Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thanks Queenie!

If there is one thing that stands out about Etsy it is the community of mixed media artists that sell there. It has been fantastic getting to know people. There support and enthusiasm is amazing. One of the wonderful people I have met there is Carol Berger, aka Queen Be. Carol is a wonderful artist, who has been selling on Etsy since May of 2008. She has honored me with this a lovely call out on her blog, Queen Be's Altered Needs. Thanks Carol!

So part of this call out is that I have to post 5 things I'm really into right now.

1-Facebook- I joined about two weeks at the recommendation of a close friend. I've been addicted since day one. It's been a fantastic way to keep in touch with people I don't normally see, or those who are far away.

2-The Book of Questions- I was first introduced to this book, back in 1988, on some weekend escape from the city. I recently was in one of my favorite second hand shops, Replays and found it waiting quietly on the shelf for me. It now sits on my desk, along side the Zen tarot and the Soul's Book of Answers.

3- The Artist's Medium, This is the best art supply spot in Chittenden county. The staff here is wonderful, they always have an online coupon to use, the store is well stocked with Golden paints and they carry huge tubs of gel medium! Yum! Right now they are doing a recycled art show and have a few of my mixed media collage on old book covers on display. I am doing two classes with them in April. More about that in a month or too.

4-Bees. Yes, those little winged creatures that make honey. I'm working on a new piece for the Cloth Paper Scissors 12x12" Life is like a box full of......( fill in the blanks) I've been doing research on bees and honey for this piece. I think it is going to come out really well.

5-Marketing and Communications...I suppose it goes along with the Facebook thing, maybe. I'm working on a new look for my shop, pulling together business materials and making plans for growth. When I start thinking about where I am going to be in 5 years, I need to work on organizing my branding and business in general. So be on the look out for a new look from me in the months to come.
Thanks again, Carol for you friendship and support!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I am a winner!

I am extremely blessed. It's true. I have such amazing and supportive friends all around me. Having their friendship is the biggest prize of them all. How lucky I am.
Some of the dearest people in my life right now, are some souls I have never met in person but have found on etsy. Fellow mixed media artists who have found each other through some accident of fate on the forums. Alisa Nordholt-Dean is one of the fabulous people, I can't say enough about. I was so lucky to win her blog giveaway this week.

Her pendant and print arrived yesterday. Perfect timing to put my head back in the right place. Thursday was not so good for me. So Friday got turned around going in the right direction. Alisa, will probably never really know what an impact her random act of kindness had on my life, but there you are. The pendant is hanging on the mirror in my bedroom to remind me to embrace life. And smile.

This leads me to my next point.

I'm on an emotional quest to find joy. That in itself, may sound strange to you. I have always been amazed by the people who seem to have so much joy in to share. People who smile full broad smiles, that come naturally. I have some dear friends who have wonderful smile lines on their faces. ( you all know who you are.) Me? I'm a thinker, I have deep lines across my forehead. Smiles don't always come easy for me.

Is it too late for me to find joy?

I turned 40 on Thursday and I think it is still possible. I suppose I have to make it one of my Hairy Audacious Goals. I'm challenging myself to bring more light and color into my art- and with that- I think I have to challenge myself to notice beauty and joy in my life everyday.
Do you?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saturday, January 17, 2009

On the Verge

I am designing costumes for the Middlebury Actor's Workhop, production of Eric Obermyer's, On the Verge. The play is a complex assemblage of language strung together as a play, about three Victorian Women, who while trekking the globe begin to travel across time as well. For me the thing sings of steam punk gears and corsets, pilot googles and pit helmets.
I've started collecting images, tear sheets that will inspire me as I design. Next week, I will be booking appointments to pull from the various costume stocks I am associated with so I can get this thing moving forward.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

gel medium transfers

When I'm working on collages, I like to use a lot of layers. It adds to the overall mood of the piece. One way to add layers is using elements that are transparent or semi transparent so the pieces underneath come through- You can do this is many different ways and there are tons of books out there with different techniques. This is what works well for me- It took me a while to master this process for my own habits, so you want to tackle this, you may have to make adjustments to suite your needs.

