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Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending July 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Tohickon Garden Club booth is ready:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shopping:

The used book tent:

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Yard sale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

There is a small lake near the entrance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am with some friends, Susan and Geoff:

and with Adrian:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Trees Oh Trees

I made this group of tree portraits to test out white vs. black gesso. Look here for the Art Diary reference as to their creation.

Can you tell which ones started off on a white base and which ones were done on black?

Do You Remember the Ogre Babies?

Sure you do. Back in April, 2018, that’s when you first saw them.

I could never make myself think they were quite finished. In June, 2018, I took them out and worked on them some more. I added acrylic inks, India ink, crayon, and some oil pastels, plus I wrote on them.

Now they are finished. Here they are:

And for fun, each with its previous self.

 

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:

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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:

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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 15

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

Happy Art Week to all.

Saturday, June 9 – After a walk in Norristown Farm Park, my husband and I stopped by the Ceramic Shop in Norristown to pick up an order I had placed earlier in the week.

I am very lucky to have this resource so close to my house – clay supply outlets are not plentiful and shipping is very expensive for clay (for example, I only bought 100 pounds, and shipping of $60 was more than the clay itself cost). Even better for me, this store used to be located in Philadelphia in a warehouse-type spot on one of those smallish city streets, and no parking. They moved here about a year or so ago and I was thrilled.

We parked in the lot:

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and went inside.

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You can buy just about any clay-related item here, from kilns to wheels to clay to tools to glazes. I have learned it is better to order on the internet and then go in a few days later to pick up – your order is all ready for you to take right away. I will show you some of the things clay people find in this store:

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Tools galore.

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This is the Velvet underglaze display, these being the products I use. Notice the sample board above the jars. It shows each color, fired at the correct range for the product, and how it will look with or without glaze. This type of display is found with each coloring product so that you can get an idea of what it will look like when fired. It’s especially necessary with glazes, as how they look in the jar is not how they will look when fired. At all.

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Underglaze pencils. They “write” on the clay like a colored pencil (you can see the samples on the mugs holding the pencils). I have used a similar thing, underglaze pastels, in my work, and I like the crayony look they offer.

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Whisks – Or you could just get the one out of your kitchen…

These  whisks can be used for stirring large buckets of glaze mixture. In large production studios, glazes are often mixed from powders and chemicals with water added. Production work requires large quantities of glaze so it’s more economical to do this, plus it ensures color matching for all items glazed from a particular session.

A bucket-load of glaze is literally what is needed – production work is usually dipped in the glaze rather than brushed on. Saves time and ensures a very even coat of glaze.

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Kiln furniture. These items are all used for glazed items that have a glaze coat on the bottom or otherwise can’t be set on the kiln shelf. Remember, a glazed piece will glue itself permanently to a kiln shelf if any glaze is on its bottom, ruining the piece and the shelf. These furnitures are set on the shelf with the nails up – the glazed piece rests on the little pinpoints of the nails and does not stick.

I wandered around for a while and treated myself to a couple of small jars of underglaze – new colors to try. I never can resist. When I had paid for them, we drove around to the street side of the building and they brought out our clay to us.

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I had chosen a couple of tile-cutting tools I carried out separately on my own. I’ll show them later on when I try them out in a new session of clay work.

Sunday, June 10 – Calendar note – I graduated from high school 42 years ago today. Just saying.

Last night and today I spent some time working on a project I mentioned some weeks back – I want to make a print book of my Minuscule story/poem combinations (read an example here) and illustrate it. The writing part of the endeavor moves along apace. I think I need about 100 entries to make a nice book and I’m maybe halfway there.

Illustrating a book is not new to me, but – I’ve always done the pictures first and fit the words to them later. This is a different slant – words first, pictures second. I have been wondering if I can do it. I decided to take the plunge right now and start to find out.

I printed out the writing done so far. I bought paper. I bought India ink (my idea is to do  B/W pictures, very simple, using the ink and my Chinese brushes).

