slightly wonky


Halloween fatique assuaged by a better cup of tea…
October 30, 2014, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Halloween is nearly upon us, and  I’m already exhausted by the whole thing.  My son keeps telling me ways that we could make our house look MORE SCARY, with fake tombstones, etc.  He doesn’t seem to realize that because of my poor housekeeping skills, the house already IS scary.  WAAAAY scary.  Case in point:  a contractor was over yesterday installing new storm windows.  When he came inside to do something, he asked, “Got several kids?”  My response was, “No.  One child, and one poor housekeeper.”  Sheesh.

My skills lie elsewhere.  I don’t yet have the map to that “elsewhere”, but I’ll let you know when I get there.

I spent gobs of time making my son’s costume this year.  He wants to be a dragon.  I balked.  Why can’t he be something EASIER?  So many kids are going as ninjas.  What a simple costume!  Just have them wear black clothes and wrap a black cloth around their head.  Simple!  Done!  Or, better yet, a black ski mask!  I kept trying to convince my son that a viking would be just as cool as a dragon, and infinitely easier to make.  But, no.  He’s spoiled by my craftiness, so he knows that a dragon costume is the better thing to push for.  So, here it is:

a-costume front

a-costume back

If I thought that I could make these quickly, it would be smart to make some for my Etsy store.  Perhaps I should start now, and I might have one or two made by next Halloween?  Perhaps I need to start drinking caffeine again?  No…that’s a bad idea, as mommy is already high-strung.  Doesn’t this look like a dead bat on the floor, or is that just me?  FYI…I may eat all of the Halloween candy before tomorrow…I am both filled with remorse…and chocolate.

But enough about my ridiculous domestic chaos…my printmaking teacher and friend, Christiane Corcelle, has a solo show titled, “A Better Cup of Tea” at Artspace in Maynard, Ma.  This show closes TOMORROW (Oct. 31) so you must go NOW to see it!  It’s a great show, and I was really happy to see what great things she has been making.  Here are some images from the show…

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Christiane Corcelle, Choisissez Votre Chapeau!

and a detail:

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Christiane Corcelle, Choisissez Votre Chapeau! (detail)

I love the image transfers of vintage illustrations on teabags.  The texture is so fascinating!  I think that it would be cool to make a garment/coat out of these layered teabags.

going green

Christiane Corcelle, Going Green

This, believe it or not, these colored squares are teabag wrappers that Corcelle has printed on, then collaged.  I love the simplicity of the black ink on the colored wrappers.  This would also make a fantastic quilt.

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Christiane Corcelle, Kaleidoscope

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Christiane Corcelle, Kaleidoscope (detail)

Corcelle has collaged tea bag labels, including their strings.  I especially liked this one in the center of the image…I think because some of the labels were tea stained.  Don’t you love the effect of the hanging strings?  You can imagine that each board is a different person, with their own tea drinking preference/personality.

T-duck

Christiane Corcelle, T-Duck

Okay, I LOVE this.  This may be my favorite piece in the show.  I love how simple, yet graphic the form is.  I love the shadow that is cast by it.  It makes me think of some kind of Duchamp readymade (although this is clearly not quite “ready made”.)  Brilliant!

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Christiane Corcelle, Melt Series (detail)

Can you guess what those blue blobs are?  Yes, they are MELTED MILK BOTTLE CAPS.  Amazing, right?  I love how bold and irregular each one is.  She has a whole series of these.

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Christiane Corcelle, Red Ticket (detail)

I’m sorry that I only have a detail photo of this piece.  The overall photo that I took is pretty blurry.  Again, Corcelle has hidden little found treasures in these used teabags.  I love that there is some organization to the arrangement of the items…and I love the unifying color scheme.

Great show.  Overall, I tended to prefer the pieces that kept the teabags lose and flexible in some way, like in Red Ticket and T-duck, as opposed to where the items were more rigidly collaged, as in Kaleidoscope.  Perhaps because the teabags seem to be almost a textile, I like when they maintain their soft/loose quality.

