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, May 1, 2015

Gone Biking

Studio temporarily closed!



an adventure in NYC!

(I goofed with the scheduling of my post on spring cleaning and there is a chance you will receive it twice.  So sorry, just further proof I am a better painter than computer
geek.  But you knew that!)

with painting adventures in Naples, Italy and beyond.

Color FULLY yours,

Spring Cleaning ... Your Art

I bet this title made you suspect I was going to advise dusting and polishing your art collection this week, correct? (and BTW, never spray glass cleaner onto the glass of your art, spray a soft cloth and then polish, otherwise you run the risk of the liquid dripping and leaching onto the matting...ick)  Wrong!  I know you have already done that task, especially the tops of those dust-collecting frames.

No, I am thinking about culling your art, or ridding yourself of pieces that no longer sing to you.

There's a hot little book making the rounds right now titled: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  All kinds of testimonies are circulating about the method and I admit it is a motivating book.  I got 2/3 through and ran out of energy, but have promised self to finish.  If you want the condensed version check out this great review Houzz here.

Anyhoo, I was wondering if the same method could be applied to artwork that just doesn't measure up as when purchased.  Objects produced by hands somehow carry a sacred spirit about them and just should not be tossed aside.  But really, why not?  Some pieces are ephemeral in the sense that the joy was in creating, not selling or buying.  When that joy has been spent why not free up space by getting rid of it?

"Investment pieces"  (i.e. you paid a bundle, very large work or you were hoping to resell) are different issues.

Our tastes change.  Admit it.  Something you bought in your twenties does not hold the same cache for you now (unless infused with sentiment).  But what to do with a piece that is still sound in every other way?

Donate it.  I have contacted several places, depending on the piece, about accepting art to hang in their buildings.  Consider a local women's shelter, a children's home, or a nursing home.  I cringe when I see the poster art these places usually hang...shouldn't these residents also have the pleasure of "real art?"  Non-profit offices could use a bit of sprucing up as can certain church spaces and hallways.  Some of these places will give you a receipt for the dollar amount you originally paid.

art I received at no cost from Peter Seibt 

Gift it.  I have a few pieces purchased long ago on my 'don't want' pile that others have expressed interest in. Be my guest.  It's win-win and the art breathes more joy.  (I've often thought of having a "trade" space during art workshops.)  Your children may (mostly may not!) be interested in your cast-off pieces.  Does your doctors office need an uplift?  Waiting rooms are notorious for bad art.  The dentist? Just explain that you are down-sizing, not that the piece is undesired.

happy recipients of a table I painted

Sell it.  This is usually more trouble than money for me.  But if you have a Warhol or Lichtenstein original it would be worth going on-line for a secondary market value. (for fun you can google the value of many others as well.) I can promise you that a charity or benefit art auction will love getting their hands on great pieces of lesser artistes and may be willing to split the take with you.

So as my collection grows, my opinion on "owning for life" changes.  I need space for the pleasure of collecting, and I want to reflect my ever-morphing tastes.  As the author of the "Tidying Up.." book suggests:  Thank the piece for the pleasure it once provided, bow to its spirit and let it go.  What you gain is space for new joy.

Joyfully collecting,

p.s. to my sis if she is reading:  Please feel free to let the semi-nude Modigliani-esque woman on red go....I know I did it, but it is SO "not you" now!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Painting a Masterpiece (in 2 hours?!)

When I was approached by an organization I support to lead a fundraising/painting event based on those franchises springing up all over now (where non-painters leave with a ready-to-hang painting after only 2 hours), I was challenged.  Before I would commit I knew some experience would be helpful.  A cry for help resulted in 15 willing ladies who all agreed to be guinea pigs in my "Masterpiece Painting Experience."  The mission was to take a gathering of non-painters and walk them through the creation of a frame-ready painting they would be proud of.  Game on.

I gathered supplies, made handouts, set up tables, dreamed up an approach and got prepared.  After talking to lots of people who had been to the "paint and wine" or "sip and dip" places I decided that I wanted everyone to paint their own version of the subject cookie cutter paintings for us!

