Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Finally my county commission work

I have just received the  professional images of the three pieces that Alameda County Arts Commission commissioned me for the Juvenile Justice Center. I haven't seen these pieces since last June and the photos I had taken just did not show the detail. I am blown away by the true color of these photographs and the very sharp, clear detail. These are all about 50" by 40" and one is 50" x 36". The process was a long one to go through and there is another call for the registry but since I had this commission, I am not eligible for this upcoming one...but there will be more, I am sure!

I have been extremely busy babysitting my 2 year old grandson for the past six weeks while his regular babysitter has been off on maternity leave. This past Monday was his first day back with is very quiet around the house (which I am enjoying) and we went over to my daughter's last night for dinner and to see both boys. During this past six weeks I have spent almost no time in the studio except for one afternoon when I took the five year old down to learn how to use the sewing machine. I have pictures on my phone and will upload them later.

I have done a little bit of playing with my Pfaff embellisher and like what it does, especially the texture created when working with silk...very interesting possibilities but so far I haven't had enough time to really get in to it.  But time will arrive in January!

I was down at the studio was in the high 50's outside and not much warmer on the inside. I don't have heating nor cooling so there are some times during the year when it is just too uncomfortable to be down there.

Oh well, more to share later...and this time I won't be gone for so long. I have continued to think a lot about my art and read a lot and have come up with some realizations that I will share with you shortly.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting it Straight

There has been much discussion on the SAQA Yahoo group about finding one's voice. I have been thinking about this for a long time, as it shows up in some way or other during the past year's worth of postings here.

I think the biggest problem is not in finding one's voice but recognizing it.  I think that is why other people can recognize my work even when I change styles or medium that I am working in.

So after some thinking I have come up with some thoughts on my work:

I work primarily with color and line

I love organic lines and shapes

I enjoy working with geometric shapes

I like multiple layers in my work

I like simplicity in my work

I like to work in series

I like to problem solve design issues

I like to share with others

I have a difficult time talking about my work

I like to change styles

I like to work on paper

I like to work with fabric

I like to work toward combining the two

When I am working with paper collages, I really feel like I am playing with paint and images. Lately I have done quite a few (over 40) in four different series. Many things are the same in them: they have multiple layers of glazes and colors; I incorporate pages from old books; I incorporate transferred images; I like to include stamping and silkscreening; I like to include some type of text. I have realized that I tend to work in series of colors also.

I have always believed that the most important thing for an artist is to do the work. And do more of the  work. And do even more. The more work I do, the more comfortable I am doing it. I am not afraid to make mistakes or have work not turn out right. I can just do more and keep doing it until I do get it right. My studio has piles of papers that I have started and left behind, some to come back to at a later date,  and some to just consider cutting up and including in bits and pieces. But then, that is what is fun about creating art.

I used to teach a lot of classes of machine quilting and stopped that when I realized I had the patter down completely and it was all getting pretty stale...time to shift to something else.

What I enjoy doing the most with other people is helping them to free themselves from their confines and look at new ways of doing things...getting that "Ah ha" much fun when the light comes.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Missing in Action

Well, I guess it is time for me to show up again...seems like time has really been flying past me.

I have been working on various projects as a result of the trip to Uganda...finishing my  journal (which still isn't finished), creating note cards made from paintings done by the kids at Sunrise House, creating a pattern for a small cell phone case to send to Sunrise House for them to create and sell, selling the cards, printing out the cards, etc....

And then there is the art which I have been doing a lot of lately. Mostly small things, lots of 5 x 7 pieces with the most recently finished pieces using bristol board and then stitching fabric on to it.

Now I am working with canvas which I have been painting and creating multiple layers of glazes, adding silk screening, sketching, mark making and what ever else I come up with. There are also layers of fabric and now I am at the point to putting more fabric on it and doing the stitching.

