Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Holiday Flurry

Here it is December already! There is a dusting of snow this morning, with more on the way tomorrow. I love the earliest of the snow falls, transforming the landscape.

The Big Holiday Celebration is beginning here in Saranac Lake - art openings, The Nutcracker, school chorus performances, craft fairs, little and big parties. I am involved in three of them this weekend - an opening at NorthWind Fine Arts on Friday evening (from 5 - 7 PM: a collaboration with The Left Bank Cafe, right next door), the opening of the Big Little Show at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on Saturday afternoon (1 - 3 PM), and the first Saturday (of two) of the Enchanted Christmas on Helen Hill

This morning, I was delighted to see that one of my "mountain collages" entered in the LPCA show was featured as the Artwork of the Day on North Country Public Radio's website. Here it is - a study in complementary colors, based on a view near the ADK Loj road outside of Lake Placid.
In the Mountaine - mixed media collage

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A New Act

That was WAYYYYYY too long to neglect my little corner of cyberspace out here! Life has shifted considerably since July, when I left my workshop at QBL in Syracuse full of big ideas about which art project to start next. Just days later, I was offered a job teaching the art classes at Paul Smith's College, I had a new car (due to an unfortunate but harmless - to any humans - car accident), and brand new whirlwinds started up. All good. But time in my studio has been too sparse and instead of being covered with piles of my own watercolors and fiber collage scraps, my horizontal surfaces look like this.
Books on painting and drawing, my students' paintings, lesson plans, and art experiments are happily littering my life. The time has come, however, to focus all possible time and energy on my own work.

And part of that needed focus is due to another adventure: membership in the newish cooperative art gallery NorthWind Fine Arts in Saranac Lake. The nine of us agreed to put up new work in November, and I am scurrying to finish several little watercolor and collage pieces. Here are some samples.

The basic concept for these originated after reading the article by Roxanne Stout in the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors on her mountain collages. As I drive to and from the college, I see the most incredible mountain views of the Adirondack High Peaks (and loads of lower peaks) in wide panoramas. I paint the landscape portions of these pieces from the photos I take when I just have to pull the car over to take it all in. More photos soon, when these pieces and their siblings are completed.                                  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun with Paper and Dye

This week I am at the Quilting By the Lake extravaganza in Syracuse, New York. I'm not quilting and the lake is not too close, but this event is in its 31st year, so the name seems kinda beside the point now. I'm taking a workshop with Hollie Heller and about 15 other people and it's all about collage - of papers, fabrics, threads, you-name-it. I haven't done much surface design work before and I am soaking up a lot of information. The pieces above were done with dyes and wax batik on wasa paper. Others were done with shibori dying of folded paper, batik on waxed paper, discharge of dye, etc. Here is a little gallery - more details later.         


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flowers on the Brain

View near Glacier Point

We just returned from a trip to California and Yosemite National Park. It was all wonderful and interesting. Of course, some of us were looking at birds in great detail and we found some fascinating ones. Our first full day there, we hiked from Glacier Point to  Illilouette Falls - a 5 hour trip with a 1200 foot drop to start off (and you know what that means for the "back"), and the start was at about 7000 feet. It wasn't the best idea for two relative flatlanders before much acclimating, but we did survive. And one of the very best things about the hike was the chorus of Fox Sparrows all around us. We could hear at least 5 singing at any moment, along with lots of other birds. But the Fox Sparrows were incredible in their virtuosity and richness. They also looked quite different from their larger and lighter-colored cousins we see here in the northeast during migration (if we are very lucky). Not many watercolor sketches were completed - much hiking with others, birding with other(s), and general busyness. Maybe now that I am home...
CA Poppies and Miniature Lupines
But, I digress. The thing that really grabbed me most was the abundance of wildflowers, many that were completely new to me. Every trail was lined with wonderful little gems.       
Indian Pink

Mustang Clover

Violet species
Lily species
There were many I could not identify with the smaller field guides, and I didn't want to carry around the giant ones that would actually have been more useful. Made me think (as I do on every trip I take) that I would love a digital field guide to the plants of a region that I could load onto my laptop for trips such as this one. I may have to figure this out. There is an online guide to flora of California that I will use at home to make some more IDs, but we didn't have internet service up there in the mountains.

