Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I'm baaaaackkkk!

I am just back from vacation in Montreal and we had a great time. I bought some really cool artsy things, managed to squeeze some dollar store goodies into my suitcase, and taught a group of girls to make cards with japanese papers i picked up on a shopping excursion.
Check back later for photos!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Paint, said I

Well - here's an interesting way to get things done. Post a blog entry that says you are going to do something. Then you do it. Like 'cus if you don't you look lazy or like a liar or something.
So i said i might paint - and i did just that.
Here's how it turned out:
I started with a large gallery canvas - the kind that is about 2" deep and wrapped around the edges. I had previously "prepped" this canvas by applying a small tub of dry wall compound with a trowel to make a rough irregular surface. I planned to do something with it - about a year ago - it has been sitting under the stairs since then waiting.
As i said in yesterday's blog entry - i found a painting i liked in the Ballard Designs catalog. The artist is JB Hall. I tried to more or less copy it - but ended up a bit different.
I started by applying blobs of paint randomly to the canvas. Ochre, blue, green, and left some areas white. Because i couldn't find my white paint! I know i have some somewhere. Yeah - a normal person would keep all their paint together, i know.
Once i had the colour on the canvas, i started to create some areas of depth. i think i was remembering what i learned in Ann Baldwin's class at Asilomar. I wrote about it here.
It is important to not get too muddy when layering paint. This was hard - because i could only find one paint brush and i didn't feel like rinsing out my water class. As you can see i didn't bother looking for my easel. I just plopped the canvas up on an armchair on the deck - letting the top lean on the railing. I DID put down some newspapers in case Jim saw me painting without any protection at all. But i really hate prep - i just want the fun to start right away!
I added the spots with a cork. It didn't make perfect dots as i hoped - but they have more texture this way. You can also see i found the white paint and added more white to contrast the other colours.

Then i had what i think was a stroke of genius when it came to the circles. I was going to find a bowl or something in the kitchen - when i spotted my glass dome collection on the sideboard. They would be PERFECT for making circles. I just painted the edges and "stamped" them on the canvas. In some places the paint was lifted off - rather than stamping the new colour, but that made some really cool effects.
Almost done - then i added were some blobs of lime green paint where i thought it needed something to cut through the other colours. The final touch were the turquoise circles. I used my finger at this point because the paint brush was all mucked up - and yeah - too lazy to rinse it out. The whole thing took about two hours from start to finish. The time flew by.

Here is the final painting on the wall over the sofa. The colours actually work great together. But i am so looking forward to gettting rid of the yellow walls and turning the room into a vision of robin's egg blue. Then it will be perfect.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nothin' but time

Usually at least one weekend in the month i have a CRAZY action packed two days of a total frenzy getting ready for a class and a workshop and a book swap. July is different. I took the month off from teaching! Our altered book round robin group is on summer hiatus - so no workshop to prepare and no book to alter.

So there should be lots of time for PLAY. Sadly i do very little of art for art sake. I mostly work in round robins or swaps and prepare for classes - doing up samples, etc. The past few months i have particpated in a dozen or so weekly challenge blogs. That has been fun - but honestly - i just make up something little, very quickly, and don't spend much time in my art room.

I have been thinking a lot about painting again. I went through about a 3 year period where i painted non-stop. But hardly anything in the last 6 years. I mostly do copies of other people's art. I am pretty good at recreating a reasonable fascimile of an existing piece. I suck out loud at doing anything original. I always thought if i spent more time on it - i would develop my own style. But i got into paper arts and the painting fell by the way side.

Up top is a painting i started a few years ago and never quite finished. Mind you it is decent enough that it hangs over our bed.

You can see the original by Sabzi that i was copying from above.
We plan to finally get around to painting (or having painted that is) our living/dining room, stairs and hall. Our neighbour runs a painting contracting service - so he will give us a good price. I have narrowed the colour down to a half dozen perfect robin's egg blue with a hint of green - neither too minty nor too baby blue. We plan to pick one and go for it. As my hubbie said, we are known for our bold colours - so it is not time to go all pale and subtle. You can see the current yellow ochre colour the walls are now in the shot at the top of the blog entry.

I pulled a couple of clippings out of some magazines/catalogs with some artwork i think would look cool with the new blue walls. This first one is by J.B. Hall and was shown in the Ballard Designs catalog. I love the colours and how the circles look so architechtural while at the time evoking coffee stains. yeah - i am pretty sure that's what the artist was going for.

This next piece is by Beatriz Milhazes from an Elle Decor magazine spread. Again it features circles and is collagy and painterly at the same time. See more of her work HERE.

It reminded me of the work of Anahata Katkin, especially her mixed media mandalas. Here is her blog.

So we'll see what trouble i get into this weekend - that looms ahead of me with no "must do this" obligations. I generally work best with a deadline - so it is hard to motivate myself to just "do some art". I could paint or i could just watch TV and read magazines. But i think i will paint. It is time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Crazy Amigo Challenge: Travel

Well, for the theme on this week's Crazy Amigo Challenge is Travel. Should it be somewhere I have been? Somewhere I am going? I seem to be travelling a lot lately - Cabo, then Toronto, and we are off to Montreal in a week or so for our annual summer trip back home.

