Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Assembly Line

This is the palette paper that I've used to clean my brushes. It will now become new collaging material.
 It is completely out of character for me to work in an assembly line fashion to create art, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This morning, in addition to varnishing my new dragonfly piece (which I hope to have finished tonight), I prepped a few canvases with paint and wrapped them in plastic wrap (for a textural look) and then stacked them. When the paint is dry, I'll remove the plastic wrap.

I work each project on an aluminum oven liner tray and right now I have four of them stacked on top of each other. I'm sure if I could take an X-ray of my brain, it would look very similar right now. 

Here's the tricky part. I've prepped each canvas with paint, but I have no idea what I'm going to do with them next! But you can be sure I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"Dragonfly 1", Mixed Media Collage, 5x7

I'm back at work on the Yellow Springs show. I have to give them my inventory of works by this Friday. (I'm going to have to make something up.) Then everything has to be delivered by April 19. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day Before the Opening

Some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere can be found in south eastern Pennsylvania. The rolling countryside contains winding brooks, picturesque homes, horse farms, vineyards and, of course, mushroom farms. 

Flickerwood Wine Cellars Wine Tasting Room
Kennett Square, the town where Flickerwood Wine Cellars Tasting Room (host of my art exhibit) is located, could well be called the mushroom capital of the United States. (Oh, wait, I just looked it up. They call themselves the mushroom capital of the world!) This could well be the reason why the mushroom museum is located there. It is also one of the most picturesque little towns you'll find anywhere; with tree lined streets and inviting shops and restaurants.

I learned only a few months ago that mushroom farming, like growing grapes for wines, is an Italian innovation. Although the local landscape looks nothing like the Italian landscape, the climate must be similar to be so conducive to both grapes and mushrooms. 

The Mushroom Cap

Portabella's Restaurant

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Blue Bathing Lady" - Digital Collage

Yes, I know. You've seen her before. She is probably my favorite piece of garden statuary. And she probably has a formal name, too. I just don't know what it is.

Five years ago, out of the blue, I was invited by a complete stranger to spend a week in Gibraltar Gardens in downtown Wilmington, Delaware to spend a week as a special guest artist. That stranger has since become a very special friend, Connie Ripper. 

Although I only lived a few miles away, just across the state line, I had never before heard of Gibraltar Gardens. But I soon discovered that it is one of the best kept secrets in that city. Stepping into the gardens is like stepping into a European country. Over the course of the week I spent there, I made some sketches, did an interview with a local magazine, and took over 200 photos. There were about a dozen artists invited to be guests over the course of the summer and in return we all contributed a piece of art inspired by the gardens to be sold at silent auction as a fund raiser for Gibraltar.

I have made a number of collages with the garden images as my inspiration, but I've especially used this fountain, which I photographed from all angles. 

Below is the image I created on which I used as the background for this collage. The dragonflies came from various other collages of mine, too.

Also below are two mixed media collages featuring my bathing lady as the subject. And, as you can see, she's the subject of my blog banner this month as well.

It may very well be that I overuse her, but I never get tired of looking at her.

"Garden Fountain" 5x7 Mixed Media Collage
"Lady Fountain" 8x10 Mixed Media Collage

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Wine & Nasturtiums" 9x12 Mixed Media Collage

Here is the last piece for the show at Flickerwood. You can go to my website to see the entire line-up for that show. FLICKERWOOD

Now I must finish up Yellow Springs. I want to have 32 pieces by April 18 (the maximum number allowable). Right now I have only four (the minimum required) that I can count on for sure. Poor Emmett won't be seeing a lot of me for the next few weeks. :(

Tulip Quilt - Digital Collage

Here it is! The first digital collage that I've created using an image that I created on Bomomo. Then I cut and pasted three tulips from my mixed media collage titled "Dancing Tulips." Of course, I applied different filters in photoshop to change the look of these images, too.

So now I have a nifty new little art piece ready to print. I'll probably  print it out 5x7 on watercolor paper.

