Friday, February 10, 2017

My Word for the Year/2017

Right now, my word of the year is still in the development stages. I know what the idea is that I want to focus on this year, but I can't put it into one word yet. First, I'd like to reflect briefly on the 2 words for last year which were 

"Challenges and Collaborations"

I started 2016 off with the January Painting Challenge which I called "31 Paintings in 31 Days for $31, painting "Signs and Symbols" each day for the month of January. I didn't sell them all but I did sell the majority of them. They made a nice, connected group and people commented on how they made unique and  personal gifts because so many of the words and images seemed a perfect match for certain people in their lives.

There were other challenges in 2016 involving taking some outside "distractions" off my plate so that I could concentrate on becoming a more successful painter and do a better job at marketing my work and promoting the gallery. I "let go" of being president of the Sanger Downtown Business Association, stopped teaching classes for children and adults (at least temporarily), and stopped facilitating Sanger Art Hop and Shop. I feel like I have a whole new life ahead of me in 2017 with more time to devote my positive energy to both creating and marketing.
  
In terms of collaborations, there were many opportunities to do things with other artists. The most important collaboration swere 3 project series with Sanger artists Paul Parichan and Melanie Schow. Paul made wire shapes, I gave them backgrounds and words, and Melanie embellished them with beads and wirework. We did 3 collaborations: a heart series of seven in February, a star series of 7 in June, and a tree series of 15 in December. At this time, we have exactly ONE available star remaining. The series were very successful and we will continue the project in 2017 with 2 new series coming out in May and December. Watch for them!

In 2017, my goal is to try to paint for some venues and shows that I
haven't participated in regularly in the past. I started off the year by
entering the "Black and White" show at Chris Sorensen's Studio and


"Black and White" show entry
followed that with an entry in the "Squeeze Me" show at the same location. I am going to try to enter all the shows there this year.

A detail of the piece done for the
"Squeeze Me" show
As a member of the Madera County Arts Council, I participate in a number of "theme shows" at Circle Gallery each year. The first one of the year (January-February) was "Journeys" and the one coming up in March will be "Reflections". The year will continue with 2 month shows with different themes, culminating in the Celebrate Agriculture show in October/November and perhaps a miniature show in December. So, I must be thinking ahead and painting ahead to have new work ready for each of these events. Sometimes I have a painting that works for a theme without painting a new one, but that seldom is the case. I also like to submit more than 1 when I can so that different people are always seeing several examples of my newest work at various locations. Another factor to consider this year is that I'm making a change from doing mostly watercolors to doing mostly acrylics. I don't have a lot of acrylics in my "inventory" and need to be painting new ones all the time.

For the 30 paintings done in January 2017, I decided to incorporate postage stamps or stamping of some kind into each of them. Only 3" X 3" and 6" X 6", the challenge was doable and fun and people have been giving me stamps so I can continue the project. The "stamp idea" came about because Kate Jackson of Merced and I decided to both do the project with stamps and to have a joint show or shows together later in 2017 or early 2018, or both. All of the work in the show will have stamps or stamping in it and these small paintings will be nice affordable additions to the show.

All of this leads up to my idea or thought or word(s) for 2017. I started out thinking that the word might be "Connectivity"--the state of being connected. It seems important to connect all of these disparate events and activities in some way so that I can be building inventory for the shows with Kate, producing new acrylics, and painting thematically. It seems apparent that the connecting factors are acrylic paints, gallery wrapped canvases, and stamps or stamping in all of them. This way, I can use them throughout the year as entries for various shows and still be building inventory for the joint "Featured Artist" show at the Fresno Art Hub in September/October 2017.
Soon, the idea of "Connectivity" morphed into "Congruence", the state of agreeing or corresponding and then into "Integration" which is defined as an act or instance of combining into an integral whole. I know that there's a word in the back of my mind that better describes this state, but it has yet to come forward. I'm sure that it will soon, but, for now, my word for 2017 will be "Integration" and will involve concentrating my efforts on developing a body of acrylic work on canvas that all uses stamps or stamping.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

January 4th--first post of the year!

