Friday, August 28, 2009

Lavender Fields

The Rehoboth Art League, of which I'm a member, holds themed member shows throughout the year in which I love to participate. There's nothing like a theme to trigger the imagination and there's nothing like a deadline to produce motivation. The theme for September's exhibit is "Farmers Market."

I love the Farmers Market in Lewes which is held every Saturday morning in the summer on the lovely shaded grounds of the Lewes Historical Society. One of my favorite stands is that of the local lavender farm. It is that farm which has inspired my entry, "
Lavender Fields." After seeing their booth at the market, I took a trip to the farm. It's like a little bit of southern France transplanted to rural Delaware.

So many people have asked me about the process of m
y collages, so I took some pix while I was working on this one.

I was tempted to stop after Step 1. I loved the colorful ab
stract shapes and felt I could do something featuring them. I have a mantra that I have to repeat to myself over and over as I'm working, "Don't fall in love with the underpainting. Don't fall in love with the underpainting."

The base is just to establish a background color and to create bits of interest that peak through the various layers in the final image.

In Step 2, I added bits of various tissue papers to subdue th
e background so it wouldn't fight with my subject matter.Step 3 is a final cover of Ogura lace paper to subdue the background even more and to unify the whole piece.When all was said and done and I had finished the piece, I wasn't happy with the lack of contrast between the sun and the rest of the sky. I pondered over what I could use to add color back into the sun without changing the colors of the lavender that overlapped the sun. I came up with good ol' Crayola Crayons! I used the colors "Macaroni & Cheese" and "Melon" to get that golden glow back.

I have one more Farmers Market piece that I'm working on and hopefully will have that finished before the show entry deadline.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Crab At Last!

I'd been taking some heat from my family that shop crabulous! didn't contain any products with crab images. Well, I've rectified that situation and you'll now find a whole new section in my online shop which features this crab image.

This image is a detail from my collage entitled Blue Crabs, which sold last year. You can now find it on T-shirts, tote bags, coffee mugs, notecards and more. You can see them by clicking on shop crabulous! in the sidebar.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lucky Enough

"If you're lucky enough to live at the beach, you're lucky enough!"

Who coined that pithy little platitude, anyway? I searched online to see if I could discover its author. I discovered that the words "live at the beach" ar
e often interchanged with other phrases, but I was unable to discover the originator of this phrase. At any rate, it sums up the way I feel about my life right now. I live at the beach, therefore I'm lucky enough! In some ways I feel as though I've spent my whole life trying to get here. I think I was 8 the first time I saw the ocean, and even though I've been water phobic from birth, I was enthralled with the sea and have been ever since.

A few years ago, we were able to make the beach our second home and live here part time and just this past November it became our full time residence and I feel I've finally come home.

The sea has been an inspiration to four new works which I've recently complete
d. I call them my "Sea Samples." They are small, 4"x4", on museum profile canvases. They can either be hung on a wall or set on shelves or table tops. I think they look like chunky little "core samples" of the ocean.

I wish I could honestly say that the shells and sea creatures used in these pieces were found by me on the beach, but I can't. The shore here is pretty hard and it's rare to find shells that haven't been broken in the surf. One day, though, I was "lucky enough" to find two beautiful star fish; whole and intact. That was indeed a rare find on our beaches here. Every once in awhile I find great specimens of sea glass, but that's rare as well. But the perfect little items you see here were purchased either in a craft store or online. The "netting" by the way, is cheesecloth. Cheesecloth is a great material which no mixed media artist should be without.

On a different subject, I
want to thank all of you who have recently emailed me and congratulated me on the creation of this site. Some of you have been asking how to go about creating a blog. I highly recommend the new book by Tara Frey, "Blogging for Bliss", which is listed in the side bar here. It's a great "how to" on creating a blog. The book is concisely written, well organized and beautifully illustrated. And it's geared to "creative" types who want to share their creations and a bit of their lives with others.

