Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Pity Party

Normally I can handle just about anything that comes at me. I may freak out a bit at first, but then I usually pull it together and march right on. But this year all has fallen apart with my eyes. It started with the summer cataract surgery last June, that lef to major complications – huge eye pressures (like 57), three laser holes for an iridotomy that didn’t work, massive doses of prednisone, and finally an iridectomy to surgically put holes in my left eye to relieve the pressure.

Okay, I dealt with that (blood clots and all as a complication). But in September I fell at school and whacked my head on the back of a bookcase, causing hemora – screw it – bleeding – in the bad eye, and the sight was gone – what little I had there. Neither the cataract doctor nor the retinal specialist can figure out what is going on. Now I’m told my good eye is beginning to deteriorate with borderline glaucoma.

Bleech. After all these years (trust me, a lot) of working on one eye, I am having to come to terms with what further disease might mean. And just as I am really finding my way artistically, as well as taking serious time to create. I notice so much more now that I do regular artist dates. I see textures where I never used to. So I’m not dealing well right now. I will in a couple of weeks, but right now this is throwing me badly. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not quilt or sew or read or surf the web…..

Enough pity – I just needed to get it out. Tomorrow’s Friday – an art weekend ahead! And –

wait for it….

I own a calculus t-shirt! Who knew? With it’s own “Mathematical Advisory” of “graphic content” and “explicit functions.” And I actually know what they mean!!!

Contest Time!

I will preface this by saying I have never done this – either contest or gallery show, so it’s all new! But as you can see from a previous post, I m in need of a title to unite all our work. There are three (and possibly a fourth, who is a photographer) of us putting this together. The only restriction from the park gallery is that the focus has to be Southwestern, which is not a problem at all. And – I want something more exciting than “Southwestern Art.”

That said, we have fiber art from marbled fabrics, digital manipulation of images, both with and without marbling, and some great stand-along photography of the Southwest. You can see some examples here, and you can scroll through older posts. Plus, The Art of Fabric, our website, has examples of fiber art. The image at the top of this post is an example – and the drama is lost on this size! The show isn’t just about marbling, which would simplify our title tremendously, but in the directions some of the marbling is taking us, as well as digital experimentation with Photoshop. We are trying to be unique in the marbling niche, and the digital work seems to be providing that.

But – we also don’t want the show to be exclusively digital marbling. Consequently, we want suggestions. And to the winning suggestion, you will get a four-pack of note cards with original digital marbling images. You get to see some of our new work before too many others do.

So comment away – if there are several title suggestions that are the same, the one submitted first will be judged the winner. I’ll keep an ongoing commentary as we develop the show, piece by piece – even if it is 4 years away. We will be ready!

Additional examples of art work – scroll through the past posts – there is usually some art work that is included in each posting.

Organization Queen!

I have said several times before that I don’t want to miss opportunities this year – I want to market and take advantage of what happens through increased marketing. But- I still need to be able to make art. I can see how a person can get pulled in several directions.

While I did work on some images over the spring break, I also spent a lot of time organizing myself. I figure in this way I can really plan out time for creativity, sewing, digital marbling, and the like. So I’m inviting you along on this organization/creativity journey, with some goodies along the way. Let me know what I am forgetting, and as I share plans, let me know any stumbling blocks. This size of show (even though a small gallery) is new for me.

First up, we have an art show at a small gallery in four years. I know, plenty of time, right? But time goes faster than we think, and there are four of us involved to coordinate. The organizer of the small gallery, attached to a small park, remarked that when she calls people a year ahead of time to set official dates, most say, “So soon?” That won’t be me! I spent about an hour yesterday with beginning planning. I’m the type of person who plans well, trying to anticipate anything and everything that is needed to make an event go smoothly (probably all those years of directing middle school theater!). Here’s the list – let me know what I have forgotten….

* Title for Show – several types of art – announcing a contest tomorrow!
* Framed pieces – fiber and digital
* Alternative hanging – does everything need to be framed?
* Tiles and sizes
* Cards/stationery
* Small prints
* Packaging
* Postcards for advertising
* Brochure for show
* Opening reception – once we have dates
* “Artist Weekends” – meet the artists
* Prices – for everything and how to split costs, sales
* Actual fiber pieces, existing and new
* List of Invites – both of us
* Publicity plan – not too soon to start getting ideas down
* Budget – split two ways
* Business cards – need to be sure have enough
* Websites updated for publicity
* Portfolio – serious update – could work on that now
* Overall timeline and deadlines – what I call backplanning

Other posts you might be interested in:
Marketing 101
Now What?