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I got to work. Now, I am a newborn baby as far as this kind of thing goes. I have no idea how to illustrate anything. Be literal? Allude to some element of the story? Sketch something out first? Remember, these stories are only 2 sentences long. Imagine if I had a full-length work to illustrate!

All right. I decided to read over each entry and whatever came to me, that is what I would do.

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All right, after some false starts, in fact, many false starts, I got more of an idea of how to proceed. For me, it’s best to just read – close my eyes and imagine -draw. That’s it.

OK. I made a good start.

I feel sure I will be replacing or amending some of these images. Well, that is fine. I can see that by the end of this project I will be much more proficient and confident in my drawing skills as well as my ability to illustrate something. Plus, it was fun to work in this manner.

Some of the failures, well, I cut out parts that I liked. I am sure they will come in handy for some other project down the line.

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Monday, June 11 – I spent a lot of the day doing poetry work, so I had just about an hour to fit in some art time. I had this half-hearted attempt at a tree painting (6″ x 6″) that was really more of an excuse to use up paint from earlier projects.

AD 6-11 #4001

Suddenly I saw a man in my tree.

AD 6-11 #1005

And another one in that ATC. OK, now I’m going somewhere. To be continued…

I also did a couple of drawings for my Minuscule book project. I’ll say one thing – I anticipate using up a lot of paper. I try to remember – relax, and just work quickly and without thought. Secondly, not to try to be realistic in my depictions – it’s not in my nature. And last, the brush has its way of doing things, don’t fight it.

I did a couple of new images (one with two different versions; I’ll pick one later on) and re-did one from the other day I was not satisfied with. I have the feeling there will be many re-dos but you know, I don’t mind it. I’m in no hurry. And setting myself this kind of assignment, to illustrate this book, well, it will build my skills.

Wednesday, June 13 – Today I thought I’d get into some clay – just sort of play around with it. I got out my 25 pounds of terracotta:

AD 6-13 #1001

It’s very fresh and wet. I rolled out a couple of slabs.

AD 6-13 #2002

I had only a short time before I was going to leave the house, so I made a few cylinders, wrapping a slab around and joining the edges.

I worked on a figurine or two.

Then I loosely covered the works with plastic (dry-cleaning plastic, the workhouse material of clay artists everywhere) and went off to the gym. In the summer, my basement is very cool and while not damp, it dries items slowly (in winter, the heater and the drier air make a difference in this room). I probably did not need the plastic but it is better to be safe. You cannot un-dry clay.

In the afternoon, I refined my earlier pieces and added some more. Individual shots:

and a group shot.

AD 6-13 #8008

Notice in the background of the previous photo the clay cylinder with a dowel running through it supported at each end. I have set this contraption up so that the cylinder can semi-hang from the dowel (it just touches the table) and maintain a more rounded shape until it stiffens a little. I can’t make anything with it until it can stand up on its own.

OK. I left these guys to their own devices and I got out new tools I bought on Saturday.

AD 6-13 #14001

What are they? They are tile cutters. You roll them through the slab, then cross the slab, to make the tiles. I read up on their use before I tried them. Interesting thing – you can use them on the clay, straight, to make tiles with sharp angled sides, or you can roll over plastic to make rounded edges. I thought I’d try the plastic option.

AD 6-13 #15002

I got some nice results right off the bat. I learned a couple of things. One, things work better when the clay is just not so fresh – let it dry a little and firm up. This reduces the distortion that can happen when the criss-crossing is done.

Two, move slowly and make sure you follow the previous track carefully so as not to double-cut an edge. Three, make sure you take off at a 90-degree angle when you criss-cross, to make certain of square tiles.

I’ll let these firm up a little and tap their edges to re-square them, but I really like the look of them.

Interesting note – if you roll the rollers directly on the clay, it sticks. The recommended treatment is cooking spray on the roller. I will try that next time.

Once I finished up with clay, I went back to painting black edges on paintings…

AD 6-13 #19001

Friday, June 15 – This morning I set out all my paintings for review, for two reasons. One, I’ll be at a show this weekend, and I needed to decide which ones to take.

