Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Whole New World! And an upcoming class.

Little did I know when I started this blog how addictive it is likely to become. I can already tell that I am enjoying mastering the steps necessary to keep improving it. Today, I learned how to link to a document that I want to share by storing it in "storage space" outside my own computer. A major a-ha! It still isn't quite what I need as a final step, but it's certainly more than I knew before.

For example: You need to know that I am going to be teaching a class on January 24, 2009 at the Art Stand Gallery on "Artist Journals and Books." To download the Winter Workshop flyer, click here and print it out. Once you've registered for the class and perhaps other classes, mail it with your check to Elaine Towne Lane at the address shown on the flyer.

In the class, I will show you how to modify purchased books and journals and several ways to make simple artist journals of your own, using a variety of watercolor, mixed media, and collage techniques and supplies. It should be productive and a lot of fun! Hope to see you at the class in January. Between now and then, I am going to take a design workshop in San Diego. More about that in another post. . . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas "

. . . . and to sound a lot like Christmas, too! This is the time of year when music is playing everywhere and when you're a musician, so are YOU! Concerts, programs, caroling, church programs--everyone wants your services. My husband, Roy, is a French horn player and he finished his last Christmas job on Sunday evening. Not that he's complaining, but he did a lot of playing in the last 2 weeks. I am an oboist and I don't play many places like he does but the fact that we are both musicians brings me to the subject of today's post.

Perhaps the fact that we are is why so many of my paintings have musical "themes" or subjects.
Even some of the abstracts feel like there are musical elements and I think it's because music and musical instruments are something I can paint about without having to see them (0r a photograph of them) right in front of me to paint them. I can paint them from my memory, using my imagination. Not that they are all that accurate sometimes, but you will know what I'm painting about.

So when I'm at a workshop, for example, and at a loss for a moment about what to paint, I often turn to something musical. I guess it's because that's my comfort zone. Today's painting example is called "Gimme That Old Time Rock 'N Roll" and it is a large acrylic--2' by 4'--with a gallery wrap edge, no separate frame. It's done in acrylic with paper collaged on, some pen work, a little sparkle, and some gesso from a squeeze bottle for some of the linework. I have the original available and one print on canvas that is the same size as the original. Prices upon request.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Foggy Friday after an inspiring Thursday

Several days have gone by since my last post and the weather has changed dramatically from beautiful, clear, and warm to wintery, frigid, and foggy. It's amazing how much of an overnight process going from fall to winter can be in the San Joaquin Valley.

Last night I returned from a the Bay Area late after a wonderful day spent in Berkeley with my friend, Grace Rankin. I went from doing a presentation in Lodi on Wednesday to Berkeley on Thursday morning. Grace and I met and spent the day looking around, visiting, and browsing Berkeley's Utrecht and Dick Blick art stores and having a nice relaxed lunch at a Thai restaurant. The opportunity to visit and "talk art" with an artist friend reminded me of Julia Cameron's suggestion that artists block out time each week for both a long walk and an "artist date". In both "The Artist's Way" and "The Sound of Paper",  she writes of the importance of taking time each week to recharge our creativity by walking and playing, allowing ourselves time to look at beautiful things or things that inspire us or just talking with another artist in a setting that motivates us. I've found her suggestion to allot time each and every week for ourself, as an artist, to be invaluable. If you haven't read her books, look for them at the library or bookstore and start planning your own "Artist Date" for next week!

Another thing she suggests is writing "morning pages" each day and I suspect blog entries could become the new format for those pages. I wonder what Julia would say about that idea. Hmmmmmm. . . . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Whoops! I should have waited!

I should have waited a little longer to notify everyone of the new blog. Because now I have to let them know that I have changed the title. More than 1 artist friend suggested to me that I use my name in the blog title rather than "katmagic" and I know that is good advice. So, the address will now be:

Slowly but surely, I'm understanding the process. I can say nothing but good things about in terms of ease of use, reliability, and attractiveness. It is a good program for a beginning blogger to start out with!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I did it! (sort of!)

The origami ornament

The tree

An experiment from the Art Stand Gallery

I am trying to edit my blog from my iPhone and I just updated the list
of events on the blog successfully. "Yippee do", as I might say in

The next step is to be able to post via email, which is what I am
trying now. I am going to try to attach a photo of our Christmas tree
and one of Chieko's intricate double origami crane ornaments. Here
goes...(holding breath and crossing fingers....)

Sent from my iPhone by Kathleen

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wow! What a steep learning curve. . . .

