Category Archives: Art Diary

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 26

 

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

Art. Art. Art. Art. Art? Yes!

Saturday, October 20 – Last night I did some sofa art/paint color brochure drawings. I started on this large brochure:

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I’m creating people in the columns with their various body parts inspired by the paint names. Going to be kind of crazy.

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When I’m finished I might cut out the columns and do something with them, or even cut out the squares and mix and match. I’ll have to see what develops.

This afternoon, after a day of doing a lot of errands, I packed up clay for tomorrow’s show. It’s a very nice show, held at a local arboretum, and running from noon to 4 PM, more of an outing than anything else. Which is fine with me. I did the show last year and had a great time. I don’t need to take a lot since the show is such a short one.

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Sunday, October 21 – Today we participated in the Insider Art Show and Sale – we are insiders because we are members of the Arboretum. This event, which is very low-key, coincides with the open day for the mill and the Bloomfield Farm side of the arboretum, which are only open once a month.

We arrived, along with our friend John G., in plenty of time to set up. It was a very cold day for this time of year, about 40 degrees F, and with wind gusts of 30 MPH, it was just…cold. We decided not to set up the tent, as did pretty much everyone else, and we used the provided table. They make everything very simple for us here!

I took a quick walk around the education building. It’s designed to be very green, with a green roof and other features. I am always fascinated by how the equipment parking barn…

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…looks like this on the other side.

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I got my table set up. I did not bring a lot of work to this show. Just enough to fill the table.

Part of the appeal of this show is the demonstrations: Blacksmithing here –

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and the ever-popular animals from the local agricultural high school. This year they brought two two-month-old pigs and two sheep. The little pigs ran around like crazy for some time:

and then, worn out, they fell asleep.

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The crowds were lighter than usual. The weather was a real impediment.

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However, I enjoyed the show – I like talking to the other vendors, as there are some crafts you don’t often see in other shows, and I enjoyed the weaving and woodworking demos… and of course the animals. But I did have to stay all wrapped up all day (shout out to my sister, who made the hat I’m wearing…)

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This show was the last one of the outdoor season for me. And I think it’s time to be inside from now on!

Monday, October 22 –  I finished my sofa art paint brochure last night – I might decorate the photos in it now, don’t know…

In the afternoon, I worked on more Minuscule illustrations.

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I notice that my sketch book that I use for making quick estimations for the actual drawings is filling up. What can I do with these little vignettes, I wonder? I’ll set that thought aside for later.

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Tuesday, October 23 – More illustrations for my Minuscule book. Guess what – I reached story #75 and so I have a picture for each story. I will scan the remaining images I have in process, put them in the manuscript, and get to work on the overall corrections for the book. Pretty soon I think I will have a finished product! I feel good about this because I’ve been writing the little stories for a year and illustrating for several months. It’s been a project of getting a little done at a time and I’m looking forward to finishing and seeing how my first illustrated book turns out.

Wednesday, October 24 – In the aftermath of finishing the Minuscule work, plus the work I did for Fictive Dream and the September Slam, I’m ready to do a little something different. These two projects were a lot of drawing! I think collage, clay, and painting might be on the table for a little while now. (Then again, if I get an idea and I want to draw it…I can’t be held responsible for what happens next.)

After a project, I like to clean things up and have everything clear. This afternoon I spent some time going over the many, many fragments of drawings and the extra drawings I did for the Minuscule work. I have a LOT of leftover stuff – you may remember that I often made 3-4-5 versions of an illustration before I was happy.

I sorted out scraps and partial drawings and whole drawings and oh look here are some I colored with markers a little while ago…

I put them in envelopes to keep them better organized for when I want to work.

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I have a lot of partially done postcards and ATC’s that might fit with some of these items.

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And some I think might use in my Large Artist Sketchbook. It all just depends. I also dragged this sketchbook out of the pile – it’s one where I’ve practiced making ink figures, you’ve seen it in the past.

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Maybe it might like to be a version of Artist Sketchbook. I added it to the box I’m storing all these pieces in.

But I still have all those little painting things sitting on the table, plus two partially finished paintings, not large, 11″ x 14″. I have a feeling I will be working on these first. If for no other reason to clear the table!

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Friday, October 26 – Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve been reflecting on the directions I want to go in my artwork. It is time for change in my art, as there have been many changes in my life, especially in the last three or four months. A cycle is ending and a new one beginning, I feel.

 

It is all good, don’t get me wrong. I am ready to do some things differently. One decision I’ve made is to stop doing artwork for selling. I am not stopping doing art, and I’m not stopping shows – I’m stopping doing artwork specifically for sale. It’s a matter of how I frame things in my mind as well as the kind of work I do. It’s a form of retirement, I think – but I see it as freeing me to do some things (some of which I haven’t even imagined yet) that I might have restricted myself from in the past.

 

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I hope to spend time on new pursuits out in the world which I think will enhance my art explorations, and I want to do more writing/illustration projects. I have lots to look forward to, I think.

Now for this Diary. I created it to encourage myself to a more disciplined approach to making art – I needed to do a lot of work for my exhibit this summer and to catch up on making clay work. Both of these goals have been met. The Diary’s purpose has fulfilled itself, and so this will be the last edition of the Art Diary with its weekly round up.

You will be able to keep up with my doings, I feel, with my art posts, as always – I will keep you up to date with my projects, images, paintings, clay figurines, shows…you name it, just as I have always been doing.

I have enjoyed chronicling my work in this weekly Diary, but I no longer need or want to do so in this way. It’s important to know when things have served their purpose, I think, and when to move on. Thank all of you for reading it and for all your support and comments.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 19

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

Art Day. Today!

Sunday, October 14 – I took my pale canvas boards, 5″ x 7″, and spread them out on my table.

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I plan to use these as background for some TV-time art, art I do while sitting on my sofa and watching television at night. I want to paint backgrounds and then draw on them with pen. Like this one from a couple of weeks ago:

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The purpose of today’s activity was to put an initial coat of paint on the canvas boards. I bought very cheap ones from Blick, 25 for about $10 – but I think the quality is fine, but the gesso is slippery and paint can be kind of see-through. I’ll let these dry and then work on a more polished background look before I set to with my pens.

