Sunday, January 31, 2016

movement and changes

on the road (or in the air, to be precise) again this week- off to lubbock-

 i find myself so grateful for my art journal practice- grateful to be making art and working on my skills while i'm so far away from my studio. here's the setup on the airplane-

the completed sketch

and the 2 page spread-

due to my travel schedule and lack of regular art income, i am redefining my art practice in other ways. i find myself unable to continue participating in the local open studios group. i've been a member of BOSCO for quite a while, and have served on the board for the past several years, but it no longer works for me. it's sad to move on, because i have really enjoyed being part of the group, but it's time. as i was feeling low about this, i got an email asking if i wanted to be profiled in a local arts blog- that necessary breath of fresh air, the universe letting me know it will be ok. i am excited to see what opportunities arise- i'm going to have to get creative about showing and selling art but that's ok, i've done it before.

managed to get out of town and into the snow this weekend. trying out my new lens- a 28-300 nikkor. i think it's going to be super versatile and a great general purpose travel lens.

miss molly- she can't go far, but she will go hard for as long as she can- so good to see her playing, if only briefly.

lastly, work on the totem series tonight. i thought this was done until my husband said something about angel deer in a beam of light from above. i think i may need to make the background look more like a tree. branches or something.

and another started this evening.

my goal is to complete 6 or more of these then find a place to show them. happy new year! what changes are you making?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

making my 2016 travel journal

so many fun trips coming up this year- i needed a new travel journal to take along with me. i love making these books. they begin with a regular manila folder, painted and collaged to give it strength, flexibility and character. i've included images for all of the vacations planned so far- the keys, death valley, paris & yellowstone, with the tetons thrown in for good luck- and pertinent words.

once i'm happy with the look and feel of the cover, it gets trimmed to size. this will be about 7.25'x6.25', which i've found to be a good size- small enough to bring along, big enough to draw in.

next, i generally sew the layers together- both for looks and texture and to keep things from separating, especially the edges that were cut. my sewing machine was acting up, so i opted to hand stitch the edges on this one. step one- hole punching with an awl.

i varied thread and stitching for fun. here's the inside cover. the button on the inside provide reinforcement for the closure on the outside- it will keep the thread from pulling through.

here you can see the first one of these i made, in 2014, on the left. it's nearly full- has been traveling with me for work for a year and has held up pretty well. 

these books have 5 signatures of 8 pages each. i tear the pages using a metal ruler for a nice deckle edge, 4 12x7 pages for each signature. i sprayed some of the pages with walnut ink, to have a few pages to help me overcome white page syndrome if needed.

next up is determining the type of binding to use & punching holes. this is a tacketed binding. i laid it out on the inside of the cover.

then remembered that it's a much better look to have the punch go from the outside in-

next up- punching holes in the signatures. they're typically a bit smaller than the cover, so a new template is created. this stand is a handy tool that my friend lisa made & gave me for christmas last year- love it, it makes this so much easier! this is one of the pages stained with walnut ink.

the completed binding. i like this and am curious to see how it holds up. should be good, and the book should lay nice & flat.

and last (but certainly not least!) the accessorizing- here's the finished product, front

and back

can't wait to put her to use!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

what happens in the studio

here's what happens when an artist applies to shows (or for anything juried). we pick what we believe to be our best work that fits the call to artists- and maybe we look to see who the juror is & tailor submitted work to that. we're careful to submit the right sized, correctly named files (sometimes after the first time we're rejected for not doing so). then we wait. 

and quite often the piece taken is not the one we thought (or wanted). or we're rejected entirely. or they take something that in our eyes was a total long shot. but we remind ourselves to be grateful that something was accepted.

of the 3 pieces i submitted to the march BOSCO flash show the one that got in was the 2013 piece (at top), not the new work. the new work that i made a point of making vs. the one i threw in bc we could enter 3. the new work that i was excited about. 

so i asked for feedback, which is always a better thing to do than wonder, and it boiled down to juror's preference. wanting an "edgier" piece. get that- every juror has a vision and the show has to hang together. i'm glad i asked, tho, bc this is a new medium for me and if they suck (aka aren't up to snuff) i want someone to be the brave soul to tell me.

next up- valentine for aids- this is a fundraiser held in boise every year where it's possible to score lots of great local art. i've been participating for the last 4-5 years- there's a waiting list- and am delighted to be a participating artist. i challenge myself to raise more $ every year. and pad that bet by making a bigger piece of art :)

i love the energy of the raven's outline in the top image. i sketched her out with black gesso after w few glasses of wine and love everything about her. only i knew i needed more definition- how to do that without losing the energy? and- how does this track with valentines day?

finished piece- i maybe didn't succeed entirely, but i like her- the heart was the tie in needed for v day- it took me a while to figure out how to make her track. although what i probably love best is her- yeah, OK expression-

similar thing here- love the shape and energy of the doe, but she needs more definition (ie-this is a boring painting without a focus). maybe it's just that all of the elements are equally strong-

and below- after a bit more work-(i admit- i'm longing a bit to go back to the ghost deer piece and glaze the background really dark. make her pop. too late.)

