Friday, December 10, 2010

Cris' Collages at LPCA

These collages (each 8" x 8") were on my November 24th post, with information on how they were put together. Now they are the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in the Big Small Holiday Show, along with lots of small works by area artists. Worth the trip!

Trust the Trail

October Pond Lilies
Hints for the Cook - Girl Scout Series

In Using an Ax or Hachet - Girl Scout Series

Warning for Windy Days - Girl Scout Series

Gail's Map to the Art & Craft Holiday Show

In the center of the map, find "The Brills" at 44 Fawn Street, Saranac Lake NY.

For more information, call Gail at 518-586-1063 or Cris at 518-524-0533.

Saturday, Dec. 11 from 10 to 2
Sunday, Dec. 12 from 1 to 5

ArtWorks at Bluseed

Winter Solstice I

Begin the Journey
Tonight our Saranac Lake ArtWorks "Art Under $100" holiday show opens at Bluseed Studios. Here are some of of the pieces I entered in this show and sale. Lots of lovely pieces by about 18 artists. Our reception runs from 5 to 7 PM tonight. Come over and see what deals you can find! The show will be up until December 29th.

Dreamscape IV

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There They Go

On my way down through the mountains yesterday, I dropped off my five 8" x 8" collages at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for the Big Small Holiday Show (a.k.a. Miniatures Show on the website but originally the show had the former title - much more descriptive, as I don't think of my pieces as miniatures at all). It always feels kind of like leaving your small children at school on the first day of classes - you know they are looking and behaving their best, but you can't help worrying a little and you hope people like them, understand them, and help launch them successfully into the larger world. And here they are for you to see:
In Using an Ax or Hachet - Girl Scout series
Warning for Windy Days - Girl Scout series

Hints for the Cook - Girl Scout series

Trust the Trail
 It is hard to see on the piece above the metal leaf that I applied to the trail going up the steep mountain among rocks and leading to the glowing disk. Maybe a photo would show the technique better - quite perfect for the effect I had in mind. I could not find locally the sizing that is prescribed for gluing down the delicate metal leaf, so I used double-sided adhesive. The fire tower on the left is a transfer from a newspaper using a Chartpak blender marker. The ravens are stenciled on, and the pressed leaf is a spring Tiarella.    
October Pond Lilies
The background on this one is a manipulated photograph printed on air mail paper ("oil paint" effect and faded back); the foreground image is a photo transfer using matte acrylic medium on hot pressed watercolor paper, enhanced with watercolor paint, and cut apart; and the image in the upper right is a scan from an antique print that was inkjet printed, along with the text, on gampi silk tissue and applied with more medium, allowing almost total transparency behind the printed image. I'm still working with the gampi to figure out the best way to print on this delicate paper. In this case, I sprayed the back of the gampi with the temporary bonding spray I use for fabric work and just stuck it firmly to a piece of regular printer paper. It went through my printer perfectly, after several earlier nerve-wracking and unsuccessful tries. (Many thanks to several friends on my inkjet transfer Yahoo group for their suggestions!) The downside to the temporary spray is that it leaves a sticky residue (of course) on the back of the tissue. Not a problem in this case, but not always what I want. 

Every piece is an experiment in one way or another.                            

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Calling All (Long Ago) Girl Scouts

Warning for Windy Days
I was a Girl Scout for a long time - age 8 to 18. Much of the time, I was jealous of my brothers, whose scouting experiences involved camping in the rain in leaky pup tents, learning to use jack knives, and tracking raccoons - great stuff! Meanwhile, I learned to make hospital corners, to dance the Hava Nagila and the Mexican Hat Dance, and to occasionally cook over an open fire, identify wild flowers, and learn to sail in my own little boat. So, taken as a whole, it was very worthwhile, even in high school when it was quite uncool. (That was when I learned to sail. That was also when I melted the toes of my vinyl boots while on a GS camping trip on a very cold rainy weekend by standing too close to the campfire. I think my tent fell down during that trip after becoming completely waterlogged.)

My fondness for so many of those experiences led me to collect a modest number of old Brownie and Girl Scout manuals, including two elderly versions of the Girl Scout Handbook, third (1936) and fourth (1938) editions. For quite awhile, I have thought about using those books in my art pieces to pay some kind of tribute to what I owe Juliette Gordon Low and all my troop leaders. The materials above are being made into a collage with the pages from one of my books, fabrics, embroidery thread, paint, and some of the buttons from my friend Joan's vast collection. Below is one of the pieces that is a bit further along.
Hints for the Cook
Tomorrow I will take three of these Girl Scout collages (with their metaphorical titles) and a couple of other collages to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for their holiday exhibition of small works. I am looking forward to seeing the response to them. How many other white-haired Girl Scouts would like reminders...?              

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday at the Huyck

Today was the last day of my week at the Huyck Preserve. I finished my piece of art work, packed up my gear, and finally took my walk from Lincoln Pond to the waterfall below Myosotis Lake. The weather was perfect, and the forest - mostly old Hemlock and Sugar Maple with Christmas, Maidenhair, and Wood ferns in herbaceous layer - was very beautiful. The Witch Hazel is blooming now, as it always does in October. See the little fringe-y growths at the twig tips? Those are the flowers.

