Thursday, January 31, 2008

more snow art

beautiful snow on michigan avenue tuesday evening. it was great until i turned the corner into 50 mph headwinds back to the hotel! but the snow and the lights were really pretty, and a nice break from my computer. still chewing on a snow series & how to do it- maybe mixed media with layers..... pieces of things visible, but soft smooth edges and muted colors. off to do more left brained stuff, but art this weekend! maybe even this evening, if i'm sitting in ohare for hours (if, ha! probably when....)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

chicago art monday

one point in writing this blog was to become more mindful and intentional about my art. instead of waiting to be inspired, to see art in many things every day.

i carry the little camera with me all of the time, but usually end up with pictures of store sets if anything. i now see more potential. these aren't great pics, but they could inform good art. the second one is the cab ride into the city. i can see that playing with camera settings could yield interesting results.

added benefit- sent hubby hotel room pics, so he can at least share part of the trip with me.

off to do numbers- and look for more art opps!

Monday, January 28, 2008


it snowed 2 inches last night and i braved the roads to run with echo this am. what a treat! quiet, beautiful snow brightening the dark morning and it was so soft to run on. got me thinking about how to paint that feeling. and i don't know that it's possible- except to convey a sense of peacefulness and beauty.

i read about someone who took an abstract class where they painted to music. the other time i most often think "i wish i could convey this feeling in a painting" is when i am at a concert. it would be a fun exercise to paint to music & see what comes up. would bob dylan turn out enigmatic, weathered, fluid? tom petty energetic, layered, happy (because his music always puts me in a good mood)?

another thing that was cool this morning was that i could see everyone who had been out before me since it snowed. it's easy to forget about "traffic" when it is so quiet, but there were plenty of running shoe prints and doggy paws in the snow. cats & squirrels too. one of the intriguing things for me about mixed media/collage is building the layers. even if the base doesn't clearly show through, it still has an effect on the finished piece. even if it's just me that knows how it started, the beginning still shapes and informs the end. sometimes like a secret that only i know.

so those are things i'll start working on when i get home. and continue to think about on my travels. like how the weather in chicago informs the rest of my trip- giving me time to sit in the airport ( 3 more hours!) and contemplate. and do some work, too, of course!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Art Play Day

great play day yesterday! nice walk with the pups in the snow up 8th street- beautiful white, naples and gray on the ground & blue & white skies. then home to play with transfers and photoshop.

this is my first inkjet transperancy transfer. i think i need ruby slippers on the cinderblock. it's not done, but i'm having fun playing with it. could end up part of a bigger collage at some point.

as for photoshop.....i have a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig learning curve ahead for layers- need to find a good tutorial. i did have some altered photo fun with the tractor to the left, tho.

will finish a few things up today, then off to chicago for 4 days. will have to be creative to do any art while i'm gone, but i'm going to give it a shot. haven't been succesful drawing in the past- hopefully photos & blogging will work.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

art abstractions

looking forward to having an art day. after dog running, walking, bathing & clipping, of course! oh, and a little of the day job thrown in. lots to do before going to chicago for 4 days next week. it will be a good test of blogging resolve to see if i can follow up with my pledge to myself to continue to post daily. taking the little camera. we'll see what kinds of fun things come up.

here is the abstract i've been working on. this is my first ever and i'm having fun with it. i love the movement and the texture. seem to be big into texture lately. this is acrylic on aquaboard, 8x10. i am enjoying playing with different techniques in Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reynor. i see that i am gravitating toward my ever popular ochre/blue (or variation thereof) pallette. this has been a good process in that i am playing, letting the paint flow and run over the surface then stepping back & looking for a bit to see composition, color, etc. hearing Kathy tell me to keep the viewer in the painting and to push the darks.

i don't want to overwork, so it will probably be set aside to ruminate on for a while. this is always the hardest- the is it done? phase. one of the things i miss most about class.

i need to get over thinking that everything i do has to be perfect. that is one good side effect of all of the books i'm reading right now on acrylic & mixed media (see yesterday's post for the others). they all emphasize the play and experimental aspect of art. i like to make pieces that i am proud of, but it's also important not to be afraid to fail once in a while because how else do we learn?

