Sunday, February 27, 2011

Designing and loving it!

     As I struggle along with that new painting Doug started a new store that would allow me to see what I could do with some of my old paintings and drawings.
It's fun to look at your work in new ways and it brings me closer to my original goals. People always thought it weird but I was a lot more interested in seeing my work as a Dixie cup or a Kleenex box than in having it exhibited in a gallery.
      Seeing my work on the things we use every day makes me so happy and I'm hoping it cheers other people up as well. For those of you that enjoy my letters I even created a bit of stationery with  some of the drawings. I still can't afford to buy any of it but I really enjoyed creating it.
     As an artist people are always saying "you have to do it because you love it, you can't expect to make any money".  This blows my mind that the same world that professes to value creativity and art thinks you should do it for free. In what other line of work that takes so much time, materials and effort would you be expected to go without a paycheck? I've been painting seriously for 43 years so I'd really be interested in discussing this further. What are your thoughts on the subject?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Projects, progress and a few random thoughts

I returned those books on Rosemaling and was happy to hear my friend will loan me more of them when I'm ready.
 In the meantime I've brought the big easel in and set up that abstract canvas as a vertical painting which should give me some fresh ideas and perspective on the piece before I fling anymore paint at it.

It was great to discover that in addition to making me apple pancakes for breakfast Dougie had set things up with zazzle, have any of you seen it yet? I guess I'll have to check it out for myself someday soon.
I spent the last couple of days doing a series of drawings on letters and envelopes but dropped them in the mail before I got around to scanning them.
I've also been doing a lot of cleaning and rearranging in the house so I can get all of my projects, equipment and supplies handy without running into anything.
The sleeves on my old denim jacket are still too long so I plan to shorten them and add a bit of embroidery. They've been too long for years but I hadn't done anything about it because they were keeping my hands warm until I got around to making mittens again. There's a rose on the end of the sleeve that I'll need to take a seam ripper to. As I'm doing that I'll decide what sort of design I want to draw on it this time.
It's not exciting news for most of you but it's a nice way to spend a snowy afternoon and you can always go and play the "click to feed the fish" game further down my page so we've all got something to do.
Thanks for stopping by. I'll be posting more photos and things after lunch. Have a great day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making it big

Well, as you can see this painting is taking up a good share of my living room and my table so I've had to set the painting aside at this point and move on to some other projects. Just now the painting stands in the doorway between the living room and dining room and I'm folding a load of laundry on the table which of course is a lot easier on the back than tossing it on the bed or the sofa.

People are a bit startled to find the dining room table in the living room but everyone agrees it's so much handier when we're working on things and we gain an extra window that way as well.
Thinking "outside the box" is a way of life for me and I can highly recommend it in these tough economic times when most everyone has got to find the best ways of using the things they've got to make life better, brighter and more pleasant for everyone.

Well, it looks like I'd better get some housework done before I jump back into this painting. Whatever your particular struggles are today I wish you the best and remind you to take a minute to play as well, it  changes everything.

 Don't put it off or wait till you have the perfect project or materials. Draw silly things on your paperwork, see how many ways you can fold that receipt. Make people wonder and smile. You may not be able to change the world but you can change how you feel about it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Free at last

After all the careful, detailed work on all of those miniature chairs it felt great to relax move some paint around without any plan or design in mind. The paint itself is what this picture is about, the way it moves and changes with your choice of tools or pressure applied. The color removed is almost as important as the paint that is applied. Color peeks through the scratches as the texture and layers build up or are pulled away. It's an amazing process and you're never sure just where it will take you. Be brave, dive in. You won't believe how good it feels.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A few more inches

Yes, I'm still working on these tiny chairs. There will be one dozen of them which of course is rare for me as most of my pieces are one of a kind.

 Variations of my pattern and design keep the project from being tedious and I'm thinking of a number of other ways of using and displaying them.

Selling them would be nice but I'm thinking they'd be fun wired to plant stakes or included in a sculpture or other project.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Morning Coffee

How was your weekend? We've all got a lot of other things we've got to balance along with our creative pursuits so there aren't any new or exciting projects to write about today.

Don't worry, you haven't wasted a trip. We changed the colors on the feed the fish game further down my page so stay, play and enjoy a while.

 I'm still working on those painted chairs and I did manage to finish the crochet hat that I started on Friday so I'll be moving on to other projects soon. Relax and get ready for that new week ahead. I'll have something fun to show you soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mini Me

As long as I had all of these little chairs I figured I might as well drag out my old copy of Woman's Day Magazine and see how my design looks when done in miniature. (It had been so many years since I did it last time that I'd forgotten how they looked)

 Can you believe I looked like that back in April 1995? This whole project made me laugh and I think they'll make cute gifts for people who've bought my paintings. Hung from a gold cord or narrow ribbon they make nice Christmas ornaments.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thinking Outside The Box

The reality for a lot of people these days is that we live in small spaces that need to be multi-purpose and able to multi task. If you have a lot of hobbies there's a good chance that many of your supplies are packed away in boxes. Here's what's up with one of mine. About 15 years ago I had a painted chair in a magazine so when I found all these dollhouse chairs in a dollar store it amused me to start making Christmas ornaments out of them to celebrate the fact. I finished several that year, gave several as gifts and even sold a few before tucking the rest away and moving on to other things. I'm not just sure where these have been all this time but they recently turned up again and I've decided to go back to work on them.
 There are also a number of other interesting things in that box that I'll get around to later. Meanwhile that old Kingston Trio song runs through my mind (something about tiny boxes) and I've gone back to crocheting pot holders...or hot pads...or whatever they're calling them these days. I've just taught 2 more gals how to make them because they're fun, fast, easy and you only have to count the first row so it makes it a great project to start with. As you can see I managed to get it all packed up and put away in time for supper and of course the next project after that...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Practice and results

I combined the cards I made from the sunflower photos with some of the drawing and painting techniques in the books I've been reading and come up with something I really like. I've given away 2 of them already! The fun thing about this project is how the altered photos make you look at the same old subject in different ways and each of those different ways led to different painting techniques. Can you tell which strokes came from the rosemaling books?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Go out and Play

Most winters while I'm away from the garden I grow a few things indoors or work from my photos of last season. Having done all of that and with plenty of cold weather ahead I'm glad to have found some alternatives that provide both inspiration and encouragement.