This is a small series called Hidden Science. The underlying image is a page from an old science report hand written and corrected by the teacher, then painted over multiple times with glazes and then a glazed piece of fabric was stitched down. There is a lot of depth in these although it doesn't show up well on the web
                           Hidden Science 1                              

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my art and trying to understand my voice and style. I have been reading about the importance of having a cohesive body of work which I don't really feel I have. I seem to do series of works in different styles and then move on to another series. I am not sure this builds a cohesive body of work.

I especially enjoy working with glazes and being able to create depth and layers in that way. The incorporation of images via papers, drawing, silk screening or stamping and then adding more layers really fascinates me. Now I am working at bringing this all together in fabric, using canvas as the substrate instead of paper.

So I have decided that I need a mentor, someone to discuss my work objectively with, someone to give me honest feedback, someone who will push me in my art work. I don't need a coach. I am not afraid of doing the work, I do a lot of it. I need help in the mentoring area. I have mentored others and now find myself in need of someone with a lot of expertiese.  Oh well, this shall happen at some point.

My husband and I are babysitting our 2 year old grandson, Ashton, for about 6 weeks while his babysitter is off on maternity leave. Ashton starts out at our house, I get breakfast taken care of and then head off to the studio for a good 3-4 hours of intense, focused time, and then come back, pick him up and take him to his house for his nap, which means I have a couple of hours of quiet time! We have just finished week 2, although the first week was not as great as my husband was sick with the flu and consequently I spent all my time with Ashton for the week...not much time at the studio a week ago!

I have just finished a new piece based on my mediation along the pathway which is about how I am not walking the pathway alone. It started out with white fabric and then I fused painted fabric cut out like stones to create two pathways and then decided to paint in between the stones. It is filled with a lot of machine quilting. Not sure if I will show it for now or not...have to see what else I come up with!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Third Series from Playing

So, here are eleven mixed media pieces from my play time. This series is called Currents and they are each 5 x 7" matted on archival mat board and backing board ready to frame in an 8 x 10 frame. As before, they are $75 each.

Currents #1:

Currents #2:

Currents #3:
Currents #4:

Currents #5:
Currents #6:
Currents #7:
Currents #8:
Currents #9:
Currents # 10:
Currents #11:

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mary Buek Art

I just thought that I would share the art work that I recently purchased.

I came upon the work of Mary Buek through Karen Stiehl Osborn's blog and just fell in love with her work. She is a painter and I purchased a piece on paper some time ago.

And then these pieces came up and I knew that I wanted them.

Through the Keyhole

Hgher Ground

Circles with in Circles

She has been doing more work that I just love also along with some in simpler colors. Check out her work.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rust and Patina

I am now showing ten of the pieces in the Rust and Patina series. I have used photographs that I have taken of a metal sculpture made out of copper which has developed a beautiful patina as the backing image. I shot a lot of pictures of parts of this sculpture several years ago as I was fascinated by it and found so many different wonderful compositions in it.

As before, these are 5 x 7" on archival paper, matted and backed by archival materials. They are each $75 and shipping is included if you are interested.

Just enjoy!

Rust and Patina #1:  SOLD

Rust and Patina #2: SOLD
Rust and Patina #3:
Rust and Patina #4:
Rust and Patina #5:
Rust and Patina #6:
Rust and Patina #7:
Rust and Patina #8:
Rust and Patina #9:
Rust and Patina #10:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hidden Messages

I have now scanned 32 of my new collages! Have I ever been having fun!

So I am going to start sharing them here with Hidden Messages, which are 5 x 7" and matted to 8 x 10 with archival mat and backing board, ready to frame for only $75, shipping including in the US.

Hidden Messages 1:

Hidden Messages 2:

Hidden Messages 3:

Hidden Messages 4:

HIdden Messages 5:

Working Hard

This past week and a half I have been working very hard in the studio. First I began by working with several of the batik images I had purchased and have been adding fabric to those in order to make them into wall hangings. I don't have finished pictures yet because I responded to the need to be more creative.

I am working out what I want to do with fabric but in the mean time I have been doing small collages...a lot of them. At this time I have about 33 finished 5 x 7 collages that have been mounted under an acid free mat. I will be scanning them this afternoon so I can post them both here (some of them) and also on my website.