The show will be held in a park and my booth will have all sides available for display, but the car can only fit so much work. So, I had to make some decisions.

Second, I needed to make an inventory of paintings that I will take to my upcoming gallery exhibit in July so that the organizers can make price cards and so on. Not all my work will be hanging but this way, they can make choices what to display without saying – Oh no, we have no information for this piece so it sits out the game!

AD 6-15 #1003

My clay work is drying very slowly in the basement. I plan to work on it a little, if time permits. In that case I will show what happens in next week’s Diary. I thought I’d get this one done early today because I have a variety of non-art things to get out of the way. So that’s it for this week!

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending June 8

 

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

Saturday, June 2 – We spent the day at the Saucon Creek Arts Festival. I’ll show you the show process for an outdoor show, and at the end of today’s entry, you’ll know how things go from the exhibitor’s point of view.

First we stop on the way to get coffee. Always.

AD 6-2 #5

We arrived at the show at our pre-assigned set-up time. Since we’re at the front of the show, we were one of the last ones to arrive. The black arrow shows my location at Space #4.

AD 6-2 #1

First thing we unloaded the car, setting up the tent very quickly and putting our things beneath it. Now, remember the forecast was for rain? No, not a bit of it (not that we were sorry, believe me, setting up in the rain wears down your mood very quickly). Still, it’s best to get the tent up first if possible.

All around us people are setting up.

AD 6-2 #7

We progressed through set-up. Once the racks are up it gets easier. You see my husband attaching the weights to the tent legs. Weights are a MUST. We have two sets, both made of PVC pipe filled with concrete (we made them). We are using the lighter set today – no real wind is anticipated and we are not leaving the tent up overnight. We have bigger, heavier ones for bad weather/overnight, plus, we also stake into the ground for overnights, if we’re in a place where we can do that.

Now you see the finished tent all set up. If you look around the top edge of the tent, you can see rolls of fabric. These are detachable sides. If needed, we can roll them down and zip along the sides to enclose the tent. Since the forecast was for rain, we set them up. We always use the sides when going to a show where we leave the tent up overnight, but not always, when we’re on site just for a few hours.

I also want to mention that my planning paid off. I fit every painting into the display that I had selected. No extras. Well, I’m a little proud of that.

Here are some views of the show. The day turned out to be oppressively hot and humid, the kind where you sweat just sitting still. Very different from the rain we had expected.

We did get a couple of showers, enough to roll down the sides for a short while. On the whole, though, the weather held, and that was especially appreciated during takedown (another time you just don’t want any problems). We are very fast at disassembling the booth – we have done it hundreds of times and we know our roles.

We were on our way home less than one hour after the show closed. As far as things went at the event, it was a very well-organized and easy event to do. Attendance was satisfactory but sales were almost non-existent, for all of us exhibitors.

*********

I could go on and on how shows have changed over the past 15 years; it’s been a source of discussion among the exhibitors I’ve known and showed with for a couple of decades for some time now. We all remember typical shows of the past, where crowd interest, willingness to buy original art and craft, and a larger variety and number of patrons existed.

Today, more and more, people view the artists’ exhibits as just another part of a day out, being willing to browse, but much less often do I interact with people who have that spark of interest or understanding or curiosity about the art or artist that leads to conversations, much less sales.

I don’t have any solid explanation for the changes and I won’t get into my speculations. I do see that it’s less and less satisfying to exhibit, and I also see that younger people don’t seem to be taking it up (at this show, I would say the average exhibitor age was about 55 or so).

I am sad about this trend. I’ve found a lot of meaning in showing my work; I’ve met so many people and talked about all kinds of art ideas. I’ve made life-long friends in this world and even among show people I’ve just met, well, we always can find plenty in common to talk about, wherever we are. I’ve also earned respect for my work from buyers and from fellow artists, and that means the world to me. I hate to let go of this, and I am sorry if younger people won’t be able to experience it.

