Friday, January 30, 2009

Whole Lotta HeART - Part Three

One more post about last weekend...

You may recall that I mentioned low single digit temperatures. Add a strong blowing wind and you have a recipe to stay inside. But no! After the class on Saturday I drove only a mile to the Frankfort beach to see what Lake Michigan looked like. Despite the frigid temps of January 2009, the Lake was not frozen. In these pictures you can see the beach with open water beyond. I was only able to stay out in the elements for a couple minutes as my hands started to freeze up (no gloves on!). Lest I paint a dreary picture of Frankfort, MI, you should know that in the summer this place is paradise with a lovely beach, a cute little town (with a great bakery, and after all, what's a town without a great bakery?!?), a huge, sparkly inland lake called Crystal Lake, Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore just up the road and beauty everywhere you turn.

My kids went skiing that same day at a nearby resort. Here are my girls and their cousin with only their little noses showing. They had a ball skiing but were inside more than usual to warm up. I wonder why?!?

Makes me cold just looking at these pics! Stay warm out there.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Whole Lotta HeART - Part Two

Here we go with more pictures of artwork created by students at the Whole Lotta HeART retreat at the Crystal Lake Art Center this past weekend. On Sunday Pam Yee taught how to turn one the sheets created on Saturday into a book. Everyone made templates for the binding, measured and folded the spine and sewed. All managed to get some pages decorated and no one left early (except for one student that had quite a drive in front of her). All photos are courtesy of Pam Yee.

Both days were quite full as we began at 9 in the morning and finished at 4. And, as you can see from these pictures, Day 2 of the workshop was much less sloppy than Day 1!

All students went home with new knowledge, a large stack of paste painted papers, a beautiful handmade book, new friends and memories of a fun, creative weekend. Pam and I went home exhausted but smiling. Sharing our knowledge and seeing such enthusiasm for our artistic love is a grand reward.

If any of this sounds of interest to you, please let your local art center know.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Whole Lotta HeART Retreat - Part One

What a great weekend! The Crystal Lake Art Center, Frankfort, MI hosted a retreat that included myself as the paste painting instructor and Pam Yee as a book instructor. I taught on Saturday and Pam worked with what we had made during the paste painting class to complete the One-Sheet-Wonder book form on Sunday. We had eight enthusiastic students enjoying themselves in a warm, cozy, creative space. Frankly, inside was the only place to be as the outside temps were in the low single digits! Many thanks to Lee and Eliza, who helped organize this retreat and enjoyed participating in it too. Additional thanks to Greta, Audrey, Carole, Bev, Diana and Marcy for attending and making the weekend so pleasant. Each time I teach, I continue to learn myself and this is one of the reasons it remains to be a joy to be out there meeting such wonderful people.

(Notice that my shirt doubles as a rag. Saves me always looking for something to wipe my hands and tools on!)

The day started with me giving some history about paste painting and talking about supplies. Quickly, however, we got right down to business. I demoed the basics and they went at it. I demoed some additional techniques and tricks and they went at it. By late morning everyone was confident and turning out some great work. To keep it interesting they did have some "assignments" throughout the day: do the front and back of one sheet in contrasting colors and/or textures that would be the base of their book; emerge beyond their typical color palette and use two colors that they hadn't used all day; and, pick a sheet that they didn't like too terribly much and rework it with more paste/more color/more texture.

At one point in late afternoon when the energy in the room was starting to wane a bit, we did a round robin. We each started a sheet with one color and then passed it to the left. Each of the artists then added their "mark" to the sheet. It could be additional color or additional texture or both. Amazingly, rather than getting muddy, many of these collaborative sheets turned out to be some of the best of the day.

You may have noticed that this post is only "Part One". "Part Two" will show pictures of the the bookbinding day and some of the finished books. Stay tuned...


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book Arts Fair (again) and Crystal Lake Art Center (again)

I know I skip around from subject to subject: paste painting, mosaics, handmade paper, book arts, sales, puppy, etc. I hope that makes the blog interesting rather than confusing. I write about what is top-of-mind for me artisically, which, just like my life, is all over the map.

