Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Hunting and Gathering

This gal knows how to have a good time

Maybe I should just call this blog The Hunting & Gathering Bulletin and be done with it. I did limit myself to one sale this past Saturday. I'll show you what I found and also the dancing lady above, from a previous yard sale.

Now I'll have you know that I bought two eminently practical items Saturday. The one below is a very curiously designed case and appears to hail from the Victorian or Edwardian era. It's metal and doesn't quite close right any more. The seller wondered if it was a glasses case. He also suggested a purse, but I don't think so. I've never heard of anyone carrying a metal purse around in those previous eras. My theory is opera glasses. Anyway, is this not pure steampunk?

Perfect for glasses or a lorgnette (if I used the latter)

The mysterious case opened. The insides are really a lovely dark blue.

So pleased was I at my thrifty practicality, that I treated myself to a 1920's gilding kit, complete with all the supplies I'll need. Every home should have one. And if you look at the labels, the first thing they suggest you gild are the radiators. Of course, why didn't I think of that?

My mother used to warn against gilding the lily, but I say why not?

All the supplies are intact and there's still gilding solution in the bottle, see below

The little gilding pan is so sweet.

As I'd been so circumspect in my purchases heretofore, I threw caution to the winds and acquired this bowl below for 1.00! On the bottom of the bowl there is a picture of a duck and the notation "foreign". The country that dares not speak its name, apparently.

No garage/vintage sale is complete without a bunch of cabinet photos on offer. I found this lovely gentleman. What a dapper fellow he is. That very afternoon I cast him in a 3-D encaustic drama.

Wedding of a Dandy Mixed Media on Wood Panel 13" x 9"

(Encaustic medium, encaustic paint, vintage metal findings, reproduction of vintage photo, fabric, vintage pressed flowers, waxed thread, vintage watch part)

While in more or less steampunk mode, I also made the piece below.

Watch Me! Mixed Media on Panel 9" x 13"

(Encaustic medium, oil paint, reproductions of vintage photos, reproductions of vintage engravings, vintage pressed flowers, dried flowers, charcoal pencil, vintage watch part, vintage text, and photos by Julia Gardner.)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Encaustic Jam Session!

As yet untitled: encaustic paint, paper, old washers

I made the encaustic assemblages above and below in preparation
for the Encaustic Jam Session, held Saturday by the Portland International Encaustic Artists chapter (Titles to come to me later...)

Also waiting for a title: encaustic, fabric trim and ribbon,
old washers, transfers, repro of old French fashion paper,
vintage watch part, tissue, Frozen Charlotte doll, fabric embellishments

The Jam Session was so much fun! We all learned a lot from each others demos, comments, and work produced. We met at 9 AM (dawn to me) at Camas High School where Gina most generously let us use her art classroom for the day.

Kimberly Kent gave the first demo. Her subject was use of color.
I always admire her color choices in her plein-air work.

Amy's demo

Amy Stoner taught us about incising, drawing with carbon paper on the wax and using Ranger alcohol inkand Sennelier inks to color the incised lines. Amy's work is quirky and delightful.

One of Amy's demo pieces

I did the above piece after the first two demos, drawing the leaves with carbon paper. I loved using the alcohol inks along with the wonderful paint donated by Enkaustikos. The bottom of the piece is done by rubbing on a laser copy of text.

Natasia Chan demonstrates her unique processes
which include using printing ink, charcoal, and much more.
Natasia is one of the most innovative artists I know.

Natasia fusing her demo piece

I did this piece using some of Natasia's methods

Melinda demonstrates

Melinda Fellini
shared her process of creating her painterly encaustics, using layering and scraping along with careful color choices. Melinda is the master of patina. She inspired me to want to translate oil painting techniques and effects to encaustic and to learn from her methods and tools.

One of Melinda's amazing encaustic paintings

I was up next to demo, so I got wild and created a 3-D piece using some ingredients I'd tossed in my bag after ransacking the spice drawer.