I can't believe how much I've already learned, just since starting this little blog a few days ago! Tonight I was successful in adding a slide show of 10 paintings at the bottom and also a counter. Yesterday, I tried to do both and couldn't make either one "happen". But I got it today. Yippee!

Rather than send out a notification to everyone that I want to know about "Mixed Messages," I chose 12 people to send it to as a sort of trial run. So far, people have sent back positive responses and have been able to successfully navigate it so I guess I'm on the right track. What I can already see is that I'm going to have to get busy both painting and with the camera to be able to add an image each time I post because once I've used an image with a post or in the slide show (gallery) I will try to NOT use it again. (Off she goes. . . to paint or charge the camera. . .  AND to get her "ducks all in a row!")

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Already the last day of November

Where does the time go? It seems like every year, the weeks and months fly by more quickly. November was an exciting month this year, with the first annual "Celebrate Creativity" Artists' Retreat held here at our home the weekend of November 14, 15, and 16. It was an experiment and opportunity to do something I've long wanted to do--get a lot of artists together to work and visit and share ideas, techniques, and thoughts in a none-threatening setting. It was a great success, judging by the comments shared and the "feeling tone" of the weekend. 

Food was very informal and lunches were a lot of fun. We learned so much about each other and the food seemed to be multiplying in the refrigerator each night so that we had a lot of fun things to eat each day. My friend, Grace, came down from Fremont and stayed the whole weekend and a few extra days so she and I got in even MORE painting/visiting time! I loved the whole experience and plan to repeat it again next year, a weekend earlier but also in November. I am adding a list feature under my profile on the right hand side of my blog with upcoming dates and events so you will know where I will be showing work and teaching classes throughout the year.

Hopefully, today's post will include some photos from the retreat. Cross your fingers! I started off well on Friday and didn't take any more photos on Saturday and Sunday. I needed to have someone else in charge of getting some photos of the event but never asked anyone to do it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving--yesterday!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday, with family and friends. We were invited out to friends this year and it was a really nice dinner and afternoon. So much to be thankful for!

I thought I had posted yesterday, but must have forgotten to actually "publish" it. I am still learning this whole blog thing, you know!?

Last night, I prepared several wet into wet backgrounds and tonight I worked on them. They all started with versions of the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and 3 areas of each color, one large, one medium-sized, and one small. I let them dry and use them as backgrounds for paintings. It's an easy and fun way to get started. I wish I had a photo of a painting done in a similar way to put up with today's post, but I can't find one at the moment. So, today's painting will be "Strong Language", a mixed media painting with a definite, very obvious message. It did start with a wet into wet background that I added a lot of collage on top of. It has been my most popular giclee print, but I haven't sold the original painting which is larger than 30" X 38" and it is hanging on the hall wall (in my view) as I type this message!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Rainy Day

Here we are on the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. The weather has been amazingly warm and beautiful, but today we had some much-needed rain. I was "sitting" at the Art Stand Gallery all day, trying to stay warm and dry, enjoying a relatively quiet day of knitting and listening to podcasts and wishing for more customers.

Being a member of 3 cooperative galleries is an interesting experience. The ones I belong to are the Art Stand Gallery in Minckler, near my home at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills, The Madera Arts Council/Circle Gallery in Madera, and Timberline Gallery in Oakhurst. It's a challenge to fit the "sitting days" in, but it's a good opportunity to be involved in galleries with other talented, committed artists.

One of the paintings I have at the Art Stand Gallery now is called "Jewel Tones" . It's a painting of wine bottles, done in jewel tones, with magazine paper collaged reflections. Wine paintings are currently quite popular and it is one of several that I have done. The series that I am working on, in fact, is called "Wine, Women, and Words. . . . and a Few Bits of Song." More on that another day. . . . 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Why "Mixed Messages"?

In my long career as an educator, the term "mixed messages" had a bad connotation. But when I was searching for just the right name for my paintings/website/blog etc., the term "Mixed Messages" seems to be exactly right. Most of my paintings are created using mixed media and many of them convey messages, using words and symbols or abstract images. So, the once-looked-down-upon term has become the meaningful identifier of my style and my art.

I will try to include an image with each post and a short description of it. I am also working at including a slide show of my paintings. Over time, I hope the daily or weekly posts can show you my progress on new paintings.

Today's painting is called "A Question of Time." It is a full sheet watercolor (38" X 30") that is a self portrait of me when my creative time used to start after 5 PM when my "day job" was finished. Now, painting can happen any time of the day or night.