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.