Friday, April 30, 2010

Artist Spotlight - Nancy Donaldson

I've been following Nancy Donaldson at All Pulped Out/The Evolution of Nancy for about a year and a half now.  Like most of the blogs/art I like, I typically pop in every once in a while, enjoy myself and move on.  A rather selfish approach really.  But, when Nancy made a blog post with the title "I Love Texture", I knew I had found my next Artist Spotlight interview.  I hope you'll enjoy her words, her art and absorb some of her enthusiam.  (Special bonus for you lovers of Paris:  she just got back from a trip and has posted lots of photos on her blog.)  Please read/enjoy here.  Please read/enjoy there.

Where are you from? And, where do you live now?
I was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada-- which is just a mile across the river from Detroit.  When I graduated college in 1982 I moved to Toronto which is just 365 km up the highway northeast from Windsor.

What is your art education?
I have my degree in interior design. Architectural drafting and the history of art and design were my two favorite classes.  I've taken many classes here in Toronto, at Art and Soul, and at Art Unraveled.

Have you always been an artist or are you “new” to it?
For as long as I can remember I've been creating some form of craft or art.

My grandmother started me when I was just about four. I learned how to sew with a darning needle and yarn around a paper plate, before I knew it I was making clothes for all my Barbies. I was crocheting when I was seven and had my own sewing machine when I was ten, revamping all my clothes as I grew really tall at a young age.  At the same time my grandfather (who was an electrician and I was his "helper") taught me how to construct things out of anything we could find.  It was my first attempt at assemblage.

In school I loved trying anything new including making all the bulletin board displays, creating projects for class, and drawing buildings in perspective. When I moved to Toronto I always took night classes in different forms of art, from still life drawing, japanese painting, watercolour, collage-- just to name a few.

What is your specialty? 
I enjoy creating. Anything.

I've always wanted to know how things are done and so have tried just about every craft. I have a huge collection of paper and found objects and love mixed media. I also love photography and incorporating my photos in my work. I've been learning and discovering Photoshop for five years.  In the fall of 2008 I started encaustic classes at the Toronto School of Art and have been hooked ever since. I love that I can combine everything I have learned so far with this medium.

Please describe your work.
It's me! I'm not sure how else to describe it.

As a papermaker, I was drawn immediately to your site because of the title All Pulped Out, yet you're not a papermaker. Tell me about the blog title.
My website is All Pulped Out.  I've always loved paper and started making papier mache in the early '90's.  I was making a lot of home decor items and was enjoying it very much.  I made my own pulp, sculpted each item, added wire, and painted or decoupaged each piece. By '96 I was attending a huge craft show and needed to make a ton of work so I invited all my girlfriends to my house for a "margarita" party and asked them each to bring a blender.  Well before you knew it, drinks and pulp where flying everywhere. At the end of the night I was taking a break and one of my friends said "Hey, get back to work" and I replied "I'm all pulped out" and she said, "That's it! That's your name!"

Since then my art has evolved. I work in collage, mixed media, assemblage and jewelry as well as concentrating lately on my digital work and encaustic.  My blog became The Evolution of Nancy because my art is always evolving.

What does your work space look like?
Organized chaos.  I've spread out into four rooms of the house and taken over several closets.

What would your ideal workspace look like?
A huge room, maybe 20 by 30, with a large window on either end overlooking nature and hopefully some water.  It would have two walls of shelves filled with supplies and several large tables in the middle. There would be an office at one end, a lounge area at the other and maybe include a small kitchen.

What inspires you?

When you're not making art, what are you doing?
My day job is a hair stylist, which is creative.  I take photos anywhere I go.  I love digging in my garden, going to flea markets and garage sales and hanging out with my friends.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
My art is my meditation, my therapy. When I create, the external world drifts away and I'm free to concentrate on what is in front of me. I never know where my art is going to take me, but I enjoy the journey and look forward to the many experiences yet to come.

How can you be contacted about your work?

Blog:  The Evolution of Nancy

Many thanks to Nancy for visiting with us.  We all should remember to continue to evolve artistically and personally.


Monday, April 26, 2010

New Paper Mosaic Sheets

On Friday, after working my last-fundraiser-ever at the elementary school, I got moving on some paper mosaic sheets.  As usual, the papers that I use are sheets of commercial tagboard that I paste paint on.   These will be made into picture frames, mirror frames and the other home decor items.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Andrea Peterson Workshop - My Pulp Painting Results

Continuing with the Andrea Peterson workshop...  here is my work from the pulp painting frenzy.  None of these are finished.  But, all (I think) have potential...

Poured pulp and a little brush work.  This was the last one I did of the day and it took me about 5 minutes.  I think it has the most potential.  Don't you think that I'd learn one day that the stuff I labor and fuss over is usually less good?

Playing with orange.

1.  Pull white sheet.  2.  Pour blues and purple.  3. Use stencil for flower blossom.  4.  Use dental syringe for orange squiggles.  5.  Wrinkles are bugging me.

This one was also toward the end of the day.  I used mostly leftover colors just to get ride of them.  Fence stencil used on the bottom.

Poured background, drips made by flinging pulp with a spoon tip, brushed on brown pulp over a stencil.
I made the fence stencil during the workshop.  Original photo is from our trip to Monticello last year.

Next steps on all of these is probably to go back in with pastels and/or ink.  We'll see.

