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, October 21, 2016

We Are All Creatives.....

I have a flimsy theory that as society got farther and farther 
removed from having to craft everything it used
(from tools to cloth to homes and quilts)
that individuals began to lose their confidence in making things.
No one who needed a blanket had the luxury of not
making one.  But today we divide ourselves into creatives
and non-creatives.  And the "nons" get an extra helping of much so they are denied the thrill of trying.

My purpose in blogging every week is to share insight on a variety of creative processes in an effort to share the many pleasures art provides.  Yet I also long to nudge those of you who are convinced that you are "not creative" to try something new for the sole purpose of pleasure.  Crazy concept?  Try a tie dye party.  For real.  Fun, cheap and a barrel of laughs.  Take a peek at some fun we had this week trying out "ice dying" as well as old fashioned (with new fashion dyes) "tie dye."

 Check the link (or google) above on specifics but ice dyeing takes no more than a bucket, bag of ice, white item and some dye.  We found the pre-soak step very important in the adherence of vibrant colors so don't skip that stage.

We used a variety of containers.  It's not precise, it's a no fail process as long as you like the colors!

Note, unless, like me, you are accustomed to having green fingers for a week or so, wear plastic gloves!

Ice dying gives a more muted affect for the colors blending...isn't Lisa's skirt gorgeous? I can't wait to trick out my dress above.  To find some cotton clothes to dye try this link for choices.

Of course we could not resist doing a few in the method of our hippie days: tie dye with rubber bands.

pretty gorgeous come summer time!

detail of my dress, note affect of ice dye

So treat yourself and some friends to that wonderful high you get when you step back and see your handiwork.  It may not be your favorite piece of clothing but it will be a favorite day spent laughing, sharing stories and catching up.  Therapy and art, just like an old fashioned quilting bee.

Let me know how it goes....I'll even share your results if you send a photo.

Color Fully Yours,

Friday, October 14, 2016

Painting the Parkway

"Follow your bliss," advises Joseph Campbell.
Anytime I can combine two loves: painting and camping,
well, that's bliss.

I don't "do" watercolor and I really am not a "plein ar" painter.  So what possessed me to attempt both?  The lure of spending time along the Blue Ridge Parkway while camping had a certain cachet about it.  A friend nudged me along suggesting I should paint all along the entire parkway while compiling a visual and written journal of sorts.  When my husband bought into the crazy idea of cycling all 469 miles of the park we were committed!  

Here is a bit of a peek into our first 10 day outing.  Our "Flying Pig II" housed us beautifully in the two most northern national campgrounds, Otter Creek and Peeks of Otter.

not a bad studio I think

our home away from home

very long uphill climbs but Bob got 107 miles completed

I hope the painting gets easier, watercolor is so 

we were running low on electricity and I "had" to finish
some last marks so I would not forget my scene

I love this photo of my biker all set to take off

this is "Sharp Top" one of the 3 Peaks
of Otter, I even got it stamped at the Visitor Center.

Now that we are parked, unpacked and showered I can hardly wait to go again.  There might be a viable project in this fun after all and I certainly did enjoy the slow rhythm of camping and painting.  Mighty glad I am not on a bike but happy to meet my crazy husband along the way for picnics.  More later, I am still processing all of this.

Blissfully Yours,

Friday, October 7, 2016

Late Summer Palette

I'm still fascinated by the use of a
black background.  Here is a 10 x 10 canvas
that captures the colors of autumn
with the last of the summer

I began this painting with basic acrylic colors and a chalk outline on a black canvas.

The drawing is always important but especially so when working with flat color blocks to start.  I want to get the correct color on the canvas and not worry about blending them together.  It is sometimes called puzzle painting: placing the correct piece next to another one eventually makes it a whole.

I can get lost for hours picking out the color swatches from the reference material.  I am so relaxed at this stage as I know that pulling it all together will happen later.  Remember the palette I began with?
It has gotten very messy and unorganized...just the way I like it when I am trying to capture chunks of color throughout the composition.  I still have some chalk lines above but am about to wipe them off with a cloth.

Here is the finished (maybe?) piece.  After the chalk lines disappeared I began to work with the oils and started the process of glaze over glaze over glaze.  Using color with a "liquin additive" provides a  transparent way of tying all the colors together.  I was attempting to get that waxy, luminescent look that fresh vegetables, err, summer fruits have.  That transparency also makes it harder to photograph true color with my limited equipment....this is much more vibrant than it appears here.

Autumn is dropping huge hints of its arrival.  Cool nights and spots of color....nature's own wonderful late summer palette: Enjoy!

Color Fully Yours,

Friday, September 30, 2016

Say Cheese Pleeze!

Sometimes I call myself an artist and
other days I think"maker" more aptly fits.
But is there any difference?  I tend to think of an artist 
as one who has perfected a craft, or
at least taken it to new areas.  As a "maker"you get pleasure
in dabbling.  Today I am a maker:

I am easily seduced.  Easily talked into trying new things and a real sucker for seeing if I can make something.  So when Barbara Kingsolver began to sing the praises of home made cheese in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I couldn't help myself: it was mere hours before I was on-line and ordering the goods from her favorite Cheese Queen.

 Whey Cool, no?