I am not a real teacher and while I don't mind public speaking I quickly learned that this process meant I was the teacher, the coach, the demonstrator, the cheerleader, the fixer and the hostess!  Yikes, a lot of hats to wear at once: my brain was buzzing...

I could not have asked for a nicer group of guinea pigs...they were enthusiastic, eager learners and willing to leave their comfort zones and give some new things a try.  I know for a fact that the effort was a real stretch for several of them but I also have it on good authority that they had fun.  The evaluation sheets were full of helpful advice and compliments.

My buddy Cheri won't mind if I share some of the steps everyone went through:

 #1 - hmmmm, this is a tad harder than it looks, gee I hope I am getting this right.  Now what was I supposed to do with the large flower???
#2 - who me?  did you say to "pause" or paint faster?  I love these colors.  What do you mean 'no leaves yet'?  Ah, yeah, I think I'm enjoying this.... 
#3 - Woo Hoo! I do like this style of painting, and I did have fun and hey...when can we do this again?

I learned alot during this class, namely that 2 hours is a real short time for anyone to learn anything!  But as I believe that art should be a positive experience for any and all I think we at least accomplished that goal.  Can't wait to try this again.  Will let you know if I need anymore test subjects!

Just a few of the delightful participants!
Smiles and masterpieces +
one exhausted teacher!

ART FULLY yours,

Friday, April 17, 2015

Graphic Design Puts Art in Your Life

Whether You Realize It or Not

I was struggling recently, to design a t-shirt - "you're the artist, just do something nice" - I've heard that so many times before, signs, logos, posters, you name it...if you are an "artist" you should be able to whip up a little something, right?  So WRONG.

Artists are not all created alike and if I get my wish of 9 lives I have decided that one of them will reincarnate me into a GRAPHIC artist.  You know, those folks who probably invade our lives more with their work than any other type of artist on earth.  Even in a foreign country you can spot Coke, McDonald's and Nike, right?  Because graphic art speaks a universal language, a language of symbols that, at its best, transcends the spoken word and becomes an immediate visual icon.  You recognize those product symbols because some artist took time, input and a 1000 iterations to produce that piece of art.  Talk about powerful.

Back to my t-shirt....
I was struggling, and floundering, and trying really, really hard with little success.
My son, on the other hand, seems to have a knack for this thing (with only 1 junior high art class I might add.) So I sent him my best design for instructions on how to convert to a printable piece.

"Mind if I take a try?" he replied.  Mind? I thought. mind?  thanks, have at it.

His design was, not only superior to any of mine, but a winner for saying a lot with very little....

This started me on a hunt to learn more about other graphic designs we encounter time you see a symbol or logo study it more carefully, you may see it differently, for instance:

* do you notice a white arrow between the E and x in the FedEx logo?  no mistake for implying speed, 

* have you ever seen the party people dipping a chip into the bowl on top of the i in Tostitos logo?

* and yes, I could replicate the logo in a heartbeat...but only then would I recognize the subtly of the arrow going from A to Z....and smiling!!

I am thanking my son publicly, he used to design web pages so is no novice to this sort of design, but I am keeping his contact a secret....he no longer does this work and is expecting a son so he will be a tad busy, but here is a mock up of the t-shirt we ordered:

Cool, huh?

and if you want to dive a little deeper into some of the fun things designed into common logos just check out these sites:

So see? artists are coloring your world whether you realize it or not...might as well try and enjoy the nuance and messages in their designs.



Friday, April 10, 2015

A Bench of a Project

More Yard Art for the Avant Garden

It all started when a friend, Cathy Adams, mailed me a photo of her sitting on a lovely blue (concrete) couch covered in mosaic. 

 A street scene of yard art to make me swoon; my brain went from "I want" to "I need" to "I will make" in about 60 seconds or less.  Here is, as they say, the rest of the story:

According to my husband this dandy bench was on the way to the garbage.