Digital image created with
"Dancing Tulips"  20x20  Mixed Media Collage

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Another One Flies the Coop

"Hummingbird & Orchid" Mixed Media Collage - 6x12
I love it when I sell a painting; what artist doesn't? I find it particularly interesting that this piece was exhibited for a long time in a gallery, but didn't sell until after the gallery closed and the client found it hanging on my home studio wall. Last year at this time, with representation in three galleries, I'd only sold one painting for the year. This year, with no representation, I've sold the same number. (And my profit margin is greater!) I'll be interested in seeing what the rest of the year brings.

Anyway, the image above was inspired by the works of Martin Johnson Heade. It's definitely my own interpretation, but you can see how his moodiness affected me.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Official E-Invitation

"Red Wine, Blue Bottle" Mixed Media Collage 9x12

"Red Wine, Blue Bottle" 9x12 Mixed Media Collage
In time for my solo show at Flickerwood Wine Cellars Tasting Room in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, I've finished this little collage. Or at least, it feels little to me after creating those 20x20 monsters!

I thought I'd make this blog another "show & tell" and the steps to create this piece are shown below.

Underpainting created with burnt sienna and quinacridone gold washes and texturized with plastic wrap and cheesecloth.

Paper scraps glued on top of the underpainting.

Ogura lace scraps in multiple colors applied over scraps.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Updated Website


After a year I've finally updated my website. The new improved website will keep everyone up to date with upcoming exhibits and what artwork will be appearing there. As new works are completed, they will be added to the appropriate pages. 

Here's the link:       My Website

And, hopefully soon, you'll be able to purchase artwork directly from the website, but not until after the spring shows.

I have been on the website this morning checking out links, thumbnails, etc., but if anyone happens to notice anything amiss, please be sure to tell me about it. Thanks!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My Dad

Jerry Preston Morgan - 1950
I know in this blog I typically talk about my artwork, but it's called "a crabulous life!" to allow me a little leeway. Today my family and I said goodbye to my father after 10 years of his struggles with dementia in the form of Pick's Disease. He passed away this past Sunday (February 27) and today we all gathered together to bid him farewell by collectively recalling fond memories and in song. My dad loved to sing and  he sang all the time. 

The following is from the talk I gave:

I think it’s so great that we all could be here together today. Dad would have loved this. He always loved it when his family got together. He loved people in general, but he especially loved his family.

Dad was pretty goofy.

You just never knew when he’d start singing for no reason. And it would be a silly old fashioned song and he’d sing it loud and usually off key. Or, sometimes, he’d sing a popular song that you’d hear on the radio and that was even worse; especially when he got the words wrong. And sometimes, he’d even do a crazy dance. It could be embarrassing, but he didn’t care. He loved life and celebrated it every moment.

And Dad loved to play games; card games, board games, video games… you name it.  Because of Dad, I knew how to play poker before I was 10 years old.

I can still remember the night he taught me to play checkers. I had to have been 6 or 7 (around Georgia’s age) because we were still living on Smith Avenue. I was frustrated because he kept winning and he wouldn’t let me win. “I’m not going to let you win” he said. It made me kind of angry, but it was one of the best things he ever could have done for me.

He never let any of us win at a game. We had to win a game fair and square and on our own merit. We played Sorry, and Clue and Monopoly. We played Rummy, Go Fish, Old Maid and Tripoli. We played football, basketball, wiffle ball, tether ball, ping pong, pool, badminton and croquet. It didn’t matter if it was an easy game or a hard one; it was always played with the same intensity. When he won a game, he never bragged about it; it was just merely a fact – he won and he’d thank us for the game. When we won, he congratulated us and told us it was a good game. Ultimately we learned that winning wasn’t the important thing. What was important was doing our best and having fun at it.

Morgan Family - 1958
And looking back, I realize that that was his philosophy on life as well. I can’t remember him doing anything without looking like he was having fun. He was happy when he mowed the lawn. He was happy when he washed the car. I remember one morning as a very little girl, helping him make the bed where he and Mom slept. He was happy doing that, too. He was even happy washing my hair! Legend has it, that that was the worst task in the Morgan household. For some reason I was born with a severe phobia of water and from day one I wanted nothing to do with it. I screamed whenever they tried to bathe me, but particularly when my hair was being washed. At some point in time this task was delegated to Dad. Saturday morning was the day to wash Kris’s hair. I can still remember being about 4 or 5 and even older and Dad having me lean over the sink for my weekly hair washing. But I don’t remember screaming. What I remember is singing. Dad would start singing any song that came to his head… “Daisy, Daisy,” “The Band Played On,” “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Anything to take my mind off the water that was “drowning” me.  And I started to sing along with him. Before long I had built up quite a repertoire of classic tunes and looked forward to getting my hair washed. And I realize that this was just another game for Dad. The task of washing my hair was a game and he did his best, he had fun at it… and he won!

