Friday, December 31, 2010

Opening the Packages

I spend a lot of time (and money) at Michael's because it's close at hand and a lot of my collaging involves the same materials as  scrapbooking. And I can find some fine art supplies there; but my favorite place for fine art supplies is the Dick Blick online catalog. Years ago it began with their lovely catalog and mail order over the phone, but once they hit the web I was in trouble. And, like Amazon, they have a "wish" list, too.

It has been awhile since I placed an order with them but I'd come to the end of some of my essentials so I found it necessary to order more. And whenever I place an order for art supplies, I try to throw in a couple fun things, too.

Since I'm often asked, "How do you do that?" I thought I'd show you what was in the order.

Of course, there were canvases. I ordered six of my trusty, chunky 6x6 canvases. They are great for grouping together on a wall in an interesting display, or standing on a bookshelf somewhere. Because they are so wide, they stand on their own.

And for an upcoming show, I ordered three 20x20 canvases. I don't usually work this big, so I'm looking forward to the challenge.

You can see the nearly empty gallon in the background.
I was scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to my "glue." I use Golden soft gel medium in matte; by the gallon! I find its consistency perfect as an adhesive. I'm hoping that it will become a fashion statement, too, as most days when I've been working in my studio I wear it all over my hands and even in my hair. :-/

After I've collaged all my many layers and layers, I protect the surface from dirt and UV rays with acrylic varnish; Lascaux acrylic varnish. I won't use anything else. Yes, it's expensive, but worth it. I use at least two coats of gloss first, to preserve the color and lock in the UV protection. And then I finish with at least one coat of matte. I LOVE the finish to the matte. It's more like satin; so it has a glow without being shiny. I used to use Liquitex acrylic varnish, but was not impressed with its UV protection and the matte finish is very flat. There's a huge difference. Love, love Lascaux. So, as you can see, I purchased two bottles of gloss and one in matte since that's the proportions in which I use them.

So, now we get into the "fun" stuff. As you all know, I'm obsessed with Japanese lace papers. They can be used to create so many great effects. You can imitate glass, or fog, or just add a layer of mystery with it. And I particularly like ogura lace. I use it a lot to create a WOW factor in my artwork. When laid over another background it works like magic at creating depth and glowing color. (See the collage at the beginning of this post.) I ordered it in five different colors, but one color, blush, has been back-ordered. So I have plum, spring green, lilac and natural.

And finally, something new and different. Crayola Metallic Fx crayons. I haven't been able to find them in any craft stores. I cannot wait to play with them; but first I have to dig my electric skillet and cheese grater out of the attic. Then I'll show you what fun we can have.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I've Been Blicked!

My Blick order arrived today; and athough I know what's in the boxes, it's still like Christmas. I cannot wait to get home from work and start unpacking.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Step 3

Mixed Media Collage - 16x20 - still very, very unfinished! (Oh, yeah, and the deadline is January 14!)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Step 2

Mixed Media Collage - 16x20 - As Yet Un-named - Unfinished

This is probably not a good idea; posting a work in progress. Who knows what could happen between now and the finished product. I'm probably jinxing myself; but I LOVE this second stage. Of course, I have to remind myself not to fall in love with my work before it's finished. When I do that I become paralyzed to continue because I'm afraid it will all go downhill. 

Well, truthfully, I've already gone on to Step 3 and so far, so good.

Keeping my fingers crossed!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas As Art

I can't think of another holiday that is more inspirational to the arts than Christmas; at least, in this country. Everywhere you look throughout the season, installation art is everywhere. Not only in public places but private ones as well. I'm always amazed when I go into peoples' homes and see what they've done to decorate for the season. It's a lot of work for 30 days, but so appreciated by everyone who gets to enjoy it. 

My major source for artistic inspiration has always been my mother; and our house at Christmas time was always a place of magic. My mother understood the power of lighting long before it became a popular topic for decorating. She had her Christmas decorations everywhere, but as soon as it got dark, instead of turning on lamps, she lit candles throughout the house. There were jewel toned votive candles as well as naturally colored and scented pillar candles It was unbelievably special. And the music. Music permeated our house all the time anyway, but it was particularly special at Christmas.

Christmas seems not only to inspire the visual arts but the performing arts as well. Christmas plays, tableaux, etc. are prevalent everywhere.Our church had no fewer than four choirs and Christmas Eve was another magical event. I remember one special Christmas Eve when my parents were both singing in the choir and I was a member of the junior choir. The music was so awesome it brought tears to my eyes.

