Friday, January 19, 2018

Made It: Hard-Handed, Tender-Hearted


This is the largest piece I've made to date (along with its size-twin I'll share later on), being as wide as I am tall.  I chose that length because that's what fits in my truck while still being able to shut the hatch.  The gallery I was making these for could only accommodate pieces that were 40" tall, so that gave me the limit on that side.  Conveniently, that size exactly fits between my wheel wells in the truck, so it was meant to be.

Hard-Handed, Tender-Hearted40 in tall x 66 inches wide
To begin on something this large can be intimidating.  So I just threw every color at it I already had out...that's typical of how I work.  If it's within arm's reach it's not safe.
Looking great?

Painted and sanded and painted.

Masked, painted, sanded.

Repeat!

Lower left.  You can see that pattern pressed into the paint pop up again there.
 After I got the background finished I tried out a few different approaches to adding the permanent vinyl layer.  This image is from me adding black and white orzos going from the middle out, but I decided against it and used that motif in the other large one I'll share in a coming post.
Whole thing in terrible basement lighting.
I chose to go with SO MANY pieces of simple black orzos dripping from the top.

Here's what some of the ones I've shared this week look like staged in my show tent...gives a little better idea of proportion and scale.
So much easier to set up a tent with eight pieces vs. forty-eight!  Hope I get into some shows this year...
The title of this one comes from a poem by W.H. Simpson called "John Brown."  I guess he, like I imagine many farmers and pioneers, worked hard but had a soft side.  John Brown is Kansas's favorite terrorist, by the way.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Made It: Summer Bends and Smiles


I loved the colors on this one from the beginning and tried to keep it throughout the process.  You may notice some little designs here and there stamped into the paint.  I made some stamps to be used in my ceramic pieces based on some clocks I made a few years ago and sized them wrong, but decided to see what would happen here, and I loved it so added the design into many of subsequent pieces.
Blank canvas, sort of.  Three or four layer of paint here.
24 inches wide x 36 inches high

Glamorous life of an artist.  Notice my paint mug has orzos on it, too!
 First layer of masking vinyl.

Painted, peeled, sanded, painted again.

Vinyled, painted, peeled, sanded.

Vinyled again.

Painted, peeled, sanded again.

At this point I decided I was done with the background and wanted to add the final layer of permanent orzos.
detail

detail

Summer Bends and Smiles

I was inspired by "Tempting Feast of Good Things," although I'd made several in between the two.

Title taken from a line from "Sunflowers in the Corn" by William Wattles

Monday, January 15, 2018

Made It: Tempting Feast of Good Things

Oh, hi there.  It's been a while.  I've been doing some stuff.  And also not doing anything, which is the way things go this time of year.

Since September I've been working on several large pieces that were installed mid-December at the University of Michigan Medical Center through the Gifts of Art program.  They'll be up until mid-March.  I took some progress shots while working on the collection (called "Prairie Mantras") and I'm going to share in the coming posts.

First up: Tempting Feast of Good Things
48 in wide x 36 in high
I primed and painted many aluminum pieces at the same time, looking at color combos.  The red one there is what ended up being the above piece.  Here I'd only primed and put on maybe two layers of paint.
Juveniles.
Then I put on vinyl as a mask in an orzo design and painted over.
I got to use up some ugly green vinyl this way without feeling bad.

Peeled!
 After I peeled off the vinyl I sanded the surface to soften it up and bring back some of the under layer.
Sanded!
 Rinse and repeat.
Round two.  Cream and blue over top.
 After the second layer of applying, painting, and peeling, I painted and sanded again, this time with blues.  Then added more vinyl AGAIN. TWICE.
The little ones really started making me feel some mania.  Again, I got to use some
basically useless vinyl (it was printed on and weird, some of the scrap pile's dogs).
 Paint, peel, sand, paint...I really wanted all the layers to show up so I added more of a wash at the end, the purple and blue really got the other colors to pop.
 I felt like I was channeling Maxfield Parrish and didn't want to screw it up, so I just added some lavender orzos as a little hill on the bottom to create a dreamy, under-big-trees-in-summer feeling.  I'd like to visit that place.

And, once again, here's the finished product:


The title, as with most of my work nowadays, comes from a book, "Sunflowers: A Book of Kansas Poems," I found at my grandma's house.  Published in 1916.  The particular poem is by William Allen White called "Where a Lovely Time Was Had."

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Women to Watch: Metals


In March I saw a call for entry on a local artist networking page on Facebook.  The entry fee was $0 (not common) and it was for a prestigious venue--The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.  This show was part of a semi-biannual call for art through the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., which I'd been to twice before when my sister lived there.  To top it off, I fit all the parameters--female, works in metal, lives in the KC area.  I'd been looking more at non-festivals to show my work and this was a no-brainer to try for.  So I applied with new art pieces from my Orzo body of work (previously only a clock motif) and didn't hold my breath for a call.

But I got a call.


In progress (left) and finished (right), "Spark"
aluminum, paint, vinyl

The director of the museum, Barbara O'Brien, came to my home studio on a cold spring morning.  I gave her tea and Clover sat in on our meeting (or rather we had our meeting in Queen Clover's daytime hang space).  We talked about my connection to Kansas, working with repeated elements and recycled materials, and my process. 