For those of you in the Boston area, some of my drawings are going to be included in a show, “Drawings Out of Lines and Marks” in the South End.  The reception is November 13 from 6-8pm.  I’m super excited, as the other artists are uber talented.

drawing

Now, to figure out what we should have for dinner tonight…does a mystery vegetable from the freezer sound appealing?  What about just having Cheez-its and some Halloween candy?

If you’re thinking of calling DSS, my name is “Cindy” and I live in Omaha.  Thank you for your concern.



CAA New Member Show & makin’ stuff

Is there anything more annoying than a sluggish computer mouse?  I think not.  I may have to fling this one into the backyard with the lawn clippings…

How has my week been?  Perhaps I can summarize by asking if you can you guess what song my son has had on repeat today?  No, not “The Wheels On The Bus.”  No, not “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”  He’s been playing the brooding Godzilla theme song all day.  Why…WHY, you may ask?  Well, because he listens to it (with the volume WAY UP) and then pretends to be Godzilla knocking down a block city and stomping on matchbox cars, that’s why.  Most of his peers are interested in Skylander Giants, Ninjago, or Spiderman.  My son finds those marginally interesting, but his heart belongs to Godzilla.

a-godzilla

Sigh.  He’s kind of a social outcast with his Godzilla obsession.  As a worrier, this concerns me.  Why can’t he just like Batman like all of the other kids?  In addition, I am concerned that he will want to BE Godzilla for Halloween.  This would be totally beyond my non-existent costume-making ability.  Maybe he’s settle for a green sweatpants/sweatshirt combo with some strategically placed tie-hangers on his back?

a-hanger

No?  Oh well.  I give up.  I’ll worry about that again in half an hour…

So, I had a meeting this week at the Cambridge Art Association about an upcoming group show.  While I was there, I got to see the New Member Show that was up.  This is an exhibit of the people who were recently accepted into the Cambridge Art Association.  Congratulations all!  There was some great stuff to see:

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Elizabeth Hardjono, Silence, Magnesium Plate Etching

Ahem.  I love this.  This print is sooooo beautiful.  I wish that the artist had a website. (HINT HINT) I’d love to see MORE of her other work.  Don’t you LOVE the delicate figure?  Isn’t the composition amazing?  I love it.

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Lynne Klemmer, Intuit Images: TD Woman #5, Gouache / Pigment

This painting is so different, yet also beautiful.  Great colors…great form and markings…I love how it fills the paper…look at her face!  I’d love to see more in this series as well.  You can check out her website, but it seems that this series of paintings are not up yet.

a-thomas

Tom Stocker, Tom + Sally, Acrylic on Canvas

No, these aren’t fabric, they’re paintings!  This artist’s technique is inspired by textiles, as I learned from his website.  The images are comprised of tiny blobs of multicolored paint, gridded much like needlepoint.  No joke.  Isn’t that amazing?

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Conny Goelz Schmitt, Luftschloss, Mixed Media

I was SO excited to see this beautiful piece, as I know this artist!  (Does that somehow make me more important?)  She participated in the Artist’s Professional Toolbox program with me at Montserrat College of Art.  He work is amazing.  She often works with materials from old books as well.  Great job, Conny!

What have I been up to?  Well, not much…

a-toast

I’ve discovered how delicious cinnamon toast w/ butter and an iced coffee is for breakfast.  I may have to make this my meal of choice for the whole day!  Who needs vitamins?  That’s what Flintstones are for!

I’ve also rediscovered how I love to make weird stuff and mail it to people.  My latest:

a-fortunethingy

This is one of those “fortune tellers” that we used to make as kids.  I kind of made mine a photomontage.  SO MUCH FUN.  I know.  I’m brilliant.  What?  The living room is a mess?  No one has fed the fish today?  Why is there spilled iced coffee on the dining room table?  Pshaw.  Don’t bog me down with such BANAL matters.  I’m makin’ STUFF.

a-fabrid

What’s this mess, you may ask?  MWAH-HA-HA!!!  It is an INSANE little patchwork project that I’ve started.  LOOK AT HOW TINY THOSE PIECES OF FABRIC ARE!  The small squares are 1.5 cm x 1.5 cm.  I kid you not.  CRAZY.  Luckily, I’m nearsighted.