And what about food? In my opinion, the preparation of special foods is nothing less than an art form. My mother always cooked egg nog and I never appreciated the intricacy of this until I tried it myself; once! The subdivision I lived in in Virginia many moons ago decided to have a progressive Christmas dinner and dessert was at my house. That was the year I endeavored to make egg nog from scratch. It's a very labor intensive project, but well worth it. After dessert, I played Christmas carols on the piano while everyone sang along; performance art once again. But back to the food; there are so many special dishes that are prepared only at this time of year. Decorated cookies, stollen, fruitcake; it's all art!

Whether you're celebrating the birth of Christ (which most likely happened in the spring of the year), the return of daylight or love and peace among all mankind, Christmas is a special time of year for everyone. And I'd love to hear about your special "art" at Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Emmett's Crabulous Christmas

Mixed Media Collage  8x10   (NFS!)

Just in time for Christmas and on the eve of Emmett's first year anniversary since we adopted him, I've finally finished this year's Christmas card. Of course it was something I planned to do in August; however...

Season's Greetings!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holly Lane Studio

This is where it happens; when it happens; if it happens...

Yes, I know it's small, much smaller than my previous studio; but extremely efficient. And it's above ground and has a window!!!

The last eight months have been difficult. I've adjusted to a huge change in life by taking on a full time job outside my studio. I'm starting to learn balance. (My new crock pot helps!) And I'm learning to treat my art as my second job. The short days are not conducive to creativity; they're more conducive to hibernation.

However; I have deadlines! I have at least two and maybe three shows this spring... all at the same time!!! Deadlines are good; very good! 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Ones That Get Away

"Fog" -  Mixed Media Collage - 4x6

I'm often asked if it makes me sad when I sell one of my pieces of artwork. The answer to that is "no"! In fact, I'm very, very happy!!!

Every once in awhile though, there will be one that I'm either just as happy when it doesn't sell or a little nostalgic when it does. Fog (from which I've designed the current blog banner) is one of those pieces.

Fog came about when I was asked by my gallery rep to make a bunch of small, unframed collages to sell at a reasonable price. They ended up being some of my most successful pieces. Out of the series, Fog was my favorite. Its cool tones were very different from the warm tones I normally use. And I just loved the little spot of gold leaf in the middle of the fossil leaf. Oddly enough, it didn't sell for a long time and I was secretly delighted. I was planning on how I was going to frame it and where I was going to hang it. And just when I made up my mind to retrieve it permanently from the gallery, I was told it sold. Ahh, mixed feelings indeed.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More Secrets


I'm having so much fun with this current project and cannot wait until I can show images in their entirety. The original images are representational, but the "slices" I'm showing appear to be abstract. These two "slices" are from the same mixed media collage image.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Detail of ???  Mixed Media Collage (OK, well mostly paper)
I'm working on a collaborative project and due to contract restrictions I cannot share the images on my blog... but surely just a slice of an image wouldn't hurt. I'm so excited about this!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Lewes Craft Fair

Lewes Craft Fair on the grounds of the Lewes Historical Society
Another sunny Saturday and another great art show. The grounds of the Lewes Historical Society (in Lewes, Delaware) is home to the Lewes Craft Fair twice a year... July and October. Yesterday was the October show and the weather couldn't have been more conducive to strolling the grounds and taking in the sights, sounds and smells that typify this show.

Three of my friends are regular exhibitors at this show and I always enjoy catching up with them whenever they're in town. 
Susan scored an excellent booth location just inside one of the gates

The fabulous and talented Susan Amadio
More of Susan's beautiful artwork: Amadio Artworks
The Bitter Creek Bluegrass Band performing at the Craft Fair. I'm a sucker for good bluegrass music and their sweet and soulful sounds can be heard all over the grounds.
This is Buster. People aren't the only art lovers at this show... or could it be the fragrant fumes from the bar-b-que pit that attracts the canines?

More canine fair goers.
Sue Eyet, artist and proprietor of Studio 432 in Perryville, MD, displays her wares under this colorful pagoda. Those are also her wind chimes in the foreground. Studio 432
Another view of Sue's booth
The booth of Maggie Creshkoff of Backlog Pottery
A close-up of Maggie's critters.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Birthday Card for Cindy!

Today brought an unexpected surprise. The storefront next door to the one where I work in the Rehoboth Mall is undergoing extensive renovation. It's being transformed from a 4-plex movie theater into a 24 hour gym. Today's renovation project involved using front loaders which expelled copious quantities of diesel fumes into the mall, making it impossible for humans to safely work/shop/exist within the area. So my boss called me up and told me to stay home. 