After a week or so I got the email letting me know I was invited to exhibit in the show.  Not gonna lie, I was kind of shocked and speechless.  The Kemper was one of the first, if not the first, contemporary art museum I'd ever been to, specifically for a show of Liza Lou's work in the '90s.  The cherry on top: I live less than two miles from there.  So convenient!

Studio visit day

So my work was picked up for installation, we had the opening, I met four other talented, local women working with metal, and I'm "getting out there" much more than I ever had before.  After all, I'm now being WATCHED, so I'd better do something productive!  This opportunity has pushed me to apply to bigger exhibits, introduce myself to more people, and make more and think about my work in ways that I hadn't before.  

The show goes through the end of January; after that, one of us locals, along with others chosen from the many NMWA chapters that are also participating, will be called to the Mother Ship in D.C. for the national show.
"Drape" 24x24, aluminum, paint, vinyl
Crowd favorite!

Sept. 28th we will be on a panel discussing living and working as an artist in Kansas City.  It's my first public speaking event since school, but we only have ten minutes each on our own, so I think I'll be alright.
Installation on opening night

That's me.

Jessica Thompson-Lee, Cheryl Eve Acosta, Desiree Warren, 
Angelica Sandoval, Debbie Barrett-Jones

Check out these other awesome women!
Jessica Thompson-Lee - bronze sculpture
Cheryl Eve Acosta - jewelry
Angelica Sandoval - sculptural light installation
Debbie Barrett-Jones - textile prints on aluminum

Monday, September 18, 2017

EDIT show at Wichita City Arts

I got the opportunity to create a new body of work I've been thinking about for years since finding a big stack of Wichita Eagle newspapers from 1961...you can find art supplies anywhere if you just keep your eyes open on neighborhood walks.  A year ago I participated in an art fair in Wichita and, as these things do, one thing lead to another and I have a show in the arts district there through the end of September at City Arts.

The scribble thing started when I was working on this piece and just couldn't get her hands right...
"Everything's Fine"-- found wood, vinyl, newspaper, paint
2016

After sitting on this layered scribble motif for a long time, playing around with colors, thicknesses, and cutting techniques (mostly done on the computer and cut on a vector system like my other line work), I mentally paired them with some newspapers I'd been painting and using as blotter paper.

Here are some pieces and installation shots!

"Jonathans/Thighs"-- 18 x 15 inches; newspaper, vinyl, paint

detail
"Front Page"-- 15 x 23 inches; newspaper, vinyl, paint
detail

"Petroleum News/10¢ Off"-- 23 x 15 inches; newspaper, vinyl, paint
 
detail

Installation, Balcony Gallery



Beautifully framed by friend and neighbor Lori at Hoop Dog Studio!

The show is up through next week at City Arts in Wichita, Kansas.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Art Westport report

For my only show of the year, it was just like getting back on a bike...the only thing I forgot Friday night was chapstick.

I noticed this year I got far fewer obvious questions, like, "You make ALL THIS STUFF?"  More likely, I had conversations with visitors about the meaning behind my work, my process, my inspirations, how certain pieces connected to the viewer and new perspectives on my collection.  Many friends and long-time festival-goers stopped in and I was happy to share my good news about my spot in the Kemper right now, as well as the new direction I'm taking my work.

The anatomical hearts are always my best seller, not only because they are the least expensive pieces, but because of our general connection to this organ as both our literal center and poetic touchstone.  I heard stories of dads who are pace maker distributors, new med school grads, cardiac nurses, and open heart surgery survivors.  People feel comfortable showing me their scars and telling me tales of their near-death experiences and what steps brought them to my booth today, often because a friend happened to stop by when they were having a heart attack or someone they didn't know came to their rescue.

(Check out my post about the making of these hearts here.)
front view

night view from my desk...I don't like that blank spot in the bottom left, but
I didn't want to cram in anything else

outside wall

I was cross-promoting my Orzo series but had them tucked away
because, although they are clearly cousins to my other work,
they don't exactly mesh visually for this small space.
This was my third year at ArtWestport, and being able to know home is a mile and a half away is a great comfort, along with seeing many great local artist friends and making new ones from the area.  Check out these cool people:
Bailey Marable--Dulces Jewelry
Charley Forsythe--SeeForce
Louise Carroll--Delicate Hammer Studios

So now I'm going to spend some time organizing--OMG it's necessary--looking at opportunities to show my work, dabble in some ceramics, and write more...here!  

As always, follow me on Instagram to get up to date info on my art makings and the occasional cat or flower pics.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Art Westport THIS WEEKEND!

My ONE AND ONLY art festival this year starts TODAY!  Art Westport is Friday, 1-9, Saturday 10-9, and Sunday, 11-6.  I'll be in Booth 47, pretty close to where I've been the last two years.  See below for a few new things to expect...

Process shot of 12 heart grid.

Weird double heart, 20 x 20"

Another double heart, this one with a kind of Rorschach design.
Clover thinks you should definitely see it in person!
Frames and nails used in frames are from my house walls--100+ year old lath and nails.
32 x 16" 

Shot of last year's booth--I will have some of the same/similar stuff again.

From the body of work currently showing at the Kemper Museum, I'll have some
smaller versions from my Orzo series.  These are 8 x 8" & 5 x 5".