Friday, September 30, 2011

"Pot of Hydrangeas"

"Pot of Hydrangeas" - Digital Collage
This digital collage has been created from the sketch below which I posted earlier.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Art Give Away!

"Flemish Pear" - Digital Collage
I'm trying to push a little to increase my following. I'm up to 170 "fans" on Facebook right now and I'd like to reach 200. Of course, I realize they don't call them fans anymore. You can no longer be a "fan" of a Facebook page. Instead you can "like" a Facebook page. Does that then make you a "likee"? Or is that "likeee"? Someone, please help me with the correct terminology. But, in the meantime, please ask all your friends to "like" "a crabulous life!" on Facebook. Once the "likes" have reached 200, I'll put all 200 names in a hat and draw a winner for a piece of my artwork.

Thanks for your help and support!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Flemish Apple"

"Flemish Apple" - Digital Collage

This digital collage was created from the apple sketch that I posted earlier from my Belgium textbook. The original sketch is below.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More Sketchbook Pages

These are liable to show up again by way of digital collages.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Buried Treasure"

"Buried Treasure" - Digital Collage
 Another digital collage inspired by the personal collage below.

Friday, September 16, 2011


"Autumn" - 12x12 - Mixed Media Collage
 This collage is named for my grandniece, Autumn, who is also an artist.

Below you will see the steps that I took to make this piece. I hope you enjoy!
This is the original layer beneath everything.

Next I added a layer of natural ogura lace on top of that.
I wanted to see more blocks of color and added triangles of different colored ogura lace papers.
Then I muted the triangles of color with a layer of transparent natural unryu  paper with mulberry leaves.
I made two different scrap collages from which to make the leaves. This is the first one.
And this is the second scrap collage.
And here's the collage with the leaves before the final detailing with fabric paint and gold splattering is done.

Sketchbook Cover #5

I'm loving these little sketchbooks. It's going to be hard for me to part with them.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"In Memoriam" - 12x12 - Mixed Media Collage

This is such an unusual piece for me, but I felt I had to do it. I'm such a lover of the English language that I had to make a statement about what is currently happening to it.

I began with pages from an old dictionary and an old English grammar book. I love this article, " Do You Avoid Affected Speech?" (I admit that I'm guilty of saying Eye-ther instead of ee-ther)
All the contributed words. Thanks everyone!

Modeling paste begins to cover the beautiful words.

More color is added.
At first, I thought I'd show it as a metamorphosis. Over the years, languages evolve. That is very evident. But at the rate of speed that the English language is deteriorating, I couldn't just treat it as a natural transition. To me it is a death of our language as we know it. I have a friend who teaches botany on the college level and she claims that it's all she can do to get it through to her students that terminology such as FYI or BTW is simply not acceptable in a term paper.  

On Facebook, I reached out to my friends to contribute their favorite words, and I used every single one of them in this piece as you can see from the images. However, not all of them are visible in the final piece; which is very illustrative of the point I'm trying to make. I also asked my friends to provide me with the modern day terminology which is plainly visible in the top layer of the collage.
And still more color with sparkly paint. What was going to be metamorphic rocks turned into a burial mound!

As I said, this piece is very unusual for me and I don't think it has any commercial value. It will probably stay in my studio forever. But, I welcome all comments good or bad on this as I think the subject is provocative.

"Shattered Dreams" - 4x4 - Mixed Media Collage

I had this garden ornament, a dragonfly, of course, of which I was very enamored. Over time (maybe two years) it started to deteriorate from the elements, but I couldn't bear to part with it. Therefore, I've incorporated it's fragile parts in this collage. Something about it reminds me of that line from James Taylor's "Fire and Rain" ... "Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground."

So, that's all I have to say about this little piece!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Glass Heart" - digital collage

This is a third one from the personal collage series.

Crabs Gather Here!

Hmmm... this could be a suitable birthday card for a crabulous birthday. I wonder who'd be having one of those?

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Warned You

"Murex" - digital collage
True to my threats, the personal collage theme is becoming a series. The digital collage above is from the same personal collage (see below) as "Starfish."

I promise I'll have some actual, physical collages later this week, including the "word project" that so many of you have helped me with. It's taken an unexpected turn.

P.S. I can't believe my mother hasn't noticed the brooch I stole from her in this photo!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Digital Collage from Personal Collage

"Starfish" - digital collage
The other day I created what I've come to know as a "personal collage." I don't remember where I learned that terminology, but it basically consists of a photo image of personal items laid out in collage form. The digital collage, above, is created from the personal collage below with some bomomo thrown in (of course) for good measure. Since I only used a tiny corner of the personal collage, you can anticipate a series. ;D

Personal photo collage

"Still Life Still Night" - digital collage
In June of 2001, the Marine Corps pulled into my driveway, grabbed my first born child, and took him away from me.

