Thursday, March 29, 2012


fall was always my favorite time of year until i lived in seattle. then i really learned to appreciate the colors of the rhododendrons and azaleas brightening up the gray gray world. boise tends to gray springs too- (tho not like seattle!) and the flowers are always a welcome sight here too. and other things are really springing for me right now too-

i have been working on art related, though not actual art, stuff. getting ready to teach my first workshop- a prospect i am more excited than nervous about (at least right now), which is a great thing to find out! i got my outline finished (yell if you see anything i missed :))-

Monday, April 9-
Substrates, bases, creating textured, layered backgrounds

·         Surfaces:

o   4 6x6 canvasses;

o   4 8x10 baltic birch panels

·         Surface Prep-

o   Gesso

o   Acrylic Paint

o   Acrylic Mediums

·         To create texture:

o   Tissue

o   Drywall Tape

·         To create interesting layered backgrounds:

o   Paper scraps- maps, sheet music, book pages

o   Stencils

o   Things that make marks- chopsticks, toothpicks, gears, bubble wrap

·         Paint techniques to add interest:

o   Alcohol drops

o   Saran Wrap

o   Sponging on/off

o   Color washes

Monday, April 16-

Building your art

·         Basics- PLAY!  you can always paint over it, nothing is wrong- except maybe putting acrylic paint over oil paint

·         Using your photos

o   Image transfer techniques-

§   transparency/inkjet/soft gel medium

§  Laserjet/ copier/ gel medium

o   Incorporating Laserjet photos

·         Stamps

·         Tying it together- washes, glazes, spattering, repeating shapes/ images

·         The wonders of:

o   Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold

o   Iridescent Bronze

o   Clear gesso

o   The hardware store

 Monday, April 23-
Finishing up

·         Questions? Problems? Eureka moments?

·         Finishing touches

o   Varnish?

o   Gel Medium?

o   Nada?

·         Crackers. Maybe, if you’re good.
went to the workshop location on my lunch hour to see what she had (lots of mediums, which is great) and got my order placed for supplies today. we have 4 of 6 spots filled, so i am starting to feel better about it. and a couple maybes on the facebook event with a little over a week to go. it'll be ok.

we've been doing the membership drive for open studios, and i am the clearing house for applications, so i am collecting those. we have some respected artists applying this year, which is great. including the guy who inspired me to start painting because his paintings of the foothills look just exactly how i feel when i'm in them, carl rowe. it will be fun to watch the jury process this year.
we are also planning gypsy gallery for april 5 (first thursday), we have 25 artists this time- the biggest ever- quite exciting! this is largely an auto pilot project for me anymore, one of the other artists finds the space & i collect the money & answer questions. the last few shows have filled up pretty quick, which is great.
looking back on all of that, i realize that i am doing a lot more art- wise than i thought. it just doesn't feel that way due to lack of studio time! tho there has been a bit of that too. still waiting for next steps on the traffic box project for the city, and waiting to hear on the pieces i submitted for boise visual chronicle, one of the city's art collections.
i have a new website at which is on wordpress and easy for me to maintain myself (thanks to my great designer cheryl flinn). there's another blog there, which will be my public face, leaving this for more random and personal thoughts (you're all used to that!).
going to see john nemeth & elvin bishop tomorrow night, to fairfield to try to catch some cranes on saturday, back for dinner saturday night and sunday is hanging day (making me realize that i better get some hardware on the backs of some art!)  so i may be a bit scarce, but i'll be back!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

camera fun, music & studio time

i am officially in love with the sony. it will never replace the d300 for those i can take a tripod and lenses in the car and set up long shot situations, but for hiking or walking around town? it's the bomb!

our hike saturday morning-

i bought the 19-200 lens and, as you can see, get a nice wide angle from the low end-

playing with shutter/aperture priority. the touch screen takes some getting used to. love it, but it's very sensitive so i have to be careful. i am tickled with the detail in the darker areas of the shots.

this in toy camera mode (bc i love playing with it on my phone, so why not?)

and again-

and after a 5.5 mile hike no sore neck from hauling the big camera. yay!

we had a homegrown music festival in town this weekend- treefort was set up to catch some of the pacific northwest bands on their way back from south by southwest. we decided on thursday (opening night) that we should probably partake. and a good call it was too!

snake rattle rattle snake

another hike sunday morning

and we had plans to close out the festival, but both started feeling funky...... i am recovered, husband still down for the count (tho he went to work yesterday and i slept all day)

so i got back into the studio tonight- just nancy & me- which felt really great. funny how a bit of time away can be so rejuvenating. and even though i wasn't inspired i still made progress, which is how it goes sometimes.

hope to have more along the inspiration lines to share soon :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

a little bit of everything

first, better shots of pelican & raven-

pelican is sold and on her way to florida!

