Friday, July 31, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Both of these delightful books are out of print, but there are quite a few copies available through Amazon. Across the Aegean and Road to Rome by Marlene McLoughlin are beautifully illustrated with her sketches and watercolours.
I admit, I can't resist a travel journal of any kind and Marlene has that ability to capture the essence of a place - wander through these books and feel the Mediterranean sun on your shoulders, smell the wine and listen to the wind through the cypress. If you've been - these will take you back and if you haven't - you'll feel like you have.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Color as Catalyst

artwork by Lynne Perrella

Today I'm on a plane on my way to a Lynne Perrella workshop this weekend at The Artist Nook.
My checked bag is full of art supplies. I have a small carry on with a few clothes, and my purse has my journal, pens, camera and books. But not my laptop. I have blogs scheduled to post while I'm gone and will have all kinds of exciting news when I get back next week. Lynne and I will both be staying at the lovely home of the delightful and talented Lisa Hoffman.
What a week this will be!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Bottle caps! We all have a stash of bottle caps, right? This is one of three, or is it now four, boxes of bottle caps that I've amassed. This is one art supply that all your friends are glad to save for you.

And they're everywhere. It's hard to take a walk without picking up several. My fellow artist Destiny even has a local restaurant save all of theirs for her.

And, our favourites - the flattened, rusty ones - it doesn't get any better than this!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Glove & Blade

The Glove & the Blade

An assemblage box that whispers of intrigue, secret assignations, the whirl of a cloak around a dark calle leading to the Grand Canal.

The background paper is from 7 Gypsies, the glove, an enlarged detail from a Renaissance painting. These are topped with a vintage foreign coin, a spray of wrought iron leaves and a rusty pair of vintage barber shears that I've been saving for awhile, waiting for just the right piece. And this was that piece!

Come closer and listen, to the sotto voce innuendo of The Glove & the Blade.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Age Old Song

Age Old Song

Another red rosin painting this weekend. The face taken from Caravaggio's The Lute Player. Portfolio water soluble oil pastels on Xerox copies in several sizes on a piece of red rosin paper, gessoed, with cheesecloth , and then painted, dripped, splattered, collaged with the faces and stamped with an Anne Bagby stamp and black StazOn Ink.

I chose a rich palette to recall the majesty of the Renaissance, but also used lighter, less brilliant colours in other areas for an aged feel.

I'm pleased with the way the stamp faded in and out, giving a worn look,

One more done for Open Studios.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Have a Retro Weekend!

Pacific Coast Highway - just a few years ago
Here's a great old postcard - if the cars didn't give you a hint of how long ago this was, the lack of crowds and buildings sure would. Ah, those were the days. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

927 Alternative Art Show in Cambria

The Quick Brown Fox...
Today and tomorrow is the annual 927 Alternative Art Show in Cambria. 927 is the phone prefix here. It was the only prefix when the show started almost 20 years ago. In the intervening years we've added 924, 934, 935, and 203. Mostly thanks to cell phones and cable companies, but the name "927 Show" has stuck and that's what we all call it.
It's a chance for alternative artists to have a little fun and exhibit works that might not fit into other shows around town. Over time the titles have become almost as important as the art and it's always fun to figure out the puns while enjoying the pieces.

My entry for 2009 is The Quick Brown Fox... which I featured on my blog when I finished it last month. The use of at least 8 full alphabets and parts of 6 others (different colours, fonts, materials, etc.) gave birth to the title.
This will be my third entry, I've been fortunate to win prizes the two previous years and am hoping to keep my string going. The artist reception and prize announcement is tonight. I'll keep you posted - results on Monday's blog. Hours for the show 11-9 pm Saturday and 10-3 Sunday, at the Veterans' Hall in Cambria.

Friday, July 24, 2009

From the Bookshelf

The Diary of Frida Kahlo is this week's selection from the bookshelf. A marvelous facsimile of Frida's personal diary/sketchbook from the last 10 years of her life. Featuring an introduction by Carlos Fuentes, commentaries by Sarah M. Lowe and full translations of the diary pages.