I had to make the surface "solid" so covered the wood with some left over plaster cloth.

Realizing the plaster cloth would not hold up long term, I interviewed Home Depot guys and after a variety of answers (including odd looks) I began to cover the bench with concrete wire mesh.

Next came the concrete surfacing (which I failed to make as smooth and level as I should have: note to self)

At this stage the enormity of the amount of real estate struck me and I sent a note to friends and family asking for donations of their broken plates, tiles, mementos or anything ceramic to incorporate into the project.  I also returned to Home Depot and Lowe's to interview "experts" on the appropriate mortar to use.  I selected a porcelain tile mortar, polymer enriched by Mapei, because it sounded like I could grout and glue all in one step: big mistake!  The experts were not artists and this artist should not try to cut corners.  All's well but next time (am I crazy?) I will glue and grout, the hard way.

How can I not find photos of work-in-progress??

finally done - now I need to grow the grass back!

Yes, it took ages to complete.  The hardest part was getting the body into various positions to work with a slippery mess.  Unlike a painting or a small piece, I could not simply flip the bench over and get it to rest on my knee.  I had to limit the time my poor back could scrunch over or my arms could reach forward  But as Funky (my husbands description) as it turned out, I love recognizing all the wonderful pieces it contains: hey, anything with a unicorn, a Santa, some tiles from Mexico, a demolished 50's bathroom and a Virgin Mary in it has to have character, no?


Come on by before the mosquitoes come out and we will enjoy a cool drink on a one-of-a-kind piece of art.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Believable Scenes or Hokey Poses

When is REAL LIFE Trite??

Many times I have gasped at a sunset only to remark to a cohort "if we painted it as it is no one would believe it."  Sad but true.  Sometimes the amazing color that nature presents us is so fleeting that to put it down on paper would feel unreal or unnatural.  Sigh.

The same thing happens in figurative work.  Sometimes the scene on the street is so touching that it feels hokey when painted.  How many more silhouetted handholders can I take with an ocean sunset backdrop?  How many more child hands painted in large calloused ones? I know, I know, people love this stuff....but in the pursuit for new some of these scenes have been painted just one too many times.

So it is with trepidation that I even show you a painting I am working on currently.  Probably trite, probably hokey, and most likely poorly executed.  But....there I was in Rome painting (for real) and my companion, Kelly Medford, and I ducked into a little church, mostly for the shade it offered but there was something she wanted me to see.  As we were walking down the aisle I turned around and caught a glance of a mother and a young boy.  They were perfectly framed by the light coming from the main window above the front altar.  My instincts were to turn back around, I felt I was invading their "moment."  

But the artist got the better part of me and as I glanced back to see the scene I knew it was a composition I would want to remember.  I quietly got out my phone and turned once again to get a photo trying all the while NOT to appear I was taking a photo.  No time to even see if I got a good one.  Kelly and I resumed our tour and left the nave by a side door.  I don't even remember if I shared the photo with Kelly. 
 It felt like a very private moment.

Several years later I was going through my photo files and came upon the scene again.  This time I wanted to try to paint it and lo and behold I noticed a third figure in the background where she was standing in a posture of adulation.

This piece is nearly impossible for an amateur to photograph as it is done on a very smooth and very shiny clayboard.  It would usually frustrate me because it has no tooth to grab the paint but I wanted to glaze in layers for the depth keeping the surface relatively smooth.  In the painting the background is much darker but my camera wants to justify everything and I cant seem to adjust for that.

It is almost finished and if I can ever manage to get a decent photo I will post it.  But in the category of eating my words I wanted you to know that THIS is, was, a real scene, not a posed one, and for me was a powerful one with a lot of meat to it.  It is never as fab as the one in my mind....but maybe with a tad more work I can do it justice.

So the next time you see a hot pink sunset with orange stripes don't assume the painter is color-crazy - he may have really been there.  Just feel free to ask!

Always Amazed,