Sitting it Out This Summer

Summer is my favorite season, and strangely enough I love Florida summers. Yes… it gets too hot and humid to breathe some days, but that is what the ocean, the springs and swimming pools are for. This summer has been a unique experience for me. I broke my leg at the end of May and I am still non-weight bearing now in mid August. Other than almost daily swimming pool therapy, I am sitting inside this summer.

After three trips down to my studio to pack up art supplies and bring them back to my house, I am working. The first 6 weeks home recovering, I built houses for the HOME show exhibit I organized for Fifth Avenue Art Gallery. See More About HOME. I built beach houses and bird homes and a mountain cabin diorama… oh, and a chicken house. Now that all the “building” is over, I am back to painting papers and making mixed-media collages.

 

It’s hard to believe that soon… very soon, the fall art show circuit gets into full gear. I only do a few shows in the Fall… especially this year, but lots of new work is needed!  At my studio I have these great tall legged tables that I work at so I can move around to different works in progress. Here, at home I have had to adjust to worker smaller, better planning and rotating artwork and supplies. It’s nice to be home with my pups, Beau and Sweet Pea… they love everything I do :)

Today, just back from physical therapy… I am working with my gelli plates to paint some new papers for collaging with. One benefit to not being able to get out much is that the typical distractions of life are fewer and there is more time to work.

A Very Big THANK-YOU, to all my family and friends who have cared for me in so many amazing ways this summer!

The Big Easy

French quarter

Heading home from another great trip to NOLA. I have seen several signs around town that say: “New Orleans, is the most foreign city in the United States”. I haven’t been to all the cities in the US, but New Orleans is definitely different in an amazing way; the food alone is worth the trip. Food, “flavor”, art, history, architecture, and wonderful hospitality. New Orleans is like a touch of Paris with a 1 1/2 hour flight. We had great food… I think I said that… lunch at Commander’s Palace is a must-do, oysters, oysters, oysters everywhere you go. We had an oyster Rockefeller po-boy at Tableau that was amazing. Our best dinner was at Restaurant August… really amazing.

We started with their potato crisp and P&J oysters appetizer; lightly dusted with cornmeal and Parmesan and served with their house pickled vegetables. The entrees were gulf snapper in court bouillon and breaded “trout Pontchartrain” shrimp, blue crab, and wild mushrooms. We booked an early afternoon flight home to take advantage of one more meal of oysters… char-grilled oysters and an oyster po-boy at the ACME Oyster House; I don’t think you can beat the ACME for oysters! We will be back next year, trying new places and re-visiting our favorites.
Thanks New Orleans for always delivering a great time!

Happy Place

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I found a great sign for my studio; one of those weathered-looking ones with big, bold text: THIS IS MY HAPPY PLACE! I have lots of happy places… my home, my studio,  my garden, my kitchen; blessed with friends and family who  are encouraging and creating art that expresses my view of life… I am pretty much happy in general.

I have been enjoying my studio immensely of late… It looks pretty crazy there, most of the time with stacks of “art stuff”, everywhere. I am doing more and more mixed-media… and you have to have lots of “stuff” to work with!
Essentials of mixed-media: paper, string, wire, old books, wax, resin, bottle-caps (rusty and smashed flat) TREASURES!

Two of my newest pieces sold recently and that is a huge motivator to get busy and start new work with all those ideas that are always popping up in my head. I am starting a new collage/acrylic piece along the same lines as the girl with the octopus. It will incorporate more sea-life; jellyfish and sharks. I am still in the composition stage; drawing and putting textures down. I was so excited to see the reaction to “Nocturne” (the girl with the octopus). I’m always a little nervous when hanging a piece at an outdoor art show for thousands of people to see… and comment on. It was great to see people stop in their tracks and take a long look, then ask what the medium was…

I love the intricate process of painting the layers of design on tissue paper then collaging it onto the board and finishing the piece with more layers of paint. A visitor to my studio asked why I don’t “just paint it”… and yes I could, but I love the combination of mediums and the effect I can achieve.

