Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Oakhurst Vision Academy Class

Last Saturday, I taught a Mixed Media class in Oakhurst for Vision Academy. It was held at the Boys and Girls Club, adjacent to the elementary school. There were a few challenges at the beginning--it was "over the river and through the woods" from the parking lot to the classroom, water was hard to find, and we had porta potties for the day. But the pluses far outweighed the negatives. Seven students and I had a great time--playing with new materials, chatting, having lunch together, and allaying some of their fears about trying new things. Each time I teach a class I remember how much I like teaching but I tend to forget that fact in the planning, preparing, agonizing of how to present things, and gathering materials to pack and take.

Today's first photo is of the tiny little mixed media piece--it's only 5" X 7" and will be framed to 8" X 10"--called "Venture Out" that was my demo for the day. The words are on a dark gray background and I just laid the matted and clear-wrapped piece on the scanner so the photo isn't the greatest.

 The words say: 

"Venture beyond the ordinary to a place you've only imagined."

The next photo is of an equally small painting that was a demo in another class. It reminds us that sometimes, we CAN have it all! Keep these sentiments in mind and go out and have the greatest of days!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good News X 2!

Things have really been happening for me artistically, of late. At the Ficklin Event last Thursday night, I reconnected with Ray and Tammy Krause of Westbrook Wine Farm whom I had met about 4 years ago and stayed in touch with via my newsletter. They saw "Italia d' Oro" at the Art Stand Gallery and felt it would make a very nice wine label. Having seldom taken it out and not having sold it, I decided to take it to the wine event last Thursday night. In a rare lull during the evening's busyness, I took it next door (to the next table over) to show it to the Krauses and remind them that they had seen it long ago. Ray immediately purchased it and announced that it will adorn a future wine release from Westbrook Wine Farm! They are thrilled to have it and I am thrilled to have them have it! I think it was meant to be from the first time they saw it.

It will be so exciting to see one of my favorite paintings of mine gracing a wine label on a fabulous wine. I did the painting of a small, nameless hilltown in 2002 during my trip to La Romita Art School when I spent two weeks 60 miles north of Rome, near Terni, Italy. It is a small painting--about 11" X 14" framed--and was done in watercolor on Yupo paper. The enhancements were done with gold gel pen because I found Italy to be truly "golden" and the paintings done while I was there reflect that fact.

I loved my stay at La Romita and am so excited to report that I have to opportunity to return there yet again next summer (July 2010) to co-teach a class with my friend and fellow artist and traveler, Grace Rankin from Fremont.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ficklin Vinyards Event last night

I had been asked a couple of months ago to display my art at Ficklin Vinyards at a special event. Thanks, K.c. Pomering for inviting me! And thank you, Peter Ficklin, for your hospitality! It was hard work--preparing, setting up by myself (which I don't often have to do, luckily!), talking, talking, talking (which I've been told I DO often do!) to lots of people, tearing down alone and driving home very late. But it was a LOT of fun! Good wine, good food, friendly people, excellent hosts and hostesses, and a lot of wonderful contacts for me, as an artist. I talked to restaurant and hotel owners, winery owners, wine and food and art lovers--and more!

Mostly, I took things related to wine as you can see in the photos. I took 3 large wine paintings, some prints, cards and a couple of small paintings. I sold a small matted original and a small painting so it was a nice evening in that way also. I have some exciting news to share in the near future, but that will come in a future post.

In the photos you can see the basic set up. The photos, done on my iPhone, aren't the greatest because of the way the lighting was. But it was interesting because of all the wine barrels surrounding the huge tasting room and because I tried to use the nearby barrels as part of my useable display space. It is always fun and challenging to try to create a welcoming and attractive display area when you are going to a new setting that you haven't previously shown in. I felt comfortable with the way it looked and I really enjoyed meeting a lot of new people from the Madera area. I hope I'll continue my new friendships at the Madera Wine Trail event on November 14-15. That weekend I will be located at Birdstone Winery so you can stop by and say hello!

In closing, I'd like to say that I am going to try to add a little video taken on my iPhone and see if you can view it, hear it and make any sense of it. It is very short and the content is limited. It's more an experiment to see if I can get a video from my phone to my blog successfully. So far, I haven't been able to but maybe today will be my lucky day. (NOTE: It was NOT my lucky day. I'm still struggling with that, though the video is fine on my phone and my desktop. I WILL overcome, but not right now.)

And speaking of "experiments", the last month has been very much a learning process. I love being on Facebook, especially now that I've started a "Fan Page" where I can more easily display my work and invite "fans" and friends to my art events. If we haven't connected there yet, please look for me. My blog is feeding over to Facebook and my Facebook posts are going to Twitter. This is all VERY high tech stuff for me! But it's a lot of fun and it's going well except for Twitter. I am just not tweeting well, as yet! But that will come with time, I suspect.  Well, enough for one post--I'm dying to see if the video works or not!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Information for the day--about Image Posting

Before I get back to work, I'll try to answer I question that I recently received about inserting  and adjusting photos into a blog post. I've always struggled with getting the photos WHERE I want them, with having them the desired size, and with moving them once I have them in place. Well, it seems to me that recently Blogger has made some improvements in the process which make it all much easier and move successful.

