Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Work in progress

I've got the type glued onto the background now.  Thinking it would look better with a  big crow on the left side facing the impact site,  I drew one, cut a stencil and painted it in navy blue diluted to a glaze.     Ruined the whole thing.   Now what?    the background was painted probably 15 years ago, covering a huge pig sitting by a watermelon that I'd done for my Dad.  It hung in his favorite sitting room until he was bored with it, when I brought it home and repainted it.    My point is, the painted background was old, and I didn't hink I could match the paints, so decided to mix trial runs until I could get it close enough.  I really did not want to repaint the entire background now that the road and the text is already there.     I could not get the color match I wanted, so decided on one of my whims to paint a sort of primitive landscape to show the countryside the road is passing through.      Here is how it looks now.

 The color doesn't look at all like the real painting, I took the pic in a room with bright sunlight coming through red and white checked curtains.    

In a way I'm thinking it might be better to leave the background dullish, because it's the words that are important.       But, it needs to be interesting enough for people to walk up and read them.
 I upped the contrast in Photoshop elements to see if that looked better.
 then I increased the saturation for comparison.  Jmmm...
then I went a bit wild and really upped the saturation and tweaked the color.    Typically the art hung at the Mexican Heritage Center is colorful and bright.   Maybe I should punch it up.    Hmmmm..... 

Hmm.    I'll look at it again tomorrow when the light is better and see if I want to make changes.

I can see that road going off into the sky is not good placement.    do I really want to take time to change that?     Hmmm..     this is a process.    As you can see.     I'll show more steps and views tomorrow.   

Monday, December 29, 2014

This and that

Here is a quick peek at the new owl books I made for the gallery.    I'm particularly fond of the green one.     

This is one of the Paris signs I painted  that hangs in my friend Cat's house.     It's the perfect spot and changed the whole atmosphere in her private bathroom.    this the one I sprayed on the back with the Krylon mirror spray paint which gives it a kind of mercury glass look. First of course I sprayed the stencils with black paint.    I was glad to see the mirror spray did not affect the black paint.   whew!  I was worried about that.     If you spray with the mirror paint, do it outside - the fumes are horrible.

Holliday is over, let's get back to art.

My decorations are all tucked away  and artwork is spread around now.     I am entering three pieces in the Exhibit that will take place at the Mexican Heritage Center .  The theme is Art Against Violence.      I met one of the directors at a meeting a couple weeks ago and asked whether she thought drunk driving was an applicable subject.   She gave me a wholehearted YES, so I decided to enter the White Crosses book.   

After later discussion it didn't seem to work out that the actual book be exhibited due to the size and fragility.     It just would not work.   This just presented another challenge.    How can it be entered?   Hmmm.....

  I went through a lengthy thought process and checked in with a few friends and brother for input.   I had first thought it would be good as a video or even a slide project, but that would mean someone would need to be there for the equipment and to start and stop and troubleshoot.      Not practical.      So, I decided to break the book content down into the two parts.  The first being the section where I used the found words technique to paint out all the words except those that contained the narrative I selected.      I scanned it, and am having it printed on heavy paper to construct a separate book that can be handled.      Here are the pages. 

the highway
claimed another victim
you noticed that single cross.    Who ---or what ---marked the spot
open road
driving that hill and that curve
the accident site
he looked back
he didn't see the tree

Each page is cut along the highway so the next pages show partially.    I'll do this with the new version as well.

The next section of the book contained my poem "Shrines by the Side of the Road" which I wrote in 2009.     Instead of using it in the book form, I decided to use an old canvas, draw on a road and then print the poem, cut out the words and glue them along the roadway.    This measures 24 x 48 inches and hangs horizontally.   Right now it is still in progress.  Here is how it looks at the moment with the words just scattered along in two different fonts.   It's still very much in the making decisions mode.    Masking tape is roughly where the road will be.

In order to make it fit, I had to edit the poem down, leaving out a number of stanzas and lines.     Here is how it reads now.   
The Shrine at the Side of the Road

Driving along a country road
on a sunny afternoon
without a care in the world.

I know this road,
I've passed this way before.

I am startled to see
by the side of the road
a white cross nailed to a tree.
A shrine for a youth
whose path ended here.

In his old pickup truck
with a six pack of beer
he lost control rounding the bend.

The impact! the crash!
the truck is now trash.
Broken glass, broken head,
 pronounced DEAD!

How many lives were shattered that night?
How many people mourn?
How many tears were shed
for the brother, the friend, the son?

Nothing can be said,
nothing can be done.
That's the hardest part.
Nothing is slower to heal
than the hole in his mother's heart.