A lot of people are afraid of getting old but I'm having a lot of fun with it. I joined the local senior center a few blocks from my home and am loving the painting group there. It's not a class, just a few gals that want to paint. Some have never painted before and others have been at it for years. Age and experience vary widely so there are a lot of different ways of looking at our various projects. We each bring whatever we want to work on and a lunch. (we're there for 4 hours and take a break in the middle).

As we're pulling out all of our books and supplies we've been loaning them back and forth which in itself adds another level of energy because we need to get  some of these projects done so we can return the books and materials. When you're working with your own things there's no rush and you can neglect things for years so I find having someone to kick ideas around with really helpful and the fact that they'll ask you how it's going keeps you motivated.

Here are a few of the other books the "girls" sent home with me this week. It's going to be fun to see what pops into my mind (and out of my paintbrush) between that book on mixed media, a mystery novel about a painting and some manuals on rosemaling. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crazy for Art, or from it?

     I've always wondered why people always talk about the artists that were crazy or broke or died badly as if that's the way it's always been or all that can be expected. I find that people always mention this when they're commenting on work that they have no intention of buying.
     A second grade class once visited my studio (years ago when I actually had one up and running) and the first thing that they told me was that I was the only artist they ever heard of that wasn't dead. (They had studied Van Gogh, Monet and O'Keeffe and seemed to think my paintings were a little of each.) Some of those artists did fine for themselves but which one do you hear the most about?
     What brought all of this to mind this morning was that I was putting a few coats of polyurethane on that painted box so I could get it sold and it occurred to me that IF or WHEN it sells the amount would be almost the same as the price of the supplies I just charged for my next project which of course is almost as funny as my last effort where the check received wasn't even enough for me to afford to be able to see the results.
     Things like this must be what make people wonder why we make the effort in the first place, but art is so much more than that. My guess is that if you have to ask, you'd never understand.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Trying Something New

A friend in painting group loaned me this book that uses watercolor washes over pen and ink.  I've done pen and ink  and I've done watercolors but I've never combined them before so I'm excited by the possibilities. I got caught up crocheting 3 more hats and making a bunch of valentine cards but I picked up the right ink and am ready to sit down and give this a try. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Up cycled cigar box

You can see the beginning of this project in some of the older posts a few weeks back. I finally got around to finishing it today and I'll get back to you on what becomes of it. I still haven't decided whether to keep it, give it away or sell it. I enjoyed this little project. I'd picked up the box at a garage sale years ago because I thought it was a handy size and had possibilites. The choice of design was easy because I wanted something that would cover the embossed labels on the sides and the top. It was fun and easy to place the trees, bushes or pine cones on each of the areas I wanted to cover.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Another one bites the dust...or does it?


There's an amazing energy in destroying one piece while creating another.
The beauty of all the technology that's available today is that we can shoot photos along the way and enjoy the journey while being able to preserve some of those pivital moments and images that went into it all. I'll put these all together so that they go to whoever ends up with the painting. The only thing I need to decide is whether to put it on paper or disc. I'll have a lot of time to decide because the canvas hit an ugly point after this and I'm still working on it.  I'm looking forward to seeing where it will go next.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Courting Inspiration and stepping into the flow

I don't do well with "real" life. When I'm away from my paints I feel awkward, underwater, and unable to swim though or around the obstacles, problems and bills. I can't breathe and know I need to get back to my paints. Some days when I'm not sure where to start I begin with my supplies. As you can see by the first photo, just sharpening my pencils can take quite a while and as I do it I begin to relax and think about the paints and where they'll take me today. All the  other photos are the same canvas panel at various points in the process so you can imagine how surprised I was to see that last one when I stepped away for a while. I'm not sure what I'll do with it (or to it) after I grab a shower and rest up a bit so if you like where it's gone, Stop me now! I'll check for comments before I go back to work.
Well, I wasn't sure what to do with that canvas board so I grabbed a couple of others and just kept working although nothing really emerged from it. I'm looking at it as a start to some backgrounds for this seasons floral paintings.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A yarn about crocheting

The afghan is either going to a shelter for families or the veterans home, (it's funny that you have to remind people that a lot of vets are women). I'd also finished another hat that I gave to that program with the schools but didn't have a chance to take a picture of that one. Anyway, I'd like to thank Karen again for the yarn she dropped off and the good work it did and then it's on to other things.
The hat you see pictured here is one of the things I've been working on with my own yarns as I look for an easy pattern I can use to make a few things to sell and keep things going around here. They'd also make nice gifts this time of year. I keep experimenting with the type and number or strands of yarn used as well as different sizes of hooks. So far this looks promising and only takes 13 rows to finish. After all we might as well make things fun if we can. Wish me luck and do a bit of crocheting yourselves. It makes the time fly and keeps everyone warm, what could be better than that on a cold winter day?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sunflower Blue

I love the idea of this card but am not real happy with my pencil drawing on the border. The colors were right for the photo but the drawing needs to be more of an extension of the image on the photo. Still, I think it was a great project and a lot of fun to put together. I hope it inspires you to pick up a pencil too.