Nine Blogs I Read Regularly

I wrote in an earlier post about the struggle to balance the need to make art and be creative, along with the need to build a business. If I am going to create, then I have to ensure I don’t get bogged down on the computer – which as we all know is extremely easy to do! So – here’s a list of what I read regularly – for inspiration, humor, and just plain fun:

El Milagro Studio – Anne Lockard, she of the Fiber Pirates, does some pretty amazing church banners. Plus she’s an incredible lady, and I just love hearing about her adventures.

TED – ideas worth spreading. Not really a blog, but this is an outstanding place to see videos on creativity and “ideas worth spreading.” Everything is inspirational.

Enchanted Revelry – I first “met” Tristan on the QuiltArt list, and he’s a theater geek from way back – as am I – but Tristan actually still does theater – and I gave up directing middle schoolers years ago (something about age…). Tristan is into all kinds of arts – and his vintage pictures are fabulous.

The Future Buzz is great to subscribe to – lots of ideas on marketing, plus some great photos. This link is specific to creativity: how to be more creative – it’s one I reread regularly.

The Summer Tomato – upgrading your healthy style. I stumbled on this blog as a result of a blogging class I am taking, and I loved Darya’s crisp, clean photos and healthy eating ideas. This isn’t your “diet” page, but a lifestyle change.

Penelope’s Trunk – this is a link to another specific article: how to build a career as an artist.

Dr. Matt Lyon is a former student, and I was delighted to find he is in alternative medicine. His posts are always thoughtful and thought-provoking.

Learn Me Good is a great way for me to appreciate the humor in our lives as teachers, to celebrate what doesn’t work in the classroom, and to generally keep up-to-date with education and teaching in the blogosphere.

Fiber Arts/Mixed Media – my second social media group, outside of Facebook. Already picked up lots of ideas, as well as some potential art shows to enter this year.

Orange Blossoms

I plan to continue with these, hoping for feedback and some strokes of inspiration. I fell in love with gradients early on in my Photoshop work, once I figured out how to play with them. The effects can be really intriguing, especially if you keep running through the various selections. I’m very partial to the copper gradient, but it made the flowers on this one look very indistinct. There’s something about black and white/gray that is so dramatic. Probably why I love Ansel Adams.

I discovered the fresco filter with an earlier piece and I really like the effect – sort of like water color, but not quite. I had learned that “fresco” was a type of painting done on wet plaster, and then the paint would dry with the plaster and become part of the wall. I love the “vagueness” that comes with this filter. The orange color is also deeper with this image.

I like the dry brush, but not with this image. Nothing really seems different, not a hint of “wow.” But one thing about Photoshop is that you never really know when something will work out. And – the orange washes out….

The crystal filter here is interesting – seen close up, almost as individual pixels, reminds me of the hydrangeas from back East, which I always loved. In terms of fantasy? I think the gradient achieves that, but I’m thinking I’m not done with this set of images….

Applying for a Grant

I am working on applying for an “emerging artist” grant. I determined last weekend that I would make this an extremely productive art summer, as I really would like to not only create more art, but also make some money while doing it. So as I was preparing this application, I came upon my past successes.

“Fish Follies,” juried show, Cordova Art Museum, Cordova, Alaska. “Whales” (digital marbled art); “Swimming Upstream” (digital marbled art), with Suzan Drury, June 2008. I THINK I FORGOT TO BRAG ABOUT THIS!!!!!

“Art of the Sixth Extinction,” WomanKraft Gallery, Tucson, AZ. “Pond;” “Road Not Taken;” “Mandala 1: Core;” “Nature 4: Alaskan Waters.” February 2005. Fiber art.

“Expressions in Textiles” juried show, New Haven, CT, August 2004. “Nature 1: Rock Garden.” Fiber art.

“Fish Follies,” juried show, Cordova, Alaska, August 2004. “Nature 4: Alaskan Waters.” Fiber art.

“Fabric of Legacies” juried show, Fort Collins, CO, July 2004. “Mandala 1: Core.” Fiber art.