Cinnamon sticks, cardamon, and loose tea, with a used teabag and a bit of paper

Window on the World

I started this piece during the demo and finished it later in the day. It has encaustic, rusted wire mesh, faux jewels, fabric trim, vintage thread, copper wire, a metal shower curtain ring, Italian potpourri and a repro. of one of my paintings.

Bridget holding my favorite of the pieces she brought

Bridget Benton demonstrated using fabric in encaustic collages. She will try anything in her mixed media work, and it usually turns out great. I can't wait to do more of this fabric struff too! I am so thrilled to be part of this inspiring and talented group!!

This cool piece was done by the person next to me. She used
drops of red wax under varying layers of clear encaustic.


My PSU class, Women, Creativity, and Healing ended last week. I will miss this bright and lively group. Below is a picture of their wonderful altered books grouped together. I feel so honored to view these creative and very personal works of art.

How fortunate I am to have so much art and so many artists in my life. I truly believe the words of the bumper sticker that says:

"Art Saves Lives"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hunting, Gathering, Creating

Cabinet photographs from a yard sale
Some of the photo cards have elaborate designs on the back

My hunting and gathering urges were satisfied (for a while) last Saturday! I hit three garage sales, and got a lot of cool stuff for just the amount I'd set aside. Even got a couple of freebies.

More cabinet photos from my new stash

I have such mixed feelings coming upon a large collection of these old photographs. I always wonder how people can let go of their old family pictures, even if maybe they aren't sure who all the people in the photos are. I'm lucky to have lots of family photos of my ancestors on both sides. Some are original and many images are on a CD my uncle put together. It's impossible for me not to wonder about these garage sale photos and to imagine stories about the people in them.

Pages from my great-grandma Mary's photograph album. I'm not sure who the couple on the left are. The baby on the right is one of Mary's children who later died in infancy. She had six children, three who died as babies, and three who lived long lives.

A "look at" doll I got for 4.00

When I was a child I had lots of dolls who looked like this one, though mine were usually bride dolls. Apparently my relatives and family friends who gave them to me in the 1950's wanted to prepare me for my future, as they saw it. The dolls were elaborately dressed and coiffed. My mother called them "look at" dolls, hoping to preserve them in the same state they came in. Of course it didn't work. I played with them, undressed and redressed them, made alterations to their clothes, and once performed a haircut on one. I regretted this last action as soon as I'd done it, and was prostrate with grief for a good half hour.

Below is an old lantern I found at a second hand store. To me this lantern embodies the concept of Wabi-Sabi.

I have the fortune, or misfortune of living close to an antiques mall. Look at the bargain I found earlier this week! (Below)

Vintage electrical parts cabinet for the studio

The "larger" drawers. Perfect for holding widgets and rivets.

I found a few electrical gew-gaws in these smaller drawers and promptly used them in art pieces.

I've been having fun continuing to play with my book projects from Art Unraveled. I'm making progress on the Petite Vintage book from Traci Lyn and Marylin Huskamp's class.

One side of my fabric accordian book.

I printed images of family photos on iron-on paper. I then ironed the reversed images onto muslin. Then I added the images to the book with Steam A Seam. I'll be adding more embellishments on this section before moving to the other side of the book.

You know, I have to admit I haven't really gotten the thrill many mixed media artists express from fabric and notions. I sewed a little in the late sixties, seventies, and early eighties. Once I became a painter and expanded my horizons I didn't miss sewing at all.

However, making this fabric book has changed all that. I still don't want to sew clothes, but working with fabric, ribbon, and notions to make a piece of art feels exciting! I actually went to the fabric section of JoAnn and picked out some remnants and trim to add to my book and felt a pleasant frisson at being close to fabric again. I even ordered some vintage rickrack on etsy. Rickrack, yet! I haven't seen that up close since I was a kid. But now...I get it!

