Saturday, January 31, 2015

Three element collages

This week's project for the class I'm taking was to create small collages using only three elements and then name them.
I decided to exclusively use magazine images for my collages and I spent the day pushing pieces into different configurations.

I only needed to make six for class, but of course I made a few extras (though you'll notice a few only have two elements - perhaps they aren't done.)

Naming them was hard.  I could only come up with titles that were too obvious and literal.  I resorted to opening my box of random text and selecting titles from there.  My course materials say "Titles are very important, they invite the viewer into each piece and also give them a hint as to what the work may be about."

You could spend a lot of time pondering the deep meaning of these titles, or you can picture me doubled over laughing as I matched collages with phrases.

(Why Horses Paint)

Clashes Worsen Misery

Educational Opportunities for All

How Sparkling Can You Be?

Learn Meat Cutting

Museum of Where We've Been and Where We're Going

Now Everyone Can Be an Astronaut

Rubber and the World of Mr. Jones

Rural Americans and the Rest of Us

Young People and the Need for Planning

Bad Playground for Raccoons

Start Your Child on This Sensible Plan

It's late, I'm punchy, and there's another foot of snow heading our way.  At least there's no shortage of paper, glue and silly captions.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The view from Tuesday

The news says my town already has 18 inches of snow.

It's hard to tell because I've got a 4 foot drift on one side of the driveway and a bare windswept patch on the other side.

We'll continue to have blizzard conditions well into the night.

Across town, my dog-sister, Maggie, is less than pleased.

It sure is white out there....

Inside, it's much more colorful.
Jake is enjoying the art room's new orange futon cover and coordinating pillow cases.

And there are sock-inspired postcards in various states of completion.

I'm just waiting for the two teenage boys (who are currently sprawled on my couches after a late night of gaming) to wake up so I can start the baking portion of the day.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday morning

These paints didn't have silly names like the last batch, but if one were so inclined, one could call them them Chocolate, Blueberry, Lime and Mustard.
(and then one could go throw up at the thought of that culinary combination)

We are bracing ourselves for a blizzard that is expected to bring upwards of 2 feet of snow, and while the National Weather Service is throwing around terms like "crippling" "historic" and "life threatening," all I can think is "day off spent painting."

My decline in creative output in 2014 was not just time spent staring at the wall.  I also managed to read 63 books. 
It seems to have become a steady habit.  I've already read 10 books in January.
I recommend this one.
Don't bother reading this one.

Last night's family movie night was the 1983 classic "War Games" with a baby-faced Matthew Broderick.  Our tech-savvy child of the new millennia enjoyed the liberties Hollywood took with its portrayal of the fancy-pants military computer which was about to start World War 3.  (Gotta cover those machines with lots of colorful blinking lights in order to advance the plot.) But then there were the parts where his parents had to say "no, that's actually what computers and phones looked like."

I made lamb shanks in the crock-pot yesterday.  Today I generously packed the small portion of delicious leftovers in Ric's lunch.  Now am I wishing I'd been willing to stand in line at the deli yesterday so that I could have packed Ric a turkey sandwich and kept that lamb for myself...

That's what else I'm going to do during the blizzard.
And read.
Paint and bake and read.
Plus I have the movie "The Way Way Back" checked out of the library, so maybe I'll do that too.
This blizzard better last three days.

My next series of painted postcards was inspired by a pair of socks.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ocean and Twig

The people who named these paints might have been a little bit color blind, because this is not at all what I think of when I hear the word "Twig."
It's more mustard, or ochre.  Regardless, I like the way it complements Ocean.

This series may or may not be done.
I always get stuck between thinking "this is only a postcard,  don't over think it, create it quickly and let it go" vs. "imagine how much more you could do if you'd just spend some time thoughtfully developing your pieces."


Max looked at all twelve of the Job Lot series, and declared these his favorites, saying "I'm a sucker for orange and blue." 

This amuses me greatly because
1. He certainly is his mother's son
 2. Even when I think I'm straying from my usual palette, I always come back to this.
(and ocean and twig by any other name?)

Coming soon - a return to eye popping color.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Ocean and Birch

More fun with the "job lot" paints, today using the colors Ocean and Birch.

