Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weekend art date

I spent all day Saturday making art with Mandy at her house, and boy did we have a good time.  Three other women dropped by to play at various points in the day and it felt so good to be in the company of others who love paint and glue and creative exploration.

The day was sunny and mild and we sat outside at Mandy's big patio table altering national geographic pages with CitraSolv. 
This is such a fun process.  You never know what you're going to get.
Here's a big pile of our pages drying on the ground.
You can see close-ups of some of Mandy's sheets by clicking here.

Next up, collaborative spray painting!
Mandy spread an old sheet on the driveway, laid down some large pieces of white paper and presented us with dozens of cans of spray paint and a big pile of random household items to use as stencils and masks.

We were tentative at first - walking around the sheet, adding little patches of color here and there.  As we warmed up, we just started layering new colors and patterns on top of existing ones, and we forgot to be afraid to cover up each other's work.  This was really really good for my inner control freak.  I'd be quietly observing a paper that I really liked, thinking the colors were perfect and it was probably done.  And then someone would lean in with a totally new color and I'd think "Oh no, that's going to look horrible!" and then I'd watch and gasp out loud in delight as the piece was transformed into something even more interesting.
 In addition to the big papers, I'd brought a variety of post-card sized cardboard (mostly cut up cereal boxes).  If something started feeling too precious, it helped to remind myself that I would in all likelihood be eating more cereal tomorrow, and there would be no shortage of card-board in my recycling bin, and quite a few colors of spray paint in my own garage.
Below are some of the postcard-sized pieces we ended up with:

and here are the big sheets of paper (which we will likely cut up into more postcards, or journal page backgrounds, or collage fodder.)

 After Mandy fed us a delicious salad and some amazing panini, we settled around the table and started to work on our own stuff.

I decided to work on a swap-bot
challenge - making postcards in the style of the artist Rex Ray.
I ended up making more than a dozen cards as I got the feel for the style and interplay of elements.
Here's some of the ones I made that day:

Here are my two favorites of the bunch (and the only one's I've mailed at this point)

I stayed until it got too cold and dark to do anymore art.  Besides, Mandy might have needed a break from my chronic goofiness after 8 1/2 hours.

Even after my 90 minute drive home, I was still buzzing with creative energy, and I went into my studio and kept making stuff until the wee hours.

Art friends are good for the soul!


  1. I wish I had a nearby art buddy - this looks beyond fun! And it's so true that creative energy feeds on creative energy, so I can only imagine your little inner engine chugging along, even when you got home. You made fun, interesting, colorful pieces that any mail artist would be pleased to receive. And I love Rex Ray's shapes and actually had been toying with doing an "inspired by" series myself. Maybe an idea for a MMSA swap - pick some famous artist and let's try our inner Warhol or Ray or Picasso or whomever! :)

  2. You creative buzzing nah!!! I can see your mind whirring away on the drive home. Looks like you guys had a blast. xox

  3. Looks like such a fun day! I too wish I had an art buddy in driving distance - it must be so energizing!

  4. Woohoo!!! I'm still reeling from the creative force!
    Awesome post (except for the fat picture of me working on postcards)...You're supposed to crop those somehow... ;) Actually, I'm glad you took pictures since I didn't take any!

    By the way, there's no such thing as "too much of your goofiness". I told you that you could have slept over and I meant it!

    PS-The girls at work were cracking up today after I explained the wee bit of art that is on its way to you... :P

  5. I too wish I had an art buddy! Thanks so much for sharing, Karen. The Rex Ray style pieces are fantastic! ((And thank you for sharing Rex Ray--now I'm in love with his work, too!) I have been following your blog for a while now and I love your work—you are very inspiring! Wow, that's a lot of exclamation marks...I mean all of them!

  6. Wow, Karen, that looks like so much fun! How energizing! I think I need an art-making playdate myself. What a fun way to create a bunch of postcards. I love the postcards you created for the swap, as well!

  7. Perfect Day!! Love the postcards! You rocked the Rex Ray!

  8. Karen, I had a blast making art with you and Mandy. I too was buzzing with excitement when I got home. I bought 12 cans of spray paint. Time to make some background pages :)

    I hope our next play date is soon.

    All my best,

  9. You are so lucky to have an art buddy close by. What an awesome day! I discovered the Nat'l geographics and citra solv a couple of years ago. It's pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing your fun day.

  10. Art dates are fantastic and I absolutely love the collaborative spray paint project!

  11. This is SO COOL! I love what you guys did, and that Rex Ray... shut UP!
    There's no one around me anymore who wants to art with me. It's really pretty sad. But I know just what you mean about buzzing with energy afterward! It's great.

  12. What a blessing to have the opportunity to get together and art. Loving it all.

  13. An art play date is just amazing! And so are those spray painted layers. I'd be having the same control freak moments but they totally turned out fabulously. Oh, it all looks like such fun....! xx