 

It’s a big mess right now but it will come out all right in the end, I promise you.

Monday, October 15
– My priority art project right now is that I want to finish the illustrations for my upcoming Minuscule story book – I am doing a pen and ink sketch for each little story.

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I did some more work toward this goal today.

 

I usually make more than one drawing (I enjoy the Chinese brush/India ink combination; I like making these drawings; the upshot being I always seem to want to make just one more pass and see if I can get a better result…things are going to move slowly, I think!). The upside is, there are lots of leftovers I can use for other projects down the line.

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Tuesday, October 16 – Another day of working on Minuscule illustrations.

 

My work table is a mess. I am using only one small section right now and the rest is serving as a landing place for future projects and other debris. I will clean it up when I finish the current project and then I’ll be able to see what I want to do next – until then – well, let’s just burrow in.

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Wednesday, October 17 – In the morning I put more paint on the 5″ x 7″ canvas boards:

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Here is a closer look:

 

Now I have a little dilemma. Some of these little paintings look nice to me just as they are, or with some augmentation.

 

Oh dear. I wanted to make nondescript yet appealing backgrounds so that I could draw on them. The drawings are intended to have nothing much to do with what the painted image looks like, if you know what I mean – I don’t want to see a person in my abstract image and then fill it out with pen, I want to see – nothing but a nice background – and draw birds or planets or slices of pizza on it. Does this make sense?

Even crazier because most of the time I am looking for the paint to tell me in which direction to go. I solved today’s issue by dividing the canvas boards into two groups (“looks like something” and “does not look like something”). So I’ll have some drawing-worthy backgrounds and I’ll think about the others for a while.

In the afternoon I did a couple more Minuscule illustrations. Oh dear, I made two for each story, and I like them both – but I’ll have to choose. later.

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Today certainly is not a decision-making day!

Friday, October 19 – More Minuscule illustrations. I’m making good progress. I think I have about 12 more to do and the book will be finished. I can see that my skills have grown over this project and I’m finding it easier to achieve my hopes for each picture with a little more facility than when I started things up.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 12

 

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

Art . Art plus. Art extra. More Art!

Saturday, October 6 – I gave all the clay items their undercoat of black, in preparation for becoming colorful. There is something appealing about them in this stage, though – very neat and classic look, black is, isn’t it?

I colored some 4″ x 4″ commercially made terracotta tiles in preparation for – something…

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Let me catch you up to date on my listening habits right now. I always have music or an audio book going when I am working. I can have an art stream of thought and listen to a book or music at the same time. I cannot talk and do art, though. Interesting.

I’m reading –

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and listening –

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Sunday, October 7 – This day looks like yesterday, only with more color…

Monday, October 8 – I meant to do some work on tiles but instead I had some more quality time with this painting. When you don’t know where you are going and you aren’t too picky about it, either, well, a painting can become a whole lot of things along the way to its finish.

And a couple of details.

Wednesday, October 10 – That painting again. I’m deciding to be finished with it. I feel the people in it are begging me to stop bothering them.

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I packed these tiles away in their boxes in the basement, awaiting a show. Since I work on them in the basement and the kiln is up in the garage, I transport items around in a variety of containers – these old baking sheets are very useful.

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Thursday, October 11 – Last night I did some sofa art – cut out some figures and so on, and worked on a page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook.

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This morning, I had a block of time – usually I like to exercise in the morning, but today I have a doctor’s appointment at noon and could not make the schedule work out. So I spent it doing some art. First, I got the box I keep the (growing number of) odds and ends and arranged it.

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I wanted to get things in more order so that I could do some sofa art and then, when it gets to that stage, I’ll be ready with a lot of postcards and ATC’s to finish up in the studio. I’m sure you see some familiar things from earlier Diary entries.

I had unwrapped this set of 24 5″ x 7″ canvas boards I had bought – they are the cheapest possible grouping, 24 for about $10. Today I looked them over, anticipating…
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I plan to paint them with acrylics and then draw over them with a pen, sort of how I did with these items you saw not long ago:

You may remember that they were originally paintings, giveaway items that did not get given away – so I gave them another life. I loved doing it and I wanted to do more, so – the next step is to paint these little canvases I have with colorful backgrounds.

After I did this organizing I went to the basement to do some more color work on my clay items:

After my appointment I came home and finished them up. Now they are ready for firing.

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Friday, October 12 – I loaded up the kiln, on a whim, and got that firing done. It took little time because I put so little into the kiln – I just wanted to get the things done that you see on the table from yesterday. No photos. Just imagine the kiln and the really really hot and the clay turning colorful.

I returned to my Minuscule project – I have gotten the whole book’s text all set up and now I want to get the illustrations done. I am using India ink and a Chines brush. I often do three-four-five versions of the same illustration.

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I do this because I do better work when I have free confident strokes of the pen or brush, and that never happens if I pencil something in and then follow it. I know it may sound like a lot of extra effort, but – I enjoy it, I’m not in a hurry, and ink and paper are cheap, at least my versions are! Sometimes I will rehearse a composition (I have a separate notebook for that purpose) and then, darn it, the rehearsal is better than the real performance.

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Well, that’s fine – since these pictures are getting scanned, it doesn’t matter what the original is like, exactly. And then sometimes, I get the picture right on the first try.

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Sometimes I feel as if the inspiration is coming in on some radio waves or the like, and maybe the signal is stronger at times and staticky at others. Well, let’s just say it’s all a mystery, right?

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 5

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

Art every day and all week.

Saturday, September 29 – This afternoon we took a trip to the Ceramic Shop in Norristown, PA. I needed some underglazes. This store is always a treasure trove. I worked my way past the shelves of glazes:

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…stopping to look some over, for future projects, before I came to the Velvet underglaze display and chose my items.

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After that I wandered around the store a little. As always, I am fascinated by the huge array of tools that can be used in clay work.

