Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Sparkle and Shine!"

The title is a saying of Shiela Boyd's and I hope she doesn't mind my using it as my post title for today. I am SO EXCITED to have fairly successfully updated the look of my blog. I added a new background called "Fairy Dust" and a new header that I did myself using Photoshop Elements more successfully than I am usually able to. Yippee Doo! :)

It feels nice to have a new look, rather like getting a new hair style after looking the same way for a long time. I never had a background other than just the plain black before but I find "Fairy Dust" just glitzy and sparkly enough for my taste. And I loved "Juicy" as my header but it was just stuck there in the middle of the space, rather obtrusively and rather badly. This header uses "And the Ring, Please?" more successfully I think and I plan to change the header photo periodically. Now I just need more followers! I have 16, which is wonderful, but I should have more than that by now. If you are reading this blog and you'd like to receive notification when it's updated and have your photo (Facebook profile photo, blogger photo or ???) shown as a follower, please scroll down the right hand sidebar until you see the Followers area and join me as a follower here on "Mixed Messages." And maybe you know someone else who would like to follow me also. Let me know, if that's the case. And I thank you profusely for doing that! :)

I  have 112 Fan Page fans on my Facebook Fan Page so I think I should be able to do better than 16 followers on my blog. I try not to post the same info both places although my blog posts are linked to Facebook and my posts are linked to Twitter. Everything is becoming nicely interconnected and I am becoming more technologically proficient by the day. Now if I could just master Photoshop Elements and Twitter, I'd be feeling pretty good about it all. On the other hand, I just heard of another social networking application called "Google Wave" that I've never heard of before yesterday. Oh, well. . . . onward and upward. Maybe tomorrow I'll check it out and see what other mischief there is to get into. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Busy Day Yesterday. . . at the Art Stand Tent Event

Each fall, we have an event at The Art Stand Gallery called "The Tent Event". The Art Stand Gallery is a cooperative gallery on the Blossom Trail in the fruit and wine country outside the small town in the Central Valley of California where I live. There are 14 artists involved and we do 4 special events each year. Yesterday was our annual "Tent Event" where we set up our tents (to attract attention) outside and had a special sale with refreshments and demonstrations all day.

Yesterday, the day opened with unseasonably early FOG but it soon cleared. The day was gorgeous, bordering on a bit too warm at times in the sun--but a really beautiful day. We set up and started at 11 AM and had quite a busy day, with a lot of visitors and lots of visiting. Our "fans" came to see us and chat, Sally did quick gestural sketches and watercolor portraits, Tiwi threw pots on her wheel all day, Kay G. polished silver and beaded, Deanna and Chieko started watercolor paintings at their tables, and some of us just "smoozed" all day! That would be me, among others! I like to talk to people about my work and answer their questions etc. and get to know them better. I think the personal connection is a really important part of gaining "collectors" of your work and having good sales. I actually had quite a good day, sales-wise, and I certainly had a good day in terms of fun!

I am attaching some photos of my booth and a few others and I will post more information to the Art Stand blog at

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A New Project--Part 2

I next made wings by tearing or cutting pieces of paper doilies and placing them under the body shapes. You could also use rice paper or fabric or lace--anything you like that makes you think of wings and that will glue down fairly flat. Once all the paper pieces were glued down, I let everything dry. Next, I used a very thin wash of white gesso and water to "soften" some of the very stark areas--just dilute the gesso and brush over random areas, lightly. I used a bit of red watercolor at this point to enhance a few other areas and add a little color to the white/black/gold pallette used on all 3 hangings.

Let it all dry again and then spatter lightly with thin mixed black watercolor or black gesso and a toothbrush to unify the whole tiny project. Not too much, just a little spatter here and there.

Once dry, I began the fun part of embellishing with line work done in gold gel pen. Just some random scribbles, outlining some of the checks in gold and so on. And I signed each piece with a fine line black pen in an inobtrusive place.

Dry again! And then coat each piece with a protective finish of some sort, such as mat or gel medium, spray varnish, or some top coat. I wanted to try out some new finishes so I did one in clear gesso, one in matt varnish (brush on), and one with a self-leveling gel top coat. Each turned out different--the self-leveling gel was shiny, but not a very smooth hard finish as I had expected. Maybe it needs more coats. The mat varnish is a nice, dull finish and the clear gesso is just a clear, non-shiny effect. I think I like the mat varnish best, but it is also the one that smeared the red areas the most and that's both good and bad.

