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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Northern Lights - Mixed Media Collage - 8 x 10

I think half the fun of creating a new piece of artwork is coming up with the title. I love naming my artwork and there is not one piece that I've ever created entitled "Untitled." It's against my religion.

Coming up with a name for this collage was an interesting process. At first I was focused on the music. The music is from Bach's Two-Part Inventions which I played as a young girl. You can even see my piano teacher's handwriting in the lower left corner of the piece. She had listed four scales that she wanted me to practice in conjunction with the Invention. My piano teacher's handwriting was very distinct and old fashioned. She always wrote in pencil and I don't think she ever threw a pencil away. She had a whole collection of stubby but sharply pointed pencils with dime store erasers on the ends of them.  And it was she who first piqued my interest in art; she was particularly fond of the Impressionists and she related their paintings to the music of their time and vice versa. Before she passed away, she had taught four generations of my family how to play the piano.

But moving on... I obviously discarded the idea of using the music theme as the inspiration for the name of the piece. I was drawn to the colors in the French curve pieces and realized they reminded me of another painting that I had seen. The colors of my piece are a higher chroma version of the colors in a painting that was created by my husband's grandmother of the Aurora Borealis.  I never met Bob's grandmother (Grandma Essie) but it was obvious to me that she was beloved by all her offspring. And everyone owned at least one painting of hers to remember her by and it makes me wonder about my own immortality through my paintings. Anyway, Essie Shaw Cavanagh lived all her life in Canada and was quite familiar with the Aurora Borealis and I like the way the colors in my piece echo that of hers. Then I realized something else, another of the papers used in this piece is part of a map of Canada! What could be more fitting? So, that's how this piece got its name.

I must wistfully admit that I have never seen the Northern Lights in person, but they are on my bucket list! :D

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Doll Heads or The Rest of the Story

Just when you thought you'd heard all I had to say on the subject of headless dolls... well, now I bring you the heads.

You'll remember from my last posts that my friend, Maggie Creshkoff, of the regionally renowned art group "Trashy Women"  kept the heads of the dolls before donating the bodies to our group. At last, I have the photos showing just what she did with the heads.

She used the heads to make molds and then she used the molds to cast ceramic faces. (Similar to the ceramic faces she made which I used on my "headless" dolls.)

The faces were then used to help create her Small Rusty Angels whose bodies and wings are constructed from recycled rusted metal. I hope you enjoy the following images of her work. To learn more about Maggie, please take a moment to visit her website: Backlog Pottery