Although I knew that day was coming, I managed to keep myself in complete denial until it actually happened; and then I fell apart. I slipped into one of my deepest funks and couldn't even bring myself to go to my studio. Even now, as I write this, I'm weeping uncontrollably at the memory.

I finally decided to give myself permission to take the summer off. I went to my studio and locked up all my pastels; my Senneliers, my Schminkes, my Rembrandts, in the storage cabinet and made up my mind to spend every spare minute by the pool. And that worked, for awhile.

The pain of the "loss" eased a little and I began to itch to be creative again, but in a different way. In August we made a trip to Ottawa for a family reunion and while there I suddenly decided I wanted to learn all about collage. I haunted the art supply stores in downtown Ottawa, picked up Nita Leland's book on collage techniques (see side bar) and a variety of beautiful papers. I was truly excited again.

Once back home I made a variety of new collages using all sorts of textural papers and materials. My early collages were very different than the pieces I make today. In some ways they were better. They were freer and over the top and very, very textural. They were also scary to the uninitiated (read: my husband thought I was losing my mind).
I had a show coming up in October at the co-op in Baltimore where I was a member, and up until that point, no one had ever exhibited a collage. But I charged ahead with my creations. One of the pieces I decided to make was a magazine collage, where all the papers used in it came from magazine photos. I needed a subject and I looked at the suggested October themes for the co-op and they were "still lifes" and "scenes of Baltimore." I got this idea to combine the two themes and I came up with the sketch below.

From the sketch I created the magazine collage and I loved the way it turned out and its very whimsical quality, but I was hesitant about exhibiting it. See the date on the sketch? August 29, 2001. By the time the exhibit was hung, the travesty of 9/11 had occurred and I was so afraid that someone would think I was making a statement piece. Pear = pair = twin towers? But I'd created it before the incident so it had nothing to do with it. Fortunately, no one made that leap.

I'm not even going to go into the terror in my my mind on 9/11 with my son in boot camp. But I'm very grateful for my art which helped me keep my mind off those terrors during a very difficult time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Playing With Old Sketches Again

"Bowl of Roses" - digital collage
Still playing with my new found old sketches. The original sketch is below. It looks to me like I was doing a quick contour drawing to warm up. I love the asymmetry of the bowl; it makes me smile. In real life it would never stand up! 

(Yes, Mom, that's your dining room wallpaper again. Your royalty check is in the mail!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Notes" - 4x4 - Mixed Media Collage

It pleases me that my childhood piano teacher wrote notes all over my music books. Her very rigid and old fashioned looking handwriting was always something of an art form to me, even as a kid. And she always wrote with pencil. She kept a box of pencils on the grand piano and kept using them until they were just tiny little nubs. She was the type of person who let nothing go to waste. She taught four generations of my family and in all that time she never charged more than $1.00 for a half-hour lesson and she taught seven days a week.  
This page of music is from Bach's 2-Part Inventions. I spent a lot of time working with the 2-part inventions. The numbers written in the notes are the increasing metronone settings that my teacher prescribed each week. My fingers could fly back then!

And, of course, the notes of Da Vinci have been raised to an art form. I felt so lucky when I discovered this paper in a small shop in France, only to discover you can purchase it online in the States, too. Oh, well. I still have good memories of the purchase!

Sketchbook Cover #4

I probably should try to name these sketchbook covers so I can keep track of them. Nah! Numbers are good enough.

Reproduction antique map paper and pieces from my old book of Bach's 2-Part inventions make up the design in this cover.

Unexpected Surprise

Don't you just love it when for no reason at all you receive a gift out of the blue?

Earlier today, the postal carrier knocked on my front door and when I went to answer it, I found a mailing tube with my name on it. I hadn't ordered anything, so I didn't know what could be in it, but it has been my experience that good things come in tubes. The IRS has never sent me a notice in a tube and I've never received a past due notice in that form of packing, either.

Next I saw that it was from my good friend, Fran. Over the years Fran has been a friend, teacher, mentor and sister plein air painter. Just recently she visited my studio and we had lunch together. I remembered one of the many topics of our terrific conversation that day and the fact that she's doing a major "clean-out" of her house and I began to suspect just what might be in the tube.

The first thing I saw on the papers that I slipped out of the tube was a note from Fran:
"Hey Kris! Have fun with these. Hugs, Fran (P.S. make me something)
And I was delighted to unroll the papers and discover old maps and charts. 

Now for you landlubbers, a chart is a nautical map. They are never, never called maps. Ever. Just like, on a boat, ropes are never, never called ropes, they're called lines... but I digress.

And to make them even better, there are even some handwritten notes on the maps! That's just too good to be true!

I am beyond delighted to have received these and can't wait to incorporate them in my artwork. And, of course, I'll make something for Fran!

This red arrow marks where we used to keep our boat when we had the 32' Silverton and Fran and I have painted here together. The red arrow is not really on the map. I just added that with Photoshop.