My goal today is to get those scanned, titled and listed. My poor website is so behind. That is because I work and then don't get the finished images for the website so they sit there. I am also way behind in cataloging my work.

During the past year I have had a hard time staying on top of the business part of my art...mainly because I just felt like it was taking the joy out of the art. But I need to get my work out there so I am bound and determined to start entering shows again and posting regularly here and to get my website back up and going properly. I will be putting a new page up on the website for mixed media work which will include work that is on paper also, mostly smaller things that are priced reasonably for sale.

I have really enjoyed the freedom of working in the 5x7 paper, ink, paint format and will probably look at taking some of the collages to fabric but I am still working on that one.

But, just so you don't go away image-less, I am including a few of the pictures of elephants that I will start working with...I want to do sketches and then incorporate them into art quilts...still working out how I want to do that but what fun that will be.

We saw lots of elephants and I took more pictures of them than there were elephants but I will spare you and just share five:

The herd walking away from us...look at all the ages of elephants in this herd.
Isn't this one just majestic? (above)

these are has been cape buffalo...too old to mate or defend their harem, they get kicked out and tend to live with in a group of old men...the elephants chase them away but what is even funnier to watch is the hippo chasing them away...

mother and young

Friday, September 11, 2009

Children of Uganda

At first, children were shy and would peak out at us from behind corners of the building or across the road.

But curiousity got the best of them and we all became great friends.

These are images of children from the neighborhood where we stayed and neighbors of Sunrise House.

I enjoyed taking pictures of the children the most, followed by pictures of the elephants.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Uganda, continued

We did a lot of work at Sunrise House, and learned a lot also. We bought all of the tools and equipment that we used and left all with Sunrise. Sunrise takes in mostly secondary children who are orphaned due to AIDS and most have some family around so they can spend the holidays with them but the families are unable to completely care for them.
One of the rooms was burned in October and we were able to completely clean it, sand the walls down, hire a carpenter to pull out the burned ceiling and replace the ceiling. Then it was repainted. Below are a few of the Sunrise boys working on the cleaning.

Everywhere we went there were children who came out to greet us and would just hang around. These are some of the children from the neighborhood.
In the picture below, our girls and girls from Sunrise were busy painting. At times there were so many people in the room to paint that it was difficult for our girls to adjust to the idea that the efficiency was not what mattered but working together as a group was. People are always helping each other here.
The last two days of our trip were spent at Queen Elizabeth National Park. We went on a boat tour to see the water and animals and also went by this small fishing village. They are getting the boats ready to take out. Two men will go out in each boat int he afternoon, sleep on the boat and start fishing the next morning.
The picture below is not an uncommon sight.
Small trucks, large trucks, laden down with produce to take to market with lots of people piled on top. I was always surprised that people didn't fall off but then the traffic doesn't move very fast either.

We accomplished a lot at Sunrise House. We met James, the manager, whom we had only been in touch with by phone and email. We learned that the long gaps between emails were due to the fact that he had to go in to town to use an internet cafe to get his email and to respond. And he would only go every three days or so. When we left, we left extra money and he was able to purchase a mobile modem and buy air time so he could use his computer where ever he was.
We took craft supplies, three lap top computers, soccer balls and a host of other things. We purchased the materials to finish the front the front of the building, which had remained only partially done. We left enough paint to paint the remainder of the rooms. We feed the orphanage lunch three times while we were there. We met the kids and made personal relationships with them. We met the staff and became friends with them. We saw with our own eyes what was needed and discussed various ways to work to sustainability.

I started both an art project and a sewing project. We purchased fabric to make small patch work table toppers or placemats which they can sell at the local African crafts stores in town. We brought back lots of paper beaded necklaces to sell here and send the money back. I left the kids with a lot of my personal art supplies so they could continue with their painting and I brought back lots of the pictures they did so I could use them to make cards to sell.

But most of all, I brought back visions of the future for a very poor country that is struggling to pull itself into the modern age with little infrastructure outside of the big cities. I also left with a lot of very personal experiences that will stay with me for ever. More on all of this later.