Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Old yearbooks are great sources for vintage pictures.  The pictures in this mini-collage are from the 1920's.  I'm sure his guy was just a gem and I felt funny giving him the devil's horns.  And maybe the lady was rather bitchy.  Who can know? 

I think this is why I have mixed feelings about using real photos of people I don't know.  On one hand, it's fun to tell a story of my own.  But, on the other hand, I don't like turning real people (yes, I know they're dead now) into something that they were not.  Any thoughts on this?


I have three trick or treaters going out into the night this evening.  The weather forecast is for rain.  Nothing like a bit of rain to kill a good evening of candy grabbing.  I hope it isn't too wet and they can forage for the entire allowable time.  I have a selfish reason for this:  I get all the candy that they don't like.  I know, it's usually only the Almond Joy and Mounds bars, but I'll take what I can get!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lorrie Grainger Abdo - Yep, that's me!

Here's my new booth sign for several of the shows I'm doing during the holiday season.  Cutting out all those letters was an exercise in patience.  I also have one in the works that says "Paper Artist and Instructor" (even more letters).  It seems obvious to me that what I do is all paper related but people almost always seem surprised when I tell them that the mosaics or the collages or the paintings incorporate handmade paper or are made from paper that I've painted.  I'm hoping a sign will help.


Friday, October 23, 2009

New Artwork on Blog Header

You may have noticed that I changed my "header" from this:

To this...

This is a small swatch of handmade paper that I made and then painted.  I still like the collage, and I still like creating collages, but since I haven't done any for a while I thought it best to have the header better represent the idea that I am a paper artist.

What do you think?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Peace Out Man! Recent Paper Mosaic Work

I chuckled to myself as I wrote that headline.

Here I am trying to be cool when everyone knows that a person that actually uses the word "chuckle" is not cool but, in fact, is probably a chucklehead! In addition, I don't dress cool. My hair isn't cool. And, my car is definitely not cool. But, I do think my artwork is cool. Please check out my new Peace Sign mosaics...

paper mosaic peace sign9" x 12", ready to hang, has a small black border, $50.

paper mosaic peace sign 12" x 12", ready to hang, patterned border shown on top and bottom is also on both sides, $60.

paper mosaic peace sign 9" x 12", ready to hang, has a small red border, $50.

paper mosaic peace sign 9" x 12", ready to hang, has a small black border, $50.

Thanks for looking. If you're interested in making a purchase, please contact me directly. These pieces are also available as digitally-reproduced greeting cards.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

ArtPrize Quiz and Grand Prize Winner

The introduction to ArtPrize in Grand Rapids was in my last post. This one is about the wonder of materials that artists use. Visual art certainly isn't just about paint. And, anyone that knows me, and my art, knows that the texture of things is one of my inspirations. So, with that in mind, I offer you this ArtPrize Quiz.

ArtPrize Quiz Question #1: Digital art? Maybe. What material gives these faces their pixelated look? This was part of a series of three very large pieces, each about 4 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Called Portraits by Eric Daigh of Traverse City, it took 3rd prize.

Surprise, it's push pins.

ArtPrize Quiz Question #2: The surface was so, so smooth. The workmanship of the cuts perfect. The cut outs in the paper and the entire structure of this piece is made from...

a set of World Book encyclopedias.

ArtPrize Quiz Question #3: Sorry, no close up for this one from which you could make your guess. Hundreds of bowls made from one basic, critical ingredient called...


ArtPrize Quiz Question #4: Here's Julie at the dump. No, not really, this installation uses nothing but...

Plastic bottles.

ArtPrize Quiz Question #5: Mr. Moose by Bill Secunda is huge, a 5th place winner and made entirely from...


ArtPrize Quiz Question #6: This huge kinetic sculpture swayed gently and squeaked loudly. It is made of...

wood and brass. Field of Reeds by John Douglas Powers came in 7th place.

ArtPrize Quiz Question #7:
Who won? Well, frankly, all the artists and viewers did. But, they actually did award $250,000 (biggest monetary art prize in the world) to...

