Friday, February 29, 2008

Crown making in the country

What could be better than a warm sunny Spring day in the country with friends? Good food and making art at the same time! Our project was to make crowns or tiarras, with shared supplies. Our hostess provided such a welcoming environment to create, and a wonderful lunch of quiches, salad and desserts. It was tempting though, to just sit on the deck and listen to the birds in her yard. But, once we got started with our pliers, and materials, we all got at least a good start on our crowns. Most of them were done with chicken wire bases. Here are some pics. The green crown is Sally's. I have such a thing for Spring green, I had to show it too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Sun was shining and I could work in the studio again, so out with the paints! Here is a new piece. It's a little too large to fit on my scanner, so the colors looked awful. I decided to digitally alter it.

My first daffodil bloomed. The violets are blooming their little heads off. Lilacs buds are swelling and I bought my first Spring flowers at the nursery. I know I'm rushing it a bit, but I can't wait any longer. I declare it SPRING! The Sun Rules!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday in Sac

Yesterday was a blustery, rainy day, but because it was filled with friends, artists, and good food - it was fabulous. Chattering away with Bobbi G on the way to Sac was a treat in itself, followed by lunch at the Crepe place with Patois (who we have missed terribly), then on to the Mixed Media Artists group. I'm sure it was the rain that kept a few people away, but we still had a good dozen artists who braved it. We showed the paper dolls from the Feb. challenge that Bobbi G. posted, and then some show and tell. Then we had our project, which was making those little houses. Here is a photo of some of the ones we made in class plus my samples. I would not even think about missing one of these meetings, they are inspiring and awesome.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Newest Box House

You know I can only do cute for just so long, and have the move on to other looks. I had this great photo from a Life Magazine of a theater audience with their 3-d glasses on. They were probably watching Vincent Price in House of Wax. That's the first 3d movie I saw.

This box is lined with black and white fabric. I stitched around the edges of each side because the glue wasn't holding well, and the paper wanted to peel off the base watercolor paper. I should have used a gel medium or Aileen's tacky glue.

Did I mention these little houses are reversible? So, decorate both sides.

Box House Pattern

This is the latest, quickest version.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Little Box Houses

I've changed the design a bit, after some trial and error. There are no hard and fast rules to making this pattern. Partly the layout of the box should depend on the text that might be used inside the box. I have simplified this for the meeting in Sac. Now, I am laying all the pieces out on a single piece of fabric rather than using a variety of fabrics. This is really fast. Just lay them out on the fabric, lift one piece at a time and apply glue to it, then lay it back in it's place and press it down hard with your fingers. Then move on to the next piece. Leave just a narrow crack between each piece, so it will fold well.

On the first two I made, with the little pieces, I needed to go back and use strips of fabrics to attach pieces to each other. By using a single piece of fabric, these strips are not necessary, but they could be added to embelish.

If you want fabric on the inside also, after the first side is done, cut out around the pattern with scissors, then flip it over onto another piece of fabric. Glue it down and press out any wrinkles with your fingers. These little houses practically fold themselves into their shape.

By laying out the pieces in the new pattern, the roof is all attached and flips up and over with a short extension out the front. The roof pieces need to be cut to size before they are glued to the fabric. This saves folding the roof pieces.

I made this little house at my SICL class, while everyone else was painting.

Here are more pics.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Moving on to other projects.

I have resumed work on the Shakespeare/food poisoning book. You'll get it when it's ready to show! Don't worry, I haven't lost my mind yet! LOL

TodayI went to lunch with art friends and we brought "show and tell", mostly paintings and the paper dolls we had all received from a swap earlier this month. It was so much fun to see the ones the other gals got - no two were alike. We had a whole table full of them to study. Rosemary brought her new book on making crowns and tiaras. We are all getting together next week one day to make some to wear to Art and Soul in Asilomar in April. We are so noisy with fun and laughter wherever we go, the other patrons in restaurants stare and wonder what's going on. Especially if we dig out some glitter and glue and start making something right there!

When I got home I tried to find the directions on how to construct a little house made of playing cards. Since playing cards are the same size as ATCs I wanted to use that size. I could not find instructions anywhere, and I tried all kinds of online sources. I had promised to teach the Mixed Media Group how to do them when I first saw one online. That was months ago and this is the month I volunteered to do it. I didn't find my notes, or the source name, or even a photo - so I had to wing it. The one I had seen had stitched sides. When I laid out the pieces (I figured this out in the middle of the night - when I was still in bed) I started to see how it could be constructed in an easier way for the demo. As I started to make it this afternoon, I decided that I'd rather have it folded and not stitched, so the inside could be a book or a journal, or a photo album. What I did, was to take some pages from a poetry book that my art-pal Jackie gave me, and glued them in and then used the "found text" technique to pick out words and phrases that I liked. Then I cut some words out for the outside. I covered the outside with fabric I glued on. Here are the pics of the inside, the outer side laid out, and then folded. Isn't it cute?

It was a much better day today. I'm feeling more myself. My friends were all worried and calling to check if I was getting morbidly depressed. I think all artists are somewhat prey to depression. I think we have rather fragile psyches and are very susceptible to our environments and emotional ups and downs. And, I was down - but not broken. I'm working through this and expect it will pass soon. But for the moment, I will concentrate on getting out, getting fresh air, exercise, good food, and doing art that doesn't take me down. I'll probably be doing bird things! LOL They are uplifting!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Homelessness Project changes directions

Due to the responses I've had when I've shown preliminary pieces of the work at various venues, I'm rethinking the homelessness project. Everywhere I present it, people get very uncomfortable and nervous. They almost want to look away, just as they do with HL people. I think the images and the whole thing may be too controversial and (may I use the word?) "DISTURBING" . I took some of my new paintings to an art group on campus, and most people liked one - but one was enough for them. I made a few of the boxes and passed them around at an art group meeting - and they were met by silence. People seemed embarassed by not knowing what to say. The images are just too compelling and maybe we all are secretly afraid we might end up homeless - the whole issue is just too emotionally charged. And let's face it, people are very divided on their feelings about homelessness.

