Thursday, December 27, 2007

End of the year is nigh!

The weather has been weird, but, hey, it's New England. We had a pile of snow a couple of weeks ago that turned to rock hard ice on the driveway, treacherous to try to walk or drive on, and nearly impossible to clear away, then it got warm, in the low 50s and the driveway and paths all cleared just in time for Christmas, but enough snow stayed around for looks, and now it's raining again. January and February will probably bring more snow and ice, and thaws like normal.
We'll manage, though Fred has been thinking about moving to North or South Carolina, and counting the weeks until spring is supposed to come.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Making Matchboxes from Scratch

I've been in at least ten swaps of decorated and filled matchboxes. I know ten, because I bought a ten-pack of small matchboxes aw Wal-Mart and used them up--except for the wooden matches which I out in a jar, waiting for something creative besides using them to start our outdoor fireplace.

So I decided to take one apart and make a template so I could make my own out of sturdy cardstock as I need them for various creative endeavors.
This is the basic pattern. I use Hammermill 110lb cardstock from Staples , or Georgia Pacific 110 lb I found at Wal-Mart. I prefer the Hammermill because it seems a smoother finish, good for printing color images on.

These are some samples of templates that I decorated in Photoshop, ready to cut out, assemble and further embellish, or not.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December already?!

Wow, time does fly when you're having fun, or just crazy-busy!

Ice and rain this week, no real snow yet!

Sat., Dec 1, I did another workshop at the Putnam Library, this time on making handmade holiday cards, and 6 people signed up, but only two showed up. Disappointing, but we had fun anyway! Their loss!

I got to bring two of my "grand-friends" (my best friend's granddaughters age 10 and 8) and Pat from the Library participated and some really beautiful cards were made and taken home.

The reporter form the Reminder News came and took pictures and interviewed people, and there were pictures and a nice article in the paper, though I have yet to see it--I have to get one soon!

I'm all caught up with my Swap-bot swaps again, and haven't signed up for many new ones--a few in January and February. It's too addictive to let go completely!

I do want to get some other art going now though. The old gym at work is being heated, so I'm going to bring my paints and supplies in to work on some ideas that have been mulling around in my head for a while now. It'll be a nice change of scenery!

Take care and have bright and happy holidays!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Giant Tag Sale

Our art guild (Northeastern CT Art Guild is having a Giant Tag Sale next weekend (Oct 5&6) at the Sunshine Shop Greenhouse on Upper Maple Street in Danielson, CT

We had one last year that was a good time and raised us a nice sized chunk of change to help fund some of the programs we run monthly in the guild.
Lots of cool stuff is donated and sold for good prices some antiques, some art, some household items, lots of eclectic collections of things you just might need. So if you are in our area, stop on by between 9am and 3pm each day and see what treasures you might find.

I hear there may be some tasty bake sale items, too!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Summertime, summertime

Well, three weeks have passed like a blink, mostly because my 9 year old granddaughter was here! Time passes so quickly when you are having fun! I didn't get much art done at all, save a few ATCs here and there, but now I have time to get to it once again.

I had so many plans for this summer and it's already August and nothing much has been done, but, oh, well, que sera, sera! I'll do what I can as I can.

My sister is up from Virginia with her cool quilting and embroidery machines (both of which cost more than my "new" car (see a picture of that below in an earlier post). We'll have some time to play with them soon, too!

So for now, best laid plans, blah, blah, blah..and time marches on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More Exploration

We're all on a road to discovery, like it or not. Every day something new comes before us to see, like or dislike, enjoy or toss--but it's all part of the journey.

In my Art Journey I'm exploring a lot of mediums, and having a good time doing it! This past week I've made about 20 ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) through collage, photography and painting. I've painted three little cars as part of an altered car swap, I made my first watercolor painting (not too bad), and am pondering the wire flux welder sitting in my garage!

It's scary, and is probably one of the biggest challenges I've come across in a long while. You can't see or feel what you are doing, because you have to protect your eyes with a black lens, and your hands with thick leather gloves. And then you have to guide a thin wire along the seam between two pieces of metal you want to join at an even pace without melting the whole thing because it's spitting out a zillion degrees of electric current!

