Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

It's a beautiful day to get some of those leaves raked up.  And, it looks like it will turn into a great evening for my three trick or treaters.  I've got one multi-colored little bird, a ragdoll and a "yet-to-be-determined".  Hope you have some fun today too!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Life of a Sheet of Paste Painted Paper

A good deal of my time lately has been painting sheets of 18" x 24" sheets of paper using the paste painting techniques that I love so. 

The fall weather here in Michigan has been glorious (instead of the usual cold, rainy days that we frequently get in late October) so I can work in the garage, not freeze, and then clean up with the hose and not freeze.  I do believe, however, that those days are behind me and I will soon be stuck in the basement using the table under the stairs and the stained utility tub that is next to the sump pump.  Not the most inspiring environment.

Here's a sampling of the 50+ sheets that were painted.

Trim edges.  Cut down to 5" x 8 1/2" inches.  Fold.  Count out envelopes.  Package up with raffia.  Label and price each package.  Doesn't seem like too much until you try to do 50 sheets, then it's a back breaker.  I think I'm going to look into having a printer do the cutting.  Each package of 8 cards is $12.  Now that you know what love and effort goes into each little package, it's quite a bargain, don't you think?  :)

Here are some of the trimmed off bits.  I used to throw most of these away.  The stuff in our recycling bin was the prettiest in the neighborhood!  It just about killed me to throw all these away.   But I could only make so many bookmarks and the piles of scraps continued to grow into a mountain!  Then, I started working with paper mosaics and the rest (as they say) "is history". 

Here are some paper mosaic composite sheets made with the scraps from the larger paste painted sheets.  Almost every little piece of the large sheet is used, each and every time. 

With the holiday season just around the corner, these will probably be made into picture or mirror frames.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Current Exhibition - Better Homes and Gardens

I was asked to exhibit my work at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Portage, MI.  I was pleased with the offer and gladly accepted.

Here is the Artist Statement for the show titled Better Homes and Gardens:

Lorrie Grainger Abdo is a local paper artist. One July weekend in 1995 she took a papermaking workshop in northern Wisconsin and it changed her life. Inspired by the textural possibilities of the medium she began exploring different ways to push paper pulp to its structural limits yet maintaining a 2D format. Adding bright paint highlights the hills and valleys of the paper texture. Recently she has begun to use various painting techniques and canvas to progress further with handmade paper.

Additionally, she works extensively with paste paint. This is a surface design technique that she uses on commercial papers. These papers have movement and infinite possibilities. The papers are turned into paper mosaic art pieces as well as for home decor accents.

The show Better Homes and Gardens combines her handmade paper artwork and paper mosaic home decor pieces. She often uses the graphic shape of a house in her work as well as simplistic flower forms. These basic forms, while childlike, inspire powerful memories for those living in the adult world.

From left to right:  Heavy House, Hopeful House, Hell House, Healthy House and Harmony House.  Each is 100% cotton fiber and acrylic paints.  Each measures about 2' x 4'.

The house form on these is handmade paper, the background on each is a paste painted sheet of commercial paper.  The one second from the left sold during the show.  Others are awaiting a good home:  maybe yours?

These are paper mosaic pieces, each measuring about 9" x 12".  It's hard to take decent  pictures of artwork when it has a high gloss finish coat.

The mosaic wall.

These are small, about 9" x  12".  I'm showing you these because they incorporate handmade paper (the flowers) on a textured canvas.

I took more pictures but they are too terrible (glare, blurry, etc.) to show you.  Instead, I'd like to share with you something that they have on the alter of the church.  It is a large, multi-panel screen that is decorated with...

tiny paper pieces.  What are the odds of that?  Apparently this was done by church members.  Various commerical papers (mostly magazines and scrap) were used.  I think it's lovely.

The show has already been up for about a month and comes down on Monday, October 25.  If you'd like to see it before then, let me know.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Flower Paper Mosaic Mirror

This mirror was fun to make and I'm very pleased to say that it sold to a local art friend:  Angela Hoffman.  Angela is one of the Altered Sisters here in Kalamazoo.  We meet monthly and share our work, our ideas and techniques.  I took this to a recent meeting to show everyone and she decided that she had to have it.  Nice to have friends like that!

It is pretty big, measuring almost three feet from petal tip to petal tip.  The actual mirror is about 10 inches across.  There are at least 7 different mosaic patterns in this piece and more than 12 different paste painted patterns were used.

A close up of one of the petals.

I hope Angela and her family will enjoy it for many years to come.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Art Prize 2010

An amazing free event is going on right now in Grand Rapids, MI. It's called Art Prize and it has invaded the city like nothing I've ever seen before. As you stroll around town, I guarantee that there are many, many people there that have NEVER gone to any type of art event ever. It is getting the average Joe interested in art rather than just having the usual artists and art lovers attend.  People of all ages were swarming over the city.

It has been compared to American Idol because the viewers vote on the "winners". This means that the most "artistic" piece might not make it to the top but the most "appealing or impactful" piece might. That's ok with me because we get to enjoy it all. With over 1300 entries, the work is up all over the downtown area. If you can get there before it all comes down on October 10, do so. You won't be disappointed.

Here are pictures that I took of some of my favorites. I'm sorry that I didn't make note of the names of the artists or the titles of their pieces.  Lots to show you so this will be a long post!

This was my favorite of everything that I saw.  It made it into the Top 25 but not the Top 10 so it is out of the money.  Can you tell what it is made out of?  The artist, from Olympia, WA is a fiber artist.  The entire, ginormous piece is felt!

A close up of the piece. 

A full size coffin made out of thousands of cigarette butts.  Notice the cigar handles.

This artist made the Top 10 last year with his entry of a moose.  This year he also made the Top 10 with a savanna scene.  There is a lioness and her cubs outside the picture.  It is all made from welded nails.  I liked the moose better.

I can't believe that I got a picture of this with only one viewer blocking the the work.  Usually there were so many people in front of this you had to wait your turn to get close.  This entire piece, picturing a WW1 Calvary troop, was drawn with a pencil.  The sheer size of it is impressive and the drawing skills required are substantial.  However, by the 20th guy, I'd have thought the artist would be wondering when this thing would be finished!  This is in the Top 10.

A close up.

I find it odd that with my love of color, some of my favorites were done with only black pencil.  This elephant made me laugh.  I stood in front of it quite a long time.  Notice the sneakers, the belt, the hair pick, the bling, the hat, the expression.

Creepy huh? 

These guys were either getting ready to jump the little rabbit and have him for dinner or were very intent on protecting him.

This is a Top 10 piece.  Huge, impressive, all made from glass.

A close up.

Also a Top 10 piece.  This artist is from Florida and obviously used local materials.  This was a commentary on the BP oil disaster and the fragility of the life cycle. 

Here it is in its entirety.  Can you see the wonderful things emerging from the branches?  A turtle, fish, coral and other water life on the bottom and land animals as you work toward the top.

I'd like to be able to paint in this style.  This artist set up a working studio so that people could watch him paint.

This was titled "The Gatherer".  I'm not sure why I liked this one as he certainly isn't pretty but it has lots of emotion.  This was created by Brent Harris of Kalamazoo.

If you'd like more information you can go to ArtPrize.  Also, here are my write ups on last year's inaugural event, ArtPrize 2009 and ArtPrize Quiz and Grand Prize Winner.  The Quiz is a fun lesson on using everyday materials in different ways:  always a good topic for me! 

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