this week kind of flew by without me really knowing why- no studio time since tuesday, just busy with stuff, i guess. nice long hike this morning. took the new camera to check it out some more, and i continue to really like it.

we're having our very own music festival, treefort, here in boise. thursday through sunday, including lots of bands on their way back to the pacific nw from south by southwest. if you read this blog you know how i love music. husband and i decided to grab some passes on thursday evening, and we've been enjoying ever since.

hope to get into the studio some tomorrow. and hear some more music. maybe a smidge of yardwork, laundry & house cleaning- ha! i know what falls to the bottom of THAT to do list :) happy sunday all-

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

the raven and the pelican

i love tuesdays, i love the studio that my husband & his sons built for me, and i love my friends. i am so lucky.

tonight we had jaki, who brought a bottle of champagne to celebrate the traffic box- she was the first to offer me congrats on getting it too. she applied and was not accepted (and is a million times more accomplished as an artist than i am); nancy & sue. lovely group, lively conversation.

raven was finished as we chatted- needs a better photo, but i'm happy with him. symbolizing magic, endings and beginnings, the power of thought and the active search for information.

and pelican- whose symbolism includes a suggestion to perch yourself in an advantageous position, and observe the resources that come your way. also, take time to forge healthy relationships with people in your community with a goal to establish co-operative benefits for the group.

both very appropriate these days. i was sick to my stomach thinking about the gallery meeting last night. inadvertently i seem to have alienated quite a few board members & fellow artists. and we were, yet again, going to have a discussion about going to linear inches vs. square inches at the airport gallery. and that means that those of us who work smaller end up with a lot less real estate than those who don't. though i wanted to not deal with it i knew that if i didn't speak up i'd regret it.

so i hid in the corner, and i thought about the nicest way to bring up my concerns, even though i was pretty sure that there were plenty of people there who wouldn't hear me. when i started to speak, i saw the couple in front of me shaking their heads. and it was explained to me why the proposal was, indeed, equitable. then the new airport manager suggested a brilliant compromise- x amount of square inches or x linear inches, whichever the artist chooses, so that those who work big are accommodated and those who work small are too.

as i was hiding, jaki told everyone that i had been awarded a traffic box and led a toast to me. and jerry, president of open studios, thanked me for the altoids tin show and other work i've done for bosco. and several members came around to talk and i remembered what fellowship feels like and the good things about community and i was once again so grateful for the people and experiences that art has brought into my life.

a cooperative gallery is a funny thing- trying to get 40 plus artists to agree on anything is like herding cats. most of us are, by nature, not terribly social or interested in group things. we have different ideas about rules and how to make it work. there are bound to be issues and personality conflicts. it's amazing that the place works as well as it does, and it's a good learning experience, quite different from any corporate environment i've been in.

happy wednesday!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

wasted most of the day in the studio :)

and progress was made.....

i've had this background & the raven image for a few months, but was having a mental block about pulling out the alkyds. weird, bc i did several successfully a few months ago, but sometimes you just wait to be ready. and finally i am.

i gessoed in the image (after tracing it on the background) so i could see more easily where to paint.

here's where it sits now- pretty good progress for the day-

in the image below you can see the wet oil paint (alkyd is a fast drying oil paint, dries overnight rather than in a week, making it much more suited to my temperament). i love the blendablility this affords, and have a hard time painting in acrylic because that's how i am used to working. she's getting a rest now, will revisit tuesday.

i've been trying to figure out where to go with this and then pelican came to me. the color needed something light, and i have great shots from our florida trip. plus i just love them.

here's the symbolism:

The pelican represents teamwork, group dynamics, regeneration, and resourcefulness. Pelicans have been driven to near extinction in many areas due to the pollution of mankind, but have managed to bounce back. They speak of resilience and determination.

Pelicans are very social creatures who will hunt in groups in the spirit of cooperation, banding together to push schools of fish towards the shallows where they can then scoop them up. They nest communally and both males and females take turns sitting on the eggs. Pelican speaks of the group dynamic, shared responsibilities, and making the most of what we have been given.

as i am not a very social creature but am in a situation where paying closer attention to group dynamics would be smart. i'm sure that pelican came to me for a reason :)

here's the initial sketch, filled in with gesso-

and as far as i got today. this is acrylic paint, and you can see the difference in the look of the image- less blending, more distinct individual lines. a more skilled painter than i could make this look more like oil if that was the desired outcome. i'm pretty happy with it so far. (12x12)

this is an 8x8 piece i was struggling with. that big space to the left. even though there are intriguing hyroglyphics back there.

happier now. will probably add stripes somewhere to complete the flag/america/land of the free/home of the brave imagery. this one i really wanted to see on the blog to get enough of a remove to see it differently. it has been singing the national anthem to me, though- probably because of the eagle.