Here is a sample board showing various clay bodies sold here. Different clays fire in different temperature ranges and are additionally of different consistencies – some very smooth, some gritty. It all depends on your purpose as to what clay you chose to work with. Additionally, each clay can be fired within a range of temperatures – the different samples show the same clay fired at various levels. As you can see, this display is very useful in choosing clay.

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Here you see a selection of kiln shelves. Since each firing requires the shelves to be configured to fit the clay work being fired, there are a lot of choices.

Here is a display of pyrometric cones. You may remember me as describing a clay item as being fired at “Cone 06” or that kind of thing. Before computerized controls, each firing required the use of a pyrometric cone, created to be specific to a firing temperature, which was designed to bend or slump when the correct temperature was reached (you needed to view the cone through the peephole in the kiln wall).

These cones are still used today, even in computerized firings, for a variety of reasons – to make sure a certain item gets to the correct temperature, as kilns can have hot or cold spots; or to check that the kiln’s controls are accurate, for instance. I don’t use them, as my work is not that temperature-specific and my kiln has computerized controls – but obviously lots of people do. There is a large display of them here.

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Sunday, September 30 – My husband and I went to a play this afternoon at Allen’s Lane Art Center. You may remember other productions we’ve seen here – it’s a small theater and the seating is cafe style. This show was lightly attended, being a Sunday matinee, and we got a place right up on the edge of the stage.

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I got out my trusty sketchbook:

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but I didn’t have much time for drawing the audience as I usually do here, because I was downstairs for some time chatting with my friend Lisa, who runs the box office. Just saying. Anyway, here are a few quick things:

Monday, October 1 – I fired up the kiln. It may look like it’s just sitting and doing nothing, but that number on the front means it’s 1200+ degrees F inside. And that’s not the whole story – it will go up to about 1830 degrees…

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Let me back up a little. I forgot about these. Remember when I went through that box of little scraps last week? I pulled out some that I wanted to color. I’ve spent some of the last few evenings doing just that with my markers. I’ll figure out what happens next soon.

Back to today. I felt like slapping a little paint on a surface. I got out one of the 18″ x 24″ 1/8″ thick masonite boards I recently bought, as well as two of the 11″ x 14″. They have already been gessoed in black. I started working away. We’ll see what happens. I remind myself that the large board cost $3.50. I have nothing to lose.

Tuesday, October 2 – I opened the kiln.

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I was happy to see everything sitting in its place, nothing blown up, nothing fallen over. There is a variety of objects and tiles in this load. Tiles -(commercially made terracotta base):

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Sgraffito tiles – made from terracotta that I rolled out myself. I realized after I’d done them that they are only 1/4″ thick, and these days I like 3/8″ – but I was using up already-rolled clay, that’s why. Anyway, all good.

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Various figurines:

and remember this vessel? It came through the firing well – no seams opened up. I think I will do a little work on sanding some rough areas, and I’ll clean up the rim with a better black coat around it. Then I need to decide – will I glaze just the inside or the whole thing? Because for it to be functional the interior (at a minimum) must be glazed or it will not hold water.

Then there was this little stray tile…

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After congratulating myself and the clay items for completing a safe trip through the firing, I decided to go upstairs and work on that painting thing I’ve got going on. Today, I decided, would be ink day. I pretty much stuck to adding only India and acrylic inks to the picture, though I did put some more paint on, too.

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Where is this thing going?

Thursday, October 4 – First, a few more of those ink drawings turned colorful.

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I worked on the large painting. It continues to progress. Then I brought it upstairs to sit in front of me and let itself rest for a while.

I worked a little on the small painting, too. Really, all I did was to decide to turn it the other way around and to outline the person in ink, but…it’s still something…

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Friday, October 5 – I brought the recently fired clay into the laundry room/face painting venue to start the coloring process.

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Using Jet Black Velvet underglaze, I did my usual routine: paint the faces and other relief details in black and then wash off, leaving the color in the crevices.

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I got the whole gang done and set them on my work table. Next step: giving them a black coating all over their bodies to form the base for the bright colors I plan for them.

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I may do that this afternoon. Or I might work on that painting. Or I might sit on the sofa, watch TV, and finish up odds and ends of art tasks and paperwork. I don’t know. So I’ve decided to cut off this week’s Diary entry here. I’ll post this afternoon’s work (if I do any, as there is always option #4: I might just lie on the sofa and read) tomorrow. Happy end of the week!

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 28

 

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

Art on the mind…

Saturday, September 22 – We spent the day at the Community Arts Center’s Fine Arts and Crafts Festival, held in Swarthmore, PA. The art center, located a few miles away, is a really nice place, offering classes in many disciplines as well as children’s classes and camps, exhibits, and music events. I taught collage classes there for some time and I know many people connected with the organization.

Swarthmore is also a familiar place to me and I have many associations with the town and the school dating from my collage days. For example, my husband and I have participated in the town’s New Year 5K several times and I had a solo exhibit in Borough Hall/Library in 2012.

So when we pulled into town we knew what was what, as they say! We arrived at about 7:30 AM.

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We set things up without incident.

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The day started off warm and humid but it grew cooler and windier as time went on. Still, the weather held.

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One of my near neighbors made these very intriguing and functional fire pits, or as she called them, fire sculptures. I like them.

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We were centrally located near the raffle tent and the entrance to borough hall was right across the street. The latter is a plus because…the bathroom is in this building. At street shows, an indoor bathroom is a huge plus and being near it is even better. Just saying.

I took several street shots during the day. I think these show you a very typical street fair scene.

In this one, the man in the green shirt to the far right is the executive director of the Community Arts Center. Remember him.

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The show features artist demonstrations. I have done this job myself in the past and it is fun. Here is an art friend of mine, Jane, showing her watercolor technique.

There is also music at this fair, in the small amphitheater to the left front of the borough hall. We could hear the music all day.

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I told you to remember that man in the green shirt…here you see him again, filling in on the drums (the regular drummer had an emergency and could not be there) in my favorite group of the day, the Swarthmore Ukulele Orchestra. You have not lived until you have heard a ukulele rendition of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind” and watched a group of six-year-olds dancing their hearts out to the tune.

