Tag Archives: paper

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 26

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

A new week of art.

On Saturday, January 20, I participated in a program at the Glenside Library.

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It was a new idea that Erika, one of the librarians, had come up with, and she ran the meeting. We had an assorted group – a couple of teenagers, Nina and Alyssa, Erika, Won, a friend of Erika’s, Erika’s father, me, Alyssa’s dad Fred, and Frank, whose wife Bev used to work at the library. We introduced ourselves, talked over plans for meeting again, what we might like to be doing with this group, and then we sketched. I used pen and ink and worked on a rendition from a reference photo of a restaurant where I’d eaten this past summer – my idea was to draw quickly and freely, not worrying much about the results, just enjoying drawing.

I then did some drawings of the people around the table – you know,the kind of work where you look at the subject, not the paper, and draw. Here is Frank.

Drawing - Frank - 1-20-18004

I hope to make sketching a bigger part of my art activities this year and this event got me thinking about drawing again. It may be time to get some momentum going on this topic very soon, crossed fingers.

On Sunday, January 21 – I didn’t have a lot of time. I did a little work on the paintings I have in progress.

Monday the 22nd, I spent a lot of time on art. First, I worked on a set of tiles. My theme today was exercise: kickboxing, running, lifting weights, and jumping jacks, representing various activities I favor. I had put Velvet Jet Black underglaze on the tiles already. I scrawled rough outlines of figures on the tiles in pencil. The lines will burn out in the kiln so this is a great way to do a little guide for myself. If I make a mistake I can also rub out the lines pretty easily and try again.

Tiles in progress. That jumping jack girl in particular looks a little flat-footed, but I’ve felt that way myself sometimes, so once again I inadvertently express truth in my work. Right? Oh yes!

Then I cleaned up the table and got a new set of tiles ready for the next session. Isn’t this nice-looking? It won’t stay this way for long.

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Then I zipped up the stairs to my studio (I live in a four level house – clay in the basement, studio on the first level, the other two levels the living area, in case you are wondering) and worked on selected odd-person portraits (I had set aside the ones I felt were finished already) and the larger painting. I am working in acrylics, as usual.

I feel I’ve gotten all of these paintings to a good place, pretty much done – so I took them upstairs and set them all out in the living room where I can study them over a few days and see if I want to do more to any of them.

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On January 23, four more tiles. Once again, you can see the drier areas as being paler and more chalky than the still wet sections. I like to let a tile dry overnight to make sure it’s really – dry.

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Three more to do, and then I have met my goal of making 40 of these. The remaining blank tiles will sit in their box until later in the year when I’ll do some more. I am ready to move on to some other clay project right now, though I’m not sure quite what, yet.

January 24, Wednesday, and I was determined to get a lot done today; I had the whole day to work with. Art-wise, I finished up the last three tiles in my self-imposed goal. The theme was electronics around my house. I snapped these quick photos:

I penciled in quick sketches on the tiles:

And I finished them up. Next comes a firing. Then I’ll need to sign and wrap the tiles (not just these but all the ones I have done in the past month or so – it’s added up to be a pretty good number, I realize), but the creative work is done, and I’m ready to take a break from tiles. I think I’ve said that…

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Next, I went upstairs and worked on a collage project. I won’t mention details as it is a secret, to be revealed some time later; but I will show you the battlefield that is my work table when I’m doing collage. Oh dear, what a mess.

Last, I worked on three odd-people portraits. I had thought they were finished, but after some time looking at them up in my living room, I picked out a few details I felt had to be fixed. Next thing you know I had made some significant changes. Well, that’s the idea of giving them some time to “rest”.

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Now we come to Friday, January 26. I got myself organized, loaded the kiln, and fired it. This load is tiny – I used 2 shelves vs. five and the tiles are basking in the roominess.

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In the past I would have waited to make more work; I never fired a less-than-crammed-full kiln load. Nowadays I am not worrying about it. I’ve learned a kiln does not use much electricity, I don’t fire that often, and I want to have all my tiles done so that I may sign them, price them, and pack them away in one big effort.

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I plan to do more clay work, but I’m going to switch directions, and I don’t like to mix bisque and glaze work if I can help it. That’s why I am glad to have these tiles all done, all at once.

Stay tuned.

I finished up the last odd-people portrait (I hope) and painted the larger painting’s edges black. I paint on cradled wood or masonite and by painting the edge, there is no need for framing.

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I worked on some more collage. Once again, the table looked shell-shocked. And it started out so clean and neat. I also used markers in some of my work today. I’ve got an assortment and I use them now and then – they are new to me and I am still feeling them out.

Last, my current artist’s sketchbook is still open to this page. I think I will add some black ink and call it done. That sounds like a nice activity while I am watching TV this evening.

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OK, that’s it for this week. It has been a busy one that saw the completion of a lot of projects. Now on to next week and we’ll see what I decide to do. Thank you for your time and attention!

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 19

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

Another week and here we go!