So, that's all for now. Thanks for visiting and please tell me what it is that makes you feel "lucky enough!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Canal Totems

The Lewes-Rehoboth Canal has long held my fascination. It criss-crosses my life at various intersections and I’ve been obsessed with discovering the mysteries that lie along its banks; the areas that I cannot see from the various bridges that cross it. Finally, this past Sunday, I was able to convince my husband to take me for a “cruise” along the canal in our 16-foot unnamed aluminum fishing boat.

We navigated the canal going south through the town of Lewes and all the way through Rehoboth Beach to the Rehoboth Bay passing through a beautiful and wild salt marsh along the way. It took about an hour each way and I was delighted with what I saw. When I arrived back home I discovered that I had snapped no less than 217 photos from which many stories can be told. For this post I decided to focus on the totems that live along the canal and the beautifully landscaped banks and docks that were a part of the private residences that border the canal.

I love this old Sea Salt. Notice that he's been standing guard awhile. You can just barely make out that he used to be bright yellow.

And what about this little Sea Gnome?

And who wouldn't want to be welcomed home by this cute little lady in her sun bonnet waiting for her ship to come in?

Of course, I couldn't resist snapping the obligatory picture of canoes tied up at the dock. Notice the sea serpent painted on the canoe and the rooster weather vane among the flowers.

Last but not least, even though it contains no totems, I had to include this photo of the red chairs. It's hard not to notice the primary colors at play here!

So now you've had a taste of my Sunday afternoon "drive" along the canal. I'm hoping to go back again soon.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kayley Paper Dolls

Our grandaughter, Kayley, visited with us this past weekend. The weather was oppressively warm and the humidity was nearly suffocating so we found it preferable to stay indoors with the A/C and create our own fun and make paper dolls.

I had Kayley change into her swimsuit and I took a full length photo of her standing against a white wall. I uploaded the photo to my laptop and played with the size and printed out two 6" images on regular printer paper. Then I glued the printer paper to a sheet of watercolor paper to give our "dolls" some heft, and when it was dried we cut them out. Kayley, who's eight, was able to cut the outlines of the dolls, but I needed to use an X-Acto knife to cut the areas between her arms and her torso.

After the dolls were cut out is when the fu
n began. With tracing paper we designed a very fashionable wardrobe for our dolls. Then we chose from the hundreds of art papers in my studio to use as the "fabric" for our designs. Keep in mind, you must allow for "tabs" in order to keep the clothes on the dolls.

This little project kept us busy for two days.We became very adept at designing clothes; but shoes, not so much! You'll notice our dolls remained barefoot.

I then sent her home with an envelope containing one of the dolls and all of the clothes that we made, and another envelope with papers that she had picked from my collection and some tracing paper so she can continue to make clothes at ho
me. I kept one of the dolls so that I can continue to make clothes for her here.

I wish I could take credit for coming up with this amazingly fun project, but I can't. I was inspired by the beautiful book, "Artful Paper Dolls" by Terry Taylor. (See sidebar.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August is my favorite month...

and you may well wonder why. Well, October is also my favorite month, but that's a no brainer. I love August for a very different reason. There's a look to August, of course. I tend to think of it as having yellow skies. But more than the look, it's the sound. August sounds like no other month of the year. There's the dulcet white noise that only cicadas can produce. You don't hear this noise in June or July, but when the summer's heat is the strongest and the days are the laziest. Crickets, too, add to the summer symphony. It's bittersweet. It's still summer, but there's the undeniable hint that it's coming to an end.

I spent my childhood in Ohio and we didn't have air conditioning. There really wasn't any need of it except for a couple of weeks during the summer. When you went indoors, the sounds of the summer (and sometimes the critters) followed you in. I remember long afternoons lounging on our screened porch and reading Nancy Drew mysteries listening to cicadas instead of being plugged into an i-pod like todays pre-teens. And at night I fell asleep, usually in front of a window fan, with the lullaby of chirping crickets to sooth me to sleep. The late summer noises were a reminder that there weren't that many days left of playing with paper dolls and having Monopoly marathons and the aquisition of new shoes and pencils were close at hand.

Today I'm insulated from the summer sounds by my air conditioning but I tune into them as I take my morning walks through the state park. There they play fortissimo and I'm reminded of a kindler, gentler time.