My first effort was pitiful, but I'll try until I get it. I have plans for that welder!

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Glimmer-Mobile!

Here it is--Well this is not an actual picture of MY car, but the same year, model and color(except for the sunroof, none on mine!). In all the rushing to the DMV and back again, I forgot my camera today or I'd have a real pic. It's lovely to drive! All sorts of power this and that, and air conditioning! My Neon's A/C had stopped working two years ago, and I got really adept at finding shady parking spots all around town. No more of that!

Anyway, it's fun to have something new and NICE for a change! Its silvery shimmer in the sun is very satisfying to the sparkle-loving crow in me!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

"New" Car!

Tonight after work, I go pick up my new-to-me 2001 PT Cruiser! My trusty 95 Dodge Neon is still running fine, with over 178k miles on it, but I need a taller car because of my bad knees. The Neon sits too close to the ground. As luck would have it, I found a great deal on this PT Cruiser and was on the spot the first one to look at it, and put "dibs' on it while I scrambled around trying to put the money together. For a change, things worked out all the way around, because now, my son, Terry, aka Vaughn(He really wants to change his name and I'm trying to get used to calling him that, really I am!) has been driving a total gas hog, a 93 chevy blazer stuck in 4WD to make his thrice-weekly 50 mi roundtrips to dialysis. Two thirds of his miniscule Social Security income has been going into that gas tank every month!! We're having to help him along with food and sundries, and he sleeps on the floor at my mom's house because it's the only space available. Even if there was a Housing authority apartment or room come available, he doesn't have the money to move in! This kidney disease is hard on a 33 year old who still would like to have some semblance of a life! Anyway, I'm giving him the Neon--its 32 mpg will help a lot, and he can sell the truck and use that money for gas and registration and insurance for a while.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What do you mean you're not artistic???

I just want to say that ATCs are the best way to get over the idea that you aren't artistic! Anything really does go with this art form.

I've seen them made of polymer clay, small sheets of embossed copper, pieces of glass taped around the edges like a stained glass piece, plastic from milk jugs, cardboard, plywood, fabric, burlap, laminated leaves, crochet, knitting, and the list goes on infinitely. In the outer larger world of ATC trading, there are no rules other than the 2.5 x 3.5" dimensions.

I've seen some that have parts attached by brads that you can pivot and unfold to show a person with arms and legs and/or wings, that all fold back up into the 2.5 x 3.5 size. There are little houses that are three-dimensional when unfolded, but they still comply. There are little ATC zines and books that are accordion-folded with many pages, or folded in a certain way to be an 8 page book made form one sheet of paper.

They come with strings and fibers and ribbons and beads and tags and stars and feathers and bones and playing cards, watch parts, optical glass, scrap booking die-cuts, rubber stamps, linoleum prints, woodcuts, etchings, pen and ink drawings, acrylic paintings, oil paintings, pastels, pencils--graphite and colored, watercolors and crayons.

Don't let anything limit you in this terrific art form, let your imagination fly free and make it small!! I particularly like doing a sheet of card stock all over with ink doodling then cut it up, using the ten-card template, into ten cards. Even if you photocopy the whole sheet and turn it upside down, you can get ten different cards off the same design! Then color it, ten more, then cut them into pieces and glue them onto a sheet of colored stock--ten more! And that's just one simple technique!

The ATC-world is your oyster--eat it up!..."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Art and the ATC

I'm thinking suddenly about ATCs in a different light than I was, say, yesterday. I don't know why or how these things happen, but I suddenly remembered that the first ATCs I ever made were alctually small acrylic paintings, on gessoed watercolor paper. I treated them like any other painting with all the care for preservation I would have something 11x14 or 36x48. It was, to me a little work of Fine Art.