Leandro Fabrics Gallery, Tucson, AZ, May 2004, September 2004

Textures Gallery and Studio, Scottsdale, Arizona, November 2004. Solo show.

My World in Black and White, online exhibition, 2003-2004. “Black and White with a Hint.” Fiber art.

My World in Black and White, Ontario Museum of Art and History, California, 2003 – 2004. “Black and White with a Hint.” Fiber art.

Schullenberger Gallery, Jericho, Vermont. Artists’ Showcase, December 2003

There is a gap, and those are the years when the marbling just went to hell – couldn’t marble for anything, and we even had trouble with remnants for eBay. But we are back, and going in different directions. So here’s to adding more to the list!

Blowin’ on the Wind

One of the newsletters I get is from Eric Maisel, and lately he has been writing about creative tourism – visiting a place for more than an attraction, becoming involved in the daily life of the area. I had that experience this weekend.

On Sunday, on the way down from the Grand Canyon through Oak Creek Canyon, we stopped at the overlook leading south into Oak Creek. The park allows vendors from the native tribes in the state, with a permit, to set up and sell their art. At one table this wonderful Navajo began to explain the dream catcher that was part of an ornament I was looking at, including the design around the sphere that told the whole story of the Navaho people. It was beautiful – how could I not buy it after hearing how it was made and what everything meant? Then he proceeded to play a Navajo flute for us. Here we are on this magnificent overlook, wind blowing through our hair and rustling the trees, listening to this music floating away on the wind. I felt tears forming because of the beauty.

Was he a great salesman? Absolutely! But I was entranced and chose to believe it was one of the magnificent serendipitous moments where art touched the soul.

Perspective, Part 3

Some samples of the rooms from the perspective assignment – this first is an incomplete kitchen – this will be fabulous when finished!

This next will be absolutely amazing when finished!

This next room has one of those fancy bead curtains – and you can tell this young lady really is treated like a princess.

This next is part of the assignment on creating and shading boxes – a combination of perspective and texture. You can find the lesson here.

On Making "Parchment"

So I forgot the camera again today. A picture of me ironing paper would have been a priceless record of this art year. I got a recipe on line for making “parchment” paper – crumple up construction paper, smooth it out, do a water-color wash, and then when dry, iron it between newsprint.

It worked. Took a while to get the iron hot enough – I kept inching up the heat, because I had visions of setting a fire in the classroom. Took my time, and it really made a difference in the paper – made it stronger with all the moisture gone, and really made the paper look aged.

Then the kids really got into making copies from online of a medieval alphabet – traced with pencil and then used a thin black pen to outline it. They will start with color on Wednesday. Most of my eighth graders were walking around quite proud of their work.

Fabulous art site to show the kids next week – Chris Jordan – some very interesting environmental messages to his work. Click on his “Running the Numbers” – great blend of math and art!

Camera tomorrow – get it now and put it by the lunch bucket….camera….camera….camera….

Some New Playing Around….

After a great workout at the spa and a nice lazy afternoon, I decided to get involved with some new Photoshop stuff. I am anticipating a visit to a gallery next weekend – sent the letter and DVD off in the mail yesterday – so it’s time to continue making some new work. What follows is the original – and I had a lot of fun adjusting hue on this for a variety of looks.

From here I started with the purple.

Then I wanted to look at some shapes. I am still not happy with the shape library, but I was trying a couple and ended up with a nice stylized piece.

And the final version – at least, it’s final until Suzan works her magic. I tried several others first today, and I wasn’t really happy. This one is close to being a “wow.”

Random Thoughts 2

I decided to skip finishing lesson plans. I get very resentful when I end up spending almost an entire day trying to get ready for the week. I would much rather go and work out – which I did this morning. Here’s my saga – since joining the new spa at the beginning of January, I have really gotten into doing cardio on the elliptical. I have gone from 11 minutes at level 1 to 30 minutes regularly, today almost all of it at levels 4, 5, and 6. I have been feeling great – I went shopping yesterday, and not only did everything fit,my whole profile has changed and I was in to smaller sizes – by one. I am almost ready to move over to the other side of the store, out of women’s.

Physically I have been feeling really good, and I am even enjoying spending more time making myself look better – who knew? All these years I never really did the exercises correctly. Now I am – and loving it. Three new tops and a new pair of pants – just need to hem them. If I could only manage the stress as well….