Now, you just choose the little picture icon to the right of the work "Link" on the toolbar at the top of the post box. Once you select it, you see a box that asks you where you are getting the photo from on your computer. Choose "Browse", find the location (I usually put it on the desktop for easy retrieval but it can be in a folder anyone on your hard drive) and select 1 or more photos. Once you see them in the window as an image (or images), then--making sure you have your cursor where you want the image to be in your post window--say "OK" in the photo upload window.

Hopefully, once you select OK, your chosen image will pop right in place in your post. Then, you can click on the image and it will bring up a bar at the bottom of the image that allows you to pick size (small, medium, or large) and placement (left, center, or right). You can do this with one photo at a time if you have multiple images to insert, just making sure that you're working with the one that (in my program, on my computer) has a light yellow frame around it in the upload window.

If the photo isn't in the right place, it now seems much easier to "grab" it  so that it has the handles showing in the corners and to move it to the desired spot in your post window.

Maybe all I've done is confused you, but maybe that will help in working with the insertion of photos into your own blog posts. Good luck and good blogging! Let me know if you have more questions about the process.

Dear Bleaders (to quote Julie from "Julia/Julie")

Dear Blog Readers aka "Bleaders":

Sorry I've left you hanging this long about whether Sherry and/or Clementine reigned victorious at the Madera Ag Show 2009. Well, actually neither of them was totally victorious, but I feel that it was a serious triumph in that they both were accepted into the show AND they both received an award. I am happy to report that Sherry received a second in the "Vines" category and Clementine received a third in the "Citrus" category. Let's hear it for Sherry and Clementine----yeah!

Thank you all for asking about them and those of you who saw them at the show last night, thank you for your kind compliments and for enjoying them in the spirit of fun and enjoyment in which they were created.

I've now twittered, facebooked, blogged and slept in (NOT in that order!) so I need to get back to the closet cleaning so that I can move on to the creating. More soon--

Figureatively speaking (pun intended!)--


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What to Do?

I'm in a quandry. I have been reading a lot about how to improve my blog. The reason that I'm in a quandry is that I am not attracting followers in the droves that some other people do.

Blogs are intended to do at least one of 3 things: 
                                   ENTERTAIN or 

I can only assume that people are not following my blog because I am failing to be informative enough or entertaining enough or inspiring enough. So, which one do I really aim to do on this blog? That is an excellent question. I know that sometimes I strive to inform you about how I do things and/or why and sometimes I hope to inspire you with ideas that you may not have thought of before. I rarely seek to entertain you, at least not intentionally.

So, what can I do to gain followers? I am going to have to try to be more informative or more inspiring  and I think that the one that I lean towards most is providing inspiration. My goal in the next few weeks is to provide more inspiration to other artists in the hope that I can attract more regular followers and then have more interaction with them and continue to be inspired (and inspiring!) myself.  I will try to blog about each topic in more depth so that my posts are not so superficial.

I also think that I need to "get out there more" and read and comment on a  lot of other blogs again  and also more actively try to encourage people to read and respond to my blog. There's a fine line between spending time in the studio painting and creating and trying to inspire others to try new things or think about things in a new way by posting about such things here on this blog. Hmmmmmmm.

So much to think about, really. . . .

But at least I have some new thoughts and some new goals and I will try to act on them. For today, I'll show you some photos that may be inspiring to you. Tomorrow evening is the reception for the Madera Ag Show at Circle Gallery on Schnoor Avenue in Madera. My 2 entries were accepted and tomorrow night, we'll find out the results of the judging which took place yesterday.

The first entry is a 3D mannequin named "Clementine", after a type of tangerine. She is entered in the citrus category and here are detail, front, and back views of her.

The second mannequin is called "Sherry", and she is entered in the Vines category because she is about Wine. Here are front and back views of Sherry. The words on her skin are words that apply to both wine and women, much like my painting called "Parallels".

Both mannequins were purchased from the Sierra Vista Gottschalk's store, shortly before it closed it's doors. Both were cleaned, painted, collaged upon, and embellished to personify the category that they were to be entered in.

They were a lot of fun to do though it's a bit harder to collage on a curved, 3 dimensional surface than to work on a flat piece of paper. I used mat medium and super heavy mat medium as the "glue" to attach the magazine scraps and collage and rice paper pieces and then painted, stamped, pinned, sewed and otherwise attached the details. On Clementine, the part that took the most time was beading the 40+ ribbons that make up the asymmetrical "skirt" and "sleeve". I spent a lot of time considering the design and the balance. Actually, I employed everything I know about the principles and elements of design in executing these 2 creatively unusual pieces.

Hopefully, I've said something to inform you and to inspire you in this post. The bottom line is: Don't be afraid to try anything that you can conceive of as a possibility. Explore! Experiment! Play! Have fun! And enjoy the final product! 