Umm…if you’re wondering how my latest drawing is going…it’s coming along.  Sloooowly.  Well, I don’t like to rush perfection.  (That’s a joke).  Actually, the truth of it is that I have A.D.D. when it comes to MAKING STUFF.  Does anyone else have that problem??????  What’s the opposite of A.D.D.?  O.C.D.?  Sometimes, I do wish that I had O.C.D. about cleaning stuff, as I’m particularly weak in the housekeeping department.  (I’m not making light of O.C.D….that’s serious, and I’m not.)  I do SOMETIMES make an effort not to be messy.  But, as I just finished reading, Coming Clean: A Memoir, by Kimberly Rae Miller, I feel like the queen of cleanPlease read this book.  It is a heartbreaking memoir of a woman growing up with a father who is a hoarder.  Not just messy, like me, but an actual hoarder.  It’s an AMAZING read.

a-clean

Hmm.  Maybe I will go and clean up something just to reassure myself that I’m not a hoarder…starting with my spilled iced coffee and the fallen block city that my son so lovingly toppled over this afternoon…then I’ll likely get distracted and start making stuff again…SEND HELP!



200!
March 1, 2013, 11:52 am
Filed under: Drawing, painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

No, that’s not what I saw on the scale this morning!  I mean: do you know that I’ve done 200 posts on this blog?  No joke!  Sometimes I scroll back to early posts just to see what’s been happening over the past couple of years.  Hmmm.  Not as much as one might hope for.  No one has offered me a solo NYC show yet.  Can you believe it?  WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE????  Clearly, I am the only one who basks in my artistic brilliance.   (ummm…I’m kidding)  I may have to shut off the “comments” feature with this post…the beauty of the internet is that I can’t see anyone rolling their eyes right now…

Perhaps instead of revealing my true struggles on this blog, I should create a faux online persona of artistic brilliance.  I could create faux galleries that represent me and who gush over my faux creations.  I could also imply that although I’m almost 40, I have no gray hairs and look like Zoey Deschanel.

None of this would be true, of course.  My sham persona would soon be discovered.  So, I’ve had to rely on the truth on this blog, and it’s often not so pretty, or exciting.  Perhaps you’re relieved to know that your life isn’t so wrapped up in drivel and nonsense as mine?  Perhaps you’re relieved to know that I keep a messy house, with Lego bits and dust bunnies brazenly staring me down every morning as I walk to the kitchen?  Yes, I’ve heard of a mop, a broom, AND a vacuum.  I just don’t choose to use them very often.  Maybe if I think of housework as some kind of domestic performance art, I might get slightly more interested…

This week, I went to the Arlington Center for the Arts to see a show they have of faculty artwork.  I’ve taken a drawing class there with a teacher who is funny and talented.  Here is the work that she submitted:

a-thibaut

Connie Thibaut, Memento Mori, Mixed Media

This looks to be a “trace monotype.”  Can you see how amazing her drawings are?  She tends to do surrealist subjects.  I thought that this was really lovely.  Look at the doll/person’s hand in the upper right!  Beautiful.  I couldn’t find a website for her.  CONNIE, YOU NEED A WEBSITE.  EVEN IF IT IS A FAKE PERSONA.  I know.  Some people have standards, and don’t feel like revealing their ineptitude online.  Go figure.  Next:

a-goransson

A. Kristina Goransson, Collection III & Collection IV, Felted & Dyed Wool

Isn’t that beautiful?  These are two, separate works of art, but they do look so amazing together, don’t they?  Her website is here.  Check it out.  All of these pieces are felted wool.  SO interesting!  I love how delicate they are.  I wish that I knew her, as I’d ask her if I could touch one of them…(the inner preschooler in me.)  Next:

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Gloria Calderon-Saenz, Rivers and Nests #4, Acrylic on wood

Isn’t that gorgeous?  It looks like she paints the surface of the wood, then carves it to create the image.  I loved this.  Check out her website here.  She has another one:

a-calderonsaenz2

Gloria Calderon-Saenz, Open Nests, Acrylic on wood

I love how graphic these are.  The texture is also gorgeous, but you can’t see that from the photo.  If you’re in the area, you should stop by this show in Arlington.  The gallery is small, but these works (and others) are really worth it.