Art class this week will focus on the kids making Valentine’s cards. We worked on water colors last week, and the kids had a ball. I am pulling out a lot of supplies, and I’ve searched the web for sites related to Valentine’s Day – found a couple of cute projects, how to say “I love you” in 50 languages, and an Arabic love story to read. Should be an easy couple of days.

My Somali girls are so into color – they are so free with the tools and supplies – they just want to create and use color! Most of my eighth graders don’t want to be in the class – they would rather cook – and are resisting trying anything. My seventh graders, on the other hand, are doing really well.

We did the edible color wheels last week – everyone enjoyed them, and I sent them on to other classes (including mine) on a bit of a sugar high! Got some good looking color wheels, and definitely an understanding of mixing colors. Again the Somali girls loved seeing what happened.

Art seems to be the only thing keeping me focused and sane….

Random Thoughts

It is a glorious Sunday morning here in the Old Pueblo – getting up to the low 70s today. Which is why we live here – sure beats the snow on the weathercam for Burlington. So I’m going to ramble before I start my lesson plans.

First up from the weekly newsletter from Eric Maisel

“It turns out that the United Nations organization UNESCO launched a Creative Cities Network initiative in 2004 with an eye to promoting the social, economic and cultural development of cities in both the developed and the developing world. Cities apply to the network and pledge to promote their local creative scene and uphold UNESCO’s cultural diversity mission. UNESCO considers their applications and, for those it approves, designates the applicant a Creative City in one or another of several different categories.

Apparently 20 or 30 cities have applied so far and Aswan, Egypt and Santa Fe have been designated UNESCO Cities of Craft and Folk Art, Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Montreal have been designated UNESCO Cities of Design, Popayan, Colombia has been designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Edinburgh has been designated a UNESCO City of Literature, and Bologna and Seville have been designated UNESCO Cities of Music.”

I think that is very cool – countries and cities specifically designated as art stops. Here is Tucson lots of people feel it is an artist’s mecca, but I so disagree. Maybe if all you want is western art, specifically paintings, but I consider the area a wasteland artistically. Tubac at least has a variety of galleries, but still pretty western-art oriented. Tucson does have a spectacular glass studio, and there are some interesting galleries, but overall western.

When we visited Santa Fe on gallery row, there was so muc eye vandy – a good smattering of other things besides western art, although the western art was spectacular – huge sculptures that were available as public art. Our library has a weird red “thing” that no one has really figured out.

The Pima Arts Council tries, but I think it is dominated by those folks who consider themselves “artists and no one else is.” Sheesh, I hate that. I’m tired of finding that in quilt stores.

That said, the Gem show is in town, and spent a good chunk of time last Sunday looking. Bought some great red jasper and a few other things, but the jasper stands out in my mind. Found some great stuff for Ali – I do have the eye for what she likes!

Geometric Drawings

The kids are finishing up another line assignment – filling a sheet with nothing but geometric shapes until they have something they like, then adding color to the shapes.

It is really interesting to see where the kids decide to put color. Some go all out, and some do just touches. Some really get into it, and some just want to be done with the assignment. The framing was interesting – I decided to do that after each assignment, to value their work ahead of time. One or two of the kids really get creative with the framing!


I got some pictures of the kids’ doodles. This has been a really successful assignment, getting the kids able to let go a little bit with their pencils and actually create a work of art. First they spend 20-30 minutes just doodling on a sheet of paper. Then they have to use their math skills to create a small frame. They move the frame around until they find a spot they really like, glue the frame in place, and then add color to their doodle.

You can see the variety of doodles the kids have done. This first one shows the whole process.

The display area isn’t great – all the left-over lockers – but the work looks very good – and the kids are proud of what they have done.

This next is a doodle by my really great art student – I gave him some supplies today – he has an incredible natural talent.

Room with a View

I finally remembered the digital camera today, so I could document some of the kids’ work, as well as take pictures of my art room. We still have a lot of work to do, with finishing cleaning and storing, but we are making progress! You can see all the windows, with some really great northern light – this is this morning about 9 AM.

You can see the clay room, with the wheel and kiln. I don’t know how to use either of them, so I have incentive to learn how to throw a pot.

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