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Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

two hour personalized & easy door hanger art project

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I had a bunch of paper goodies I wanted to share with Lauren, so we took two hours last evening to create a crafty arts project!  I had seen these very inventive, personalized door hangers in several magazines and thought the idea would be great for Lauren’s new place in Brooklyn and for my studio in Alexandria.  So we took a couple of hours to bring out all the scissors, paper, lace, glue, markers, stickers and laser paper cuts.  Basically, you start with your shaped chipboard (we used two different designs), cover it with paper background of your choice, and then embellish it as you will.  It took about an hour to make the choices and then another hour to glue them all on and attach the hanging ribbon.  In the end, the door hanger is supposed to hang from the door knob much like a “do not disturb sign”.  These are really popular in women’s studios now, many women have signs about art, or containing their name, or hours of operation, or inspirational sayings.  

Lauren had a gorgeous deep purple motif going, but her indecision (to her credit, I popped the whole thing on her out of the blue) caused her to second guess her choices.  She kept saying she likes to take her time with art decisions, she didn’t want to “mess up”, and she wasn’t sure what she was doing.  It helped me to understand that she likes more time to think about and prepare for her activities, even though this was supposed to be an easy fun, quick bonding exercise.  I had to keep encouraging her to tell herself positive messages, “I’m not sure what I’m doing, but what I’ve got looks great” or “This is all new, my aesthetic eye will guide me”.  I was relieved though that she did grab the green leaf ribbon which I had intuitively purchased with her in mind. Guess moms get it right SOME of the time.

I had the advantage of having seen some of the door hangers before, so for me this was a quick and easy.  I went with a vertical orientation topped off with a medallion (which I made) containing a cross, and enhanced at the bottom with my children’s initials, LKT and SNL. It wasn’t very “artsy”.  More like “traditional and safe” for a first attempt.  My spacing wasn’t right (this continues to be a theme because I am too lazy to measure).  I also struggled with attaching the ribbon and wished I had picked up a light blue to bring out Sebastian’s initial’s frame a bit more.  I had a tough time deciding whether to attach ribbon to the front or back or punch holes with an awl or what.  Anyway, the whole thing is now hanging on my studio door!  Starting at 9 pm, prep work, design, clean up and photos and we were done by 11 pm sharp. 

alis volat propriis: she flies with her own wings

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Sebastian was outside learning how to drink from the garden hose and trying to understand why the water from the hose was okay to drink, while the water in his pool was not.  I started thinking about water as the source of life, and the love of simple things like a garden hose.  When I began this piece, the orientation of the page was vertical and the hose appeared on the lower right (next time I would add more hose and curve it across the top of the page).  As I was about midway through, I remembered back to the gorgeous gardens and interiors of the Greenbrier (which we visited this winter) and was going to name this work “missing west virginia’s greenbrier”.  In the end, I came up with “alis volat propriis” or “she flies with her own wings” which seemed right for this butterflies-in-motion piece – all done to continue my experimentation with transfers and what I’m learning is much like life – less is more. Obviously, I had a bit of a naming convention problem and didn’t properly plan the spacing for my letters.  Trial and error’s the best teacher, they say.  I just have to add a photo of one of the conservatories that blew me away while on the resort’s property.

counter crescendo: she played so beautifully

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 9:36 am

In this piece I am continuing to play with layering in various forms.  Here we have grid work on the upper right and lower left that’s placed over a watercolor base and then enhanced with small floret transfers.  I began the piece with the first layer of writing on the left side, “she played so beautifully, so sweetly, so skillfully, so carefully, she played”.  I think I would have liked to emphasize the red of the dress a bit more.  I was trying to tie in a theme of music as being natural to the ear similar to the buzz of the bee near the rose.  The weight of the piece is in the lower left, with an attempt at light airiness at the top right.  

hands that held me have let go my hennaed heart

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2010 at 2:11 pm

It is so critical to regularly view the work of other artists.  In this month’s Art Journaling, Ingrid Dijkers (whose work I have also long admired in 1000 Artist Journal Pages) features a pair of red-hot hands one each with polka dots and vining scrolls. The work is brilliantly done as a popping foreground and I wanted to try taking the hand with which I create art and recessing it a bit against the beauty of a classic auburned mom & baby.  

I’m working on a series about mothers, motherhood, and all that means for an upcoming art submission call in July or August for a women’s collaborative.  This is my first real attempt on the subject and it features three very cool personalized components:  a) an antique, vintage (reproduction) birth announcement from 1912 called “cradle roll”; b) my artist initials carefully embedded in the middle finger; and c) the phrase “Hands that held me have let go my hennaed heart” with my birth year and various important family dates on the left border.