This week, my son’s artistic brilliance was to create this:

a-SOL

Do you know what that is?  THAT’S THE STATUE OF LIBERTY!  I thought that was pretty cool.  Maybe he’ll be a sculptor when he grows up?  Take a look at this:

a-wrong

Maybe I should suggest that he NOT become a sculptor?  Isn’t that kind of deranged looking?  This is the kind of stuff that I’m constantly tripping over around here.  Creepy.  You’d think that I’d clean up more often just so that this kind of stuff wasn’t glaring at me all day.  I know…get the broom…yadda yadda yadda.

Well, it’s lunchtime.  Time to go forage for something to eat…perhaps a rice crispy treat or two? (or three?).

If I sandwich two of them together with peanut butter, does that make them more nutritious?  Discuss.

a-snow



Collagraph and book review

I made a new collagraph plate this week.  What is a collagraph,  you may ask?  I’ll give you the description provided by the book that I’m also going to review.

“Collagraph is essentially an experimental form of printmaking which involves adding layers of adhesive or solid material to the surface of a printing plate, making it possible to incorporate both relief and intaglio printmaking methods on a single plate.” – Brenda Harthill & Richard Clarke

While some types of printmaking, like engraving, require pricey copper plates…collagraph is about using whatever you’ve got to make a plate.  It is like making a collage.  In fact, the word “collagraph” is based on the Greek word “kollo”, which means “to glue”.

For my birthday, I asked for a couple of books, one of them being, Collagraphs and Mixed Media Printmaking by Brenda Harthill and Richard Clarke.  It is such a fascinating book.  It is not an in-depth, how-to guide.  There are only a few places where any steps to making and inking a collagraph plate are shown.  There are, however, many images of collagraph prints by various artists.  One thing that is particularly interesting about collagraphs is that it is often unclear how a print was made.  For example, a drypoint print is somewhat self-explanatory.  A hard plate (copper or plexi typically) is scratched with a sharp tool, and this is how the image is created.  But for a collagraph…who knows how the artist got the shapes and textures that they did on their print!  It’s suprising how very mundane things can be wonderful printing surfaces.  This is a great book if you already like collagraphs, but should not be your introductory book, as it mostly shows final products, not process.  Has anyone else out there read it?  Comments to add?

Here is my collagraph print this week:

and a detail:

I like this print.  It has a sort of surreal, Miro-esque quality to it.  What do you think?  This is a 9″x12″ plate.  Maybe I’ll make an even larger one!  I thinking about doing a large, full bleed print in this “series”.  Why not, right?  It’s just time, energy, sweat and tears, right?  Okay, that’s a little dramatic.  Maybe.



Dreamy arty weekend…
June 26, 2011, 11:01 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , ,

So, I had an AMAZING weekend collage workshop with Alexandra Sheldon, an artist in Cambridge.  I had such a blast.  Thanks to the kindness of my DH, I was able to go.  (thankyouthankyouthankyou).  Alexandra focuses on the creation of collage material, as well as the actual making of collages.  I’m not sure what I enjoyed the most:  mixing up a color palette of bright paints…learning all sorts of crazy ways to make cool collage material…furiously working on collages…or generally yakking away about life in general.  It was such a ridiculous treat for me.  The other women in the class were fabulous.  I learned so much from everyone…each person’s work was so fantastic…and different.  We all had such a good time that we’re trying to get together again as a group!  I hope that I can go.