Dad was such a lover of people. He didn’t know a stranger. He could strike up a conversation with anyone anywhere. He never failed to make a plane flight without making a new BFF. And in return, people loved him. Whenever I’d go to visit him at his office, wherever he worked, I noticed that not only did everyone in his office know him and make a point to say “hi” to him whenever they saw him, but so did everyone in the entire building.  Everyone knew Jerry Morgan. Now that I think about it, this sounds like someone else in the family. Garrett has obviously inherited this same trait.

Dad would also help out anyone anyway he could and never think twice about it. It could be Mrs. Campbell, the widow who lived next door, with a leaky faucet, or a couple of my high school classmates hitching a ride home from school on a cold winter night. Once, when Mom and Dad came to visit me after I was married and had Jerry and Garrett, Garrett needed a ride home from an after school activity. Dad saw that I was up to my eyeballs with chores to do and he offered to go pick Garrett up for me. I gratefully gave him directions and off he went. Jerry came up to me and asked why did I “make” Papa go get Garrett. I explained I didn’t make him, but that he wanted to do it. “Why?” Jerry asked. “Because Papa loves to help people,” I explained. There was a moment’s pause and Jerry said, “I want to be just like Papa.” And I’m happy to say that when it comes to helping people, Jerry is just like Papa.
Morgan Family - 1973

I think, to some extent, Dad was probably born with his upbeat personality. But at the same time, he also worked at keeping his attitude positive. His small library contained books such as Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. And he was known to repeat favorite quotations when appropriate, that nearly became mantras. A college friend of mine was asking Dad for relationship advice and whether or not she should call up an old boyfriend. Dad encouraged her to go for it and added “I’ve never regretted the things I’ve done, only the things I haven’t done.”

Another favorite quotation that he was fond of repeating was “He who hesitates is lost!” That’s the mantra he used to teach me to drive.

And he was the most patient of teachers. I vividly remember him teaching Cindy how to drive a stick shift. For some reason, one night, he decided to let her practice while he rode in the passenger seat and Mom, Kendall and I were in the back. The three of us backseat drivers were about to lose it over her stopping, starting, stalling and lurching. But Dad made us “be quiet” and the lesson continued until finally, Cindy got the hang of it.

One thing Dad was not patient with, and that was fear. He feared nothing and didn’t understand fear in others. He never did understand my fear of water and I’m afraid he lost his patience trying to teach me to swim. He didn’t understand my fear of crickets and how they might jump out at me at night when I got up to go to the bathroom. And he certainly didn’t understand my fear of storms, but that one he helped me to overcome. One of the greatest sources of family entertainment was to gather on the big screened porch on the front of our house and watch a thunderstorm pass over. Dad always delighted in them.

Jerry Morgan - 2011
And not only did he never fear anything, he never worried either. He was certainly concerned about people and situations, but he never worried about them. He had faith that life would work itself out… and it always did.  He was like that song, “Don’t worry… be happy!”

And speaking of faith, Dad was not a religious man, but he was certainly spiritual. I don’t ever remember seeing him reading the Bible. He didn’t have to; he had it memorized. It was easy for him to memorize because he had distilled its very essence into three words…God is love. At first, that may seem over simplified. But, when you think about it, it’s a very difficult concept to grasp. He wasn’t saying that God is loving; he was saying that God and love are the same thing. And when you accept God, you are accepting love and you do all things through love. When you act out of love, it is impossible to kill, steal, lie, cheat and so on and so forth. And everything Dad did, he did from a position of love. And with that in mind, I’d like to read from 1 Corinthians:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Dad was love.

I love you, Dad. 

Morgan Family - 2011