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Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

she likes billy nungesser but can't understand him

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I’ve already completed two works on the BP spill, the one above is a mixed-media containing an image of a 1950’s Stepford wife who can’t or won’t understand Billy Nungesser’s dialect or ideology. It reads, “She Likes Billy Nungesser but can’t Understand Him”.  Nungesser has been at the forefront of “the war” against BP’s damage to the community and way of life of New Orleans, he regularly appears with Anderson Cooper on AC360.  

The work also has a page of French phrases, such as “what have I done?” and “go away now” torn from a vintage language translation album. The work hopes to draw attention to the divide between those living in the community and those not.  We can never understand your plight, but our hearts cry with you.  The work calls for action and not reflection and an abandonment of impermanent things (such as pearl necklaces) for the lasting ones (such as the Earth).  It also draws attention to “politically correct” women and their “politically risky” male counterparts.  

The second work completed below was finished just as the initial blowout took place.  My thoughts at that time were centered on transportation and damage to wildlife and it’s been interesting to see over the past thirty days or so how much deeper my concern is now (and continues to grow).  It is strictly collage done in a sea of blues and it contains a map of the Gulf of Mexico as well as architectural renderings of the city of New Orleans.

 

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lange's baltimore photo shortlisted for schmap

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 10:52 am

Sarah Edwards, Editor, wrote to let us know that one of my Flickr photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the twelfth edition of the Schmap Baltimore Guide (http://www.schmap.com/baltimore/home/), to be published late July 2010.

Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr.

the hussy: husband stealer & disbeliever

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm

This piece is one of the more personal works I have completed in the last few weeks – and it’s always a risk when you share painful grief in a public forum, so here it goes.  Here is the mixed media watercolor collage (7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″) titled “the hussy: husband stealer and disbeliever”.

The piece reads from top to bottom; “red lips hussy.  Husband stealer and disbeliever.  She wore red lipstick at the party, and not much else.”  Across the bottom frame is written “Hussy” in repeated sequence.  The motif of the work is red, black, and green in a Kahlo-esque style with fertile intertwining and veining floral, sunflowers, and a red lipped, Spanish or Mexican fashioned dress, in forward leaning, cross-legged comeuppance.

The hussy always leaves despair, devastation, and disruption in her wake. The Urban Dictionary says the hussy is a saucy, imprudent girl lacking morals and the current sense of the word stems from mid 17th century.  She is a strumpet, a trollop, and a jade (and those were the kinder words).  I really wish the hussy in our extended family tree would leave us alone, and I mean for good – even though I have yet to actually meet her in person.  It feels kind of like the storm warning system, when you know way before hand that things are just going to be nasty.  Now that’s personal!

natalee & stephanie: fly joran's web of lies – we see him for what he is

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I’m counting a lot more than just Natalee and Stephany (or Stephanie depending on the source) as potential victims of JVDS, is there no end to the wake of women potentially harmed by a now 22-year old? So our wish for the living, for Beth, Anita, and for Stephany’s mom is to fly the web of lies and to find peace in the fact that we see him for what he is.

This 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ mixed media and watercolor collage has an illustrated jail cell in the upper right quadrant where JVDS now is being held, and an amorphous web of lies built on cellular disconnection.  Rays of brilliance and beauty and promise stem from the central character’s head in an aural style, and flames of fire are shown on the right border to depict the burning hole that unnecessary losses of lives leaves.  

The central woman’s eye is outlined in kohl white to prove that our eyes are wide open, and across her turned neck and chin are tattooed, “we see him for what he is”.  A living tree appears in the lower left corner with the word “fly” and the border has a protected and enclosed tomb housing the precious names of Natalee & Stephany.  We won’t forget you beautiful girls.

dedicated to jessica stern's denial

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I was simultaneously impressed and repulsed while reading a tepid review of the new book, Denial, by Jessica Stern.  Stern’s story, her struggle, and her singular focus, along with highlights of her accomplished career as a terrorism and post traumatic stress disorder expert, were featured recently in the New York Times.  