As these lovely flower images danced around in my head while we prepared to leave, I happened to see a couple of huge posters in the San Francisco airport about a show of Josef Frank's work. Two huge cases of Frank's fabric and design work was located in the International Terminal. What a fantastic exhibit to have at an airport - the place of Eternal Waiting. Knocked me out!!! He used mostly botanical images and transformed them into gorgeous designs for fabrics and other household goods. Here are some of the images I found online later.

Several of these were on display. Almost worth a trip to the SF Airport just to see it. A Google search on his name turned up all kinds of cool information and images. Once again, my ignorance of amazing things astounds me! Now I am experimenting with using plant images from my travels as well as from my garden. To be revealed after some more playtime.                  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Post Card for Lili

This post card went away to my grand-daughter Lili today. I have been sending handmade post cards to her since she was an infant, and I needed to find a way to send her my love. She lives four hours away, and the busyness of life for all of us makes it always too long between my visits.

Now she is two, and she knows who the cards are from. She carries them around, and she and Mommy called me last time one arrived, so Lili could tell me, "Gammy, I WIKE it!" What an amazing miracle she is.

We are preparing to sell our home of nearly 14 years, so we can relocate in the mountains where my heart lives (when it is not thinking about Lili). The gardens are glorious and lush. I am drinking all of it in, enjoying my last Spring here. So much work and love and nurturing. So rewarding.
Rhubarb Harvest

Volunteers Growing no-Work Salads
New Iris with Crazy Lavender Beard
  And the rain just began pounding on the roof again. Feeling lucky to live high above the creek.          

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Projects

The Fringe Gallery in Saranac Lake is currently exhibiting its 8" by 10" People's Choice Show. They are celebrating their first anniversary - a welcome addition to the burgeoning gallery scene in the village. This is the little piece I entered - fabric paper with machine stitching over collaged papers and threads and mounted on a painted prepared canvas. Lots of fun small pieces in this show - very affordable.

Now I am watching the birds return and the plants emerge.
   The silvery scales and beautiful spirals of these new ferns fronds are exquisite.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pleasure of the Process

There is so much to do to prepare for an art show! In the case of the Out of Season exhibition opening on April 13th at Paul Smith's College, I am putting it together with my friend Lee Ann Sporn. And what a pleasure to work with her! There will be more about this show in an upcoming post.

So, press releases to write and send, e-mails to create, post cards and lists and posters to make, etc. But the BEST part is doing the artwork. I finally got most of a day to continue working on some pieces, including more holographic pieces using some of my photos from Florida. The one above is a detail from a small piece using those beautiful Sea Grape leaves that were golden and red in January. Making the fabric color and pattern choices, deciding on the assembly order, sewing the pieces together - all so satisfying and happy-making.
Back of sheer printed layer with border

Sheer printed layer & opaque backing layer

For more information about this process, see the last section of my March 14th post. 

The fabric for the border of this and another piece came from the Foofsique Quilt Emporium in Chatham NY. I was stumped by some project and fabric questions, and Diane really bailed me out. The fabric above was her perfect answer for this border, as well as some other perfect answers I brought home with me. Thanks, Diane!                            

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Learning to Focus

Lili at her Painting Project
For a child not quite two, my grand-daughter Lili amazes me with her ability to enter into what she is doing with complete concentration and focus. And she is not finished until SHE decides it is so. Would that I could be so clear and sure about what I do. It seems odd to want to emulate a small child so often, but here I am, thinking frequently "How would Lili approach this?".

In the meantime, I am working on several pieces for my upcoming show at Paul Smith's College called Out of Season, with my friend Lee Ann. All of my pieces in this show are new and all are inspired by and related to my recent trip through Florida this past winter. The piece de resistance in this show (in my opinion and for several reasons) is my set of handmade postcards that I mailed to 15 friends from the road toward the end of our trip and which they returned to me when I returned home. I am displaying all the cards in a 3D piece at the opening. I also scanned all the cards when I got them back, and I printed them, so I can use them in some fiber work. 