lastly, lake shore. barb! the trees are still there! better photo (and process) to come.

it was a cold and rainy day, well spent in the studio. happy with the progress.

gallery meeting tomorrow night, so no studio, i am going to practice keeping my mouth shut and going along to get along, because at the end of the day it doesn't matter much anyway. wish me luck:)

see you after studio night tuesday- and btw, if you haven't read this article on creativity it's quite interesting- glad to find i use a few of the techniques quite handily ( like drinking and learning/trying new things)..... have a great week-

Thursday, March 15, 2012

i got one!

i was awarded a traffic box! (for more info, check out my post here). there were 108 applicants for 24 spots (19 boxes commissioned, 5 "when we have more money you're next on the list")

one thing that makes this really special to me is that i was traveling and found out i was accepted because 2 of my artist friends (who also applied and weren't on the short list) contacted me to say congrats. that's the person i want to be. the generosity that i want to show.

i walk with my neighbor in the mornings and she has mentioned my attitude of abundance. i think of it as the more the merrier- the more of us that are out there having a good time, the better. and if i can share an idea, technique, insight to spur someone else on, so much the better. many people have done that for me over the years. i truly believe that we are stronger together. my friends' calls reinforce that thinking.

that doesn't mean that i don't think "really, they chose her and not me?" or "that sells and mine doesn't? wtf?". it's a natural reaction. but at the end of the day there's plenty of room for all of us. and someone buying original art is good- no matter whose art it is. we can be disappointed for ourselves and happy for our friends. i will certainly be the one making those congratulations calls (or texts) at some point.

this is the piece that the judges liked best. my box is on the corner of 10th & Idaho, right downtown, and there's public art on the back of the idanha hotel (where some say roger miller wrote "king of the road") that's a ceramic collage. the judges thought that this type of work would complement that piece. i'm glad to have that bit of info.

looking forward to next steps- timeline, pattern, etc. you may have noticed that i love a good challenge, something that pushes me out there. between this & the upcoming class i think i've got plenty to keep me occupied for the next month or so! :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

and we're off!

poor sweet halle broke her toe this weekend. not sure how, she came back limping after i let her out. you can see the swollen toe on the paw on the left.

 so now she has a splint for 6-8 weeks and needs to stay quiet. this could be challenging. we have drugs. should be fine as long as we can keep her off of it.

in better news, the weekend did yield some ideas to get me moving in the studio again. here's a 6x6 background that i was playing with for a while. i tried doing a print directly on it with no luck.

then- aha! print on tissue, place tissue on background. below is the print- made with acrylic paint-

and the print applied to the background- pretty happy with it, might go for more background showing through in the future....

and another- this looks better live because the copper leaf doesn't scan very well-

i also got some more layers put on the bigger pieces (don't worry barb, the trees are still there) and am closer to having my 44 new inches for the april hanging. whew!

no studio night tomorrow, as i head to ft worth early wednesday. i'll post when i can- have a great week!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

print making made easy

patty, pam, nancy and i (and 3 dogs) headed for the hills this weekend. planning to play in the snow, eat, laugh, drink & create. the weather saturday was beautiful and we had a nice hike.

nancy and i planned to use the weekend to make our prints for the leftovers print exchange hosted by amy nack of wingtip press. i had a really hard time coming up with anything presentable last year, so of course i decided to participate again :)

i saw way to make prints using take out styro containers on pinterest & sent it to nancy and we decided to give it a try. nancy is on the lefy. patty, in the middle, was working out how to knit a blanket with yarn from her grandmother. pam, on the right, brought materials to work on her assemblage pieces.

the process is as follows: after cutting out the lid of the container, you draw your image into the styrofoam. we found a pen to be easiest to use.

spread ink on a plexi sheet and fill the brayer evenly

ink up the plate- you can see here that i lost some detail because the pen stroke wasn't as heavy & didn't go as deep in some places. this was by design on the bulb, as i didn't like how busy it looked when all filled in, not to mention this gives more of a feeling of contour.

next, lay the paper face down on the plate & burnish (i just rubbed with my hand) and- voila! the finished print-

it amazes me that things look so much more artistic after being printed like this. i had so much fun that i made over 20 prints instead of the 15 required for the exchange. which is OK because some will make it into my mixed media.

here's nancy's work-

she took a different approach and is going to make all of hers the same. a bit of trial & error revealed that the best plan was to cut the cat out of the background print, then lay in the gold base color, then print the cat on top of that. cool huh?

here's some of pam's output. she started raiding the wood scrap box on the porch about halfway through the evening and found some very satisfactory base pieces for the pears & the partial piece at the top.

great weekend! lots of fun, laughs & creativity. can't wait to see what leftovers show up in my mailbox in a few weeks!

happy spring all!