On January 14, I worked on tiles. I am currently focusing on 4″ x 4″ tiles, terracotta, commercially made. This tile size sells very well for me and so I need a good quantity – and because they sell well I have a low inventory right now. I bought a case of 80 and my plan is to work through about 40 before I take a break from them.  I had prepared four tiles with Velvet underglaze Jet Black and I brought out some plain ones to cover with the same, as they could dry while I worked on the first four.

I like to work in groups when I’m making tiles. My technique requires that the color dry some but not all the way, so that I can scratch into it effectively. If I made one tile at a time, I’d be sitting around waiting – a lot.

I spent the afternoon working and got eight tiles ready for drying and then later on to be fired. The colors look very vibrant because they are still wet – they become chalky as they dry.

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If you were tiny and walked around my work table, by the end of a session this is what you’d see. What a mess! I clean up the table after each session so that when I next want to work, I don’t think – oh, I can’t do anything, it’s not cleaned up.

Earlier in the day my husband and I went for a walk in the Plymouth Meeting (PA) mall before it opened. It was too cold to be outside. I took a couple of pictures with the mall in the background looking through the glass covering the entrance into the Boscov’s department store. I like reflections.

On January 15 I was busy all day but at night I worked on a page in my next Large Artist Sketchbook. This book usually stays in my studio next to whatever I’m working on and gets its leftovers and offcuts, from which I create pages in this book. It’s just for fun. Anyway, I had paint on a page and decided to collage on top of it while I wateched TV in my PJ’s. I have a plastic box for portable collage making; and in one picture you can see my blanket, the cat, and warm sock feet as we all relax on the sofa at night.

On January 16, I loaded the kiln and ran it. I am showing you a small part of the electrical grid running around the kiln, the firebrick of which the kiln is composed, and a sensor that determines how the load fires and when it is done.

I also did some painting. I worked on a new larger painting, 18″ x 18″. It was inspired by my living room (you might be able to see my reference photo at upper right) and includes a chair I saw in an old issue of Architectural Digest.

I also worked on the latest group of small people portraits.

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The artist sketchbook made its way back to the studio and you can see a page in process. There is no telling where things will end up with this page.

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Now we come to January 17. It snowed and I spent the day indoors.

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In honor of the snow I made tiles with a snow theme.

I also opened the kiln but did not unload it as the tiles were still too hot. Maybe the top layer can be handled but as I go further into the kiln they are blistering hot.

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On Friday, January 19, I worked on more tiles, the 4″ x 4″ kind. I am making good progress and I think within a couple of weeks I will have made the goal number I have in mind for tiles. The show I am working toward is not until May, so I am in good shape. I will see how my paintings are progressing and consider what clay projects I might like take on – some more sculptural work, I think. But that’s inthe future. Here is today’s work.

This first photo shows tiles in an early stage. You see pencils and a tool in the middle of the picture. I use the pencils to make a rough sketch on the tile before I start to color – the pencil burns out in the kiln.

The tool  has a ball-tipped projection at each end and is intended for making lines in wet clay. I use it to scratch through the color down to the black. I have worn away the ball on one end and almost finished off the other – when that happens I will need a new version…

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Tiles are adding up on the transit table. You may recognize the bird tile from the kiln pictures seen earlier. I was not satisfied with some details so I did more underglazing and will send it through the kiln again.

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The work table is a mess at the finish of a session. As I said before, I clean it all up when I’m done as I hate to start a new work session by clearing away the old.

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I’d like to mention my portable heater. I take it from place to place inside the house. The basement, where I am working today, is chilly – nice in summer but in winter it’s hard to take. When I first came in it was 60 degrees F – I feel comfortable when I have this friend sitting close to me, even if the rest of the room does not warm up.  The basement environment is a good one for clay work, though – the coolness means all clay work dries slowly and evenly.

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I also had some time over several days to do a little more work on the people portraits. I hope to get to them and complete them next week.

Now for the unsung administrative tasks: I did not take photos of these activities, but I also spent time entering a show for next August(!); painting black edges around completed paintings; writing up a class description on making ATC’s; and taking and processing photos of the clay work and paintings recently fired/completed. It’s easy to overlook this kind of work as being art-related and yet if I do not do it, my work is not totally finished.

OK, that’s it until next week. See you then!

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending January 12

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

I started off the art week on January 7 with some collage. Oh, it’s messy.

I finished up, set a painting on the table for some other time, and cleaned things up. Ready for the next session’s work now – though all I am planning to do to this painting is paint the edges black. It’s pretty much finished otherwise.

I then went downstairs and worked on some tiles. I’m now addressing 4″ x 4″ commercially-made terra cotta tiles – I have a case of 80. I don’t need to do all of them, just maybe half, but that’s ok – I won’t need them until May.

I work on tiles in my basement. I have a little area set up down there just for tile work. I continued with more tiles on January 8.

On Tuesday, January 9, my husband and I went to Allentown, PA, to pick up unsold work from the holiday show at the Baum School of Art. I took a few photos of the area around the city center while we were there.

