Monday, December 19, 2016

12/19/16


My class with Jane Davies has come to an end and as usual it was intense and satisfying. The only problem I had was keeping up with it due to the holiday season and a variety of things pulling me in several directions. But that is OK since I downloaded all the videos as well as the lessons so I can go back and do the exercises that I missed at any point in time.

One big takeaway from the class was the idea of making flat color samples in tones and shades. Normally I make my painted papers with lots of textures, stamps etc. This time I made flat colors. It was wonderful having so many colors to choose from and being able to audition the colors before hand. When I was in design school we used something called "Color Aid Paper". This was like making your own color aid paper with all your favorite colors! Really a great project and wonderful to collage with.

We leave this weekend for Arizona for the Christmas school vacation week. My grandson has been sick with a really bad cough for the last 10 days so today I took him to the doctor. He doesn't have bronchitis or anything so she said he was good to travel. It would be better if he stopped coughing before we get on the plane though! I can imagine all the dirty looks we will be getting but go we must!

So Merry Christmas everyone and a very Happy New Year! See you in 2017!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

12/13/16


I always find it interesting how and when inspiration hits me. Sometimes like a ton of bricks.

There is an artist I follow on Facebook whose work I really love. She is a master of color. Her name is Barbara Marks. Of course I can never paint the way she does. With bright color I mean. My colors are always muted and I have learned to live with that! But one day she posted her test strips. Of course her test strips were as colorful as her paintings but the thing that inspired me was the actual painted strips of colors. I immediately began ripping up sheets of water color paper into 3" x 9" strips. And then I let loose with my strata of colors! When they were done I had all these lovely strips of colors......what to do with them? Of course I can never be finished until something representational is somewhere on my work. To me, my work isn't finished until that happens! So I added some collage work to them and that seemed to complete them.

I like them. I would love to go larger with them some time but perhaps the beauty is in the small size. Or maybe I will put some together as a triptych..... Possibilities are here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

12/9/16




This is a smallish series of collages I just made. They are actually postcard size, 4" x 6". I consider them to be like sketches and perhaps at a later date I will make something larger from them. I like working this small though. It is challenging design-wise.

Anyway, getting very cold here now. We head out to Arizona on Christmas Eve. Of course we are all very much looking forward to it. It has been another 4 months since we were last there. Sometimes it feels like a life time.....I am excited to have my best friend from high school coming out to stay with us. She has never been out to Arizona and she is looking for a place to retire.

Stay warm and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

11/18/16

Inflorescence

After what turned out to be a very depressing week with the election of a highly unqualified person to the highest office in the land, I found I could not concentrate on making art.

I am so glad that I ended up taking a couple of online classes this week which really helped me stay focused even though I did not feel like painting at all. I am just so sad for our country.

I made this small collage in Dar James's online class called "Cut Paper Collage." I also took her short workshop on hand painting paper. I just loved the class. I took it through Carla Sonheim's web site. Honestly of all the online classes I take, Carla's are the most fun and inspiring. All her teachers are amazing and talented. It was just what I needed to help me get through this.

Friday, October 28, 2016

10/28/16

Much Needed Rain
I think if this election isn't over soon I am going to go insane. I try not to watch but I can't help myself. It is like watching a train wreck, It really is.

Thanks goodness I have my artwork to keep me from going completely over the edge. I am having a lot of fun recently with a variety of techniques. Next week I start my online class with Jane Davies so I am very excited about that. I always enjoy her classes and I find that she helps me change things up in my work. Always a good thing!

Here are some smallish ideas from my sketchbook. I love working in my sketchbook. I am much looser when I work in there. I wish somehow I could transfer that feeling of looseness to my larger pieces.





Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

10/22/16

Circle in the Sand
Well, here we are nearing the end of October. Soon all the crazy will be over and we can all get back to our lives hopefully. I know, for me, it cannot come soon enough. So much vitriol everywhere. My head is ready to explode. I can't even stand to go on Facebook any more with all the politics.

Anyway, the art and my swimming keeps me from going completely off the rails.

Speaking of art, the other day while I was hopping around the internet, reading all my blogs (I must subscribe to over 200 of them) but I don't always read all of them. I pick and choose by what grabs my attention. I learned a wonderful new technique from Caterina Giglio. The technique is monoprinting on aluminum foil. It is pretty simple. Just tape foil (the non stick kind) to a piece of cardboard and add some paint and print! You get some amazing patterns! All the papers on these two pieces were done on the foil plate.
Reflections
It is very different than printing on the gel plate. A nice change really. I like it especially when the foil is new. You get these snowflake patterns where the paint did not adhere to the foil. After a while the paint builds up and you get a different look.

I am also having so much fun with my circle punches! I want them in every size now! Oh dear.....