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The show was a pleasant end to my painting season for 2018. The crowd was appreciative and though sales were light, my work was well received.

Sunday, September 23 – My husband and I went to his office for a few minutes to pick up artwork he’s had on his office walls (he displays various pieces of my art at work and has done so for years). His office is moving and he thought he’d change out his art. I found this old piece there. I remember it – it was a collage done on a 12″ x 12″ board that was awful, and then I painted this house over it, and then I gave up in disgust. I am not sure why it was not in the trash.

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Ick. So while I was watching TV at night, I decided to work it over with pens and markers. If it turned out ok, great. If not, it would make that trip into the trash. Here is where it ended up. I think it actually turned out well. Saved from the trash one more time.

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Here they are side by side for comparison.

Monday, September 24 – First I gessoed some more boards that I had gotten my husband to sand off their previous occupants. I’ve got quite a supply of second-time-around painting surfaces now.

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I started some tiles. I have five more spaces in the kiln (I’ve partially loaded it) and these guys will fill them.

I was going through some old artwork and I found these two tiny landscapes.

They are the only ones that did not get taken during the Small Landscape Giveaway in 2015-2016 or by a friend here in my everyday life. I felt sorry for these little guys, but – I also saw the opportunity to do the same thing to them as I did with that previous house picture. Update or renovate, whatever you may want to call it. So while I was watching TV I worked on them and here they are. I’ll show you the old and new versions side by side.

It makes me want to order some more of these tiny canvases (5″ x 7″) and get cracking on some embellished landscapes gone wild…

Tuesday, September 25 – More tile work. I’ll show you the whole sequence, including yesterday’s work.

Pretty much finished with these, I think, but I’ll look them over later on and see if any amendments need to be made.

Friday, September 28 – I had some time this afternoon to work on art, resuming studio time after a couple of days away. I’ve cleaned up a work table:

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and for right now I want to sort through some odds and ends. I don’t feel like starting up anything too serious right now. I got out the plastic box that I toss odds and ends of drawings into and set the contents out on the table. Most of these items are practice drawings in Chinese brush/India ink for my ongoing Minuscule (story and accompany poem) book illustrations.

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And some closer views – there are a lot of funny little things here.

I pulled out some items to color with markers. Others I will leave alone. I will use these in collage projects.

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You may also have noticed some of those phrase cards I make with cut-out snips from old books, the ones that I use to write poetry (as in this Poetry Marathon post). I’ve got a lot of these now too. I used acrylic inks to splodge color on them – I’ll use them for collage, too.

I worked on the three small 6″ x 6″ crazy paint/ink/crayon/oil pastel things I do. These are getting close to being finished. I still think the lady on the right looks like a mailbox, now with someone trapped inside. Oh dear, I’d like to think of a more happy story.

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Last, I opened my latest Large Artist Sketchbook to a new page and used the phrase cards as stamps on a couple of pages. This is the first step in doing some kind of image – who knows what – for these pages.

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This is how the sketchbook thing works for me – a pinch of this and a handful of that, and then I turn it into a …cake? pie? broccoli casserole? Only time will tell.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 21

 

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

Let’s say hello and do some Art!

Saturday, September 15 – Today was the day to find out if my brainstorm on how to store my clay work so that I could pack for a show without stress was really any good. And I am happy to say it was. At tomorrow’s show I will take two six-foot tables and I chose my inventory to fill that space. I took about 30 tiles, a box of small tiles, and all my current figurines. They fit into these boxes:

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I am thinking I might want to make a little more clay work after all for this fall season. However, in all of my following clay shows I will have no more than an 8-foot table to work with. I probably don’t have to worry. Still, going through my things, I did have a little itch to make some more figurines and tiles… So we will see.

Sunday, September 16 – We spent the day at the Pennridge Gallery of the Arts outdoor show. It takes place along Main Street in Sellersville, PA, about 25 mile from our house. Sellersville is a town that began its existence in the middle of farmlands but now, decades and centuries later, is now being touched by suburbia. The show is part of the town’s efforts to showcase its downtown features.

We arrived a little before eight AM and got into line at the fire house. This show’s set up routine is elaborate but works well. Artists arrive first, pick up space assignments, and proceed into the street a few cars at a time. We unload and move out the cars so that the next group can get in. We are arrayed along one side of the road. Here is how it looked first thing in the morning. Foggy. And loads of very helpful high school volunteers to assist us in unloading and set up.

Crafters arrive later on and go through the same process, setting up on the other side of the street. Meanwhile, we artists are waiting for visits from the judges. The show officially opens at noon but people come early.

Here are some booth set-up images.

And as the day went on and the crafters came in, so did the sun.

Some shots of my set-up in final form:

The day was very hot, humid, and sunny. More like July than September. We had good crowds all day. These shots were taken just as the show opened. Soon the street was filled up.

I had wondered how my clay work would be received – this is the first time the figurines have been shown. The answer is, it went well. I had really good sales.

I also wondered if I had brought the right amount of work for my set-up. Once again, I was very happy with how it looked. Not too crowded, but with a good selection of price ranges and choices.

And, I was thrilled to win a prize – first place in my category, 3D. This is the first time I have ever won an award for my clay work. It was given for this tall figurine.

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Friends stopped by to see us – shout out to John G, Missy, and Bill F, plus art friend/fellow show exhibitor Joan. I was also flattered that one of the judges came back and bought some tiles.

Here is a photo, courtesy of my friend John G, with me and two other award winners – by some strange luck, we were all booth neighbors. On the street, it was Mandy in the sunglasses was doing her first show; then me in the white shirt; and then Barbara in the blue shirt, a veteran like me. Three different mediums: painting, clay, printmaking.

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In shows, you and your booth neighbors become friendly very quickly – it’s just how it works – and if you keep doing shows, you can build up friendships that last for decades. Another thing I like about doing shows!

All in all, a really good day. I was happy and grateful as we headed back home.

