Big weekend

On Saturday morning I worked on collages again. They are still in progress, but I may be close to finished with this one. It tells a story about choice. I pulled the text out of a Victorian novel called The Brown Eyes of Mary. At first I intended them to be random blocks of text, then I realized that I liked the way they pulled my imagination when combined. So this is a “choose your own relationship story” collage.

One choice I made was to pull out the silver wrapping paper so that it showed at the bottom. I think that I might glue some very small snippets of silver near the right top side.

Stitching on it later? Maybe.

I also played with a collage that I’ll share later, maybe. I deliberately chose a bright pink that I normally would not use in order to loosen up and not get attached to the materials. It is a good exercise.

Later that day, my friend Joe, who is a luthier, came by with Susanne and delivered my woodrow that he has been working on. A woodrow is basically a dulcimer that you can play like a banjo. Sandy bought it for me for Christmas in 2012. I don’t know how to play stringed instruments, but I’ve noodled around on it from time to time and it is pretty easy to play. Joe made some improvements and added a couple of knobs for a strap. He might teach me how to play – I just don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I’d like to do.

After that we all went to see the Alison Saar exhibit at Weatherspoon Art Museum. So inspiring and powerful. Made me want to do wood and linocuts again.

Sunday night was the twice-postponed Gordon Lightfoot concert at the historic Carolina Theater in downtown Greensboro, which is a superb venue for music. Gordon is 81 years old but still held his own in a 90 minute concert that was the last of a nine show run before he takes a break and does it again. His voice was not as powerful as you might expect but was still wonderful. He did most of his big hits and a few deep cuts. We were impressed.

Before the concert we went to M’Coul’s Irish Public House and took goofy selfies, as we like to do. The concert photo is not good, but I decided to take only one quickly and then put my phone away and allow myself to be fully present for the concert.

Other than that it is a very busy workweek and I came home extremely anxious, mostly about political commentary I’ve seen, so heading to bed early.

collage, Studio talk

Studio Sunday

I piddled around for a long time yesterday and finally decided that I could at least do some backgrounds that I would collage over. This proves to be a great way to get started.

These started with old book pages, a 1931 newspaper page from the Oroville, Colorado Mercury-Register and hawthorns.

This morning I added some very thin old book cloth to the second one. I learned the hard way why I was advised not to soak the glue off the cloth. When it dried I found that the faint design that I loved on the cover was gone.

The reason I scrubbed most of the glue off the back was so I could incorporate a suggestion from a member of our collage study group – a piece of sparkling silver wrapping paper beneath the black cloth that would show through.

This one might be done after I glue this down.

The other one still needs something…even though I like the subtlety of the colors I want to consider adding contrasting pieces. I’m going to put it aside for a little while.

I got my hair cut yesterday and boy, did that make me feel better. And having this new phone camera that takes decent photos – golden.

Here are some shots of my “new” studio room.

Now I have to see if I can force myself to go over to the UNCG gardens and clean up my plots before I get my massage and grocery shop this afternoon.


New inspirations

The leader of our collage study group, Barbara Livingston, introduced me to a couple of artists that speak strongly to me: Hannalore Baron, and Irwin Kremen.

I realize that I am not too fond of the white watercolor paper for the backgrounds and plan to trim these or start with a different color substrate in the future.

Yesterday, I first added a few small elements to this collage and now I think that it is complete. I extended the black lines with bits of dark blue and added a couple of small squares of the pinkish brown book cover. What is the name for that color? I was thinking puce, also “puke,” but that’s too gross.

Next, I kept layering this collage I began on Saturday until I was satisfied with it. I ended up pulling off a piece of book cloth meant to be the focal point but it was too overpowering. A nice textural surprise resulted when the glue pulled off bits of the paper backing.

I also used tea bags in a few spots and Valspar antiquing glaze to knock the whole thing back a bit.

Lesson learned – don’t become so attached to a certain part of the collage that you’re not willing to change what is not working. Here are the before and after photos.

Along with the one in the previous post the three are related because they all contain parts of the Quantitative Analysis book.