Ran Ortner for Water no. 24. This is an oil painting, folks, not a photograph. Beautiful.

Apparently some art critics are saying that ArtPrize was nothing but a popularity contest. They should just shut up, look around, absorb the excitement and come to the realization that there's nothing wrong with that. This event made the community at large come alive. It wasn't just the artists that got excited. It brought very good art to masses of people in a way that a museum could never achieve. Sure, it also brought weird, ugly stuff (not sure even I can call it art) to the public. But, just like life, this event showed it all. With all the hardships that art education and art venues are experiencing right now, ArtPrize was a shot in the arm that should help keep the interest in the arts alive for a long time to come.

For more information go to ArtPrize.


Monday, October 12, 2009


Last Thursday a friend and I traveled about an hour north to Grand Rapids, MI to check out ArtPrize. Rick DeVos, a super rich guy and an art lover, spearheaded this event and it was amazing! From the website here are the basics about ArtPrize:

At ArtPrize, any artist—from established to emerging—has the chance to show work. Any visitor can vote. The vote will determine who wins the largest art prize in the world. We also took the unusual step to allow people in the city to open a venue and choose the artists to show in their space. There is not one official curator or jury for the competition.

The number of venues is fluid, so the number of competing artists is fluid. The possibilities are wide open.

We can't predict what will happen, but it should be a lot of fun finding out. Come and see.

Top prize: $250,000

Dates: September 23 - October 10

Location: Grand Rapids, MI USA

Winner is determined by public vote. (Lorrie's note: kind of the American Idol of the art world)

All attendees of the event can vote.

Top 10 entries will receive a prize.

Multiple artists can collaborate on an entry.

Artists may only submit one entry.

Property owners/renters in downtown Grand Rapids can become a venue.

Number of artists represented is only limited by number of venues that become available.

So off we went to check it out:

Grand Rapids is nicknamed Furniture City because of all the fine wood furniture makers that have set up shop here over the years. (Although not known for their fine woodworking, the best known company currently is probably Steelcase.) This giant table and chairs is on a pedestrian bridge over the Grand River and was done by Sarah Grant. Anyone that spends time in some "up north" galleries will recognize her rustic and quirky furniture style. 8th place.

This picture was taken from the pedestrian bridge that I just showed you. This is called the Grand Dance by David Lubbers, 4th place.

This is Nessie by the Nessie Project. If you look closely in the lower right of the furniture picture you can see how she is placed in the river and how big she really is. 6th place.

The following pictures are pieces that I thought were interesting but I didn't make note of the names of the artists.

This piece was outside and quite large (over 6 feet tall). It is made of wood. Just beautiful.

These wood tiles comprised a very large piece (+10 feet?). The encaustic colors were luminous.

Tile mosaics. A Bird in the Hand.

Painted strips of wood, probably 8 feet tall.

In the end they had placed 1,262 artists at 159 venues and counted 334,219 votes! It sure seemed like the overwhelming majority of the artists were from Michigan. Given the downtrodden state of our State, I find pride in this. Julie and I spent about 4 hours there exploring many indoor and outdoor venues. It wasn't nearly enough to see what was being shown but we got a great taste of the event and the art and enjoyed our day immensely.

I took more pictures than I'm showing you here. In my next post I'm going to give you a quiz to see if you can figure out what materials several pieces are made from. Also, the grand prize winner. Stay tuned...


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Handmade Paper Guild Show at the Kalamazoo Civic Theater

Welcome to the annual exhibition of the Handmade Paper Guild of Southwest Michigan! This year the theme of the show corresponds to the list of plays that the Kalamazoo Civic Theater will be performing during their 2009/2010 season. Each artist was to choose a play and use it as an inspiration for their piece of art. Just some of the many plays on the schedule are: Fiddler on the Roof, Twelve Angry Men, It's a Wonderful Life, Twelfth Night, The Dixie Swim Club, Jekyll and Hyde.

Here is the Kalamazoo Civic Theater in downtown Kalamazoo. It is a spectacular community theater venue and the show is up in the reception room.

(As a side note, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is right across the street. Aren't we lucky?)

