31 October 2008

My Featured Artist Show!

I have had people ask about my Featured Artist Exhibit, so I am posting photos of it here. This was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Just six months ago -- maybe even three months ago! -- I wouldn't have been able to show my art in such a public "Look At Me!" way.  Thanks to the constant encouragement and support of my family and my mentor, Sandy Davies, and of the people who read my blog and leave positive comments, I've grown to the place where I can do something like this. There is a big art festival in about 10 days and Sandy is encouraging me to set up a small booth. I don't know if I'm ready for that, though!

The above picture is my little corner. On the right, hanging from the ceiling, are three strands of ATCs. There are 45 ATCs total! Lots of hard work, there. Some of them are more simple than others and some are more sophisticated, but all of them are labors of love. You know, how I feel about the art form. 

I hung 14 pieces and had one table top item. Three pieces sold. Yay for my first exhibit!

To give credit where credit is do, my father-in-law took most of these pictures. He took an over-all picture of the exhibit and then zoomed in a little bit on the artwork itself. I thought he did a good job documenting my exhibit. The clipboard with my name on it is one of my altered clipboards, based on a technique taught to me by Martha Foster. I meant to put a price tag on it and mark it for sale, but I never got around to it. The red background with the printed page on it is my biography. Hubby-John wrote that for me. It was very nice.

The bottom left piece is one of the first pieces that I made. I was practicing techniques out of Claudine Hellmuth's first book, Collage Discovery Workshop. I love that book. 

The orange dots on the labels denote that an item has been sold! I also sold the table top item, a paper mache bust that I decorated, again with techniques from Claudine Hellmuth's book. There is a wide variety of techniques demonstrated in my show. I'm kind of a technique junkie. I play with a technique until I'm bored with it (which may be one or two times!) then move on to something else. 

Here is another altered clipboard with my press clippings. I was interviewed by two of the local newspapers. Usually artists have to do their own press releases, but because of the concurrent ATC Show-in-a-show, I was a person of interest, I guess. The book on the table is Life is a Verb. I have some of my collages featured in the book as illustrations to four of author Patti Digh's essays. 

My display area in the Gallery is basically L-shaped. These are the pictures on the short end of the 'L'.  The greenish one with the black frame (bottom left-hand corner) uses a picture taken by TonivS; I got the picture off of Flickr and it's used under the Creative Common License. Thanks Toni!

This picture was taken by Sandy Davies the evening she and I hung my show. We are mostly done, so it was picture time.

This is on the front panel as soon as you walk in the door at the Gallery. Usually an artist puts a painting or other piece of work, but I had ALL my work in the back. Plus, my work is fairly small and I'd have to have put two on the panel to make any kind of impact, and I just didn't have the inventory to do that. So Sandy and I (translate: mostly Sandy) came up with the idea of making a poster out of some of the items that I use in my art. There are lots of papers and rubber stamped images and photo copies of images that I might use in image transfers. There is even some colored cheesecloth!

This was taken the morning of my reception. This is Kim, Tammy and I. Kim is a friend who used to work at Collective Journey. Tammy is my oldest friend and she is visiting from out-of-town.

Finally, here is the reception table. That's my mother-in-law in the background and Tammy in front of her. Tammy is, I believe, looking at the beautiful, colorful watercolor painting of flowers on the wall to the right of the table (It's a Julie Evans.). The gorgeous yellow roses were from my husband. He's in the National Guard and had to be at drill that week-end and so couldn't be at the reception. He sent the flowers to stand in his place. While I'd have rather had the pleasure of his company, the roses were much appreciated!

More ATC Show-in-a-Show Pics

Because of the way Blogger uploads photos, these are in exactly the reverse order from what I mean for them to be! These pictures were taken by Sandy Davies and Adeola, both paticipants in the show and swap. The above photograph is of people standing around talking during the swap. Actually, I think this is after most of the frenzy of swapping had died down.

This is during the height of the frenzy. If you are interested in ATCs and have never been to a face-to-face trade, I suggest you find one! They are tons of fun -- quite exciting. We had tables set out to facilitate in the trade, but in hindsight, I think just walking around with your cards would be better. That's how they do it at the other live swap I've been to.

Here we are, just getting started swapping. The frenzy hasn't set in yet and things are still pretty civilized. We also sold display stands for the ATCs. 

These pictures are of the show in the East Gallery. You can see some of the art work from the regularly scheduled show on the walls. There were five dowel rods of cards hanging in the Gallery. 

Here is my friend, Tammy, looking at some of the ATCs on display.

Tammy and I looking at the cards.

Tammy and I again looking at the cards. The cards were hung on these dowel rods from the ceiling. As I said, there were five dowel rods, three with two rows of ATCs. Two of the dowel rods displayed horizontally oriented cards.

