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!


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!


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:

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!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Jumping for Joy, here at "Mixed Messages" ART!

A new and exciting development on this gloomy, rainy January Saturday. The week before last, I spent a very wonderful afternoon with Laura Sidsworth, a writer for the Kings River Life Magazine, published by Lorie Lewis Ham. The magazine comes out every Saturday, and I am featured in today's issue and will also be featured in a part two, next Saturday. I guess that proves what some people say--that I DO talk a lot! This is the link and if you click on it, you will see the article.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A new and exciting development!

I just found out that Laura Fraedrich, a wonderful local ceramic artist and teacher is going to use my Artist Inspiration Cards as her inspiration for 52 weeks of clay tiles. :) I am so happy to hear this news and eager to follow her work throughout the year. This is a link to her blog post where you can read all about it.

This is some of Laura's recent work--

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2016--a New Year starting off with a New Project!

Hello to all and Best Wishes for a tremendous year in 2016!

Last year I did Leslie Saeta's "30 Paintings in 30 Days" in January 2015. All the paintings I did were around the theme of my small central California small town, Sanger. They ranged in size from very small (5" square) to 12" X 40". I had a great month doing them and I've enjoyed them in the gallery all year. Quite a few of the 30 are sold but some still remain.

I have decided to do the challenge again this year, but I'm calling it "31 Paintings in 31 Days for $31". The focus or theme is "Symbols and Signs" and will feature symbols that are used in art and religion in many different cultures. The five universal signs are the circle, square, triangle, equilateral triangle, and the spiral. I will use these 5 and 26 more in the work I do this January. They will all be small--8" square, matted and framed, with a 5" painted/stamped/collaged-and-more image. I will be selling them mounted to 8" square, but not framed. Buyers can easily pop them into an 8" square frame of their choice. This will allow me to sell each original painting for $31 plus tax so if you see one that you want, please comment "SOLD" and I will hold it for you. I will be keeping all of the paintings until they are photographed and then the buyers will be contacted for payment and pick up.

So, in a nutshell, that's the project for the month. Each day, the photo for the day is uploaded to Leslie Saeta's website which is In the menu bar, you will see "30 in 30" and that is where you will find each day's paintings. There are hundreds of people from all over the world participating this year and the art is varied by medium, techniques, and subject matter.

I started preparations for the project a few days ago by cutting watercolor paper to 5" squares and gelli-printing each square with colors/patterns. This way, I won't have to do all the steps every day and I can quite easily do each day's project without it taking ALL day. I still have to do all the normal things I do at the gallery--create, order, clean, help customers, teach lessons etc.--so I have to make the painting a day project both realistic and doable, as well as inspiring. Here are the backgrounds--about 15 of them at least.

Another thing that I did in preparation for beginning the project was to pick out the 31 symbols that I plan to use. I used a couple of books and some online articles to help me decide and I made a list on my computer. I also picked a word for each symbol after reading about each one. I didn't want to duplicate any words so this took some time for research and thinking of synonyms. I also decided on a color scheme for each card, trying to cover all the colors of the rainbow fairly evenly, thinking ahead to what I have in mind for the final "product".

Ultimately, I plan to make a set of large playing-type cards, commercially printed, with the symbols on the front and colorful, textured backs in the colors of the rainbow. I always try to think of how I want the project to be used as I work through the steps leading up to that finished end result.

Here is the list of symbols, words, and color schemes next to the backgrounds. I was ready to BEGIN!

Backgrounds and my working list

I picked 4 squares to begin with. I chose the Tree of Life (because I had an obvious background to use for it),  Heart, Ivy, and Crown.

Here they are in their early stages.
They are on top of pages of the symbol dictionary located in the back of the book "Signs & Symbols: Identification and analysis of the visual vocabulary that formulates our thoughts and dictates our reactions to the world around us" by Mark O'Connell and Raje Airey.

I usually work on 3-4 small pieces at a time because that allows adequate drying time for the watercolors, glue, and ink as I move from one piece to another and back again. So, this batch of four was the first of what will be 31 by the the end of January. They will all be mixed media pieces and the final form of the project will be matted (actually, double mounted) 8" X 8" squares, ready to frame in 8" square frames. Photos of the 31 pieces will be used to make a set of oversized "cards" (numbered from 1-31) with colorful backs. They are intended to be used for inspiration or motivation or decoration for each day of any month. These cards can be used by anyone wishing to use them and they can develop their own uses for them. I provide the beauty and the starting point, YOU provide the final dispensation. :) It's always important, in any form of art, to leave room for the viewer to express themselves in it.

The final pieces will be shown in the next blog posts!