Gel medium transfers are not the easiest things to make- but for the ghostly, skin like look I want, nothing else comes close.

Start with a fresh copy of a favorite image- color or black and white- laser printer prints work best for this technique.

Clean your work surface and lay down waxed paper, freezer paper or plastic. You can go commando- but the gel medium inevitably ends up on the table and I hate to clean it up. The wax paper will keep it from sticking to your kitchen counter or dining room table. Apply a thin, end coat of gel medium to the image. I only use sponge brushes and Golden Regular Gel ( Matte). You can use heavy and glossy, it takes longer to dry, it will appear thicker, more plastic and shiny. ( not the look I'm going for, but it might work for you.)

Apply several layers (how many depends on how thick you put it on.) Usually I do three or four. Remember the coats need to be even- otherwise when you start peeling off the paper- you will get stretching and tearing.
Let the layers dry COMPLETELY before you apply another layer. After you have applied the gel medium- and the final layer is completely dry - you are ready to start peeling paper. This process usually takes me several nights. I lay out the copies and apply a layer or two every night while I'm working on some other project. Remember this whole thing takes patience.

When you are ready to peel the paper, fill your sink, small basin or shallow dish with lukewarm water. Be careful not to make the warm too hot- lay in some of your dried gel covered papers into the bath. let them sit a while- mine go in for anywhere from 5-15 minutes for the first run.

Take out your images an work one at a time on a clean flat surface, i have a clear piece of plexi, i put on the counter, but you can work directly on your work surface as long as it is clean and flat.

Starting in the center of the image- I roll the paper with my fingers in circular motions till it starts to peel away. Slowly the paper will ball up and roll away and your image will appear. Keep working at it till all the paper is removed. You may have to stop and brush off the paper curls regularly. Dip the image back into the wash as needed to re-wet the paper. As the paper dries in the air it will become harder to remove.

When you are all done removing the paper- you transfer is ready to apply to your collage- I cover the area that I want to adhere it to with a light coat of gel medium, lay my image down and use the sponge brush to work out air bubbles.

I wish you luck with this technique and don't give up if you fail the first time- I still tear transfers from time to time- like this one that I ended up using in my journal.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Beat Goes On—New Perspectives

Some how I completely forgot to post this! My first juried show of the year, opened yesterday!!!

Altered and Assembled
The Beat Goes On—New Perspectives

Williams Center Gallery
Morris R. Williams Center for the Arts

The Williams Center Gallery is funded in part through a grant from
the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
January hours
Sat & Sun 1–5, Mon–Fri 12–5
(610) 330-5361

January 5–25, 2009
RECEPTION: January 11, 3–5 p.m. (snow date: January 25)

GALLERY TALK: January 11, 4 p.m.

Inspired by the 1995 exhibition, Beat Culture and the New America, 1950–1965, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Altered and Assembled, juried by Maryann J. Riker, takes up the tradition of altered art/books and assemblage art/sculpture by artists of today.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Box full o' honey WIP

I finally was able to start this new piece "box full of honey" last night. I've been wanted to start it for a while and things just seem to get in the way- things like, no having the right materials, having a heavy work load at my day job, doing laundry, unpacking the studio, thanksgiving dinner oven issues, Christmas shopping, dog walking. I could make a bunch of excuses, of all the things that have kept me from working on a real piece, a piece with teeth, all of them are just really were ways to stall. But, in this case, stalling was OK. In this case, I will call it INCUBATING.

Incubating... My favorite part of the design process. Way back when I was a theatre student, we learned about the design process. For me making art is all about the process. How you get from point A to point B. I learn so much about myself when I am engaged in a project. It helps me move forward, in my life and in my head.
So this thing called the design process, what is it? It's really a problem solving model.