See Turtle Swim

photo_1 (4)This turtle has been so much fun to work on… incorporating lots of design elements by applying paint using some of my favorite stencils. Most of my turtle paintings push the color and design aspects just beyond what you see in nature. This piece will be featured at the Ponce Inlet, Florida Marine Science Center’s Turtle Day coming up in April.

It’s Not Cheating

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Yes, I shoot 99% of my photography with my iphone, it works well for me. As a painter and mixed-media artist,  I rely on visual inspirations every day. Most artists will tell you they “see their world differently”, and I feel that way too. I can find inspiration looking out my window, taking a walk, books, galleries, museums and of course online. Shooting with my phone works well for me. I can scan through images when starting a new project or when I’m too tired to actually pick up a paintbrush… Sometimes I end up with a image I love so much, it becomes the art.

I love to share my newly crafted images with my family… so excited about the possiblities, like turning things PINK. It never fails, I show one of my sons what I’ve done and his exact words… everytime, because he loves to tease me,  are: “It’s Cheating”.

I like to play with images the way I push color and design in my artwork, and have three great ways to do that on my iphone.  The Apps are: Hipstamatic, Photo Toaster and my newest find… Pic Lab.

Hipstamatic
My all-time favorite, with Hipstamatic you choose you lens, film and flash options before you shoot. If you invest, as I have, in all the paks that are available… you will have a truly endless variety of combinations to work and play with. I have been using Hipstamatic since I got my first iphone. Love it!

examples of my hipstamtic shots

Photo Toaster

My friend and fellow artist Bridgette Guerzon Mills shared  Photo Toaster with me last year. I love having the post-shoot options to add filters, effects and frames. It saves time when shooting… if I see a subject I like, and get a sharp image to work with, I can alter it many ways.

images using photo toaster:

Pic Lab

THANK YOU Daily Post for sharing! I just read about Pic Lab last night and sat playing till my battery died :) So much fun! I love text… and adding text, borders, effects, shadows, did I say effects? I love everything you can do with Pic Lab. Yes… after about 2 minutes I opted for the paid version to increase the available options. It’s sort of like buying art supplies… you can never have enough.

images using Pic Lab:

These are my favorites. Hope you enjoy and give them a try. It’s not cheating.

Painting with Patterns

20140217-232514.jpgWhen I switched from oils to acrylics several years ago the primary reason was the fast drying time. I don’t like waiting, preferring to make changes as I go.
Currently, I am LOVING incorporating collage into my paintings. I keep coming back to the best description I can think of; painting with pattern. Where I would traditionally paint lights and darks and mid-tones… I am collaging with painted paper, or in some cases, applying paint in a pattern directly on to the canvas or board.
I love challenges in my art. I create them to try and keep my work fresh; sometimes with texture applied to the substrate before I have any ideas of subject matter. Most recently with using pattern.

The first step is to paint the papers I will be using to collage with. Some days that is all I concentrate on. I use acrylic paint, stencils, rubber stamps, bubble wrap…etc. on lightweight paper.
I like to first “prime” the paper with either white, black or gray gesso. Then lay out my palette and get started covering each paper with design .

here is a short video at my studio: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCfwfZHEdos
I promise, that next time… I will record footage with the camera rotated to fill the screen properly. Work in progress :)
I would love your feedback.
Interested in a mixed-media workshop at my studio? Follow me on Facebook for artnews or join my mailing list. HERE

Thank you!

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Artistic Growth Can be Challenging.

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Wow! It’s been a year.

Last February 16th was the most  artistically challenging 24 hours for myself and a small group of very talented and brave artists here in Brevard County. It’s kind of hard to believe a year has passed… 

This was such an exciting exhibition! I love putting projects together, BIG PROJECTS. It is a wonderful experience to work with other artists from all types of backgrounds and mediums and watch a plan come together. The very best part of the our 24 hour challenge was that it was captured on video then edited as a documentary, thanks to the generosity and creative energy of our collaborators; Brandt Ronat & Company, a creative design and advertising company, located  in Brevard County .

