Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mr. Barn Owl

I've been busy creating the mixed media fiber collage pieces
as well as taking care of my beloved husband.
He continues to hobble around -
can you image hopping around day after day on one foot?
Imagine doing everything while hobbling around on one foot - and managing the crutches.
He still has 4-6 more weeks in the cast. Then maybe a "walking cast".

I only had three or four paintings (of birds) that I felt were good enough to use as central collage elements.
I wanted to make more pieces of collage work
so I decided that I needed to
Paint More Birds!

I've seen other folks use the same images over and over and that is fine -
I just wanted to have a larger variety I suppose.
Anyway - here is the latest drawing/painting I'm working on.

Mr. Barn Owl.
I drew him on watercolor paper (140 pound).
I have only added large color blocking sections to him...
I have never had any formal painting lessons - or drawing lessons, for that matter.
I suppose I am, what some people would call,
A Born Artist.
I certainly don't mean this in a vain way -
just that this is where I have spent my time.
Yes, that is what is it.
My son is the same way...
A Born Artist.

He has been drawing since he could hold a pencil.
I do wish that he would give me permission to post his artwork here...
but, he is a lot like me - so very private,
so very tough on himself...
but so very talented, that young man is!

You know, drawing/painting is one of those things that people automatically
shy away from.

They will say "Oh, I can't,not me".

But it truly is something that I believe everyone can learn to do.

Yes, it requires time.

And paitience with yourself.

But it can be learned.

You just have to put the practice time in.

If I go a few days without drawing,

I have to use a couple of pages of paper to practice - to get myself loosened up.

Oh, back to Mr. Barn Owl!
I have drawn him in graphite.
And only added some sections of blocks of color.
I added a teeny, tiny section of darker details - but only a tiny bit, mind you.
Later I will begin to layer the details -
bring him to life.
Much like I approach any type of artwork.

Tiny bit by bit.

Mr Barn Owl.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Waiting Room Sketching

I'm one of those people that can't sit still without doing something.
Like this...

It's a sketch I started while waiting in a doctors office.
My advice is that you Always carry your sketch book and two sizes of Pitt Artists Pens (xs & s).
Entertain yourself and those sitting around you by drawing.
It makes people wonder where in the hell you get your ideas from...
Some never understand that this is what I see
when looking at the potted plants in the office...

Again, it's all in how you look at things, isn't it?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What's on Your Table?

Here's my studio work table this morning.
My mad scientist approach to making art...
Use what you have, what The Universe gives you...
whether it's a rusty washer or your painting ability.
Just. Use. It.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Part Two

I was going to do another post on the class at Jane's shop
last Friday, but she did a great post on her blog...
so I'm going to cheat (with her permission) and point you in that direction.
It was a one day class but this project will be GREAT as a two day class!
I can't wait to teach it at the "Textile Evolution" retreat in Colorado (at the Franciscan Retreat Center) this fall.
The folks that take the class there should be able to actually complete the project...
and we all know how frustrating it can be to
bring home yet another UFO.
So mark your calendars and send in your registration!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trashcan Annie

Last Friday, I taught my "Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts" class at Random Arts Studio.
There was a mixture of five beautiful and quite entertaining women there.
I always love to watch the group dynamics unfold as the day passes, and I
certainly wasn't disappointed with this awesome group of artists!

Woman are always so supportive of each other, aren't they?

As we went through our stash of memories of people, places and things,
we managed to begin a very good foundation of work.
I took photos but because I was remiss in asking permission,
I'll wait about posting them.
I will, however, post Jane's piece
since she posted it on her facebook page already.
But first, since I uploaded the photos in the wrong order,
I'll share a one of the last two pieces that I did.
They are both mixed media fiber collage.
I mounted both of them in shadowboxes and it looks really nice.
The shadowbox on the left is especially nice,
as it has a hinged front that opens so you can mount items easily.
I'm thinking about taking the Artifact piece I did about my grandmother
and putting it in one of these.
It would work great since it is an interactive piece of art work.
It would be housed in a frame that would keep the dust away
yet I'd still be able to pull the little pieces of paper out
to show and read.
In front of the framed pieces are a few things that Jane has made.
Maybe the woven book covers belong to more than just Jane -
I can't remember for sure.
What I do know for sure is that they are beautiful!

Here is Jane's Artifact piece. She sat down with a small box of random vintage items
and challenged herself to create a piece of work
without adding items from any other source.
I'd say that she did a really good job, wouldn't you?
I love the simplicity of it and the colors.
I also love the gridded background.
She used walnut ink to tone down the fabric.