The problem: I have a piece of art that I am inspired to make. How do I do it?
The solution can be found through the process:

1- Commitment- you commit to the project- are you going to do it or not. Once you commit, you can't go back you have to move forward. Can can put things on hold, but have to see it through. You have to focus your intentions on the thing. set your focus on the challenge.
2- Analysis and research- gather information and figure out what you need to know more about. for me this gathering is often with images and music. I get hooked on to the thing that is inspiring me and either fill my bulletin boards with tons and tons of tear sheets or play the same music over and over again. I look in every nook and cranny for clues, for more intellectual and emotional information that will help me put together the piece.

3- INCUBATION- this is when you do nothing... you just let the idea GROW ( or fester) inside you.

4-Selection-pick the materials you are going to work with- get a good STRONG idea of what you want the thing to look like in the end.
5-Implementation- DO IT. Sit down and just get you hands dirty and do it!
6-Evaluation- when you think your done, or your deadline says your done. Stand back, look at what you did an make some HONEST judgements of what you like and dislike about your piece. What you would change, what you'd never change, what you could never recreate if you ever had the chance again.

That's the Design Process. It's not really all that linear either. You can jump around and be in two different places at once (a feat of metaphysics!!) but that's it in a nut shell. Can't believe, I remembered the whole thing. Angela Brande, design professor, would be proud of me now!

So, this is the beginnings of my latest project. Part of me really wanted to finish this before 12/10, because it is inspired by a DD song. I wanted to bring it to Montreal with me. Why? Because I'm a nutter. Actually, because, unlike some crazy screaming fan, their music inspires my life beyond the "normal" bounds. It's like Van Gogh or Frida is for some painters. Like the way a certain book might inspire someone else to create. I'm not talking about the "Hungry like the Wolf" or "Is there something I should know" songs. I'm referring to a wider breath of material that is a little more obscure, lesser know, but packs a stronger punch for me.

So back to my WIP and the photos-This is my "box full of honey." With many thanks to SLB for the lyrics as inspiration and my dear cyber artist friend, Laurie Blau-Marshall for the lovely honey comb, that was ABSOLUTELY perfect for this project. I washed the comb with a little Uzzzzhhhh (thank you Michael De Meng) and now it has a beautiful deep honey color. I used one of my newest ladies, Helen (she is so beautiful.) I bought her from a great Etsy seller, The Art Garage. And of course, there's my sad WWI, vet on the top of the box. My haunting ghost man, who shares the same birthday that I do. Only he was born in 1896 and I was born in 1969.
And this is in no way anywhere near being finished. But we are getting there- and I do have a STRONG vision of what I want this to be when it is done.
I've written much too much tonight, some of which is probably too revealing about how I work. But, that's ok. One of my H.A.G.s is to open my heart more. So sharing how I get from point A to point B is a good thing.

Box full o' honey
At the sharp end of the view
The edge of me and you
And all good sense dare tread no further
And as the ghost will shiver trees
How I'm trembling on my knees
But I'm still drawn on by the murmur

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
My life's penitence
And for what
What's so funny
A box full o honey

What I thought a pretty tune
Was howling at the moon
To keep me company this evening
It's so lonely in the dirt
A scratching at the hurt
But I so generously did leave you

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
Some cruel penitence
For what
What's so funny
Box full o honey

Is she flirting with me now
Is she dallying with me now
Are you flirting with me now
You'll always be my queen of tumble down
Miss melancholy

Are you laughing at me now
In my circumstance
When still I wear I your crown
And my life's a penitence
And for what
What's so funny
Ain't it funny
A box full o honey

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Collage Artist's Dream Packs are BACK!

Yes, it's that time of the year. Time for  me to start finishing old projects, starting making plans for new projects, clean up the studio and make room for the new year. So, I've been busy going through the multitude of paper bins I have. I've created more Collage Artist Dream Packs. These were so popular last year. I completely sold out.  Everyone is chock full of inspiring paper, almost every page has some sort of illustration on it.  Guaranteed to supply any artist with hours of creative diversions.  

I only got two packs photographed before I lost my natural light.  I'll be busy with this adventure tomorrow as well.  Stay warm!