In conclusion, I have made 2 other women--Candy, because she is pink and sweet--and Florence, because she is covered with flowers. My intent is to make (sew) an apron to go with each of the 4 women and the apron will accompany them when they leave my home and go to someone else's. These women can be purely decorative and artistic elements or they can hold an item of clothing or jewelry. In any case, I've loved creating them and carrying them through to completion. I look forward to doing more--hopefully, one for "Nudes in November" at Chris Sorensen's Studio on South Van Ness in Fresno.

Onward and Upward! Sparkle and Shine! Celebrate Creativity on a daily basis. . . .and "Live Art!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Show at Allard's Art on Blackstone

Well, the Allard's show is up--14 full sheets and 4 quarter sheets--and I am very pleased with how it looks. Mike and Sheryl did a fantastic job hanging it. I went on Saturday morning to set up for my demonstration (which I never really did at all because I spent the time talking to people instead) and was available between 11 AM and 3 PM.

I always wake up the day of a demo or workshop and think: "What if no one comes?" That never materializes, thank goodness, but there weren't a lot of people visiting on Saturday. Not a lot of the people that I thought might come by anyway--but there were several new people that I had time to really chat with and a couple of people that I reconnected with from years past. So, all in all, it was a really nice, relaxed day with a few sales and hope for more during and after the show. I really do it more for the exposure and the opportunity to show my work as a "body of work" than for the actual sales.

After Allard's, we (Roy and I and fellow artist and friend Patrick Lacey) went "up the hill" to Oakhurst for the Sierra Art Trails preview exhibit. It was a lot of fun--tons of artists, beautiful art, wonderful food, music by the Eva Scow Trio, and good company. Someone made a Margarita Key Lime cheescake with raspberries that was to die for! (A whole weeks worth of Weight Watchers points in the one piece most likely, but I suffered through it. :))

More photos soon, I hope--a very busy and fun Saturday was had by all, I think!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday Evening

 Well, things are moving right along! I have the 2 mannequins, Clementine and Sherry,  on the dining room table, ready for their ride to the Circle Gallery in Madera tomorrow. I also have almost all 16 paintings cleaned, labeled and ready to go to Allard's on Thursday. I have 2 to finish framing tonight because I just picked them up from the photographer this afternoon. They are "Cheers!" and "Siren Song" and I showed you a quick snapshot of them before but tonight I will post the professional photo of each of them and also of "Angel Dance."

These are numbers 3, 4, and 5 in my ongoing series of the same 3 women. The first 2 were "Parallels" (terms that apply to both wine and women) and "Be Ribboned", about Friendship.

So, here they are--thanks to Aaron Mullins at Mullins Editions in Old Town Clovis. I can't link to his website at the moment because he is making some changes in his studio and business contact information now that his dad, photographer Paul Mullins, has moved to a studio in downtown Fresno. The contact info at the bottom of my blog will still get you to Aaron. I highly recommend him. He does excellent work and is willing to take the time to work closely with artists seeking quality giclee reproductions.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Happy Labor Day to all! Kathleen's September Newsletter

I hope some of you took the day off and didn't labor at all. I did a lot of "odds and ends" and tried to get paintings ready to take to Allard's Art on Thursday. I need about 16 and I'm getting close to being ready for the month that they will be there. I will be demonstrating there next Saturday, September 12th, from 11AM till 3 PM. More details of upcoming events in a moment. . . . I'll see if I can attach a copy of my current September newsletter that I just sent out.

If it appears as a small image above this post, you should be able to double click on it and see a much larger version of it. Plus you should also be able to print it out for reference. Try it and let me know if it works or not.

I hope to see you this month at one or more of the events I am involved with. If you shop at Trader Joe's on Blackstone in Fresno, just walk in next door to Allard's between September 11th and October 6th and see the show. Then, email me and let me know what you thought and which painting(s) you like best and why. We always love feedback!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Newest Painting and Latest Adventure

The painting above is called "In the Name of the Rose" and it's one I started at the workshop I went to in January in San Jose. I stayed with Grace and we went together. The images in the painting were inspired by the icons at the Rosecrucian Museum which was directly across the street from the middle school where the workshop was held. The painting started out all bright pinks and oranges but then later I "punched" it up with layers of glazes which really changed the whole feeling of the piece. I let it sit for quite a while before I finished it because I wasn't thrilled with it,  but now, I like it much better though I'm not sure it has an adequate warm or cool dominance. It's pretty evenly split, at the moment, though it looks a little different in person.

If you have been to the Rosecrucian Museum in the not too distant past, you may recognize the (ever-present on the grounds) banana plant, the figure from the top of the fountain (lower left corner of the painting), the columns and their toppers, the Moorish arch, the ram's horn from the statues out front of the museum, the Friendship Garden gate (in the lower right corner, with many small geometric shapes) and other figures that I may have forgotten to list. I did enter the painting last week at the ACA show at Chris Sorensen's studio and it got a 3rd place in the Mixed Media category.

Well, I need to get back to work on my latest adventure. I'm using up 10 inch square plexi pieces to make some small stacked paintings. Really fun! But a challenge when you're painting or drawing on each of 4-6-8 sides because it's so easy to get things upside down or backwards. I'll get better once I've done a few more. I think they will be nice small pieces for SAT which will be here long before we are all ready for it. The preview reception is on Saturday, September 12th in the evening.