Back at the gallery and open for business for the first day since closing at six pm on Christmas Eve. This is the longest "vacation" I've taken since I opened five years ago. It was really nice, but I'm also really happy to be back! Things happening this month include working on a large commission piece and doing "30 Paintings in 30 Days" doing end of the year taxes, playing with puppies, and having an exciting art event the last weekend of the month. Stay tuned and Happy Beginning to 2017!




Friday, June 24, 2016

"Star-Struck, Star-Studded, and Star-Spangled"!!

Here it is June--late June--where does the time go? You may or may not remember that my words for 2016 are "Collaborations and Challenges". A collaboration is working jointly with others, especially in an intellectual endeavor. The challenge definition that seems to apply here is "to arouse or stimulate, especially by presenting with difficulties."

It's time for another  challenging collaboration with my friends, Paul Parichan and Melanie Schow. In February, we collaborated on a series of 7 hearts for Valentine's Day with Paul's wire, my painting and lettering, and Melanie's beading. We decided it was time to do it again and this time we are doing 7 stars which will be unveiled  and available at Sanger Art Hop and Shop on Saturday, June 25th.

The way it works is this: Paul starts off by making 7 shapes (stars, in this case) out of wire.












Then I trace them on watercolor paper, paint and embellish them, cut them out, and sew them onto the wire "frame".

Next, I pass them on to Melanie and she adds beads and a hanger. She returns them to me and I add a ribbon to hang them from and they are done! Here are the seven finished stars (without ribbons):

                     
               

The interesting thing is that each one of us finds something challenging about the experience, but the collaboration effect seems to make it a positive challenge which often becomes a learning experience. When you are given something already started, you have to work with what you are given and it may be necessary to problem solve and do the next step in a way that you wouldn't normally work. I am glad that Paul and Melanie were willing and eager to participate and I think we are all pleased with the way the seven stars turned out. Tomorrow, we'll find out what other people think of them!

In February, we sold all 7 hearts the day of Art Hop and we're wondering if that may happen again on Saturday with the stars. The stars are each priced at $25 and we divide the proceeds, with a bit also going into our Art Hop expense fund. In November, we will be doing trees since Sanger is "The Nation's Christmas Tree City" and maybe at some point in time, we'll do a "Freestyle" show and sale with a lot of different shapes and quotes and no theme at all. Stay tuned for future "Collaborations" and you'll see that they don't have to be "Challenges" at all.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Claremont Packing House shopping mall. . . .

At the Claremont Packing House, a shopping/dining/learning/living mall in Claremont CA. This is all built in an old historic building that was a packing shed for either peaches or lemons--long before what it is today.These photos are not in very good order and I can't arrange them well, but I'm going to post them as I can, because if I wait till I figure out how to make them look better, it will never happen! You will definitely see magic in what has been done with a very awkward space. . .


Miracles CAN happen!

Outside at one end of the "Packing House"

A Community art center for all ages




                                                
                                                            Some of the shops and restaurants. . . . 



A bookstore of donated books, with proceeds going to the Prison Literacy Project                                           



One of the restaurant menus


A very old door that must be original to the building--it hangs on the 2nd floor landing




A huge project made from folded, twisted cardboard boxes etc.



There's a comedy club on the second floor too







                  
There is a great yarn shop on the second floor



And a piano studio on the second floor, too.
 

Looking down on the first floor from the second. On the 3rd level, are Loft living spaces!

February--A trip to a watercolor workshop in Fallbrook!

