Tag Archives: creative process

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending August 17

 

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

Hello to a week of Art.

Saturday, August 11 – I worked on the secret project.

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Sunday, August 12 – I worked on the secret project.

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I also prepared these 6″ x 6″, 1/8″, masonite boards. For what? I don’t really know although my idea right now is to do some more of those graffiti/cartoon kind of painting things, you know, with the words in them. Really, I just felt like letting my hand paint fast and big and these little boards, well, I’ve got a whole lot of them. So I’ll see where they go.

I worked on some more acrylic ink/paint colored papers as well today, and here are the offshoots – the old-book pages where I soak up extra ink or paint. later I can use these for collage.

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These acrylic inks are really growing on me. I had bought a set of basic colors to see if I liked the medium, some time ago, and I wasn’t that excited at the beginning. But I’m starting to appreciate them for their intensity and their clarity, plus a kind of translucency that makes for layering that has a real depth of color.

Monday, August 13 – I had time to work on a couple of illustrations for my Minuscule story book.

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Tuesday, August 14 – Secret project…

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Wednesday, August 15 – More secret project…

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and a couple of other things. I did another illustration for my Minuscule book, or rather, I did a couple of versions of the same scene. These pictures are simple and straightfoward, plus being small, so I find it is easier for me to dive in and make several versions, then choose the one I like best. I’m working in India ink and Chinese brush for these.

I choose the one version I like best at the end of the session for the book; I save any others that appeal to me; and I cut up the failures. I’ll use them for collage later on. Here you see finished scenes and future collage papers.

I also worked on those 6″ x 6″ boards I painted a few days back. I’m working on them bit by bit, medium by medium. Since I had the ink and brush out I decided to make that the next stage for these little guys.

What I did was rotate each piece through all its orientations. There is always one that appeals to me – it’s not a thinking thing but an aha! this is the right one – kind of thing.

Then I outlined the things I saw in that image. You’ll see what I mean when you see the photos.

Now I have got the beginnings of a plan for each one of these.

Thursday, August 16 – I worked on some more brush and ink illustrations for my Minuscule book project.

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My mind has been scattered this week. And you know that I usually like to make more than one attempt at a quick drawing like these. That couple of attempts has enlarged into several. Oh well. I’m less focused or I’m harder to satisfy these days, I don’t know which. Anyway, one good thing – that means there are lots of scraps from failed attempts to add to my future collage projects box.

I also added a little bit to the 6″ x 6″ mixed-media things I have going on. Today I used some acrylic inks.

These still have a way to go, but they are beginning to develop some personality.

Friday, August 17 – I think I will end the Diary for this week here. As I have said before, I have been involved in some family issues and my time and energy for art have been limited. I think I will take the afternoon off and read a book. See you next week.

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

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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 August 3

 

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

Art. Art. Art.

Saturday, July 28 – First, a look at some paint brochure work I did while TV-watching on Friday night. I like to do this kind of thing for relaxation. I have a few brochures on hand pretty much all the time just for this purpose…I realized too late I was using a non-water-resistant pen and so there are some smears. Oh well. In order to preserve the images from harm, once I’d finished, I gave the page a spray with a matte varnish kind of thing that seals it.

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In the afternoon of Saturday I had time to work on coloring the set of figurines I had fired a couple of weeks ago. I was finishing some figures and clothing some naked ones:

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Here is where I ended the session (please excuse the blurred photo, I didn’t notice until later)

and a closer view of this larger guy:

Here are the in-process figures.

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You may say – where did those two small black figures come from, as I thought you’d started to color all of them? And you would be right. Sometimes, though, I get off on the wrong foot with designs or colors or whatever and then I never get back on track. I usually try to “fix” it and make things worse instead. It’s better to do what I did here – wash off the color, repaint a black base, and start over. I guarantee these people will be happier for this extra care.

Sunday, July 29 – I finished up the coloring of the remaining small figurines. I was right, they are happier with these new outfits.

