Monday, January 26, 2015

Looking for love

Every year I stumble across natural hearts in nature.     I take them as signs of love.    Here is a new one I found this morning at the senior center.    I'm doing a little sketch of it in my journal.    John had been demonstrating gold leafing and one of the gals saw my leaf and wanted to gold leaf it, but I thought it was too glorious, as is.  

Keep your eyes and hearts open for natural signs of love.     I never look for them, they just appear from time to time.      And if I'm lucky I have my camera handy.

One I missed years ago was my friend Pauline's sons' koi, a white one with a red heart on its side.   Pauline believed in  signs.   I miss her.

This is the leaf I found on a geranium growing in a small pot on my deck - a week or so ago.    Much like the following one which I found a previous year.    

I'm not sure what is eating these little holes.    I appreciate them. 

Another image I took at the senior center one year was this potato that someone brought in to share with a bunch of other veggies.

You may remember I photoshopped it and changed it to the next photo.

The Mixed Media group is going to make a collaborative Valentine booklet.   I have the pattern made and the papers folded, now just to cut them and pack up things to add to the pages that I do, one in each book.  We will be passing them around the big tables, each one decorating their own page.    I'll be showing mine here when it's done.     

Thursday, January 22, 2015

What's new?

I spent three days in a row volunteering at the take in for the photography show that opens on Feb 1st.   It's so much fun to meet the photographers and be the first ones to see the work coming in.    Beautiful photographs, some very traditional, some right on the cutting edge of digital technology, with overlays and manipulations.       Some black and white, lots of color, glorious color.      There were only four categories, 1.  Natural (includes landscapes, animals)  2.  Man made (includes architectural, and photos of anything man made)   3.  Portraits (includes animals, people, faces)    3.   Digitally Created.        These are the ones where the images have been treated as collages, or overlaid, or manipulated in interesting ways.     Judging Day is Saturday, and I'll be there to help.

Tuesday I met with some of my oldest and best friends in Folsom, where we laughed and chatted away while making valentines.   I asked our hostess Char, who had laid out a bunch of wonderful supplies and art matierials to use, if she had any old text pages in her stash - knowing full well, she would have.    She brought some in and I tore up a page, then Pat reached for one and read it.   It was some steamy novel!   Perfect to tear up and use for her husband's card.  They are parents of 7 grown men.     She was sure her hubby would get a kick out of an x rated card.     LOL    It was hilarious reading excerpts to each other while we worked.    
Mixed media meeting today, show and tell.   Last week we did some felting, and more people tried it today.     Lisa created some beautiful cards to sell in the gallery with felted hearts on them.    Sending a hearty welcome to Mary, a new member, and Bobbi a returning member, and Judi who is a very recent member but already seems like one of us.  

I've been working on two mixed media pieces, and using a product for finishing them, a gloss self leveling gel.     It's high gloss and resembles a resin finish but has no odor.      I'll post some pics later.

Today on the way home from dropping Bobbi off in Acampo, Phyllis and I passed a field of short cut grasses.    I don't know what it is, but it is really colorful, even on a foggy overcast day.  Here ares some pics.

I'm anxious to go back and take more pics when the sun is out.  It must be spectacular. 

I'm going to try to capture this in a gelli print.     Or some other medium.     Maybe it would be best with Portfolio oil pastels, or Aquasticks.   Hmmmm....     I'd like to try a plein air work - if it weren't so cold out.   Maybe Saturday will be a better day, think I'll pack my things along and if the sun's out, I'll drive the extra few miles to this site again.    These photos have had no photoshop tricks, or color enhancements.   The striations of color are the way it grows.     I'd like to take more pics from the West end and shoot the stripes lengthwise.      

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Art Against Violence Exhibit

"This exhibit showcases area artists' responses to violence and it's impact on our lives. The range of this show, from hopeful to painful, is designed to stimulate thoughtful conversation and positive action."     These are quotes from the post card designed to promote the show.   "Experience the powerful  voices of participating artists who choose to care."    "Art can make a difference."   

It was quite an experience to enter this show.     I had some works that would fit, so I didn't need to think too hard, but I did have to change them so they could be displayed properly.  Changing an altered book to a painting - that was a challenge I had never considered.   But I felt the message was strong and needed to be there.      Being killed or injured in a DUI situation is an act of violence.

The second piece what was based on my reaction to a news report of  Rihianna and Chris Brown's abuse case followed by their reuniting.  

Frances entered a piece based on the Roosevelt's and what they did for the country that helped allay some of the social and financial issues that lead to crime.

We bravely headed off for the very scary downtown area where the Mexican Heritage Center is housed.    It was a bright clear chilly Saturday morning.    The downtown area is dead on Saturday mornings.  None of the office buildings  were open for business or the banks and government offices.    We drove through deserted streets, shaded by the tall buildings,   The only people we saw were homeless people wandering.  We passed streets with torn awnings, boarded up windows and doorways, random graffiti, and few other cars.   My grandson Trevor who used to be a security guard at the big bank building on the Northeast corner across from our destination kept us company and made us feel safe.    We didn't think it would be wise for us to be in that part of town without an escort.   I'm so glad he was with us.

