Tag Archives: Allentown PA

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 5

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

As I said in the previous post, I believe this apartment building is actually two separate entities owned differently, though built side by side. Clues are the difference in brick pointing between the two sides, the different front doors, the differences in landscaping, and the fact that the windows in this side that I am showing you today, the left side, have been replaced.

Just for fun here are the two halves:

and in my drawings:

I realize I left off the wavy ornamental ironwork under the windows on the right-side building. I remember thinking that to include it would take away from the paned windows, so I decided…to forget it!

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 4

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

This street had a mixture of building types along it – the section I photographed included several twins, a bar, and a large apartment building that I think might have been actually two separate structures side by side.

Here is a view of the right side of the apartment building. Now, I love drawing buildings and I love this building, so…I was very patient in doing this drawing. I really enjoyed trying to get the details without making it look fussy or too busy.

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 3

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week before, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

Here is another intersection. I can see I am trying a little harder here but still not really following the photo. For one thing, I am drawing it as if I am a bird flying overhead and not a person at street level. Well, maybe I just wanted to be a bird that day.

A note about my drawing process: I just pick up the pen and draw. I don’t sketch out, use pencils, or rehearse, I just go. For me, I just enjoy drawing. And, as in everything else I do, it seems that I am unable to follow the reality of what I look at and depict it – things always seem to veer off on their own. Squashed or stretched scenes often result. Well, that’s ok with me.

I remember I was enjoying very much making the ped crossing area at the front of the scene. There is something soothing about making many small pen strokes.

 

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 2

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week bfore, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts.

I did not draw the scenes in the order they appeared on the street and I can’t remember how they lined up, anyway, so…don’t try to make sense of things.

I’ll just show you the scenes.

Here is another twosome – I did them in the beginning of the “project” before I had the idea of drawing the whole sequence. I was very careless with both of these pictures and did not try to follow details with much attention. This may have happened because, as with most of my drawing, I did these while watching TV at night.

Well, take a look, anyway. There are some good parts to these drawings, here and there, I think.

Allentown Drive-By Sketches 1

Back in June 2020 my husband and I took a drive through Allentown, PA, which is about an hour from our house. We had moved from a strict lockdown to one step less restrictive about a week bfore, I guess, and we wanted to see some new sights. So we got in the car for a drive (we did not leave the car on this trip) and I took photos through the window.

As we drove along on our way out of town, on a whim, I snapped the passing scene one photo after another as the car moved. I then did drawings of these photos. I’m going to be showing them over the next few posts. I warn you, I can’t quite remember how they lined up in real life so I am not going to worry about it. I’ll just show you the scenes.

Here is an intersection. I didn’t like the way it turned out on the first try so I did a second one. I think there are parts of each drawing I like and parts I don’t. It was the first one I did and I was not focused. I might try the scene again sometime.

 

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 10

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


Art in all kinds of forms. Yes!

Sunday, August 5 – This week’s diary may be skimpy on information, I warn you. I plan to devote a lot of time to my secret project and I can give you only glimpses of it. I worked on it both days this weekend – here are those glimpses:

And here is what else I did. Odds and ends of clay work. I put my name and date on the backs of these sgraffito tiles. Now they are ready to be wrapped up and stored (soon as my ordered bubble wrap comes in…)

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I started coloring these tall figurines. They will be part of my next firing.

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And the small figurines I did late last week are drying. Notice how the color changes as the figures dry out.

Monday, August 6 – Some more work on those clay ladies…

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More work on the secret project.

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Tuesday, August 7 – My husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to drop off a painting for an upcoming exhibit at the Baum School of Art:

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That took no time. So we decided to walk up the Art Walk to eat lunch at a restaurant we’ve enjoyed in the past, Queen City BBQ. Here are some pictures of the Art Walk:

We stopped at the Dick Blick store on the way home.