I also did a few 2″ square tiles. They are perfect for using up color on the brush when I am working on larger projects. Here you see them getting their initial coat of Jet Black Velvet underglaze.

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These tall figurines are all that are left right now. They will need to wait for a different kiln firing as they need to be on the bottom shelf, because of their height.

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What about us?

I added the completed figurines to the kiln. It’s ready for a firing.

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A couple of notes about that kiln picture. That mint-green thing? I made a tray-like dish thing some time back. It has been sitting around for a while – it’s not really functional because it has not been glazed, only underglazed. You need a glazed surface on a functional item for health reasons – a non-glazed bowl, for instance, is not sealed so that bacteria can be washed off – instead, they can grow in the porous surface. Bad.

I decided to glaze this dish so that it could be used. The glaze is that green color. It will be a shiny clear when fired.

You also may recognize some sgraffito tiles. And you thought my assortment had all been fired? Yes, I had done so, but upon examination, in various tiles I saw small white flecks and other imperfections in the black color, where maybe clay crumbs had landed or some other thing was a little wrong. It occurred to me that I could repair these flaws quite easily. I touched them up with Jet Black underglaze (you can see where I did the repairs as a somewhat grayer-toned area) and put them in for another firing.

Last, I made some cylinder people. You know, they are very easy to construct – the time consuming part is in the color application. I’m currently really enjoying coloring (my version of adult coloring books, these figurines?) and I’ve decided to make a dozen or so of these to submit to the Baum School (Allentown, PA) holiday market that I participate in each winter.

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Monday, July 30 I had time for a few more cylinder people today.
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Also, I rolled out this slab of leftover terracotta clay. It was too dry to do much with. On impulse, I covered it with black underglaze and without even waiting for it to dry (a big no)I did this quick sgraffito image. We’ll see how that turns out.

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I also did a firing – no pictures of the kiln at work, but it was.

Tuesday, July 31 – I opened the kiln. Everything looks good
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except for that glazed dish.

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See the cloudiness at the bottom of the picture? I believe that it is a sign of glaze that did not completely vitrify. I had the idea this might happen – I fire my work at Cone 06, usually, and I think the glaze requires Cone 05 (which is hotter) to get the right results. I didn’t check the jar…I just kind of knew and did not want to know…)

I do not like to fire my underglaze work at Cone 05 – I think it burns out the colors just that little bit too much – meaning that they are darker and muddier. I think I’ll send the dish back through – nothing needs to be done to it – with a bisque load that I will fire at Cone 05. See what happens. If it still looks bad, into the trash it goes.

Wednesday, August 1 – Time continues to be short for art activities this week. I decided to unload the kiln and photograph the work – and to clean up the clay area and studio. I want to work on my secret project later this week and I need to get the area, and my head, clear and ready for ideas.

I photograph most of my work and always have done, even when I was making fabric collage work in the 90’s and did my photography using film. I had a plywood board covered in black fabric that I hung from a pipe in my basement; I set up lights and taped the works to the board in order to photograph them. I did not get very good results but at least I had a record of my work.

Urban View small

“Urban View”, fabric, 1990’s.

Now I use a digital camera and PhotoShop Elements to achieve my images. Today I was photgraphing clay – tiles and sculptures. For tiles, I lay them on a surface, usually white, but since I was doing white tiles as well today, I also used a black background.

I don’t photo each clay item I make – there are too many of them. I will post only the ones I like most and the rest, well, they go their way, wherever that might be, undocumented.

I took 112 photos today, of which I will probably keep 25% or so. I do know I’ll re-photo the terracotta/black sgraffito tiles – they were done with a back blackground but looked awful.

As far as sculptures, I usually set up a little stage like this:

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Two pieces of matboard on a chair. I set the item onstage and photo it.

Overall, I want to have a record of my work and I don’t worry much if the pictures are not all perfect. I just need a few really good ones to use in submitting to shows, and with all the things I make usually something comes out well enough to add to my application-worthy category.

