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Showing posts from 2015

Happy New Year!

This week my husband, daughter and I took a road trip to Chicago. It just so happened that our day of travel was the same day as a devastating storm came through the Chicago area! It was a normal December cold when we started north, but as we drove we noticed the trees were more and more getting covered with frosty ice. It would have been a glistening wonderland had it been sunny. Our daughter, visiting from Orlando Florida, was delighted to see snow and frost. At the time she was making plans to come here, the weather was unseasonably warm and there was no hint of snow or ice. 

        We became concerned with the possibility of getting stranded in Chicago. According to what we discovered on our smart phones, hundreds of flights in the Chicago area had gotten cancelled or postponed, and traffic was gridlocked in the city. We pulled off the road at about the halfway point and discussed whether we should turn around and go home. Once we decided to "proceed to the route", a…

Cats and the Cabin

One night in the late fall David and I decided to go out in the woods and choose some trees that we would later transplant. Actually it was early spring or late winter, too soon for the leaves to be on the trees, which meant it was too early to identify the species of tree.  But we set out with boots and jackets on into the woods. 



On this one day that we came out to pick trees, our cats followed us out into the woods. I don’t think they’d ever ventured out this far, but being the faithful pups that they are, they must’ve felt obligated to come with us. So we’re out in the woods with our cats looking at little beginnings of trees and guessing what species they are, when we realize we are not alone. Our neighbor’s big German Shepherd was out there too; he probably came out there all the time, but we never did, so he was a little concerned by the intrusion. The cats reacted to the stranger quite differently. One of them (the tree climbing one) went straight up the closest, t…

It's black and white

Recently we went to Shipshewana for a getaway weekend. That is Amish country in northern Indiana. I walked into a fabric store and within a few minutes was mesmerized. It wasn't the type of fabrics that was a big deal, because all they had was cotton and cotton blends. Quilt making is huge in this part of the country; hence, there are bolts and bolts of cotton fabric. 

     What got me intrigued, awakened my imagination, won me over and made me not want to leave,  was the great variety of patterns in black and white. In my mind I designed an entire room done in black and white, complete with upholstered furniture, pillows, cushions, framed art, draperies and accessories all in black and white. Okay, maybe with just a touch of blue or red. 

This is the aisle that got me:



  Okay so let's be straight on this: I am not a quilter. I have no desire to quilt (sorry, I know it's a beautiful art form, but just not for me). Furthermore, I don't presently have a room that I ca…

The value of values

"Light is everything in the visual arts. Without it these arts could not exist. The artist controls light intensity with values, changes its color with pigments, and thereby creates his effects.     Like all animals, we are extremely sensitive to light, and any change in its intensity affects us strongly. Sunlight stimulates, twilight calms and makes pensive, and darkness depresses with fear and mystery. These are universal reactions to light and are as ancient as Adam."   
               Maitland Graves, The Art of Color and Design, 1951
"The artist is born to pick, and choose, and group with science, these elements, that the result may be beautiful- as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he bring forth from chaos glorious harmony"                                                                                                                          James A McNeill Whistler

      When my youngest son Jesse was in high school, I offered a …

One of my best teachers

I thought I couldn't wait to get in that painting class.           I used to stand outside the door and look in and dream of the day I could be a student in that class, with those old oak easels and leaded glass windows on the third floor of the old art building. Not to mention that wonderful fragrance of linseed oil, always present in the painting studio.
Now I was there, and it felt hopeless. My professor, the venerable Dr. Murphy, would take great interest in the work of a few of her students. The ones who knew what they were doing. But with me, she would come up behind,  watch me paint for a moment, and say the same thing every time.

 "Well, finish this one and go on to the next one."

Intimidating. Frustrating. Even embarrassing. Truth is I didn't know what I was doing, and I needed someone to teach me.




But I slogged on, moving from one amateur looking painting to the next, hoping to improve, hoping to one day hear something more from my teacher.

Then it happened…

Ten things I love about living in the country

Here they are, in honor of David Letterman (who, like me, graduated from nearby Ball State University): the top ten reasons I love living in the country. 




10. I love the eggs that our neighbor brings from her chickens. I open the carton and the eggs range in color from brown to light green to creamy white. And unlike the ones from the store, they usually have specks of grass on them! Now that's legit!  And the taste- oh so full of flavor. 

9. I love my drive to work. I use to live on the north side of Orlando and drove across town to go to work. It took over an hour and traffic was nuts. Now the only traffic jam I get in is if I'm behind a tractor on the road. 

8.  I love the view out my kitchen window. Recently my husband removed the old fashioned shutters that have been on the kitchen window for at least the last 40 years. The view that had been covered up for all those years is breathtaking. The shutters will not be going back up. 






6. I love that we have on our property a log…

I made this for you before I met you

This year I decided to come up with some new show pieces so I could have exciting, attention grabbing jury images. With this goal in mind I sketched, designed, tweeked and re-drew on paper till I was sure I had a strong look. 



Then I assembled the pieces using my chosen materials:  dried paint films, leather, jasper, epoxy clay, handmade papers and canvas. One of the pieces I came up with was this one.





      At work in my studio, I squirrel away for hours on end and come up with a plethora of crazy jewelry pieces. Sometimes at the end of the day I look at what I have made and think to myself "OMG who would wear that?! What was I thinking? Am I crazy?" 

(I am, after all, an artist with an on-going internal dialogue and at times I need to tell it to shut up!)

The funny thing is, when I go to a show, and put those pieces out, someone comes along that is the perfect fit for the piece. It's like I made it just for her before we ever met.

        So at my last show, the Butcher…

Plan vs. Serendipity

What is it that makes art happen? Does it happen because the preliminary sketch has every painstaking detail? Or does it just flow out of the fingertips of the artist? Or is it somewhere in between?

Serendipity: noun. 
1. An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. 
2. Good fortune; luck.

Plan: noun.
1. a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding making, etc, developed in advance: battle plans.

Like I always say, there is a balance in there somewhere.

        Once I was at an art show which was not very well attended and I had time on my hands. I was showing mixed media collage. It was a beautiful venue in Florida and the weather was spectacular. I don't know where the customers were, but dang it, I needed something to do. I found some white typing paper and a ballpoint pen and starting sketching the palm tree across from my booth. I sketched in a very stylized, doodling kind of way. And since I had nothing else to do and still no customers in my booth, I sketched som…

What's the deal with harmony?

So what's the deal with harmony?  

     Harmony lies between he two extremes of monotony and discord. It combines the character of both. 
      The dictionary defines it as  "A consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity."

    Here's one of my family treasures. 




         My dad acquired this sign and hung it in his Sigma Chi frat house when he was going to Butler University in the forties. He met my mom on campus at the library and the rest is history. She told me recently that the sign was hung in their first house, as well as every house they lived in during their 20 year marriage. 
I remember it hanging in the basement where my dad had his office. When mom and dad split up the sign went with her. (So much for marital harmony!) Years later when my mom remarried the sign appeared over the back door in the garage. A few years ago my brother spoke up and said he would love to have the sign, and it traveled with him to California. This year my brother m…