I started doing collages sometime last year because I've been spending a lot of time with my friend Frances Kornbluth, a fabulous local artist, who also has a summer studio on Monhegan Island, ME. I started out as her driver when her husband was ill and neither of them could drive, and the relationship evolved into a friendship and sometime studio assistant/driver. I've been able to study her work for long comfortable hours while re-hanging things for an open studio, or organizing the materials she uses for her collages. She, too started out painting, oils mostly, but also watercolor and acrylics, then came to collage sometime in the 60s or 70s I think. I love her work, almost all of it, (you know there has to be a few I just don't get yet, but I'm sure I may change my mind later on)

Anyway, I find collage very ...I don't want to say "easy" because that implies I don't want to "work" but it happens almost intuitively, almost makes itself, more than paintings anyway. I start with a background of some sort--painted watercolor paper, cardstock, canvas, wood, then rummage through the bits and pieces I have collected, and just begin. I get into a zone and sometime later I step back and look at what has been wrought. Some kind of theme almost always becomes clear, even though I didn't plan any such thing. There are layers and textures and colors and materials that lead my eye around the piece, taking it on a merry chase, or a leisurely stroll. I like it! I've only got one piece I really hate, and I'm pretty sure it's because I had to make it from specific things in a specific period of time for a group thing. It looks like nothing, noplace, nobody. It makes me somewhat uncomfortable just to look at it. Weird. I keep it for just that reason though, it's weird and does something, I just don't know what.

I'm not too fond of uncomfortable art. Those things made of garbage, excrement or other yucky stuff. Dark images with lurid colors that make you remember a nightmare you had when you were 9. No fun for me. I like art to soothe or stimulate the good parts of my mind, to remind me of happier things and places and people. I want to be surprised and have the feeling of excitement or just joy well up from within.

I'm more fond of straight color abstracts. Colors stimulate these things in me, make me feel creative and positive. Sometimes it's black and yellow with streaks of gold or copper; blocks of primaries with dots of white; blues, greens and purples with hints of cadmium red in the background, and a thin streak of chocolate with highlights of silver. Next comes texture. I can look at "touchy" art all day--mixed media stuff--fabrics, tree bark, beads and bumpy ropes, as long as it's not made of yucky stuff--just my personal preference. If I want to look at dog poop, I can go out in the yard for cryin' out loud.

So now the big question--are so many people doing more mixed media art on their ATCs because of where they come from (scrapbooking, altered books, etc), or what? Where are the small paintings, etchings, drawings, monotypes, encaustics, and lino-prints?

I've asked some of these questions and more on one of my Yahoo Groups, I'll wait and see what kind of answers they give me there.

Just curious! :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Young @ Art Guild

There was some brainstorming going on last week, and now the Small Art Club has suddenly morphed into an art guild for those "young at art". Aimed mostly at kids aged 8-18, membership is also open to their parents. We'll be having monthly hands-on art workshops, exploring all sorts of artistic things, starting with the ATCs and Alteredbooks that I've got going already.
It's a new and exciting process, and I'm not sure where it's going to go, but we're working on it and more brainstorming sessions are in order.
young @ art guild

Saturday, March 31, 2007

The upper right and lower left ATCs are Iris folds using pieces of food labels (the swap theme). The bottom right is a paper weave technique, and the upper left is shown in detail here, a collaged "goddess".

This was an Iris Fold postcard swap. I'd never made one before and was totally intrigued by the process. I used different colored inner sides of security envelopes from junkmail and bills for the paper and made a five-sided pattern. Then I made a few more for another ATC swap.

ATC and random art pics

So I thought I'd post some more pics of various things swapped in Swap-bot and Group swaps.
This one is froma Numbers Countdown Swap-bot swap/ I like the one in the upper left best--it's called "When owners start to look like their pets"

Spring and thoughts of space!

