Sunday, January 16, 2011

And So the Prom dress begins-
Today, there was nothing holding Maura back from beginning the long process of making her 2011 Prom dress creation. Here, you can see all the components needed for her latest prom vision. She is getting so much support for this project from family near and wide, friends (as well as our friends) and the local support has been great. Kids at school collect tabs for her, parents (band boosters) collect them from church and resorts, I asked my QUILTART group online and Steve's had friends contribute too. So far, people from 8 states have sent us tabs along with well wishes and support. I'm anxious to see the progress on this dress- there's a lot of work ahead of her - all the ribbon cutting, pinning, weaving, securing ribbon to fabric- all before the dress is actually put together. I hope this works!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Memory seeds-January 2011
Finished my entry for the Spring IQA show which will be in Ohio this year. I'm fairly pleased with the results. I wanted to show a progress of time with a single subject. The idea that a year's worth of enjoyment begins with planting the seeds in the spring. Also, simple pleasures, like posing with the tall flowers is a time honored celebration. I used a photo of my Mother and her Brother taken in the early 20's, to show that aspect.
I wanted to show a more painterly approach, what I call nebulous or atmospheric areas to blend one area into another. I think this was greatly enhanced by doing rust dying on the fabric after one layer of painting. The quilting carries that concept a bit more than it shows in this shot. the quilt is 42 x 56 inches. In some places, the quilting is done like thread painting.
I may see a bit of composition issues, so we'll see how it goes. I hope to mail the application off soon, so I can hit the deadline, but the snow is creating a bit of a problem- I can't get to the PO today.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Home again-
Showing off the cups we got- you can see the two handled white cups on the shelf- Those are the Forever Cups. I'm not sure this is their permanent home, but Steve got some humor from pairing these with the very campy cup Maura got me last year. It was a busy day with me trying to work much harder on my quilt, but had some drying time. So, we took down Christmas and are transitioning into valentine decorations and everyday items up on display. The wooden figure and chair were made by my Grandfather. The shell is one I've had for over 20 years and reminds me of UWF where I graduated. I didn't get far with decorating because I had to take Delaney and some friends to Tangled- so they could write a movie review for their school paper. All in all, a good crowd showed up- 8 students and 2 parents. While we were gone...
Psyche was sleeping in the chair and Bob was trying to get close to her. She is not very friendly at all and especially not towards him. He was fairly close, and then she woke up. I think this might be the closest he's ever gotten to her. You can see how happy she is about it.
One thing that the Forever Cup project has already done was start a conversation about things we have in the house. These are just cups- and we are to keep them forever- and because they were part of an art exhibit, they are to be somewhat elevated in our minds as art objects. But it makes me think (and Steve as well) about family heirlooms and how I know the stories of why they are important, but he does not. In some cases, I know the family story, but not the actual values of the pieces. So, we decided that I should start making a record of things- take photos and write their stories.

Kansas City, day 2- The Kemper art museum
The sculpture above was done by Tom Otterness and is called "crying Giant". When we visited Jane in Indy one time, the city had several of his works placed around so we were able to see several of his works, large and small. The figure reduced to simple shapes and has a element of playfulness that really attracts me. This one reminds me of the Timbertoes cartoons in the Highlight magazines I read at the doctor's office .

So, this is the view of the painting when you are standing about 2-3 ft from it...

And this is what it looks like across the room. By Ed Blackburn from Texas (of course) Imagine collecting enough plaid fabric to make this a quilt.

This is by Larry Rivers- It's canvas mounted on carved foam core board. You can see it has some dimensionality from the front...
But if you walk to the side, you can see it much more clearly. Even the foam boards are different levels, carved in places, stacked in others.
Stephen Scott Young did this painting in watercolor. It is exactly what I'm struggling with in my current quilt- so this piece resonated with me. I was most interested in the way he did the dark smudged background and how he had pencil marks here and there.
The Museum is rather small- actually, it has 3 different locations and I only went to this one. It's very close to the Art Institute and the Nelson-Atkins, so there's little space to expand this location, but it is the hot spot in art for Art. I can see their dilemma. I had just missed the exhibition in one of the galleries (makes sense since I was there to pick up my cup from the end of that exhibit) but it was fun to see them dismantling the rather large metal pieces in the parking lot behind the museum with a blow torch. I should have taken pictures.
Before I went to the Kemper, I spent some of the morning waiting for a ceramic shop to open. The website had them opening at 10, but, after I wasted time walking around the mall (those are so boring and predictable) I drove up to the door where it said 11:00.I couldn't see myself wasting a whole other hour in that area, so I gave up the idea.
On the way home I stopped in Osceola, mo where there's a cheese shop. You can sample any of the different varieties. My favorite is a smoked cheddar with basil and tomatoes. I picked up a Havarti with pesto and then a silly string cheese and sweet butter. All very yummy.