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Now I am a devoted Blick customer but I do my shopping through the internet – the nearest store to me is in Center City Philadelphia and that’s not easy to get to. So when in Allentown we often take the opportunity to stop in here and browse. I bought a tube of paint, a sketchbook with gray pages, and some white acrylic ink as a treat for myself.

Wednesday, August 8 – These two ladies are finally done. Ready for firing.

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Thursday, August 9 – I priced these tiles and wrapped them up. Now they can be stored until I take them to a show.

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I loaded the kiln with the work that I have on hand. I may try a firing as soon as I get a cooler day (the kiln should not be run on 85 degree F +/- days, it doesn’t like it). This load is tiny but I don’t worry anymore about packing the kiln fully for a firing – I mostly want to keep the work flowing. I’ll check the weather and see what looks good. Anyway, even if I add more work, I’ve got this amount already set to go, that’s always a nice thing.

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Friday, August 10 – Well, this week didn’t go as planned, really – I have had ongoing family issues and some other hitches in the schedule. Hoping next week might hang together a little better.

This afternoon I did some work for my secret project – I can tell you that this aspect of it involved painting some papers. I used acrylic inks today, mostly:

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and I used acrylic paints, including the new one I bought on Tuesday in Allentown. I do love trying out a new paint. This one looks like I’m going to love having it in my paint workforce.

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I was painting at random to achieve my effects today – here are the things for the project:

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and here are some accidental byproducts that are extremely useful. I usually use a page from an old book to blot or spread inks or paint – today I used this one, from my childhood collection:

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Who knew the Bobbsey Twins could be so versatile as to still be hard at work solving mysteries and opening eyes right here in the art studio, 50 years after I purchased this volume? The paper is soft and absorbent but is not at the point of being so brittle that it crumbles. Here are the results. I’ll save them to use later.

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And, I’d like to mention, these papers were painted to the accompaniment of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, can’t say enough good about them – and then, my favorite radio program ever, Funky Friday on WXPN Philadelphia (Fridays 4-7 PM, just saying). You will always paint beautiful papers to the sounds of music that makes your feet move, believe me.

All right. I’ll finish up here and go listen to more music. Happy Friday!

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

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.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending June 22

 

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

Another Art week begins, hello!

Friday, June 15 (additional) – After I closed out last week’s Diary I did a little work on the clay figure I was working on – the tall cylinder. It had dried enough to stand up on its own.

I gave it a bottom – I set the cylinder on a circle of clay and used my serrated rib tool to scrape up the fresh clay. I left some of the marks.

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I added a strut across the top to hold up the head, and then I added a top, same as I did for the bottom.

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Then I gave her a neck and head and bosom. Here she is, with her shelf-mate looking at her, askance. Already life has become interesting for her, I guess…

Saturday, June 16 – We spent the day at Art-in-the-Park in West Park, Allentown, PA. I’ll start right off by saying there is no sadness to report about this show. I had a good day in all sorts of ways – reception of my work, sales, and I won 3rd prize in my category, Acrylics and Oils. So you can look forward to a pleasant account. I just wanted to warn you!

We stopped at our usual Wawa for gas and coffee. Shout out to my friend Diane here, she has moved to North Carolina, but we did shows together for years, and several times we met (by chance) at this location on the way to events up PA Route 309. Coffee calls out to all of us.

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We arrived and the park was still quiet. The weather was just perfect, ten of ten. And, we got a parking spot right next to the park, not only for unloading, but we could keep the car there all day. This is a real advantage – parking around the park is pretty much non-existent.

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We did our usual set-up thing. Space sizes are generous and I was able to use the outside of the display for artwork.

Then the show got into action.

Did you see the giant trunk of that sycamore tree to the right side of the first photo? That tree is magnificent, right across from our booth. Remember, this park is an arboretum and trees matter here.

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I took a few minutes to go over to the bandstand and watch some of the ballet performances. These two girls were doing a jazz version of a dance from the Nutcracker. Yes, they were.

