Popular Blues

Sometimes I like to take a paint color brochure and draw in it – I use the names of the colors to inspire the tiny drawings. The photo, well, I just added in what I thought might look nice.

Done in April 2018.

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Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending July 13

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Art! This week is devoted to shows and gallery events – the public side of my art.

Friday, July 6 – Tinicum Arts Festival set up time. The forecast was for rain and clouds…but it all worked out. I’ll give a short tour of this pre-show day.

Now, unlike most shows, this one offers a set-up time the day before, and most people take advantage of it. It’s like seeing the circus put itself together, I have always thought.

We arrived after lunch and were directed to our assigned area. Unlike most shows, artists are not assigned a specific spot but instead an area, and can choose any spot within the section. I think of it as a land grab kind of thing. Naturally there is some competition for spots (people have their favorites, and I am no different) but it all works out.

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We are in a section in a row of trees kind of out in the open. I like the ease of getting the car in and out and it’s less crowded during the show, too; the shoppers don’t have to push through the area. They don’t skip it, either – since there is an admission charge, people see every part of the show and most people make a day of it, given the array of things to do. Everyone eventually goes past every booth.

Me, I don’t like feeling pressed in, so our spacious section is appealing to me for that reason. Our tent, seen through the neighbor’s structure, is right above the red arrow.

Other areas of the show are under deeper tree-cover:

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Since the weather was iffy, some people dropped in just to snag a space and then will set up tomorrow.

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You wonder why a ladder and a blue tarp-pile are here? Well, they are saving the spots. I’m telling you, you get in here, you pick a spot, you stand in it and don’t leave until your husband drives your car through the check-in gate on the other side of the park (yes, I admit I get out of the car and go through the fence to grab my spot before picking up my show packet, and I’ve been doing it for years with success…thanks to my wingman and partner in crime, we’ve got the routine down).

All right. We got a nice spot, next to some show friends, and we spent some time catching up, then got to work. The rain had stopped. We put up the tent, complete with sides. Please forgive the ghostly blurry photo:

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We then set up the racks and left some other items. We will complete the set-up tomorrow with the art. I do not leave the art in the tent overnight, ever.

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Meanwhile, other things are going on. They set up the flags while we were there:

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The Tohickon Garden Club booth is ready:

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My friend Pam has her booth right behind the gardeners. I stopped to talk with her for a little while. Then I went back to our booth to get ready to leave, passing the stage, closed up now, but tomorrow they will open it and poof! a stage:

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and I put some effort into avoiding getting caught up in the emergency dead tree limb removal:

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I was kind of wondering why they didn’t do that work last week…OK, finished with today’s set-up, we took off for home – our plan being to stop at the grocery store on the way to pick up our provisions for the weekend, food-wise. Experience has taught us that bringing your own food to a show is always better than taking a chance on what the fair might offer.

Saturday, July 7 – By the way, this day is my husband’s birthday. All day! It was a beautiful clear and cool day, brilliantly sunny.

We arrived and began to put the artwork up in the tent.

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A view of our section of the fair, plus a backstage look – here is where we keep all the various boxes and so on during the show.

My friend Helena, a wonderful pastel artist, was the featured demonstrating artist for the fair. Her completed plein air pastel view of the barn was donated to the silent auction and will be the image used on the show postcard next year. I went over to talk to her and watch her at work. The arrow points to where she was situated.

The fair got busy. Here is a quick overview of what was happening…

Shopping:

The used book tent:

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Yard sale:

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People eating lunch and listening to the music. (Remember, I told you the stage would appear out of that trailer…)

The day went along fine, and then it was time to take down the artwork and close up for the night.

I always take my artwork home at night, as I said earlier. Other people leave their displays as are. Most tents are zipped up tight, like these – mine looked just like them.

Sunday, July 8 – The day was pretty much a repeat of the day before, weather-wise – perfect. I put the art back up in the booth, moving the pieces around – I don’t like to look at the same display two days in a row.

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In the afternoon I had time to visit the indoor exhibit, which is juried separately from the festival and also awards prizes. My friend Alison had won second place for her piece, entered in the acrylics division. You see it in the middle photo.

Here is a view of our tent from the barn – the arrow marks the spot:

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I took a couple of pictures from the back of the barn over the music/food area, including this peek into the backstage work of one of the food tents:

I walked around a little bit more. The purpose of the fair is to raise money for the Tinicum Civic Association which supports the park and several other sites nearby. These trees were planted with proceeds of one of the previous years’ takings:

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I didn’t eat any fair food but I toured the area. Plenty to choose from, and by the way, the Italian place is the one that appeared in the earlier photo from the barn.

I heard an announcement about painting pigs, pigs that paint, I mean, and I went over to check them out. They were not painting at the time though you could buy their work. The set-up was to benefit a pig rescue group (people who get pigs as pets when they are tiny and then are dismayed when they grow up…big… and don’t want them anymore – this group takes them and re-homes them).

