, since I had dressed up for the western theme day.
 My friend Phyllis took two ribbons (includes cash prizes) for two of her pieces.  One is an abstract watercolor on Yupo, the other was a manzanita  branch on which she had cleverly painted animal figures that she "saw" in the wood using the knots and bends to inspire her. 

 Congrats Phyllis.   And me.  I'm the one that kept telling her she was ready to show now.   Like Francis pushed me into showing a few years back.   Phyllis did great!    Jean took a ribbon, although she had specified she did not want to be in the competition.  

We walked all around the park looking at the booths and the car show.    It was really fun I've never taken to time to see it all before, as I was stuck with a table display.  Not this year, I was there with my grandson Trevor for the fun.   I'm totally inspired by the color reflections on the metallic paints of the cards.   What a rush!   These cars are awesome.    Can you tell it's my first car show?  

Another of our favorite things was the exhibit by the zoo staff.   There was a cunning pocket sized one eyed owl perched on a stick who kept watch over everything.   There were many skins of mammals and reptiles to marvel over and touch.     This bull frog skeleton was so delicate and precious.    The toes on it's back feet were long, with one toe being much longer than the rest.     Amazing.   I took the photo through a plexiglass case, but you can still see it pretty well.
Look at those toes.    Now I want to make a wire sculpture of a frog skeleton.    Hmmm...   Maybe I can get the cowboy to teach me how.      Hmmm....

Monday, May 27, 2013

Daily Art

Almost every day I make some kind of art.     Recently I was inspired by my friend Sally's larger format art journal.   I'd been working on small ones lately, and this seemed like it would be a good change.  I also like the fact that the paper is heavy enough for watercolor or acrylic paints.     And the spine is a coil, so it can take some expansion and opens full out for two page spreads.     Here are some recent pages.    This is simply called May 2013.

These first two were done with scraping some acrylic craft paints on the page with a credit card.   then going back after it's dry to see if there are any found images.    I usually find people, fish, or birds.     The second one had very clear little creatures which I outlined in pencil.   I don't know why they have an ice cream cone - it was just there.

See?   There are the fish, and a boat.    My friend Phyllis can find 10 times more things on a page like this than I can - and a much broader variety of things.     It's a fun technique.  If you have not tried it, you might like to .  Not every page will have anything.  At least not for me.  But, I'm really only trying to make backgrounds for collages, so anything else found there is a bonus.
This one used some rubber stamps I carved earlier in the month at the senior center.    The numbers are from a purchased set, as are the letters.    This is my take on the Thoreau quote about chairs

This double page spread was done with sprayed on watercolors, through lace and other textures.   Then I sketched in the figures and outlined and colored them with aqua sticks, rubbing them in with my fingers. Last came the collage bits applied with a glue stick. 

More than one technique was used on this page.   swiped liquid acrylic paint, and sprayed watercolor.  Then the rubber stamps with permanent ink, and some collage.

Here is a page where the swiped paint formed a pair of swans?   snakes?   I did not outline them or do anything except punch up the contrast in photoshop, as the paint colors are pale.   

I'll post more pages soon.     Have you tried changing sizes of journals?     I'm enjoying this larger format for a change.    I gave the last small journal to my friend Frances who had a family issue that took her out of town, so she has a small one to enjoy.

Portrait pens

I treated myself, with a 50% off coupon at Aaron Bros., to a set of dual tip pens in portrait colors.     I usually do not do well with pens.  I"m more of a pencil or crayon type.   But, I like drawing faces, so thought they'd come in handy.    Here is the first little drawing I did.  
It will take a little practice, but it will be fun.    I watched a video on YouTube since doing this and see that I can blend it better.     I recommend watching it before starting out on your own, but no harm done.  It's just a piece of paper.    LOL

New blog for Lodi Art Center

I've taken on the blog for the Lodi Art Center, as it was established awhile back seldom  used.   I felt like I could contribute in a small way by keeping our membership updated on art things.  It is also open to anyone from our website.    Check it now and then for our organization news tidbits.     
Here's a picture taken on Thursday - pardon the paint spray.    Painter had just switched off the paint gun to let us in.    This is Monday and lots has happened since then.    The electricians have been there and did the new lighting.  I"m sure the cabinet doors are back on now.    Stuff has been moved into new space, but nothing has found a home yet.   That starts this afternoon.      So, that's were I"ll be.     