Spring has finally sprung. The nights are still cold, but the sun was warm today while we began our annual garage clearing project. It seems like we clear it out and it fills right back up mysteriously over the winter. The truck is full of junk going to the dump, I have a big bag of stuff for the Salvation Army and another even larger pile of stuff to freecycle. I have motivation this year, more than before to clear out, because I really want studio space up there. We built a room in the back corner with electric outlets at desk level all along the walls, and either Fred will work his computer shop there, or I'll do art up there--we may have to flip for it! I'm more tempted to convert the whole thing into a house though, it's almost three times larger than The Little House (the 400sq ft cottage we share with the cat).
I can visualize a beautiful big eat-in kitchen, a bathroom with a tub and a shower, two bedrooms, a living/family/greatroom. It could be really nice! Large windows on the back wall could look out over the lovely view of the woods and the brook at the bottom of the 'ravine', and a pergola built over the parking apron on the front would hold a flowering wisteria or some other beautiful flowering vine to give us shade to sit under in the summer. ~sigh~ At least I can dream :)

Second Successful Small Art Workshop

It was low-key but fun. We had 12 people show up to the second workshop, this one for adults, though there were 5 girls there, too. We are starting a club that will meet on the third Saturday of each month from 12-3pm, so we'll see what happens there. I'm hoping we can eventually work up some swaps with other clubs out there in the world, perhaps through a yahoo group or Swap-bot.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

And Who, might you ask, is Gloria Page???

I'm about halfway through Holy, Moly, Mackeroly! a wonderful kind of autobiography by Gloria Page. This is the very first book that I can remember reading(with pleasure) that was not some sort of fiction, aside from cookbooks and art/craft/woodworking/pottery how-to books.
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, that's my usual reading material, with perhaps the occasional Historical Fiction or Bodice-ripper thrown in in the summertime.
All through my school years, well into college I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to read anything "required", ie: textbooks, novels (for Contemporary American Lit), etc. When I got this, I thought it was going to be another of the many, many how-to art/craft books I buy regularly. I started reading it though and found it so different, and so fascinating! that I keep going back to it daily for a few pages at a time and sometimes a few chapters! Her style of writing is so pleasantly familiar and conversational, that it keeps my deficient attention for long moments at a time (a challenge for the best literature!)

I also find it to be one of those magical things that you run into now and then in your life, I read the stories and connect with them in many parts of my own story. While different in many ways, we are very similar in spirit I think, and, imagine my great surprise when I read that her grandmother's name is Gagne--just like mine!!! Even though Gagne, in Canada, is much like Smith here in the states, it's in interesting coincidence--we could possibly be cousins!
She also grew up in CT, where I was born and have lived on and off for most of my life (even now) She speaks of places I know and have been to or passed by at times when under other circumstances, we might have actually met! Fascinating.

I would love to meet her sometime, after I finish the book, and perhaps obtain others of hers. I heard recently she was having health problems, and I want to send out into the ether through this blog all the best and healthiest thoughts and vibes I have to send to my "cousin" and hope all comes good and she gets through the crisis with flying colors.

What is Art all about?

I'm an artist. There, I've said it. I'm not "an emerging artist" or a "newbie artist" or anything else less than the real thing. It's taken me a while to come to this decision, but I realized that I really live when I'm making, practicing, teaching, talking about, or just enjoying art, so much so that everything I see can be described in artistic terms--colors, textures, smells, sounds, tastes--it's all there in everything, and art is everything, expressed in forms and media that are manipulatable and can capture thoughts and emotions, images and imaginings.
So, when I pick up some scraps of paper, or bits of junk from the ground, I see in them the potential to be more than what they are, but all that they are at the same time. When I pick up a paintbrush, pen, pencil or rubber stamp--the potential is there, too.

Collage is the thing I am busily exploring right now. It encompasses all the media I like the best--photography or printed images, painting, assemblage--a little sculpture, composition and playing with glue and acrylic medium. It's fun and very expressive, bringing things out of your inner being and onto the paper, celebrating the past by bringing old parts out new and fresh into the present whole.