Have a nice week!

Monday, October 17, 2016

10/17/16

Red Rising
I have to be honest. Sometimes I am intimidated by color. I don't know why. At those times I revert to black and white with maybe one little spot of color for contrast. Like red. I like red with black and white. It is easy and it always works. And sometimes I need easy.

In a few weeks I start a new online class with Jane Davies, which is about color. It is called
Beyond the Color Wheel: Advanced Color Studies. I am looking forward to it as I am hoping it might help me get over some of  my color "issues"! 

That's it for today! Have a great week!

Friday, October 7, 2016

10/07/16

Gears
I have been trying out some new color combinations over the past few days. It feels good to change things up sometimes. I used colors such as Paynes Grey, Van Dyke Brown, Transparent Iron Oxide and Titan Buff. I also bought some paper punches. The kind people use for scrapbooking and card making. The are nice for making perfect circles and especially the tiny little circles. When I punched out the smaller circles  I thought they looked very much like gears. This piece has an industrial feel which is quite different for me and my usual flower/plant imagery. I have been trying to be more abstract but abstraction does not come easy to me.

Here are a couple others in that same color palette:

Lotus Flower




Moon Over Cactus
We have a really long weekend coming up. Not sure I like the idea that the kids are out of school for 3 days next week. I get it that they are off on Columbus Day and I get it that they are off for Yom Kippur on Wednesday, but Tuesday also? Are they kidding? I am not too happy about that. Oh well.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

9/28/16

Bay of Poetry
Yesterday on Facebook, a friend made a lovely comment about my work. She said that I put joy into my work.  I thought that was so nice of her to say that. It is not the first time someone has said that about my work. I never really thought about it like that since I am not always that joyful when I am working. I am glad it comes through that way though.

This week I took a few smallish online classes with Julie Fei Fan Balzer. I just love her method of teaching. She is so funny but you really learn a lot from her. I took a short class on color. As you know I have been painting for many years but this class was a game changer for me. It was a beginner class on color. Of course we made color wheels and value scales as is always the case in learning about color. But here is where the game changing happened for me. When I first began painting in the 1970's I worked only in watercolor. In watercolor there are two colors you never use. Black and white. Yes, I know right? If you want black you mix a rich dark. My favorite go to was alizarin red and viridian green. That made a lovely dark. If you wanted white, you just let the paper color come through. That was it.

When you paint with acrylics, black and white are not only used but they are NEEDED! I have found it a real struggle to use them though.

I have studied how to make tinting scales (adding white to a color) and shading scales (adding black to a color). That helped me somewhat but I was still having trouble making my colors work well together. And then I took her class and I learned about making tonal colors. This is where you add grey to your colors. I wondered how on earth adding grey to a color would work but it does work and really well I might add. Some artists call this using a "mother color". The color you use when added to all your colors makes them work well together.

The cerulean blue in the collage above was created using this "mother color". It just helps take the edge off the colors right out of the tube without creating a muddy mess as sometimes happens when you add complimentary colors.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

9/25/16

Blooming Wildly
It only just occurred to me that I have been blogging for 9 years. Since September of 2008. Over that time many things in my life have changed and those of you who have followed me during all this time will know this. I started blogging when I was working full time and making jewelry on the side. Now, of course, I am retired and making art again instead.

Through all of that time the blog has been a diary of sorts. An online journal. A constant presence in my life. I should really figure out a way to print it out. I seem to remember that there is a way to do that. It would take me a long time but it could be worth it to have an actual physical book as well as online. After all who knows what could happen to it. It could be gone in a flash! I have heard of that happening to some fellow bloggers.

I have never been very good at keeping a real journal but I seem to be much better at this one! I don't know why really. Writing is writing, yes?

Thank you to all of you who have followed this blog through it all and at times given me support and advice when I needed it the most. I know that I am very bad at responding to all of your comments. Please know that I read them, and always enjoy and appreciate them. I will try and get better about responding to them but no promises OK????

Have a great week and stay warm!


Thursday, September 22, 2016

9/22/16


I am having a bit of creative block right now. Well at least on good paper that is. My sketchbook is going great guns however! I am hoping that some of these rough sketches will somehow translate into more complete work. But for now I am filling my sketchbook with these small collages and getting lots of new ideas. I seem to be in a stripe phase right now. I like the way they look when they are going in two directions next to each other.

I have also been making stamps to paint my papers with and that has been a relaxing bit of fun for a change.

Here are a few more from the sketchbook:




This looks like some kind of alien to me!

I love these little flower thingies.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

9/17/16

Front cover
I recently had the wonderful opportunity of designing a lovely little book for an old friend and fabulous photographer Maureen Neville. You can see the front cover in the above photo.

