Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Giveaway Contest!!!

I've decided it's time for a giveaway contest and I've rounded up three truly crabulous prizes; all from my online store, shop crabulous!

Entering is easy! Between now and October 7, leave a comment on any or
all of my posts. It can be something as simple as "Hi!" or "Pick Me!" Please, though, only one comment per post. All comments will be numbered in the order they were received and on October 8, I will use a "random number generator" to select the winner which I'll announce on my blog and on Facebook that day.

Please remember that if you use the "anonymous" option to leave a comment to be sure to leave your name at the end of the comment so I know who you are and can get
your prize to you.

Here are the prizes:

First Prize: Blue Crab Tote Bag

Second Prize: Blue Crab Coffee Mug

Third Prize: Blue Crab Note Cards

Have fun and good luck!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Last Dance of Summer

So, I was in my studio free-associating again. Usually when I head to my studio I have an idea in mind; a definite subject I want to create. Most of the time I have a preliminary drawing, a color scheme and some specific papers that I plan to use. On days when I free-associate, though, I attack my artwork with no particular goals. I start rummaging through my papers until something strikes my fancy. Then I keep adding to that first paper with others until I find a pleasing combination.

I start gluing these base papers to my support and then I look for scraps and "accessories" that I can add to the base. It can go on for layers and layers and when I feel finished I sit back and analyze what I have. It's like my own personal Rorschach inkblot test. This is what happened with my collage in my previous post "Caught Up in Love" and that's definitely what's going on here.

I studied it and realized that I had captured the end of summer. Early fall colors are represented but there's a bold circle of summer colors still remaining. The song of the crickets and cicadas can be "heard" as well as the melody of wind chimes. The gentle fall breezes are definitely stirred up and the cloud of butterflies I encountered when I walked too close to a large clump of sedum the other morning can be seen here, too.

I can feel it in the air and see it in my art; summer is winding to a close in one last dance.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Caught Up In Love

I recently joined Facebook with the idea of being more in tune with the lives of my children and was pleasantly surprised to suddenly be in touch with friends from high school whom I hadn't seen in more than 30 years. When we last saw each other we were giggling teenagers and the world was our Cracker Jack box and all we had to do was claim the prize. Well, you know how that story ends. As Meatloaf says, "there ain't no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box."

The life stories my friends had to tell were full of both happiness and sadness and were all very poignant. And recently one morning, while playing in my studio I discovered, after a couple of hours, that I had made a "statement piece." That sort of thing is very uncharacteristic of me and after taking a moment to study it
I realized that it had been influenced by one rather heartbreaking story in particular.

That gal's story, while unique to her in its details, is a story which resonates with women everywhere. As women, because of our innate nature, we so easily get "caught up in love" whether it's with our parents, our children, our close friends or our significant others; sometimes even to the point of sacrificing our very spirit.

It is to this dear old friend that I dedicate this piece and to women everywhere who are "caught up in love."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Something Girlie

As a little girl, I wasn't exactly a tom-boy, but I certainly wasn't a "girlie-girl" either. Although I owned a lot of dolls I didn't play with them much. I was more interested in playing with my super-duper tow truck and Lincoln logs. As I got older, although I was definitely feminine, I wasn't comfortable in ruffles and lace and very rarely wore pink. And I'm still that way today.

I think my art reflects my personal style. I think it has a subtly feminine look but it's not over the top girlie. For the most part. Every once in a blue moon, though, some impish muse grabs a hold of me and I end up creating something that is exceptionally girlie.

The first time that happened was with the collage at the top of this post; which I named, "Something Girlie." It was completely different for me and I wasn't sure about it. Surprisingly, to me, it sold almost right away. Evidently it must have struck a "girlie" chord in the buyer.

