Monday, November 21, 2011

Recap of Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale

The Holiday Sale last Thursday, Friday and Saturday felt slow, it seemed empty and there were lots of lookers.  We were all quite discouraged.  However, on Saturday (usually our slowest day) we had a steady stream of people.  Lo and behold, things started moving for everyone.  When I completed my inventory after the sale I discovered, my to my surprise, that I had my best show in years.  Maybe things are looking up folks!  Maybe three years in the dumps is enough.  We can hope, can't we?

We have the sale with the Kalamazoo Valley Potters and an art group called Art Etc.  The Weavers' Guild also is there and brings in lots of people.  We are at the Kalamazoo Expo Center (fairgrounds).  The best thing about this space is that we have lots of space!  It also, however, contributes to that feeling of not much activity because it is so cavernous.

As you can see, I really concentrated on the paper mosaics this year.

While I did well, I still have lots left.  Let me know the color you need for that special someone and I'll see what I've got.  (I know, I know, get on Etsy!)

To those of you that attended:  many thanks.  To those that continue to support me in various ways:  many thanks.  And so I'll end with my attitude of gratitude.  Happy Thanksgiving all.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale this Weekend

After the Brick House opening I immediately switched gears to paper mosaics.  The Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale is this weekend and I have lots of fun gifty things to look at, as do many other handmade paper artists.  You'll find handmade paper stationery, artwork, journals, frames, mirrors, cards, ornaments, jewelry and lots of other cool things.  Additionally, The Kalamazoo Potters, Art Etc. and the Weaver's Guild will all be there.  So many things to choose from for the special people in your lives (including you!).

The sale is at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center (Kalamazoo Fairgrounds), 2900 Lake Street, Kalamazoo, MI  49048.  Hours are:

Thursday, November 17th, 5-8pm
Friday, November 18th, from 9am to 8pm
Saturday, November 19th, 9am to 4pm

Here's a sampling of what I will have available...

Four lined handmade paper cards, $10.  Nicely packaged so they don't even need to be wrapped!

Paper mosaic picture frames and mirrors,  $40 - $75.  Lots of colors and sizes available.

Fun side table.  $80.  Perfect  place to put that morning cup of tea.

Eight paste painted notecards per package, $12.  So many colors to choose from your mind will be boggled.

This picture is from last year's sale.

Hope you'll stop by.  I'm working Friday morning/afternoon and Saturday morning.  If you see me please be sure to say hello.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Brick House Pictures

I was pleased with the opening for my show Brick House.  Officially it started at 5:30 last Friday evening.  At about 5:45 I started to panic a bit because no one was coming by yet.  But from 6 to 8 there was a really nice steady flow of people and comments were positive.  And, if someone thought the work was awful they, thankfully, kept their thoughts to themselves.

The series features my own handmade paper on canvas.  Each brick is a separate piece of paper painted using a variety of painting techniques.  The grout texture is made by using the surface of the canvas along with modeling paste and sand swiped from the neighbor's sandbox.  What really makes these work is that I finally figured out how to use shadowing to enhance the texture of the papers.  Ah, progress!

Here are some pictures from the evening...

This picture gives you an idea of the scale of the work.  It also shows me looking better than usual.

I talked at length with a very interesting and interested lady about this piece.  It was sold in my mind.  However, this gallery at the college doesn't allow for immediate purchase and as of this minute I haven't heard from the lady.  I'm still hopeful; however, if you need to have this piece in your home it's yours for $350.

I like the size of this one and the colors turned out really nice.  I plan to use this one as my "show" piece and will finally have something to enter into the Kalamazoo Area Show this year.

Here's the entire wall, about 30 feet.  The comment I heard most often is "I want to touch this".  I say go ahead.  The texture of the handmade paper along with the various painting techniques encourage it.  I think most wanted to touch the pieces because they couldn't figure out the materials used.

This is the smallest painting, 24" x 18" but the most involved.  The patches are plaster, the bricks are handmade paper.

The show is up at the Center for New Media/KVCC (downtown Kalamazoo, across the mall from the Raddison) until the 28th of November.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brick House - Opening on Friday

I have some exciting news!  I've been working on a series that I'm calling Brick House.  The work will be shown for the first time this month.  The opening reception is Friday, November 4 at the Center for New Media, KVCC, downtown Kalamazoo from 5:30 - 8:30.  I'll be part of Art Hop.  Come on down and take a look at my new work as well as the work of other artists showing that evening.  It's always a fun night out.

This new work is a huge step forward for me.  I really feel like I've made great artistic strides with this series as I'm incorporating handmade paper into paintings on canvas.  The handmade paper, while already very textural, actually looks dimensional because of the painting efforts with regard to shadowing and color.  The piece shown on the postcard is 24" x 24".  I will have other pieces that are bigger too.

The reception is Friday.  But, the work is up for the entire month.  I hope you'll stop by.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

My scary melting witch costume...