And here is my collage that combines scans of two of my aster drawings done with technical pen and colored pencil, a scan of an old topographical map of the Preserve, scans of pages from Gray's Manual of Botany, and papers with acrylic paints. I also left my page of the original drawings. 
With the use of some transparency sheets, I also experimented with some photos I took of the light on the Lake. I printed on the transparencies (made for toner-type copiers - not really at all suitable!) with my little inkjet printer using the draft setting to avoid getting too much ink on the sheet. Then I transferred to watercolor paper using Golden matte medium on some and with plain water on others. I also had a small sheet of gold-colored foil (from a chocolate wrapper) and I glued some of it down with the medium before the transfer process. I really learned a lot! So, here are some of the results, showing the finished transfer with its original photo (remember that the transfer is a mirror-image of the photo):
original photo 1

matte medium with gold foil
original photo 2
water on substrate, no burnishing
water on same transparency, burnished
original photo 3
more water on substrate, slight burnishing on blacks
Today was also the day I said good by to the Brits (and 1 Aussie). I enjoyed each of them enormously. Things were awfully quiet once they drove away this morning to get the train in Hudson for NYC. Here they are:
Jenny & Dave

Carolyn (from Down Under)
Chris & Andy
CSA Interns, Adam, & British Trust Volunteers
Bon Voyage and Safe Travels to All.

Thursday at the Huyck

The big news today was SUN! Even though I spent most of the day in the studio, it is a huge relief to not have to slough through ever-growing puddles to get everywhere.

And, I did get some work moving along today. I used a scan of a page of draft aster drawings (that includes a few blips) to print on light-weight calligraphy paper.
I carefully wet then tore the paper around two of the drawings and started collaging them onto an 8"x8" canvas, along with a print of an old map of the Preserve, excerpts from Gray's Botany, and paper fragments.

Well, now it's Friday already! I went for dinner at the Palmer House Cafe in Rensselaerville last evening with the Brits (+ 1 Aussie) and the CSA interns here. What a celebration we had!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday from the Huyck

This is the same spot as the starting photo from yesterday. The rain didn't stop and the streams are all high again. Here is the waterfall near the Preserve office:
My plan to do some botanical drawings outdoors did not go well because of the deluge, so I am doing a different project for my offering to leave here. The drawing that I have done have been huge pleasures though, and I am grateful for this time and the place to focus on this process.
This evening I had the great pleasure of going to dinner at the home of my friends and former Saranac Lake neighbors Chad and Lisa Jemison and their beautiful daughters. Chad is the director now at the Huyck Preserve. What a lovely coincidence for me that they are just up the road from my little cabin here!



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday from the Huyck

The little stream outside my kitchen window is racing again after the hard rain all night. And it's still going. The view from my little cabin, The Bird House, is not really out of focus as I looked out at the Huyck Preserve's Lincoln Pond a few minutes ago. The blur is the steady downpour.
And it is fine with me, as I will go to my studio over in the research building soon to work for the day. There is much to inspire and motivate me there. The work of past Com.En.Art artists hangs everywhere in that building - bats, snakes, moths, insects, wildflowers, birds, habitats. All of it meticulously rendered and completely wonderful.

I have barely begun my serious work here, as I try to shake this bug I have that blurs my thoughts and lowers my energy. Sometimes that helps me to focus though. I have started drawings of some of the many aster species I find along the trails here. There are not many plants with open flowers now in early October, and I plan to relearn the asters every fall. This is an opportunity! Here is one little beauty that I quickly drew while sitting in the marshy north end of Lincoln Pond (as a Bald Eagle pair and a Common Raven cavorted overhead).
Last evening, my neighbor Heather (one of the six British Trust Conservation Volunteers staying in the adjacent cabin - more about this lively group later) came over for a drawing lesson. She really understood my teaching method (based on Betty Edwards' right-brained drawing concept) right away, and she left with the most lovely drawing of a lemon wedge. Perhaps she'll let me photograph it for you...  

Yesterday I needed groceries and so did 3 of the BTCV folks and Sarah, the other current artist-in-residence, so we all piled into my car and went to Greenville. On the way, we stopped to buy fresh produce at a farm stand. It was something new to the 2 Brits and 1 Australian, especially the Honor Box into which we crammed our small bills to pay for our gorgeous veggies. 


Monday, October 4, 2010

My Artist Residency

I arrived at the Huyck Preserve in Rensselaerville, NY on Friday near the end of an absolute deluge here in the upper Hudson Valley (and elsewhere). We had 5 inches of rain in about 24 hours. That afternoon seemed all about water! In any case, I am finally here in this beautiful place for my week as one of several ComEnArt Artists in Residence over this season. This program allows artists to stay for one or two weeks at the beautiful Preserve to work in a retreat-like setting. In return, the artist donates one or two pieces of artwork completed during the stay. I have contemplated applying for this residency for several years - finally got it together this year and I was pleased to be accepted.

I have been taking lots of photos (these are from my twilight walk to Myosotis Lake on Friday) and started some drawings that are helping me to narrow my focus and decide on a project to complete by Friday this week.

Now I am off to set up my studio in the research building. Rain is expected today, so it will be good time to settle in there.