Monday, September 17 – Today I unpacked the clay, since I won’t be doing another show for a month.

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I decided I definitely do need to do some clay work – I feel I have plenty for my next show, which is a small one, but I need something more for the November-December run of shows. So I rolled out some clay and cut some shapes. I have some ideas…

but some of them will have to wait until the clay stiffens up. I did make some people today.

I’m giving thought to my population. I sold a lot of puff people (the three-legged ones) this weekend. After some thought, I decided to make a modest number of them, since I have a couple of shows this fall that attract a craft, holiday shopper looking for lower prices. I don’t really like making puff people; I’ve created hundreds of them in the past (the kind that looked like this:)

Puff Creature #2 3-26-12 small

and I don’t want to make them any more. I am thinking I will choose clay shows more judiciously next year, leaning toward more a more art crowd (or I hope to), but for this year, well, I’ll do a few more puff people, yes, I will.

I am hoping to do a few more really tall large women figurines.

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Like the one you see in the above photo, but even a little taller. That’s my goal, after I get this cylinder people group finished up. I do want a variety of sizes for that group, and you might notice I have given some of them modest-sized head wear. I might try some more of that kind of thing.

Tuesday, September 18 – I got to work on all that clay I had rolled out. I knew that I had maybe given myself a lot to do – and I was right. At times I overdo things with my enthusiasm.

Early in the day, I rolled these tall cylinders and set them up so that they could dry a little. They are too wet to stand up on their own right now and cannot be worked.

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After lunch – I had decided to do some sgraffito tiles, so I started the process of coating them with black underglaze. Meanwhile the cylinders were ready to be handled.

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After some time, here is what they became.

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I then put the curvy-shaped pieces together (see the earlier photo above of clay rolled on the table), gave it a bottom, and ended up with a vessel.

I forgot to take pictures of this process, but it is the same as making a box – you slip and score the edges and put them together, with the additional challenges of fitting along the curves. Once the joins were made, I reinforced them with a coil of clay smeared along the interior (like caulking a joint). Then I put the bottom on it, following the same slip score procedure. And then I had a vessel. What to do with it next, I did not know. So I set it aside and did sgraffito tiles.

By now the clay vessel thing was drying up. I decided in the pressure of the moment to do sgraffito on it, too. By now I had lost hope of any inspiration, but I had gone to the trouble to put the vessel together, so…I slapped a couple of coats of black underglaze on it and got to work. I had to move faster than I wanted to because clay was drying fast – so I just carved. The flat sides got scenes and the curvy ones got a simple design.

All right, I think I salvaged this poor thing. I remembered why I like working with tiles so much – doing sgraffito is hard on an upright object. And it is never good to be in a hurry. Anyway, I’ll fire it and then I will glaze the interior, so that it could hold water and be a vase. Whew.

Wednesday, September 19 – I finished up the gesso work on those 18″ x 24″ boards. Now I have a whole group ready to go when I want to paint.

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In the afternoon I got the idea to work on some tiles. I got out four commercially-made 4″ x 4″ terracotta tiles, painted a couple of coats of black underglaze on them, and got to work using the Chinese brush. I wanted to do a version of the sgraffito work, where the background envelops the figure rather than starting from the figure itself. I kind of did that, and kind of did not. I need more practice in thinking this way and planning better. Well, I think they turned out ok and I’ll be trying this again.

Here is a progress set of photos; though I didn’t get photos from the very beginning, you can see some of how things went:

Thursday, September 21 – I worked on tiles again today. This time I applied four different underglaze colors as the first coats. Then I used black to mark out the main figures. Then I did more colors on top.

I am feeling my way, but experimentation is what will teach me. Here are the results.

Friday, September 21 – It’s been a busy week. My body and my creativity needs a rest. I gathered my paintings to have them ready to be packed in the car for tomorrow’s show. And I made a price list. That was pretty much it!

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I think I’ll finish cleaning up from this week’s activities and then sit on the sofa and read.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 14

 

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

Let’s talk about Art.

Saturday, September 8 – Lots of secret project work. Here is some from yesterday:

and from today:

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And I got the kiln going this morning – remember, it has been loaded since last week with that small group of sculptures. I’ll be able to open it tomorrow.

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Sunday, September 9 – Today I wanted to organize my clay work to get ready for shows coming up in the next few months. I hoped to make it easier to figure out what to take to a show and to be able to pack easily and quickly. Each event I’ll be going to over the next few months has a different amount of space or layout for me to consider and with limited storage of extra work. I need to have just what I need and no more.

So, first I went down to the basement where I store my tiles. With the company of my faithful laundry friend, I pulled out the boxes.

I took out all the tiles and sorted them into categories: large, small, cat, sgraffito, and miscellaneous.

I made a listing (though I don’t intend to keep a close count as the season goes on, I wanted to know where I was starting from), and repacked the tiles into boxes, storing them in their usual place.

I have about 105 tiles in inventory right now. That should be a good amount to go through my remaining shows. When it’s time to pack for a show I will come down here and make selections from each category; I don’t plan to choose each tile every time, just get the numbers I need. There can be too much planning – I don’t need to choose each tile individually for these shows.

I then went upstairs and opened the kiln. The items are cool and look a little lost in the big kiln.

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I put the items with their various categories already in the studio. I had some of these little face tiles to set aside for art drop-offs – everything else is meant for a show.

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Originally I was going to pack these items into boxes and follow the same procedure as the tiles, when I realized – they are already sorted, and I can enjoy looking at them when they are not at a show, so why put them away when all I’m going to do is take them out again when I’m packing? Better to just pick them off the shelves in my studio.

I have enough work in the object category, I think. And if I should get low, I can take some older figurines out on the road if I need to – the ones in the upper shelves of the cabinet are fine, I’ve just been enjoying having them, but I’ll probably sell them someday, too. Or give them away.

Monday, September 10 – I am at a completion or completed stage in my art world right now – I have done my solo exhibit, I have enough clay and painting work for this fall, and I have just finished the secret project (you will find out more in a couple of weeks).