Anyway, the pigs were darn cute. (They are not pink – the sun coming through the red tent is doing that to them, but I like the effect…)

The day wound down to a close. We took everything down and left our little patch of grass behind.

Overall, the show was a success for me. My sales were fine, not the best, but good. The crowd included real art lookers and buyers, and my work got a nice amount of attention. Plus, I really enjoy looking around this fair. It’s a big draw for the area – Tinicum is kind of out in the country, but accessible from more populated areas, if you know what I mean, and there are not a lot of competing activities in the immediate vicinity. People come and spend the whole day.

I also get a lot of visitors at this show, which makes it a lot of fun. Shout out to Mary Ellen and Guy, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law; Missy, John G, Steve, Bill, and Stephanie and her husband (whose name is escaping me at the moment, I apologize); I also got to see my artist friends Pam and Aidan.

Wednesday, July 11 – On Monday I put some time into cleaning paintings (they get dusty at outdoor shows), inventorying, and packing up the paintings I am taking to my exhibit at the Gallery at the JCC in Allentown, PA.

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On Tuesday, my husband and I drove the paintings to the gallery and left them to be hung the next day. I also met Catherine Debbage, my exhibit-mate, who does sculpture. And on Wednesday, the paintings were set into place – I got a phone call telling me that all is well and everything is on the wall.

I was asked to bring some of my clay tiles as well, a late addition! So I’ll get an assortment together tonight and set them up before the exhibit. Since they will be arranged on a shelf or in a case, it’s no work to do this and I am glad to give my clay work some exposure too.

Thursday, July 12 – Today is my long-awaited exhibit at the Gallery at the JCC. As background, a year ago I received an invitation to exhibit my work here. I prepared for it over the winter, working to gather a good group of paintings, and now in summer, the day has arrived.


My husband and I drove to Allentown and ate an early dinner. We still had some time, so we took a short walk in Trexler Park, not far from the JCC. This park is quiet, though it’s surrounded by busy roads, and a good calming place to rest a bit.

There is a small lake near the entrance.

We leaned on the railing, near these ducks all quietly sitting on the ledge. The whole group of us, peaceful.

We marveled at the colors the sun brought out in the feathers of the birds and at the reflections in the water.

All right. Now it was time for the exhibit. I took pictures before I got too busy with things. My husband took the others (and I thank him here, because he is not familiar with my camera). In any case, at least I can give you a feel for the evening.

As soon as I walked in the organizer told me, Someone sent you flowers! Guess who – my husband. I was so touched I had to cry a little. It really made me feel encouraged the whole night to see them.

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Let me try to show you how things looked in the two rooms where my work was presented.

Music, too. And something nice about it for me – I knew one of the two musicians, Mickey, personally, once again through art connections, but I had never heard him play. The duo is called Just So and now I can say through personal experience that they are great. And, I want to thank Mickey – he emailed me earlier in the week to ask me if I had any requests. I looked at their list and I did – Roy Orbison. Three Orbison selections for me on this night, and thank you!

Here I am with some friends, Susan and Geoff:

and with Adrian:

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The exhibit reception ended at 8 PM, but the art will be in place through 8/31/18. I hope if you are in Allentown, PA, you’ll stop in – the gallery is open whenever the JCC is open, unless there is someone using the room.

I went home very happy. It is affirming for me to see my art in this kind of setting, and I want to thank everyone on the gallery committee for how wonderfully it all went and how nicely they presented my work. And I also am very grateful for everyone who attended, who encouraged me, and who has helped me along my art road.

Events like this remind you to step back and appreciate your own work – a good thing, because it is so easy to focus on where you fall short and to overlook your accomplishments. They also remind you of how many people contribute to your life and helping you accomplish your goals, and of the thanks they deserve. And last, at least for me, it reminds me that art is a connecting force, bringing people together, a glue holding my life and my spirit together.

Friday, July 13 – Now I return to my inner-focused art life – my schedule of shows and events takes a break until late August. I turn my attention back to my studio and the projects and ideas I have progress or in anticipation. I decided to run the kiln today – it’s been loaded and waiting.

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I’m ready to get to work on some new projects!

See you next week! Thanks for following along with me.

Lips and Numbers

Here the two go together quiet nicely. You don’t usually think of these nouns together, but I bet you could make a story out of them, couldn’t you?

Artist trading cards from February 2018.

More Articulation Please

Here is an assortment of artist trading cards from February and March, 2018. Some more of those articulated people, articulating…

That Big Round Ball in the Sky

A sun or moon in the sky is a favorite recurring theme of mine. Here are postcards from March 2018 that show you some more examples of sun or moon (even I don’t always know which is which, or maybe, both at the same time?)

 

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending July 6

 

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

And we are off on another Art week…

Note: Since we’ll be setting up for the Tinicum Arts Festival on Friday, I’m posting this entry in the Diary a day early. I’ll include show info from Friday, July 6, in next week’s post.