This original 7 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ watercolor & mixed media work is dedicated to Jessica Stern to honor her anger.  As we know, all anger is fear.  And for her fear, I felt compelled to channel a spirit based document of encouragement.

The work was initially done in color and then digitally manipulated in sepia, representing the very first such digital enhancement for this artist but artfully renders the colorlessness and powerlessness of true violence. Red rain drops pour from the sky with urgent stamped clouds floating above a prayerful angelic woman attended by cherubs at her feet.

Muted splotches to the right represent a hazy and unclear past, with the word “Impermanence” as a remembrance. The black framed border carries the message, “You may never know why.  You may never know why.  Why.” And the piece is finished off with the author’s name on the lower edge in wax resist, Jessica Stern in white, punctuated by a very living green “angry” in a sea of waves.

an artist's brush inventory

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2010 at 7:29 pm

When I realized the other day that I hadn’t cleared out my brush collection in quite a while, I decided to take a look anew at what my paint brushes were trying to tell me too.  I came away with four major lessons I want to share here.

Lesson #1There is nothing like a great wash brush.  I prefer an oval wash brush preferably in a size 10 or larger. The royal soft grip (acrylic in photo) feels light and comfortable and the Grumbacher 5/8 (closest to you) although technically a flat brush is superb for background work.  Because I tend to work in smaller pieces with less full-page washes needed, I actually use the #5 Winsor & Newton Sable (farthest from you) and the #6 Robert Simmons the most.  In fact, I like the #6 so much I own two.

Lesson #2 – You’ve got to be able to push the paint around on the substrate.  One of the greatest lessons I learned in watercolor is that you can actually push the pigment from line to line if your timing and your technique are sufficiently established.  I use three non-conventional paint brushes to do this and choose among them depending on the paper.  The #6F Loew Cornell is a Fabric Dye Flat; the 1/2 inch Princeton Angular Shader (middle) is my absolute favorite and a dream for border work; and the 1/2 inch Loew Cornell Mistique works well but is a bit looser.  With the Fabric Dye Flat, you’ve got to be careful with how saturated the paper is because this baby will not only move the pigment, but will tear you a nice little hole while it’s working!

Lesson #3 – Smaller detail brushes are really where the rubber meets the road.  Among my favorites here is a Winsor Newton #1 Rigger; a Robert Simmons #2 round in Sable Blend; a Liquitex #4 Basic Shader; and a Grumbacher #4 Golden Edge Liner.  It really does pay to buy the most expensive brushes you can afford in the most natural materials you can tolerate because they hold up the longest.  I was surprised to learn that I actually use my mid to lower range brushes more than my higher range ones on a day-to-day basis.

Lesson #4 – Very expensive specialty brushes rarely get used, but when you need one, you need one.  I have a couple of fan brushes, pastel smudging brushes, and stippling brushes for stencil work that I doubt have ever really seen the light of day.  Painting is like having a garage – you need the right tool to do the job.  And when I need that fan brush, then I pull it out – but that is rare.  It’s important to keep your brushes clean and organized (I have tried organizing both by size and by round vs. flat) and it’s necessary to keep them at the ready.  If I have to get up from the work table to grab a different brush, odds are I won’t because I’m usually pressed for time.  Within lesson #4 is “watch for the sales”.  Paint brushes can be a pricey investment – if you watch for sales, you’ll be ok.  Share your brush stories with us, we’d love to hear them!

the importance of women signing art works

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Judith Leyster (featured here in self-portrait, 1630, oil on canvas, national gallery of art, washington dc) completed this very confident, in-your-face self-portrait only to have it often confused to be that of a major painting of Frans Hals.  Even though she is reported to have added a star to the mongram ‘JL’ (Leyster means lodestar), the confusion continued when an art dealer painted over her signature with the signature of Hals (discovered by the Louvre).  

