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The need to make art and the space it takes

I've heard it said by artists in discussing their future dreams: "I just want a small house and a big studio!"

    And why is it important to us artists to have that place to make art? So important, in fact, that a big studio is preferred over a big house. When David got finished with art school in the '70's, he built a studio space in the pole shed at the farm. He enclosed a space, added a wood floor, put in insulation, a chimney and a Jotul wood stove. 

   Then he met me, married me, and embarked with me on an adventure that has taken 36  years to bring full circle. Now we are literally right back where we started. (Our first date was at the studio!)

      So we are older, wiser, and all that. And very much still needing a place to make art. Our art is varied;it requires supplies, time, and a lot of tools. And cats. Our art includes painting, jewelry making, mixed media collage, leather craft, decorative painting, and wood working. Our future art will include c…

What to do with blue violet and purple

Which came first, the cinnamon or the sugar?

Nothing more harmonious in the morning than cinnamon and sugar on toast......

     One morning at the breakfast table, when I was 7 or 8, my mom was fixing me some cinnamon toast. She was doing a great job of it, wonderful mom that she was, but for some reason it really irked me when she put the cinnamon on before the sugar. 

      I must have started in with some kind of tantrum (which I have effectively blocked from my adult memory), and my dad saw the need to get involved. He assessed the situation, as only dads can do while drinking coffee and reading the morning paper. Then he said "I know a guy at the office who always puts the cinnamon on before the sugar, and he likes it just fine."

     Wow. That simple (totally made up, I realize now) impromptu statement diffused my whole case. Took the wind out of my sails. I had nothing left of the anger that had started to build. I ate my cinnamon toast in peace and realized that it was indeed very good. 





  Why do I remember that mo…

So why does this go with that?

So my last post was about harmony in design, a subject near and dear to my heart and one I had been wanting to write about. After I was done with it though, I started thinking and well, second guessing. It was boring. Way too simplistic. Who the heck would be interested in that stuff anyway. why do I bother and why am I so into it. My inner monologue pretty much talked me out of how inspired I was to write about it.
    The next day I was at my job, which is the accessories department of Macys. A customer came in with  a bag which contained her new dress she had bought to wear to a wedding. She said, " The problem is, I have no idea how to pick out jewelry that will go with it!"

     "Ah, my favorite thing to do!" I said, and had her show me the dress.  It was a sun dress with a bold geometric print in black, plum and white, and black around the yoke.

     Great dress, but did it match her? She was petite and fair, brunette with soft features. The challenge was n…

What does it take to harmonize?

I have this great old book by Maitland Graves, called The Art of Color and Design, copyright 1951. I am pretty sure it was a textbook for the Pratt Institute of Art. It's so old school. No fluff, just sound keys and principles on good design. From this book I have learned a great deal about harmony in design.


"Harmony is a combination of units which are similar in one or more respects. 

Harmony is a medium interval or difference in one or more dimensions. Units are harmonious when one or more of their elements or qualities, such as shape, size, or color, are alike."




Take these two circles for example. They are identical in size and shape but different in color. They harmonize insofar as they have similar elements.  

"Complete repetition is one extreme. Here, all the units are identical in size, shape, color, value. The effect of complete repetition is monotony. 


 Discord is the opposite extreme. Discord is a combination of totally unrelated units. The effect of…

It's Spring and I am at a loss for words

Just when I thought the harsh winter would never ever end. Just when there was finally one day of 78 glorious degrees in April, followed by a snow flurry and icy conditions two days later. Out of firewood, studio too cold to work in, floor boards creaking and breaking. Cats burrowing in their hay boxes, wondering why the heck we ever moved out of Florida. 



      All of a sudden those hidden treasures from under the surface have begun their triumphant emergence through the soil. The birds are resuming their harmonious melodies. The front porch is again stretching out its arms for us to come, sit, drink our white wine, enjoy the star studded night sky without having to wear a parka and wool socks. 




"So then the year is repeating its old story again. We are come once more, thank God! to its most charming chapter. The violets and the May flowers are as its inscriptions or vignettes. It always makes a pleasant impression on us, when we open again at these pages of the         book of li…

What's new about placid blue?

What's new about placid blue?
It's not a new color at all. It has always been with us. It is what we want to see when we get up in the morning and look out the window at the sky.

It is one of the top ten Womens's Pantone Colors for Spring 2014, which makes it noteworthy. 
See the Pantone fashion color report for Spring here
Placid Blue is a soft pastel that is a wonderful compliment to the strong and bold Dazzling Blue.  Pantone describes it as a picture perfect, tranquil and reassuring sky that induces a sense of peaceful calmness.


Placid blue bracelet upcycled from artist palette


What is great about placid blue: 
It is calming.
It works well as a background color.
It harmonizes with soft pastel greens and violets.
It is a great solution for "what to wear with jeans"   

Here's a recipe for placid blue, according to Bustanoby's Color Manual, copyright 1939:
 It was called Forget-Me-Not Blue

"Slightly neutral tint of blue, resembling the delicate blue flowers, wit…

You never know who will walk in your booth

Several years ago I was participating in an art show in Delray Beach Florida. What I sell is jewelry which I make from the dried acrylic paint from the artist palette. 



During the show, a woman walked into my booth and was studying my jewelry pieces. I mean, really inspecting them more closely than the typical customer. I started to share with her my story, how I start with the palette and go from there. 
She listened, then said “Yes, I can tell they’re made from paint. I make paint.”


Well at first I wasn’t sure if I heard her correctly, not having ever met anyone who makes paint. Then she introduced herself. “I’m Barbara Golden.”

To me this was akin to meeting a Hollywood star! I had a celebrity in my art booth!

She went on to tell me about some of the more interesting and unusual applications artists have found for Golden Paints.

 She later came back to my booth and we had a delightful conversation about the hand painted tee shirts with the Golden colors on them. (My favorite shirt for…

How do you make gray?

How do you make gray? Well the obvious answer is to mix black and white.




But then how do you get a reddish gray, a bluish gray or a warm gray?

I was once commissioned to make a detailed color chart for a color consultant. That was when I learned how to make gray.

     For those of you not in my age range, let me explain. Back in the 80's, everyone was getting "their colors done". You were analyzed as being one of the four seasons, as far as the colors that look best on you. The palette was based on your skin tones and the color wheel. 




The left side of the color wheel is the cool colors, or the winter palette, and the right side is the warm colors, also known as the spring palette. But what about the warm muted colors of autumn and the cool muted colors of summer? Where do they get those colors? 
The color wheel holds the key. Take any color. Let's take red, for example. 


Okay start with red and draw a straight line down to the opposite side of the wheel and what do you fi…