I say a little prayer
for the soul of the one who died
and the lives
that were wrenched by the tragedy
as I zip past the sad little shrine
that could have been mine.

I've passed this way before
I'll pass this way again.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Cheer

The decorations are up.
Decorating in the trunk.

And on the herb sign at end of kitchen.     I always wished there was a window there but it gives me another wall to decorate.     

Tis the season

At the white elephant gift exchange at the art center pot luck dinner, I got the two little owls that look so good with my little owl cookie jar I bought last year.    

  Lisa took what I had already received, and I filched this from Pam who had already had something else snitched from her.     Eventually everyone seemed happy with what they received.   It was fun.     Here's Frances and Lisa on the way out.    

  By the way, the two owl books sold right away.     I'm glad they have found good homes.     

Calm after the storm

We didn't blow away. We're still here.   It's been raining for days and our water table is vastly improved.    On days without rain, we have fog because there is so much moisture in the air.     So any time the sun pokes it's way through, I really appreciate and enjoy it.        

Our Monday morning senior group had tables at the annual holiday bazaar/party at the senior center.    I didn't take anything to sell, but sat and drew leaves in the nature journal, and a few people stopped to watch.  Helen, Lillian, Elizabeth, John, and Jean all sold some of their art work.  Celia set up a yard sale kind of table and got rid of a lot of her things at bargain prices.      There were also potters, crochet and knitters, quilters, card makers, and lots more.   the fun part of the day is the games.  Reverse bingo where if they call a number on your card, you are out.     They played this a number of times, and those at our tables were out pretty quickly and had fun rooting for each other.     They also had other games, musical chairs, and raffle prizes.   It was not my lucky day.    

Here's a pic of Jean and Helen setting up the table.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Storm of the Century due here tomorrow.

How scary is that?      I'm quivering in my boots.    Since I live upstairs, I get buffeted pretty hard with high winds, and they are expected to be in the 20 -35 mph range with gusts up to 60????   60?    I've never been here with winds like that.   Normally I like wind.    It's exhilarating.  This time it's just plain scary.    We are also expecting several inches of rain.     I hope the gutters can take  the run off this year.      I might take doggies and go downstairs with the kids.     I doubt anyone will be home however, with the odd work schedules they have.       I'll be worried about Matt on the highway in a big truck.     He says it's much worse when he returns an empty, so I'll hope he has a heavy load.       My neighbor was looking nervously at the big street tree out front.  Says he will have the longest reaching branches removed next time we have it trimmed.    One overhangs the front of my house and two overhang my driveway.     His car is also in danger.     

Let's see if I'm ready.  I have batteries.  Water.   all electronics fully charged.    Flashlights.   Food.    Yep? 
I wish we had the house reroofed this year, I expect we will have some shingles torn off.      I'll let you know later.      

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Annual Holiday get together in Amador City and Sutter Creek

My friends and I have been doing this for years.   Usually there are one or two missing, as other things take precedence, or because of health issues.     There were just 7 of  us this time.     Missing our good friends, but having a grand time anyway.      Some of us started in Sutter Creek at a new restaurant that was recommended by locals.   And for good reason.   It's tiny and clean and the owner runs it all, makes all the foods, serves and is just a really friendly nice person.  visit Cavana's Deli for salads soups, breakfast and desserts.  16 Eureka St. Sutter Creek.

There is a parking lot right behind it which has a footbridge across the stream to the parking lot behind the auditorium.    Most of the year this is a dry stream.  We have had good rains the past week, so it was running again and looking much better.  The bridge was decorated for the season.  I thought the rusty railing and  the landscape behind made a beautiful sight.     Here are pics.

 We have not had a hard frost yet, so there are still leaves on the trees with plenty of color.    I think this would make a good painting.   i wish we had some sun or blue skies for a background.      Paints can take care of that.    LOL

We left Sutter Creek and went on to Amador City just a few miles North.     It's one of those little lazy foothill towns, left behind by the gold miners in the late 1800s.   Now a tourist town.     Decades ago I had a shop there.    Our friend Sandy still has a ahop there you can see it on her facebook page.   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Country-Living/125433924201697

We visited for awhile then went next door to Buffalo Chips our favorite luncheon place.     Another family owned business, now operated by the younger generation, but keeping the same type menu and prices, and fresh cooked to order foods.    They are famous for their home made pies.  It was hard to decide between the apricot and the  tart dark cherry.      Phyllis and I split a hamburger and a piece of the dark cherry pie.      Yummm..... the tiny touch of almond extract helps bring out the flavor so well.