We met two nice ladies who were taking in the art, and got a tour of the gallery space.   It's a wonderful space, rented from the Mason Lodge.     It's clean and well kept up.  But it was sooooo cold we were shivering.     We did not see any other artists bringing in their art, and thought it looked like a very small showing.    Perhaps the time of year was bad, as we were all thinking about the holidays instead of paying much attention to the call for artists that pour into our emails.     Plus - none of my other art friends had or plan to do any works that would fit the theme.        Anyway, we chatted awhile then came home back to the suburbs which seem a million miles from the downtown area which is actually less than 10 miles away.  

I left a post card with the young lady that helps me at Aaron Bros yesterday and she wants to enter something, so I told her to call them and see if she still can.  She has been to the exhibit previous years and thinks it is very important and her work would fit right in.   I hope she follows up and is accepted.    I'd like to see her work.      After the reception , I'll post some pics and let you know how it went.   

January 2015 30 days of art challenge

Off and running in the new year, I decided to take the challenge again this year.    First I bought a new journal to fill with 30 days of art.     What interests me at the moment is more landscapes painted with the gelli plate.  I'm printing on deli wrap paper and can easisly cut it and glue it in with a glue stick.  It's January 6th, so here are the first entries.   

I'm trying different color combinations  and trying to regain the touch that I had developed months ago when I did this daily.   This is not as simple as it looks.    The paint must be the right consistency, applied in very thing layers and mixed right on the print plate.    Anything can go wrong - and often does.   It can dry too fast.   Temperature and air movement affect this.      No fans can be on.    No heat blowing around.    This technique forces the artist to work quickly and freely.   It's one of the things I like about doing them.

 Throwing down a little bit of pink.   
 Making a few lines by scratching off the paint with side of brayer roller.
 Some wild colors.    The artists who may try this  will soon find out there are a lot of trials and errors.   If you do, be prepared for more failurs than successes - lots of prints get recycled or printed over with something else.   Deli wrap paer is thin and cheap.   I don't feel like it's much of a waste just to toss them away.    

The brayer must be cleaned by rolling  it onto another surface, so that's where some of the discards come in hand.   usually I just keep an old catalog or magazine handy and roll the unwanted paints onto it.     Carolyn Dube suggests cleaning off the brayer in a journal so you have ready made background colors.     I personally do not want those colors in my journals.   It's just not my style.
 More winterly looking colors.   Towards the bottom of this one there are wrinkles in the deli wrap.    the reason it buckled like that is the paint was thicker at the bottom than at the top.     If the paint is too wet or heavy the deli wrap does this.    Regular printing paper would not.
 Skies and mountains and  foregrounds.   Just peaceful, restful vistas.      
 The other day I cut an owl stencil and decided to try it on the gelli plate - my oldest most used one.     the paint stuck so hard to the gelli plate I could not get it to loosen so I could pull a print.     I coated it with additional layers of wet paint to help it release, but it never really did.   Instead it did something surprising.    Wherever the original paint was, the new white paint stuck to the old paint.    When I painted it over with turquoise paint and a brayer then pulled a print, the white coat came through as the outline of the owl and a few little bits of the red came through.    Hmmm.     I did this several times and finally admitted defeat and had to wash it in warm water to get the paint to release, and then only with some rubbing.     I had not put the protective plastic sheet over it  and left it several days.    Perhaps it needs that plastic to keep the mineral oil coating alive.    I think that's why the paint would not release, the mineral oil was not activated, or maybe it's gone now with all the washings it has had.  They say they last forever but I don't quite buy that.

My winter work station is set up on my kitchen counter where I can stand and move about easily, have ready access to water and an overhead light.    

It's not nearly as fun as working in the studio, but nights have been in the 20s and 30s lately so it never really warms all the way though the studio.    The cold permeates everything.   Every book I open is chilled inside, the drawers - likewise.    Plus the paints and all get too cold.  

I packed up a bunch of supplies to bring up again this winter.      In the afternoon it's warm enough to be in the solarium for several hours and drink in the sunshine while working on art, or grooming the dogs, or just listening to public radio.

Leslie Saeta and her challenge came at the right time, with the new year and time to dig in and develop some new skills and beef up some of the half forgotten ones.    Most of the painters who have taken the challenge, more than 1,200 this time,  are doing some pretty serious work and fine paintings.     One of my favorite painters is taking the challenge and I'm so glad, it's the only time I get to see his new work.      My friend Roberta has a hand injury that is making painting difficult right now, so she is opting to paint with her non dominant hand, and doing it so well - I can hardly tell the difference.      Amazing.  

Have I done any artwork in the last six days that is frame worthy?    Nope.    It's not what I'm after right now.   I just want to master the touch and relearn and even go beyond he techniques I worked out last time.     I have a few sketches I want to translate into deli art landscapes.   Then transfer them to canvas.     We'll see.