What's up?

That was the question in his eyes as he approached our picnic table at White Pines Lake.    For a dog without a collar, he was very well mannered and sat behind me while we were having out hamburgers and fries.    Francis and Trevor were with me.    We thought about feeding him, but thought we'd wait until we were nearly done so he would not be a pest.    He was such a gentleman and made no sound or motion.   When we did offer him food, he would take it from the hand or in a dish but would not pick up anything from the ground.  He's obviously been well trained.    Seemed to be a stray, but he's not skinny or skittish.  Maybe he lives nearly and  just strolls down to the campground for tidbits .   Anyway we enjoyed his company.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Inspired by birds

Many of us use birds in our art.   Whether we are painters, work in collage, clay, fabric, wire, or whatever, birds are great subjects.    I think it was the last issue of Cloth Paper Scissors with birds featured.    Well, this is post is just to share a local  bird experience to give you inspiration.    

 My neighborhood is overrun right now with mockingbirds and it's mating season apparently.    There's one on top of a telephone pole.  There's another one perched on the very tip top of the tallest tree, swaying in the breeze.   More on the next block as well.  Their voices travel far.  They are all pouring out their hearts trying to attract whatever females are in the vicinity.    

Their songs are pure art.     Maybe improvisational jazz, with trills and repetitions, and free flowing dialogues.      They start about 5:30 in the morning.  It makes me happy to wake up and open the door and let the music in.     I hope you have some in your neighborhood.      I want to pick up my paint brush and capture the mood and the variety of sounds in paint.      

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Advice for artists - in someone elses' words

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you.
–Chuck Close

The new gallery space in Lodi

I had my first visit to the new gallery and studio space.    I liked it much better than I thought I would.    Of course it is still a work in progress, but I can see they have already made some changes that give more wall space for hanging paintings, and kept some of the built in cases in which smaller works, 3 dimensional things, and also paintings can be displayed.    I used to love the illuminated wall cases at the library. Things showed very well there.     These will work the same way with movable shelving which can be raised, lowered, or removed depending on what's being shown.    JCs glass pieces will really show well there. And Glen's wood pieces, and other's pottery will show well in them too.       The studio class room is awesome.   It has a southern exposure and high ceilings.    Nothing fancy, but the lighting is wonderful and I adore high ceilings.
The floor is a mess there, but that can be fixed later on.   Right now the push is on to get the gallery ready to open so we can be in business again and make back some of the money we are spending on renovations.

There are lighting issues to be addressed, floors to be upgraded, walls to be painted - and more.  It's exciting to see it now and watch the progress.      

I didn't take the camera with me, I walked out of the house thinking it was in  my purse, but I had used it at home this am and forgot to put it back in.   I promise to get  pictures posted soon.    

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What's happening in Lodi?

The big news is that the Lodi Community Art Center is getting ready to move to new digs.    The decision was  made to put the gallery and Art Center in a down town location, hoping it will bring in more walk in traffic and also bring in new patrons as we become more involved in the downtown life, where it is "happening".   Wine tasting is a big thing in downtown Lodi, and is bringing in tourists who also might be interested in art and visiting the gallery.   I get my first look at the space as it is now - tomorrow afternoon. I'm very anxious to see it and watch it develop.     There is a lot to be done with vacating our current premises, and moving everything.    Our new address will be 110 W. Pine Street.   It's between Church and School Streets, on the Southside of the street.   I'll take some pics to share later.

I'm no good at moving things, but I can contribute to the cause by designing the new brochures, which I just finished a few  minutes ago.   I created them in MS Word and uploaded to VistaPrint.   I placed the order online  during one of their special sales promotions, in time to take advantage of a really good deal.  In 7 days or less, they will arrive - all 1,000 of them, shipped free right to my door.    Times are a'changing.   This is nothing like the old days when things were constructed and designed, cut and pasted by hand, then carried across campus to the print shop where Jim Bratcher would work out the details of getting them printed in the University Print Shop. He was a genius!    And someone we knew and liked and appreciated.   Now, all this design work is done on computers and with the flick of a finger - you can edit, add to, or change anything. It is so much easier - but I miss having a real life person to consult with.   

Awhile back on another printing project, I had a problem I could not figure out myself, and VistaPrint customer service was able to walk me through it on their chat line.   There really was a live person there who understood English and was most helpful.  I was uber impressed.   I still missed Jim though. LOL  I hope he's out fishing on a boat now, or enjoying his grandchildren.  I can't help wondering what he thinks of all this new technology and the self publishing boom.