I enjoy teaching so very much.
A friend of mine, who is also a teacher, and I were talking the other day
about why we liked to share this type of knowledge.
With our type of artwork, it's our creative process that we are sharing.
I think that, as artists, we (as in all artists) think in a different manner.
And when you embark on the mixed media journey, you really do
look at everyday items in a different way.
We try to help people look through our eyes, or look at things the way that we do.

I love to tell the story of going to a Salvation Army type store
and finding the best art supplies in the trash!
The lady there told me (in her very sweet southern way) that it was just trash
but "hunny, ye take what che want. Ye just hep yeself."
That was the day that I acquired the most fabulous lace tablecloth!
It was torn in a couple of places but it has proved to be
an invaluable resource of collage work for me.

I guess I am what my grandmother would call a "Trashcan Annie"...
In all the photos of me as a child, there was a paper bag in there somewhere.
I, like Pippi Longstocking, was a "Thing Finder".
I found all sorts of treasures in my ramblings...
sticks, stones, feathers, leaves...
And the funny thing is, I still collect those things.
I just have a more sophisticated manner of displaying them!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bling, Broken Bones and Dreaming

Those of you that regularly read my blog know how very much I love nature, especially birds.
We have a topiary beside our side entrance door that houses a tiny bird nest.
We've already had one family move in and move out this year - complete with new family members!
Well, some birds must not mind moving in to a "previously lived in" nest
because we have a new couple in there now!
I peeked into it the other day and noticed they had been doing a little redecorating...
I snapped a quick photo of the sparkly fibers in the new digs.
It's a piece of fiber that I had hung out in one of the plants nearby for the birds to use in their nest building.
How cool is that?!

I wanted to thank everyone for their inquiries into my husbands well being.
He broke his lower left leg (spiral fracture left fibula) a week ago on Saturday.
He is doing better (pain wise) but still feels the pain that goes along with mobility issues...
especially hard for him too. He is one of those people that is Always on the go.
Constantly working.
So, it's been tough to find a balance around here the past week or so.
But, he is on the mend - so thanks for your concern!

I have been able to spend more time in the studio the past couple of days.
I've almost got another new piece of mixed media art ready!
I usually make a new piece, then get asked to teach classes on it.
Then I spend weeks making step outs,
writing instructions, gathering materials and supplies...
I don't always have a lot of time to continue creating different pieces of work.
I decided that I am going to focus on creating a larger body of work.
I want to begin offering my art work and prints for sale.
I love teaching and am not going to stop doing that
but I want to be able to share my work in other ways too.

I would love to be able to teach to a larger audience.
I'd love to have a studio space large enough to invite people in to it.
I believe that there is a space out there - waiting on me.
One with a really inspirational location, tons of storage space and aglow with natural light.
Isn't it fun to dream about what you'd love to be doing, dreaming about what you want to happen in your life?
It's a very healthy thing to do also.
I believe that you have to allow The Universe to hear your dream...
shout them out!
Share them with your family and friends.
Email me with them if you'd like to.

And then put in some work on those dreams.
Make them happen.

If you knew you wouldn't fail,
what would you do?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Art Work

While tending to an injured husband,
I have managed to find a tiny bit of studio time.
I've had this piece percolating in my mind for quite a while
I just couldn't get into the studio long enough to make it happen.
So, I finally let everything else go (after I had my husband situated best I could)
and headed into my studio.


"It" happened.
"It" being those precious times that things just flow...
Have any of you out there had that to happen?
You begin a little slowly, trying this or that...
changing that for the other...
and before you know it -
you are surrounded by the magic.
I almost completely finished a new piece of art work that day.
Even placed it in a shadow box.
I was looking for a quote or poem to go with it and decided to just write one myself.
I used to love to write poetry
and that day I remembered how...

I just let the magic of doing what I love guide me.

Here's a peek.
It's not finished at the point of this photo but this is the chick that inspired me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts in Saluda NC

I am teaching the above workshop again this month.
This time at Random Arts Studio in Saluda NC.
I'm always excited to teach at Jane's!
The space is just incredible and I love the cozy courtyard out back.
We always sit out there and eat, covered by the cheery overhead umbrellas at the picnic table.
She has really built up a wonderful studio space.

So - let's talk a little bit about the class.
I have done other blog posts on it - talking about what prompted the piece, my thoughts while making it and the lady that inspired it.

My grandmother.

