Thursday, April 29, 2010

Visit to Palm Springs, CA

Just back from Palm Springs where I was visiting and working with my friend Elliott Night. I got to meet and love the wonderful Rosebud who is the sweetest, silkiest cat I have ever known. She's a Cornish Rex, so yes, she looks "different" but in person it really works. She is a light little thing who can sleep on top of you and never cut off your circulation. The last morning of my stay she had a little episode and slid off the top of the espresso machine. (It's warm and she loves to snooze up there.) Well, I was doing a photo shoot with her, one of many, and she stood and slid and tumbled onto the stuff on the counter. Unfortunately, I stood there gaping in shock but Elliott gathered her up and clucked in dismay in a most motherly display of concern. Her back leg seemed hurt so of course we were both imagining different but equally awful outcomes. But, within a few minutes she was racing around the house to her delight and our relief.

So what were we working on?.....Here's the scoop...Elliott helps me with all things computer. And all things that have to do with the class proposals I submit for my teaching jobs. If there is something in a workshop description that is weird, incredibly enthusiastic, or otherwise not recognizable as something I might say....that's Elliott.

Our focus for this visit was to start designing an online course for me to teach. It is going to be a comprehensive course on Paste Paper .We have the outline, I have the content in my head, heart, and hands and hopefully this summer we will get it online. We are excited and looking forward to spending time together producing this first course.

We had some time to play and explored the many many thrift stores and junk shops which is something we both love to do. In the future you may see me wearing a black smock that I thought would be a great alternative to an apron while doing art work. Then I unpinned the cleaning tag that was over the label and saw it was a designer item and now I am thinking pearls and dinner out!

A highlight of the trip was getting to spend some time with Terri, Elliott's partner. We went hiking in Joshua Tree Park and basked in the beauty of the desert, the rock formations and the blue blue sky. They took me to Noah Purifoy's ( ), a site in the desert where Noah created...what.....giant assemblages/installations out of "junk". Who knew cafeteria trays impaled on re bar could be so interesting? Elliott's favorite piece is a metal tintype of the Declaration of Independence attached to a huge rock that has been suspended over big sheets of glass. At some point the desert will wear away the chains holding the rock and it will fall shattering the glass and sending it flying. I really liked getting to be in Noah's world for a while.
And am grateful to be able to visit Elliott's world and to play with her loves, Terri and Rosebud. They all made me feel so welcome and shared the time and space and themselves so generously. Life is very good indeed.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Floor Cloth

Saturday my friend Cathy Dorris offered a wonderful Floor Cloth workshop in her studio in Talent, Oregon which is only a half hour from my home. Seven of us spent the day turning pieces of duck cloth (a canvas like cotton fabric) into rugs.
I did my homework but I bought too flimsy a fabric and the roll of carpet tape was funky and the design I'd planned on didn't grab me in the same way that day as it did before so the colors of most of the paints I brought didn't go with the aboriginal design that evolved.
I was in the right place but had the wrong stuff. Sound familiar?
Luckily Cathy operates like me, she has every color of paint in every consistency from powdered to fluid to thick body. And she was prepared for those of us who needed the right stuff and had cloth and tape we could purchase.
She also had many, many photos of carpets from around the world on her computer so we spent time looking at them and printing out people's favorites. That's when the seduction into a more organic expression took place. That translates as: not following a plan or pattern. I could just do whatever felt right in the moment. How freeing!
It was a wonderful day, I carved a potato stamp and borrowed others, used my brushes and their handle ends to make dots til my eyes crossed and actually finished my rug in a day. Okay so I was there from 9am until about 6:30 and we didn't even break for lunch and it was a long day but oh, so worth it.

You can check out Cathy's art at

And look at the class she is teaching at Art & Soul in Portland in the fall.

I have taken the workshop she is teaching there and recommend it highly. You will learn about color, texture and embellishment, have a great time with a very skilled instructor, and leave with a great piece of art.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Kind of People

My daughter, Christine, had a birthday at the end of March so for a gift I gave her a membership and tickets to the Ashland Independent Film Festival. This was one of the best ideas I have ever had because she loved seeing 12 films over a period of 4 days and I got to be with her and share the experience. Our film festival is just wonderful. Ashland is a lovely town, not too big, with lots of culture. The theaters are small, so it is very intimate and easy to navigate. We got to spend a little time with some of my friends and ate some good food and talked and talked and talked about the films we saw. I loved it. Yesterday we saw several short animation films. Animation has never thrilled me so I mostly went to be with Christine. Oh, and also I am trying to move through my mind sets that say I won't like things. I want to expand my horizons. I really did enjoy some of the films but what I totally got off on was seeing and listening to some of the film makers who traveled to the festival and were there for questions and answers after the showing. What inspiring artists! They are so passionate and they love what they do. They can't not do it! They have to create. My kind of people.
I saw a film about a famous American tattoo artist . It is Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World. This is worth seeing for a couple of reasons. First, he loved tattoo art as a 12 year old and then he moved away from it when he went to the art institute but went back to it and has been an amazing success as an artist. His images are licensed and Ed Hardy stores made over $700,000,000 dollars last year. Who says you can't make a living being an artist! Another reason to see the film is to get a glimpse of the 2000 square foot piece of art he painted on tyvek, and to watch him doing some of it. He spoke after the film and he was so available and confident and humble. Just a regular guy who, okay, has amazing talent but mostly it seems he's where he is because he followed his heart and worked real hard at his art. Oh, and the other thing about Ed Hardy is that he taught other artists what he knew. More of my kind of people.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I've been having a blast playing in the studio!
I'm preparing my classes for Art & Soul in Hampton in May including making some sample books. The three classes I'm teaching there are A Bevy of Books, The Episodic Journal, and Paste Paper Extravaganza! Just listing the names gets me excited to teach and excited to see what my students come up with. I am always amazed at the beauty and creativity of my student's work.
Lately I've been sifting through boxes of art papers, the "this and that" I've created and I decide to chop a bunch of stuff up and create a montage of all kinds of things I have made over the years. Experiments with plaster on paper, gesso for texture, of course paste paper, and crystal paper...those wonderful effects you can get on sandwich paper by taking prints off originals, marbled papers, the list goes on and on. I can't seem to get enough of playing and experimenting with paper, color and texture. But my stash is getting out of hand, something had to be done.
I tucked a variety of about 40 pieces in bags to offer when I vend at various art retreats and on my Etsy site. On Etsy they are called Fabulous Paper Variety Packs.

I can hardly believe it, but it's already time to start working on proposals for teaching next year. I am going to apply to Art Unraveled for the first time. So I need a lot of ideas, a lot of classes.
Playing with these creations of mine inspires me to do a new surface design workshop. I'll let you know what I come up with.

And now a note about Stella: Stella has grown up to fully embrace her "Ruler of Our World" role. She is a serious cat. She is content, healthy and beautiful. She is not very silly. I think this summer we will find a little playmate for her to stir it up a bit.