BTW the printed post cards I send out a couple times a year are printed at Vista Print. Get on their email list for special offers and try them out.    I am happy to recommend them.

Garden Art

My garden is a catch all for things that are interesting that don't fit in the house or studio.     This is a pic of a corner of the garden where I set up a metal easel with a wire piece that I set out to rust.   while it is sitting there, I just keep adding things to it.    It is eventually going to be a wire book.     Well, I guess it already is.   LOL    

New to me - Tracy Theater

After showing a piece of art at the Tracy Community Center along with a few hundred other artists for their annual show - 20 of us were invited to show our work at a beautiful gallery at the historic Tracy Theater.    Yesterday I went to pick up my piece so had a chance to visit the gallery for the first time.    Let me tell you that is one fantastic facility.    The community there has pulled together for nearly 2 decades to create an art space with the gallery, a dance recital hall, rooms for art classes, etc.   It is the cleanest, neatest artistic space I've seen in a really long time.  I was uber-impressed!!     And I was invited by the curator to be one of the artists they represent.      What an honor.     I'm not going to do anything about this right now, because I really don't care to sell my art - and they need to make sales so they can collect their commissions to support the facility.      Anyhow, to make my story short.    Visit the Tracy Theater Gallery any time you are near there, it is awesome.  And the curator is such a nice young man, who can discuss art intelligently and seems to have formed many good art friendships.  I only hear good things about him from others.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lost faces

I found these quick little sketches in my scanner today.  I had wondered what became of them.   LOL  One is done with pencil, crayon and inks.   The second was done with charcoal and a pale ink wash.    I don't think the scanner picked up the subtle colors.

These faces pale in comparison to real life.    Here is a recent pic of art friend Frances at the  Spring Art show.   (more pics of the event at the link).  We go in costume - hers is always the most outrageous! and comes with an act and character which she pretty much sticks to for the whole event.      Let me tell you about Frances.   Most of my friends are pretty conservative and quiet.   Not Frances.    Most of us try to avoid confrontations and angst.   Not Frances.   She prefers to be in the center of a fray, and if she isn't she'll find a way to get into it.     Or stir one up for the heck of it.      Everyone needs a friend like her.    Bless her heart , she just turned 81.   For all the bravado, she is an extraordinarily giving, warm hearted,  and sentimental person.    A give them the shirt off her back kinda gal.  

Saturday, May 4, 2013

ATC swap

The new group I hooked up with on The Trodden Path,  had a swap for ATCs with the theme of winged children.      So I signed up, and made three little ATCs which got sent off to Australia yesterday.    I'll post pics of what I receive when they arrive.       In the meantime, here is a quick shot of the ones I made.
Next thing I signed up for is a 20 minute painting challenge.  The rules are:   Get paints and stuff ready.  Set the timer.   Paint away.  When timer goes off, stop.    Take a picture of it and submit it to their web gallery.    Sounds like a fun exercise.      There is no theme, so it can be a painting of any old thing.        


A new month again.  April sped by with so many activities.    I'm hoping May will be a quieter month.     The Sacramento Critique group met at Susanne's in downtown Sac.    She  and her husband are planning to sell their huge house, and spend part of the year in Florida, and part in town, but in smaller quarters with no stairs.    Her studio is on the third floor and the big painting space is on the floor above, all accessible by stairs only.   The big attic room has skylights and a window overlooking the street below.   Charming.   It also has a large walled off area so her paintings are stacked there out of sight.  She is getting older, like the rest of us, and her knees are giving her problems so it's easy to see why she needs to simplify her life by living on one level rather than 5 counting the basement.    Here is a picture in her living room and one of Nigel, the cat, who really rules the roost.   

For many years Susanne ran her home as a bed and breakfast.  She hostessed our annual Holiday Tea parties for the mixed media group in Sacramento.     She is a most relaxed and capable hostess.   And she is also a wonderful artist, dividing her time between painting and book making with assemblage elements.

We had a lovely time  exploring all the nooks and crannies of her house - including the basement which I'd never seen before.    The house is being shown so it is freshly painted and looks spectacular.    I wonder how Nigel will adapt to new quarters, when he has always had this  huge house to wander around in.