I decided to start with feta as I could use whole milk and it seemed rather forgiving since it did not need a lot of precise "pressing" and aging.

However everything else was very exacting: the timing, the temps, the slowness of stirring and the gentle lifting.  I think cheesemaking must be the most zen art I have ever was slow, very precise, very methodical and not given to any short cuts.  And not one of those traits is my long suit.   
Here I am separating the curds from the whey.....

This was a way to let gravity continue to drain the whey while letting the cheese curds compact.

Then I sliced the wad of compacted curds into manageable wedges so they can sit in a concentrated salt brine for 12-18 hours.  But yuck, after sneaking a taste I think it too salty for my tastebuds.  But hey, it's not over yet.

I removed the wedges from the brine and let them "stabilize,"  covered lightly with a sanitary cloth, for 2 days.

And now, the cheese pops back into a light brine solution to rest for 7-10 days before it is at peak flavor.  Whew....I am already guessing my feta will need a milk soak to neutralize the saltiness.  I can also see that I am at a critical fork in the road: either dive in and order a hygrometer et al while retrofitting a small frig into an aging cave, OR enjoy the fact that this experience taught me once again that many things I take for granted are, in fact, someone else's art form!  

To those cheesemakers who have studied the science and perfected the art of creating wonderful fromage: I tip my hat!  Kudos from an appreciator who will continue to enjoy your work.

So I'm out of the kitchen and back to the studio tomorrow, thanks for chasing this squirrel with me!

Art Fully Yours,

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Gathering

Sometimes a moment just begs to be painted.
The minute you see the scene it is as if
it was put there just for the artists' eye, to be
captured and preserved forever in paint.

Such was the history behind this painting, "The Gathering."  I spent the morning at a friend's farm and after we gathered flowers I laid my basket down to run in and fetch something.  When I returned I paused, slowly I took in the scene before me: the garden in the distance, the old milk can, the peeling chair and my freshly cut flowers.  I savored it.  The smells, the sounds, the colors are with me to this day.  But before I moved on I reached in my back pocket and took a photo.  

Days later I remembered the photo and printed it out to see if I might be able to paint from it.  I really wanted to preserve that rustic yet fresh atmosphere and I knew I had a challenge before me.

I began with a gold and a gold/green wash on the white canvas and then lightly sketched out the chair using a piece of white chalk.  When I was fairly certain of my most important lines I used a brush and a liquidy-wash of burnt sienna to draw in my guide.

Then the painting fun began.  Apparently I was so engrossed I forgot to take photos.  I do remember telling my self to "slow down, slow down, slooooow down."  I wanted to leave some "raw-ness" to the rendering and I know my tendency to get bogged down in painting the details which, I think, tightens up the overall feel.

Paint, sit and look.  Walk around.  Paint.  Back off.  Mull.  Go away.  Come back.  Study.  Paint.

I am learning (or trying to learn) to think at least twice as long as paint.  Easier said than done.

The Gathering, oil, 24 x 20
(waiting for its frame)

So here is the result.  The flowers eventually found a vase and then died but the wonderful morning is still with me as I remember the air, the smells, the colors...and how the still life magically appeared and asked me to paint it.

Color Fully Yours,

Friday, September 16, 2016

Follow Up: Try, Try Again

I love reading your comments and reactions
to my posts.  And I take them to heart.
Little did I know that my blog on  "Far and Away," titled
elicit so much input.  So I shall follow up.

You may recall the experiment:

which I believed had failed.  Let me clarify: it failed to accomplish what I had hoped to achieve in paint.  It may not have failed to please your eye or failed to teach me something.  It was an effort, like homework, to practice a technique.

However the post resulted in some very interesting reactions!  One reader cautioned me against going too close to the "dark side," (the world of modern art.) Another said it was not a huge failure, just a "little one."  I also received a lecture on not telling my readers what they should or should not like and a fellow artist sent a cropped photo of the piece (which greatly improved it).  More feedback than I ever imagined and while I appreciated each, one motivated me.

Ellen Lindner, a renowned fabric artist, applauded my efforts and suggested a method she uses for  design.  "Tear up colored paper," she advised, "play around with that.  Tearing paper keeps you from being precise but forces you to color-think."


my square canvas, my inspiration photo and piles of color from magazines

next I began playing with a layout

eventually I have to commit, using Mod Podge for glue

It was fun choosing my colors from the paper pile and trying to tear out simple shapes.

from this detail you can see the variety of the patterns used, I tried to squint down
hard so that I mostly saw the overall value, not that I had onions
and asparagus in the swatch

one more detail so you can see the variety of magazine pages gathered to use

Far Away, 10 x 10 on canvas
torn paper collage
available, of course!

Ta da!  Done.  I knew when I started tearing pinhead-sized pieces I was getting too detailed (or just "licking" as we say when done with paint).  Time to cease and desist.

Now I'm going out on a limb here and state that I like this!  (feel free to disagree...) 

Tearing up paper made me think hard about the big shapes I wanted (not the detail) and using found colors, not mixing them, forced me to think about color values.  And I really like the little patterns that snuck in. 

What do you think?

(And BTW, I apologize that the link on the site to contact me is broken: work in progress.  If you receive this via an email feed just hit the reply button and I will get it.  I really do value what you say.)

Glued together,