Anyway, today I'm heading back to the topic of the Book Arts fair at the Portage District Library. The library has put up some better pictures than I posted and has some fun descriptions of what went on during the entire exhibition (it's up til February 10, by the way). I would encourage anyone with interest in the paper/book arts to coordinate or participate in an event like this. There is some wonderful energy when people get together to share their loves. Here is the link to visit the "official" site.

I'm off tomorrow to beautiful, but cold, Traverse City, MI. We've decided that the whole family will go, including the pup! I will be teaching at the Crystal Lake Art Center in Frankfort on Saturday. (A spot or two is available if you have the urge to paste paint in the warm and cozy Art Center. ) Simultaneously, my kids, my sister and her kids will ski at Crystal Mountain Resort which is just around the country corner. Dad will hold down a spot inside the lodge and catch up on some reading and be the go to guy when you're hungry or cold. A win for everyone involved! I'll post pictures when we get back...


Monday, January 19, 2009

One World, One Heart

(It is 10:31 pm on February 11 and I'm closing the entries down now. I know it's not midnight yet but I'm pooped and heading off to bed. Many thanks to all that visited and entered my drawing! I'll announce the winner tomorrow.)

The One World, One Heart giveaway has been going on since 2007. In the words of the hostess of One World, One Heart, "The original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way."

This seems like a good idea to me, so I encourage you to stay a while on your visit, let me know what you like and any suggestions you may have. If you leave a comment on this post you will be entered to win my giveaway. Please be sure you leave an email address so I can contact you if you win. This little party ends at midnight on February 11 and I will contact you on the 12th if you are the winner.

Be Sweet

5" x 7", mixed media on canvas.

If you would like more information on this event, click on the One World, One Heart logo in my sidebar. Thanks for playing and it's nice to "meet" you!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You Can't Get it From Kissing

I got a phone call out of the blue recently from an area artist that I have never met before, but I do know her wonderful work. She introduced herself and said she was interested in one of my pieces that she had seen in the "You Can't Get it From Kissing" show in December. This exhibit was sponsored by CARES (Community AIDS Resource Education Services) of Southwest Michigan.

The exhibit was for one cold and snowy night only. Traffic at the exhibit was strong but not huge. Now, about a month later, boom! a phone call comes in. As I've said before, you never know when something small may develop into something big. I don't know if this will go anywhere financially (we may barter) but I do know that I have made another contact and it is from someone whose work I admire very much. I'm pleased, very pleased! (You may now pretend that there is a video link of me doing a happy dance here!)

Here are the two pieces that were in the show. They are both about 22" x 48" and quite dimensional. The pulp on my mold when I pulled these sheets was over an inch thick and then the final pieces are layered with more paper on a base.

Title: Please
Handmade Paper and Acrylic, 22" x 48", $300

While the title of the piece, Please, is polite and hopeful, the reality of the piece is actually wistful and dark. This emotional contradiction is a part of the make up of all human beings, but perhaps, it is more pronounced for those with AIDS. Until key knowledge breaks down the stigmas associated with AIDS, Please will continue to reflect the anger, fear and rejection of those that are contained within it’s walls.

Title: Apartments/Compartments
Handmade Paper and Acrylic,
22" x 48", $300

Even when people are close to each other in proximity and share things in common, the words AIDS/HIV cause the walls go up and the separation and isolation to begin. Apartments/Compartments is meant to show how similar we all are, yet how far apart we let ourselves become, due to the biases against those with AIDS.

Thanks for looking today...


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Book Art Fair

This weekend we were hit hard with a snowstorm. We haven't had one like this for quite awhile and if you can cocoon inside with some hot chocolate and a good book it's a great couple of days. But, not for us. We were out in the middle of it with soccer, basketball, theater auditions and skiing as it all went on as scheduled. As did a Book Art Fair at our local library.