Allentown is undergoing a lot of changes – there is a new arena there and lots of new construction or renovation of downtown buildings. It’s nice to see. The areas near downtown are in transition too – new buildings, older ones awaiting development, and many blocks of fantastic row homes and traditional cityscapes.

I think these photos could make nice inspirations for paintings or tiles or ???

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On January 10, more tiles. And take a look at my brushes. Clay work is where my acrylic brushes go to live out a retirement that is more stressful than their original roles, because the clay items are so rough – they just eat up brush bristles.

The table is filling up. I will have a kiln-load soon. Normally I store tiles in process on shelves in the other room, but I’ve been too lazy to make the transport when I know pretty soon I’ll be taking them to the kiln. They might as well wait here.

You can see the difference between fully-dried underglaze and that just applied and still wet – the colors in the latter case are bolder and resemble the finished results.

The newest tiles are at the bottom of the picture below. You can see the more intense wet colors on the tiles in the above picture.

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On Friday, January 12, I had a treat for myself – an art visit with my friend Martha.

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We got together to catch up on our art and our personal lives. She presented me with some collage materials, we looked at selections of her collage and assemblage work that she brought with her, and then we did some art ourselves. We chose to paint papers for future collages – here is a sample of book pages painted with very watery acrylics that I made.

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I also took the opportunity to paint random colors all over the remaining 12″ x 10″ masonite boards that I want to turn into more odd-people portraits. This is the first step in my painting process – I do not like the look of white backgrounds and I need several layers of color, any color! on a painting before I can start to feel the painting is actually in play.

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OK, that’s it until next week.

In Which I Am Inspired to Try This At Home

You may say, and what is it?

Erosion bundles.

I learned about them here on Evelyn Flint Art. The idea appealed to me. So I gathered up some stray scraps of paper, some rusty objects (thanking the Claudia McGill Museum for the loan, by the way, and I will say again, the Museum will be back!), some string, photos…

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I put these pieces together into bundles. I didn’t give much thought to the groupings; I just set layers together and tied them up. I numbered them with the idea that I’d remember to look for all of them when I want to retrieve them. Seven, I must remember that there are seven…

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Then yesterday I took them outside to my back yard.

It was pouring rain so I didn’t stay out long. Here is an overall view of the location they now occupy, with arrows pointing to the ones in view…

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Today, in better weather, my husband weighted them down so they wouldn’t blow away. I have learned that 2-3 months makes some nice artifacts, from Evelyn’s examples. So I’ll keep an eye on them and see what results.

And a thank you to Evelyn for the inspiration!


I love watching how people interact. Sitting on the train, waiting in line at the grocery, walking along the sidewalk: people mix and mingle. Patterns emerge and break up and form with new elements. It’s never-ending and endlessly fascinating to me.

I took the paper dolls from the previous post and scanned them in randomly selected groups, set on the bed of the scanner with no thought to their arrangement. I just took what I got.

The results reminded me of all the little dramas, comedies, tragedies, and run-of-the-mill routine events that all of us go through as we pass along in life – there is interest in every single moment.

I think of these paper people as being out on a city street, running into friends, going out to lunch, avoiding unpleasant conversations, shopping, making plans…

Flat But Not Without Fizz

More paper dolls I made a little while ago. I find that I make one, then another some other time, then a few more. I just like making them!

I mail them to people, so far, that’s what I’ve done with them. Right now these are just hanging around in a plastic envelope. I’m thinking about what next to do with them. Maybe stick them in library books? Tack them to bulletin boards at coffee shops? I am sure they will tell me what they want.

Paper Dolls, Candidly Speaking

When I scanned the paper dolls I made recently, I also did a few “candid” pictures. Meaning I stacked or arranged them on the scanner without knowing what the image would bring – since I was setting them in place upside down, from my viewpoint.

I like the idea of randomness in art and in life. Chance. Serendipity. The thought of finding a best friend in school solely because you were seated next to each other in second grade. The answer to a problem overhead in the words of a fellow commuter train passenger.

You know what I mean. These paper dolls allowed me to be random chance, in a small way. It was fun.

Paper Dolls

Not long ago, I spent an afternoon with my friends Anna, Nellie, Luke, and Liv, working on collage. We’ve done a lot of artwork together over the last year or so and we’ve made a lot of nice things, I think.

This time, I made paper dolls. Paper people. A paper population!

Previous work I’ve done with this group, and also a mention of their island outpost:
End of Summer and I’m Sad
On the Road

Tiny, But They Have Some Punch, I Think

Here is a group of very small pieces – 4″ x 4″ on 3/8″ board. After having made quite a few works in this size, I will say it’s not my favorite – I just want a little more room. But, I have a few more sets of the blank boards, so I’ll finish them up. And who knows, by then I may have changed my mind about the 4″ x 4″ size.

There are 12 pieces to a package. This time, my work seemed to divide itself into a few themes. Not on purpose, but that’s what happened. Here are 3 images of the 12 – these all contain birds. Plus, there are a couple of images showing before and after – how the boards looked with just some background done to them, and a picture of the whole finished group.