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What Happened to March?

Yesterday was the 5th Weds. in a row that I have missed knitting at Charlotte Yarn with my yarn buddies.   Today I received a sweet note from Debbie making certain I am alright.  Truth to tell, I stay up too late, and sleep in most mornings.  I mean, like til 10:30 or 11.  I need to find some discipline.

When I do get up, and have coffee with my dogs, I do many things.  Lately it has been art and gardening.  I am succulent-obsessive and not afraid of any paint or ink on the market.  Look out world.

I do miss being in touch with friends, so I will try to blog a bit more.  If would please me greatly if I could encourage all of you to join me in this play.  I’ve even stopped thinking about what I would do with a piece I created.  I just leave them in my art journal and revisit them occasionally.

Here is some stuff I’ve done.  Check out the flickr link if you are looking for ideas.

Our favorite houseguest--Evan's fish named Red.  Who knew fish had such personality? Watercolor, what else?

Our favorite houseguest–Evan’s fish named Red. Who knew fish had such personality?
Watercolor, what else?

 

Actually it should be Terraria.  Evan is addicted to this video game and I like to be with him, so while he played and explained it to me, I added things to a page in one of my journals.  It was great fun.  Yes, I know it is ugly and I don't care.

Actually it should be Terraria. Evan is addicted to this video game and I like to be with him, so while he played and explained it to me, I added things to a page in one of my journals. It was great fun. Yes, I know it is ugly and I don’t care.

I had to make something to go with this quote I found.  One of our friend's sons wrote an essay about me and called me sassy.  I like that.  I kinda like this outfit, too,  It is scrapbook paper, but I drew the pockets on with a white Uniball Signo U-153 gel pen.  It is frightening how much I know about pens.

I had to make something to go with this quote I found. One of our friend’s sons wrote an essay about me and called me sassy. I like that. I kinda like this outfit, too, It is scrapbook paper, but I drew the pockets on with a white Uniball Signo U-153 gel pen. It is frightening how much I know about pens.

When was the last time you played with paperdolls?  If you are on flickr, search for paperdolls and you will be amazed.

More later–

Collage, Take two

String Bean.jpg

Like I said before, there are many kinds of collage.  This is less abstract and lots more fun than the ones I showed you in my last post.  This one combines lots of things I have learned.

It does have some cut and paste.  The beans are from New York magazine (a subscription made with airline miles).  Every month they have a column about an in-season veggie.  The photos are big and beautiful, so I save them.  The green figs came from another magazine ad.  The purple flower came from a third.  The hand came from a Somerset Publishing mag.  This is the kind of collage I did in high school.  Cut the pictures and put them together to say something.  Some people do wonderful things with this technique, but I have not yet really been successful at it.  So I did a bunch of things.

First I divided the paper into different size squares and rectangles.  I just painted them different colors.  The top left is a page from Steve’s old calculus text that I painted with yellow watercolor.  Most of the piece is watercolors because I like them.  The bottom right corner, inside the black and white checks, is a bit from the magazine article that defines a string bean.  I painted yellow watercolor over it.  (Would you be surprised to know that I always run out of yellow long before I run out of any other color?  It is such a happy color.)

I used my reverse tissue paper writing for the bottom left corner.  Just glued it on and hit it with a hot pink.  Top right corner is the lettering and more paint.  The beans are glued on but not in the middle.  Not real fond of symmetry in art.  I even wrote “No straight lines in Nature.” between the beans.  I added the figs for the color.  Then I added a piece of cloth.  Just beside the yellow bean is a piece of batik fabric I had on hand which has been stenciled with a Jane LaFazio stencil that I won.  I drew the bean plant (I have no idea what a bean plant really looks like, so just trust me here.)

Finally I filled in with mostly Zentangles which are so soothing to draw.  If you haven’t Googled Zentangles yet, do it!!!!  This is a fad, trend, whatever for everyone.  It is meditation that can be done anywhere, even crowded subways–if your town has subways.  There are no rules and no mistakes.  What are you waiting for?  I know you did something like this in the margin of your high school notebooks during boring lectures.

The finished piece  is kind of bizarre and very colorful.  Steve liked it enough to hang it in his kitchen.  Just like my knitting, I am not very emotionally attached to the finished product; I just like the fun involved in the making.

Psst!  I have been knitting, but I can’t talk about it yet.

Some other fun stuff.