27 October 2008

Hubby's Birthday

Last Thursday (October 23) was my husband's birthday. John turned 40. His parents took us and Tammy to Black Angus for dinner on Wednesday, and then we went back to their house for coffee and bakery cake. Ward, John's father, took several pictures. This one is of our friend Tammy who is visiting from Arkansas, me and John -- blowing out candles. 

After dinner, Ward corralled us into the living room for small group shots. This is me, Husband John, and our friend Tammy. 

This is just me and John, the night before his 40th birthday. I usually dislike having my picture taken, but I love having my picture taken with him.

This is me and my oldest and dearest friend, Tammy. We've known each other since we were about 13 years old. We went to Junior High and High School together. We lost touch for a few years after high school but ran into each other in Wal-Mart in 1989 and have been fast friends ever since. In fact, we picked up right where we left off that night. It's been one of the most suppportive, encouraging and healthiest friendships of my life. She's a great friend.

22 October 2008

ATC Show-in-a-Show

Sorry I haven't written in so long. I've been busy with my Featured Artist Show -- a lot more work than I ever imagined it would be! -- and the ATC Show-in-a-Show at the Redlands Art Association. We had a great time at both events!

On the 11th and 12th, Sandy Davies and I worked hard to hang the show.  We had 127 ATCs and  29 ACEOs from 16 different artists. There was some small controversy about us accepting ACEOs, but as an art gallery, we encourage emmerging artists to sell their work, so we decided to accept them.  The cards were mixed up and hung from dowel rods at eye level in 9-pouch sleeves. In order to really show off each card to its best, we only displayed five in a sleeve -- at the four corners and in the center. To hang the horizontal cards -- of which we had quite a few -- we used regular photo sleeves. They worked out really well. That's me standing with one of the dowel rods. 

The reception and viewing was from 10AM to 2PM (of course, there was also public viewing all week long while the show was up). We took the show down from 2-3, and swapped from 3-4. It was great fun, the swap was! It was mostly very civilized, but it did get a little frantic at the height of the swapping! Some of the artists took the price tags off their ACEOs and swapped them, too.

Sandy and I learned a lot about organizing the show from this experience. We can't wait for next year to do it again. Some of the participants are clamoring for quarter

09 October 2008

More Catch Up!

One more before I go to bed ... John -- The Husband, as I sometimes refer to him as -- was playing with some computer parts he got from freecycle, so I decided to sit with him and draw a bit more. No wonder I was afraid of hair! LOL! But I'm just now becoming comfortable with drawing so I'm pretty happy with how the sketches have turned out. 

Actually, I was talking to a friend today about what makes good art and I'm very happy with these in light of our conversation. For me, what makes good art is when I connect with something higher -- or outside of myself --  when I'm making art. It's about losing myself in ... you guessed it ... the process! It becomes almost a spiritual experience. It's as though I'm channeling the creation of my piece. It's not necessarily about the "quality" of the product. I've said it a countless number of times, and I'm going to say it at least once more -- for me, making art is about the process. If the experience of making art was good, the art is good. That's how I experience my art. 

And for me, the experience of drawing the girls was good. I learnd a bit about my drawing style (I draw better with the paper somewhat akimbo, for example) and I enjoyed the process. I got absorbed in what I was doing, lost if you will. 

It's all good ...

Catching Up

I drew today, finally! These heads would look better with hair, but hair frightens me for some reason. Not hair itself, but trying to draw hair. I'm not very adventurous when it comes to drawing. Maybe the next ones will have hair on them! Shading also frightens me, because I've never done it before. I'll work on that this month, too. Need to work on lips, while I'm at it ... Actually, given my level of skill, I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out!

Tired, But Happy ...

I meant to be in bed by now, but I have a case of restless legs so bad that I can barely stand to be in my skin. Even my arms are restless! I've taken a couple of pills; when they kick in, I should be able to lie down and sleep. In the mean time, I thought Id post an update, since it's been a few days!

I've not posted because I've been incredibly busy! Saturday morning, I led the final ATC workshop before the show-in-a-show next week. As usual, it was a great time. There was an 11-year old boy there, and it was great fun -- and inspiration! -- to be around him. He created with such abandon and enjoyed himself so much; it was good for me to be around that. I still have a tendancy to get caught up in how things look, but this young man just played with the supplies and had such a good time doing it. I need to do that more often!

I came home, unloaded my car, loaded it back up with the Featured Artist items and rested for a bit.  Sandy Davies called around 4:00 for us to meet at the Gallery to hang my show. YAY! That was quite an emotional experience for me. She was great to work with -- full of good ideas, and ever-so-patient. I was tired and so sore I could hardly move, but we worked together just fine. I was afraid that I was going to be a bit bitchy, but I was so on-cloud-Nine that I easier to get along with that I might otherwise have been! We worked until about 6:45 (she had to leave to watch the Dodgers game with her husband) and I stayed for about another half an hour. Things weren't completely finished when I left, but I was done. I had forgot a couple of things, and hadn't thought of a few other things, so I wasn't completely prepared. I came back Sunday and finished up.