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Water fountain, original fixture of this 100+ year old park. It still works.

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I have participated in this show for 20+ years and it has always been a good one for me. Contemporary art is appreciated here, in fact is more popular than traditional and more realistic pieces, and in my experience it always has been, so for me, the crowd is interested and involved. I had many good conversations about my work and I was very happy that a couple of my more abstract pieces were especially noticed – I had wondered if there was anything to them or had I just had a nice time painting! I am glad others were attracted to them.

I also saw many people here that I know – and remember, I live about an hour away, so normally I would not expect so much personal attention. However, I have exhibited in Allentown for 20 years and many people have been very good to me in all kinds of ways here.

I want to say thank you to everyone, and I’ll mention a few – Ann, Hannah,and Adam; Adrian, Missy, Carol, Jodi, Olga and her daughter, Rob, Kris from the Baum School, Mickey and Sandy, and I’m pretty sure I’m leaving someone out. Do I sound like I’m auditioning for an Academy Award? Anyway, you can see, my art and I felt very appreciated.

Back to the show. In the afternoon I saw herds of people wandering the park, eyes glued to phones.

Guess what, it was a Pokemon Go event.

So the day wound down and we packed up to go home. I was grateful for how nicely this show went this year.

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Monday, June 18 – I decided to work in the pleasantly cool basement today and do some clay. I rolled out some slabs of white low-fire clay.

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This clay is part of my recently-acquired stash. When I went to work with it, I realized that I needed to make some slip to match it – my previous white clay was from a different manufacturer and was browner in tone. You say, what is slip? And I’ll tell you – it is a more liquid version of the clay – I put some bits in a jar, add some water, and shake it up to get it to break down into a gloppy consistency (which can take some time).

Slip is used as “glue” when two pieces of clay are joined. The mantra is, slip and score – make grooves in the joining areas and then smear some slip over it. Or vice versa, doesn’t really matter, just that you do it! In this way the pieces will intermesh. Just sticking a couple of pieces of clay together is not enough for a bond that will survive a firing.

All right, back to work. I made this little guy:

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We call him a puff person. I’ve made hundreds of them in the past, and they looked like this:

puffs await the kiln #3 4-13

Puff Creature #2 3-26-12 small

You can see I finished them with underglaze washed over a heavily-textured surface. With this new creature, I want to try a smooth surface and color him all over as I’ve been doing with figurines. I’ll make some more and see how it goes.

I also made these small women figures from slabs @ 2″ x 4″ or so (not counting their heads, I made those separately):

I plan to give them colored outfits too. I left their bottoms open, with no covering base. I might use these for art giveaways and if I do, I want to put a message inside them instructing the finder to go ahead and take it, it’s ok. That’s what I did with the earlier small figurines I gave away, who looked like this:

small clay figurines - group of three 7-14

Inquisitive ladies. 2014.

 

I also made some tiles, which I didn’t photo, as I think you’ve seen plenty of freshly-cut tiles!

Tuesday, June 19 – Do you remember the Ogre Baby paintings?

Yes, me too. I have never quite felt they were finished. Well, when I was going through items for the last show I did, I set them aside.

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Today I started to remodel them. Here we are so far:

All right, we’ll see how it goes. So far I’ve used India ink, acrylic inks, crayons, and oil pastels. A free-for-all, all right.

Friday, June 22 – This week has been busier than I thought when it started out. Not as much art time as I had thought. Well, it goes along as it goes.

This morning I went down to the basement and cleaned up the edges of  tiles I did earlier in the week – by rubbing the edges with a wet sponge I smooth the edges and get rid of ugly transitions and sharp edges. While I was there I photographed the white clay slips I mentioned earlier in the week – the old one is on the left, the new one on the right. You can see the difference in the raw clay color and yet they both fire white.

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Here’s a photo of those little women figures, now almost dry. Notice how the color of the clay has changed as it dries.

