Thursday, November 29, 2007

Artful Journal Weekend

This is how the encaustic finally turned out that I shared a few days ago. I decided to incise a hand over collaged paper and to add texture to the borders. It is definitely done now. The upraised hand is a gesture that symbolises safety. Not that we ever feel safe (our genes have prepared us for danger), but that in fact nature is a closed system and we are safely within its boundaries.

I am scurrying around today filling boxes and boxes with materials to take to Diane's tomorrow in preparation for the two Artful Journal classes I'll be teaching there this Saturday and Sunday. I just received news that one of our students had a death in the family overnight and so there is a spot available for either day if you are in the area. The chapbooks I prepared are shown above and the student packets are shown below.

I still have to drive to 3 locations for the rest of the materials to go into the kits. I figured it was better for one person to burn gasoline than for all of us to shop shop shop for the same items. Thus the boxes and boxes.

My compadre katie will join us for one and maybe both days in class. I am so excited to see her again. It's been 3 months since our last par-tay and that is too long without her warm smile. We have participants coming from neighboring states as well as the Portland area; I am so excited to have a play date with my friends. Pictures to follow next week. We will be up to our elbows in delicious journaling. It is my favorite form of self-expression and prayer.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Post

Just this moment my Thanksgiving guests are winging their way back to Northern California and their busy lives. We have had 5 wonderful days together including Thanksgiving and we are all refreshed now. What a gift. Such good people living in these times.

Journal pages before and after. They evolve, just like we do. The empty pages wait for the life that will be expressed onto them. I love watching Suzi Blu hug her journal in an embrace, close her eyes and say, "mmmmmm". She loves her journal. Smart girl.

I shot a still life while waiting for my company to arrive. Aren't the new Lemon Drop glasses pretty?

And nobody gets out of my house without painting a still life or two. I love to be the art instigator. To get to witness the happiness creating a painting invariably brings to people. The reaction is always one of surprise. No one expects to create something as good as they are able to create. And then they are very elated and they want to paint more. What fun!

We had an excellent Thanksgiving with our daughters, their families and our cherished friends. This is our circle now, the one that is unbroken. There have been other circles of family and friends over the years and all of them are in my heart, whole and together. I pray for all of us, that our hearts can expand to include as many others as possible. Therein lies happiness. Namaste.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Giving Thanks Redux

My latest encaustic. It measures 12 x 20" on a deep cradled wood panel.

So I'll be scarce for the next little while. House guests arriving in several hours. John is in the kitchen making his killer Pozole (the aroma is killing me!) and I need to go do my part to be ready. We'll be spending Thanksgiving with my oldest daughter at her house and drinking leisurely lemon drops here at home out of the beautiful new martini glasses John picked up yesterday. These particular friends are fascinating world travelers who share their exotic experiences with us. I love all my friends. People are my only wealth.

I am thankful for so much this year. Thankful that illness bypassed a young mother that I worried over. Thankful that my family has come through another year with health intact. Thankful for my husband. For my friends who are like my own arms and legs in my love and appreciation for them. I love my crinkly old body and I am grateful that it lets me enjoy my life without breaking down. It is a good body. Every morning the first thing I do is hold my own hand and greet the day and myself for having the gift of one more day.

I'll post when I can but if I haven't answered your email please forgive. Hugs to you and you and YOU.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

IEA and Forming Artists' Groups

Our International Encaustic Artists group met last night and I missed an opportunity to photograph the large, inspiring studio filled with beautiful landscape oil paintings of Melinda Fellini. I think one of the best gifts we can give each other as artists is to share our studio spaces with others for all the benefits of seeing how we've solved similar problems of space, storage, work area and the like. Melinda had enormous paintings stacked against one wall that gave me visions of working larger; that is one way we can help each other. Sometimes just seeing what others have done is enough to broaden our vision and give us courage to grow.

We discussed our goals as a group which focus mainly on education and sharing technical knowledge. We have so many members with different sets of skills; I think we are going to be a positive force for the arts in Portland. I'm so excited to be involved.

For so many decades I worked in isolation. I wish I'd opened up sooner to other artists but that's the way I thought it had to be. I lived in the country. I worked long hours. I had every excuse to stay holed up and it made me feel very inconsequential and invisible. Being in a group with other artists has so many benefits to the individual as well as the community; if nothing else, just gather a few friends together and meet once a month to socialize and paint or collage or sew. (Remember the sewing bees of the past?) This is the way we let down our hair and support each other in the good times and bad. Let's make our social networks strong and healthy so that we ourselves will be strong and healthy. This is my thought today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Starving Artist Tip

Here is my light box. I coodged it together in about 2 minutes one day 10 years ago and I've been using it ever since. I like it because I can set it aside when I need the space and use the makings for other things. I can throw it away if I move. It didn't cost anything. It works.

The light bulb is leaning up against a pottery cup to keep it from getting the box too hot and burning the studio down. If you do this, don't be a klutz and walk away with the light burning or you'll be settin' the place on fire. The fixture is one of those wire clamp on jobbies that was on hand for an old display.

