Thursday, June 30, 2011

Just need to get this off my chest

Thanks. I feel better now.

Busy campers

My summer camp program started this week. (I'm the director of a school-age child care program).
I've forgotten both how much I LOVE camp, and how much camp exhausts me. Most of my time during the school year is spent at a quiet desk doing administrative tasks and talking on the phone. Maybe an hour a day with the kids - 2 at the most. I manage 3 different sites during the school year, but in the summer we all consolidate to a single site, and I move my "office" to a small room adjoining the camp room. It's non-stop activity, noise, and stimulation. I'm much more hands on with the kids. The atmosphere is both HIGH ENERGY and totally laid back. We laugh a lot and do great art projects and craft activities. But there is NO DOWN TIME. Especially week one.

So Monday's index card was in part a response to Daisy Yellow's challenge to write the alphabet in block letters today. Plus I really really love black gesso. And the souffle pens on the black look like the chalk drawings that are now covering the basketball court outside of camp! Hooray for summer.

The busyness of Monday and Tuesday and the total exhaustion that came with it made for my first totally art-free day of the month on Tuesday. (though I did go into Boston to see live music so I don't feel too bad about not making time for art). I woke up Wednesday and pulled out one of my "bonus" cards that I'd made but not posted. Here's my Wednesday card. Feels like cheating.

and Wednesday night I had time and energy for art, but got focused on a few swap-bot projects and forgot to make a card, so I'm cashing in another bonus card from my stash.

I've sent and received a bunch of great mail art and swaps lately that I hope to get around to posting over the weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

no-thinking collages

It's my mission for the summer to improve my collage skills. I enjoy collage, but don't usually like my results. I always want to be clever and make it mean something and have my images connect in some way, but then that becomes too much pressure and I get all cerebral and overthink everything. I need to practice, practice, practice and not get all hung up on whether I like it or not. I can sit and stare and push scraps around all night long and get all balled up with self-consciousness and not do a damn thing with it, or I can just slap stuff down and leave it there and do it all again tomorrow. I'm going to focus my index cards on this for a while.

my rules for the past 2 days:
make it in less than 15 minutes
use only things within arms reach
don't think, just do

I used up a variety of scraps, experiments and aborted projects. Plus I threw in some staples because it was one of Tammy's prompts this week.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice Index Cards

I was on a roll today:

ICAD Saturday-Monday

Okay, so I totally skipped Saturday. It's the first day I missed. I got up Sunday morning and realized it, so I made this in honor of Saturday:

When my hands were covered in paint from aforementioned book cover, I scanned them. Late Sunday night I realized I hadn't actually made my "Sunday card" yet (even though I'd made a card that day, I was considering that my "Saturday card")

I printed out my hand picture for this:

Monday was just a really lousy day. Stressed and emotional and a variety of work related hassles. I noodled about in my studio for a long time when I got home and didn't love anything I made, but I found all the chaos of the day vanished while I was working. I took Tammy's Monday challenge and made a spare card for use next time I don't have time to do a card. Here's my "official" Monday card.

Traveling Art Journal - spoiler

I'm participating in a traveling art journal group. There are 21 people in the group and we each start a journal, create a few pages, and mail it to the next person on the list. If you are one of the 20 other people participating and you DON'T want a sneak peak of the book I made, stop reading.

Here's a picture of the raccoon that visited my birdfeeder to fill the space between this text and the photos of the journal I made.
cute little stinker, isn't he?

So I hemmed and hawed over whether I should buy a blank journal or try to make one. I love to make books, but my bookbinding skills might not stand up to 21 trips across the country. A purchased journal would be sturdy, but impersonal. I could decorate the cover of the purchased journal, but still, I like handmade. I finally decided to alter this really cool book that I found in a thrift store. It was published in 1975 and is full of the most hideous/groovy pictures. It's a 5-ring binder so it's got loads of room for painted/collaged/embellished pages.

I spent all day Saturday painting and collaging the cover until it looked like this:

front cover

back cover
I kept all of the original pages inside and encourage my fellow artists to use them freely. I altered a few for my introduction, gessoed and painted over a few for a 2 page spread, and I cut my own piece of artwork down to the appropriate size, punched holes and inserted it in the book. I'm hoping people will get creative with the pages and format.

The theme of my book is "risk" and here's the pages I made for it. I won't include pictures of my introduction or the inside front cover - gotta leave a few surprises!

I had made this green paper collage as a possible cover for the book, but it just wasn't working for me. I had way more fun mucking up the cover with paint. But the collage was full of yummy handpainted papers so I decided to turn it into another journal page for the book:

I mailed it off to Connecticut on Monday. I can't wait to see what arrives in MY mailbox!
We are supposed to pass it by the 20th of each month, after keeping it for 2 weeks, so in theory my book will return to me in 10 or 11 months, full of art from all these wonderful artists all over the world! How cool is that?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

GPP Street Team - Crusade No. 52

The lovely Michelle Ward continues her evidence series with her latest Crusade “Seasonal Wardrobe”. She poses the question “Do you change the colors of your work palette with the seasons?”

It's an interesting thought, but I haven’t been doing this long enough to notice a pattern. I started thinking about my clothes and the palette shifts from winter to summer.

There are certainly consistencies – I wear a lot of black year round. I never wear red. I do not own a single pastel color. One thing I noticed is that my winter clothes are all solid colors and my summer clothes have more patterns. The cold New England winters (and my cold New England office) mean bulky sweaters October-April. I loathe patterned sweaters. I lived through the “Cosby” era and have had enough thank you very much.

So my winter palette tends to be shades of green with denim. Shades of black and grey, with denim. Maybe some rusty orange, or deep plum – with denim. Since I wear jeans almost exclusively these days, I don’t own any blue tops. (one of my rules – can’t wear blue with denim).

(winter uniform)

The hot, muggy New England summers (and lack of air conditioning at work) bring out the floaty skirts and light tops. I wear more hot pink in the summer. Pants are light colored, so I might sneak in a blue shirt once in a while. Skirts can and should be patterned, but pants can NEVER be patterned. (another of my many fashion rules!).

(summer uniform)

Does any of this carry over into my artwork? I don’t know yet, but in the spirit of collecting evidence for future study, I took a closer look.

My work table is always covered by paper. I work on it until it’s so covered in paint it’s distracting, and then roll another sheet of paper right over it.

I excavated through a few layers of paper to see what I could learn. I saw evidence of specific projects or temporary trends (i.e. I used that stamp on everything for about 2 weeks), but what drew my eye was the common color combinations. By looking at my blotter papers it’s clear I combine orange and pink a lot. I also use blue and black, and shades of green, sometimes mixed with yellow.

I cut pieces of blotter paper and glued them to "evidence tags" then went digging through my scrap pile for further evidence. I absolutely LOVE to paint papers. I have stacks and stacks of my experiments with marbling, paste papers, gelatin printing, acrylic inks, etc. The color trend continued here and I punched circles from the abundance of supporting evidence.

Here's the 2 page spread, followed by the details of each section.
It will be fun to look back at my journals in a few years to see how my palette shifts.