So, I have quite a few collages from the weekend.  Some of them happened somewhat quickly…some of them took a long time.  I couldn’t tell you how long, as I was sort of in a collage trance as I was working on them.  Here’s the first one:

 Kind of cute, right?  It always takes me ages to get “warmed up”.  If I compare this to the last collages that I made in the one other course that I took with Alexandra, I think that I already made some progress.  You can check an older post to see the previous ones.  Then, I started to work on bigger collages…it’s hard to tell here, as I shrink them down to fit the page…

That one was a real struggle for me at a certain point.  I was trying to push myself to use found materials as well, but it was making me so stuck.  Alexandra suggested that I go back to my own papers.  This helped me get though being stuck, I added the enormous orange rectangle on the collage, and felt MUCH happier with it.  After that, I pretty much didn’t get myself bogged down with trying to use found materials.  Some people in the class were very good at using found stuff…but I had a harder time with it.  I think that I did this one next:

I really like this one.  I love the colors that I made, and the crazy textures that we experiemented with were really fun.  Next:

Again, I love the color combo.  I find these so much fun to make.  I can totally get into that art-trance, and I’m happy as a clam.

That one might be my favorite.  It took quite a long time, relatively speaking.  I just like it.

We also tried to do several fast collages…just to work as intuitively as possible.  I find this really hard, as it does take me time to get warmed up.  I’m not as crazy about these ones:

and:

These are back to the small size, as I didn’t know if I could do a big one in 15 minutes.  They were so-so.  After these two, I went back to the larger size.   Here is my attempt to keep things simple:

Well, I was trying to keep it simple, but I have a tendency not to do that well.  I did manage to stop myself before things got too clarty.  Then, I switched to a horizontal format:

I liked this, and I felt that it was taking me in a new direction.  I kept going with this direction and got this:

I was happy with these, as I felt that I had shifted into something different than before.  I’m not sure if that’s evident to you, but for me there was a change.  Then, I started getting very layered with textures and image transfers:

Image transfers are taking a printed image and using matte medium to get the picture to transfer onto another surface.  This was initially hard for me, again because I struggle with found imagery.  But, once I started layering the transfers, then I was much happier.  This was the last complete one that I did.  This next one I didn’t finish, but I’m including anyway…

It’s blah and not done, but I’d thought that I’d post everything from the weekend.

Comments?  I have the distinct feeling that the general population is not keen on collages.  I asked my DH what he thought of them, and if he wasn’t keen on them either…he admitted that he did think that they were “random”.  Sigh.  I appreciate the honesty.  Here’s my dilemma:  I like doing these, but I wonder if I’m the only one who likes them?  I know that my friend, KP, is not too keen on collages either (right???).  I asked my DH if he would like these more if they were paintings instead.  He wasn’t sure.  I have a feeling that he would!  Again, I have this sense that people can’t see beyond the fact that collages are made of pieces of paper.  Yes, I do recognize that it could really just be MY collages that are the issue.  Hmmm.

So, does anyone out there have any thoughts on collage in general?  Is it really a medium that either resonates with people, or leaves them cold?  Thoughts?



Ursula von Rydingsvard at the DeCordova
June 2, 2011, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , , ,

I went to see the work of Ursula von Rydingsvard at the DeCordova this week.  She works mostly with massive hunks of red cedar, which she roughly saws to create soft, organic forms.  The sculptures reference domestic items: bowls, spoons, plates.  They are massive.  She also marks the sculptures with graphite…you can see her sketchy pencil marks, notes, labels, arrows, etc….but she also uses the graphite to create marks that emphasize, or directly relate to, the forms.  I liked seeing the marks of her “process”.

Some of the things that struck me were:  the smell of the red cedar before you even enter the gallery…it’s a very strong smell.  I can’t imagine what her studio/workshop must be like.  Breathing in that air, thick with the smell of cedar, must be almost…noxious?  Not for the faint of heart.  Also, there were no obvious “fasteners”, or anything holding the forms together.  I did notice one end of a threaded rod with a nut on the underside of a large bowl scuplture.  But besides that…these enormous forms, while clearly composed of numerous individual pieces of wood,  somehow formed a single piece.  This seems effective, as you really focus on the wood, and there is an odd scale to all of them…a scale not related to a person.  Seeing nails or screws would have eroded that scaleless quality.

