Editors’ Week: The Lady of the House

Fictive Dream, the online fiction magazine focusing on short stories, is hosting an event this week called Editors’ Week. I illustrated the stories and I’ll be posting the images here to show you. Here’s my suggestion: take a look at the illustration and then check out the story it accompanies at Fictive Dream to take in the whole experience.

I’ll show you the illustration and give you the link to the magazine each day. Today’s story is called The Lady of the House, by Jen Michalski. Look here to read it.

Here is the image with the banner:

and here it is on its own.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: Paying Attention

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

Paying Attention

i.
I lean
against the telephone pole
at the bus stop.

ii.
I almost see
crows flying
in the overcast
above the parking lot.

I almost see
crows come down to ground
black dots
scattered on the asphalt
reflecting pink
neon from the shopping center lights.

I almost hear
crow voices carried over
but they are shouted out by
the bellow wheeze of the bus
grinding down to the curb
pulling away before I reach my seat.

iii.
The crows lift off
calling to each other
in the overcast
above the bus plodding down the road.

4/8/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 18

Tin Can Art Experiment

I follow a blog called Pittsburgh Orbit. It reports on the quirks of that city. I can’t remember how I stumbled into its world but I am glad I did. I have some connection with Pittsburgh; we visited several times when my son lived there for several years and that is where he met his wife. So it’s a good place.

And it turns out that through the serendipity of the universe, I have another connection to the Orbit through my teacher at the punch needle class I took online earlier in 2021.

I think this could be enough material for a post already, if we were talking about the odd way the world takes a strand and weaves it in and out to make a fabric in which you find that all the elements of your life repeat, like a pattern. But that’s not the purpose. I want to share an art project I did that was inspired by this blog.

I read a post at the Orbit some while back about tin can neighborhood art. You need to stop right now and take a look at the post, because I cannot explain it, you need to experience it. (I’m waiting right here until you finish).

OK. I was inspired to try my version of this art form. I got some tin cans and smashed them with my husband’s sledge hammer. Unlike the originals, I did not want sharp edges – I didn’t know where I would put the items, or even what they would look like, so I thought I’d better think about safety.

I bought some cheap paints meant for multi-surface use. I got some paint markers, too, meant for painting rocks, so I figured they’d work fine (they did). Then I painted my flattened tin cans and put some random sayings on them, too. I sprayed them a few times with some sort of clear stuff that might or might not protect them for any length of time. But I don’t care. These guys are just for fun.

Here are the results.

You may wonder why they have a rounded end, in some cases. Well, did you know that tin cans have two different ends these days – one you open, and the other so that the cans can stack easily? You can’t get this second end to come off with a can opener. Who knew?

I did find one of my group of cans worked the old-fashioned way – that is why it is a rectangle. So when you are shopping for canned goods, now you will think about this innovation in the container world, won’t you?

This little can originally held tomato paste, I think.

Anyway, once done I puched hanging holes in their tops by hammering through them with a nail. Lay the can on the ground, take the nail, hammer hard, and when the nail goes though it just heads into the ground. Pick it up and extract the nail. Done.

You see the hole now, don’t you, up at the top of the can? By the way this one has an odd top because I managed to get some of the second end removed and then was stymied. Never mind, the sledge hammer took care of it, too, just like the others.

I strung a wire on each one. Now I think I will leave them in the park, or else give them away, or both.

Thank you, Pittsburgh Orbit.

Pink Blankie

A family member (not the cat you see in this photo, but one of my cousins) asked me to make a baby blanket for another family member. She chose the yarn and gave me some information on the desired look, and I found an appropriate pattern and got to work.

For quite a few years I made no baby blankets at all, after dozens of them done in the past decades (I am not exaggerating) and then in the last year or so this is the third one, the other two being made for my little granddaughter.

I love the color of the yarn and the basketweave pattern made such a nice fabric – thick but not stiff or heavy. The finished blanket is about 30″ x 34″, I believe.

I am hoping it will bring sweet dreams!