On many of the pages the inks or paints that she used bled through the page which adds an eerie layer to the entries.

There are glimpses in the sketches of some of her larger well known works.

And on most of the pages references to the constant pain and body trauma that increased almost daily until her death in 1954.

"My structure displeases because of its lack of harmony, its unfitness. I think it would be better for me to go, to go and not to run away. If it were all over within an instant. I hope so."
---translation of above page by Barbara Crow de Toledo and Richard Pohlenz.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Street Art

On a trip to New England last autumn I was busy snapping shots of fire plugs for &drew of Urban Paper Arts and while doing so, I discovered these wonderful manhole covers.

I loved the textures and the lettering and what I really wanted to do was make rubbings of them(like gravestone or brass rubbings). But considering the amount of pedestrian traffic on even the side streets of Boston, I think I did fairly well without lots of feet and legs in the pictures!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

This week's cigar box is full of wooden type. I think most of us in the mixed media art world are fascinated by these marvelous letters and numbers of a by-gone age. The feel of the wood, the smell of ink, the sense of yesterday - you can almost hear the clatter and clank of a vintage letter press.

They come in so many different fonts and sizes. The perfect touch to add one ,or several (spelling out a word or phrase), to an assemblage piece. It's also fun to use stamp pad ink or acrylic paint and stamp the letters on a journal page or canvas.

I bought my first piece of wooden type, an "E" for Erin, over 30 years ago in a wonderful shop in Carmel. My most recent piece, won in auction, last week on e-Bay. Beautiful to look at, fun to use and the chance to hold a small bit of history in your hand.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stoned in Britain

I was sitting here at the computer waiting for something to download and picked up a piece of slate that sits on the desk. I brought it back from our trip to Scotland several years ago. It made me think of all the different stones we had seen across the British Isles on our travels. Well known stones, in the above picture, on a windswept plain in Wiltshire.

Humble cobblestones on a back street in London.

Serviceable stone walls in Penpont (home of Andy Goldsworthy), Dumfriesshire, Scotland.

And a very famous stone in the British Museum.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Credit Card Printing

Now that most merchants are using phone dial-up to run credit card purchases - even at outdoor venues - most of us don't often see the old fashioned "swipe" machine that credit cards were run through in years past. But guess what? They make the perfect small printing machine! I took a class from Marsha Shaw who teaches up and down the coast here in California and learned how to create small lino prints using a modified credit card machine. This was the not only the first printing I'd ever done, but the first carving as well. There were about a half dozen of us in the class and we made enough prints for us all to have a small portfolio (that we also made in class) that included one of everyone's prints. These three are mine and I was quite pleased with the results.

For any of you in the San Francisco area Marsha will be offering this class twice this coming week at the San Francisco Center of the Book on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fog? Priceless!

We try to take a walk along the harbour in Morro Bay every evening when I get home from the library. This summer there have been some glorious clear blue skies and the water has handfuls of sun pennies thrown across it. There are pelicans and seagulls wheeling around the top of Morro Rock and otters and seal lions cavorting in the bay. But this was not the case on last night's stroll.

The never far away summer fog rolled in (due to inland temps in the 100's) and you couldn't even see the top of the rock from a quarter mile away. But compared to 100° - fog doesn't seem bad at all! Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Zest for Life

These are a couple of photos that I love. The top one I found digging around in a box at one of the Antique Street Fairs that are held locally twice a year. These look like my kind of girls! Ready for any adventure on offer and not bound by convention.