In addition to painting straight on the water color paper, I painted sheets of newspaper to use as collage elements, blending and overlapping the colors at times to create new shades.  I also started digging through baskets of fabric and specialty paper looking for things in a similar palette.
(added bonus of finding all kinds of cool things I forgot I had...)

One more series tomorrow - this time featuring "twig."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ocean and mushroom

I have these funny tubes of paint that I found for a ridiculously low price at the local job lot.  They are named like sweaters in the J. Crew catalog.
Nevertheless, I am drawn to the colors and have done a series of work using Ocean, Mushroom, Birch and Twig.

For today's viewing pleasure, I bring you Ocean and Mushroom.
(all on 4"x6" watercolor paper)

This is one of those pieces that went from bad to worse, to "I'm throwing this away", to "okay I can live with it but it's kind of a mess."
This was intended to be the start of a background, but the more I look at it, the more I like it just the way it is and the way it evokes the shore.  Just don't call that a mushrooom cloud in the sky.

Tune in tomorrow for Ocean and Birch....

Friday, January 16, 2015

Creativity begets creativity

As January rolled in, I promised myself to try and do one creative thing a day, no matter how small.  One day all I managed to do was glue a funny caption onto a photograph, but it still counted as progress in the collaborative art journal I was dragging my feet on.

With this goal in mind, I enrolled in Randel Plowman's 30-Day Creativity Workshop.  I knew I might need a little extrinsic motivation to gain some traction.  And of course it's working.  This first week of class involved a simple paper quilt exercise:

I'd pulled out several dozen magazine pages and cut the quilt shapes from the whole stack, not really knowing which pieces would catch my attention.  With the project completed, I had a huge pile of magazine scraps leftover.
I found myself feverishly gluing them into pleasing formations in a sketch book.


 They are quick and loose and don't mean anything, but I am flexing a neglected muscle and it feels good.

Life is busy and full right now, and coupled with the dark cold weather I am mostly inclined to lay on the couch under a fuzzy blanket.  Pushing myself to do that one small thing a day has re-ignited my interest, and motivated me to spend longer weekend hours in my art room.

And so collages are being made, postcards are being painted, new and old things are being mailed, and there is a growing body of evidence that momentum is building.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's next?

Some of you may remember that waaaayyy back in April of 2012, Seth Apter put out a call for 5"x5" works of art that answered one of three questions, and I submitted this piece, answering the question "If your artwork could talk what would it say?"

It was a non-juried, no-risk submission.  All entries were posted on Seth's blog in the following months, and it was a fun community building project.
End of story.

Except, later that year, I learned that my piece was selected for publication in Somerset Studio magazine's November/December issue, as part of an article about Seth's project.  It was exciting to be sure.  More than I ever expected from my original participation.
Happy surprise ending. forward two years, and I get an email from Seth, to all the 5x5 participants, announcing that an art gallery in Connecticut would be exhibiting all the 5x5 pieces in December.  How cool is that?  
I had fully intended to go to the opening of the exhibit on December 5th, since the gallery is only an hour away, but I was sick as a dog that whole weekend.
Still, it was cool knowing it was hanging there.
All the pieces in the exhibit were for sale, (you can see them all here) and right before Christmas I got another email from Seth, saying my piece had sold. 

and to think I almost didn't submit anything for this project...

I don't know who bought my piece, but I'm sending out a heartfelt thank you, and hope it brings you happiness.  Another heartfelt thanks to Seth for organizing this project, and then carrying it forward in so many wonderful ways.

Moral of the story: Show up, make stuff, share stuff, take chances.  You never know where it will take you.
Now, what will I do next.....?

Saturday, January 3, 2015


It's snowing in that perfect way - just enough to transform the landscape, but not enough to inconvenience us.

The Christmas tree will need to finally come down tomorrow, but tonight I will bask in its glow one more time.

Soup is simmering on the stove.

I'm sipping a delicious chocolate porter.

I've spent all day thoroughly engrossed in David Mitchell's "The Bone Clocks" and I probably won't move from the couch until it's done.

It really doesn't take much to make me happy.

What are you doing on this first Saturday night of 2015?
I hope yours is as lovely as mine.