Here is the post card I sent to my mom, shown below first in its original form then made into a deconstructed fiber piece, still in progress.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Avoiding the Doldrums

This is what I see from my desk this morning in Night Rain Cabin, at an odd moment when the chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches are not at the suet feeder on that birch tree. Most of the giant snow pile is from the deep blanket of snow that slid off the roof in many Whoosh-Thumps over the past few warmish days

I have been away in some lovely warmer places when most of this snow fell, so I don't have the same exhausted outlook on this extreme winter here in the Adirondacks as many of my friends. But it has been a time of a darker outlook in past years because of the sunlight deprivation that gets intense for me by now.  This year I am holding up pretty well, partly because of our trips and partly because I have so many wonderful art projects and events that buoy me up. And I am so grateful for all of that.

On Friday, my friend Lynn and I went to the opening of the Cover Art Show over in Lake Placid. This annual show is sponsored by the Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks, with the main objective of finding a piece of artwork to grace the cover of the arts directory for this region (which is getting heftier every year). As always, it was great party and an opportunity to see other artists and friends.

I entered a piece that I reworked from one of my fiber collages that I made over the summer. It is a little deconstructed digital photo of my cabin Hobbit House, with added fabric fragments and decorative stitching. Here is the original: 
Fernville Spring

I like this little piece, but originally it was mounted on a muted turquoise rayon background to coordinate with its ten sister pieces for a show. I decided that background wasn't what this one needed now. So I painted, stamped, and otherwise played on the background fabric to come up with this:
I popped it back into the original frame, renamed it Deconstructed Cabin, and entered it in the Cover Show. I was surprised and pleased to learn it received an Honorable Mention!

Two Saturdays ago, I went to the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, MA to attend Wen Redmond's workshop on printing with natural materials. Really fun and interesting! There is also a wonderful show up at the museum by members of the Studio Art Quilters Association called No Holds Barred. The range of styles, subject matter, and materials used by these talented artists was mind-boggling! See it if you possibly can! After lunch, Wen talked about and showed her art quilts, starting with early pieces. All wonderful, beautiful, and inspiring. 

Using Wen's directions from a 2007 issue of Quilting Arts magazine, I made two pieces that were accepted into the Adirondack Artists' Guild recent juried show. Because these works are constructed with a photo printed on the top sheer layer and an opaque layer of the same photo underneath, separated by the depth of the stretcher bars, they look 3-dimensional (or "holographic" as Wen describes them). I love this technique - lots of potential for future work.
Low Tide Treasure
Winter Ferns
The photo below shows how the Winter Ferns piece was assembled. The lower opaque layer was glued to the back of the sheer layer which was attached to the stretcher bars by the border fabric.

So, on to the next project - finishing work for my April show Out of Season. Lots to do. More about that next time!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Post Card Project

Upon leaving Florida (tomorrow morning) I am finally getting back to my blog! My current project is making 14 or so post cards, mailing them to friends, retrieving them later, and making them into a piece for my show coming up in late March at Paul Smiths College. Each one is about some aspect of this wonderful trip my sweetie and I have been engaged in since late December. A recent post to my Inkjet Transfers Yahoo Group spurred me to show a few of the cards for which I used inkjet transfers.

This card was made from a photo I took of a sweet little cottage in Bradenton, Fl. I printed the image on brochure paper and transferred to the watercolor card using Golden soft gel medium, with a spritz of water on the printed image before placing it facedown on the medium. It turned out very well. The painted borders are cut from the map in the Village of the Arts booklet I received when Mom and I went to studio/gallery tour the Village in January, along with a little strip of lovely painted paper on the right edge.

This card is made from an inkjet transfer on plain paper, using Golden matte medium. A little less successful than the image above but the strong photo of the palm leaflet worked well anyway. I used map fragment for this card as well.

This image transfer is of a gorgeous sunset, made as the one above. I enhanced it with watercolor pencil and spread the pigment with matte medium to make it more durable for its postal journey. Painted handmade paper is attached with matte medium along the bottom and right edge.

Hope you enjoy some tropical thoughts when you look at these. I feel so lucky to have had all this sun while you poor dears are digging out from under the winter!