I can't describe the experience of being the Featured Artist. I have been so moved by it that I've choked up a couple of times. Tears have definitely come to my eyes more than once. Everyone has been so supportive and encouraging. I've worked really hard, both artistically and personally, to get to the point where I could do something like this. I've grown so much since I first started dabbling in art. I can remember when -- not so long ago! -- I was embarrassed to even tell people that I played in art, for fear that they'd want to see some of my work, and now I've got a whole corner of the Gallery to myself! Back then, I was certain to make the distinction that I "played" or "dabbled", lest anyone judge me too harshly, but now, I call myself an artist. I've certainly come a long way!

So, I've spent the past few days catching up on things that I got behind on while I was preparing for my show.  I've been terribly busy, but I'm very happy. I'm behind on my drawing, but I mean to get back to that, starting tomorrow. I'll either double up on drawings or draw into November -- or some combination of the two -- to get my 31 drawings in. 

Thanks so much to everyone for their kind comments as I've gone through this Featured Artist stuff. I really appreciate your interest!

05 October 2008

Working Together

I saw this video over at Bad Faery's blog. I just loved it! It was really interesting to see the way the artists played off each other and interacted through their art. The premise was that these four artists were "given 5 hours, along with paint brushes, pens, pencils, a hairdryer, ink, acrylic paint, water color, makers, and collage. The were told simply, 'Do your thing and play off each other,' with each starting in a different corner of the canvas."

Fabulous result!

A better quality Quicktime version is available, too. 

04 October 2008

No Drawing Today ...

Just a quick update before I go to bed ... It's only 2:13AM!

I didn't do any drawing today. I was so busy getting ready for my Featured Artist show (A friend and I are hanging it Saturday afternoon) and for my current ATC workshop that I just didn't have time to draw. And now, I don't feel well. I've been sneezing all evening, and now, the roof of my mouth is itchy. Sounds like a cold coming on, but I just refuse to participate. I'm too busy for the next few days to feel miserable -- or even just "poorly".

So now, I'm off to bed. I think I'll get up early in the morning and finish preparing for my class. I just have a couple of things to do, but I'm very tired right now!

03 October 2008

The Artist's Creed

I recently saw this when I was wandering around on youTube, and now I see it again on one of the blogs I read. Maybe it's time for me to pay attention to it!

The Big Draw -- Day Two

It isn't much, but here's my offering for Day Two of The Big Draw. All I did was draw in her face, but at least it was something! And actually, I did this at 2:45 AM on Day Three! But I was determined to draw something before I went to bed. 

Thursday was just one of those days! John and I hit the ground running, and I barely stopped. My Featured Artist Show gets installed on Saturday, and there is tons of stuff to do between now and then. And because I didn't have enough to do, I decided to make my own guestbook! I just wasn't inspired by the offerings of the local Hallmark store. I bought one just in case I don't get mine finished in time -- or in case I don't like it -- but I'm working hard to get it done. I think a handmade guestbook will be so much more interesting than one that came from Hallmark. I used one of Kelly Rae Roberts' techniques for my guest book. She outlines steps for making a journal out of old hardback book covers. I adapted her instructions for my guestbook. I've got 10 pieces of watercolor paper to bind between my book covers. I'll bind the book with ribbons. I think it will look nice. 

I only have a few things left on my to-do list, so preparations are coming along nicely. I'm a little panicky because there is anything at all to do, but it would be unreasonable to expect that I would get everything done days ahead of time. Many of the things I have to do will only take a minute or two -- I just have to sit down and do them! Friday is my day for that. But the big stuff is done, so I'm happy. 

01 October 2008

Guerilla Art!

This the most amazing idea. I love the story of the dogmum. I may have to make some of these and distribute them. I have a million shipping tags, so I've no excuse -- other than shyness.

This project may have just changed the way I see ART. For me, art is a very solitary activity. I share my art with others on my blog and have even led a couple of workshops, but making art is something I do by myself for myself. Even though I'm the Featured Artist at the Redlands Art Association October 4-October 25, sharing my art in a public venue is something totally foreign to me. I've finally gotten to a point in my art-life where I don't care what other people think of my art. I'm not kidding either one of us -- I do like it when other people like my work; of course, I do! But I make art for me, for the experience of the process, for the joy of creation. Sharing my work online, most people don't comment on it; they just experience it for themselves, one way or another. I like this. I like that my experience of my art is completely separated from the viewer's experience. 

What dneese is doing really intrigues me. Sharing her art in such a public way really thrills me. I especially love that she is catching some people in the act of experiencing her art. This is totally cool!