Friday, January 25, 2008

friday- yay!

yay! friday! got 3 books from amazon yesterday- Digital Art Studio, Collage Unleashed and the Complete Guide to Altered Imagery. I can't wait to play this weekend! there are all kinds of fun ideas in the books. i have boxes of photos, old photo albums, hundreds if not thousands on the computer- many of which are less than stellar. we had fun going through the shoebox to load the digital pic frame we gave my folks for Christmas. now i can go back through with an eye to...... who knows what! all kinds of possibilities. then there's starting the painting of halle joyfully running at left. ears flapping, mouth open, bounding along. good to remember to appreciate the joy of simple things- sheer physical exercise (yes echo, we will run again, but probably not in the snow today), the beauty of a flower, a laugh with a friend. and the snow last night- it was absolutely beautiful falling making everything quiet making us feel like kids and the dogs race around like lunatics.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


i think i am going to have to do a piece with numbers, numbers, numbers. excel spreadsheets turning into little boxes of product turning into trucks to stores to start all over again...... been dreaming about numbers, not pictures that last few nights. intensity at the day job. hard to fit everything in! too cold (and icy) to run early, so the pups don't get as much either b/c somehow even if i start work at 6 i still feel bad getting that time back in the middle of the day. i did tell c to call me & make me take a break. took the pups to the tennis court yesterday- they had big fun romping and chewing on each other and it was a good head clearer for me. this too will pass, it will somehow or other inform my art, and the day job makes many other things possible , which i appreciate very much. so off to it-

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


they're done, i think- and i like them- hard to see the texture, but i like that, and the distressed slightly worn look. at the end of the day, to keep something pristine you really can't use it. you have to keep it packed up and put away. anything well loved and well used is bound to get a bit worn. especially if it's mine! then there's the egg...... which isn't cracked, but has dna/rna symbols running over it, and the question "the chicken or the egg?". damage isn't always visible and what looks pretty and clean on the outside isn't always the best all the way through.


yay! we had sun yesterday! that improves everything. just put finishing touches on the first mixed media pieces i posted- will photo when dry & add them in. also a bit more work on the free form swirly one from 2 days ago. my mind is still working on the digital collages- i'm starting to get parts of images and ideas, we'll see where it goes. something about the current political environment and the war is making me think about a bald eagle and a flag in some way. just when i think that i just want to make pretty happy art i feel a statement coming on..... isn't that the way it goes?
anyway- short one today, deep into replanning...... but i will start early so that i can take dog walk breaks when the sun is out, which is best for everyone's health- mental & physical. funny how taking a break from something can actually speed up the process- something about getting unstuck or seeing with a new perspective.
great day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

digital art

not much art done yesterday. too cold to get out in the a.m. (and snow on the roads- not optimal jog with echo weather). sort of contemplated things in various states of done. spent the evening digging around the internet for digital collage techniques. didn't find much in the way of how tos, but some great artwork.

the city is having another call to artists for digital pieces and it would be fun to try something different this time. plus it seems like something i could do while i'm traveling which would be nice. raining violets is the piece the city purchased last fall. i love looking at these because they remind me that we will have spring and flowers again! i haven't done any scans since i did the Christmas cards. The deadline for entry is March 3, so unless I plan to scan snow. it's plan b.

there are some good seed pods in the garden and maybe i could digitally do something like the mixed media pieces i did a few years ago with pics of pods and seeds and layers of glazes. it will be experimental, but a good learning experience- and who knows.

so many of the digital works are like dreams. i don't know if i have enough imagination to design and create something totally from my head. how to narrow down the huge number of images? i could always go back to the old standard barns in the field or seed pods that keep cropping up. or make it a game by taking the olympus and making something with pictures from my trip. this will be a good photoshop learner as well as good practice on composition and color. i will finally learn how to do layers! and use the bamboo pen! and with the book coming on creative ways to use the printer to make art it could be yet another brave new world.

the day job beckons. replanning the plan we planned 6 months ago. art is a good balance for the analytical drudgery i am about to drown in. i normally really like the day job, but this part isn't so much fun. oh well! we'll let the idea for some digital work stew away in the back of my brain, take dog walking breaks. it is again snowy and cold, and i'm not so comfortable running by myself on that sort of surface, so the bunnyman (remember echo and the bunnymen?) will have to wait for his jog. and the swisster and i can walk to the post office and have a copy made to transfer onto the silver plate i put on the canvas the other night.... off to the races!