When I began the piece, I had intended to make a statement about the Arab world, the Middle Eastern bride, and the establishment of the Arabian family.  I was going to dedicate it with a phrase that read something like, “For this I got married” — I’ve got another work you’ll be seeing shortly that has a fantastic image matching this phrase and I can’t seem to shake it from my consciousness.  It’s funny as you’re working along – especially when trying something new, how here and there it can an unexpected turn that is much more meaningful in the end.  

Thanks to Ingrid.  Next up is the feet!!  🙂 

we slept under the stars: july 4th independence day

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm

I had forgotten how very fun sleeping outside can be, if you ignore the fireworks, the bugs, the crazy and unpredictable homeless people in the neighborhood (my girlfriend who owns a Chinese eatery was attacked recently), or the heat/condensation in the tent.  

The joy of a 3-year old waving his little flashlight around or wanting to hear ghost/monster/robot stories before he sprawls out comfortably – taking up 3/4’s of the available sleeping space is absolutely priceless.  

When I was living in the southwest (we don’t talk about that time period) I use to marvel at the stars.  When there’s nothing but desert, there’s nothing else to do.  It was a joy last night to see them again – to REALLY see them again. In fact, yesterday was a win-win.  For those that have followed the cardinal story, he showed himself again on the telephone wires for about 20 minutes.

Think trying to execute this mixed-media work is easy with a toddler?  The red/white marks on the Geisha girl’s left eye are actually splatter paint from my son’s dabber marker as he was creating next to me.  Yes, we roll like that.  

a day to remember: never again ever

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Not all days are good ones, and it’s especially discouraging when and if the day marks a commemorative event.  I was recently reading an article about an artist who on turning 60, remembered back to her disastrous 30th “party” where she was given rugs by her husband!  

This recent work is a summer-inspired piece with watercolor, marker, stickers, and a cutout collage sunflower in yellows, greys, and greens.  It has a tie-dyed effect with radiating sun beams.  It reads in circular around the flower, “It wasn’t what I thought.  I couldn’t believe they watched the game and dude was out of sorts, no one touching his toys. One child put his hand in the cake. No one left with any treats and I didn’t even get a slice of pizza.  And a week later, we still hadn’t opened all the presents.  So I told them both for all my effort, all my decoration, all my planning, and energy, and attempts to smile, never again ever…and the others never even called.”  

Around the inner perimeter of the sunflower is a transfer that reads, “A day to remember.  What a day.  Important Event.  Day of Fun.”  Let this be a lesson to you, and remember the words of John Steinbeck.

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless.

We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. 

what's new in rubber stamps, ephemera, collage sheets and more

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm

I’ve been doing a bit of poking around in the marketplace and wanted to share nine top sites for art supplies in rubber stamps (I prefer wood mounts), inks, embellishments, ephemera, collage sheets and tons of other great art tools:

Stamp DivaShibori DragonManto FevStampafe100 Proof PressAlpha StampsB Sue BoutiquesVolcano Arts; and the effervescent Art Chix Studio.

art/work on kindle for pc

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I finished my first Kindle for PC electronic book today and had selected the non-fiction piece “Art/Work” by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber.  In general, I found reading electronically to be much faster than on paper, it’s amazing what you can skim read when you’re used to looking at a video monitor all day.  I really liked Kindle for PC (which is a free 5-minute download to your PC, then you just buy the book you want and it appears on your “shelf”) and the options for bookmarking, note taking, and other tools.  I disliked the non-ability to copy over a cute quote or photo into Facebook, but I guess that gets into copyright infringement.

What I also really disliked about the Kindle for PC is the pricing at $13.99 or so was set higher than the ability to buy the book new at $11.53 via the Amazon site – I thought technology was supposed to be cheaper.  And it also so happens that early this morning at Barnes & Noble, I got a 20% on-line discount coupon which means I could have saved even more by buying it there.  It is a great feeling though, to read and know you’ve not killed any more trees and you saved yourself the cost of storing yet another book in your in-home library, not to mention the gas to get to the bookstore. 

The Kindle for PC has a couple of options for visibility and ease of reading – you can change background color and font size – my eyesight is aging (although the optometrist tells me I have the eyes of a 41-year old — LOVE HIM!!) and I only had to go up a couple of notches – there was still plenty of leeway for LARGE print.  All in all a very enjoyable experience and again, a very fast one. 

Bhandari’s created a good BEGINNER’s guide to the art market, centered on legal considerations, complete with several useful forms such as an artist’s inventory or an agent agreement.  She provides some useful reference material, but again, this is a BEGINNER’s book to navigating galleries, shows, fairs, and general sales.  I still like, especially for mid-career or established artists, the wide variety of artist resource books available through Allworth Press.  Bhandari’s kept the tone light and easy and breezy – maybe that helped with the speed reading.