Thanks so much to samanthakira for posting about it. It made me smile!

I'm In (The Big Draw, Part Two)!

I guess I'm in for The Big Draw

I got Kelly Rae Robert's book, Taking Flight, yesterday and I read it from-cover-to-cover. I've read parts of it twice -- already! I wanted to try my hand at some of her techniques, so I dug out a piece of wood that a friend gave to me and my scrapbook papers. I made a collage background on the wooden substrate and then I brayered a couple of paint colors over it. I rubber stamped over this when the paint dried with a nice, subtle Sepia color. I sprayed Glimmer Mist over the top of it all and let it dry. 

All well and good, but this is still not drawing!

In order to paint the girl on the background, I had to drawn her on there first! I was moved to paint -- which almost never happens to me! -- so I sat there looking at the collaged background for several minutes, trying to figure out how to get the paint on the wood. I obviously needed some kind of outline of what I wanted to paint. This would probably be obvious to the average bear, but for me, it was practically rocket science!

Finally, I just dug a mechanical pencil out of my purse and started drawing. I even cut myself some slack by copying one of Robert's designs in one of the how-tos. No imagination necessary! LOL! Actually, the act of drawing was stress enough -- I didn't need the stress of trying to figure out what to draw along with it! And you know what -- It was easier than I expected it to be. My Grandpa used to say that "the dreadin' is worse than the doin'." How right he was!

I'm afraid to do her face, as I'm pretty happy with the rest of her, and want to stay that way! I drew the outline, and then painted in the skirt and top with colors I mixed myself; the belt is straight out of the bottle of Golden's fluid acrylics. Literally! I didn't even pour the paint onto a palette, but rather, I just mopped up the mess I had created on the lid. I did some more flourish stamping in coordinating colors on the dress. I'm a little behind in the art scene -- I love my flourishes and use them everywhere I can.

I wish the patterns of the background papers showed through more, but overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Live and learn for next time!

And there will be a next time!

The Big Draw!

The Big Draw begins today and I have to decide whether or not to participate. For some people, the decision would be easy -- Either do it or not. For me, the decision is full of angst and uncertainty. I don't draw. I mean, I really don't draw. Even my stick figures are awkward! I'm taking SuziBlu's course, so you'd think I'd be drawing some, but no, actually, I'm not. I'm way behind! It's not that I don't enjoy drawing -- once I get into it, I usually do enjoy myself. But I am full of fear and trepidation to start. "It's drawing, it's not brain surgery," I tell myself. But I'm full of doubt and longing when it comes to putting pencil to paper. 

Yep, doubt and longing. I'm very uncertain about my abilities in drawing. I've drawn a decent left hand a couple of times, but I totally amazed myself by doing it. It was an other-worldly experience, to turn out something that I didn't know I was capable of. And to do it twice! LOL! But I have no consistency.

The style of art I enjoy the most calls for drawing. It's the art of Kelly Rae Roberts and SuziBlu. I like the collaged, shabby backgrounds with a hand-painted (draw first) person on it. I feel like by not drawing, I'm holding myself back from experimenting with a type of art that I really enjoy. More to the point, I feel like I'm holding myself back as an artist. Because I don't draw, I don't paint very much, and I love to paint! I love the feeling of the brush in my hand and to watch something transform from a plain blank substrate to a finished product. I love to watch -- and participate in -- the emergence. I love smooshing colors around. But I'm almost as afraid of painting as I am of drawing, because it's based on the same idea -- to capture what I see on paper. That, for some reason, scares the hell out of me!

So, what am I really afraid of? That's a question that I ask myself a lot lately, especially about my art. I long to create like an eight-year old: with utter abandon and love of the process. Some days, I'm pretty good at that, too. But it's because I've carved out an artistic comfort zone, and I stay well within its boundaries. So, what am I really afraid of? Good question ... I'm afraid of not being good enough, of wanting something so badly and then finding out that I don't have the talent to bring it into fruition. Sometimes it's definitely easier to just dream.

For me, drawing is all wrapped up in a bunch of childhood crap. My brother, Richard, is a gifted artist. He can draw anything, even without having a model in front of him to draw from. As a teenager, he was praised and given art lessons, while I was told not to color on the walls. Somehow, I got the message that because I wasn't drawing at the level that he was drawing at, I had no business drawing at all ... Oddly enough, I'm the artist now, and he works at an oil-refinery. 

So, back to the original question ... Do I participate in The Big Draw, or not? Part of me remembers that I'm fairly busy this month and that to take on one more project may not be the best thing to do. Another part of me knows how good for me this experience could be. Maybe it would finally free up my drawing muscles once-and-for-all, or at least loosen them up a bit. I just want to draw and paint pretty girls like Zorana does.

I just don't know ...