Have fun with all the little monsters tonight.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall Colors

The Altered Sisters group (we meet monthly to talk art and have fun) had a tag swap in early October.  This is my attempt.  Can you guess what the background is? I love the honeycomb look to it.

A couple of weeks ago I spent three days in the garage/driveway making sheets of paste papers.  I used Lysol wipes to clean up the plexiglass in between each sheet.  These wipes were too pretty to throw away so they became the background for the tags!  Good one, huh?  Then, I burrowed into the back recesses of my messy studio and found my stamps.  I knew I had a leaf stamp in there somewhere.

We have had the most glorious fall here in Michigan.  The colors have not been super bright and vibrant because the temperatures have been too warm.  Nonetheless, it is very pretty out with colors, sun and warmth.  Throw in the occasional 42 degree day with rain and the good stuff is appreciated even more!

I turned 50 last month and my husband threw me a surprise party.  He did a great job and I had a  super time with lots of friends and family.  I think I'll use this image on my thank you notes.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

What's New?

Oh my, it has been ages since my last post.   So much has been going on, some art-related but mostly not.  The biggest and best news is that since August 14 we have a new member of the family.  Our Spanish exchange student, Victor, is a super addition and we love him already.  He will be with us for the entire school year. 

Artwise, I finished my second painting class at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and as a result of that class I was invited to have a solo show at the Center for New Media for the month of November.  Truth be told though, when the class finished at the end of July, I totally shifted gears and am only now getting back to creative endeavors.  So, you'd be right if you guessed that it is a bit frantic around here now as I get ready for that show as well as the usual holiday sales. 

You know that the holiday sales are around the corner when I start making stationery...

Board drying sheets at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center.

Finished sheets in all colors with many different inclusions.  These will be folded and packaged into sets of four and then sold.

So, what's happening in your world?


Monday, May 9, 2011

KVCC Student Show

Each year Kalamazoo Valley Community College has its annual student art show.  Well, since I'm an official student now I decided to enter.  I was juried in with my piece called Bailey Park.  I completed this painting well before I took the Painting class this semester but rules stated that the piece entered had to have been created within the last two years so it qualified.

I haven't shown it on the blog in a while so here you go...

All the colors in this photo are too "hot".  Adding it to my "Please Get a Good Photo" pile.

This 24" x 48" piece uses many of the techniques that I am hoping to explore on my own and in Art 205.  Basically, I am incorporating highly textured handmade paper into an acrylic painting on canvas.  In this case the houses are handmade paper and the background is plaster and paint.  For a look at how this was done you can begin with this post

I just completed my first ever college art class (Art 105).  Good experience, weak instructor.  I debated about continuing with another class.  KVCC has an artist-in-residence from the Netherlands right now and she visited our last class and contributed greatly.  That one experience, that took less than 45 minutes, was enough to sway me.  Yep, I'm registered for Art 205 and it starts this Thursday.


PS.  Our garage sale (mentioned in my last post) was a huge success.  Lots of stuff gone including piles and piles of new toys from Steve's sample room.  Still have a sleeper/sofa left as well as a nice office credenza.  Anyone?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Waiting for the Opportunity - Close Ups

Here are some close ups of Waiting for the Opportunity.  I love how the tight crops turn the piece into an abstract.  I've always been about color and texture.  With these up-close-and-personal shots you really get a look at both.

Water.  I love this.  In fact, my final for my painting class took the water idea a bit further.  I'll show you this painting soon.

If you hadn't seen the completed piece you'd never guess that this is a handmade paper fish!

This looks like a topographical map to me.  Hills, valleys, water, etc.

This one shows one of the handmade paper fish on the left, the painted canvas in the blue and then the raised plaster "lock". 
And back to my favorite part:  water.

Here's the finished piece again for reference on the close ups.  One of these days I'm going to actually have a good picture taken of my finished work.

We're having a garage sale this weekend.  It takes so much time and preparation.  However, since we do this every year, my husband and I have a pretty good routine down.  Nonetheless, it is exhausting.  See you again from the other side of the (hopefully empty) garage.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Waiting for the Opportunity at the Signature Artist Cooperative Exhibit

In my last post I left you with a cliff hanger. My mixed media piece for the Signature Artist Cooperative exhibition called Earth: Power and Fragility was being created with lots of wonderful blues and browns and then...

it went black.  On purpose.  I get a great patina by using some stuff called bitumen (tar).

It gets rubbed off with mineral spirits.  More paint went on top.  Some oil pastels too.

The finished piece.  Picture shows it a bit more tourquois than it really is.

Me at the show opening on April 9, 2011.  This show is up at the Kalamazoo Nature Center until May 31.  It's a beautiful show space and the work of all the Signature artists is super.    Call the Nature Center for their hours at 269-381-1574.