Andrea's studio, Hook Pottery Paper in LaPorte, IN, is not far from here and several Guild members and I hope to made a road trip this summer to see her set-up (she uses sustainable art practices whenever possible) and spend more time with this really cool lady.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Andrea Peterson Workshop

The Handmade Paper Guild typically brings in one or two artists each year for a workshop.  Sometimes we focus on surface design, other times bookbinding, papier mache, or another paper-related technique.  But this year it was back to our roots:  handmade paper.  We enjoyed the company and knowledge of papermaker Andrea Peterson of LaPorte, IN.  She is amazing!  I'm very happy to have met her and benefit from her expertise.  The workshop, with 13 Guild members, was held at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center.

The workshop was all about pulp painting.  I'm not talking about just squirting overbeaten pulp from a ketchup bottle onto a freshly pulled sheet of paper (although we did that).  She talked about the chemistry of it all (and made it interesting).  She demonstrated how to color the pulp with pigments and retention aid so that the pulp was really highly saturated.  We then each had to try to match a paint chip so that not only was the color correct but it didn't bleed either (sounds easy, it's not).  Then big fun:  using stencils, paint brushes, titanium white, dental syringes, spoons, cups, ketchup bottles, spray misters and other tools, we experimented.  Into the press and then voila, finished masterpieces.  Ok, I'm getting carried away.  No masterpieces maybe, but all good tries anyway. 

Here are sample colors.  I mixed the orange.  You can see how the bottom left blob is bleeding so more retention aid was added until the bleeding stopped.

The cups of colored pulp that became our pallete.  We used white, buff and gray sheets as our base.

Sally, Lauren, Judy, Alice and Sally working away...

Pouring pulp and using a brush to paint the pulp on the surface.

Preparing to use a stencil.

Barb and MaryJo pulling sheets out of the press.

An experimental group project where each person made a mark of some kind with the color that they had mixed.

At the end of a long, productive day...
Andrea Peterson, instructor
Eve Reid, founder of Handmade Paper Guild and Andrea's hostess 
Sally Rose, professor at Central Michigan University
Lorrie Grainger Abdo, workshop coordinator

Can you tell that it was more than a full day and we all went home exhausted?  Many, many thanks to Andrea for a great day. I'll show you my results from the experience in the next post...


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Armand Merizon

Armand Merizon, 90, a great Michigan painter with international fans and collectors died earlier this month.  At his memorial service last week some of his paintings from the family collection were on display and they are awesome.  Not awesome in the typical teenager use of the word.  But awesome in the way the word is intended to be used:  invoking awe.  The memorial was a beautiful tribute as the speakers came from the various paths that he walked in his life:  his art, his family, his faith. He always said that if he couldn't paint he would die.  While certainly not a medical explaination, in the end, that's what happened. 

Armand was my uncle.  My dad's sister's husband.  In his prime he was a large man with a flowing beard and a giant cigar forever nearby.  He painted every day, usually throughout the night, in a chicken coop converted to his studio.  Painting came first.

During our couple-times-a-year family gatherings, he sat at the head of the dinner table and told stories that usually ended with a loud, deep, booming laugh.  He was king of his court.  And, oh my, he was intimidating.  Not unkind, just intimidating.  As I got older, and the infrequent family gatherings became even less frequent, he intimidated me less but what to say to one another?  Then as an adult, pretending to be an artist, when I would have loved to talk with him about art, it never happened.  I didn't know him well, but wish I did.

During the last year of his life, Uncle Armand lived with one of his daughters and her family.  As a result, his 17-year-old grandson Jesse, got to know him better and wrote this poem in tribute.  It is for his grandfather, but let it also serve as a reminder to all artists.  Our job is to find the beauty in this world that others can't see or simple don't stop to see.

Hidden Beauty
by Jesse Ludema

A blind man ponders as he gazes upon the magnificence
Why can’t we see the beauty?

He treasures every moment, and finds wonder in hidden places
We move too fast for the beauty
He lives a simple life, taking pride in simple things, like dogs and shake-spear curls
Why can’t we see this beauty?

As he looks out he sees a brilliant sight, blue and white wings flapping and soaring in the breeze… or is it just laundry hanging outside…
Why can’t we see this beauty?

He sees roaring waves crashing and tumbling in the sky… I only see dark clouds…
Why can’t we see this beauty?

The sun reflects off a small old window on an ugly aged house… He sees an explosion of majestic illumination beaming before him
Why can’t we see this beauty?

We look and look and look and look, but he tells us to look some more
We are still searching for the beauty.

He sits there in thought and begins to paint; he lets his mind flow free; he loses himself in his art
He is trying to show us the beauty.

He paints dancing colors; his painting comes alive and tells us marvelous tales
Now we can see the beauty.

For more about him you can go to the Armand Merizon website which has more information about him, his work as well as providing information about the documentary that was made about him several years ago.

Keep looking.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trip Around the World

And now for everyone's favorite past time:  viewing someone else's vacation pictures!  I promise to keep it short.  The goofy family pictures will remain within the family.





New York


Pretty flowers somewhere in the World

No, we didn't travel around THE world.  We went TO the World (and Tampa for a Spring Training game.)  This picture was taken at about midnight on day 4.  Even the kids look tired.

The most amazing thing I find about anything Disney is the attention to detail.  Every plant, screw, bolt, paint color, and architectural feature is there for a reason. Unfortunately, in the rush to get from one attraction to another, in the huge masses of people, it is easy to forget to look.  And looking is what artists do best.

Spring Break 2010 will go down in our family history book as fun, expensive and exhausting. There is no such thing as relaxing at Disney when you open one of the Parks and then close it too.


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