Mentally I am preparing to move on changes that I have been thinking about, as to how I spend my art time, for 2019. As far as activity, right now I’m assembling items for small works, mail art and the like; preparing for doing some painting later on. Overall, I am settling my mind and the studio. To those ends, I have been finishing up some things – like this painting, which was the former Beach Lady:

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I’ll wait a little and then if I’m still happy I’ll finish up the edges and take it to my final painting show for the season on September 22.

I gessoed small boards (these are 11″ x 14″, so I guess I should say, medium boards):

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I did a couple of quick things with ink – this man is in one of my notebooks and will eventually end up in some collage; the chair is the beginning of a page in my next Large Artist Sketchbook (I guess it will be 2019).

Tuesday, September 11 – More odds and ends. I gessoed the edges of the boards – I hate the messy paint spattered look of any painting’s edge, even these very thin boards, and if I want to sell them as is, I want them to look nice!

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I added one thing to this sketch. One thing only. I am not in a hurry; this book is intended for a more contemplative approach, not rushing through it for hurrying’s sake, though I do think I’ll move a bit faster than this, generally.

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I prepared some boards and postcards/ATC’s – The next time I want to work on something – here it will be ready for me.

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Thursday, September 13 – Progress continues to creep along on this painting. I did a little more here and there to it.

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I added more paint to the three 6″ x 6″ items. Now they are ready for their next stage, whatever that will be.

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And here are postcards and ATC’s with paint on them, again, ready for whatever I decide to do next with them.

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Friday, September 14 – More odds and ends make themselves felt in my art world today I decided to do a task that is not for a current event, but is easy: I assembled my contributions for swag bags to be given out at a show I am attending in December. It’s a clay show for me so the treats are small clay items. I’m clearing out all kinds of small things and doing my part for the show all at once.

I laid out the items on the table.

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Then I put them in bags and added a business card. I ordered these bags from a place I’ve used for years for the special extra-clear bags for artwork; these here are not meant for that purpose, being heavier and not as clear. They are perfect for what I need them for, though, and they were very inexpensive. I have enough left over for next year’s treats!

I had ordered some 18″ x 24″ masonite panels and they arrived today. I bought the very inexpensive version of these panels – eleven of them cost me about $36. And why eleven? Because I could get free shipping with that number.

I want to have the option to do bigger work, but I no longer want the storage problems that come with maintaining a lot of cradled pieces (masonite or board with a built-in wood frame). Or carrying a lot of bulky work to a show. Remember that revelation I had at the Lansdale show a couple of weeks ago, if you are wondering what I am thinking.

I also want to feel free to paint, draw, scribble crayon, whatever, on pieces in the future. At the price of about $3.50 each I will be worried about nothing when I get to work on these.

I gessoed the edges.

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Then I started working on the painting surface. It will take a few sessions to finish these.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon just kind of doodling around. I took the next steps on those small 6″ x 6″ items:

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Ditto for these postcards:

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Here’s the latest on that page in my new Large Artist Sketchbook 2019:

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And here are some off-the-cuff drawings with Chinese brush and India ink. I can use these, cut-apart, in all kinds of ways later on, I think.

Look at that guy and his TV (top). Yelling at each other, I think they are.

All right, that finishes this week. I’m going to clean up the studio and listen to some more of my favorite radio program, Funky Friday on WXPN Philadelphia. Happy Friday.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 7

 

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

Art every day of the week, please!

Saturday, September 1 – Here are photos from yesterday’s take-down of the exhibit at the Gallery at the JCC, Allentown, PA, where my paintings had been for the last couple of months. It’s an anticlimax, really – it’s very quick to take a display apart! We took in our boxes and bags:

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and started to take items off the walls and from the display cases.

Soon everything was neatly packed away.

Empty walls and cases…

We took the tags off the walls and then…the party was over!

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The arts group here has invited me to participate in their holiday craft show, so…I’ll be back in December.

Saturday, September 1, nighttime – I did some paint brochure drawings – this is a gray-themed group. As you may remember, I often choose an activity like this one for when I am watching TV at night. These brochures are addicting.

Sunday, September 2 – I sat down with a friend to do a planning session.

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I spent a couple of hours or so going through my projects (art and poetry)and working out plans and possibilities I’d like to explore in the next 6 months or so. I do this exercise about every..6 months…I guess, and it helps me to review what I have going on and where I want to go. I wrote it in a notebook and will type it up tomorrow and put it in my studio.

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Then I went down into the basement and cleared out my head by working on a couple of clay cylinder people.

Monday, September 3 – I did some odds and ends around the studio. Not exciting, but necessary, these things were. I have a collection of 6″ x 6″ drop-in frames that I have used for clay tiles. Well, I admit that lately I’ve sent to the trash a lot of earlier work that was glued into these frames.

I am sure this may provoke gasps of horror at the idea of destruction but sometimes, there is no other answer for past work that I don’t feel is up to my standards today. And, these frames were perfectly good. I gessoed over the name and date of the previous works.

I tentatively intend to use them for the 6″ x 6″ paintings on board that I have been doing. I tried out the look with a few and I love it. I plan to velcro the paintings to the frame rather than gluing them, so I’ll have some TV-watching work ahead of me in putting all these together, I guess.

I also gessoed over a couple of paintings my husband sanded down for me. Ditto the clay tile situation – time passes and older work does not always please. I have learned that onceI feel this way about a painting, I will never change my mind. It is better for me to wipe it out and do something new.

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Art is not always about creation, I guess!

I did a quick cover-up of the back inside cover of my current Large Artist Sketchbook. Once it dries I am ready to take it to Poetry Marathon sessions to get some text done for it.

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Tuesday, September 4 – More secret project.

Then I went into the basement to work on cylinder people. Things continued to progress. One guy, though, I was not happy with how his outfit was turning out. It seems that in every group, there is one figure with whom I get off on the wrong foot and my attempts to salvage and re-make a design just get – uglier. When that happens, I wash off the old.

Then I give him a new undercoat. I will start over again next session.