2173637190_380cb968ec_z.jpg

Observations on my way from Sanger to Claremont (Southern CA)
yesterday morning, February 6th


  1. About 60 degrees when I left Sanger at almost 10 am.
  2. Pink and white blossoms evident in the orchards at Mendocino and Adams Avenue!
  3. Fog in all the fields around Visalia, Tulare, and Bakersfield—laying like a layer ofcotton around the tree trunks.
  4. Gray/brown haze over the valley.
  5. Bright blue sky over the whole ridge route—sunny and warm, in the high 60’s/low 70’s.
  6. Fairly light traffic all the way to the 210 freeway.
  7. Only 1 missed exit and “Terri” (the name of my Terrain Denalie)helped me out without a glitch.
  8. Only got honked at once.
  9. The best place to learn about your car's navigation system is NOT on the freeway!
  10. Had Afghan food for dinner at Walter’s in Claremont. It was really delicious!
  11. I love Ken and Mary Lee’s shower in their guest bathroom.
  12. I love my tiny Basilwood soap in a bag that I got to take with me. :)
  13. 82 degrees in Claremont yesterday!
  14. Loved seeing the “Packing House” shopping area with the shops open. Very exciting!
  15. Slept well, up early, ready to go on to Fallbrook soon. 
  16. Photos of the "Packing House" in the next post!




















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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016: Challenges and Collaborations!

Some years I pick a "word for the year" but this year, I'm picking two. This will be the year of Challenges and Collaborations! I'm starting the year off with a "challenge" called "30 Paintings in 30 Days", as I did in January of 2015. Last year, I did a series of paintings about Sanger, the town where I live. This year, I'm doing a series of small paintings that is called "Signs and Symbols". My challenge is called "31 Paintings in 31 Days for $31". The first challenge is painting a painting a day for a month, the second is posting a painting a day for 31 days, and this year, I am challenging myself to sell ALL 31 original paintings for $31 each. So, I'm off--Onward and Upward!--with the first challenge of the year! (See my last post for photos and more information about the 31. It sounds sort of like a Baskin Robbins 31 flavor menu, doesn't it?)

Throughout the year, I am going to try to do a painting a day in a few other months--probably not ever two months in a row, maybe alternating months throughout 2016. It is hard to do, but it is really a great motivator. Laura Fraedrich and Lyn Meredith have joined in with their own challenge and are each doing a painting or illustration a week for the 52 weeks of 2016 which will be based on one of my Artist Inspiration Cards each week, randomly picked from the deck. You can see Laura's week 2 ceramic canvas here on this link to her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/laura.fraedrich.3/posts/10207297305903528?pnref=story

So that explains the Challenge word for the year and partially explains the "Collaboration", too.
The fact that I'm doing a weekly challenge and Laura is doing the yearly challenge is a collaboration in itself, but the fact that she is using my Artist Inspiration cards as the "prompt" for her canvases is also a collaboration. These are Laura's ceramic tiles for weeks one and two!

The "back" of the card that Laura drew. . .  
The front of Laura's Week 1 card. . . .








Laura's artistic interpretation of the Elements of Designs. . . via her Honda 'Element'. . .








                                                               



















In week two, the card Laura drew was this one and this was her interpretation of the quotation:








More examples of Challenges and Collaborations to follow soon!





Paved with good intentions......?

When I started the "30 Paintings in 30 Days" challenge on January 1st, my intention was to post my new painting every day, for all to see. Well, we are now on Day 20 and I have only showed you the first 4 paintings in their earliest stages.

Rather than get terribly behind and stress myself out, I've decided to show you the first 20 in this post and try to do better on the last 11. The theme for my "31 Paintings in 31 Days for $31" series is "Signs and Symbols". Each 5" square painting shows a symbol and a word which that symbol represents. Here are the first 9 symbols:





And the second nine:




And number 19 and 20:


So now we are sort of "caught up" on the progress of this series. As of right now, five of them are sold: Immortality, Energy, Duality, Growth, and Royalty. Twenty are complete, eleven remain to be done. I will try to post every day or 2 until the series is finished. When all 31 are complete, they will be professionally photographed and then be ready to go--mounted, but not framed--to their new homes for $31 (plus tax), each. Stay tuned for further developments!