Join me....

I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Friday, June 23, 2017

High Country Tour de Art

I love to peek behind the scenes.
To look behind the magic curtain, lift the veil of mystery,
watch how the sausage is made...all terms for
getting to see where something is created.
Observing the mechanics of any process leads to new respect.

So let me invite you to this year's High Country Tour de Art, the 9th annual. On the fourth Saturday of the next six months area artists and galleries will throw open their doors to invite the public into the inner sanctums of creation.  It's a day to ask questions, exchange ideas, wander about and perhaps try something new.  

Wonder what the difference between "wheel thrown" pottery and "coiled" is?  Confused about the choice of acrylic versus oil?  And just where do those off-the-wall ideas come from?  This is your day to load up the car, download a map here (or get one at your first stop) and head out.  Any artist will be happy to recommend the perfect lunch spot.  If you are here all summer, it's a great tour for your guests or one you can do little by little over several months.

I'M EXCITED because I have a new potter in my studio AND a fun community project for you to join.

just a sample of Eric Reichard's great work

Eric is bringing in new work daily and after you check out his website you will want to see the real stuff.  Eric and Maggie Black (my studio neighbor) have worked together and it was her recommendation that brought this beautiful new addition to my work space.  Come check it out.

ALSO, join me as together we create the brightest, happiest painting this side of the Blue Ridge to be donated to the Seby B. Jones Cancer Treatment Center on the Watauga Medical Campus here in Boone.  Many of us know loved ones who have spent hours receiving chemo treatments. It's a tedious, scary length of time and whether you are the patient or the caregiver old magazines don't do much for distracting you from worry. 

Remembering the fun of participating in the Healing Ceilings Project I contacted our own Treatment Center only to discover their Art Committee was currently exploring the idea of how art aids the healing process.  They embraced the project and I have promised them that everyone slapping on some color, outlining an object or adding a design to this 36" x 24" painting will be autographing the back of it with love and good wishes.  

I'll be sharing more on this project as it develops but you don't have to be able to "draw a straight line" to help out.  The lines will be drawn, the colors are out and paint brushes provided.  All you have to do is add your touch, make a mark or paint by number.  Let's make something that takes time to look at, that will be so full of color and lines and designs and objects that anyone sitting down for their treatment will go off into a new world where there is hope and promise.  

Saturday, June 24, that's tomorrow!  Come on by 112 Clubhouse Drive, right off Hwy 105 in Foscoe. We are officially open at 10 am (you know I'm there earlier) and happy to see you until 5 pm.  If you get lost call me at 32-795-0816 and I'll give you a landmark.  

and guess what?  there is no limit to the number of times you can come!!  

See you tomorrow,

Friday, June 16, 2017

Spring ZING!!

99 days out of 100 I enter my studio excited to see what 
I can make happen.  But on some of those days I literally
 rush inside because my mind has been working
 all night on something it can't let go of.
Spring provided several of those wonderful days.

That's the best word.
Spring was mysterious this year.  It peeked out from behind the clouds and then would sneak back behind winter for a bit longer.  Then, zing!, evidence.  Then retreat.  Then out again.  Like a teasing lover it played with us this year preferring to drag out the announcement of its arrival.  Which made it all the more fun to find.

I got a little abstract here as I pulled out a huge support and got to work purely in color and form.  See the gray and brown mountains?  That's what we lived with during the late muddy winter.  Then badda bang, badda boom: color began creeping up the elevation.  Like a time lapse movie, every day presented a new picture as the spring zing began hiking up the elevation.  I would choose a fav color and then, wow, a new one would emerge.  Call this piece a journal, it evolved daily.

And after so many months of seeing the stately trunks of trees marching across the fields it was like an easter egg hunt to spot patches of color here and there.  This is another out-of-my-mind's-eye piece that gave me a zing.  Spring Zing to be specific.  Ok, out of my system...maybe, maybe not.

I know its unconventional to share these without sizes and titles (and prices) but hey, they haven't even made it to the framer's yet and he always sees them first.  A quick spray today and I will take them to him to work his framing magic.  Email me if you need the details or just stop by the studio where they will soon be hanging.  

Whew, that rush was fun.  I hope that whenever I see these paintings I can conjure up that same feeling that spring brings when it tries to sneak up.  Zing! Zing! Like arrows shot out here and there.

Happy Spring to you,

Friday, June 9, 2017

Painting Up Sticks

Sometimes I work so hard on a painting
that my poor brain needs a break...but my hands
want to keep moving.  Times like that I tend to default to an
easy paint project that keeps my brushes moving while my 
brain goes on autopilot.  Here's a task for just that time.

For some reason painted sticks are all the rage now.  Just check out Pinterest (if you can open).  Or try a google search.  I am always coming home from a hike with interesting sticks (and stones) in my pockets so I decided that the next time I needed a low-impact job I would paint some sticks.

plain old sticks...but I did
learn that the wider the diameter, the easier to work with

some of the bark will flip off easily, some will need urging; 
where it won't budge just ease the transition with sandpaper

start going wild....I began really carefully attending to edges but soon
found that it really didn't matter.  I used acrylic paint but found my
leftover or sample wall paints really easy to put on; again, the skinny
sticks were a bit hard to add much decoration to

My grands are still a tad young to be trying this but I think it might be fun to do with kids, you could even do a hiking stick to use later on.  Other ideas are to "plant" in a potted plant for color, put in the garden as a marker or pile up in a glass jar just because.  I did it mostly for mental relaxation but here is what I ended up with:

poised in a kenyan they almost look like dancers

simple colors that might end up in my flower bed

these are my favorite

curtain call for the afternoon

So this gives me just one more reason to gather sticks, and I'm hunting some fatter ones so I can go crazy with designs.  Most likely these will end up in the garden as temporary decor while waiting for the flowers to bloom.  And the fact that they probably won't last will give me another reason to experiment again next spring.  