Ok, first my piece. You know the one: Being Brave or also called Covering-Handmade-Paper-with-Acrylic-Paint-and-Tar. If you've read my previous posts, you saw how I made this piece and why I just made that crazy reference. But, what you don't know is the inspiration for it. My piece is called Bailey Park in honor of George Bailey of It's a Wonderful Life fame. George always did what was right for others and only realized the value of his life and his contributions to his little town when he found out he was in some serious trouble. My piece, featuring the homes that he helped build, pays homage to those that work hard for their families, their homes and their town. The textural background represents the light and dark periods in our lives.

Bailey Park by Lorrie Grainger Abdo
Inspired by It's a Wonderful Life
Mixed Media: Artist-made paper, acrylic paint, bitumen, 2' x 4', $350

Mr. Martini's by Lorrie Grainger Abdo

Inspired by It's a Wonderful Life
Mixed Media: Artist-made paper, acrylic paint, bitumen

This large piece was a collaborative effort by Guild members. Many contributions were made at the conceptual stage. Then in the execution stage, some members dyed the paper, some cut out the figures or made other design choices, and some engineered the final piece. The inspiration for this was the play Twelve Angry Men.

Shots of a variety of member's work. (Sorry about the pictures. Lighting and glare problems.)

Each piece was created by an individual artist in the Guild. Some members are teachers, some are full-time artists/papermakers, some are part-time artists, and all are good people with wonderful creative talents. Techniques represented in the show are: sheet pulling, pulp pouring, pulp painting, collage, stencilling, painting, paper engineering, bookbinding, paper casting, printmaking, papier mache and several others that I'm not sure what to name.

Artists for the pieces shown below are: Dale Menz, Alice Breese, Rose Mary Wood, Liz Faust and Judy Finnegan. Other artists participating in the show, and to whom I apoligize for not having close up photographs of your work are: Tom Hirsh, MaryJo Peterson, Joan Khaled, Eve Reid, Sally Padley, and Lauren Matacio.

What I love about our annual show is the variety of styles and techniques. Every one of us is a papermaker. But, what we each do with that paper... Wow! If you're in the area, please stop by during business hours to see the show. Or, better yet, go see one of the amazing performances and visit the show during intermission or the reception. This show is just one of the many ways our community celebrates the wonderful marriage of visual and performance arts.


PS. All work is for sale and at very reasonable prices, I might add.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Being Brave - Day 6 and DONE

I had such energy, such momentum, such excitement in the creation of this piece and you all spurred me on. Thank you so much for that. Then, I dropped you. No follow up post. No explanation. No Ta Da moment. I am so, so sorry! If you'll forgive me, I now can show you the work done during my last frenzied day of work.

If you'll remember, when last we met, I had just smeared the whole darn thing with tar. Yes, tar! The job then became getting most of the tar concoction off with mineral spirits. As it turned out the tar mixture being thinner than I wanted was a blessing. I had to work a long, LONG time with lots of rags to get the tar off and had it been thicker I can only imagine how much longer I would have been at it. Here is the piece after some/most of the tar was taken off.

It still isn't bright enough though so... I added quite a bit of oil pastel work as my last "layer". These two pictures really don't look all that different but in real life there was quite a contrast.

Above Close up: After tar removal, before pastel addition.

Below Close up: After pastels added. It's unfortunate this picture doesn't do a better job showing the pastels. The red/orange parts actually have magenta and hot pink highlights. The blue houses all have shades of light blue, dark blue and purple.

Extreme (blurry) close up. You can see how the tar stays in the cracks and crevasses. If my artistic style showed a preference for dark colors this certainly is a great way to get "dark" quickly. However, since I still love my brights, this technique provides a wonderful way to add depth and alter true bright colors with a patina.

The end of this saga is that I finished it up (without a varnishing coat, yikes), got it to the show space on time and it is now hanging proudly with the work of other Handmade Paper Guild members. In my next post I plan to show you the venue and give you a better description of the actual show. Surprise preview: This piece actually has a name and it's not called Being Brave.

Thanks for sticking with me!


Related Posts with Thumbnails