This Book Art Fair is part of the current exhibit titled "The Art of Books/Books of Art" and featured artists from many different area book-related groups. The Kalamazoo Book Arts Center was there demonstrating printmaking, bookbinding and papermaking.

The Altered Sisters were there demonstrating found poetry, altering books and various background techniques. The Multi-Media Mavens were represented too and encouraged attendees to do a mini make-it/take it project. Artist Andrea Stork had her work there and it is just lovely. She uses old book covers as her canvas and works with texturing mediums and paint to turn the old books into works of art.

I was there as part of the Altered Sister group. I showed how to use molding paste, acrylics and tissue paper to alter an old Winnie-the-Pooh board book.
This book will be part of a round robin swap I will be involved with starting in March. I have no idea of the theme yet but I guess it will have to involve the color orange!
Attendance at the Book Art Fair probably wasn't what it could have been because of the weather but there was a steady stream of interested folks for the three hour event. And, while this type of event usually isn't of benefit monetarily, it is almost always a positive experience. I was able to enjoy the company of fellow artists, I met new people interested in the art that I do and I was asked to co-teach a journaling class with another artist. One thing can often lead to another! If you are an artist trying to get your name out there give this type of thing a try. Also, if you're not much of a people person this is a great way to get better at greeting people that you don't know in a friendly environment.

I'll sign off with the usual winter storm good-bye: Drive safely!


PS. Many thanks for the comments and encouragement regarding our new pup, Dash. Even though I thought I was mentally prepared for having a baby in the house again, turns out I was wrong. I've not gotten a thing done for a week! It hasn't helped that he has been sick with some bug (and I do mean bug) which has required 10+ trips a day to the snow pile to do his thing. After two visits to the vet, different food, an IV for dehydration, and two different antibiotics he should be on the mend now. Oh please, let that be true! I'm really rather tired of the 2:00 am adventures to the outdoor potty, although it is incredibly peaceful out there, in a snow storm, at that time of day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New member of the family

Today I'm going to break my promise of sticking to art-related topics on my blog. I do, however, have a good reason: Dash Abdo is just too cute to keep to ourselves. He is a maltese/bichon puppy that we got through a rescue organization in the South Bend area. We've had him since Friday and he's doing very well. Mom (me) on the other hand is exhausted! Makes you wonder how anyone makes it through the human baby years!

Have a good day.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Whole Lotta Heart Girlz Weekend Retreat

Happy New Year!

Today I am going to do a bit of shameless self promotion. Information about a class I am teaching has been up in the sidebar of this blog for about a month. And, you've certainly heard me talk about paste painting before (if not, look back to some of the October posts). Anyway, a talented bookbinder and I are teaching later this month and we'd love to have you join us.

* * * * *

Was one of your year's resolutions to try something new? Are you in need of a mid-winter creative pick-me-up? Or, maybe, your family skis but you don't? Join me at a Girlz Weekend Retreat in beautiful northern Michigan at the Crystal Lake Art Center. Located in Frankfort, Michigan near Crystal Mountain Ski Resort and various other wonderful "up north" places, we'll be spending January 24 and 25 playing and creating.

On the 24th, from 9:00 to 4:00, I'll be teaching The Art of Paste Painting. This surface design class, suitable for all ability levels, is an exploration of color and texture. It is basically finger painting for adults. Just try to make that un-fun! At the end of the day you'll have lots of beautiful sheets of paper to use in bookbinding, collage, scrapbooking or even to display proudly in a frame.

On the 25th, from 9:00 to 4:00, Pam Yee will be teaching a bookbinding technique that she calls the One-Sheet-Wonder. You'll use one of the many sheets of paste painted sheets of paper to create a one of a kind book.

The cost for the weekend is $100 but if you bring a friend and there is a discount for each of you! Hotels are discounting their usual rates for those enrolled in this retreat. For more information contact me or look at the information on the Crystal Lake Art Center website. If you'd like to register for the class, please contact the Crystal Lake Art Center directly at
231-352-4151. Registration ends January 12, 2009.

Best wishes for 2009!

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