I put one sheet of glass on the bottom, a piece of tissue in between to diffuse the bright light and a recycled (broken corner) piece of scrap glass on the top. It works just fine. If you're loaded and have a fancy light box, forget I said anything. If you always wanted one but couldn't afford it, this post was for you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Encaustic Report

This is the painting I did in class last night. Those streaks at the top are faux gold leaf. After I finished my painting I walked around the room and admired the work of the other students. Oh gosh, that might have been a mistake. One student in particular was working on a huge triptych that was THE most accomplished encaustic I've ever seen. (Kecia! I'm talking about you.) It made me realize I've just been playing and stalling for time. That I have a loooong way to go. But that is good information too. I need to push on, paint more, work harder. And I will.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Baaaaaack

Spent the afternoon shooting photos of trees changing colors. When I went to use my favorite tree in an encaustic I saw that I'd deleted it from my computer and soon the trees will be bare so off I went. Those will be coming. Then when I got home I made more of Jackie's patterned paper using the new blue stamp blocks and brayers.

I love to make a big mess in the studio. I'm finally getting over my anal retentive washing of rubber stamps and brayers. It gets in the way of the fun. I've made up my mind that nothing should get in the way of the fun.

I topped all the sheets with a layer of thin iridescent rolled over most areas. And some gold. And some iridescent gold. The paper is several kinds but my favorite is a type of white tracing paper that is slick on one side and absorbent on the other. The sparkly paper looks and feels like silk sari material. Whew. Very beautiful.

Another journal page.

The next 3 weeks are going to be balls to the wall. I have 2 sets of company coming and a class to teach and Thanksgiving and my last 3 encaustic classes and of course my own spacey self to herd around so it should be interesting. November is good.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Jackie's Coolio Patterned Paper

What a great Saturday. First of all the sun was shining after rain was forecast. Miracle! Due to a last minute change of plans I found myself able to attend the demo of Jackie Crist at Art Media. This terrific artist discovered a most beautiful way to pattern paper and I had to see what all the rumpus was about so I pulled myself together (Hermie is helping me in the photo above) and departed. As an aside, our little brother is somewhat blind these days so I carry him from room to room and joke that I am going to buy a papoose carrier. He loves to be held and so I hold.

I very carefully shoot photos as I drive. Past Oregon City. Click. Click.

Past the fishermen parked by the Oregon City bridge, hoping to catch a fat salmon.

Here is the paper-meister, Ms. Jackie Crist in all her beautimous glory. She worked with dyes and misters and rollers and stamps for over 2 hours and did not spoil her pretty clothes. She is so nice and told us everything. She gave me so many ideas for ways to capture the paper for further use through lazer copies. She is generous!! Don't you like her already? I do!

Her technique is clever-clever and all her own (sorry - not mine to share) but you can take a class from her next Saturday at Innerstandings and be fed a gourmet lunch beside. Here is Diane's big black shoe coming in for a landing on one of those heated blue spongey thingies that makes an instant rubber stamp.

And *SQUISH* - the sole of her shoe makes a cool imprint in the foam. I always looked at those blue sponge things in the art store and wondered why anyone would want one but now that I've seen Jackie's work I get it. I bought a half dozen of them.

Here is the impression from the bottom of Diane's shoe on the foam stamp material. Look at Jackie's papers in the background. They are sooooo beautiful. If you live nearby or can drive down next Saturday, Jackie will be teaching her great class at Innerstandings and Diane will be team teaching. Each student will leave the class with patterned paper that they have created and a journal type book with a cover of the paper and signatures of beautiful sturdy white paper inside to do with as you like. (Did I mention the gourmet meals Diane serves and the desserts?) I did? Well, a day in Diane's studio is a day filled with pleasure. Glad to spread the word about this retreat. Diane really puts her heart into every one of them.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Mag Cover, Jam Fest & Journal Page

My friend Patti phoned tonite to say she liked my cover on the latest issue of Natural Awakenings magazine. So I went to their website and snatched this image off to show you. (tee hee - I'm bad!) This was originally a vertical painting which I photoshopped into a horizonal for the magazine's format. You can see the painting as I painted it on my website, available as a print. (the original is sold)

And if you look closely here you will see the pretty labels on the promising jars of Blueberry Jam with Grand Marnier that Pilar sent to me. Aye yi yi ... won't that be good with the morning scones!! How many people do you know these days who make jam? Thanks, Pilar. We are thrilled that you thought of us and we are really going to enjoy this gift.

Finally another journal page to share. I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours. I love the scribbles, dribbles and babbles that we do to entertain ourselves. Don't we have fun!

Thanks for all the thoughtful comments. I love hearing from my friends in blogville.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I Can't Shut Up

I told myself not to post every day (how can I get anything else done if I do?) but I keep thinking of things to share. Like this: every time I glanced over at the new paper bag book I would see this plain brown wrapper that just didn't sing. So I decided to enhance the cover. Earlier in the week I'd printed out a picture I took of turning leaves so I glued that down and then I used my latex caulk to border the photo and write the word 'book'. Did you put something on your cover? That can be fun.

