Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zentangles, Scribbles and Doodles

Just a quickie post to show you some scribbles I've been doing. I had seen the Zentangles online, but didn't realize how popular they were. There are even classes and workshops where people receive their Masters in the art of Zentangle. Well, I don't think I'll take any classes, but Annette has been showing us hers, and I still have drawing pads and micron and gel pens from my scribblings way back when and started playing with them at night while watching TV. It's the same kind of doodling we all do while we're on the phone but maybe with a little more focus.

White gel pen on black card stock.

I've been making some note cards with the Zentangles.

And these are some of my scribblings from several years ago:

Believe it or not, the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons about snowmen inspired me to draw snowmen for a while. These last 3 were the most fun. You don't draw any lines at all, just start out making dots to shape images.

There was a story, many years ago, about a girl who married into the family who owned Speidel, and she was so enthralled with the love she felt in her new family that she designed a line of jewelry called "I Am Loved". When I drew this painting, I had just married Jim, and for the first time in a long time, maybe in forever, I felt loved and protected. I wanted it to look as if I'd drawn the words into the moisture on the window panes.

Marley loves it when I draw because he can sit on the recliner footrest and sleep.
We're glad you stopped by.
cat & Marley

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A New Direction, as Old as Time

This latest collage took a turn that's Southwestern or tribal or something; I've done a few of these o'er the years and attribute them to my Native American heritage. I'm not a Daughter of the American Revolution. No, we didn't come over on the Mayflower. We met the boat...... and paid dearly for our hospitality.......but I digress. I'll show you how this piece evolved over about 10 days.

I began by loosely painting a sanded birch board with gold, tan and beige thinned acrylics and then did the same on 4 small gallery wrapped canvases. Not sure at this point where we're heading, but collage always feels good when it's evolving.

With those dry, I pulled out a piece of cloth that I had painted a while back using bright acrylics. It's good to spend a day now and then just randomly painting, spattering, scribbling, and generally abusing cloth or papers for future use, and then it's like having your own specialty art store to browse in for beautiful collage media. I'll pull out a piece from long ago and say, "Oh wow! I wonder how I got that effect!"

As always, Marley was on the table beside me, helping, and the day I was working on the woven piece, made of strips I cut from handmade papers and later sprayed gold, my sister and I were talking on Skype with my netbook on the table as well. Obviously, my art doesn't require intense concentration.

Next came the white paper sculpture pieces, and I cut them out while watching TV with Marley on the recliner footrest. Each feather is one piece, and the big central, stringy piece is one sheet of paper. When Marley occasionally gets overcome with love and plops into my face for kisses, I try to incorporate whatever cuts result from the crash to make them look intentional, but his main contribution at this point is that he chewed up a whole cluster of feathers......That furry little critter is lucky I love him so much! It was his way of saying, "Mom, that feather cluster just wasn't working!" Good to have varied points of view.

Now the collage is taking shape, and I've got a clearer notion of what comes next. I pulled out the 3 found objects, that were pendants in another life, and thought they worked well.

I harvested the 5 sticks from the woods behind our house and varnished 3 of them, finally wrapping colored twine around the ends. The dark doorway on the third canvas is watercolor on heavy art paper.

Of course I made up a story about the meaning of my collage as I went, trying not to make the elements too blatantly symbolic or obvious in order to allow the viewer to create his or her own story about it.

Before attaching the papers, cloth, sticks and amulets, I glued the four canvases to the board, but it didn't feel stable, so Jim put in 8 long screws from the back for me. Now it's solid.

And that's our latest masterpiece. The flash makes it look a little glitzier than it actually is, but it's a chilly, gray, winter's day here. We're awfully glad you stopped by.
As ever,
cat & Marley

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tea with Marley

Picasso and Matisse were two of the most famous collage artists, and while I don't have delusions of grandeur, collage is one of my favorite art forms. We all did collage in elementary school, fingers all gunky, and the smell of paste and construction paper and crayons in the air, it was, and is, creative fun. This is my second one I've done lately on a birch panel, about 24"x18" and leans more toward realism than I have in a while. My artsy friends and I (We've yet to think of a name for our group.) take turns giving prompts for the next project, and this one was dishes. The thing about collage is you can make up your own rules and then break them in the same painting. My kind of art!

So, my li'l shadow, Marley, thinks his place is wherever I am, even when it means lying on the table where I paint. He drinks my brush rinse water, knocks over paint bottles, samples the rice paper, and would eat gel medium if I'd let him, but mostly he's very well behaved and looks out the window and growls at the occasional passing monster......You may be able to see that his muzzle is pink from investigating my art chalks.

I began with a simple pencil drawing over clear gesso, including some blossoms and a dragonfly that didn't quite make it into the finished piece and then did a watery paint wash over everything. My main colors in this one are going to be orange, rust, teal and gold.

This is the dragonfly that I did use, made from heat sensitive soft rubber foam, embossed with a rubber stamp and then dry brushed with metallic paint.

I have a little collection of Chinese hand carved seals (called chops), and since this piece is taking on a definite Asian feel, I added a seal to it. I couldn't find my red sealing wax, so I used this new gold one, and when I lit it, it smoked and burned my eyes, and made my throat sore.....Alas! How we suffer for our art.

The background is pieces of torn rice paper, some of it painted, some left unpainted, but it's so transparent that my under-painting colors show through pretty well. The torn leaves are painted watercolor paper, and the blossoms are torn from an old counseling book and shaped after being highlighted with chalk and acrylic paint.

The marbled papers I used had gold on them, and I added more gold leaf. One can never have too much gold....or puppy kisses.

I used the same Asian rubber stamp and embossing powder that I did on the blueberry collage because I plan to hang them close to each other.

Now here's the element that caused me to argue with myself for a couple of days, but in the end, it stays. I'm not even sure what it is. I pick up little chotchkies at garage sales to use in my art, and this might have been a shoe decoration at one point in its life, but I like it, along with the canceled stamps and paper scraps because it's unexpected, and it gives the viewer the chance to make up his or her own story about what's going on at this tea service.

For me, the best collages leave something to the viewer's imagination. I have my story about this piece. Do you?
Thanks so much for stopping by. We'll see you soon.
cat & Marley