Maureen and I first met when we were both living in Key West, Florida back in the 1970's. She has always had a real sense of adventure which I have always admired since I am such a homebody and rarely venture beyond the neighborhood! As long as I have known her she has always had a camera in her hand!  At one point we both were living in upstate NY and even though I have moved away from there, we have managed to keep in touch and now with Facebook we are even better able to do that.

You may remember that before I retired I was a graphic designer for a couple of text book publishers. Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Education. I loved my job very much and sometimes I do miss it even though I love painting right now. When Maureen told me that she had been trying to create a book of her photography on Shutterfly but was having some problems with their web site, I couldn't help but jump at the chance to help out an old friend since it was my field of expertise and I do love making books!

 Shutterfly does use very good quality paper unlike some of the other online publishers. Their software does take some getting used to and is not really very user friendly. I think they want you to use their designers and that is OK for snapshots of kids and pets and such but not for serious artwork as her photographs are. We used Dropbox as a place where she could place the photos (she lives in Pennsylvania now and I live in Boston and so we were working remotely).  Dropbox works very well for that since the photos were too large to send via email.

Here are a couple of interior pages from the book:


Interior page (recto)

Interior page (recto)
You can find Maureen's lovely photos on her blog The Neville Lens: Pictures and Words.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/12/16

Earth Layers
I usually find myself working in small series. After a few pieces, I can usually tell when it is time to put a series to bed. At least for a while. I have been known to revisit a series but once it is over it is usually over.

This week I had quite a bit of trouble figuring out where to go next. When that happens I usually watch video tutorials until I see something that gives me inspiration. I discovered a video by
Jane Davies on working in a stripe motif so I thought that I might give that a try.

This was the result which I like very much. I am hoping that I can work this series for a while but we will see if it is sustainable or if it leads elsewhere.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

9/3/16

Passing Through the World
I have returned from Tucson. It is always hard to come back to reality. At least this reality. There are so many things I want to be doing out there. Number one of course is setting up my studio. I can't bring much in the way of art supplies onto the plane. So I end up bringing gel pens, crayons, and a sketchbook. I wanted to bring some collage materials but then I would need to bring medium which is NOT allowed on the plane. I did bring a glue stick and made some small collages in my sketchbook but the glue stick does not adhere that well and I can't do much with it. Basically they were just collaged sketches. I thought of buying some supplies for out there but it just seems like a waste since I am never out there for long enough periods to really utilize them. And I have so many art supplies here already. So I will just have to keep doing what I am doing for now until the move when I can ship all my stuff out there. I do try and always leave something there each time. This time I left my Caran D'Arche neocolors out there. Plus a blank sketchbook and some pens.

It is very hard for me living in two places. Especially when you really are not a two places kind of person. As an artist, I just want to go into my same studio every day and do the work.

Anyway, yesterday I made this collage which is a little bit different than my usual collage. It is created from only cut pieces of paper. No painted background this time.

I have been enjoying making patterned paper using gesso for texture.You can do some very interesting mark making with gesso. When it is dry, I scrape paint onto the paper and it gets trapped in the marks and makes them look quite lovely and interesting.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone......

Saturday, August 27, 2016

8/27/16

Sunset in Canyon View

This view from my home in Tucson never gets old.

After living for so many years in the Florida Keys, I never thought I would ever find a place that I could love as much as I did that place.

But I have. The desert has gotten into my bones. I love everything about it. Even the heat in August. There are always so many things to see. I could watch the road runners and lizards all day.

When I die, I want my ashes sprinkled at the base of a saguaro.

In 22 months I will be living here full time.

Friday, August 12, 2016

8/12/16

Pink Collage
In one week we will be on our way out to Arizona for 10 relaxing days at our home in Tucson. We are all looking forward to it. My grandson has been working hard all summer as a camp counselor  and he is especially looking forward to a restful time with no small children to look after.  Of course it goes without saying he will enjoy sleeping late as well!

It has been 4 months since we have been out there. Too long really.

Recently I unearthed my gelatin plate in order to get some interesting painted papers for collage work. I love the serendipitous nature of the gel plate. I am working a bit differently with it this time. I am not trying to make a piece of art with it. Just painted papers. It is fun and relaxing.

Well, that's it for now! See you next week from Arizona!



Saturday, July 30, 2016

7/30/16

Summer Robe
I bet you already know where I am going in a few weeks. Anytime I start to get really homesick for my desert home, I start making art that shows my true feelings!

I struggled with this background all day long. First making it lovely, then making a disgusting muddy mess and then making it lovely again! A lovely stormy, monsoon-y sky. I am always amazed at how if I persevere long enough I am usually able to rescue a gross mess of paint and transform it into something lovely. And this one became a horrifying mess if you can believe it!