In other news, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a new phone. Well, refurbished, not new. The same model I have now, which I like. This time I am putting a sturdy case on it right away since I broke this phone a few weeks after I bought it. It’s been patched together with shipping tape and stickers for months.



I am not satisfied with the quality of the photos from my little Canon point and shoot. It took a few tries and some photo editing to get them this good. I am charging up the Canon Rebel now to see how it does, but the last time I used it long ago I think it needed a repair. If it can’t do the job, I’ll be getting a new phone.

But I am happy with these two collages. I might fiddle with the first one a bit today, add one or two small bits of blue and another piece of the ochre and pinkish brown somewhere.

All of these materials are from recycled books.

coffee pot posts, collage

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Ha! I already broke my daily habit of posting here. Ah well, it will happen.

Yesterday was a great day, though. I drove to Chapel Hill for the collage study group of Triangle Book Arts. This time we worked on our stuff and I ended up with two collages that I really like and another that is in progress.

Working quickly and intuitively in this way is good for me. I tend to overthink everything so it is refreshing. But I’m not sure that I enjoy the design-as-you-go process in tapestry so much. It is a slow art medium and when I get to the end of it I want to be pretty darn sure that it comes out the way I wanted. That’s the reason that the tapestry diary didn’t work out for me, and the caterpillar, even though I was working with a simple pattern in my head that I took from the memory of a photograph, was a bit of drudgery.

But with collage! I had two nice pieces at the end of an hour!

My plan is to turn out a whole lot of these and put most of them up for sale and in shows. That way I can earn a bit of cash for my art retreat addiction as well as establish a body of work fairly quickly so that I can hit the ground running when I retire as far as applying for residencies and grants. I will also eye these for the possibility of tapestry design.

I finished transferring the photos from Flickr for our 2009 Alaska trip posts. This might work now that I have this laptop. It is much easier on my hands to copy and paste.

There is a piece that I’d like to finish that I mostly completed in a Elizabeth St. Hilaire painted paper collage workshop several years ago. During the trip home it stuck to something else and pulled of some of the paper off the background. It shouldn’t take too long to finish it. I noticed the moon painting that I did in this post. I had forgotten about it and didn’t see it in the studio move. If I find it, that would be a nice project.

Sandy is obviously feeling a bit of artist block misery. I think that I have talked him into spending the afternoon in the studio with me to focus on either the board game he is designing or drawing. He plans to take an oil painting class soon. He needs to find something to do every day.

We bought some beef short ribs from Meadow Farms at the market last weekend and I’ve never cooked them before, so they are in the crock pot after we marinated them overnight.

I finally found the charger for my camera battery so I will take photos of yesterday’s collages and post them next. The Kindle camera really sucks and it is almost impossible to get good photos in selfie mode. (My phone’s lens is cracked.) Boy, will I be glad to get a new phone! I’ve spent all my money on future art retreats but at least I won’t be in debt after they are done.

It drives me crazy to have credit card debt. One thing I did this past month was cancel my Southwest Chase credit card. I was irritated that they forced me to use up my points for a seat on a one way trip because they didn’t have any of the cheaper ones available. ON SOUTHWEST. All the seats are the friggin’ same. The trip is in JUNE. But that wasn’t the main reason. I have considered canceling it for months after I found out that they are a major sponsor of ALEC. And Chase is a major lender to fossil fuel companies. Although few airlines or credit companies or banks are not awful in their politics and greed, those are two of the worst.

After the trip to Ireland, I probably won’t fly Southwest any more. It is only from RDU to Boston for one leg of the trip, mainly because they doubled the points on the flight I needed so I didn’t have enough points for round trip. The rest of the trip is with Aer Lingus and British Airways and American. It might be a bit tricky. I have never booked a trip in separate pieces with all different airlines before. But the whole round trip is costing me around $700 including baggage fees, as long as I keep it to one checked bag. I need to keep it to one checked bag because I will be traveling on public transport and by foot. I think I did pretty good!

Okay, time to play.