Thursday, September 25, 2008

In Which I Try "Liquid Pencil"

One of the many things I like about Muse Art/Design is that they are always getting in new and exciting products. The latest is "Liquid Pencil." This is a thickish stuff that comes in a bottle. It works like paint, but ends up looking like graphite.

I am still practicing with it but I did a portrait of my daughter that I'm pretty happy with. I used the water soluble formula, but you can also get it in permanent. Because I tend to do over a lot, I also used titian buff acrylic. I used Claybord for the support. I plan to continue to experiment with Liquid Pencil to see what else it and I can do.

Janey Liquid Pencil and Acrylic on Claybord

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Portland Craft Mafia Show This Weekend and Anticipating Vendor Night

I just got the news from Becky Bilyeu, photographer and crafter extraordinaire, that the first ever Portland Craft Mafia Show is this coming Saturday night. I plan to be there for this historic event and hope you will also!

In these challenging times it is so important to support our own and others' commitment to the joys of the creative life. "Craft Mafia", "Secret Society Ballroom"--what's not to like?

I'm busy this week getting ready for my four credit PSU class that starts next week: Women, Creativity, and Healing. Jane Kearney and I are also getting ready for Art and Soul Retreat and the retreat's much-awaited Vendor Night
(October 4.) Jane and I will have a mother and daughter booth there filled with exciting stuff. I'm pretty excited about meeting some of my favorite artists who will be there, waving to vendor friends across the room, and about working with my wonderful artist daughter.
I'll have original art work, large and small reproductions, mini-collages, assemblages, journals, vintage sheet music, magazine pages, and book pages, collage sheets, reproductions of vintage postcards, and more. I will also have hard cover and soft cover copies of my book available.

Samples of vintage postcard and sheet music reproductions available

Mini Collage: St. Margaret 2.5" square

A Merry Dance 3.5" x 2.5"

Small Journal

Jane the Queen Acrylic/Collage 6" x 4"

Grail Collage/Acrylic 5" square

Photograph by Jane Kearney

Daguerrotype by Jane Kearney

Monday, September 22, 2008

They Tore It Up!

Sunday I had a wonderful time at a new workshop I've created called, "Tear It Up!" Two of the participants had not done visual art before, though they had other creative experiences like gardening, crafts, knitting, and dancing. All of the participants were bold and inventive. I was truly blown away by all the creations of the afternoon.

The goal of the workshop was to create two or more torn paper flower collages. The participants started each collage by creating backgrounds with papers that appealed to them. They used magazine pages, collage sheets, text, tissue paper, old dress patterns, and more.

Though this process was new to Jan, she got right in there and put down layers of various papers. She soon got the hang of using gel medium as a glue and sealer.

She added a butterfly, some abstract design tissue, and a chicken from a decorative napkin. She then unified the background with ultramarine blue. Then she came up with the idea of making her central flower image a 3-D poppy! (Wish I'd thought of that, but I'm delighted that she did!)

Jan's completed collage with 3-D poppy--Wow!

Closeup of Jan's poppy

Sally begins her delicate background

Sally chose a pink collage sheet for her "feminine" background. She used fragile tissue for the beautiful image on the left of her background. Sally teaches in the PSU Women's Studies Department. (To her I owe my involvement there.)
She used anti-feminist text that she found in my collection (left over from an altered book group, I hasten to say.) This gave her "girly" collage a subtle twist.

A feminist collage develops

Sally spent a lot of time on the background for her second collage. She chose small, carefully placed papers and collage elements, then unified them with a blue glaze.

Sally's second background, unified

I'm disappointed that the only picture I got of her finished collage # 2 is blurred. This is such a vibrant and unusual piece. Sally and I initially thought she needed a large central image, but then agreed she didn't and that the proportions of the collage were perfect as they were.

Sally's elegant collage, badly photographed, alas

Jan had so much success with her first 3-D flower, that she made another fascinating 3-D plant.

Jan's second collage with a vibrant 3-D plant!