Many artists suggest working on more than one piece at a time for that very reason but I cannot seem to do that. I obsess over one painting until I can make it work! Painting over and over again with brayer, brush and knife until I finally get a background I like. Then the real challenge comes with the collage elements. I try to make things abstract and some times I succeed but this piece had a mind of it's own as you can see! The desert won.

Have a lovely week and turn off the news!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

7/23/16

Sleeping Journey
It is the end of week 4 of camp already. Only 4 weeks left. Then we get to go out to Arizona for 10 whole days! Of course I am already excited about that. We get to go for ten days this time since that is the amount of time between the end of camp and the beginning of school. Argh school. Let's not go there. Walgreens is already stocking up on school supplies. Nooooooooo.

I can't wait to see all my lizards and other wildlife! And the rains. The glorious rains and lightening storms. Last summer we spent a lot of time watching the storms. They are amazing in every sense of the word. And Mount Lemmon. I can't wait to go up there and ride the ski lift to the top. One of my favorite summer activities.

I have been very faithful about making a collage every, single day. This one is a little bit larger than my usual small works. It is 11" x 11". I am trying to go a little bigger but there is something nice about the small ones too.

Well, enjoy your week!

Friday, July 15, 2016

7/15/16

I have been making quite a few of these rather smallish collages. They are fun and instructive and since they are so small, I don't waste a lot of time if they don't come out well.

They are a good distraction from all the horror in the world and the horror that will come next week in Cleveland.

It has been very hot here and I am mostly inside in the AC. A rarity for me but when it is hot like this the city air is quite putrid.

Here are a few more:


Saturday, July 9, 2016

7/9/16

Zen Collage
We had a lovely weekend in Maine over the fourth of July. It was really windy on the lake but we did eat lots of our favorite foods including lobster, lobster and lobster......

I came home inspired as I usually do when I go away. I have been painting a lot using a printing brayer. I love how you never know what you are going to get but you can pretty much guarantee an interesting mark making session. I think the pieces on either side of this collage look like mountains. I could not paint that if I tried but the brayer gives it to you and then some!

I have also been binge watching Jane Davies videos! I swear that woman is the most generous artist with her art tutorials. I always learn something new no matter how many times I watch them. I found one I hadn't seen before on making a batch of celadon. These two below are samples of my celadon experiments:






Tuesday, June 28, 2016

6/28/16


It is hard to believe that June is nearly over already! We have been invited to Maine for the weekend of the 4th of July so that should be a nice little get away.

I have been trying to make a new collage every day. They are smallish so it is doable. It keeps me in the creative mindset anyway.

My grandson is busy working at camp now. He likes being a counselor and I am happy about that. I just read somewhere that teens these days aren't working at summer jobs as much as in the past. I think it is a great thing for helping them gain maturity. I can't imagine letting him sit around all summer playing video games. That would not be good.

I hope everyone has a lovely July 4th! See you next week!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

6/21/16


I have been enjoying collage making lately. It is a great way to practice composition as you can "rehearse" the placement of images as opposed to painting where if it is in the wrong place all you can do is paint over it and over it and wait for the paint to dry etc.

I love moving things around and seeing where the perfect placement is. When they land there, you know it and there is no where else it should go. The sweet spot so-to-speak.

This week will be a bear for driving as my grandson will be going to his camp for orientation as a counselor. Camp is over an hour away and in rush hour, well........He has been going to the camp for many years but this will be his first year not as a camper. I wonder how that will be for him. I know he had wanted the older kids but he is in charge of the first graders. So hopefully it will all work out. And hopefully no head lice as the younger kids usually always get those going around.

Anyway, once camp starts for real next week things should settle down and I won't have to drive since he will take the bus.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

6/14/16







Seth Apter has a new DVD out that turned out to be quite a game changer for me. It is called "Top Ten Collage Principles". As it turns out it could be called Top 10 composition principles since these ideas can all be applied to painting as well.

The DVD is downloadable, which I what I did since I am so impatient to wait for the delivery of things. Anyway, they are the same and once I add it to my itunes playlist I can watch anytime I want to. I watched it through once and then I watched it again while working. There are 10 different small collages that you create. Each one represents one of the "Principles". They are not meant to be finished works of art, just samples in the event you become stuck and are finding it difficult to move forward with a piece. These are just a few of the samples I created from the class. They are each labeled on the back as to which principle they represent.

For $20 you cannot beat the price and Seth is a great teacher. For someone like me who cannot get to classes and workshops all over the world, this DVD was a really great find!

Thanks Seth!

Monday, June 13, 2016

6/13/16


Here is another quick little collage done using only black and white, titan buff and pyrrole red. I am enjoying cutting up these starts from Nancy Hillis's class and using them for collage rather than covering them up with paint.