A couple of years later I was creating
work for a two-woman art show that we had named "Femme Fatale." I had it in my mind that I wanted to create a piece using a color theme of lavender, lemon yellow, mustard yellow and celadon green. Much to my surprise, "Bubble Fairies" emerged. It made its debut in the show but looked so unlike the rest of my work that it has since graced the walls of my granddaughter's bedroom where it exactly matches her color scheme. (Now she's a girlie-girl.)

So now, three years after the emergence of "Bubble Fairies," I recently gave birth to another girlie piece. I was in my studio doing a little "free association." It started with a bottle of lavender paint and a page from the 1914 Lancaster County, PA, Farmer's Almanac. What happened next I hardly remember but when I "came to" I was a little horrified. It was very pink with little pink butterflies. I wasn't sure I could live with the piece, especially when I looked at it side by side with another, edgier piece I was working on.

Well, I slept on it and the next day I decided I could redeem it if I went over the top girlie with lots of glitter and one more butterfly in aqua. And that's how "Butterflies" came to be. And just maybe it will strike a chord in a girlier girl than me!

On a slightly different subject, I have a question for anyone who happens to read this. Even though I don't use a flash, I have difficulties capturing the glittery essence of some of my sparklier pieces, such as this one. Does anyone have a helpful hint?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Artist at Play

I love deadlines and art shows with themes. They give me inspiration and motivation. All year I've been working toward these goals and it's been great, but it's given me little time to play. Now I have no deadlines in front of me or specific themes to shape my pieces. Now I can experiment with new materials and fresh ideas. Playing for an artist is just as important as working.

One of the things I've not been able to do is play with my scraps. Every piece of paper that I tear or cut to use in my collages has come from a larger piece of paper. What's not used in an art piece goes into my scrap bin; and my scrap bin has gotten h
uge!I like to reuse my scraps and from them create whole new sheets of paper from which to cut shapes to use in new pieces. The other night I picked up a couple 6x8 sheets of dark green unryu paper (a thin rice paper with swirling fibers typically made in Thailand). I laid the papers on my work surface and then pored through my scraps to find suitable colors which the dark green would complement.After identifying these scraps I used soft gel medium to glue these pieces down in a semi-random pattern. The dragonfly and the butterfly pieces you see were in my scrap bin as well. I'd cut them for another project, but then discarded them when they just didn't work.When the sheets are dry, I'll cut shapes from them to use in future art pieces; most likely circles. I have an affinity for circles. These two sheets of scraps hardly made a dent in my bin. And of course, when I cut shapes from them, I'll have even more scraps. It's never ending!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

If You Can't Fix It, Feature It!

Finally I've finished with my second piece for the Farmers Market Show at the Rehoboth Art League. I've never been this close to deadline (I have until 4:00 today) and my friends are all probably laughing at me. They are forever teasing me that I'm always two weeks early for everything. I realized on Friday that that was the deadline for registering for the show and since it was too late to get my registration in the mail I fought "Friday before a Holiday Weekend Beach Traffic" to travel four miles to the Art League. Breathlessly I handed over my registration sheet and the gal working the desk looked at it and asked, "Are your paintings already here?"

"No!" I answered back. "They're still wet!" I must have looked panicked stricken for she just burst out laughing.

Anyway, this second little piece just gave me fits. You know, sometimes you get this perfect image in your head of what you want to do and when you're finished it looks nothing like it. It's at those times that I think about my favorite quote of all time:

"Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression." - Isaac Bashevis Singer, writer, Nobel laureate 1904-1991

It was supposed to be a wheat field. I thought it would perfectly contrast with my Lavender Fields collage. I had a warm palette picked out of fall colors and I loved the background of rich browns accented with black and snippets from the 1914 Lancaster County, PA farmer's almanac. The different golden colored papers that I'd chosen for my wheat were lush. But when it was all done, the colors were beautiful but the composition was weak.