Monday, January 21, 2008

mixing mediums

looking at the very different art i have posted in just 3 days got me thinking about why. looking at my studio it is clear that there are a lot of things going on. i have turpenoid & liquin for oil painting, and a canvas started on the easel; acrylic paint and various acrylic mediums and an acrylic abstract on the table; canvases and more canvases- from 2x2 squares to a huge one in the background for my (in the planning stages for several months now) cow painting. there's tissue paper and bubble wrap and glue to play with; the computer and camera equipment. the good news is that it all gets used at one time or another.

it all feeds each other. photography strengthens my eye, what i like about the mixed media is the freedom to play and the texture. (also that acrylic is fast- it dries fast, and things can be done quickly so if I don't have a lot of time, i can add a layer of glaze or slap down some medium & come back later) be interesting to see if that translates to looser, more playful oils with more texture.

i have read and heard that to be successful an artist needs to focus on one medium and master it. i am all for being proficient- even mastering- but i don't think i could paint still lifes for years to learn to capture every nuance of the fruit, flowers, fabric, flatware (nicely alliterative, no?) and paint. i am more interested in exploring and sharing what i discover. i will probably never be a successful artist in the traditional sense anyway. so much of what i do is about the joy of creation, and the joy when someone connects with what i've done.

i know other artists (jany, miriam) who cross media and styles with great success. what fascinates me is that looking at a body of work by any of us it is clear that the same person did the oils, mixed media, acrylic, etc. the basic sensibility of the artist comes through.

starting this blog has me down the road of using yet another media to communicate.
off into the snowy morning with the puppies! Happy Martin Luther King Day. here's to tolerance and embracing our differences.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


sunday evening. had a great art day yesterday, between dog park & 8th street dog adventures. worked on the mixed media boxes i posted friday, finished the petroglyphs (above) and started another free form acrylic with watered down paint. just a good knock around and play day. happy with the petroglyphs- they were fun to do, have great texture & interesting color. i also like the oil over the shiny acrylic. not sure how to frame or hang them. might be fun to do bigger.

started a dog painting today- sonny the chihuahua. will be similar to daisy. will probably start another blue halle too. be good to get back to work on these as well. need to finish to enter a juried show in April. it's been great to have the time to work on all of this. travel starts gearing up soon, so i need to do it while i can......
beautiful snow on the ground this am. getting the camera out is still on the list.....the days need to start getting longer!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

art inform"ation"

sometimes i am so bursting with ideas that i have 5 things going and more in mind and sometimes i look at my toys (camera, computer, canvas, oilbar, alkyd, now acrylic & various media) and wonder what i'm going to do with them. it's always best when i remember to play. lately, things have been coming while i'm running with echo, or working my day job or sleeping (i love it when i wake up knowing how to fix a problem or with an idea for a piece). it's like starting to play with mixed media (thanks miriam) unblocked things that stopped with kathy's death. it was awfully hard to paint for a while after that.

i am curious to see what my landscapes will look like now. i haven't painted one for nearly a year. i talked with a woman at the december show who asked when i would be painting them again, because she has a small one that she really likes. yellowstone was certainly inspiring, but what i really got into was the color of the hot springs & paint pots against the monochrome of the snow. small, abstract landscapes.

what i like about photography (even in the old darkroom days, which i only dabbled in) is presenting a new way of seeing something that people look at all of the time. or bringing something forward that might not be noticed otherwise. it reminds me to look and to try to really see. doing photo transfers and mixed media with my photos takes that a step further. in one sense, it's a remove from the original, but in another sense it's getting closer because i am trying to get to what i see as the essence of the image. there are some images i use over and over. it would be rather amusing to see what sort of analysis is done on THAT when i am a famous dead artist!

off into the frosty morning with the pups, and back to play some more. i might even head to the river with the d300 to see what kind of fun i can have with my new camera.

Friday, January 18, 2008

First Blog

well, here i go- entering the blog age. it's friday, 6:30 a.m. and I'm getting ready to take a nice cold walk with Echo, then another with Halle. cogitating how to finish the latest mixed media project, which is built around packaging materials and things that need protection. the more i think about these, the more they evolve. the egg and earth may be nearly done, the heart needs some work.

the acrylics i started that are begging for petroglyphs. as always, the drawing thing scares me- even if it's a very primitive image. i miss Kathy, my art teacher who died last summer. i hear her talking to me, and think about how much she would enjoy seeing all of the different things i'm trying now.

anyway- enough for now. i'll post the petroglyphs when i finish. time to walk the bou.