But I chose Greece. The place we planned to go instead of Cabo. The itinerary was all arranged - Athens, Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. The luxury accommodations were selected. Then the reality of two things kinda sunk in. The price - well, $3600 alone just for the airfare! And it just seemed that if i didn't have a suite with an infinity pool with a view of the million dollar sunsets, i just didn't want to go. The other more realistic issue? - STAIRS. Have you seen pictures of the quaint villages? All stairs, all the times. One hotel had 80 stairs DOWN the cliff to get to your room. Well, after falling down stairs and breaking my ankle and having two surgeries and spending 9 months on crutches in 2006, sadly i am not ready for a vacation involving that many stairs. One day. I am sure it will be awesome.

Above is a little 4x5 stretched canvas painted entirely with Portfolio Oil Pastels and my finger. No collage, no words - just that perfect image of sea and sky - and the pretty white house dotting the cliffs. There used to be an ad on TV, "The Gods could have chose anywhere to live. They chose Greece". It is sort of my dream to go there. One day.

But off to Montreal we go next week. It really is the next best thing to Greece, since there is a Greek restaurant practically on every corner.
Here is a painting by one of my favorite Quebec artists - Robert Savignac.

We'll see all our good friends, my mom and brothers, and my sister and her family will be up at the lake in their new lakefront cottage. The evenings will pass quickly with great grilled food, dining al fresco, and music will waft through the air, as most of Jim's friends are musicians, and what a great thing to do in the balmy summer air than strum a few tunes and singalong.

Here is a painting by me emulating one of my favorite Quebec artists - Robert Savignac!
The days will be spent splashing in the pool or floating on the lake. Or better yet, scouring the dollar stores for AWESOME crafty treasures. I am SO BUMMED about the new luggage rules. I have routinely brought back a whole suitcase of cool stuff each time I visit Montreal. I don't know why, but they have the best dollar stores e-v-e-r. Like stretched canvases - 3 for a buck! Mini wooden shadow boxes, a buck each, aisles and aisles of ribbon and buttons and feathers and stickers - all too cheap to pass up.
When we went to Mexico a month a go - international travel still allowed 2 bags on most carriers. Now Air Canada has cut that to one bag each - in our "class" anyway. Luckily my hubby would be happiest in trunks and a Hawaiian shirt for 10 days, so i can fill his suitcase with my treasures.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Go Make Something: Green!

Here is another fun collage for Go Make Somethings Monday Challenge: Green!

I used a 4" by 5" stretched canvas as a base. I started by applying some ink and then two colours of mulberry paper over top for some texture.

I used a image of a native girl from Ten Two Studios collage sheet Little Diversity.

I added some printed paper behind her and a clipping of the green floral paper i bought here. I knew i wanted to add some beads - but alas -the wrong colour. Well, didya know, that Adirondak Ink is PERFECT for colouring anything glass, metal, plastic or shiny?? A few drops of ink and the clear and orange leaves are suddenly the perfect green. A stamp from the pack i bought here, featuring some colourful parrots finishes this off nicely.

Oh - the swirly metal things are paper clips shaped like the @ symbol. They have NOTHING to do with the otherwise organic nature of this collage - but they were green - so i couldn't pass them up!

Mixed Media Monday Challenge

Here is my entry for the theme "Monochromatic Colors".
I was flipping through a stack of old magazines my hubby was nagging me to "deal with". That's not the same as "get rid of". Although i had to agree, the pile was quite stale. I found the image of the honeycomb in a National Geographic, which was all about issues facing the ecological balance in the world. Well, the color spectrum: from golden yellow to deep amber, was PERFECT for this challenge! (good thing i read the "PSSST" hint on this week's Mixed Media Challenge, so i had my eyes open for colorful ideas.

I started with a 5" by 7" stretched canvas. My goal at the end of the year is to create a gallery in my house for all the weekly challenges - so i think working on stretched canvas will be easier to display on simple shelves or nails, than paper based artwork. That's my plan anyway....
I covered the canvas with some amber coloured paper - actually taken from a bouquet of flowers. It was sort of "interface-y" if you sew and know what that means. i cut out the honeycombs (by the way - one of my favorite cereals as a child)and glued them to the left side with glue stick. I used the text from the article on the right. Then i literally just grabbed whatever golden amber honey hued items i had in easy reach of my work surface. Sunflower stickers, foam letters, and I used some oil pastels over everything to round out the hues and seal the piece.
Oh, and then added two yellow tin chickens. I thought the honeycombs where reminiscent of chicken wire. Get it? groan....i know, I know, it is a creative leap.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th Everyone!

Sorry nothing doing creative lately - just doing the summertime thing - pancake breakfast and the Novato Old Town Parade! Fireworks tonight!

This year we even had a flyover!

Two more whole days to play - wonder what creative trouble i'll get into??????

These are pages i did in a "true colors" round robin years ago that suit the red white and blue so prevalent today at the parade. I suppose Bunky (whose books this was) including yellow in her colour scheme!
There are all sorts of hidden meanings in this collage including travel - ie taking a road trip, the fake airport code letters that sound like "pack", and the fish represents from sea to shining sea!