Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's good to finish something! - Part two

Ah, the piano hinge book. I love this book. The Tyvek paper has the sexiest hand feel and the hinge construction, while persnickety, was fairly straightforward once you understood how it all fit together.

I had no idea how I would finish this since - and you'll pardon the pun - the landscapes we did were so alien.

So it sat on my studio table until I was inspired by an article I read in a science magazine about Saturn's moons and in particular, Enceladus.

For those science geeks out there, here's the brief summary I came up with for the back flap:

Saturn's rings just may hold the mystery of life in the outer regions of our solar system, and some the tiniest voyagers capture the imagination.

Enceladus, one of Saturn's smallest moons at only 300 miles in diameter is a shimmering jewel reflecting almost all of the sunlight that hits it. And it's an active beauty with geysers and plumes erupting. Asrtobiologists believe these are caused by liquid water below the surface.

Along with geologic activity and the presence of water, it is believed that life forms may be present. Not oxygen supported life, but the types of organisms, or extremophiles, that may thrive on energy sources like radioactive decay - similar to life forms that have been found deep inside our planet.

It's good to finish something! - Part one

A couple of weekends ago, I had the good fortune to join my two sisters and Pam when we participated in a bookmaking and painting workshop at Whispering Woodlands. Led by one of my favorite teachers, Jill Berry. I knew not only would it be packed with activity, I'd come away inspired to create new things as well as finish what we started during the class!

Here's the first thing we made... a dream book box.
The construction and painting were finished during the class, but the the little story came later, after I got home.
It's more of a made up fable.
During the class, I just painted what came to mind, figuring the story would come later.

And it did.

Long ago the sun refused to behave. It liked to glow in hues of orange and pink and purple.

At night it really acted up, glowing bright and blue - mostly to spite the moon but mostly because it could!

But one day a large snake came along and charmed the sun and ever since the unruly sun kept its blues very well contained.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Journal

A while back, my 2 sisters, Pam and I started a traveling art journal. Each of us would do a page or two and then mail or pass it along to the next person on the list.

Here is the box complete with instructions and a 'goodie bag' we're always adding to and taking from.
The page on the left is by my sister Ruth (Corky), the one on the right, by me. Very coordinated if I do say so myself!
Here's one of my first entries.
And one from Pam.
Here are two pages from my sister Carol. For some odd reason, we've all been compelled to create circus-themed art. Hmm...
Here's one of my latest. My attempt at the more abstract.
And one more from my sister Corky.
We still have a lot of pages to finish. And now with my sister moving back to our neck of the woods, it should go much faster!

I highly recommend trying a traveling journal with your friends. It's fun to wrap it up, add goodies to the package and send it on its way. And it's even more fun to crack the box open and see what treasures are inside!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Valley Ridge Art Studio Bliss

What could be lovelier than a weekend spent in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin creating art in a beautiful space with creative people?

I had such an opportunity last weekend when I went to Valley Ridge Art Studio for an amazing workshop taught by the super smart and talented Jill K. Berry called Personal Geographies: Mapping Your Life.

And map we did! Here's an example of the body map we did with layers of vellum telling the story our body holds - with words & symbols.
Then it was on to mapping our brains. I managed to censor most of my darkest thoughts, but that pesky fear of falling had to have it's way!
And then onto a cheerier subject - a map of my basic needs!
Everyone really loved this folded map. We all mapped a place we were familiar with. I chose Wilson Park circa 1977 and even included the pine trees aka the 'make-out woods'.
We created a happy mess. Here's Kathy's artfully arranged work station and glimpse of her amazing mind map loaded with Egyptian imagery.
This is a simple strip map of my journey to Valley Ridge. I decided on a more metaphorical route and took some time after the class finishing this. Here's a hint - don't work on items that require good spelling when you're tired. Can you find the typo? I didn't find it until I was done. Completely. Neat, eh?
This was the largest type of map we did - a timeline. This is a brief history of my life. I didn't bring a lot of personal images to use, so I went for symbolism. It's not what I intended, but I felt like I needed to jump in and just try it and let go of the result.
And finally, the finale... a well-crafted atlas holder to carry our maps home. I had to snag some of Jill's hand-painted paper to use on the cover as a remembrance of this wonderful class.

What did I learn? A whole lot of cartographic history. Jill is a storehouse of knowledge and freely shared stories of stolen maps and history gone wrong with the class. I also learned that my drawing skills are very very rusty. I need to practice! I learned that to enjoy the process and let go of the outcome. I also learned that I can push a car up an icy hill. But that's a story for another day!

Thank you Kathy, Jill and all the wonderful women in the workshop. You made it memorable and spectacular!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My New Painting 'Sketchbook'

I spent the better part of a night, gesso-ing the pages of handmade paper book I got from my sister for Christmas. The paper was so pretty and it was a shame to cover it, but it absorbed paint like paper toweling, and since I'm not much of a 'sketcher', I wanted to use it for quick painted pages and journaling.

The trick is to paint ahead, but leave blank spaces for words and pictures. Like this —
But sometimes only a landscape will do. The sky will work nicely for messages to myself.
I thought circles might be just thing when I didn't have too much to say or if I wanted to corral different thoughts.
Here are pages where I found sea life in the paint swirls. I don't plan what I'm going to write, I just begin and see where it takes me. I do the same with the painting. I'm trying to keep it loose and spontaneous and to remain detached from the outcome. And to experiment!
These are the opening pages to my new art journal. I decided to invoke Ganesh's energy - the Remover of Obstacles. He never lets me down no matter where the journey takes me!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I don't see any clowns!

I've been so busy, mostly with work unfortunately, but I have managed to squeeze in some time to paint and glue. I've been working on collages with lots of color layered with gesso and scraps of paper, then layered up again.

I always lean to flatness - does that even make sense? What I mean is that I like my collages to look more three dimensional but in fact be flat.

This I've taken to calling this Arbutus Moon.

I used a similar technique on this piece titled, 'Why do I have a need to do a circus theme piece when I don't even like clowns?!"

It's a bit creepy and swirly and dreamlike, and I don't particularly like it. It had to come out for some reason in all it's jangle and disconnection.

So there you have it... some sort of weird peek into my subconscious - from pretty birds to menacing clowns. Welcome.