Sunday, March 31, 2013

Making your mark

Words, words, words.     Yes, we believe in words.   The next question is - how to apply them to your work.     Here are some of the ways you might want to use.

1.   Cut out words and phrases, or even just letters, and glue them down.    Whether from a magazine, a book, or printed from your printer.   My friend Phyllis recently loaned me one of her old typewriters, and I'm having fun typing phrases with it.   It's a very uneven crookedy kind of type.    I love it!   I just cut them out and use  a glue stick to adhere them.   You can also print onto fabrics which could be cut into strips.

2.  Write it on, or Paint it.    If you want particular sizes or styles, this can be such a good way.    Calligraphy, or loose writing - either that suits you. There are dozens of books to help you learn different lettering techniques, but your own handwriting makes it's own statement.    It is loads of fun to experiment with lettering.  

3.  Rubber stamps.     Individual letters can be used to put together your words or phrases.  Sometimes its good to use just one size or font, but other times  you can mix and match sizes and fonts and colors for interesting looks.     Or you can purchase words and phrases.   You can have stamps made to order with your favorite phrases.  

4.   Stencils.  Individual letters combined to make words, or sometimes you can get a stencil with just the right words.   Of course you can cut your own.... 

5.  Stickers and rub ons.     Many letters and words are available through scrapbooking sources and graphic art sources.   I inherited pages and pages of rub ons.     Many sizes and types of fonts.   I've given away dozens to friends and I still have plenty.     I'm amazed the decades old rub ons still work.    I usually give them a spray coating after placement, just to make sure they stay put.  

6.  Label makers.     The old DYMO labels make interesting additions to pages.     I think they are still making them.       Computer printing on labels is a quick way to add your words.   You won't even need a glue stick. 

7.   Stitching and wire.     Embroidery stitching with threads or ribbons are a little more tedious, but are wonderful ways to add words.     Thin wire can be bent into the shapes of words or letters and can be stitched onto a page, or glued on, or wired on.      Experiment.    

8.  Embossing.    There are commercial embossing kits and supplies available.     You can emboss one of your pages, or on metal, or other papers and attach to your pages.    Aluminum duct tape and an old ball point pen can be used.

I'm sure you will think of others I've missed.    These are the methods I use.    I hope you have some fun using words in your art.     

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Words, words, words...

"The majority of those who put together collections of verses or epigrams resemble those who eat cherries or oysters: they begin by choosing the best and end by eating everything."   That was written by Chamfort (1741-1794).     I collect words.    Words communicate thoughts, emotions, and sometimes they are only used in art -to take us off on a voyage to another time and place.    Much like images, but sometimes more thought provoking.     I'm known for my use of words in my altered books and art journals.     I love finding phrases, or quotations that fit the page.   Usually my books are done with the images first, then the backgrounds, and finally the words.    It's such fun taking a little finished journal and finding the right phrases and words to use.   Do you work this way too?     Do you have favorite sources for your words?

 I have an envelope full of words cut out from different sources. I also have a huge file of quotations in my database.   But, more often than not, I go hunting for the words when I need them - because it's more fun that way.    And they seem fresher and more spontaneous.  It's the hunt.   Much like going on a shopping spree - only it's not hard on the budget.  Here are some of my favorite sources.

1.  Books of phrases and quotations.  You can't beat the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations  for a good read.   Our local used library book store has a shelf of books about words.    Dictionaries, thesaurus, political quotations, speech writing books,   slang,  foreign phrases , etc.    It's the first shelf I go to.    Quotes about golfing. 

 "Writing is easy.  All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on  your forehead" Gene Fowler (1890-1960).   Maybe this is why I'd rather borrow words from someone else.... 

2.  Magazines.   Articles often have interesting headlines, or captions under the photos.   Advertisements ofte have interesting wording.  "Dazzle"    "You'll be so surprised"   "No More Pit Stops"    "Travel the globe without jet lag",     are interesting phrases that fit nicely into travel journals. 

  "When's the last time you took a shower?" is a phrase  I found and coupled it with a picture of a little frog in a pond.   This makes everyone giggle, because it is nonsense. One of my friends, Nancy, brings me her mom's old magazines.    They are the nostalgia type, and very often the headings and titles of articles make good use of words.    "There was nowhere to go but down."   "Her clever shortcut didn't go unnoticed"    "Intuition was her secret ingredient"   

3.    Vintage books.    The phrases used by authors in old school books, novels, poetry books, and even old dictionaries and encyclopedias can be interesting.  Sometimes I challenge myself to pull out a couple pages from an old book, and attempt to find enough words to fill my little journal with meaningful words and phrases that are interesting and thought provoking, or just plain silly. 

 "We see things very differently" meant one thing to Jane Austin - and something else when it is on a page with two little birds on a wire facing each other.  It would mean something completely different if you put it on a page with a man and woman.  Or a cat and a dog.     Or two crossed eyeballs.     Or two flags from different countries.  

The words "shunning shoes was the norm for her" means one thing if on a page with a nude - and something else if it is a toddler wading at the beach.    "where do all the daisies go?"    Using random words and placing them with other random word can give interesting results.   "I snapped"   "among a sea of shoeboxes."     and
"the man in my bed"    "I met at my mailbox"   "I'd been abridged"    "it was pitiful".     See how you can build a little story without thinking up your own words?  is this cheating- or clever?     I vote for clever.