Friday, June 29 – I know it was part of last week, but I’ll show you the first attempt at clay sgraffito (look at last week’s post if you wonder what I’m talking about).

The underglaze dried on the tiles I had laid out – no longer shiny but instead dry to the touch.  (Note – this photo is from Saturday, but, you get the idea).

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I did not have the tool the You Tube video recommended so I made do with these small loop tools.

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Then I set to work. I realized fairly soon that the process is a lot like doing linoleum block print carving – it’s a subtractive rather than an additive process. I also learned that there is no need to dig hard into the clay. A light touch is better. I ended up with these tiles. Not great, but then, let’s face it, I never did this before, in this manner!

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Saturday, June 30 – We stopped by the Ceramic Shop in Norristown, PA, to get the tool that was recommended by the video. You may remember this store from the Art Diary of a few weeks ago. Here’s what I got – I’ve already forgotten its name, but it has a curved end and a straight one.

I went through the process of putting five coats of underglaze on tiles and letting it dry. Then I set to work. I had decided to make figures sort of like ones I had done in ink from the figure drawing book I mentioned earlier this year in the Diary.

The new tool really made a difference. I was better able to control the cutting process. As I said, all that’s needed is to remove the underglaze and the slightest bit of clay, so that the white clay is exposed. There is no need to strip away deep into the tile. In the end I had these figures:

It’s also recommended to use a clay with no grog (larger clay particles that make it hold together better, used for sculpture or tiles), but – I have clay with grog, and since I use it for a sculpture or tiles much more than sgraffito, I worked with it. I can see it would be a little easier to make clean lines with a more plastic clay, but…I’m happy with this direction I’m going, for now.

I also spent time in the studio today. I have a long-term project that I am embarking on, and I cannot reveal it until after I have completed it – it is a commission. I will show you hints of it, though, so you know that I am doing…something…

Sunday, July 1 – More sgraffito tiles in process.

Monday, July 2 – This week is shaping up to be another choppy one for art, I think. My computer fell ill on Sunday and so it’s off being fixed; shouldn’t be long but I was confused by not having it. My mental flurry was compounded by the need to deal with state bureaucracy involving my sales tax license (which I’ve had since the 90’s, do not owe money on, and yet is tangled in a snafu that the people at the state say they can’t figure out who should help me. We have now enlisted the aid of our elected state rep’s office to maneuver through the red tape after submitting paperwork and hours on the phone. Ugh. Nothing major, but taking a LOT of time. And not done yet.)

Paperwork is part of being an artist, too – that must be the lesson here?

Anyway. I decided to load the kiln. I won’t be running it for about ten days. I will not have many days at home over the next couple of weeks, and it is also not good for the kiln to be working in 95 F temperatures. But – the warm weather means that I can put items in the kiln that are not totally dry – they will be plenty ready by the time I get to firing.

I’ve got a different set-up this time. The tall woman figure has to stand on the bottom shelf. I had calculated her height, when making the figure, for this situation.

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This means I can use only half-shelves to stack up. I have just two – you can see that if I had more I’d have room to put more work in, but – I also estimated the number of items I could fit in pretty well – I’ve got everything in here that I’ve made since the last big firings a couple of months ago.

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You can also see that I put in some terracotta clay “rocks” on the top shelf – they are darker because they have not dried at all. I will make sure they are ok before I fire the kiln, but ten days out here in the garage and I think they will be…DRY.

I also worked on my secret project a little…

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Tuesday, July 3 – I had just enough time to work on these little paintings/drawings/whatevers. I’m heading them in the direction of the small images with text that you might remember from earlier. (Think Ogre Babies.) They are 6″ x 6″ and good for picking up when I have a little time.

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Wednesday, July 4 – I spent the afternoon in the basement (the cool refreshing basement – it’s about 95 F outside) working on some more sgraffito tiles. This time I rolled out terracotta clay (actually yesterday, but you’ve seen enough shots of rolled out clay, I think…)

I put black glaze on most of them but I also decided to try some white.

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I am wondering how the white will show up against the orange of the terracotta. Here’s how the tiles in white looked at the end of the session.

And here are the black ones. I have full confidence in this color scheme – I’ve made lots of black on terracotta clay and the results are strong and very striking, I think.

I wish I could fit these into the next kiln load but there is just no more room. I am sure they will be included soon, though – glaze loads are less tightly packed, because the items cannot be stacked, so that means the current bisque load in process will take 2-3 loads to work through with color, and these red tiles will slip in there.

I like how these turned out. I am getting more sure of myself in working in this way. I did do one thing wrong in this group – I forgot to keep the tiles under covers while I was working, and over the hours that passed, well, some dried out more than I should have let them. It was noticeable in the white ones – I left them until last.

It was harder to carve with precision and I found the tool scraping and bouncing at times. Also, the terracotta clay has a lot of grog (grit) in it, and that causes swerves when the tool hits.

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Well, that’s all part of learning. I’m very happy with these results and I’ll be very interested to see how they and their white clay companions fire.

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.