Now here we have Judith who has the added extra pleasure of being in Holland as an artistically gifted painter in the 17th century who stood the better chance for economic success by engaging in painting rather than having her bankrupt father pay a dowry for her.  

So she works her way into the Haarlem guild (as one of a very few women) at the age of 24 and she is thought to have painted this self-portrait as a means to gain full workshop rights and recognized master title credentials within the guild.  To do so meant you had to submit a test piece for review.

Judith not only boldly and laughingly gazes at the viewer with her raised eyebrows and her rosy, jolly cheeks, but she has positioned her painting hand in much the same way the musician (a comparable and competitive field) holds the bow of his violin.  This is a bold, life-like depiction of confidence and self-assuredness not previously rendered by a woman artist.  Leyster, who lived all of 51 years, has left us about 20 (give or take a few) known surviving works – many which have been rescued from false attribution.

Here she is with “Dos Ninos con un Gato” or “Two Children with a Cat” rendered mid-life in 1631.  Judith was a modern-day woman stuck in the wrong age.  With a career, a husband, and FIVE children, she managed to gain and keep acclaim and notoriety.  So women, remember your days of Double Dutch and the example set by Judith Leyster and sign (and date) your works.  

Life’s hard enough as it is without someone else taking credit for your talent when you’re long gone.  Particularly if you’re working in close concert with someone with a similar range and style, you want to be sure to offset your works in some distinctive way.  The relationship between Leyster and Hans was familial, complicated, mentor-student, man-woman, and lets face it – so many of our relationships today are indeed very complex and/or love-hate.  This makes it all the easier to confuse works of the same time period even if there’s no crooked dealer involved.

art product review: collage paper organization

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2010 at 9:28 pm

So I was sharing the other day about my four-year search for a method to organize papers and ephemera for collage work.  I had tried everything from scraps in drawers, to scraps in boxes, to scraps in 3-ring binders, and then I even got to the point of “what the heck” and would just complete a work based on whatever I had happened to pull out of the drawer.  This was frustrating, time-consuming, and I could never really reflect on what the images I had collected were trying to say to me.

Then came Simply Renee Clip It Up.  It’s so simple and yet so ingenious.  She took the old-fashioned deli grill (written orders on small papers clipped to the cook’s turnstile) and turned it into a method for artists to be able to hang works.  Now I purchased this because lately I’ve been working in art journaling with watercolors and the problem here is one has to complete a background and let it dry before they can proceed.  With the Clip It Up System, I’ll be able to hang dry the works and it won’t busy up my working desk area.  

The image shown above is of the large (15″ ring) which holds 12″ paper square sheets.  Now what I didn’t account for, and I’m not sure what I was thinking at the time (probably giddy over my purchase sale price), is that the paper naturally extends beyond the diameter of the ring, so you’ve really got to allocate about 23″ of desk space for this rotating system to work.  I also bought the top tier which will hold my smaller sheets. 

The problem with being an artist who employs collage in mixed-media works is you’ve got images according to size, to color groupings, to substrate materials, and to themes.  I haven’t worked with the unit long enough yet to know, but what I did do since so many of my scraps are small, is to hang clear cellophane bags from some of the hooks on the top ring which now hold color groups of smaller shards.  You can see the edge of the bags in the image above.  (By the way, I thought I was super smart with this added enhancement and then went to the manufacturer to share my money-making scheme, only to learn someone else had long-ago thought the same thing.  Necessity IS the mother of invention.  Guess again, Sherlock!)  I also allocated 1/3rd of the entire unit both top and bottom rungs for hanging-to-dry works.

I’m really anticipating a surge in my art production, an increased effective use of studio time, and most importantly a renewed concentration on my thematic interests of women, art, and empowerment for the entire globe.  Such a simple thing has truly given me a breath of fresh air and all those flat file drawers this stuff used to sit in are now clear for the future addition of more art supplies.  If you don’t like this circular rack system (and you do need the table room to support it) then you might be interested in some of the horizontal hanging racks they have.  