As I stood, staring at it in dismay a voice in my head appeared saying, "If you can't fix it, feature it!" Back in the spring of 2002, my friend Annie and I took a trip to Italy to visit her daughter, Heather, who was doing a semester abroad in Orvieto. We had the rare privilege of being allowed to sit in on a bookmaking class that she was taking (bookmaking as an art form, not gambling). We learned a lot of new things that day, but the one thing that stayed in my mind was the instructor's mantra when one of her students had made an error in a book that she was making.

With that thought in mind, I grabbed a piece of brown ogura lace paper from my lace paper bin and laid it on top of my canvas and Voila!, I instantly had a beautiful new background for a new piece. Gorgeous colors and interesting textures peaked through the brown lace and from a wheat field a fanciful pumpkin grew! Another canvas saved.

My only regret is that I was so "in the moment" that I didn't think to take photos of the process to share with you.

Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have some artwork to deliver!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I love my husband with all my heart. He is my soul mate, my best friend and closest confidante. He makes me laugh and he keeps me grounded. If I were to be stranded on a desert island, I'd choose him to be stranded with me; we're great together in a crisis. However; there are some things my husband just does not "get" about me. This is because he simply does not think like a woman; nor would I want him to. For that reason, I have my girlfriends.

My girlfriends aren't just any girlfriends, they're the best girlfriends in the world! Because I recently moved away from them, I no longer bump into them in the grocery store or run to one of their houses on the spur of the moment for a quiet cup of tea and sympathy. Once a month, though, I drive 100 miles to have dinner with them all.

We've been getting together for our monthly dinners for a number of years now. We're an eclectic group from various background
s with various points of view and various religious and political persuasions. But, we have four major things in common: 1) We love life! 2) We love to laugh! 3) We love to eat! 4) We're all artists.

Our meeting place varies every m
onth; sometimes it's a cozy restaurant we all like, other times it's potluck in one of our homes. This past Thursday was potluck and the weather was perfect for a picnic.

As we sat down to eat my phone rang. It was the one lone member who was not able to make it that night as she had prior plans with her husband. She knew that we had an important item for discussion on our agenda and she wanted to express her opinions before the discussion. We were about the business of deciding on a name for ourselves. Because we exhibit our artwork together our collective identity expressed in a name is very important. For the past couple years we've been calling ourselves the Women's Art Club, but felt that the name sounded stuffy and didn't begin to capture our vivacious and energetic spirit. For a month name suggestions had been flying back and forth via email and we were hoping to come to a common consensus that evening.

The opinion expressed in the phone call was that we should shy away from names that were overly cutesy if we wanted to be taken seriously. Of course this set us into fits of giggling as we started to come up with the most outrageous names possible. Oh, giggling, heck, w
e were falling off our chairs with tears streaming from our eyes. After all, effective brainstorming can only be done by thinking in extremes, right? We felt sorry for our one friend who couldn't be there to join in our mirth and to make her feel included we texted her to tell her that our new name was to be "Girls Art Guild" or GAG and we sent her a photo of one of the gals sticking a finger down her throat as this was to be our secret sign to be used when we ran into each other out in public. I think our friend could have killed us as she received these messages sitting in fifth row seats of a solo guitar concert.

But it's not all hilarity when we get together. We really do count on each other for advice and support. One gal had questions regarding a copyright issue and we were able to help her with answers. Another gal brought in two gorgeous paintings she had just finished for our feed back. We celebrate each other, we commiserate with each other and we feel safe with each
other. It's a special bond unlike any other.

At the end of the evening I drove the 100 miles back home. Any of these gals would have gladly put me up for the night, but I couldn't wait to get back home to my best friend and closest confidante to share with him some of the fun of the evening. As I drove home I smiled to myself knowing what his reaction would be; he'd only chuckle a little and say, "That's nice dear." After all, he doesn't think like a woman.

Oh, and we still don't have a name for our group. Any suggestions will be gladly received or tell me about your own girlfriends.

And one note about the photos, there are two photos of the group as I took turns being photographer with another member so we could all somehow be in the picture.