Garden collage base

Garden collage base

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The final collage.  Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

The final collage. Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

Collage has something for everyone

I have never been good at cut and paste. Wait. I cut well, but paste is usually a disaster. When Kate asked me to attend a collage workshop with her last fall, I decided try learn more about gluing paper together. Lord knows I have plenty of paper!

I tried some 6 x6 pages. Some were okay, some were stinky, one was really nice. Then I flew to Massachusetts to learn from Alexandra Sheldon. I hit some bumps in the workshop. Mixing acrylics was new to me and I wanted to use a new colorway. Took me half the workshop to find it. Also I was really annoyed about space and work areas. This let me know how spoiled I am, but also what I need to enjoy doing this. Both good lessons. Most of the work we did there was very abstract. Didn’t have to be, but it was. Since returning home I have done a bit of that, mostly finishing things I started there.

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These two pieces share a fun technique anyone can do. Look closely at the pod shaped areas. They are stamped onto a background that was somewhat randomly painted. Very randomly actually. I made the stamps. In less than five minutes. Here’s how.

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Materials needed–a piece of sticky backed foam (Michael’s), a piece of cardboard, a pencil, scissors.
Draw or trace the shape you want onto the foam. Carefully cut it out. Stick it to the cardboard. That’s it. Use paint or ink and stamp away. Commercial stamps are expensive. This isn’t. Think you can’t draw. Grab some cookie cutters and trace. A great way to make holiday stamps.
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If you are careful, you can also mount the negative image that was left from the cutout. Voila! Two stamps, no waste.

Check out the writing on the sides of each piece. This was my favorite discovery. Yes, it is backwards. Maybe I want you to have to work at finding out what I said. More likely, what I said was nonsense and I just like the way it looks. Here is how you do it.

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Materials–tissue paper, pens or markers, a glue that dries clear. (I use Golden’s Soft Gel, but try whatever you have.)
Sit in front of the Tv and mindlessly write in you own handwriting. No need to be fancy. Printing works, too. Let the ink, paint dry. Turn the tissue upside down and glue it that way onto something else, like a card for someone. Put a layer of the glue over the whole piece. Let dry well. Call it art!

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Here are some of the adhesives I use. I don’t like the ModPodge because it dries to a sticky surface. Maybe I don’t use it right. Lots of people like it. I am still best with a glue stick. They don’t spill.

The wire is a leftover from a jewelry project. I just poked holes in the collage with a needle and sort of sewed it in place. It is there to give your eye a path to travel. Sound kind of arty, don’t I?

If abstract isn’t your style, then I have some other ideas for you. I like to let my weird sense of humor loose once in a while.

More later–<

Make Good Art

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I just read Neil Gaiman’s speech which he gave to graduates of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts in 2012. (Http://vimeo.com/42372767). The speech was put into book form by a graphic designer named Chip Kidd and I stumbled over it at the Morrison branch of our library. The book is all turquoise, orange, yellow, and red which gives it the quirkiness you usually find in Gaiman’s writing. (Coraline, the Sandman comics, Dr. Who scripts, et.al.)

The collaboration is a joyous mix of color and text and wisdom. The title is Make Good Art, and Gaiman’s was speaking to a room full of artists of all kinds. Considering my definition of art, he was speaking to every one of us.

The gist of the speech is “Follow your bliss” (Joseph Campbell), but said with great wit and laced with personal caveats. However, this morning the effect on me was to think about my personal definition of art.

What is art? IMHO

Make something. If it has an effect on someone else–love it, hate it, laugh with it, even puzzle over it–it’s Art. Creation + Effect. That’s all I require. Evaluating, critiquing, judging–a different process and not my concern.

I once made cupcakes for my daughter’s classmates. The kids ate them with gusto, inhaled them even. This was Not Art. It was merely eating cake mix food without noticing anything but the sugary taste.
20140110-114307.jpgToday there are shops which sell only cupcakes, and the customers consider each flavor carefully and admire each presentation. Then they purchase and eat with a smile, maybe even a moan. That is Art.

I knit. I follow a pattern–a recipe–a formula. But I choose the yarns, the color scheme, the buttons, the embellishments–even tweak the stitch pattern or alter the shape. I make Art.

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I have a sketchbook. I draw. I’m not very skilled, but once in a while I draw something that makes someone connect and laugh (my favorite reaction). I made Art.

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Steve cooks. Friends actually call and ask to come to dinner. He talks about flavor chords of food as he plans a meal. He uses white porcelain plates because he likes the way it shows the food. We eat, and sometimes we moan a bit. Yep. It’s Art.

