Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spray Paint Collage

 Some more of these fun spray paint panels using techniques from Mary Ann Moss's Stencilry Workshop, stencils from Mary Beth Shaw's Stencil Girl and Liquitex Spray Paints.

Canvas panels 11x14", covered in a background colour and then overlaid with two or more stencil layers.

It's  a real kick to watch the patterns emerge and see the colours relate to one another.

These will be at Art Girlz in Autumn in September,
 if I can bare to part with them!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tools of the Trade

Three small canvases (6x6"), two prepared with pumice gel, one with Fresco Flakes and then painted and splattered in acrylics - red iron oxide and titanium buff.

A carpenter's compass, a wrench and a wall ornament (all nicely rusted!) occupy center stage of each piece and an identifying vintage number tag anchors each corner.


These will be available at our up-coming
Art Girlz in Autumn show on Sept. 23.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Life on the Coast

Captured these gulls coming in at the foot of Morro Rock
 on a morning's stroll by the harbour.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

From the Bookshelf

 Today is a very special anniversary for me. 10 years ago today, I "screwed my courage to the sticking place" and left a 28 year abusive marriage. It was the scariest thing I ever did, it was the bravest thing I ever did and it was the best thing I ever did.  These last 10 years have been a miracle, a joy and a beautiful gift. I often wonder how I found the courage to finally say "Enough!" and leave.

One thing that I'm convinced helped me was The Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves.  This is a great book of daily writers' prompts and techniques.  Starting in January of 2002 I wrote every day, using that day's prompt.  It was amazing how many of them related to my marriage, my life as it was and my life the way I wished it could be. The writing became my therapy and my hope for the future.

A few years after this I had the opportunity to take a workshop with Judy  and I told her how her book had helped change my life.  In the intervening years we've become good friends and have the chance to get together now and then when she's visiting the Central Coast.

You can change your life, you can have what you hope for - maybe a daily writing practice can help you achieve your dreams.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Poe's Graveyard in Somerset Studio

Received the latest issue of  Somerset Studio in the mail a couple days ago and when I turned to the Expressions section - there was my Poe's Graveyard!

A Midnight Dreary - Poe's Graveyard  8x10

It's always an act of faith sending off a piece of art and then waiting several months to see if it's accepted or not.  And always exciting to have that faith rewarded and see one's art in print.  Read here for a blog post of how this piece was created. This issue of Somerset will hit the news stands on Sept. 1!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lost & Found

Lost & Found  each piece 4x4"

I wanted to create some smaller pieces for the upcoming Art Girlz in Autumn show in September and while I was trolling through one of my cigar boxes labeled "Rusty Stuff", I got an idea.

Some of these found objects are almost art in themselves - delightful patina, interesting shapes, etc. and I thought - why not a small canvas featuring just one of them?  With an appropriately colourful background of course!

So here's what I came up with using acrylic garnet gel, paint (red iron oxide, raw sienna and titanium buff).  Each canvas sports an old, rusty tool and an identifying  vintage number plaque.

I've decided to call the series Lost & Found  -
 available at Art Girlz in Autumn next month.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Suitcase Saturday

 A repro of a retro from Ross. 
Home to artificial flowers and greenery.

 Some new from Michaels and Beverleys

 Some from thrift stores and gifts from friends

Some vintage and found on-line and at antique shops.

Buttons and Blooms  11x14

I've found them to be the perfect touch for many of my shabby chic pieces.  This piece on its way to Somerset Studios, a submission for their Aqua challenge this coming January.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Leanne's Studio

Over the weekend Margot and I went up for a quick trip to Los Gatos in the San Jose area to see our good friend Leanne.  She and Margot met several years ago in a wearable art group and though Margot had been a guest at Leanne's place several times this was my first visit.

 I had heard so much about Leanna's fabulous studio
and was not disappointed. 

  Up on the second floor with two walls of windows
that look out on lots of greenery, 
and massive amounts of storage.  

Built-in drawers, full of yarns and fibers, and cabinets, a huge mid-room island and enough supplies to open her own craft shop.

 Leanne is a fearless creator, who will delve into any technique and she loves to experiment.  Her latest love is melting  - Angelina fibers, plastic bits from the Dollar Store and Tyvek; all are combined, shot with a heat gun and turned into beautiful art.

We had a lovely time - dinner on her peaceful deck by a softly flowing creek, getting to see her latest "finds" (to die for!) from a shopping expedition to FABMO  and just talking and laughing and having a wonderful mini-vacation!

 On the way home we dropped by a wonderful paper shop in San Jose and came up with some delightful finds of our own.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

'70's Chic?

How's that title for an oxymoron?  My friend Joen found these outrageous sewing "how-to" books at a recent library book sale and thought I could do something fun with them.

 All the covers were fabric of some kind -
 linen, faux leather, corduroy, etc.

I cut the book blocks out and prepped the inside
spines with cloth book tape.  