4.   Lyrics from songs that you hear on the radio, or that you remember.   Words that stick in your head.   Think of Country western songs, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson.     Think of the Broadway musicals where the lyrics often carry the story line along.  "I've grown accustomed to your face".  People who need people.     

5.   Ephemera.    The cookie bags from McDonalds have interesting phrases to cut up and use.   "Our secret is no secret".      Look around at other packaging in your cupboard.    There is bound to be something there that you have  not  noticed, and that can be used.   Trader Joes' puts out something called the Fearless Flyer, which contains really fun old copyright free art, and lots of interesting phrases.   Here are a few phrases I cut out of junk mail..   "Yes, but why now?"    "Because now - today- you have something yo may NOT have in the future"   "Lasts a lifetime"    "Evergreen"

6.  Rubber stamps.     It's amazing how many interesting phrases and single words are on rubber stamps.  Sometimes I just can't resist a good quote on a stamp.   Makes it easy to put on a post card with some art.  And they are also useful in art journals and altered books.     "Mama said there'd be days like this" is a useful stamp.  "Reach for the stars" is another.    "Never talk dirty to your parakeet" always brings a smile.   "Tread l;ightly"     "Everything happens for a reason" 

7.  Contemporary books.    The library book store sells lots of picture books with good captions.    Things like the Bad Dog book, or books about love, or about mothers.  These are intended as gift books.    A favorite phrase I used recently was "To be honest, Barbara, you're not a thong person".     Booth of my Barabara friends got a kick out of it.     I paired it with a picture of a nude sculpture, back view, onto which I drew a thong.  

 Lillian at the senior center has taken on the hunt for these books, which she brings to me hoping I'll find good phrases to use.   I"m going to make her an art journal using some of the words she supplied.

8.   Movies.   Most of us have phrases we remember from movies.    "Are you talking to me?"   "I could have been a contender".    "May the force be with you"   

I hear thunder outside now, and it's late, I'm going to close up.  I may need to add to this later.   I hope this has given you something to think about.      That's all folks.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Art Journals

I finished off a couple more art journals.   One has a lot of stamped backgrounds, as the person who will receive it can add her favorite quotes and words.      The other one is chock  full of images.   Each of these has approximately 30 spreads, so you are only seeing a small sample here.

Painting loose

I tried my hand at a few more looser paintings this week.     Here are the results.    Hmmm.....

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March mailbox

Some new mail art arrived recently, and I  want to share these with you.    The Michaelangelo piece is from Roberta,    The adorable doggie is from Emily Pruitt, and the walker is from Fast Eyes.  The Be Happy card is from Mary Szot.   Thanks gals.     I have a stack of postal size tin boxes in which I keep the cards received from individual artists.  Each of these will soon go into their own little box after I show them at the Lodi Mixed Media group meeting.    You never know when sharing these will spark an idea or inspire someone to start sending mail art.    

One of my friends with whom I exchange post cards, had a visit the other day from her postal lady.   Came right up to the door and inquired about the mail art she had been seeing.    I guess Rosemary is the only one on her route that get's interesting mail.   LOL     So, by request, I am adding her to my mail list, and BTW I hear that she is now busy making postal art of her own.    I'm hoping one day I 'll get one and can post it here.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Another starter

I did a quick loosening up sketch yesterday a.m. before leaving for the foothills.    This a.m. I added water.   But today is such a lovely day, the garden called, so art had to wait.    Here is how it looks at present.   

Thursday, March 7, 2013

More paintings in waiting

Thesee are two paintings that I've been playing around with, or am about to play with.    A woman with a hen is the subject of both.     The painted one was done on a yellow ochre background, so the colors are much different than most of my work.     It was an experiment introducing different background planes.   Well the hen is huge - I think it must have been genetically altered.   Have you noticed the size of chicken breasts in the grocery store?    Almost the size of small turkey breasts.     I don't know what they are feeding them, but I can't think it is healthy taking in those genes and hormones into our bodies.   Oops, I'm supposed to be talking about painting instead of going off on a rant....     Sorry.     But, seriously, think about it.

The next piece is in the drawing stage.    She looks like SHE has been genetically altered.  Serves her right.   She ate too much of that first hen.     

Time to paint

 A few of my art friends and  I are taking the Strathmore Mixed Media Workshop.    I've signed up before but never followed up.   I think my friends did the same.  But this time it was so inspiring, with the artist showing such freedom of motion that we wanted to try out some of his ideas.    So, here is my first one.    He started out with water soluble crayone loose sketch.  Then some water to activate the colors, and then some paints.    All done standing at the easel (table top in my case) and trying to remain loose.     Finally going in with some detail, just enough to define some parts of the image.     this is  nowhere as loose as his was, and I only used guache instead of acrylics, so it is not as wonderfully bright and colorful as the cow he painted.   I thought for fun I'd paint subjects that I have not painted before.    Who knows what might happen?   If I want to work outside my comfort zone, then I'll just go for it.

Then I tried a second one.  A lion.    Yes, it is.    I know it looks a lot like my little lulu's face, but that's just the way it is.    I might finish it later.   Or not.