Vintage journal closeup (I guess it is now a photo album)

My great great grandparents embellished on the page. He fought in the Civil War and I knew their daughter in law well--my great grandma Nellie.

Another great-grandfather, Benjamin

Finally the City Inspectors have pronounced the plumbing and electrical work in my new studio to be Very Good. Now the rest of the work should go pretty quickly. We're still aiming for mid-September for completion. The great thing is that I have already started to work in there. I have never had a decent set up to do encaustic work, and as a result, have done little of it lately. Now that there's new wiring in the studio I was able to set up my encaustic station. Finally, enough outlets and plenty of room to move around. The old cabinet and counter arrangement that came with the garage worked great. I can't express how much better I felt working in there!

Plenty of space and outlets

The Portland chapter of International Encaustic artists is having a "jam session" retreat this Saturday. We're gonna spend all day playing with encaustic. I volunteered to do a demo on using 3-D elements in encaustic. Now, this is something I've done very little of, so I knew if I had to demo it would force me to get experimenting. I was able to use some of the electrical gadgetry I found in my new old drawers in the pieces below.

First Experiment

This as yet untitled piece contains: encaustic medium and paint on wood, fabric, vintage photo reproduction on muslin, a vintage British bus ticket, text from a favorite book, what I think are fuses, a fancy metal mini hanger, an image of a vintage hot air balloon, some electrical type cord, and vintage watch parts.

Hey, Nonny No

A Shakespeare (if it is indeed he) lid of a small mints tin inspired this piece which also contains: encaustic medium and paint on wood, silver colored copper wire, fabric trim, an old necklace I found around the house, a solo earring, and a blossom of Queen Anne's Lace.

The Medium

Encaustic medium and paint on wood, a vintage electrical thingy, repro. of vintage photo, and a round plastic thingy with a bit of oil paint over it.

Next, I want to try putting more layers of wax on the support so that I can explore embedding an object deeper into the wax. I'd be doing it now, if it wasn't so darn hot! (No fans in new studio yet, alas.)

Coming up....Art and Soul Portland, and Portland Open Studios...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More Art Unraveled and Studio Update

My Frozen Charlotte Collection

One of the great treats at Art Unraveled was the Vendor Event. I kept a fairly tight rein on my purse but couldn't resist adding to my small collection of Frozen Charlotte dolls. These dolls are mostly dug up outside old doll factories in Thuringia, Germany by dedicated souls who get down and dirty to find these relics of the past.

I believe these dolls were made between the 1860's and the 1920's. They get their name from an American ballad about a girl who froze to death because she didn't take a coat, or sneaked out to meet her boyfriend, or some such cautionary tale. I imagine the name also refers to the fact that the dolls don't have any moving parts. In addition to the Frozen Charlottes, I also have a Frozen Charlie and an Ari doll. They are perfect for mixed media art, but I don't know how I'll ever part with any of them.

I spent some delightful time at the retreat with a few people I met last May at Art and Soul in Hampton. I had a lot of fun with a kick-ass mother/daughter team from Texas, Pattie and Dana. Pattie was in my "Wabi-Sabi Wonder" class and really went to town with the wabi-sabi style. Monday night we shared show and tell time with what we'd all made in our classes.

Pattie and Dana. Would you ever believe they are a great-grandmother and grandmother?

Dana made this figure in one of her classes

Dana made this map in the same class, of a beloved childhood lake area

Pattie's unfinished floor cloth. It's beautiful and luminous.

Look at this amazing doll made in class!

I look forward to seeing these artists (yes you are, girls,) and other friends here in Portland in September!


GASP Alert: Okay, these pictures aren't very exciting, but I'm excited that the bathroom is finished in the new studio. An inspector came out earlier in the week, but of course he wants a few minor's so hard to be patient!

The Sink

The Toilet

The Vanity

I'm still hoping for a completion date of mid-September so I can get to the fun stuff of decorating and organizing!