Edit: Before I squeezed on the latex caulk I put a thin layer of beeswax/damar over the inkjet photo that was printed on plain paper. That's why it looks so bright and shiney.

The second thing was that I've been making patterned paper in Photo Elements. I'll find a bit of a pattern on the net and repeat it, build on it, tweak it, change the colors, etc. I've got a whole folder full now to use. I also scanned some vintage wallpaper that Mary Ann sent me and ran that through my magic color changer. Plus you can print it in pale gray and white and then glaze over it for tone-on-tone patterns. So many ideas!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Romancing the Wax

My teacher liked this one. So do I. I built up the wax thicker than in the preceeding weeks and attempted to highlight the properties of opaque vs. transparent and in-focus vs. out-of-focus. I restrained myself from letting too much color distract from the issues I wanted to highlight. It is the properties of the wax itself that I find compelling. Jef said that the shapes appear to be bouncing across the image area; some in front, some behind. I think my smile lasted the entire long drive home.

My latest journal page - a perfect reflection of the tumble jumble state of my mind. Life is good. Life is so sweet. Life makes no sense.

I made contact yesterday with a woman I went to college with back in the 60's. She had seen the article in Cloth Paper Scissors and e-mailed me. Oh Emmie, hearing your voice, sounding exactly the same, brought me a warm gladness you cannot believe. (You would not believe some of the things this woman and I did together! If she sends me that picture of myself in a bikini I'll share it here. I'll certainly never look that good again.) I have thought of her so often in the intervening years. How good it is to reconnect with loved ones we thought were lost. I'm changed by it, by knowing I have her back again.

I almost forgot - that I started an etsy store as a little experiment. I'll put a few things up from time to time.

And gosh, I can't shut up until I tell you how beautiful Michael's book is. If you have it you already know but if you don't let me share with you that if you read it in the evening like I do it's like he's telling you thrilling bedtime stories from ancient times. You will fall asleep with the mythological gods and goddesses cavorting in your dreams and wake up with beautiful lines from Shakespeare rattling around in your head all day. He describes what it is to think art in a way I don't think anyone else has done before. It is really wonderful, generous and good. Word.

Be well. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Encaustic Love

Wax, tissue collage, pigment, henna stencil (from Mary Ann), shellac, gold leaf on a 6 x 6 x 1" block of wood.

Wax, Mary Ann's wallpaper (collage), pigment, oil paint and transfers on a 6 x 6 x 1" block of wood.

This is the window insert that I made out of foam core to keep the cold wind from blowing in what the fan is trying to blow out. I'm still trying to decide if a hood is needed. The fan is an antique (one speed only) but does a great job of keeping the air replenished and healthy.

Friday, November 02, 2007

More Stuff

Yummy! Look what came in the mail today; Sinopia dry pigments for encaustic. They are so beautiful lined up on the shelf next to my wax area. I just had to share.

And another journal page. That too.

I was inspired yesterday to shoot several pictures along the Willamette River. I drive this route every time I go to town and it is full of great old buildings. This abandoned Marina was flooded out when the Willamette breached it banks a few years back. It occurs to me that much of what exists along this old stretch of highway is disappearing.

A few days ago I promised you a tutorial on making a journal out of used grocery bags which I think are a great material to recycle. Well, here we go. First you carefully open the seams of the grocery bags. (or you can just rip them open like I did)

Tear them to size. My size was 10" x 15 1/2 ". They'll be folded in half. I got 3 sheets that size out of each bag so it took 6 bags to make the journal.

Next I soaked each sheet in water and squeezed it out. Then I hung the sheets on a rod in my studio to dry.

Next I ironed out each sheet with a little spray and my iron.

Here are all the sheets folded and stacked into 3 signatures of 6 each.

After sewing the signatures in a coptic stitch (there are many tutorials on that online. Just google "coptic stitch" and choose one) ---

I cut a sheet of tarleton (use whatever you have. Fabric, cheesecloth - I happen to have tarleton because I'm a printmaker but I would have used anything else that presented itself equally) - anyhow, cut a piece of something and get a sheet of cardboard to fashion a spine so you'll know which end of the book is which.

Here is the spine cut out. Dont measure. This isn't that kind of a book.

Slather gel this way and that until the spine is roughly in the spinal area and the fabric is glued to the cover.

Let it dry. It's gonna be a wet puppy.

Ta Da! You now have a floppy, friendly, fabulous book in which to gather up all your ideas and flotsam. Throw it in your purse, let your friends draw in it, do anything but treat it like it's a big deal. This journal is just for sloppiness. (come to the wild side!!)

Another shot of 99E looking south toward the motel that has never been open in the 10 years I've lived here. We refer to it as the Bates Motel and joke that the government uses it as a witness relocation house. You never see anyone outside but the roses are always pruned. Very straaaaange.