I didn't have to think twice about how I wanted to spend my day and I headed straight for the studio to work and play. Since my daughter-in-law's birthday is Sunday, I started my session by creating a birthday card for her. Usually I just print out an image of one of my collages and glue it to a Strathmore metallic deckled edge blank greeting card, but today I had time to make an original collage featuring Cindy's favorite colors.  What a great way to begin a studio session. And Cindy, if you're reading this; surprise!

From there I moved onto a larger ongoing project that I hope to share with you all at a later date. But for now, the birthday card is enough.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art Journal - Mixed Media Collage

One of the things I miss most, because I'm working at a full time job outside my studio, is the opportunity to just "play" in my studio. Whenever I do get a chance to get to my studio I'm usually worried about deadlines and other art obligations. 

I date all of my journal pages and noticed I hadn't made any entries since May 26th and realized that I was feeling very edgy. Through the months, I have been collecting things and they were lying in between the open pages, just waiting to be glued and I found a moment this evening to play.

Today's entry began with a doily and a muffin paper that have been waiting to become art since Mother's Day. My youngest son bought me a fruit tart as a special treat on that occasion and that's where those first layers came from. 

You probably recognize the black and white version of "Jane." This print came from an earlier experimental version before I printed her out on watercolor paper for the final collage. And I'm sure that some of you detected a spare "French curve" from the recent "Northern Lights." This particular curve was facing in the "wrong" direction so it didn't make the final cut for the finished collage, but instead got tossed into the journal.

And yes, there's a fortune from a fortune cookie that I had been saving and then, while cleaning my desk in my office today, accidentally threw it away. My search for it through the trash can became a single minded obsession this afternoon. It reads "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." OK, more of a proverb than a fortune, but I like it.

One of my many scrap paper collage hearts is featured here and... a brand new rubber stamp that I bought on clearance while I happened to be walking through Michael's today. Seriously, I just happened to be walking through. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) I stamped it through various color inks, outlined it in Sharpies and then embossed it with a couple of different embossing powders.

My art journal is my ultimate creative outlet. I experiment with it using new materials and methods, I create very "stream of consciousness" images in it and, every once in a blue moon, what I create becomes the prototype for something bigger. When I'm feeling melancholy and just generally frustrated with life, playing in my journal soothes me and renews my spirit.

This magical book was made for me by my youngest son, Garrett, who is also an artist. He used my very, very favorite paper for the pages (Rives BFK in tan; you can do anything with this paper). And whenever he comes to visit he enjoys glancing through my journal because it reveals a side of me that very few people ever get to see. 

So now, after allowing myself to "play", I feel mentally well rested and ready to take on the world come Monday morning.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lewes Artists' Studio Tour

Garden gate of Connie Ballato, glass artist
Today was the annual Lewes Artists' Studio Tour and this was my second year attending. True to form, the weather was brilliant and this year four of my fellow TAGG (The Artsy Girls Guild) members made the trip to Lewes to join me.

Many of the artists live close enough to each other so that you can easily walk from one home to another and the tour becomes a house a garden tour of Lewes as well. I couldn't help snapping photos all along the way, which I hope you will enjoy!

Front entrance to Sun Glass Studio, Connie Ballato glass artist
Inside Sun Glass Studio
Charming house along the way
Home and studio of Dorothy Greet
Home and studio of Marilyn Nugent, Venetian glass bead and jewelry maker
Marilyn's work table
The next five images are more charming houses on the route:

My friends refer to this one as my house because it's my favorite house in Lewes
This converted garage/3-room studio of artist Jean Doran is to die for
Jean calls her studio "Cygnet Studio" to commemorate Lewes' original name, Zwaanendael (valley of swans)
Inside Jean's studio
Lewes Chamber of Commerce and public gardens
Home of jewelry artist, Susan Bartley
View of the Lewes/Rehoboth Canal from Susan Bartley's front porch
Susan Bartley's over the garage studio
Fish arrow pointing the way to the entrance in the rear
Garden seat behind studio
What a neat surprise! A piece of art by TAGG member Susan Amadio at the entrance to Susan Bartley's studio.
And I think every artist deserves their own private pool just outside their studio.
Home of husband and wife artists, George & Caryl Williams. Their newly finished studio is located on the 3rd floor.
Another view of Caryl & George's home

On the way to the 3rd floor studio
And we're walking...
Inside the studio
And, of course, a visit to Lewes on a gorgeous day would not be complete without lunch on the deck of Gilligan's.

From left to right, Annie, me, Susan, Jen & Judy