So, go. Make Good Art. Your Art.

I would love to react to it if you want to share.

More later–

Yeah—–2014!

Happy New Year! We are delighted to be in 2014. Last year was a tough one for us, but this is a shiny new one with all kinds of possibilities.

I don’t make resolutions. They just invite failure to me and I don’t need the guilt. Instead I set goals. Any progress is positive, and no progress just indicates that I am still thinking.

This year getting back to my blog is one of my goals. I’ve learned so much this year about making things and have had so much fun. I can’t keep all that fun to myself. I did start back knitting a bit and still teach private lessons, but I don’t foresee any classes–unless someone invites me.

DD#1 and family board the plane tomorrow to return from 5 months in Chile. DD#2 is in the air as I type returning from a snowy after Christmas in Wisconsin. Steve and I have had a quiet holiday and we haven’t been lonely thanks to our wonderful neighbors.

I have been applying new collaging skills,

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zentangling,

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And figuring out how to adjust the too long side seam of a new knitted project.

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More later–

South American Artwork

PS Painting on house Valparaiso (27)

Younger daughter and family visited older daughter and family who are in Chile on a Fulbright.  I am so proud of my grandsons who both remembered to get pictures of street art for Nana.  I thought I would share some of them with you.  I’m guessing everyone in Chile is an artist.

PS Valparaiso from funicularThis is Valparaiso and this is the required photo op there.  Taken from the top of the funicular railway, you get a good look at how hilly this city is.  The houses are painted lots of bright colors and decorated with art no matter how expensive the neighborhood.  Valparaiso is a World Heritage site.  I won’t be able to walk it, but I will find a nice cab driver.PS art on house Valparaiso (60)

This building is spectacular.  I love the dancing figures and the splash of gold paint.

PS Santiago (9)

This is an older art style on a building in Santiago.

PS The boys at Santa Lucia Park (2)This is Santa Lucia Park in Santiago.  Remember it is winter there, so the vines are dormant.  Looks a bit creepy, but I’ll bet it will be luscious when summer comes.

Sand art VinaSand art is big on the beaches at Vina del mar.

PS sand castle Vina del Mar we arrive in Chile (21)I had to share both of these.  I am amazed at this work and tortured by its impermanence.  Such skill.

PS Zentangle bird Valparaiso (56)Zentangle art is alive and well down South.

PS Pelicans Vina del Mar

Actually natural art is everywhere you look.  Meghan took this pic of pelicans near Erica’s home . . .

PS the Andes and La Cornisa (15)and this while they went skiing in the Andes.

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

Can’t wait to go myself.

More later–

Checking in

It is September . . . almost October.  We’ve been busy with family matters, but that’s all okay now.  I think about blogging, but I am not always sure that  what I am up to is interesting since it usually isn’t knitting.  But there is even some of that.

I’ve been asked to teach at the Carolina Fiber Frolic in 2014.  More on that as plans develop.  This is the weekend that Jan Smiley organizes each year in Sapphire Valley, NC.  It is always a great weekend of fun, fiber stuff,  and fabulous food.

We were in Nashville recently and went to a car show at the Frist Art Center.  It was called Sensuous Steel.

Art Deco Extraordinaire

Art Deco Extraordinaire

Cars from the 1930s. They were lavishly made and I felt a bit elegant just standing beside them.

1933 Pierce Arrow IMG_0217 IMG_0292

Click on these to see a larger view.

I am drawing and painting and gardening and planning my new screen porch.  I have been sorting Steve’s mom’s photographs and have found a treasure trove of vintage pictures to use for mixed media work.  The girls will get the originals, but I have scanned and scanned.  Check out these:

Steve's mom in her senior play.

Steve’s mom in her senior play.

HS Basketball team 1939

HS Basketball team 1939

I have mainly been working on 6 x 6 inch collages lately. I’m preparing to go to a workshop and I want to know what techniques I can do and what I reallllllly need help with. Here is one I like.

Embrace the reality of who you are

Embrace the reality of who you are

I used Photoshop to put the letters on the picture. I also used it to make the manniquins kind of wavey and ugly. Might be just a bit of jealousy there. I’m still working on this philosophy. I won’t overload your bandwidth with more examples, but you can always check out my artwork on my flickr site. Check the sidebar.

I’m working on some Halloween stuff which I will show you when I can.

Keep making things of your own.

More later–

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