Well, anyway. I am pretty sure I will not do this show again. I’ve given it three years to develop, and results have been thin. All right, we live and learn and move with the times. That’s requiring some thinking, and some letting go, for me.

For 20+ years I have focused on making art with the idea that, though I emphasized my personal vision and expression, still, I would exhibit it and sell it.

Now, I see myself moving into a new phase of art-making where selling is not a factor. This year I realize I am evaluating shows, finally discarding the non-productive ones, and I am facing filling that gap with some kind of way of doing things differently. It intimidates me and yet it is possibly liberating. Time will show me the way.

Sunday, June 3– I unfolded the tent sides and laid them out to dry out in the basement. Even a little moisture makes them mildew. I’ll leave them here for a few days.

AD 6-3 #1

I got my husband to sand down a couple more paintings I wasn’t happy with. Do you remember this one?

Where It Is Safe 24 x 36 2-18006

I struggled over it when I was painting it. I’ve looked at it for a couple of weeks now at shows and – I am not happy. It does not reflect a good feeling to me, and – I felt that I was just reworking an old idea. So, I worked on it on Sunday afternoon – gessoed it black, ironed clothes, came back, and did this:

Nestlings and Egg 24 x 36 6-18

So far I am calling it “Nestlings and Egg” (24″ x 36″). I like it. Let’s push away the “should” of deciding what to paint (I mean to follow my evolving feelings, as I said in yesterday’s entry) and I FEEL LIKE PAINTING BIG COLORS AND SHAPES.

Capital letters to remind myself. All right. I also worked on this little one, another rehab, this one 12″ x 16″:

It may need more. Maybe not. We’ll see. So far it is called “Eggs Outside”.

Eggs Outside 12 x 16 6-18

Monday, June 4 – Well, I’m just trying to settle down and it’s not coming to me yet. I’m running around the house doing housework and chores and getting things all tangled up. This mood spilled over into painting. The poor little eggs painting from yesterday,  well, I worked on it enough to make it – hideous. So I blacked it out again and this afternoon tried to paint calmly and:

OK, now I am happier.

Forgot to show these last week. A couple more pages of figure drawing with the India ink or acrylic inks, and Chinese brush. The idea was working with an initial shape, like a C curve, and making a figure to fit it.

And, I got this mat for the studio. I am having a lot of trouble with achilles tendinitis and arthritis in my feet and…this mat is here to help.

AD 6-5 #3

Tuesday, June 5 – I’m still scattered but hanging in there. Today I started on a boring but necessary task. I need to clean and repaint the black edges of my paintings. Clean them, because show life is a hard life, and they get dusty. And repaint the edges because…I am always in a hurry to do this task and I don’t do it well. And, show life is a hard life and the edges really can get banged up.

AD 6-5 #c

I’m going to do a few a day and take my time. This way, they will be done when my exhibit comes in July.

AD 6-5 #b

Here’s an update on the Nestlings and Egg painting:

Nestlings and Egg 24 x 36 6-18

and then I worked on it later in the day:

and I worked some more on these weird cartoon-like things – they are acrylics, inks, crayon, and colored pencil on 6″ x 6″ 1/8″ board that I gessoed. I had a nice time with these, a kind of off the cuff improv.

AD 6-5 #A

Friday, June 8 – I did some more black edge-painting. And I did a little work on this last page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook. I had colored it with markers the other night and I added a little collage on Wednesday. Today I finished it up and put some paint on the inside cover of the book (this “last” page is actually the first page, that I had skipped when I started the book, why, I cannot tell you).

My next step will be to spatter paint the blank pages, one by one (the artwork is done only on one side of each page). Then I’ll turn it over to the Poetry Marathon Claudia and see what she does to the book.

I got out some recycled cardboard pre-cuts and started putting some paint on them. This is the first step in the creation of postcards and ATC’s – it’s nice to have a starting point all laid out for future projects.

Oh, I forgot. I glued on the poetry that I had created a couple of weeks ago for these little cards. That was also a Poetry Marathon activity. Now I don’t know what I will do with them, but they are nice-looking, I think.

AD 6-8-18001

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