This one could be the same three, all grown up, with a favourite niece. My friend Susan slipped it in my birthday card this year - as Michelle would say "She totally 'gets me'!" I keep both snaps on the shelf above my desk at the library. Can't go wrong with all that lively, lovely female energy and zest for life looking out at me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Trading in Memories: Travels Through A Scavenger's Favorite Places by Barbara Hodgson. A marvelous little book of markets and shops, dusty caravans and sunlit squares. For those of us who have long delighted in Barbara's illustrated novels - The Tattooed Map, The Sensualist, Hippolyte's Island, The Lives of Shadows and her non-fiction works of women explorers and travelers to the exotic lands - this is the perfect companion volume. Where to find all the treasures and wonders of Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and more. Told in Barbara's inimitable style that makes you feel you're standing next to her, under the palm trees with a desert breeze ruffling your hair. Whether you're an armchair traveler or spend half your time (and all your money) visiting foreign climes, this book is for all of us that enjoy the thrill of the hunt, searching for and finding the ultimate piece of ephemera.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Buried Treasure

The Pyrate's Lunchbox
Originally posted on Feb. 26, 2009 - Seth of The Altered Page has declared this "Buried Treasure" day - with an invitation to all to re-post a blog entry from the past. Here's mine

This was a very fun piece that I did for my colleague Destiny Carter's birthday last year. She's a big pirate fan. I started with an old jewelry box with a leatherette map on the top. I added, in the bottom drawer, a dagger and hip flask (for the rum of course!). I made a hard tack biscuit out of paper clay. Then embellished it with mold - fashioned from polymer clay - and plastic weevils. Old cheese rinds and a faux lime rounded out the luncheon portion.

The top of the box held a rag filled with pieces of eight, a compass and telescope, and this book. Made from a vintage photo album, the front is embellished with skull medallions and encaustic wax. It opens to reveal several piratical pages using vintage images, a fold-out map and more encaustic wax.

The final spread features this grisly guy in all his buccaneer glory!

All photos courtesy of Destiny Carter

It was a kick to work on and a delight to see how pleased Destiny was on receiving it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

This week's cigar box is full of foreign currency. A great addition to altered books and journals - wonderful colours, beautiful graphics and flat, to fit easily on the page.

Some from e-Bay, some from countries I was lucky enough to visit, and some of the most interesting from a coin & stamp shop in Victoria on Vancouver Island. I went in and asked if they had any old ragged scraps of foreign currency that were cheap and - he brought out 4 shoe boxes full - every piece only $1.00 Canadian. I spent a blissful hour going through the boxes and picking out my favourites and using up my budgeted $20.00.

I had no idea that one could find these at Coin & Stamp shops - picked up the tip from authour Barbara Hodgson (if you're not familiar with her you are in for a treat). Look here on Friday 's "From the Bookshelf" for her latest Trading in Memories.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Baker's Daughter

The Baker's Daughter

Done on red rosin paper, gessoed with string and cheese cloth added for texture. A palette of lavender, French blue and light pink craft acrylics with accents of Golden Quinacridone Crimson and Iridescent Gold Deep (Fine).

The image is Raphael's "La Fornarina", xeroxed in several sizes and coloured with Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels. Squares of metallic gold paper, wooden crosses (covered in the Golden Iridescent Gold) and a rubber stamp of script (Hampton Art Stamps) complete the work.

Techniques learned from numerous workshops with the master Lynne Perrella. I'm pleased with this piece - it turned out exactly as I had envisioned it - which as we all know is not always what happens. One more piece ready for Open Studios!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Beast of Babel

The Beast of Babel

I put the final touches on this one yesterday. Above is the finished artwork, below what it looked like before adding encaustic wax. It all started when my friend Joen gave me this very cool piece of rusted wire. She finds amazing and wonderful detritus for me on an almost daily basis and is one of my biggest enablers, LOL.

The shape suggested an animal to me. I was just getting ready to do something with it when I received my goodies from Seth's blog giveaway - which included a handful of old book pages in several different languages. The title leapt to mind -The Beast of Babel - and I began creating. A 10x14" canvas board was collaged with torn bits of the different papers affixed with matte medium. Rusty bottle caps. rectangular pieces and the "beast" were attached with E-6000. I coated most of the board with clear encaustic wax and then added royal blue wax as accent.
On one of the old book pages I found the heading "A Handful of Translations" which I thought quite apt for the project. This snippet was collaged along the center top. It was a fun piece to do. Thanks to Joen and Seth for making it possible!