Altered books are scary at first! What!? You want me to tear pages out of that book!? Don't people go to Library Hell for that!? Of course not! Old books that no one wants anymore, need to be reborn as something new and exciting. Rather than see them sit in a cellar rotting away or being eaten by mice and bookworms, I can tear, cut, fold, glue, paint and otherwise alter them into something really cool! And, there are places on the internet where I have found many other people who do the same thing, and are willing to swap pages with me! How cool is that? I now have over 2 dozen lovely, interesting, inspiring, intriguing works of art that I can tip-in to my altered book and make a new journal of contemporary art to enjoy for many years to come. I hope that my granddaughter will love them as much as I do!

What is your art? What inspires you?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Second Small Art Workshop-Mar 24

I'm doing another free small art workshop at the Putnam Library, March 24 from 12-4 (I think)--I can't remember the exact times, but it's in the afternoon, and for adults only this time. I'm going to try to set up another kid's workshop sometime, too.

We will focus on ATCs and Alteredbooks in this one, and also talk about forming a club that will meet regularly and perhaps do some swaps with other clubs. I'm going to be talking with Pat at the Library soon and will post the real details soon.

Monday, February 05, 2007

ATCs for a Swap

These are made using a transfer technique for the background from Bernie Berlin's book: Artist Trading Card Workshop.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Small Art Workshop Pics

These pics were taken by my friend Raymond F. Gould, a very talented Photographer and artist!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Photo Album

I'm testing this link to my Small Art photo album in

The collage posted here is called "Button, Button, Whos' Got the...Oh, I do!"

Saturday Small Art Workshop

Saturday I held a free workshop at the Putnam, CT Public Library on Small Art. This pic is the group of kids from the morning session with their finished projects! They had a good time and made some wonderful things.

We did some collages, ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and several of them started Altered Books--taking some old books form the library(with permission!) and tearing pages, painting and glueing papers and yarns, sparkly things and stickers on them to begin a theme that they can finish later, a form of Art Journaling.

It thrilled me no end to hear several of them ask when the next class was going to be! I'm inspired by their creativity and energy to do it again!

In the afternoon I worked with a similarly enthusiastic group of adults and teens, and a good time was had by all. I have some pictures coming from a couple of people who were there--I was a little busy! I'll post them later.

There was a surprising amount of interest in this type of art, and I think we'll be starting a club soon to further explore!

Monday, January 15, 2007

10 ATC template

Here is a template for cutting 10 ATCs out of one 8.5" x 11" sheet of cardstock. I also use them when printing digital backgrounds for ATCs or photo ATCs--but you need a borderless printing printer to get it to cover the whole page.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Small Art Workshop

I'm doing a free workshop for the Putnam Public Library in Putnam, CT on Jan 20. Two workshops really, one in the morning for kids from 11-1, then another for adults from 2-5.
While not my first teaching experience by any stretch, I'm a little anxious about this gig because it's different from the other classes I've taught--most of which involved baking, stewing, roasting, boiling or any number of other cooking techniques. I did teach several weekend workshops in ceramics for kids at QVCC a few years ago, and I really have no doubt that this will go well, because, most of all, they want to be there!
It all started with my display of Small ART at the Library. I put into a nice glass case a number of Artist Trading Cards, Postcard sized digital photos, collages and altered book tip-ins. It was a really nice display with sheets of descriptive material positioned here and there, pleasant and easy on the eye, if I do say so myself--funny that-I went back to the Library a month later to retrieve my art, and was surprised myself by my first sight of the case after all that time. It looked Great! I was a little embarasses by my own reaction, but then I just giggled and enjoyed it!

Now there's this ad in the local classified paper--my name there with the title "Artist"
Way cool.
I'm bringing a box full of materials: cardstock, magazines to clip objects from, some stickers, fancy yarns and bits of fabric, glue and some paint and crayons, colored pencils, scissors and tape. I'll cut out a bunch of ATC sized pieces from some of my painted paper stock and plain cardstock, and some postcard sized pieces from plain cardstock. I'll bring the samples that were in the display, plus some printouts of the photos of all my recent stuff done for swaps and trades online. I've been going a little crazy with Swap-bot lately!

So, we will see ow it goes! If nothing else, it should be fun.