Whether you do this to make an orchid support, to entertain some young ones or just to occupy your hands: have fun.  There's no way to go wrong!


Friday, June 2, 2017

Fabric Fantasy

All that cutting and sewing with fabric
for the church banner got my creative juices going
for a chance to play in other ways.  Thankfully, it was short-lived as
I found it was going to take a lot, a lot (!) of work
to achieve the results of my fantasy.

I love to read creative blogs.  As soon as I finish reading I start wondering how I can try the technique on something for myself.  So it was no wonder that all those fabric scraps and too many textile art blogs conspired to launch me into trying to decorate a jacket and a shirt for summer wear.

I decided to "embellish" or add some fabric art pieces and then put some hand stitching on top.  I used to do a lot of embroidery and was horrified as to how much I had totally forgotten.  But an ignorant person has no fear so I got busy with my summer jacket.

First I played with some very simple shapes and moved them around on a light piece of white fabric.  I used scraps of what I had (not a good idea as I had already forgotten how important it is to have "like" weights and weaves, but oh well...) and I thought these colors would go well on a gray linen. 

Between pining and gluing I managed to get the piece attached to the center back of the jacket.  Because I don't do anything the easy way I had also decided that one sleeve and a front pocket should also be enhanced to match the back.  In hindsight I think my design proved a little "over done" and busy.

jacket back and sleeve, pocket not shown

OK, I will usually try something twice before I quit totally.  So I decided to improve my technique by using fusible facing (much easier to sew thru than glue) and simplifying my design for another piece. I took an inexpensive tee-shirt and got busy.

Here is the front of the shirt.  I loved using the light blue from another tee but the yellow was not so pleasant to work with.  I also added sleeves and lengthened the shirt with pieces from that sacrificed shirt.

I like the overall design much better, the sleeves and "tail" not so much.  Again it was an experiment and I did just enough to test the waters.  Like anything else I would need to try quite a few more pieces to get a fool-proof method down and learn how to design.  This will do it for me.  It was fun and once again I gained a new level of respect for those artists that work in fabric.

While I'm quite content to stay with my paints I, for sure, will be wearing both of these new pieces if only to the studio this summer.  And though I may not be doing any more designs on clothing, rest assured that the summer experiments have barely begun.  Here's to dabbling out-of-field!


Friday, May 26, 2017

Finishing a project is always a relief.  
Sometimes the closing stroke leads me directly into
a repeat of the process so giddy I am with lessons learned
and a willingness to apply them again.  Other times...well, 
other times it takes a while to digest what was
gained and how to apply it elsewhere.
This is one of those "other times."

You may recall how I got into doing a church banner from a previous post on this project.  I seem to go where angels fear to tread and this was no exception: piles of mismatched cloth, no patterns, no experience...only a willingness to brighten the altar in some way with textile.

 When I last wrote I think I was having a "dark night of the artistic soul" moment, not at all sure I could pull it off.  I was consulting quilt shop owners unabashedly showing my ignorance in hopes of some guidance.  Which they happily provided.

I had never "quilted" on a machine before and having a dinosaur at my disposal there was no way I could pull off those fancy swirls and circles I longed to include.  And it would have been years before the finish line to do it all by hand.

I had read that taping it to the floor was an assist in lining up all the pieces if one did not have a large table.  So my husband consented to assist and we did our best to square up the front, the filling and the backing in our hallway.

A bazillion safety pins later i was able to trim off enough of the excess material to be able to get an idea of what this piece would look like hanging.  I still was not satisfied with the edges and I could also see that they were not even enough to stand as they were.  Head scratching time for sure.  Meanwhile I began to sew all three pieces together in what would appear to be the "quilting."  I chose to make the words stand out as single units and then to outline each of the interior squares on all fours sides and the trim just outside the ditches.  Quilt-speak I learned from the gracious shops I consulted.

Brainstorm on purple edging and miles of stitching later...husband stops by to hold it all up so that I can see how it hangs before completing the final trim and loops.

try out day: it fits!
also appears that bottom weights will be optional

less wonky when viewed straight on

Whew!  Brought it home to sign on the back and call it done!  I hope that when folks find their cloth pieces in this banner they will realize that the real message here is that only when we work together are we truly one.  I was challenged with making a lot of strange colors harmonize, with trying to get the loose weaves to cleave to the heavier pieces and with trying to include a little bit of way too many fabrics.  Reminds me of many committees I have been on, not to mention family gatherings or large parties.  But if it can be done half way pleasingly with fabric, just imagine what we would build with personalities?  I know, trite, but a lesson well worth being taught over and over again.

Glad to put this one to rest.

Colorfully yours,

Friday, May 19, 2017

Moroccan Mint Tea

It didn't take long for us to fully embrace the custom
of hot Moroccan mint tea.  Served in a metal tea pot
and drunk consistently in glasses, it was offered everywhere:
during sales of goods, after dinner, mid-morning and late
afternoon.  It was almost too sweet for my palate
but always served with sweeping arm motions (which made 
the pour long and arcing) that always made it
into a visual ritual of celebration.

I began to call this painting a jig saw puzzle

I would find myself lost in the color blocks, duplicating shapes without regard to
what they became a very zen painting experience, slow and methodical

the strain was not to rush into the "fun" highlights too soon,
nor give in to the urge to use the real "gold" paint too early.

Moroccan Mint, 12 x 12, oil on board
black frame

Zen Fully Yours,
p.s. just for fun, see if you can find at least 3 people in this piece, any luck?