Nicole used a monochromatic background of neutral and beige colors. She then put tissue over the background creating an even more subtle, aged effect. The tissue layer included pieces of a vintage dress pattern. Nicole then set off the background with a bright blue daisy. Note all the different shades that make up the daisy for an effect of light and shade.

Nicole's gorgeous collage

Closeup of Nicole's collage

Though Francoise was new to collage, she enthusiastically layered a rich background with predominately blue tones. She then glazed the background with ultramarine and lots of glaze medium. She created a bright 3-D poppy and stem which pop right out of the picture.

Francoise makes her first collage background

Francoise's completed collage with 3-D poppy

Closeup of Francoise's poppy with more accurate color

Francoise created irises for her second piece. They are 3-D as are the stems, which she rolled out of green Chinese paper. Here's her completed piece:

Francoise's irises

Closeup of Francoise's 3-D irises and stems

Amazing pieces done by delightful women! It is so exciting to see what creativity is unleashed when we get together with time for ourselves!

Monday, September 15, 2008

City Dance, New Work, Upcoming Events

City Dance publicity photo by Alicia J. Rose

City Dance

Yesterday I had an extraordinary experience! I've heard it said that significant art is that which changes us because of our exposure to it. City Dance, part of PICA's Time Based Art event, fits this definition for me. It will be difficult to put it into words, but I'll give it a try.

From the Oregonian:

In the late 1950s and early '60s, postmodern dance pioneer Anna Halprin and her husband, landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, formed an influential collaboration: taking inspiration from each other, she re-imagined the movement of people in space, while he rethought spaces for people to move in.

The Halprins also had a connection to a groundbreaking collective: her San Francisco Dancers' Workshop was in the same building as the avant-garde San Francisco Tape Music Center (SFTMC), where electronics and found sound were altering music.

Together, they were at the heart of a creative upheaval within the broader cultural revolution of the '60s, tearing down spatial and formal boundaries and radically changing the experience of art.

huge audience of Portlanders and visitors of all ages watched dancers cavort in and around Keller Fountain yesterday at the beginning of the performance. Lively "experimental" music issued from the visible musicians.

At the Keller fountain in the beginning I was having a hard time seeing around people. The sun was beating down on me and I dearly wished I could be in the cool water with the dancers. (I've always had some trouble being part of the audience instead of the performance, from the time I saw my first parade and cried because I wanted to be in it.)

After the first section at the Keller, we then followed the dancers to another fountain, part of Halprin's open spaces designed for Portland.
The moving as part of the crowd from one space to another and being part of the excitement catapulted me into a realization: we were all part of the City Dance! I felt my heart open and felt a strong sense of alert, peaceful, anticipation.

The dancers wore colors that I remember from the exciting period of the early 60's when artists like the Halprins were opening up the world from the stuffy fifties, filling it with new color, images, and sounds.

One space sported a piano in the fountain. It looked so lovely that I stared and stared at it. It looked magical, and yet, right. I continued to be transported to the vivid world the Halprins helped create in the past and at the same time I was also fully present in the moment. Everyone in the crowd was smiling and we acknowledged the wonder of the spectacle and of each other and of our combined experience. There were no crying children, though lots of children were there. I didn't hear any annoying yelling or see any drunken or drugged behaviors. We all just basked in being together.

At the last space I was unable to see anything or hear what a speaker was saying. It didn't really matter. I just watched the crowd and inhaled the delicious scent from the trees. I was amazed at the discovery of these hidden open spaces in the heart of the city. I've lived in Portland so long and didn't know they were there. I wondered what more discoveries I could make in the city to open up my own world.

Soon the speech was finished. We all held hands and walked (danced) single file out of the space. At the end of the park, we were each handed a button that said "PLAY."

After the event, adults and children played in the fountains we'd visited. I rolled up my pants and went in--cool and delicious.

What a gift, to have such an experience. I know my words can't convey what it was like, but I hope we all will go out and experience more--hidden open spaces, plays, art, talks, walks, new food--the wondrous world.

Thanks to the choreographers, dancers, musicians, staff, and volunteers for this event!

