Monday, May 15, 2017

New Work: Temple

Temple, 17.5 x 11 inches, mixed media
ingredients: vintage book cover, monotype, vintage maps and engineering drawings, other vintage ephemera, metallic ink, found objects, brads, brass wire, acrylic paint, artist pens, feathers

So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 "Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life."                                                                                                                              - Hermann Hesse

Monday, May 1, 2017

Progressing... a Few Quick Glimpses

Coming along slowly with the new piece I first showed you in this post. It's been quite a while since I completed something; as some of you may know, I've been busy studying business things. More about that later. (You can read a bit about it here and here.)

Most of the basic components are glued down, and I have added some stitching; I think it will be finished in the next day or so. In the meantime, I just wanted to share a few more details before you see the whole piece. (Is that an oxymoron?) Anyway, without further blah-blah-blah:

I kind of enjoy using the hammer and awl to make holes for the stitching.  My dogs, however, do not enjoy the noise - I suppose it sounds like thunder or fireworks to them - and when I start, they quickly find another place to hang out.

My son-in-law gave me these old engineering drawings, which I have since found out are done on silked vellum. We knew they were vellum, but when I tore a piece of it to use in a collage, I saw tiny threads, and realized it was woven. Later I heard, just by chance, that in the past very very thin sheets of silk would be somehow laminated onto vellum to make it more durable. It's a strange material to work with, as it doesn't behave like either paper or fabric, and seems to stretch when wet (or has glue on it), and is very hard to glue down flat.

Here, tree roots have been stitched with embroidery floss - a mix of two different blues. Hopefully, it will all come together soon, and I will share it with you here!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Untitled Post With Nothing in It

Until just a minute ago, that's what this was. For a very long time, started sometime in what seems like the distant past, this post had languished in a dormant state called, "I'm doing too many other things, but I'm planning to do a post at some point, preferably sooner than later." But my brain was so otherwisedly (at least I found time to invent a new adverb - I think) occupied that I had gotten no further than this, and I was stuck there, with no idea at all as to what it should be about. Sometimes if I just begin to begin, inspiration may strike me out of the blue - or maybe not.

I have had this little collage sitting on my press next to the computer desk, but I hadn't scanned it, or thought of a title. So I've decided to call it "Otherwisedly Occupied", which seems to be the best I can do right now, and also allows me to use my newly-invented word.

Otherwisedly Occupied
mixed media collage, 6 x 4 inches
ingredients: vintage book pages and other vintage ephemera, decorative paper, watercolor pencil

I hope you enjoy! Have a great weekend, everyone! xoxo

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Trials and Tribulations, and New Work on the Way

I have several pieces that have been laying around my studio that haven't been shared due to the fact that I didn't have a decent, fully functional camera. After much research and thought, I finally bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000. It was more than I really wanted to spend, but I needed something that would take excellent artwork photos, and a DSLR costs that much just for the body; then, in addition, you have to buy various expensive lenses for different purposes. Another point against a DSLR is that I realized that I didn't want to be bothered with lugging around a bunch of lenses, which I would have to be changing all the time, so a high-end fixed-lens camera seemed like the perfect choice.

So now, if the weather cooperates, I will be able to photograph those pieces, along with everything that needs to be re-photographed because I originally used my cell phone, and the photos are seriously lacking in quality. Especially since I'm going to be building a new website, I want the image quality to be as high as it can. I don't really want to upload my current photos, and then have to go back and replace them.

But now I have a new problem; setting up the new camera is somewhat (read: a lot) daunting. I'm afraid it's going to take a while. It has so many features, I'm not even sure what some of them mean! So in the meantime, I'll have to keep using my phone, unless they are flat and can fit on my scanner. Sheesh!

Anyway, I'm finally taking time from my technical studies to make some art! Here are a few sneak peaks of what's happening in the studio. Taken, of course, with my cellphone.

Materials used: vintage book cover, vintage maps, antique engineering drawing, monotype, book pages.  This one has a ways to go, but so far I'm satisfied with it.

I hope you are all having a great weekend, and making some art! Namaste, my friends.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Art Challenge: Ritual/ Routine

When lovely Nadine of tinywoolf declared the theme for this art challenge "ritual/ routine", I knew I wanted to participate. It's such an interesting subject, I thought it would be easy to come up with something good. While I find the concept of ritual to be quite fascinating, I found that when I actually sat down to think about what I would do, I had difficulty narrowing it down to a workable size. I mean, it's a BIG concept; it covers a lot of ground. So I thought looking up the definition might help, give me some clues or spark an idea.