I had a post card in my purse which I had forgotten to mail to o ne of the CA Art Girls - so we walked down to the tiny little Post Office.  There are no lines in Amador City.      I also stocked up on  Post Card postage stamps.   Now I can get busy making and sending some card to friends again.     Then we visited some nearby shops  (be sure to visit Bellflower Home and Garden Store, 10787 Water Street, Amador City) .  It's chock full of wonderful things that would look great in my garden.    I have to laugh when I look at the address.    Water Street is something like 2 blocks long.   How the heck did they get an address of 10787?     I would have given it a number like 17.  

Then we piled back into the cars and returned to Sutter Creek for more wandering/shopping.   

We were not much help to the economy, no one really came away with much.      Sorry, I know they need the business but we are all at the stage of life when we no longer collect much, instead we are giving it away.  Both towns were so quiet, we practically had them to ourselves.

Here are the girls at lunch.   I'm sure we'll be back again next year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Here an owl, there an owl....

Okay, for the moment I'm owl obsessed - but dont' feel like you have to send me one.   Honestly these things do pass....

I made these little primitive owls as ornaments that can later be used as pin cushions or cat toys.      I now have a cookie tin full of the little owlets. Some of them have wings, some don't.     They are too young to leave the nest so it really doesn't matter.

I used an old cutter quilt, an old red plaid flannel nightgown and a scrap of upholstery fabric sent by a friend.    

Autumn post card swap

It's that time, when the CA Art Girls swap post cards.   Seasonal.   Fall.     Which  this year sped into winter in a blink.    We didn't have nearly enough time to enjoy the beautiful leaves and the light coming in at such a beautiful angle making long shadows on the streets.        Here are a couple of the lovely post cards I received.

 The frist one is from Margaret who used the image of the fall leaves as inspiration.

 This was done by Terri with alcohol inks over an image she printed on a metallic paper.   

This is a Thanksgiving card from Phyllis, who cut out
leaf shapes from some painting experiments.  


 This one with dried leaves from a Japanese Maple is from Beth.    
 I should have posted this last month, it is a Halloween card from Nancy.
It's never too late to show a guy in a chicken costume.  

Here are two I scanned together.   The upper one is a painting of leaves by Roberta with alight metallic glazed over them.

Paris in the Fall is from Debbie.    

Thanks gals, I love each card, and they way you all interpreted the season differently in your art.

This last picture is the ones I made to send out.  I used a
beautiful fabric that had gold artichokes and writing on it.  

First thing I did was to free style stitched leaves on each one then went back and painted the leaves with metallic paints.  Finally, I handstitched to the cards.   I had the fabric for several years and never found the right place to use it.     This seemed like a good time.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mixed media meets NeverDull

One of our members had used NeverDull to alter some magazine pages for her journal.    Hmmmm.... looked interesting, so we asked her if she'd lead us in some experimenting with it at the next meeting.  Thursday arrived, and so did we, with our magazine pages, gloves, table coverings, and texturing plates and/or stencils.  

  There were ten of us around the big tables, and we just set to work.  We didn't like the smell but turned on ceiling fan and finally opened the door.      Some of the gals had old tins of the stuff from ages ago, and we found that they did not work as well as the fresher stuff.   If it was at all dried out, it was just harder to use, but the fresher newer ones were also damper, so we could see faster results with less effort.       We placed the magazine pages on the table over a texture plate or anything that had a texture, and took a wad of the stuff that has the product on it, and worked it over the parts of the pages that we wanted to alter.    The texture does show through, and we can erase a lot of the ink.     We also used some alcohol to erase more inks.        Some of the gals brought National Geographic pages that we used CirtroSolv on years ago.    They worked really well.      

I consider it a kind of science project, something to do once, file it away in memory bank for the odd occasion I want to move ink around.    And then move on.    I really don't see myself doing it again.   But, who knows?     There might be a moment when it is just the right solution to get a look I want.      

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall leaves

I know some parts of the country went straight from summer to winter without having a leisurely fall season.   This part of California is having late fall weather now.  Leaves are blowing everywhere, and soft rain is falling.     At the senior center the last few weeks, I pick up leaves outside our art room off the patio, and take them inside to draw them.   Most people come with paints, but it is more work to set up and pack and carry and unpack and pack again.   I find it easier and just as fulfilling to carry only my little journal and a set of colored pencils.   This group meets Monday mornings, so it's a good chance to catch up with everyone.   Lots of times there is a lot  more talking and not so much art.  

Here are a three I started there.  None are really finished, but one day I may just finish them and not pick up more leaves.   The leaf colors are just so vibrant and vivid, I can't resist picking them up as each one seems a special treasure.       

This is the most recent.    

I still have all these leaves in the back of the journal.    The colors are fading, but they are still useful as models.