When they are all done and dry,  photograph each one; scan each one and save on the computer so you can make cards etc. of them, if desired; and make a label for the back of each one with your contact information etc. Mine will be labelled "Checked Chicks 1, 2, and 3" so I have a record of them as I create them.

I'm not sure what I'll charge for each one, but I'm thinking in the $20-25 range. Would you pay that much for one? They are now officially for sale, I guess, but I do want to keep them until after December 12th.

Their good points? Small, portable, don't take up much wall or surface space--and their legs, feet, hands etc. are quite humorous! Check out the tennis shoes and gym socks on the
one to the right!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A New Project--Part 1

At Sierra Art Trails, Julie Mitchell and I talked more about a little workshop/demo session that we are going to do at Willowbridge Bookstore in Oakhurst in December. We did one there before and decided we want to make the next one much better. The first time, I planned to do a little collage demo and Julie planned to do a little make-it/take-it of paper clay faces. Well, of course, people wanted to do the make-it/take it, me included! So, next time we are going to do an interactive session together,  with each of us doing a part of the presentation/demonstration.

Julie will do the faces, hands, and feet and I will do the bodies and backgrounds. Our participants will  make a card or a little wall hanging.  I have been experimenting with some ideas for the bookstore session and here is what I have come up with so far. I'm sure Julie is doing the same in her studio in Coarsegold and once we both have some samples made, we'll coordinate our efforts in the final planning for the December afternoon.

First, I cut some old mat board scraps into 5 X 7 inch rectangles. The board was gold on one side (the front) and white on the other side (the back). I decided to work on 3 at once so I cut them, colored the edges with a black Sharpie pen, put a black ribbon loop on the back with double-sided tape, and then covered the back with a piece of scrapbook paper, applied with a glue stick. I had to do a little touch-up of the edge with the Sharpie when I was done.

 After the boards were prepared, I started looking through magazines ("Oprah!" is one of my favorites) for pieces to use for heads/faces and for bodies. Here are photos of the 3 faces that I clipped out.

This photo shows the prepared boards with the cut-outs selected for the bodies--which are clock or watch faces--and the 3 heads.

In this photo, I laid down a body and a face on background and I also added some checks with a stamp pad and permanent ink, plus a piece of drywall tape to the lower left corner of the piece with the black and white stylized head. They will be glued down with a glue stick, once I have added some wings behind each figure--so they can be angels, though that isn't a necessity.

I decided that all of these little hangings will have a woman, some words, and some checks in them so that I can call them "Checked Chicks" or "Chick Checks" or some such. Working in a series appeals to me, and doing 3 at once means that I can think in similar terms for a period of time and be looking for similar things to cut out etc. I can also use the same materials for a little while and experiment with the same pallette, same supplies and same techniques on all 3 pieces. If I am trying out a new medium or a new technique, I have more than 1 opportunity to get it right, before it's all over for the day, so to speak!

That concludes Part 1 of the small project--Part 2 will soon follow!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sierra Art Trails 2009

The big Open Studio Weekend is behind us for another year, but I must say that this year's event was my most successful to date. I have participated for 5 years, though I took last year off so that I could go to the other studios, and 2009 was by far my best sales year yet. It was wonderful to see old friends, make new friends, visit with other artists, and get motivated and rejuvenated with many new ideas. Now I am going to get back to serious painting and trying to get back on track in terms of meeting my goals for 2009.

Those of you who came yesterday--Thanks so much!! And thanks, too, to fellow artists Julie Mitchell, Ellen Carnese, and Valerie Runningwolf for a great 2 days. Special thanks to Julie for her hospitality and inviting the 3 of us to join her at her studio. Visit her at her blog and see her wonderful spirit figures.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dueling Photographers

Julie and I playing around with "dueling cameras" at a quiet (?) moment during Day 1 of Sierra Art Trails 2009. We were being silly, maybe because we were tired after all the preparation, the set up and an intense day of talking to LOTS of people. I will include some other photos and try to write more and show more photos after tomorrow.

The weather was fabulous, the guests were wonderful, and there were LOTS of people on the trail today.