Here’s a lady who liked her top unit so much, she painted it pink and added floral embellishments (I think she’s a crafter, quilter, or fiber artist.)  You won’t see me doing THAT, but hopefully you will be seeing very shortly some enhanced works courtesy of my new Clip It Up.  Now why didn’t I think of that????

great american scrapbook convention trends & notes – june 2010

In Uncategorized on June 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Today I attended my first Great American Scrapbook Convention held at the Dulles Expo. Approximately 3/4 of the convention hall was filled with every sticker, paper, embellishment and rubber stamp you could ever imagine.  As for me, I think I finally solved a four-year dilemma on how to properly and efficiently organize small collage pieces (I’ve tried drawers, binders, color grouping – etc.) with a product by Simply Renee – I’ll be posting about it separately.  So I am very excited about the time I will save, having a visual system at the ready, and knowing what I have on hand all at once – maybe this is the kind of thing that had women in the pre-opening line just giddy with excitement!  I also picked up an acid free, archival safe, paper envelope for $2.50 from Cropper Hopper.  This will function as a traveling art journal envelope folder that’s just great for small pages and a couple of pens.  

Here are some links from show vendors I particularly liked. Chantilly’s ScrapbooksPlus; Laser Cut Designs; Scrap Dazzle; Stamps by Judith; Impression Obsession;  Scrapbook Girl had the most adorable  apparel and accessories for scrapbookers (if you’re into wearing scrapbook t-shirts); DSLR Workshops; Carolina Crafting Concepts; Stamp On It; and Magenta.    What I was surprised NOT to find was a host of vintage postcards, antique papers or other historic labels and interesting ephemera and it seems like the scrapbook people and the ephemera society people would get along very well.  

I was also surprised that given the majority of the participants were women, that there weren’t more booths dedicated to jewelry – or given that scrapbooking goes together with photography, more camera retailers.  Overall, I thought buying seemed moderate to strong with no sign that paper will be giving way to digital any time soon.  Vendors had a good cross-range of low to high-end products and many featured sales or show specials. A vendor from Arizona had wood mounted stamps 3 for $5 and tons of other embellishments at about $1 each.  

What is readily apparent is that stickers and 12×12 papers are becoming increasingly complex with multilayered coloration and themes and are being increasingly sold with partner patterns. I saw a LOT of pink, green, flowers and traditional feminine themes – the one vendor that really struck out with his own niche carried geolocation products like state themes, maps, travel signage and foreign places.  If one were into map art, you easily could have dropped a couple of hundred with him and stocked up for life.   Other items of interest included a vendor selling a t-shirt with an image of a camera and a slogan “You can’t escape the MAMA-razzi”  what a hoot – not sure if Lauren or Sebastian came to mind first!  This vendor below cleverly handed out little sticky blue and orange butterflies to all passers by!

lange to judge girls inner beauty pageant

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm

I was thrilled to be contacted recently by one of the Judge Coordinators for Nationals Incorporated Pageants (featured on UPN).  Although many know how I deeply feel pageants are:  

a)  very truly the definition of “UGLY”;

b) an affront to Feminism and a stab in the heart to Gloria;

c) disrespectful to women’s rights causes and struggles worldwide; and

d) probably one of the major reasons little Jon Benet is no longer with us,

this company produces pageants for girls between the ages of 7-19.  Girls are reportedly judged on their INNER BEAUTY to help build self-esteem and self-confidence. A pageant will be produced in the DC area.  Inner Beauty?  Now that’s something I can live with.  If a young woman can be cultivated to grow the harvest of confidence, then I’m there to see her through.  My only question is the scale – how you measure inner beauty for a 7-year old versus one of a 19-year old? The image below is a photo I took December 2009 of “inner beauty” at the Gaylord Hotel.  I call her “Glancing Mona” and I love her because she’s much more concerned with her OWN interests, then that which others are taking in HER.  Now that’s beauty.