Sunday, December 19, 2010

Angel Anthology - Week Four - Finished!

Our final week of the online Angel Anthology class we added more color and any finishing touches…

This is Fleur de Lis Angel… Week Four….

I have had these great beaded pieces for ever… We were supposed to use items that we had collected… instead of leaving them in drawers and packed away we were actually urged to use them in this Anthology.

I did not want any paint on them so I had to work around everything and add them at the end.

This is the Angel of Love… Week Four…

I added her crown and some accents of color. I felt she needed something in her arms so I found these flowers and thought they looked appropriate.

Thank you to Crescendoh Creative Lab and to Pam Carriker... I enjoyed the class immensely. It pushed me to try different techniques than I am used to and I met some new online art friends in the process.

I hope you enjoyed watching the creation of my angels over the past month. I wish everyone a blessed and safe Christmas. Enjoy this time with the Angels in your life..


Another Check on the Bucket List....

In an earlier post I shared the Christmas stockings that my Mother had knit for my husband, myself and the "kids" (the 4 legged variety) we had at that time. When my daughter was born my Mom was in the the mid stages of Alzheimer's disease. There was no way that she was going to be able to knit stockings for our kids (the 2 legged variety).  I never really learned how to knit well so I had the brilliant idea that I would cross-stitch stockings. 

This is my Daughter's... 

It took me 4 years to finish...

When my son was born I had to complete the tradition that I had started. I really do not remember when I started to cross-stitch his. I think he was old enough to point in a book to which design he liked. Well, he is now 10 and I was determined to finish his stocking this year.

Ta Dah....
It is complete... I can cross this off my bucket list. Two kids... two stockings... When I was diagnosed  I worried about who I would ask to finish his stocking for me. Well that is one worry I can cross off... God knows I have a ton of others to take its place... but I can not wait for Santa to fill up His stocking... made by his Mom... with Love...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Angel Anthology - Week Three

Week Three was hard for me… I do not particularly like to draw faces. I do not know why… maybe it is because I have to concentrate too much!

This is Fleur de Lis Angel… Week Three….

I drew my first face and then drew a few others. I ended up with my first one, but I just had to play around with the scale of her head. I added her arms. It was a little tricky because I have these beautiful beaded wings that I want to use but I do not want to paint over them so I had to create her arms but not really have the wings in front of her arms.

Next we were supposed to start adding some color. The modeling paste is a very different surface than I am used to working on. I do like how the color gets into the grooves of the modeling paste though. I darken up her dress and rubbed color into the “Fleur” and a slight whitewash over her face. I like when other artists whitewash their work to give it that shabby chic look, but it is not my usual style so I had a hard time with that.

This is the Angel of Love… Week Three…

I wanted this angel looking up, I asked my daughter to model for me so I could have a visual to draw from. After I took the picture I liked how the coloring worked with the dress. I asked her permission to use her in my piece. Hey it saved me from having to draw another face…arghhh…
In the photo, her hair was cut off abruptly, so I used another copy of the photo and cut more hair.

I started to add color… still no whitewash… but I used ecru and raw umber and some alizarin crimson to built up my color layers.

I have finished both angels and I will share them soon...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Angel Anthology - Week Two

This week we added the body and wings…
This is Fleur de Lis Angel… Week Two….

I wanted this angel to be facing toward the viewer. Her dress is this great paper that I have… but the paper was white so I made a cup of tea and dyed it to get this color. I loved the texture that it gives her dress. I used a small piece of bamboo reed for her neckline.

This is the Angel of Love… Week Two…

I wanted this angel to be sideways to the viewer. This was also some great textured paper that I have.. It was Kraft paper brown. I added of one my favorite colors… alizarin crimson as well as some ecru. I have a few boxes of “Tindra” that I purchased from IKEA long ago. When I pulled out the boxes the colors were perfect. I used these to create her wings and her arms.

I saved bits and pieces of old toys that were either broken or the kids did not play with anymore. Her collar or neckpiece is from GI Joe’s ammunition… I thought the juxtaposition of weapons and angels was interesting.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Past... Passed Down...

This weekend we decorated for Christmas. I love the Holidays and decorating for them. Sometimes I wish I was Bewitched and could just wiggle my nose and it would be done… it is a lot of work. But I love when I unpack the boxes and unwrap the various decorations… some old… very old and some new.

When my Mom died I inherited most of the decorations that were part of my Christmases growing up. There are antique ornaments, painted ornaments that she had a fellow teacher paint for each one of us. Tiny plastic angel ornaments that I can remember hanging on the tree when I was little. A fun little wooden “choir” that we would place on the built-in shelves in our living room.

There are so many memories in these old decorations.

My Mother and my Aunt RoRo were both very crafty… Aunt RoRo loved photography and ceramics, she had a kiln in her cellar. She made these ceramic trees… the year 1967 is engraved on the inside of the tree.

I used to love this little Santa. He is not homemade but I can remember loving to hold him when he came out of the box for the Holidays.

My Mom made this Barber Shop Quartet… out of Reader’s Digests!! It has to be over 40 years old which is pretty amazing that it has held up to the test of time and a cross country move.

My Mom also loved to knit and crochet… she was very talented in this area too. Many times she did not even need a pattern. She crocheted my sister’s wedding gown and all of the blouses that the bridesmaids wore.

When I got married she knit these stocking for us… and then for the dog and cat when they were added to the family…Duke was our first dog, so Mario gets to use his stocking… I am sure the Dog Therapists would have something to say about that but thankfully Mario can not read.

One of the decorations she made later in her life was this Noel Train. I am not sure if my Aunt made the ceramic forms and my Mom painted it but I know it is her painting. She could do a lot with paint. In fact when she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s… before we really knew what was happening she had left something on the burner in her kitchen. I think grease had splattered on the wall behind her stove. One day I noticed these beautiful flowers were painted on the wall… when I questioned her she just said that she had to cover a few stains!!!

All of these decorations and ornaments will pass down to my children and hopefully they will remember the stories I tell about the decorations and the person behind them as we decorate each Holiday.

I have also made and purchased ornaments and decorations over the course of my life and I hope that they will think of me as time passes on too. My sister and one of my friends use to cross-stitch. I enjoyed crewel work but I never did needlepoint or cross-stitch. We used to go on vacation with this friend, so one year I bought a small kit and she taught me how to stitch. I really learned to enjoy stitching and especially on the perforated paper. I started making cross-stitch Santa’s. They were small and I would bring them with me as I would wait for my Daughter at dance class… or at the Doctor’s office etc.

I kind of went  a little overboard with the Santa‘s… 

I have made 51 to date as well as some elves, angels, snowmen. 

I know I still have a bunch of kits that I have not even started yet. I love these Santa’s. My hope is that we enjoy them now… my kids share them and enjoy them when I am gone and they pass them down to their children so they can share in the wonder of Christmas decorations, family, love and memories…

Friday, December 3, 2010

An Angel Anthology - Week One

Awhile back I blogged about Jenny Doh and the new venture that she left her Editor Post at Stampington & Company to start.  Well the company, Crescendoh, is formed, the website is up and now there is an additional benefit: Crescendoh Creative Lab. I joined the Creative Lab and signed up for my first online class with Pam Carriker. "An Angel’s Anthology". The class was four weeks long… in fact we just finished our last online lesson. I did pretty well up to week 3 and now I have fallen behind a bit… but I will finish.

I thought I would give a sneak peek over the next week or so… this may also help me to finish them up.

I have been working on finishing a cross-stitch Christmas stocking that I literally started about 9 years ago… I am so close… so close to finishing. But back to the Angels:

I chose to work on two at a time. I wanted one with more muted colors and then the other with more of my color palette.

The class is about creating with the ephemera that we as artists have collected over time… and actually using them in our art!

This is or will be... "Fleur de Lis Angel"… Week One:

This is or will be..."Angel of Love"… Week One:

Let me know what you think as I progress....

Monday, November 29, 2010

All Buttoned Up!

Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine sent out a call for submissions… This time the topic was “All Buttoned Up”. They wanted our best buttoned-up piece of art…

My first idea was to paint a background heart in watercolor and then fill the entire heart with buttons….

Once I had the background painted and my buttons laid out, it just was not looking like what I had envisioned in my mind… Has that ever happened to you? You have this idea… but when you try to make it come to fruition it just does not seem to have the same impact.

So I put it to the side and started again.

This time I started with a watercolor/ink painted background. 

I have been playing around with this idea of weaving the paper… so I used a deckle ruler instead of hand tearing like I normally do. 

I created somewhat even strips and then wove them together..

Once I was happy with how they were woven together I glued the back to keep them in line.  

I played around with the direction that I wanted my heart to be.

I tore the edges to create my heart.

I had glued torn tissue paper to watercolor paper for the background. I love tissue paper. You can build color by layers…
I adhered my heart to the background and let it dry thoroughly.

Once I decided I liked this idea better I selected the buttons that I wanted from my original piece and sewed them on the edges of the heart.

I present “you have my love all buttoned up”

original is 10" x 10"

Here are a few close ups...

close up at the top left

 close up of  heart bottom

It was not selected for publication…

The good news in that is I can now offer prints on Etsy… it is also available in Gallery Wrapped Giclees and the original is available too!!

Who has your love all buttoned up?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

I am thankful for my health...
I am thankful for my husband and kids...
I am thankful that they are healthy too...
I am thankful for my extended family....
I am thankful that they are also healthy....
I am thankful for my friends…
I wish they would all have good health…

Happy Thanksgiving….
surround yourself with love, family and friends this Holiday Season and always...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Old Tricks...

There is the old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”.  This old dog can learn and has had to learn some new tricks in life but this old dog has also learned that some of the old tricks are still the best.

I started taking drafting in high school… T-square and triangle on this horrible green paper that if you made a mistake and tried to erase it your past mistakes were even more visible… or you ended up with a hole!! Cams and Gears… I loved drawing those… then on to architectural drafting with Mr. Nichol. Now we were getting somewhere. Line quality…lettering quality… learning the tricks to sharpening mechanical pencil lead. Plan views, elevations, perspective this is what I wanted to do.

When I went to Parsons I purchased a drafting table… I think it was one of the things that John (see last post) helped me put in his little Honda Civic and drive to my dorm room near Union Square Park… back when they told us not to walk through the park… bit I digress….

It was the big time now… no more t-square and triangle… now it was a Mayline Parallel edge. Oh My God… how did I draw with a T-square all of this time!!!
It was a breeze.. Line up your paper…now using vellum… drafting dots… another great invention… and away you go. Line weight was important. Lettering was important. My instructors would say…”if you can letter you can get a job anywhere”. Mastering rapidograph pens. One of my instructors would say the smokers had an advantage over the non-smokers with inks. His theory was that the smokers ink would smear less because they would draw a line and then take a puff of their cigarette while the ink would dry…  I chose to learn patience instead of starting to smoke!

My board came back upstate with me after college and was set up in the spare room of our first apartment when we got married. If I had to work at night it was ready. When my husband was in college and then in the advertising industry he had acquired many drafting boards. When we bought our first home we had a little studio set up in the basement… with our boards and art supplies and our nieces would come down and create with us.
As CAD… computer aided drafting… became more popular… drafting by hand was going by the wayside. At that point in my career I was managing designers so I had to learn about CAD but was not drafting my own designs… or if I was I was still drafting by hand. When I was designing Healthcare… we worked with an architectural firm who produced the CAD drawings so again I did not have to learn AutoCAD.

In our next home we renovated the attic and it became our closet and studio space. My board was the lucky one to be set up.  In 2003, when we moved to the West Coast we had to make some decisions about what would be moving with us. We sold so much… thank you EBay and some great garage sales. But my board came with us. In our home here we had 3 bedrooms and no basement or attic. So the board was stashed in the garage. I could not part with it.

Now as a designer looking for work in California I HAD to learn AutoCAD. I took a class and was hired… as a Senior Project Manager. No more hand production drawings. This old dog had to learn new tricks. I hated CAD. The way you field measured was different if you were drawing the plans by hand as opposed to inputting in CAD.  I have to admit as much as I hated CAD it does have its advantages. When you make a change, it is easier… different people can work on the drawings and you can not tell by drawing style. Make a change and replot the drawing… no erasures… no holes… BUT there was a beauty to hand drawings that we have lost with AutoCAD. Most new designers don’t know how to letter… don’t know line weight… sometimes not even how to sketch. It is a lost art…

When we moved to our current home and we had room for a studio… my board came out of the garage. 

  Over time the board cover had gotten dirty and had some cuts in it. The Mayline was intact but I had lost a knob and the wire was kinked and loose. I thought about buying a whole new Mayline… but they are expensive and mine had sentimental value. So I went online… another “new” trick that we did not have back in the 80’s… found a company that sold “parts”. I bought a new Vyco board cover… cleaned up my Mayline and restrung a new cable… Voila…

 I LOVE IT… if I need to strike a quick line… done…. a few parallel lines… done…perpendicular lines… done… it brings both me and my husband back to a different time… when drafting was drawing… so this old dog has learned and is still learning new tricks but I love being able to use the old tricks... sometimes... their the best....

Friday, November 12, 2010

What would have been?

What would have been? I still wonder after 18 years. Would we still be friends? How often would we see each other, especially now that we live on the West Coast. Would they have stayed married? Would they have had children? What contributions would they have made to the world?

Eighteen years later and I miss her and her husband. I am speaking of my college roommate and her husband. Heather and John.

I arrived to my dorm room with my stuff in tow… already to find out that she had gotten there first and claimed her side of the room. My Mom ad I went about our business and eventually she showed up with her boyfriend, John. She was from Overland Park, Kansas. John was from the Bronx. They had met when John’s Dad was transferred to Kansas for a few years. John’s family had moved back to NY and Heather had gone to school for a year in Texas. She missed John so she transferred to Parsons… to get an education and to be closer to him. We became fast friends… I have written before that we were both Gemini’s, came with some of the exact same clothes in our suitcases. This was before the schools so nicely let you know who your room mate was going to be before school started! We were both in the same program, had most of the same classes and had a great time. When she and John would go out I would have some time to myself and John had a car so when I needed to pick something up that was too hard to carry on the Subway or expensive to put in a cab… John would be our driver. When my then boyfriend and now husband would visit we would go on double dates. Going to school in New York was great… so much design and art all around us. It was the early 80’s and the one bad thing about that time was people were starting to die… for no apparent reason at that time. So many creative people, mostly gay, at that time were dying and people did not know why.

After college, we both started working as Interior Designers. I moved back upstate and got married. Heather stayed in New York City. She and John moved in with each other. On July 12, 1986 they got married. L and I went to the wedding… on a yacht that cruised around Manhattan. 

They would come up and visit us in Buffalo and we would visit them in the City. In the Fall of 1989, L and I went to New York for Designer’s Saturday. It was a trade show and the furniture and fabric showrooms would open their doors and show new products. We were trying to arrange a time to meet up with both Heather and John, yet we were getting the run around. John was not feeling well and he did not want to come out to dinner. We offered to go see him at their apartment. No… that was not going to work. Finally Heather said she was going to meet us alone. I remember that night… like it was last night. We were sitting in a restaurant in the Grand Hyatt… we were probing about why John did not want to see us and what was really going on. Heather then said she had something to tell us. “John and I”… I thought for sure it was going to be…. Are getting divorced…. After I heard what she said I wish that divorce was what she had told us…but instead we heard… “have AIDS.” AIDS… how can you have AIDS? Our heads were spinning. She went on to tell us that John had contracted it a few years earlier and probably passed it to her around their wedding time. He was not really even sure where he contracted it.. Or from whom. John was full blown AIDS when diagnosed but Heather was HIV. It was one of those moments that you play back in your head… that you can not believe… that you wish you could rewind the tape and change the ending.

I got a call the following week… John had died on October 28, 1989. I went to his funeral… A young handsome guy… dead at 27.

Heather went on to be an advocate for HIV/AIDS.

In the face of adversity and despite the stigma associated with this disease, Heather accepted her plight and became a voice for women living with AIDS. Instead of hiding her disease, Heather chose to educate anyone who would listen to her message that “AIDS is everyone’s disease.” She was instrumental in forming an AIDS support group for women as there was no other resource of this type available. Heather was a voice that needed to be heard and she carried her message far. She was featured in a Japanese Women’s magazine, the New York Times, Interviewed on CNN and also on NBC’s “A Closer Look”. To quote Heather, “I want to let everyone know how easily AIDS can invade the life of an average person like me… how it can hit regardless of sex, race, class, nationality or environment. I want to tell them that if they get AIDS, they shouldn’t give up.. They must gain control of their lives… to live with AIDS not die with AIDS.”
(The above was from her memorial eulogy)
Heather lived for 3 more years… working right up until the end. I got the call 18 years ago… I was at work and a friend of hers called me to say that she had not been feeling well… she was having a hard time breathing. She went to the hospital and died shortly after that. At 31.

I went to New York for her memorial service and said my good-byes. Two friends gone within 3 years. Eighteen years later you have to wonder how much longer would they have lived now. HIV is not the death sentence that it once was. Thank goodness for science and for those that unfortunately had to die for the rest to live.

I miss Heather. I think about her often. She was one of those friends that will always hold a special place in my heart.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HeArts all around....

I have always loved hearts. When I started to follow Kelly Rae Roberts I found out that she loves hearts too. She found hearts in nature. Not that I did not notice hearts in nature... but I sure did not notice them as much as I did before she enlightened me. Look around... I mean really look... once you start it is hard to stop... I took these in all one day with the exception of the clouds...

Today my daughter taught me how to put my hearts into this mosaic in Photoshop. I Love it! So look... really look and notice the love there is all around you... it is really fun...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stand Alone...

This is the third and final piece that I submitted to the Cloth, Paper, Scissors 2011 Artisan search.

One day my daughter and I were talking about life. She asked me for a quote and I came up with this little piece of advice, as I have felt this way most of my life. “Sometimes you must stand alone in the world….and be okay with it.” I chose to depict the quote using a palm tree… they just stand alone in the world in all of their glory… they give me the courage to stand alone when I need to and most importantly to be okay with it….

This method of collage I start with an all black canvas and then tear found papers to create my image. Acrylic paints fill in the background color.

cover a canvas with black gesso...

hand torn magazine pages....

coarse pumice gel medium to create the sand...

quote printed onto a magazine page and found papers for the clouds...

acrylic paint background and "magazine" bird
Prints of this piece were just added to my Etsy shop and Gallery Wrapped Giclees and the original are available...


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