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Here are the others, in progress.

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Wednesday, September 5 – I worked on finishing up the cylinder people today. The one in the remade outfit is a lot happier now, or at least I am, with his attire.

I took them, plus puff people and a few tiny tiles, and loaded the kiln.

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In the past I would never have contemplated firing a load this small. No, absolutely not. But I think differently now about this subject, as well as about a lot of other things! In the past I would have had these figures wait until I had made enough new work to fire (because with low-fire clay, you can fire bisque and glaze loads together as they fire at the same temperature).

That would have been fine if I were in an ongoing claywork mode (which I usually was). Now, though, I do less work, and if I hold these until I get more to go with them, it could be months. I am planning to do some other things for a while and clay’s not on my schedule right now.

And I’m impatient – I want to take these cylinder and puff people to a show next week – plus I have several other clay shows lined up in the near future. I don’t want to rush making more work just to…fill up a kiln-load? The cost of one firing is just not enough to make me worry about it. I’ll probably get these guys fired this weekend when the weather is cooler.

Thursday, September 6 – Last night I decided to paint a little… just a little. By dinnertime I had this start:

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Hint: it’s the former Beach Lady painting. Anyway, I almost never work after dinner, but for some reason I got engrossed in this painting (despite not knowing what I wanted to do with it).

Here is where it ended up.

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Don’t know if it is finished. I don’t want to be doing this kind of work, really – I want to move on. (Destination: unknown.) I think this exercise might have been the equivalent of comfort food art – using a well-known recipe and getting predictable results. I’ll let it sit a while and see if anything else happens to it.

Friday, September 7 – This morning my husband and I drove to Allentown, PA, to pick up my painting from an exhibit at the Baum School:

Here’s a quick look at how it appeared hanging on the wall, before I took it away with me. I inserted an arrow to direct you to its location:

I thought I might do some artwork later this afternoon, but since I’m not sure, I figured I’d post this week’s Diary and clear the decks for another week.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending August 31

 

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

Art. Art. Art!

Saturday, August 25 – We spent the day at the Lansdale Festival of the Arts. This is one of the first shows I did when I began my art career, and though it has grown a lot over time, it is still run by the same people in the local parks and rec department, and it is still one of the nicest shows to do that I know.

Weather was absolutely wonderful – clear skies and moderate temperatures. We arrived a little before 8 AM and got into line for receiving our spot – this show has the practice of filling the park as exhibitors arrive. You wait in your car in line for a little while, and then you are shown to your spot, and you get to work setting up – no traffic jams or disturbing near-misses by cars trying to get to an interior location when everyone else has already begun setting up.

I’ll skip the set up shots, because if you’ve seen one set-up (and you have, think back to earlier shows) you’ve pretty much seen them all. Here is my booth when done, with my husband providing scale:

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And here is the interior.

You may remember from last week’s Diary how agitated I was about the amount and type of work I was showing. The vast majority of my paintings are at another exhibit, and I hadn’t thought about how the scheduling would work out for this show. What I had on hand: two large paintings I don’t show much plus three other medium sized ones; a variety of smaller ones that could hang on the walls; and a box full of miscellaneous flat unframed (but on board or masonite) items.

I was pleasantly surprised at how it all worked out in the display. And as far as customer response and sales, ditto. I got some valuable information from this show to aid me in making decisions on how I want to steer the next period of my art making/selling career. I’m trying to decide what kind of work I want to make, and how much, especially given that I already have such a lot of work done right now in the sizes and shapes that I have traditionally thought of as show-worthy.

This event taught me that I can have a different array of work to offer than I had thought, and I am glad about that, because I am more interested in working in smaller sized pieces as part of a series and/or really large things. This medium range I’ve done for so long, I’m less interested in. Hmmm…I see possiblities more clearly now. Interesting.

And guess what. Do you see those green tags under a couple of pieces of my work?

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This show gives out prizes, and the way they do it, you mark the two pieces you want to enter. I figured, the large one, why not? and then the face one next to it, simply because it looked nice with the other one. Well, here’s the result.

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Third prize in my category, Oils, Acrylics, and Mixed Media. Now that was really a surprise. I had not thought I had a chance, with so few bigger items in my booth (even though you choose two pieces, the judges generally tend to look at all your work, and I am sure it influences them).

So I was thrilled. A really nice day all around. And here are a few shots of the show in action, to round out today’s information.

Sunday, August 26 – I gave these small cylinder people and puff people some black underglaze in preparation for color patterns. Here they are, naked.

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And here, with the black.

Monday, August 27 – Secret project.

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Tuesday, August 28 – I spent some time in the beautifully cool basement (we are having a late summer heat wave, that’s why I mention it) working on coloring puff and baby cylinder people.

Wednesday, August 29 – More clay time. I worked on cylinder people today.

I am planning to work on two at a time. That’s a good number for getting both fully done in an afternoon, more or less.

I also did some faces on clay scrap tiles. These are the kind of thing I leave around the world in art drop-offs. (I usually chronicle my art drop-off activities on my blog Sometimes You Get So Confused – go there and search the category Art Drops In).

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After I finished with the clay, I decided to work on an updo of some small paintings I did a while back. I decided to transform them into my sort of cartoony style. As they were, I felt they looked a little bla.

So here is where I got to with them on this day. I’ll post better pictures of them in their own post pretty soon.

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Friday, August 31 – This afternoon I will be picking up my paintings and clay work from the gallery exhibit that I had July through August. I’ll post information about that trip for next week. Otherwise, I’m getting ready to do a big meeting with myself about what I’ve got going, art-wise, and see if I can’t work up a list to re-orient myself and prioritize.

Every so often I go through this process, for art and for poetry, and I find it really helpful. To start things off, I cleaned up my work area in the studio and arranged the current odds and ends so that I can see them. I do better when I have tangible items to view and then can make a list much more easily.

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This assortment is not everything going on, but it’s the ones I’ve got going right now. I’ll show you photos and make comments.

