Monday, March 29, 2010

Years of Experience

Years of experience have taught me that opportunities come from where you least expect them, and they come when you are not expecting them.  Paying it forward and karma are never lateral actions, the good you do does come back, but never in the way you expect.

Take, for example, the massive show prep I put out over the last month.  I was hoping for, expecting, intending, a great show, to sell the wonderful work I’ve been creating.  To touch people and speak to them through my art.

Well, I did get the speak to people part.  But I only sold one piece, and that was to another artist at the event.

I came home disappointed, sad, and yes, a little crushed.  I indulged in a little pajama-moping time, and let myself take a few minutes from the constant go-go-go of creating work and marketing work and breathing work.

And I remembered the many times I’d gotten the rejection letter from Quilt National, and how those same pieces of work had gone on to other shows, winning multiple awards in several cases.  How not getting jobs had worked out to free me to visit family, or to be available for other opportunities which were even better.

I didn’t do the usual beating myself up over prices, because no one even looked at the prices, so that couldn’t have been it.  I told myself I made some great connections with local women artists who I’ve vaguely known over the years, and got to know them a little better.  Connection is always good.  I read the new Mercy Thompson novel.

I took Friday and Saturday, and then I posted the work to my Etsy shop. I kept moving, and I fully expect something better to come along.

Here are some pictures of some of the work I posted:


 ducks on parade flowers for angie night kitchen Starry Night

I will let you know when that something better comes along.  Until then, I leave you with this:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Almost There

Almost Heaven, West Virginia.  Well, on Thursday, anyway.  We leave bright and early for a quick and fun trunk show and presentation.  I have been in the studio madly putting finishing touches on some pieces to take along, and today I set up some of them to see how they’d look.

display one  

To see how it could look, I used some wooden boxes I picked up at a photographer’s yard sale, as well as some wine boxes my mom bought for me back in her yard saling days.  This enabled the work to be raised up and therefore more visible.  The fabric is a piece of yardage from my at-home dye party last summer.  I painted it using Setacolour fabric paints and the speckled pattern came from sprinkling the wet fabric with chunky salt and letting it dry in the sun.

display two

A detail of some of the images.  You can see the frames I bought at Dollar Tree to use for the larger collages, and the little easels I found at JoAnn that were just right for displaying the small 4” x 4” canvas collages.

display three

The smaller pieces are beaded brooches left over from my beading days.  You can see one of the free-hanging recycled collages in the foreground, and the wire and bead hanger I attached using scrapbook grommets.  You can see one of the mini quilts in the background, attached to its canvas.  I’m really happy with how those are turning out.

display five

Finally, another view of extra pieces.  I also have a half shutter door that I am going to use to hang pieces from, I think using mini bulldog clips and fishing line, but I need to test that out next.  So far I am really excited about how these pieces are coming together, from the colors I’m using to make them to the process of attaching the images onto the frames.  I was so happy when I found out the mini easels would work with the smaller canvases.  They will be included with purchase to make it easier to display the work, always an important consideration when selling artwork.

Tomorrow I will put finishing touches on pieces.  I ordered business cards from and they arrived last week.  I’m going to make color copies of the informational side and attach them to the back of each piece in addition to the price.  I have two more quilts to sew to canvases, and the duck collage that is in this display needs some embellishment.  I think that will be about it, and any extras that come home will go up on my Etsy shop over the weekend, at least until the next show.

Friday, March 12, 2010

In Process

I have taken the cardboard bases I showed you last time and have been collaging like mad, using color copies of personal photos and images of my other artwork.  These are still in process, I need to do a final basecoat, I think of gloss varnish, as opposed to my usual matte varnish finish, to help bring out the colors more.  None of them have titles yet, and I may add grommets to the top corners and run colored wire along for display purposes.

All of these measure 5” x 7” or 7” x 5” depending on the orientation of the image.



The photographs are of my daughter.  In the top picture she is wearing a crocheted dress that was made by my grandmother for my mother.  I have a picture of her wearing it, and I’m sure somewhere there’s a photo of me wearing it.  Now it’s back with my mom, who is planning on having it framed in a shadowbox.  The bottom picture is from my Frida Kahlo phase, circa 1988.  I took a lace scarf and some fake flowers from Woolworth’s to make her headdress, and bought real Gerber daisies from Kroger’s. 


More art about art, this piece has a copy of on of my MOO cards.


When you have an interesting embellishing material, consider making copies of it to use in collage.  This leaf is an Indian applique I picked up from Treasures of the Gypsy.  I have a whole sheet of images of these appliques that I use for collage fodder in my journal and on pieces like this.  I also crocheted the little purple flower, but found doilies work as well.


You can tell these are in process because you can see the difference from where I applied the matte gel medium to adhere the images to the cardboard substrate and the original painting.  The background papers are both painted on the contractor’s paper, starting with a layer of gesso first.  I’ve been cutting out stencils in addition to using the Print Gocco fish screen and Speedy Cut stamps.  It’s been fun to put all the different patterns and colors together.



If I can find them, I have some coffee bean beads that would look cool on this piece.  I adhere the three dimensional embellishments using Golden Heavy Gel medium, it’s easier to apply to a specific spot because it’s so thick and it fills in the gaps on the bigger pieces so that it will stick to the surface.


More of the Indian applique copies, a contemporary button and a vintage embroidered applique enhance the copy of the cow quilt I made for myself after my Gran died.  I rarely make pieces that are specifically for me to keep, but this is one of them.  Using the image in this way makes it possible for more people to see/own it, and enables me to keep the original.  It’s kind of like licensing, but I am the one reproducing the image.


More buttons.


The seam in the cardboard really shows up in the photo, but isn’t quite this obvious in the original.  The sunflower charms are fairly dimensional, which is why the heavy gel is good for adhering them.  You can also see more detail of the fish print I talked about earlier.  That’s the yellow paper I showed in a previous blog post.  I am really happy with how it turned out.

I am also working on small canvases, 4” x 4”


On this one I used color copies of an old beadwork to make the landscape.  You recognize our friend Bessie from the earlier images.  I love her little purse and the bird on her shoulder.


Another one using my daughter in the heirloom dress.  The sunflower is an applique left over from the piece I made for The Artful Storybook.  It’s machine embroidery on fabric that is stabilized with Pellon interfacing.


We are all made of stars.





This one is 8” x 6”.  I used some canvas I painted with Setacolour paints as the background for the photocopy.  The star punchouts are from a sheet of scrapbook paper.  The composition was missing something, and it occurred to me that I could use some buttons from my stash to fill in the corners.  This is also when I realized I could embellish the cards.  Sometimes the solution is so obvious, isn’t it?

Monday, March 8, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons

Make lemonade.  When Life gives you lots and lots of empty cereal boxes, and an empty house, make art:


Layer one on this one was red, then I spray painted squirrels using the leftover wood frames from the wood puzzle sculptures that Izzy received for Hannukah.  The next step was the bamboo shapes carved from Speedball Speedy Cut, octopus stencil based on my octopus bag of late last year, and finally another layer of shapes carved from Speedy Cut.


This one was simple Green Gold and Cobalt Teal, then I painted some big bubble tape with some Folk Art metallic blue and printed over that.

20100308_02 20100308_03

Deep ultramarine blue, then the octopus stencil painted with sequin waste to make the repeated small dots.  The larger dots are more bubble wrap paint transfer.


Red-orange with a layer of bamboo print.  Not sure what is going to come next, maybe Cobalt Teal somethings?

   20100308_04 20100308_04_01                                                                                                            Top: Cobalt Teal, followed by Titanium Buff stenciled through sequin waste, then star stencil made by repeatedly punching construction paper with a star punch.

Bottom: Green Gold mixed with yellow, then stamped with the Speedy Cut shapes.



My favorite so far, bright red stamped with teal bamboo and then stencilled with polka dot octopus. :)  Each cereal box was primed first with a layer of gesso.


Octopus stencil, cut from card stock. 

Of course I could have done all of these if people had been home yesterday, but where my youngest son and my husband were out on a day long ski trip, it was much easier to spread everything out on the living room floor and just play.  I love days like that, where my only responsibility is to myself.  They need to come around more often.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Doubling Down

Our Parkersburg show is three weeks from tomorrow and more prep is well underway.

First, the design wall, with all of the completed small works up to this point in 2010.

design wall March 3 2010

You may notice that Alice has the pink African brocade binding that I put on yesterday.

Now, on to the canvas prep:

canvas in process March 3 2010

The little screen is a Print Gocco I made of a school of fish last summer.  I’m planning on putting them on several of the canvases.  You can see my favorite Golden paint colors, Cobalt Teal, Pyrrole Red, and Green Gold in this picture.

painting tools March 3 2010

Painting and decorating supplies, including my favorite Elephant brush (blue handle), several stamps I carved, a roll of sequin waste for texture, and the paint cup which looks like it has Strawberry Quik in it (mmmm).

background for tulip

Here’s one of the canvases, after a base coat of pink, with sequin waste stencil and stamping.  I’m going to go back in and touch up the red spots after the piece has dried.  This is the background for the tulip quilt I posted last week.

I also am making some paper for collage:

collage paper in process

This is the inexpensive contractor’s paper that comes in big rolls at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot.  I put down a base coat of gesso, let that dry while I was working on the canvases, then came back and painted it with a coat of yellow.  Then I stenciled using the sequin waste and Cobalt Teal.

collage paper in process two

When that dried, I used this leather texturing tool (also from Lowe’s) and Quinacridone Burnt Orange to add another layer of texture.  Once this is dry, I may go in with the fish screen or use the carved stamps to add more designs.

And finally, I came across these canvases in process while looking in the art supply room (aka the upstairs bathroom) for more texturing tools:

yummy sushi collages in process

Yummy sushi fabric, multiple layers of acrylic paint, including the leather texture tool, and then a layer of modeling paste, applied through a piece of window screening.  Izzy is making me a plate of polymer sushi for the center piece, I am still deciding what to do with the other two.

That’s enough chatting for now, time to get back in the studio!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Alice in Finishland

After about a month and a half of on and off work:
Alice in process
Basic line drawing on felted background.
Everything but the pinafore and sleeve.
Alice complete one
The stitching is finished.  My fingers are sore and I have watched all of season two of Torchwood and the series ending Children of Earth series, eaten dinner from a box and let the housework slide (oh who am I kidding on that one, the housework always gets to slide except when company is coming), but the stitching is finished.
Now I get to go through my stash and look for backing and binding fabrics.  I probably will go with pink, if I have enough yardage in the right color.  And I think there may be mother of pearl button details on the pinafore ruffles.
Just in time for the opening of Alice in Wonderland this week!