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.

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.