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I also spent some time painting edges on acrylic paintings, back upstairs in the studio. I am getting close to the end of this task. Good. I also sprayed the ogre babies with a fixative spray out in the garage (very strong odor, yes) and repainted their edges – you can see them in the background.

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And I did three more illustrations for my Minuscule book.

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Then I figured I’d done enough. I’m going to go into the studio and clean things up to the background accompaniment of my favorite radio show, Funky Friday on WXPN Philadelphia. See you later!

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending June 1

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

Smile, it’s time for Art!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, May 25-27 – We spent this time at Mayfair in Allentown, PA. I’ll give you some info.

As background, this incarnation of Mayfair is the third one of this long-running show. For many years it was outdoors in a park; it then went indoors to a local convention center (which is where I first came into the story), and this year was held on the campus of Cedar Crest College. The show has a bumpy history – it was not held at all in 2017 for financial reasons – and so this revival was kind of a test.

Mayfair is a combination family festival, music festival, and art festival. I had stopped doing the show before it took its hiatus for reasons of – no sales! – and I thought I’d try things out at the new location. No expectatations, just a let’s see how it goes.

The campus is lovely. Very open and green.

Many kids’ activities. I saw one little girl go down the bouncy slide like a sack of flour, hit the barrier at the end, jump up laughing, and immediately start climbing back up to the top to do it again.

We left our mark on the Chalk the Walk.

I stopped and talked to the people who were running the pony ride. Wish I could have taken a turn but I am too big now…

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I noticed a lot of women (and a few men) wearing these yellow t-shirts mentioning “Tap Ties”. Turns out it was National Tap Dancing weekend and each day performances were put on by a multitude of tap dancers on the second stage. I stopped to watch a few sessions. Dancers were all ages – very young to a group from the Allentown Senior Center.

As this man filmed the performance, he was moving to the music, and I have the feeling the video will be a little – bouncy. I figured one of the girls onstage was his daughter. Made me smile, he was so obviously into it.

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The main music tent was enormous and was not only filled each night for the headliner performance but also the lawn beyond it was covered in – people.

And of course, many food vendors.

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I show you all of this to portray the nature of the festival – it’s not focused on art but on the community having a variety of activities. Now I get to the art part.

We arrived and unloaded on Friday. The show went three days, noon to 8 PM.

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I had chosen an inside spot in the gym. There was also an outside section.

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I had a nice space and the accommodations were just great.

Overall, the show was really pleasant and easy to do. I think this revived version of the festival was really enjoyable and I know the organizers were very pleased. For me, though, sales were almost non-existent, and while I am not focused on that aspect as much as others, I do need more revenue from the show to make the work and time worth it.

Now, there is certainly the case that maybe things just didn’t fall my way, etc. I have been to many shows where my work generated interest but for whatever reasons, it didn’t turn into sales. Here, though, it was clear this crowd did not come to buy a painting or spent a lot of money on art – we were just part of the overall scene at the festival. There just wasn’t much interest in my work; though I had  a few nice conversations, overall, most people drifted in and out, or looked as they walked by.

I had wondered if this scenario might be the case. I  know that paintings fall at the end of the impulse buying spectrum (the bad end, if you are talking sales!) Show attendees need to come to the show wanting to look at art and understanding the price ranges in order for me to have a chance at interesting them. Even someone who was caught by my work was not necessarily expecting to be thinking about buying a painting. And since most people regard a painting as an investment, something you live with for a while, there is a need to be in a mindset open to making this kind of decision – regardless of how much you are taken by an artwork.

Maybe it sounds too psychological, this analysis, but it’s what I’ve worked out over the years. I don’t need a large crowd to sell or to have appreciation, I just need the right crowd. And you don’t know this until you try out a show.

So, now I know. I won’t do the show again, but I am glad I was here, and the pleasant location and the great organization of it lessened my disappointment. We packed up the car after three days, said good-bye to our show-mates, and headed home.