instead i gave her body. and i still love the lines. i can play with the ghost later- this one needed eyes and substance.

that's my random studio life last week- glad to have had studio time- back on the road next week-stay tuned for the view from the window seat-

Sunday, January 10, 2016

gearing up for 2016

wow- i have been home for 3 weeks in a row! one more and i'm off again, so i'm working on getting ahead of things. one need is a new travel journal. i make these myself out of manilla folders with layers of paint, gel medium & collage. this is the first one i made, january of 2014:

it accompanies me on business trips and contains a lot of hotel lamp drawings

and other things

there are a few more trips left in her, but given the fun planned for the first half of 2016 (Portland, the Keys, Death Valley, Paris and Yellowstone) i thought i had better make myself another. here's the cover drying- with a nod to most of the places i'll be going. 

once there are enough layers on this for it to be appropriately pliable and sturdy, i will cut it to size, decide what paper to use (most likely stonehenge as it's a good sturdy all purpose paper, but maybe include something different to mix it up; maybe stain some pages). i'll share the construction.

the other journal i travel with is an old swedish/english dictionary that a friend gave me. i love this and use it all of the time. it's easy to do a quick drawing on a quarter page (the book is about 7x5), the text makes an interesting background and helps with blank page syndrome. 

it's also a really great size- small enough to take along easily but not tiny. 

thought it would be fun to have a similar french/english dictionary for paris. and- i found one! the same dictionary, even- on etsy!!! yay!!! now i just need to weed down the marker collection......

another thing that had to be done is my donation for valentine for aids, a local fundraiser that benefits local citizens living with HIV/AIDS. had to have the piece done by january 27th, figured i may as well get it done. so here it is- "all you need", 16x12 mixed media on board. not your basic happy sappy valentine, but she works for me. my goal is always to make more money for them than i did the prior year, hoping someone wants to take her home.

and i started the process of translating this mule deer doe to a 20x16 board. 

this is where i see the journaling really paying off. in the past, i would have gridded things out to get proportion or limited the size so i could trace the figure, but i have enough confidence and ability to draw. same with the raven. so many more possibilities!

that's it for this week- i was able to spend some time in the studio, which is a great treat! one more week at home to play a bunch and then you'll probably start seeing from a window seat photos again.... which isn't so bad either- all of that travel last year is certainly contributing to a lot of fun this year-

Sunday, January 3, 2016

hello 2016

our molly, 6 years old, has osteosarcoma- as i understand it, she will leave us sooner rather than later. she is a funny, strong, sweet girl. if sheer will and guts could beat cancer she would. however, this is evidently an especially nasty one. and really painful. she had a tumor in her left hock that had broken the bone in 3 places- and she never let on that she hurt. we had her leg amputated on december 21- not to save her life, as the cancer will show up elsewhere- but because it seems to be the best way to give her a good goodbye- as in a few more relatively pain free and happy months. 

i've spent time with mol the past few weeks- nursing her through the amputation and just hanging with her. she's already adjusting to being a 3 legged dog quite well- we only wish it was a cure.

although molly's prognosis put a bit of a damper on the holidays, i did spend time with friends- 

live music, stand up bass & all on new years eve-

a beautiful snowy mountain sunrise and mimosas, poinsettias with pickled herring and black eyed peas for good luck on new years day-

and the journal record or the week's festivities

i came back wanting to create, and needing to complete submissions for a BOSCO small works show. not motivated to do the usual mixed media. i've had a press for a long time..... but the egret didn't quite work either- back to the drawing board.

i went thru my images from 2015 and found this shot- taken at DFW on the day that the United computers crashed, weather was causing problems and lots of us were stuck. she reminded me of the excitement and possibility of travel. of the fun of watching your bags come off the belt; wearing the sun hat and t shirt cuz it's vacation- even if it's 35 at home. possibilities. a good new years thought.

so i made the photo black & white & traced it on a piece of linoleum. gave the background endless possibilities- my original thought was that this would be mixed media printmaking, and that i'd add to the print. now i'm not so sure about that. this is the test print, and i made adjustments to the blocky black shapes in the hat. it's hard to figure out how to get gray/halftones on linocuts.

here she is after a little more work-and i'm happy with her

for this show we can enter up to 3 pieces, max size 8x8. she's 5x7. 

here's the other 5x7 piece i've been working on. i am actually pleased that i worked out the clouds, and how to get the lower left of the raven's wing out of the moon but still clear. the studio gang liked this one better than i do- i'll take that :)

i did this one a few years ago, but never did much with her- i like it tho- so did the gals- one of them said they could hear her- which works for me!

so- here are my 3 entries for the first show of the year. my challenge is to get good prints on my press tomorrow to have images to enter. i bought my press a few years ago and haven't used it, so this is hardly a given. wish me luck! 

i'm starting the new year knowing that i am likely saying goodbye to a treasured friend and faithful companion, hoping that i do right by her and let her go when she's ready; grateful for the friends i have, the laughter and tears we share; trying something new for me art-wise and curious to see what 2016 has in store- best to all of you-