I do think it is important to document my art, if for no other reason than that it represents a lifetime’s work and is valuable to me as a record of my past and how I have grown. I have thousands of images now and I am really glad I have taken the time (and it does take a lot of time) to create this archive.

Friday, August 3 – I finished up the week by working on some clay – new puff people and some mini-cylinder people – this time working in terracotta clay.

And that did it for today.

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending July 27

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

Art! Let’s do some art!

Saturday, July 21 – Last night I had the four paintings in progress upstairs in my living room, staring at me as I tried to watch TV and do a crossword puzzle. As you know, I put work in progress there in order to let it sort of soak in, let me see if I am done with the works or not. The answer for this group was – the beachgoer painting continued to bother me. Here’s how it was:

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Sometimes, it is better to start a painting over than to continue to work on it. When my husband said he thought the lady’s arm looked like a turkey leg (I had to agree), it was just the push I needed. I grabbed that painting and took it back downstairs to the studio.

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To me, the painting had too many problems. I judge my work by the feeling I get from it – I can only describe it as things being in balance. If the painting is not at that state, I have an uneasy feeling.

It sounds airy, I know. But years of doing art have taught me to listen to this feeling.

Not knowing where I was going with this painting had left me with a work that lacked that spark I want to see. In frustration, I revised the lady again. Still no good. In more frustration, I turned the painting 90 degrees. Now the lady was sitting in a beach chair. It seemed right. So here she is. I hope this will be it for this lady. I bet she does too.

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All right. On Saturday morning I stopped at the Ceramic Shop in Norristown to buy more underglazes.

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I wanted to start work on my recently fired figurines. You remember that I had prepared their faces last week. Here are puff people waiting for color.

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I’ve made this style of figurine before but never with color patterns applied in the fashion I am using today. I was not sure how things would go. I put Jet Black Velvet underglaze over their bodies, leaving their faces clear.

Then I applied color in patterns as usual. I think things went pretty well. Here they are at the end of the session.

I took them out and set them in the kiln (which is half-loaded with other work).

Sunday, July 22 – I worked on this painting for a little while. I am happier with it now, too.

Next, I went into the basement to work on some clay figurines. Today, the cats and some of the round women figures. I gave them their Jet Black Velvet underglaze base coat:

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Then I set to work. I did not finish them all, so I’ll continue with them and ad more to the crowd, maybe tomorrow. I also worked on the clay rocks.

Monday,July 23 – I decided to work on some illustrations for my anticipated Minuscule book. I’m making pictures to go along with the tiny stories and poems.

I usually make more than one version of the image idea I have chosen. I’m not always happy wit the first version, though I never know what I’m going to get with the second or later versions. I’m not the kind of artist who can do the same thing twice in a row. Sometimes that is good and sometimes less good. Luckily, these stories just need one picture. I choose the one I like best. Then, the discards, I either keep the whole picture, figuring I can do something else with it later – or I cut it up. I’m saving these pieces for collage works later on.

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Tuesday, July 24 – I worked on clay today. I finished up the color details from the figurines I was working on earlier in the week. Then I prepared this group:

to be colored later on, by giving them their initial coat of Jet Black Velvet underglaze.

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It takes time to apply the black around all the details of the figure while leaving neat edges and a good solid coat of underglaze. If I wanted to sell figures such as these in production, I would need to do some redesign so as to simplify and speed up this step. (I also probably would never do the amount of color detail work that I do).

Now, I might sell these, and I might give them away, but in either case, I don’t really care how long it takes me to do them. It’s not production, it’s really more for my enjoyment. So I’m good with the way they are designed.

Friday, July 27 – Some family issues that require my attention have come up over the past week, and so art has had to take a back seat. Depending on events, I’m sure I’ll be working on projects but I don’t know on what or how much. I’ll just see how it goes.