AD 5-27 #1

Monday, May 28 – We spent the day starting our recovery from the show. My rule of thumb is that it takes two days for every day spent at the show. We’ve done 5 days of shows in ten days, so we’re down five days!

When I went through my work to pack for the show, I decided that several older larger paintings had to go. Plus some smaller ones, too. (When I say older, they are about 2 years old. Things do not stick around here – one way or another they move on! I don’t hang on to my own art.)

I felt they were not up to current standards. So I got my husband to sand them down and then I gessoed them black. I’ll set them aside for later.

Wednesday, May 30 – I’ve spent most of my time today working on putting together one of my print poetry books (getting the manuscript ready to be published, I mean). Ran out of time for anything else. I will mention a clay-oriented book I just finished reading – I checked it out of the Montgomery County Community College library last week. It’s full of info on handbuilding in clay. I can recommend it – I learned quite a few things from it. I find that in almost any book I can get some tidbit of info or another that makes my work easier or better.

Friday, June 1 – Art time today consisted of getting ready for tomorrow’s show at Saucon Creek (near Bethlehem, PA). I’ve done this show before and so I know what to expect, which makes things much easier.

This event is a small but classy one benefiting the Saucon Valley Conservancy and is held on the grounds of the Heller Homestead. It’s a one day show, nice because it is less tiring, but we will have to set up and take down in the same day. No big deal, just requires different planning.

Unlike the previous two shows, we will be using our tent set-up. I will try to take pictures of that process for next week’s Diary. What it means is – I needed to do some planning.  The tent, its weights, and side curtains (since rain is expected tomorrow) take up room in the car. Also, the rain issue means that I don’t want to take a table to set outside the tent (where I usually display smaller items).

On the plus side, I know from the site plan sent to me by the organizers I have a neighbor only on one side, so I can hang art on the outer side of my racks (though if I have to keep the tent sides down, that advantage will be negated somewhat).

So, I developed a plan to figure out how much art to take. I’m in the position of having a lot on hand right now because I’ve worked hard in the last few months to create pieces for my gallery show in July. Usually I don’t have to leave anything at home and I’d just be packing the car with whatever I have.

First, I figured out how much hanging square footage I had to work with.

AD 6-1 #4

This cryptic notation just means that I have 12 rack sections to cover (top and bottom counting as one, though the racks themselves break into half for transport). The inside ones are priority as they will be most protected in case of bad weather. The outside ones might have covers on them at times.

I got out my work and started to array it around my studio in configurations relating to each rack section. Each grouping is an upper and lower section together, and each section is 3 ft. x 3 ft. for a total panel of 6 ft. x 3 ft.

I’m a hands-on kind of person – this is the way I make sense of the situation! The quilty coverings you see are bags I made a long time ago (when I was still exhibiting collage, which is what they were sized for) and they work great to pack art in that they are padded and yet very easy to put around the work (essential for packing up. You just want to go home!).

I also transport some paintings in cardboard boxes that I got when the boards were originally shipped to me – I separate each painting with foam board. Now, cardboard is not a great thing for wet weather. I will need to be careful to keep these off the ground tomorrow.

I also packed a box of 8″ x 10″ paintings – these will be the smallest I take to this show. Here is the group I selected from.

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Once I was finished, here was the result.

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I realize my display may be a little crowded, but I’m not worried about it. I expect that the show will have less attendance than usual if the weather goes as they say, but this show also gives prizes (I won an Honorable Mention last year). I always like to be judged, and though I don’t anticipate winning, many judges will talk with you about your work, a professional assessment, and that does not come along that often in the art fair world.

After I finished this work, I went to the grocery store. Another thing I’ve learned over the years – you cannot count on what kind of food the fair will offer. Take your own meals, as well as drinks and snacks.

AD 6-1 #1

OK, that’s it for this week. Cross your fingers for manageable weather and pleasant art conversations!


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