I like the water a lot on this piece.  In fact, I like it so much that I built upon this idea for my Art 105/Painting final.  Pictures of that soon.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Waiting for the Opportunity

The Artists Co-op that I belong to recently had a show opening at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.  Called Earth:  the Power and Fragility, this show had some super work from about 15 members.  So, in the middle of the basement remodel, my painting class, a trip to NY as well as interviewing for a job and ferrying the kids around, I had a show-quality (shouldn't they all be show-quality?) piece to create. 

I juried into this group as a handmade paper and paper mosaic artist so this is the type of work that I needed to make.  It felt good working with the heavily textured handmade paper again!

My idea on this theme was to highlight the plight of the Great Lakes with regard to the very invasive Asian Carp. These fish are expected to enter the Lakes via the Mississippi River and Illinois Canals.  Currently there are "zappers" in the canals that are supposed to keep the fish from entering Lake Michigan through the Locks but it is inevitable that these fish, with their voracious appetites, will get into the Lakes and alter the ecosystems.  These fish are just Waiting for the Opportunity.

Here's my progression over several days:

Back to working with handmade paper again.  Yeh!  The fish are handmade paper fish glued onto a canvas.  The chair that is supporting the canvas gives you an idea of scale.

A coat of tan paint went over the whole thing then I started to build the colors of the water.

Each fish received it's own color.  My formerly bright and fun fish had to become rather dark and menacing.  Asian Carp are not pretty fish!  The white over the blue on the right is plaster.

Continuing to layer blue on blue on blue on blue.  I used my fingers for about 90% of the water on this piece.  Very little brush work involved.

The fish get a bit of highlighting with copper paint and the Lock is put in.  The lock is more plaster so it is raised.  Lots of dimension on this piece.

The Lock is painted copper as well.

OMG!!  What happened?!?  Stay tuned...


PS. That is what they call a cliff hanger. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Art 105 - Fun Little Extras

So we move from the MOMA back to the MOMMA.  :)

In the painting class that I've been taking we use a lot of paint.  Well, we're painting so it shouldn't surprise me that we use up some paint.  However, once a color is mixed on my palette, I absolutely hate just tossing it.  So, I just started putting the leftover paint on a 9 x 12 canvas paper instead.  I didn't think, I just did.  This in itself is a good exercise as I always over think things.

I discovered that these little extras actually work fairly well because the colors are already working together in the original painting and therefore work in an abstract too.

This was made with paint left over from the collage exercise.  Should it be vertical or...


This one is made of leftover paint from a painting that I haven't shared yet.  Some interesting things going on here but it basically is a mess and the black is too bold.  Yet, these quickie experiments are good for this plodding artist.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


While in NYC each of us got to do one (or more things) that was special to that person. My husband wanted to see the diner that is in Seinfeld, my 16 year old wanted to eat his way through the city, my 13 year old wanted to shop, my 11 year old wanted to buy souvenirs, and I wanted to go to an art museum. Not surprisingly, the art museum idea got a luke-warm reaction from the kids; however, my youngest was quite enthralled afterall. She must have asked me at least five times: "you mean that Picasso (or whoever) really TOUCHED this painting?" She couldn't believe that we could get so close to all the work.

I promised a quick tour of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC in my last post, so here we go...

Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881- 1973
It was fun to watch the kids look at this one and try to figure the body parts out.

Wassily Kandinsky, Russian 1886 -1944
There were four in this series in their own room.  They are quite large.  I was taking pictures with a flash at this point and got reprimanded.  Oops.

Paul Cezanne, French, 1839 - 1906
I don't really think of the Impressionists as Modern but in reality I guess they are the ones that started it all.  Wish I knew more about art history.  I loved this one.

Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, 1853 - 1853
This one needs no introduction.  It's not all that impressive from a size standpoint but the brush strokes and color are stunning.

Claude Monet, French, 1840 - 1926
Ah, the water lilies.  Stunning in their size and beauty (although I did like some of his smaller paintings better).

Piet Mondrian, Dutch, 1872- 1944
I think he worked in this style/color palette most of his life.  IMO one or two or ten might be fun but then:  boring!

Andy Warhol, American, 1928 - 1987
Famous for a lot of things, here are his soup cans.  The MOMA also had his cow silk screens and a Marilyn Monroe piece.

Jackson Pollack, American 1912- 1956
I left the person on the left in this picture on purpose.  Look at the size of this!

Someone help me.  Who painted this one?

Also there were other big names like:  Max Ernst, Willem de Kooning, Edouard Manet, Robert Rauschenberg, Salvadore Dali, Paul Klee, Henri Rousseau, Mark Rothko, Joan Miro, and Rene Magritte.  The MOMA has Dali's melting watches piece and Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World, as well as many, many others that you might recognize.  I only noticed the work of one woman, Frida Kahlo.  What a shame that more women aren't big names in world of art. 

A good share of it I "didn't get" but all of it is interesting.  If you ever get the chance to go there, DO.


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