New Work

Thought I'd share some small pieces I've been working on. These are for my Seattle venue, Frank and Dunya.

Life on Earth 5" square Mixed Media on Panel
This unites a found image, faux gold leaf, acrylic ink, and acrylic medium.

Song of France 5" square, Mixed Media on Panel
This collage has a found photo of a fountain at Versailles, a reproduction of a letter from Marie Antoinette to her mother, a fragment from a vintage song book, and my script on found paper.

I Dreamed You Left Me 6" square. Mixed media collage on panel
A vintage image of the Eiffel Tower, a copy of my lemon painting, found papers, text, paint and a vintage fragment which gives the piece its title.

Where I Used to Live 6" square
An abstract in acrylic paint and ink on panel

Alpine 6" square
Abstract acrylic paint and ink on panel

Way Out West 5"
Acrylic paint and ink, and paper on panel.
Many layers of color and texture

The Old Farm 4" square
Acrylic ink and paint on panel
I used acrylic reinker first and scratched into the surface. The paint was added later, then additional ink for more saturated color.

A Certain Flair 5" square Mixed media collage on panel.
I used found images from an old piano book of Shakespearean songs, an image from an old textbook on Shakespeare that I found at the Dollar Scholar, faux gold leaf, pen and ink, found papers, and acrylic ink.
The book on Shakespeare has wonderful images. It also looks quite interesting and I vow to read it before I cut it up any more!

Upcoming Events

I have one opening in my class this Sunday, "Tear It Up!" See my The Art of Your Life website or email me for more information.

My daughter, Karuna (Jane) Kearney and I will have a booth at the Art and Soul Retreat taking place here in Portland next month! We'll have small original paintings and collages, reproductions small and large, vintage paper supplies, hand-decorated journals, cards, posters, and much more. See us at Vendor Night, Saturday October 4th at the Embassy Suites Hotel!

Sunday, September 28: "Mind Your Own Beeswax" Encaustic Workshop. See past post or email me for more information.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Encaustic Workshop Coming Up!

I created "Simplify" using encaustic paint, a fragment of a letter found in a used book, and a reproduction of a page from my journal. I'll be teaching these and more techniques at my next encaustic workshop:

Mind Your Own Beeswax!

This is your chance to fall in love with the aromatic, luminous, and versatile properties of beeswax in the form of encaustic painting! We’ll cover basic techniques such as building up layers, fusing the wax layers, adding color, collage elements, and incising. We’ll explore various heat tools and many design elements. No previous art experience needed—just lively curiosity and a willingness to risk addiction to painting with wax!

September 28 12-5 PM

Tuition: 90. Includes supplies


PosterGarden Show and Demos/Restocking Etsy Shop

Linda Womack demonstrates encaustic techniques to a rapt audience

Kimberly Kent, Linda Womack and I had a blast last night demonstrating encaustic at the First Thursday Opening at the PosterGarden in NW Portland. We took turns with the demos and were again amazed at how differently we use the materials. Lots of the folks at the show had never seen encaustic work, let alone seen the process done.

I took pictures of all our work on the wall, but my hand was not too steady (no, I just had a little white wine) so some were blurry. Mine, of course. I do have a piece I created during my demo, with advice from a delightful ten year old artist.

Madonna di Bologna

A blurry photo of my wall

Kimberly discusses her art with a visitor to the show

A blurry photo of Kimberly's wall

A blurry photo of Linda's wall

Despite the lack of photographic expertise on my part, the show itself was arranged beautifully. Thanks to Julie Landau of PosterGarden for inviting the three of us to this lively, fun event!

I've had a mixed relationship with etsy. I love this site that showcases and sells handmade art and craft as well as vintage materials. I've found it hard to find time to promote my etsy shop, artbyserena, but have decided to give it another go. I'll be restocking my shop daily for the next week with Affordable Art. Hope you'll visit and see what's new! My grandson has a shop that he has been neglecting also, but he's lately expressed some interest in restocking his shop also. I'll keep you posted.