I wish I knew what kind of tree they come from.    Do you recognize them?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When you don't win.... you don't cry or give up

I didn't take any ribbons at the recently hung small works show.    There was a single judge, a respected academic and fine artist in her own right.     Not everyone can win.   

Last night was art judge critique night at the gallery, and many of us went to hear her presentation and discuss her criteria for judging.     She described some of the elements she looks at, the skill level and subjects.   Behind it all - judging is a subjective response to a particular piece at a particular moment in time.      One of the judges I worked with in the past said if she were to judge at any other time or place, her responses may be different.     You can't use a point system, like so many points for composition, so  many points for use of materials, presentation of subject, color, or any of the other elements of art.     You either like it, or not.  Even at that, there are not enough ribbons to go around for everything the judges like.    They have to make the hard decisions.     They may have a strong emotional response to a piece that lacks in skill or composition, yet it may draw them back to it.     I find this so fascinating.   It also makes me wonder why we try to find judges with good academic credentials if they are just going to throw them out the window and go gaga over any old thing that tugs at their heart strings.   I guess the reason is that they can communicate their decisions and rationale with an air of expertise.      I like that.     It's important for an artist to hear criticism as well as praise.     And praise without an explanation is so empty.     Then it really does seem more like a whim.     This judge explained things well, and was very thoughtful in her critique.  

    Someone asked her to critique one of my gelli prints, and she said she was quite taken by them but didn't quite know what they were, the use of materials was something she had not seen before.   She asked how I accomplished them and I gave a very brief description of the process.     All in all, she like s them, very much liked the sense of space and composition was strong.  She liked the colors. She liked the serenity.   I had such good feedback from the other members and a few in particular who I respect immensely - so much so that I went back to the gallery today and raised my prices.     I really don't want them to sell and will only be happy to sell for a whopping sum.   LOL   I guess the response from the judge and the group gave me a big boost of over-confidence!   LOL    I was already sure I was on to something really special with this new group of works.    I didn't expect to win.   I thought the pieces are so quiet and unassuming, they might go unnoticed - but that is their charm.   They are soothing and peaceful and easy on the eyes.   

I didn't win anything but a good feeling.      I already have a strong emotional response to these pieces because the subjects come from our family photo archives.     I think I needed to hear that they evoked good responses from others without the family connection.    

At the gallery, my three pieces are hung in different areas.  One is in the front window.   One on the featured artist wall, and one in the back room of the gallery.    An artist I respect ( who used to have his  own gallery) said he would have hung them together.   I had to agree that would have been my preference, but our gallery manager does such a good job, I would not ask her to change it now.

Anyhow, if you don't win, you just keep going if you like the direction you are headed.     If not, then perhaps it's time to change directions.     At least it makes us analyze what is working and what isn't.   And the critiques (not always flattering) are learning experiences.     You have to have tough enough skin to face the critics as well as your best friends who only say nice things.....    

Do these pieces remind you of this one I entered a couple years ago that did win, much to my surprise.  

I think the quiet ones are my favorites.   I think there is more than enough noise and confusion in the world.    Quiet places are soothing to the soul.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Art show update

I did a pretty lengthy post about the small works and itty bitty works shows on the Lodi Art Center Blog.    Here is a link if you'd care to check it out.    http://lodiartcenter.blogspot.com/2014/11/sneak-peek-at-small-works-and-itty.html

owl books

Now that the holiday season is upon us, I was thinking of making some angel books as I did last year, but this time put some in the gallery for sale.    That was the intent, but then I remembered I had made an owl book last year, and that what what was speaking to me today.  The pages were already folded, I just needed to select some angelic faces.  I have some nice old lace to use, and other embellishments.  But the owls won out.  One look in  my owl database, and their faces let me to changing my plan.   Here are the first two of a series.     Either I'll run out of books. or I'll lose interest.    Hard to tell which will come first.     We'll see if anyone is interested in owl books other than me!    

I have stopped using so many things in the studio, I was happy to find I still can locate things like eyelets, and the setter, and the hole punch, hammer, and pad.    Wire is something I always keep handy so it was only the eyelets that was a worry.    It all went well though and now I know exactly where they are and are ready for the next owls.    

Friday, October 31, 2014

Pomegranate season

One of the members of the art gallery in Lodi has a pomegranate tree that produces huge fruits.      She brought a big bag of them to the gallery for people to take for a small donation to the art center.      I picked out two colorful ones that I wanted to draw.   Sometimes at Senior art on Monday mornings, it is easier to bring drawing supplies.  It takes less room on the table, is not messy, it's easy to pack and carry, and it's fun.    What could be better?     Here is a pic I took while I was working on it. .      The persimmons were brought in by another senior to share.   I'll draw them later.