Here is Merriam Webster's definition:
  1. :  the established form for a ceremony; specifically :  the order of words prescribed for a religious ceremony
  2. 2a :  ritual observance; specifically :  a system of rites
     b :  a ceremonial act or action
     c :  an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner

Humans are creatures of habit, as are all creatures, it seems. My dogs will wake me up at the same time every morning, and expect to be fed at 5:00. We naturally fall into forming patterns, of doing things at the same time in the same way over and over again. I would suggest that this saves some part of our brain to think about working out more complex problems, because we don't have to re-think when we're going to brush our teeth every day. Or maybe not.

Rituals are also important to the formation and continuance of societies; we agree to elect our leaders the same way at repeated intervals, we decide on the guilt or innocence of people who break our laws by using a set, prescribed, series of rituals. If we didn't have rituals in place for these things, no society could survive, but would quickly descend into chaos.

 Weighing of the Heart Ceremony, Book of the Dead, 1285 bCE

Based on the definition above, the word "ritual" covers everything from the sacred burial rites of the ancient Egyptians to the "March Madness" college basketball tournament to brushing our teeth at the same time each day. (Just to amuse myself, I thought about making a shrine with a toothbrush inside of it; I know - weird sense of humor!)  So I'm probably thinking about this way too much, but my ideas for this piece just kept bigger and bigger, and I realized there was no way I could do it justice in the short time I had left. In fact, it's really still in the planning stages; I'll share it here as I work on it.

Invocation of Tara
ingredients: map fragment, magazine cut-outs, image transfers, artist pens, watercolor pencils

So I decided to use a piece I had already been working on, which does relate to the concept of ritual in an obvious way. Tara is the Tibetan Buddhist Goddess of Compassion, and rituals to honor her have been performed since the 6th century and possibly longer. According to Wikipedia, "Tārā became a very popular Vayrayana deity with the rise of Tantra in 8th-century Pala and, with the movement of Indian Buddhism into Tibet through Padmasambhava, the worship and practices of Tārā became incorporated into Tibetan Buddhism as well. She eventually came to be considered the "Mother of all Buddhas," which usually refers to the enlightened wisdom of the Buddhas, while simultaneously echoing the ancient concept of the Mother Goddess in India.... Tārā is also known as a saviouress, as a heavenly deity who hears the cries of beings experiencing misery in samsara."

The image of Tara I used for this piece is based on a centuries-old painting somewhere; I have unfortunately lost track of the source. By the way, she is not always green; different aspects of Tara are different colors. Green Tara is one of the most popular.

Be sure to visit Nadine at tinywoolf to find out what the other participants came up with for the challenge. Happy weekend, everyone!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Still Undecided...

Okay, I've narrowed down the first lot, chosen my favorites, and added a few more. I'm sure you're beginning to realize that I'm not good at making decisions...  Please feel free to comment or not; you're probably getting as tired of this as I am!

After all this trouble, I still like the one I'm using now. I think it's strong graphically, but don't know if it really says, "Spiritual Art Inspired by Nature", which will be the tag line for my sites.

This is also a favorite, but I had forgotten to leave room for the corners to be cut off, as they will be on Pinterest, so I rearranged the type. I also changed the type face, but may need to go with a sans-serif font for the sake of readability.

This is from one of my favorite pieces, but I'm not sure if it's too visually confusing. I also am afraid the font may be hard to read when re-sized to fit the various sites' profiles.

This one is the same as the one above it, but with a different font. So I have made progress, in that there are three basic designs, which could be tweaked in one way or another.

Again, thanks for the help, dear friends! I hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Choices, Choices

Some of you may be aware that I'm trying to re-boot my (almost nonexistent) art business, and have been researching the best ways of doing so (see my last post for some of the things I've learned). So right now I'm working on branding. I'm not going to try to define branding, as it's a bit of an abstract concept, and not that easy to describe in a few sentences. There are lots of articles that can help you with that; just google "branding for visual artists", and you will find tons of helpful information. I think "Branding 101 for Artists: How to Create a Strong Brand for Yourself and Your Art" by Gregory Peters on is one of the best articles I've read on the subject.

Anyway, I digress. Part of creating your brand is using the same "logo" or image on all of your art sites. Right now, the image I have on my facebook business page, my pinterest profile, my twitter profile, and my blog looks like this:

I like the image; I think it stands out and works well compositionally (not a real word, apparently). The problem is, it comes from one of my collages, and I don't think it really represents my work as a whole. Looking at this, people would probably get the idea that all I do is collage. Also, a lot of my work, even the collages, reflect a strong sense of the sacredness ( is that a word?) of nature, which this image really does not.

So I've been working on creating some new ones, and I was hoping I could get the benefit of opinions other than my own. I would appreciate any kind of feedback: which you like best, how any or all could be improved, comments about composition, color, subject, anything. I hope you'll feel free to let me know what you really think; believe me, you're not going to hurt my feelings if the criticism is constructive. So here they are, in no particular order:








I may do more, but I'm pretty tired of photoshop right now.  Thanks in advance for your help!