Well, art is supposed to shake things up, to make people think, to take them out of their comfort zone. In this, I have been successful. I certainly made some people squirm.

I now think this exhibit is more suitable for an urban gallery where people wander around and talk about the art and study things in depth. Where people can really get in touch with the subject and their feelings about it. But, I personally have no desire to mount such an exhibit in that venue at least not at this time.

Typically, I show altered books at the La Selva Show. So, I'm going back to my original idea of the altered book format with supplemental boxes. That way I can try out the subject matter, without devoting an entire space to it, and I can read the viewers responses. It will not have the same impact as a gallery but it may create some conversations and awareness. Viewing an altered book is a very intimate personal experience, and although it won't reach as many people, it may reach them on a deeper level. That is my hope.

I want to thank all of you for your stories, your good wishes, and moral support. I believe we can all make a difference in our own ways in our own communities. Our hearts are in the right place, we just need to find ways to "make it work".

So, sadly, I am giving up the idea of creating this extended project/exhibit, and therefore, the group I formed to communicate about it. If anyone wants to pick up the torch, and if there is anything I can do to help, you are welcome to email me privately at momzart101@yahoo. com.

I will shut down the group site on Feb. 28th. If there is anything on the site you want to copy for your own records, you need to do it before then. If you have already made some art for this project, please use it someway in your own community. And I urge you to keep your eyes and hearts,(and purses)open and continue to look for ways to help those who are in need. Janene

Alcohol Inks

Here are a couple backgrounds created with alcohol inks and glossy cardstock. Just dab away with 3 or 4 colors, and then drip a little of the bottled solution to cause inks to disperse.

ATC and Altered Art MeetUp in Concord

Yesterday I drove across the valley, over the river, through the hills and arrived in Concord for the monthly meeting of this fledgling group. Margaret and Sue hosted at Sue's house. One picture here is of the goodies Sue made to share, and the flowers her husband brought home to brighten our day. Unfortunately during the meeting he took the family dog, Maynard, out for a walk. Maynard was attached by a pit bull that dashed out of a house they were passing. He is okay, except for puncture wounds, but it was a terrible experience for them. It makes us all rethink where and how we walk out pets.

The other picture here is some of the group working on making backgrounds with alcohol inks. I'll scan some of mine in and post them later.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fat Book Pages

I'm in a swap where we need to produce 31 4x4 inch pages to go into a Fat Book. I'll receive a book with 30 other artists' works together with one of the pages I submit. Here is the first view of the fronts of my pages. I don't know what I'll do to them next. I'm mulling over it. Hmmmm...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Feels like Spring

After working in the garden, I went into studio to do art work. It was warm enough outside to leave the door wide open. So, with the Spring thing happening in my yard, I composed this piece. It's not done, but I wanted to share it quick! Before I layer a bunch of colors or images over it and possibly ruin the underpainting-collage.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Homeslessness project

Here is another of the collages on the theme, this time I tried to use more neutral colors in my glazes. This one is called, Who will be Next?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

painting day!

After yesterday, I could hardly wait to get into studio and paint. These are just excercises using Ann Baldwin's glazing techniques. One is a collage we pasted up yesterday. Today I used glazes over it to tie it all together. Another is on a piece of paper I had cleaned my brushes on yesterday, and added a couple images printed with an inkjet printer to see if the colors would bleed. They worked fine, but you have to be careful not to overwork them or the colors will lift and spread. The one of the man at the garbage can was shown here before, buy now I have started adding glazes to unify it.

Art Workshop with Ann Baldwin

I was fortunate to share a wonderful workshop experience with my good friends Jackie, Sally and Roberta, and online friends Susan and Sherre at Ann Baldwins lovely studio. Here are some pics.

I am very intrigued by Ann's layering technique and how the layers add depth and interest. This is why I wanted to take the workshop. I'm not brave enough yet to do more than a couple layers, but I'll work my way up to hiding more and adding more layers.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Homeless project

The homelessness project continues. This is a mixed media work based on a photo I found on the web. Now, I have to go back and find who to credit the photo to. It's a very moving, sharp picture to work with.

More Found Text

Here are a couple more pages in my new found text book. The original book is entitled The Carpenter at the Asylum: Poems by Paul Monette. I picked it up at the library used book sale for 50 cents. I love the title, but wanted a small book to share back and forth with ArtgurlJackie. tomorrow I'll hand it over to her to continue with her art.

Cute name

A friend (Hi Joanna) mentioned that she has a cat named Jo. The cat bites. Joanna's 2 year old granddaughter was warned against this problem so often that she thinks the cat's name is JOBITE, all in one word. Just had to share !

Monday, February 4, 2008

More found text

This is something I did in Jackie's book. her work in this book is awesome.

Found Text

Art pal Jackie and I are working in each other's found text books. Here are a few pages in my new book. I have another spread or two to finish and then Jackie will take it and do a few pages and return it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Feb in Calaveras County

Here's a more recent pic taken by Rea of my place.
Shall I go dig it out, or wait for it to melt? Hmmmmm....