 

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending July 20

 

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

Art. Your hands and mind work together as best friends. 

 Saturday, July 14 – I’m celebrating the conclusion of the last 7 or so weeks of busyness with shows and public events with my favorite activity – ordering my living and working space. It’s the first step in starting new projects. I got my studio in shape:

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I’m planning to work on some paintings. Like I need more of them! with so many that I made for the exhibit –  but – maybe I do. All but two of my current work are at the gallery exhibit until 8/31. Somehow I neglected to realize I have an art fair planned for August 25th. Oops. I also would like to enter a piece in an exhibit in August.

I’ll dig around here at home and improvise, but maybe three more paintings would not hurt? Besides paintings, I also have a couple of other projects on the go. So, a clean studio is a signal to get to work.

I also opened the kiln this afternoon. Take a look.

I’m really happy with what I can see – I was mostly wondering how the sgraffito tiles worked out. I’ll show them in more detail in their own post, but I can see that the contrast is good between clay and figures, the tiles are not warped (sometimes that happens in firing to tiles that look flat in the greenware state), and overall, well, I’m just happy!

It’s a whole different look from my bright tiles and I love that idea, too, another aspect of clay that I can participate in.

Sunday, July 15 – I worked on those paintings some more, in the afternoon. You can see that there are four of them now. That is enough. I’m coming up with some odd images. We’ll see where they go.

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Monday, July 16 – I decided to prepare the small clay figurines for the coloring process by doing their faces. Here’s the whole group before I start:

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I color their faces with Velvet underglaze, Jet Black. (These little people remind me of those sheep with black faces. Just saying.)

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Then I wash off color from the prominent spots, using a wet rag. The black color stays in the indentations. After I finished their faces, I did the same thing with their hands.

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Now they are ready for their color sessions.

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I did the rest of the figures in the same way.

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I also gave the “clay rocks” their coat of black – it forms the base for the colorful patterns I give to these items.

Tuesday, July 17 – From yesterday, I worked a little on that “secret project” I mentioned a week or two ago. Here is a snippet, just to represent effort:

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I also worked on a couple of the paintings from the group I started. The yellow shape one now has turned into trees. Kind of.

Wednesday, July 18 – I got in a little painting today. As you know, I’ve been working on those four paintings over the last week, a couple at a time. Today I took three of them into the studio. Two look pretty similar to how they appeared when I started today’s work but the one (that started out with three yellow things, moved into trees, and well, now it’s a beach with rocks on it…I think) underwent a lot of change.

Oh dear, sometimes I feel for my paintings, with their identity problems in early life…but I think these particular ones may have found their way. More or less. I’ll let them sit a few days and see.

Friday, July 20 – After spending yesterday at my weekly Poetry Marathon session, I decided today that it was time to wrap up these paintings. Two look finished to me. The other two I took back to the studio.

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I did just a few small things to this one:

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This next one, well, if you look back earlier in the week, it started out as three yellow things, became trees, then a sort of beach. I was getting annoyed with it by Wednesday’s end and so on Thursday, I got my husband to sand down the lower half of the painting. Because… I had an idea and I wanted a smooth surface to work on. I highly recommend sanding paintings off if they get lumpy and you hate what you are doing (this is a good reason to use board or masonite, if I think about it, because it won’t work on canvas…I find yet another way to enjoy my choices in life, this one being my love of board/masonite to paint on).

You also see a concrete example of what happens when I want to paint but don’t know what. I just keep going around in circles until – things resolve themselves. It’s always worked that way for me, so I trust the process and keep slapping on paint…

But I digress. At the end of today’s session, I have a beachgoer. Time to stop.

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I’ll set these paintings aside for a little while. I think next week I want to try some clay work. Some ink and Chinese brush. Some…well, we’ll see, won’t we?

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming 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 July 6

 

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

And we are off on another Art week…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 1 – More sgraffito tiles in process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I also worked on my secret project a little…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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