Then spent a pleasurable hour picking out paper and cutting it to size.  Since the books are thin I planned on 3 signatures each, containing watercolour and scrapbook paper and some wonderfully colourful sheets from Italy.

I sewed them together with a kettle stitch
and then glued into the covers. 

 They looked great - but needed that something extra.  Margot suggested some stenciling on the covers (it's so handy to live with an artistic wife!) and that provided the final touch.

These will be available at our
Art Girlz in Autumn show in September. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Life on the Coast

A postcard summer day on Morro Strand Beach in Morro Bay.

Friday, August 10, 2012

From the Bookshelf

A lovely book filled with beautiful sketches of the great outdoors, animals, birds, and butterflies. The artist has had a life long love of recording her daily scenes in her journal and shares this enthusiastically with the reader.  Chapter headings include "On the Road", "In the Garden", "About the Neighborhood", and the all important "Materials" and "Starting a Journal".  There are even step by step instruction for creating your own sketchbooks.  Ms. O'Toole has put together a volume with equal portions of  delightful eye candy and stellar techniques. I return to this book every now and then to give my sketching a shot in the arm.  A wonderful addition to your bookshelf.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Studio Fame!

I've been talking for months about submitting my Altered by the Sea studio to Cloth Paper Scissors Studio magazine and I finally took the plunge.  My daughter Jenny is a wonderful photographer and I asked her to come over and take some shots.  Which she did - 150 of them!  Lots to choose from.  The submission called for three photos and a short paragraph about my studio.  We chose these three shots and here's what I wrote:

I am that rare animal – a left-brained artist.  I’m a mixed media artist – think wild collage, spatters of paint and no-holds-barred rusty assemblage - but I thrive on organization and order.  My creative process requires that I amass and store an incredible amount of  art supplies, tools, ephemera, and found objects.  Half the joy for me is finding new and inventive ways to keep them all under control.  My 15x8 foot studio is the western half of our great room, where I’ve created what my partner calls  my “Art Command Center.”  A  vintage library card catalog, dozens and dozens of colorful cigar boxes, CD cabinet, suitcases, hat boxes and locker baskets are among the many types of storage I’ve employed.  My computer desk looks out to the Pacific Ocean.  Bookcases line one low wall and a 4 tiered wall shelf features many of my altered books and travel journals. My Altered by the Sea Studio is a dream come true for me.

I emailed mid day on Monday and heard back two hours  later!!  They had one slot left in the up-coming Winter issue and Altered by the Sea is in!!  Now I have to get busy, write the article and pick out 10 more photos.  I'll announce the publication here on the blog.  Woo-Hoo!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stenciled Panels

Having fun on a Sunday morning in the garage studio.

 Playing with spray paint - that lovely Liquitex spray paint
  in all those yummy and non-smelling colours!

Used 10x20" canvas panels and was quite pleased with the results. Will be doing more.

  These available at our up coming show in Sept. -
 Art Girlz in Autumn!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Suitcase Saturday

 Another wonderful Ross reproduction vintage suitcase - this one long and lean and full of vintage books that measure about the size of a postcard - the pocket books of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Many with leather covers, even some gold leaf here and there. Made for travelers, not quite as slim as a Kindle or a Nook, but definitely smaller than the full sized tomes.  Gathered from library book sales and many pleasant hours spent in  used book shops.

 Journey to Cairo

 I used one in this assemblage - one chapter was called "A Journey to Cairo".  I propped the book open in the middle of the chapter and gave the piece the same name.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Look @ Me - ATCs

 At shows  people are always asking me if I teach and I reply "No, I don't."  But  I give them a prepared  list of people in the area who do, along with on-line classes and websites of art retreats.

I taught in the LA public schools in the mid '70's in East LA and Watts - instrumental music.  I found out that just because you love something (in this case playing my trombone in bands and orchestras) doesn't mean you'll be particularly good at teaching that skill to others.

So when it came time to set up the teen programs for summer reading this year and I was approached to do something "crafty" for one I wasn't overly thrilled.  But needs must when the devil drives, so I decided that Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) might be the way to go.

I was organizing the studio when this first came up so I started a pile of supplies and ephemera to use for the class.  I made handouts explaining about ATCs and copies of examples from  back issues of Somerset Studio and off the net.

 The day came and we had everything spread out on a table, it looked great and the excitement started to build.

 After giving the kids a very brief history of ATCs and telling them the basics of 1.) background, 2.) focal image and                    3.) embellishment - we were off.  They created up a storm and had a blast.


 I made the cards shown in this post during the class to demo different techniques; collage, adding fibers and embellishments, etc.  They had a few questions, but mostly worked on their own and each had 4 or 5 finished cards to take home.  I gave them large baggies to fill with supplies to make more at home.

I don't plan to teach on a regular basis - but this did show me I can survive the occasional summer reading craft program and live to tell about it!