(Forgive the photos’ quality – of course the blanket did not change colors, but the photo lighting did. The real color is more the pale pink you see in the finished item.)

Large Artist Sketchbook 2020: In the House of a Family Friend

You may know that in addition to my artwork I also write poetry (posted on my blog Claudia McGill Writes Poetry, Did You Know That?). For the next several months I will be posting here a combined art/poetry project, Large Artist Sketchbook 2020.

I fill up sketchbooks with all kinds of art. Some contain images only and some of them I use the images as inspiration for poetry. In these books the image is on one page of the spread and the poetry on the other. This book is set up in this manner.

I’ll show you the image and then add the poem that goes with it. See what you think.

In the House of a Family Friend

In the cool dimness of the early
in the hour before the day starts

In the house the curtains are closed
the slow light outside
creeping along from window to window
finding no way in. The house settles
blue and green room to room
and silent: breathing slow and relaxed.
The carpet in the living room
ready
It will be kind to bare feet
making their way to the kitchen

but not yet.

4/8/20
Large Artist Sketchbook 2020 image 17

Woodmere Landscape Class: Epilogue 2

In my recent landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum I did a painting of the parking lot and some trees. I was interested in how I might depict the shadows on the pavement. Not knowing how things would go, I snapped a photo of the scene. Later on I did a pen drawing of the photo, just for fun.

It’s not from exactly the same angle as the painting, but I will show them both to you and you’ll see the connection. First, the photo:

Now, the drawing:

And here is the painting, to refresh your memory.

Here they are together. The drawing is about 5″ x 8″ and the painting is 18″ x 24″. I think it is interesting how I could get so much mileage out of a parking lot scene. The moral of the story is, never overlook the ordinary as a source of inspiration, I guess!

Woodmere Landscape Class: Epilogue 1

You may remember in my posts about my landscape class at Woodmere Art Museum I mentioned a painting I did (and destroyed later on) of the dumpsters. Well, I did do a drawing of it. I guess the purpose was to exorcise the demon, maybe, and show myself I could get a grip on this scene and depict it. Here is the photo:

And here is my little pen drawing. It’s about 8″ x 8″.

Well, maybe it’s not the best thing I have ever done, but it was satisfying to feel I did capture the scene, once and for all.

Landscape Class at Woodmere – Six

Over six weeks in June-July 2021 I attended an in-person landscape painting class at Woodmere Art Museum. We met each Friday for 3 hours and painted a scene from somewhere on the grounds.

Here’s another painting from the class for you to see.

Thank you to Marta, our instructor, and to all my classmates for a great experience.

In our last session, at the end of July, I was back to having trouble choosing a location. I finally settled on a view of the side lawn, which had a large pine fighting it out with a smaller but possibly more aggressive holly tree, while another pine looked on, not to mention a few bushes.

I used the same brayer technique as I did the previous week to lay down a coating of mottled colors. Not much of it survived (you see some in the bottom of the painting and in the branches of the larger pine tree) but I like the method a lot for quick covering of a background. It is also a useful way to soften large solid blocks of color.

Here is the result: Woodmere Landscape Six, 24 x 18, acrylics on Masonite.

We had brought all our collections of work back to class in order to have a little gallery session. We set them up near the picnic tables and discussed our work and what we learned from the class. It was a nice experience to see everyone’s work arrayed together – we produced some nice things, I think, and each student had success.

Munching on crackers and cheese, just like at a real gallery reception, we made plans to meet for lunch on the grounds in a couple of weeks, just for fun.

*******

When I was doing collage work I did many landscapes, and I liked the process while using that medium. I’m not very fond of it for painting subjects. That is something I learned in this class.

I did, however, enjoy being outside, painting from a live scene, and being with a group of people working on art in a social way. We often took breaks from our own work to go around and see what the others were doing.

I also gained experience in the palette knife and in getting better at zeroing in on what makes a good landscape picture. I do think I will always prefer painting buildings, interiors, and people, but who knows? One day there will be a landscape that will speak to me…and I will be ready.

Once more, the set of paintings I did over the six weeks: