Tag Archives: theater

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending October 5

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

Art every day and all week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I got out my trusty sketchbook:

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 2 – I opened the kiln.

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

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

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Various figurines:

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

Then there was this little stray tile…

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

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Where is this thing going?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending May 18

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

Always time for art…

Saturday, May 12 – This week, I warn you, will be a bumpy ride for getting some art time. I have several appointments and will be out of the house; and on Friday, I will be setting up for the Tile Festival next weekend. So I’m thinking this will be a week of little bits here and there. In fact, I think the next few weeks will follow this pattern – I have a show over Memorial Day weekend and then another smaller one the next weekend, plus more appointments and obligations. Well, it goes like that sometimes.

Back to art. On Friday afternoon, I went over to the high school across the street to watch a softball game in the beautiful weather. I sat away from the crowd along the first base  outfield line. It was Senior Day and a lot of cheering family and friends were in attendance.

I took my sketchbook with me. I am trying to sketch wherever I am, just catch gestures, outlines, etc. I’m not trying to make anything finished; I need a lot of practice and so…here is what I came up with.

I love how trying to draw something really makes you look at it.

Now, on Saturday, I was busy with home chores, but I worked a little on those tiny paintings I started last week. Where are these going? I don’t know. Maybe they are finished. I’ll check on them later in the week.

Sunday, May 13 – My husband and I went to a play at a local art center – I’ve mentioned this place before. It’s a cafe style theater, small, and really pleasant. See those two tiles? They are staying here when I go home, an art trinket drop-off.

Before the show, I looked around the small gallery – ceramics are on exhibit and I know a couple of the artists.

As I did the last time we were here, I sketched the people around me before the play started (and one actress on stage sitting on the sofa). I am a fan of the technique where you look at your subject and let your pen go along on its own as much as you can. I love drawing in this manner, and it seems to suit me style-wise and results-wise.

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Monday, May 14 – I went into the studio and gathered up some odds and ends. Collage materials, black gesso, India ink, acrylics – then I threw it all into a big pot, heated it on the stove, and drank it right down. Yum!

No, not really.

What I actually did on this afternoon was to move along some small things. I got out my plastic box of bits and pieces and spread things out.

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I painted postcard backs in black gesso – I want to glue some art on top of these and I thought the background would set them off.

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I spent a good bit of time creating people portraits, using an ink and Chinese brush technique I learned a while back from this book:

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using India ink and Chinese brush. The theme here is people in the rain and I mean for them to go on this page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook. Somehow. I’ll be working on this some more.

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I added people to cards – all components already made some time ago. Some things just have to evolve and these have more stages to go through…

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I had some painted ATC’s that I took India ink to – drawing around what I saw in the swirls of paint. Some finished, some will be added to.

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The point here is, if you have odds and ends at the ready, you can sit down and begin arranging, and soon the ideas flow. So my advice here is – build up this kind of stash and see how your fingers start to itch to make something with it.

Oh, and I stepped on my smallest Chinese brush. Crunch, it said.

I said, go to the hospital and get fixed up, and you can come back to work when you feel better.

Thank you, masking tape.

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Tuesday, May 15 – More small stuff. I finished up the tiny ATC-sized paintings. Some are abstracts:

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and these are abstract portraits. I decided not to add any ink-in features or any detail at all. I’ll let the paint do all the work. These photos are not great, and I promise to post better quality images pretty soon.

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Sometimes less is more. I think these small ATC paintings, all of them that I have been doing over the last few weeks, have given me more confidence to try this kind of thing on a larger scale. Simplifying, and abstractifying. I feel a pull in this direction. We will see what happens as time goes on.

Anyway, these tiny boards are all used up. Now I’ll figure out something to do with them, no sense in them just sitting around.

Wednesday, May 16 – Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. Just wanted to mention that!

Art-wise, the recent  phase of the intense work of the last five months or so is coming to a close. I will be doing shows the next three weekends and I have a packed schedule of outside activities in the intervening weeks. I do not plan to start any projects that require deeper thought or mental peacefulness right now. There is a natural flow to my work – I go all out, and then I rest a bit (the run-walk theory of doing a marathon!).

I decided to clear up some remaining bits and pieces. These will give me something to work on, being small and easy to do in short bits of time.

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I pasted “rain figures” on the rain page in my Large Artist Sketchbook – the one I was working on earlier this week. I am not sure where this is going. I think now it needs some pen and ink.

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I pasted these semi-Miro scribbles on to the black postcard backgrounds I had prepared. These darn Miro things have sure been through the wringer. They started off as salvage from the paper covering my art table some time back, were a folded book, were book pages, were de-bookified and became individuals, and finally they are this. And this is where it ends, I hope.

And then I cleaned up the studio. It will be waiting for me when I want to work, if I have some time next week or whenever – it makes it easier to step right in when the surface is clear and empty.

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Now I plan to spend some time getting things ready for this weekend’s show. I need to make some price signs and review my info as to set-up. Tomorrow I will be at Poetry Marathon, and on Friday afternoon my husband and I go up to the location for early set-up and can put the display together. Don’t worry, this art week still has plenty going on. I will show you!

Friday, May 18 – This afternoon my husband and I went out to the Moravian Tile Works in Doylestown, PA, site of the show we’re doing this weekend. I won’t go into the details of this show, because you can read a summary and background here from 2017’s show.

Instead, I’ll show you what we did to get ready for tomorrow. On Thursday night, we brought the boxes of stored items out of the basement (the cat is lying where they usually are)

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and put them plus other supplies into the garage.

I checked other items – I found I needed to replenish hangers. When I sell a tile I also offer a hanger the buyer can glue to the back if they so desire. I have different styles to suit different tiles.

Today, we drove to the location and pulled up near our tent to unload. It’s very easy to work this show and set up is one of the reasons – see how close we are able to bring the car. Shout-out to my husband who is wrangling the boxes.

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Inside, it’s pretty empty. We’re not early set up people but we are not the last ones, either.

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We gathered our items inside the tent. They stood waiting expectantly for instructions.

Now, I do very few clay shows and my display is minimalist, to say the least. I have tables and I have covers I made for them, and I go for the rustic wrinkled look. Clay for me is very low-key, but for others here, it’s the way they make their living. Our neighbors have a fantastic display and a lot of equipment, and they drove here from New York state in a motor home pulling a trailer.

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I’m telling you this so that you know – this is a really nice show and I am lucky to be able to be in it, and that such a thing exists so close to my home.

OK, back to set up. We have a site with no neighbors – four open sides. We set the tables in a hollow square and sit in the middle.

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I open up the boxes and unload the tiles. I try to group them in theme groups as I unpack them.

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That theme idea gets me only so far and then I just let the tiles go where they look nice. I tend to crowd my display. I have decided that I’ll overlook good merchandising principles in favor of having my whole selection out and available. People at this show seem to cope; they are all tile-lovers and take their time. In a regular show with a mix of items, I would pay more attention to the visual impact of my booth.

I am sure you recognize some of these tiles from various past blog posts.

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A quick look around. You can see the first tent from inside ours; and also here is a view of the interior courtyard of the Moravian Tile Works, with the dining tent set up.

Here is a view from inside our space. We have no “backstage” here, so people will see the blue price stickers from various directions, and well, that is fine with me, if it is a little cluttered. Because having three sides for sales space, well, that is really a prize.

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The weather is threatening stormy tonight and I know from experience that these large tents sometimes have drips – so we slapped a little plastic over the wood-framed items. Everything else will be fine if it rains.

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We talked to a few friends, catching up a little – in this business you know a lot of people who you see only once a year and yet – the relationship is bonded by our shared activity, making art and selling it. I was chatting with a couple from Michigan and after checking up on each other’s general situations, we fell into a familiar and always-pleasant theme: shows, bad shows, good shows, shows with rain, shows where the tent blew over, shows where a lot of people bought a lot, shows where the food was really good, shows…you get the drift. Shop talk!

We will be at this show all weekend. Looking forward to it.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!

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

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending March 23

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

Another art week!

Saturday, March 17 – After declaring victory on my clean-up of bits and pieces and subsequent integration into ATC/postcards – I opened a drawer and found some more…bits and pieces. Oh dear. So I put some time today doing the same thing as yesterday. New ATC’s and postcards on the way…

Sunday, March 18 – busy day. After grocery shopping, I had a window of time before our planned afternoon activity. I finished up some ATC/postcards by putting a protective finish on them. I do this to all my ATC’s and postcards – it’s better for them, long term, and looks nice. I use either gloss medium or a spray, depending on what ink, paint, or crayon I used. I do my spraying out in the garage – the medium I use inside.

I sat down to work on a page in my current Large Artist Sketchbook. You may remember that the other day I glued in some stray drawings/paintings on several pages. I plan to augment the original images with…???… depending on my mood.

I decided to use pen and India ink today. The original section is that part with the person sitting on the sofa.

In the afternoon my husband and I attended a play at Allen’s Lane Art Center. I’m familiar with this place; I volunteered there some years back and a friend of mine runs the box office (we saw her today).

It’s an interesting set-up. Cafe-style, I think they call it. You sit at tables arrayed on the floor; the stage is raised enough to be easily seen.

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The idea is that you can bring food and drink in with you. We didn’t do that, as we were not hungry at 2 pm. We were the only ones, though. I saw a lot of elaborate tables with good-looking plates on them.

Instead, I passed the time before the show sketching the theatergoers. I am working to develop my sketching abilities. I particularly like the blind contour method, sketching while looking only at the subject, not at the paper (though I do glance down, yes, I do, but not much).

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Here is an assortment of my work.

A couple of the actors on the stage.

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The table nearest us, photo and sketch.

People, I must tell you: what a lot of fun this was. The sketching, the play (I love going to live performances), the whole afternoon.

Monday, March 19 – I stopped by Montgomery County Community College to check out a ceramics event – Montco’s Arts and Humanities program and the Ceramics Club hosted a two-day Post Conference for the 2018 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). There were demos by three ceramicists in the theater:

As they worked, the large screen behind them showed a close up view of their activities, very helpful.

There was also a traveling exhibit parked outside in an Airstream trailer – The Artstream Nomadic Gallery. This entity has also had a display in the library through March – you could check out a mug or other clay item and take it home for your own enjoyment as an art object. Nice idea.

Tuesday, March 20 – I continue various small projects in the studio. I painted edges of recently done paintings – I give them a nice black finish, and then no frames are needed.

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I decided to use a set of Daler and Rowney acrylic inks I bought some time back.

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I’ve given very little attention to these. I like them for their transparency and intense colors. My selection of colors is not the greatest and I’ve gotten some odd results when I mix colors. That tells me I need more practice – it’s not the ink, it’s me.

I added on to this page in my ongoing artist sketchbook. The part in the middle was the original image pasted in.

I have a colorful Bristol board piece to do something with from this process – I used it to mix colors.

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After that I worked on ATC/postcards, adding on to items already in process. I drew various elements or people in India ink, cut them out, and glued them on, in most of these cards.

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Wednesday, March 21 – An all-day snowfall in progress. We ended up with about 9 inches.

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I made this stepping stone some years back and it is outside my back door from the studio.

So I stayed inside at home all day. I spent a good amount of time scanning and cataloging the ATC/postcard output of recent weeks. It takes time to manage images of my images, if you know what I mean, but I’m a record-keeping kind of person, so I usually find it a pleasant job, and my diligence means I have a record of the majority of things I’ve made over the years.

I am glad I have invested this time, as it gives me a library of images to accompany poetry or other blog posts, and…I have a history of my art career and interests, which is important to me to maintain.

I worked on another page in my Large Artist Sketchbook – the original pasted-in section is in color; I drew the rest with India ink and Chinese brush. I am not sure if I will color any more or add anything else. I have the nagging feeling of this composition needing just a little more…I’ll let it rest and see.

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I also cut up the colorful Bristol board ink blob paper into postcard sizes with some little bits left over cut up even smaller. They will come in handy sometime, I am sure.

Thursday, March 22 – Usually I go to the library for a poetry marathon session on Thursdays, but the college libraries were closed or opening late. I’ll go tomorrow instead. I spent some time shoveling…

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Looking out my front door.

Then I went to the gym. Along the way I encountered Easter Island art.

In the previous snowstorm, a Sphinx had appeared in this same location. I’m sure both sculptures are the work of the same people, and I really admire what they have done, both for the faithful representation of these famous sights, and for their sense of humor.

In the afternoon I decided to work on tiles. You may remember these small tiles I bisque-fired some weeks back and that have been waiting for me to work on them?

I’ve been dithering over starting with them, thinking – I need some GREAT idea brand new and never before seen on earth – for these tiles. Never mind that my original plan was to put simple designs on them and to use the process as just a way to relax into art.

Oh dear, how things get corrupted. At this rate, these tiles will never become anything. Well, I got hold of myself, sat down, and got to work. I am putting simple designs on them as a way to relax into doing art. How’s that for an idea?

Here’s an initial group.

Now that I have started I will be able to keep going.

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