And here are some more ideas…I’ve been saving rejects and odds and ends of scrap paper in a box. I have accumulated a lot of it and I want to start making some postcards/ATC’s with all these items.

This spattered notebook page represents the page facing an image in my current Large Sketchbook. I have finished all the pages in this book and this was the last one to be spattered. Now my next move is to write poems or stories or whatever to go with the images and insert them in the book. This will take some time and will be part of my Poetry Marathon work.

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I also plan to review my paintings when I get them home from the exhibit and decide how I want to invest my painting time this winter (as I mentioned my thoughts earlier in this posts, when I discussed the art show last weekend).

And I have ongoing clay work to do. I need to make a separate list of projects there, but I know it will include tiles, pictorial, abstract, and sgraffito; I also want to think about some sculptures, too.

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Puffs from the front…

I plan to put some time in this weekend in doing this work. Now it is time for me to load the car with boxes and bags to bring home my paintings!

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending August 24

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


Art!

Saturday, August 18 – As you know I’ve been working on illustrations for my Minuscule book, using a Chinese brush and India ink. When I really make a mess of a picture, I wipe it out with a few swashes of the brush, loaded with ink. Then I have really nice black background papers to draw on with white or colored gel pens. They are perfect for the TV-watching kind of art-making.

I also do the same thing with acrylic inks, if I happen to be using them. Depending on the color of the ink I’ll use a pale or a dark pen.

Here are a few examples.

Here are some peeks at the images I drew for the book.

Sunday, August 19 – More TV time in the evening and more black/white design things. Oh, some green, too.

Monday, August 20 – I did the firing of my clay pieces – the weather has moderated and it was cool enough to run the kiln. You may remember I loaded it a week or so ago.

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I happened to be passing through the garage later in the day and the kiln shows its temperature as being significantly higher –

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It tops out at about 1828 degrees F. This particular firing took just short of nine hours, typical for a bisque load (because the kiln brings up the temperature slowly so as to bake out moisture in the clay very gradually, making sure that it doesn’t turn to steam instead and explode the item).

I worked on more illustrations for my future Minuscule book:

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and as always there are leftovers. I have accumulated quite a collection at this point, a nice box-full.

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I had a couple more of those black/white ink doodle things, too, from last night.

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Finally, I think I’ve finished up these 6″ x 6″ cartoony type mixed media pieces.

Wednesday, August 22 – Today I faced a task I’ve known was coming for months, and I’ve been avoiding thinking about it. What is this dreaded event? Well, I’ll be participating in the Lansdale Festival of the Arts on Saturday, and…almost every painting I have is hanging in my exhibit that opened in July. I pick them up next Thursday, but that won’t help me this weekend.

I knew this situation was coming and I made only vague plans. I just figured, well, I’ll get an idea one way or another.

I have two very large paintings plus three medium sized ones here at home. And I’ve got a modest array of small paintings that can also be hung.

What I have decided to do, to fill out the booth this one time,  is to bring out my array of small paintings that I don’t usually show – the ones I did for fun, or they have no frames, etc. etc. I took the box-full out into the garage and laid them out on a table to see what I have.

I plan to take two tables and set the paintings on them. I have small and large wire stands, which I usually use for clay work.

I have two ancient flip bins, which I used to use a lot when I made collage work – I often sold items matted but unframed, and those went into these bins. Maybe some of these paintings can fit into one of these.

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I think I can put the tiny ATC-sized paintings into an old drawer that I sometimes use as a table bin. Anything else, I can lay flat on the table. I’m hoping my display will look coherent and neat.

I re-packed the paintings and took them inside to wait with the other large paintings for Friday, when we load the car.

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You might say, why can’t you take whatever you want to the show? And/or, why didn’t you take your clay work?

First question, it is a juried show, and I juried in with acrylic paintings, so, that’s what I have to show.

Second question, you are right, I could have juried in with clay this year, and looking at what I have on hand right now, I would agree. But, I had to enter this show in March, I think, and at that time, I was more concerned with making enough work for my exhibit. See, I had purposely run down my paintings inventory over the last couple of years and suddenly – I needed work to show.

I had done the same thing for clay. My stock was quite low, tiles and sculptures. But I had no deadline for clay work, and additionally, clay takes a lot of lead time given the multiple steps in the creation process. I was not sure I could get enough clay work done at the same time as doing more paintings.

I also was at that time evaluating how many shows and events I wanted to be producing clay items for. I did not want to build up excess clay work – especially when I felt more sure of my plans for my paintings.

Now in retrospect and with some of this year’s events under my belt, I have decided to look for more shows for my clay, and keep my painting schedule stable or even reduce a couple of shows. Showing clay at Lansdale would have worked out fine, as it turns out. But – let’s look at it this way – some paintings that never get seen will now be the stars of my little show.

Friday, August 24 – I did a few odds and ends this afternoon before we pack up the car for tomorrow’s show. I painted some papers that I might use for my secret project:

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And then I went to the basement to start the process of coloring the clay work I took out of the kiln a few days ago. You may remember this process from earlier sessions. I plan to do the wild color patterns all over the cylinder figures and the puff people, but first I need to prepare their faces and give them an undercoat of underglaze. Here we go.

I brought the figures into the laundry room to work on, because I need to use water from the sink there.

First, I colored their faces with Velvet underglaze, Jet Black.

Then I took a wet rag and, holding the figure under a trickle of water, I rubbed away the black color from the raised areas – it stays in the indentations. I then went back and did the same thing for the grooved areas at the bases of the cylinder figures. These areas are created when I make the join between the figure’s body and its base with a serrated tool. I could smooth these joins out and sometimes I do, but this session, I left them.

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The faces are done and I am ready to wash off the black color at the bottom.

Here are the final results.

AD 8-24 #705

I then took them out to my work table and proceeded to give the cylinder figures a coat of Velvet underglaze Jet Black. This base will form the underlying color for when I put on the colorful designs.

I will do the smaller figures another day. Until then, they will wait over on the other table.

AD 8-24 #1001

All right, that’s it for this week, except for packing the car, as I mentioned earlier, for tomorrow’s show.

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