Monday, May 20, 2013

old dogs..... new tricks

i started my 55th circle around the sun in april. i am so happy to be where i am now- i have a great life, i am having a great time exploring my creativity and learning, i have wonderful friends and husband & family, a job that i like more often than not and that affords me fun things. I believe that people come into your life for a reason- when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
and lord knows, we should NEVER get too comfortable! so on the last day of birthday month (literally- it was may 1, bday is april 2) my dear friends lynn & lisa threw me a party. lynn gave me a beautiful piece of art loaded with meaning
and lisa made me a book. from a 1950s American kennel club book that she & lynn saw at the library sale. ( i got the insides too). you can't see in this photo, but there are dragonflies on the long beads on the spine. there is a lovely drawing of molly and an inscription on the "title" page.
pressure! i can't let this gift sit empty, but i can't draw (ok- I am more comfortable with my camera. I don't draw). we're pretty sure that one of the reasons that lisa is in my life is to get me out of my comfort zone.

backgrounds are easy.....

and for some reason, as I was sitting in dfw drinking a glass of wine headed home I thought " I have this moleskin sketchpad that I've been hauling around in my purse for a year and a sharpie, what's the worst that could happen?"
here's the worst that could happen:
ok, I survived that, and even showed it to a few people.
I always overhear things in airports or bars when I travel that I find interesting, or talk to people and learn things. so why not combine?

it's a chronicle that I plan to continue with- and since I am a traveling fool for a while there will be plenty of new entries. maybe the drawing will improve :) but it's a start at getting comfortable.

at the class on saturday we were given the option of drawing a tarot card for inspiration. I drew an armadillo from the animal deck. which seemed odd until the reading, which was about setting boundaries and protecting oneself. the advice was to draw a circle and write within it everything that you want in your life, that can come in at any time. outside that circle things have to ask permission to be admitted.
after I organized the studio yesterday I started this journal page-
and here's where it is now-

and you know what? I feel strong and protected and like I have a choice. maybe there's something to this art journaling after all...... 

have a great week-

Sunday, May 19, 2013

encaustic class

on saturday, lisa, lynn and I took an encaustic class from karen bubb, who I first met in her role as public arts manager for the city of boise. she is also an accomplished artist and we were all looking forward to learning something new.
i have taken 2 encaustic classes previously and was intimidated by the sheer amount of stuff needed to use the media correctly and the necessity to have the wax at a specific temperature, have great ventilation, etc. I had seen some of karen's paintings of a recent trip to cuba on facebook and like the way she uses the media. lisa had expressed an interest in taking the class too so I decided to give it another shot.
encaustic is a very gear heavy medium. serious encaustic artists use metal palettes like the one below. there is a heater underneath with a temp control. (not an inexpensive set up). brushes have to be natural, not plastic. that's melted medium (beeswax and damar resin) in the tub.

this is encaustic paint- pigment and medium. to use, you melt a bit on the palette and add some medium and start painting.

oilbar can be used to paint over the wax, and wiped on to bring out detail that has been drawn into the wax.

we started working on paper- this is lisa working on a swan image-

lynn doing a transfer, working on wood-
lisa rubbing in oilbar to highlight a drawing that she did into the wax-
the class was great- there were 5 of us there and everyone had fun playing. karen gave us a good run down on the basics of the medium, did some demos and then let us play. a perfect set up for me.
here are 3 of my pieces in my studio. i don't take workshops expecting to emerge with finished art- it's more about learning and jumpstarting my creativity. i was pleased to end up with 3 pieces that aren't awful. 

the first 2 encaustic workshops i took got me thinking about ways to work some of what i tried into my mixed media art. this time i am actually thinking about ways to use encaustic in my art. i have been interested in using clear medium and my photography for a while, this may get me moving past thinking about it to actually doing it.
i managed to spend friday evening in the studio, completing one commission (yay!) and working on some other pieces, which I will post later. i organized things in the studio today & did some work in my journal (also another post). it was a very productive art weekend- good thing too, as i am off to Chicago next week tues- thurs!
have a great week!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

springtime in idaho

I did get a little studio time in this weekend- I have 2 commissions to get done and that has succeeded in getting my butt in gear. finally. more on that in another post.
In the meantime, we have full on spring going- arrowleaf balsamroot blooming-
the foothills are green (this one's for you dad- it IS green in Idaho for about a month :))

these lupine bloom in a particular spot every year around mother's day. most wild lupine are blue or purple, but this bunch is a beautiful range of pastel colors from cream to yellow to pink and lavender-

this photo give you an idea of just how large the flower patch is-

and a shot showing the larger setting.

I have tried to get what I feel to be successful photos of this bloom for years, and this is the first time that I feel like I have succeeded in doing so, with good images of both the flowers close up and the larger area.
one of my favorite spring/summer sounds is the song of the meadowlark. it is ubiquitous in the foothills and on the camas prairie this time of year. I was lucky to catch this fellow mid note on this morning's photo safari-

after last week and quite a few blurry kestrel shots my goal was to get one decent image. this is a step in the right direction, tho a less than inspiring setting. i'll keep trying-

this guy started away from the road as cranes generally do as soon as we stopped the car. I got out on foot and angled down the road and he walked parallel to me long enough for me to get some pretty good shots. it seems that being on foot is less intimidating that a vehicle for these guys, a theory that I will continue to practice. as I find cranes infinitely cool and interesting I will be happy to practice-

these are my photo assistants on the lupine shoot- echo (on the left) had knee surgery in December. it is wonderful to have him out hiking with us again, even if he can't go quite as far as everyone else.
this is molly helping spot wildlife on today's photo safari-

that's it for now- good night all!

Monday, May 6, 2013

2 weeks already? yikes!

I have spent a small amount of time in the studio, really- some works in progress below-

more time spent in mother nature's studio, though-
a mountain bluebird

great blue heron-

yellow headed blackbird-

morning mist on the marsh-

sandhill crane-

swainson's hawk (?)

cinnamon teal


as I look through these photos I wonder why I feel like I haven't been making art. but it is hard for me to see my photography as anything other than informing art to come. it's hard to print a photo and have it nicely framed and charge what one should for it. it's easy to think that anyone can capture that image.
anyone who is in the same place at the same time and who sees things the same way. a good photographer makes it seem effortless, which is even more deceptive. not that i'm putting myself in the category of the greats, but I do sometimes wonder at the disconnect between public perception of the value of photography & what seems right to me.
I wonder about the thousands of images that I have, and about the few that are actually technically decent and what I will ever do with them other than use them as references or image transfers or collage pieces. I enjoy sharing what I see on facebook and on this blog but sometimes wonder if that's making it too easy.
I am usually much more of the "you get back what you give" mentality- the above sounds pretty negative for me, but I think that what i'm trying to figure out is the value of art. I love the idea of giving art away, of found art and street art and I love to share the places that I am lucky enough to be able to see but I don't know how to reconcile that with the work's real value-whatever that may be.
too many questions for a monday night..... but if you have answers i'd love to hear them :)
lots of travel this month- ft worth this week, then phoenix, chicago & portland-will try to draw (yikes!))and post photos and chew on this some more.