See the Documentary here 

My blog post from last year.
2013 What a Difference a Day Makes; 24 hour art challenge

It’s been a very busy time lately… I’m just finishing up a project that has been “challenging” but extremely rewarding. I organized What A Difference A Day Makes; 24 Hour Art Challenge for my gallery; Fifth Avenue Art Gallery in Melbourne Florida. (March 1-31, 2013), go see . This exhibition challenged 24 artists, including myself, to create a piece of artwork within an assigned 24 hour period… oh, and just so you didn’t pre-plan everything down to the last stroke, you were given a list of prompts the morning of your workday. One of the most exciting parts of the project is the collaboration with a local creative marketing and branding company; Brandt Ronat & Company. They partnered with us to videotape a portion of each of the 24 artists workday and created an incredible video documentary all about the project, see it online. Our goal, along with the experience of the project was to raise money and awareness for Very Special Arts Brevard. They bring art to children and adults with special needs. It’s a great local organization playing a very important part in enriching lives through art.

I used the challenge to push myself not only to complete a piece of art in 24 hours, but to use the techniques I have been “playing with” over the last year or so. I love the work of Anne Bagby and also love printmaking! The process includes aspects of painting and printmaking with texture, stencils, stamps; designing patterned paper by hand then using the paper as a element of the composition. I am enjoyed the tactile experience of layering with gesso and paint… getting very messy in the process and then playing with the design of the composition. My finished piece, Girl with Papaya was definitely challenging to complete in 24 hours… I looked up the list of prompts and chose the three that I would work with: rare, metamorphosis and flourish, then starting working on ideas for the composition. I am happy to have finished it… in 17 hours, and happy with the comments I have been hearing about the work; it’s very encouraging.

I’ll be finishing my second piece soon and working on many more ideas for this new direction… I still love working with paint, and the stencils and patterns are finding their way into that work as well.

Prints of Girl with Papaya are available here.

Expanding

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These girls keep showing up in recent work and this week they are beginning to take new shape… 3-d form. I was looking through my “inspiration file” and ran across some dolls that I saw somewhere on the internet. I knew when I saw them that they would translate to the girls I have been painting. I had all the supplies necessary; purchased after the initial inspiration, and now I can include all the lovely ephemera I have been “stockpiling”. These girls are strong and confident, they are caring and nuturing too. They are inspired and inspirational…at least that is the message I want to send. 

I am having a great time sketching all the possibilities, then cutting, sanding and crafting their faces and attaching their bodies together. Another list is also taking shape; names and personalities. This week I hope to get a few close to finished.

  • balance
  • blessed
  • fragile
  • fearless
  • seeker

The Title Eludes Me…

Girl with Geese

NOT

Maybe it is due to the exuding energy of new creative ventures… but usually, the title for a new piece of art or in this case blog titles,  pop right up. One of my artist friends said in passing, “I never stay with the first idea because it’s the one that everyone thinks of” hmmm… that could be true.

For me, I love spontaneous! Starting a new “project” art, event, even cleaning out a closet… which I said I would never talk about, is often exhilarating. It’s that starting thing… big white canvas, planning an adventure, even creating a fabulous dinner, I LOVE it.

I have the weirdest (in a healthy fun way) thoughts. Usually the first thing that comes to mind when I have an inspired idea for art or writing, is either very strange or funny.  Sometimes, I crack myself up… thoughtfully. Most of the time I can control the circumstances of silliness. Occasionally not.

SONY DSCgirl in the blue dress! if you don’t stop laughing I will stop this bus (schoolbus) and you will be removed! luckily, I was not the girl in the blue dress… but my best friend was, and whatever I was talking about was very funny and the more I said, the harder she laughed. I would have walked home with her…of course. For some reason this event comes to mind when I think about fun and funny things and being silly and happy. I know exactly why this has been a significant personality trait throughout my life…hmm, another title to add to the list.

I am excited today. I LOVE the direction my mixed-media art with painted paper is taking. I am happy to have finally started this new blog :) So… out for a run this morning and I should just be listening to music and breathing, but I have titles. Titles for new blog posts, and titles for the 3-d girls that I was cutting and sanding and gessoing yesterday.

COMING SOON

  • seriously…it’s good to not always be serious
  • flower child
  • ferret dog
  • head in the clouds
  • open-hearted
  • bird-tamer
  • pink=love
  • dancing queen
  • teaching Grace to swim
  • we’re gonna need a bigger studio
  • top three… ten is boring