One of her dreams was to be a nurse. She worked at the hospital with the newborn babies but had the deep desire to be a "licensed" nurse.
So, in her mid 50's she did just that!
In going through my mom's things, we found one of my grandma's Bibles.
In that Bible she had written a quote about what being a nurse meant.
I loved reading the words, seeing her handwriting.
I worked as a nurse for many years (in Neonatal ICU) (with the newborn babies too!)
so I really did understand the impact of her words.
I also had one of her watches that she received as a nurse.
I made a small pocket with a scrap of a quilt that she had made.
I attached the watch (which also signifies the time that she took to realize her dream).
I copied the handwritten note, folded it up and placed it inside that tiny pocket.
That is just one of her stories that I included in this piece.
Here is a side view of that pocket with the watch underneath it.

Here is the copy that I made. It says

"I believe that the true virtue , the true calling of the nurse, consists neither in following the doctors orders nor administering prescribed treatments (although she ought to do both conscientiously) but in the true aspect contained in the very name of the profession: To nurse and to nurture, to feed the body and to nurture the soul."

"Health is the first wealth."

I don't know the name of the person that the quote belongs to - my grandma didn't add that.
But isn't it great to have that piece of paper?
To honor her with the artful adornment of it?

Her watch face - all these memories - withstanding the test of our time, but all lost when she was ravaged by Alzheimer's.

Another area of the piece is a pin that was kept by my mom,

one from an Alzheimer's walk.

I made another small pocket out of a piece of sheer fabric

(kept from curtains from mom's house).

I used my mom's embroidery floss and placed a corner

of a snap packet from grandmother's sewing basket,

a piece of a pattern from my grandma's dolls and a corner of one of her lace edged hankies.

You can see the pink lace peeking out in the picture below.

In that same Bible, I found where she had written her family history...

all ghosts by the time the disease had its way with her.

But safely nestled in this tiny pocket.

My grandmother left scraps of her life behind.

Fragments of memories.

Handmade artifacts, used in everyday life.

All treasures to me.

I'd love for you to join us, bring your treasures, your stories.

I've got a small suitcase full of little bits of this and that that I share with the folks that take my class.

I believe that there are a couple of spots left.

Call or email Jane, here, and let her know that you want to join us.

You'll be so glad that you did!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goldfinch Collage Page

This is one side of the book page that I am working on.
I used a manila folder (cut to size) plus duck tape plus collage elements to build this page.
The painting of the bird is one that I painted and then printed on some kind of photo paper.
We have an apple tree in our backyard that the Goldfinches love to visit, eat and rest on.
So I used small twigs from that same tree to add to the bottom of the page.
I painted "tuna" cardboard - oh, someone asked about that.
It is a great art supply from the grocery store -
straight from the tuna boxes on aisle 7 (just kiddin', I don't know what aisle they are on).
But they are in the boxes of packaged flaked tuna. Great corrugated cardboard without all the work.
And your local grocer will gladly let you have it!
Even if they do look at you kinda funny when you ask... I did add some type of oriental coin charm thing on the bottom of the page.
I tied it onto the waxed linen that I tied the sticks on the page with.
The page is still functional as a folder.
This is just the way I work -
A light bulb goes off in my head (not too painful and I'm getting used to the glare).
I run to my studio, twigs, paint, fiber, glue, thread, paper flies...
I finish the project and then go back and say things like
"Well, if I did it again, I'd do this different or that..."
You all know how that goes, right?
But I did do one thing differently this time.
Since I knew ahead of time that this would be developed into a class,
I wrote down what I did as I went along!
How cool is that?!
I usually finish up and then try to remember what I did...
that doesn't always work with me...
When I finished the page I took a different colored index card (that's what I was writing on at the time)
and wrote down the things I would do differently next time.
Hopefully I can remember to do this on the next page...
Yeah, yeah, I see all of you shaking your heads - thinking "there is noooo way she will remember to do that..."
Well...I might.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Give Away!

Everybody loves a give away...
and especially when it comes from Spring Market!
My friend Liz Kettle from Textile Evolution was at Spring Market
and has put together an awesome little packet!
Check it out, here, leave a comment
and if you win - send me something since I sent you there!

While I have your attention,
let me throw in a shameless plug for my retreat class.
I was invited to teach at the Textile Evolution Retreat this fall in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
I am SO excited about this! Not only the opportunity but the venue!
Colorado in the fall...
But you know what is really great about this retreat?
It's great because it's small...
it's safe to stick your toes in to the pool of mixed media art...
it's accepting of everyone, any level...
I know that there are a lot of fiber artists or quilters out there
that really want to try their hands at a more artist approach to their work.
This is the Perfect Place to do that!
No pressure,a fun loving teacher with
plenty of opportunity for you to grow, to create and to take your passion of making art to a new level.

Does that sound like something you'd be interested in?

Sign up here - but don't delay as the class sizes are limited.
I am teaching two classes -
one is a two day class, "Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts".
The second is a one day class- SO much fun- "Play, Create, Explore".
I'd love for you to join me.