These are really impressive works to see.  But for some reason…they did not resonate with me as strongly as Leonardo Drew’s earlier show in the same space.  I think that Drew’s work had small, very personal items buried in his large, tumultuous sculptures.  von Rydingsvard’s work did not have that intimacy.  Her works are imposing, bold, and beautifully made.

She also has some works of handmade paper with thread and pigment, which were amazing.  Go see it!

My collage class this week was a bit of a challenge for me.  We had to make three collages: the first was a collage with only found material, using squares/rectangles only…the second was an interpretation of the first, but with only handmade material, and the third was a combination of the two.  As per usual, I had a really difficult time working with the found material.  I really struggled with this!  Here it is:

Hmmm.  No matter what “found” material I am working with, I always feel that I don’t have good things to work with.  I would be really interested to have myself and someone else work with the exact same magazine, and see how they work with these materials that I feel are “impossible”.

Here is the second one…which was an “interpretation” of this first one, but with only handmade material:

I guess I like that better…a bit more chaotic.  The thing is…I wouldn’t made that collage from scratch.  What I mean is:  if I could have just made an independent collage, it would have been easier, and probably turned out better.  Instead, I was trying to interpret the first one, which I found to be difficult…especially when I was lukewarm about the first one!

Here is the last one:

Hmm.  I’m just much happier when I don’t have to work with photos or magazines.  Comments?  Suggestions? 

So, who is your favorite collage artist?  (besides me, of course…KIDDING!)



Painterly collage
May 29, 2011, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Collage | Tags: , , , , ,

So, this weekend…I took an afternoon collage class with Alexandra Sheldon.  She is a local artist, who began as a painter…but now also does collage.  Her work is so beautiful, and she has an amazing, intuitive sense about composition.  She is also extremely enthusiastic, which creates a very fun atmosphere.  This class was focused on edges in collage.  We looked at hard/soft edges, their relation to one another and to the collage’s perimeter, and used all sorts of interesting techniques to create our collage material.  I much prefer to use “made” material for a collage, rather than found material.  I always struggle with found material…as it may have text that I don’t want, or simply be too strong of a singular image.

Here’s my first one…it took a little time to get “warmed up”:

I like the colors.  Here is the next one…Alexandra suggested that I add the orange curve on the left…I’m glad that she did!

I think that cutting out the orange curve (hard edged), was not something that I would have thought of, but I like it.  Here is the next one:

I really like the colors on that one.  This is the next one:

That was one of my “exercises in restraint”.  I was testing out different pieces, and another classmate said that the orange piece on the right was good. I agree!  The last one:

 

My classmates liked the turquoise blue next to the yellow.  I liked this one as well.  I do think that the last one shows improvement over the first one.  I guess this is typical…it takes a little time of working to just get “in the zone”.  Alexandra suggested this might happen as the left side of the brain eventually stops interfering, when it isn’t being asked to participate.  Interesting!  I’d often like to tell the left side of my brain to “chill out” when it’s whining about things not being EXACTLY right, whatever that means.

I went to the Danforth Museum this week.  I love that place.  They had an exhibit of works by a local artist, Adria Arch.  I really liked her painting…they almost looked screen printed to me.  She works with “doodles”, or abstract symbols.  I found that really interesting.  Another artist also had work there: Elizabeth Keithline.  I LOVED her work.  She made figures out of wire which were amazing.  It was really almost like looking at a computer generated wireframe of a human form, but it was standing in the room with you.  I liked the fact that the forms were clearly handmade, and not overly precise, as a computer would do.  Really extraordinary.  Go see this show immediately, as it is going down on June 5.  So worth it.

Happy Memorial Day!

 




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