Kansas City, return trip part one

So, I did have a reason to head to Kansas City again- to pick up the cups we got from the "forever" exhibit at the nelson-atkins art museum. But, since i didn't want to drive all the way there and back in one day, I spent the night and was able to poke around to discover something else. I stayed in Independence and decided i wasn't exactly up for a visit to the Presidential stuff (Truman) but I was interested in the Puppet Museum. Here's what I discovered there:
This is a side view of a puppet theater so you can see how it was constructed and how the puppets move onstage.
Here's the theater from the front. As you can see in the background, these came in various sizes and styles and in some casses the puppets were worked from the top. These were on rigid wires.
This is an example of a Hazelle Marionette that talks. There's something I like about these faces- something old fashioned and unlimiting at the same time.
Here's a larger shot of some of the items related to Hazelle puppet company including some of her early works before she went into production.
It's worth noting that this company was founded by a woman in the middle of the depression and it went on to be the number one company (for puppets and Marionettes) in the world. The founder eventually sold the company and, of course, it went out of business relatively shortly afterward.
The cool thing about this place is that you can buy the "dead stock" that is still housed in a warehouse. There's an online order form which lists what they offer at very reasonable prices. The day I was there was a bit hectic for the director, who was extremely nice. They have a limited number of items there so I was able to pick a few things, but I think it would be best to just order from the website.
I am most excited about the Marionettes, but the company did make hand puppets made from a more flexible vinyl and I did pick up a couple heads to play with.
So, some potential play things for me at a later date.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Highly Prized-
This is my first sketchbook page. After rambling through my thought proccess here, I did settle on "curiosity" and began with a definition. I was so surprised to find so many words that resonated with me in the definition. here are some of the main thoughts I have written down:
Curiosity is an emotion related to natural inquisitive behavior such as Exploration, Investigation and learning.
it is the main motive of scientists in its development as Wonder or admiration it is generally that which makes humans want to become an expert in a field of knowledge.
Human curiosity about curiosity itself, combined with the ability to think abstractly, leads to imitation, fantasy and imagination- eventually leading to human reason, being self- aware and Conscious.

Wow. There were so many words here I love- Wonder- exploration-imagination- being self-aware. It is a perfect choice for the theme, something I do "highly prize".
I knew I wanted to combine words with art in my sketchbook. I find such wonder in science and the Phi number sequence, science in general and a general campy- humor, like when i added "curiosity killed Schrodinger's cat " and added a cat doodle or when I doodled a rocket and wrote "dream big" on it. I'm willing to take this project a page at a time and allow the style resolve itself as it will. I do have the feeling I could have done several pages for this one word of Curiosity. We'll see.

In progress photos- sunflower and seed packet painted.
Rust dyed results- I think this was a good addition to the design. It's moving the piece closer to where I want it to go, but it's still not there.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

January Challenge- Highly Prized
This is the theme for January and I'm just musing about things...
what do I Highly Prize? Well, of course my husband and our 24 year marriage. I do prize my kids (of course) but they are teenagers and some days it's hard to remember why I do.
What visual images represent what I highly Prize?
I am happy to be an artist. I remember the first time I got recognition for that was in Middle school with a charm at the awards ceremony. I have received ribbons over the years. Maybe art made by others I highly Prize? probably the most famous piece I own is a Keith Haring, but I do prize several other pieces of art I own by not so famous artists.
I highly Prize things passed down from my family. I had a great, great aunt Mary who was an artist and I own several things she owned. I was surprised to discover my heritage on my father's side. Which makes me wonder what do I highly prize from my family in general? My mother? My father?
Nature. I do highly Prize all sort of natural things. Flowers, trees, landscapes and Phi is just so interesting. I love great mysteries of the world.
Intelligence. I do highly Prize intelligent people. Maybe the brilliant people, like Picasso and Feynman but I especially love those people who explore the grays of the world. Not the black or white, right or wrong, moral or evil, but those who explore the places that have no answers or those who try to build a consensus of true.
I think the thing I most Prize is curiosity. Now, to think of images to support that.

Happy New year- 2011
I missed the actual ringing in of the year. Maura had friends over and they were Rockband, dance,dance revolution nuts and I hid in my room. Choosing to read did me in and I fell asleep, only waking up when Steve came to bed. I was awake then until 3 am.
I made a full breakfast this morning for all the sleep over guests and watched the Rosebowl Parade. It took awhile to get back to making art, but I did make progress.
A friend posted on facebook that today should be spent how you mean to go on for the year. If you cleaned and did laundry, that's what most of your year would be spent doing. SO, I decided that making art today would be very important.
I am trying something a bit different for me with this quilt. I have some concrete images, but I want them flowing from one to another in some way. I've taken a bold step with rusting fabric I've painted images on. I'm hoping it is a good choice, but you never know with rust dying what you'll get exactly. I'm not sure what rusting will do to the painted surfaces - if the paint will even take rusting. I also want to depend a bit more on quilting to carry from one image to another and maybe some added painted elements. I need to look to the transitions to bring this quilt together, I think. Transition is an important word with this quilt.
Words that are also floating around in my mind are Sunflower, memories over the years through time, birth, growth,death,legacy,nourishment and re-birth.
Discernment was a word that resonated with me for this year. Looking beyond the surface and seeing deeper issues.
I signed up for the sketchbook project, something that makes me nervous on a few different fronts. I like making goals and I have enough integrity to work hard at following through. I like commitment. But, having an ongoing, monthly goal makes me nervous. Also, it's hard for me to make marks in a sketchbook. Especially those really nice ones. I like using a spiral ring notebook of graph paper. The notebook isn't so precious that I feel I can't make mistakes and I could even rip out the page if it totally sucks. I was surprised by the number of sketchbooks people seem to have going at one time. I never really thought about making sketchbooks for public consumption and the sketches i make aren't high art, just enough for me to know what I'm doing. So, this will be a struggle to make a sketchbook of worthy art.
But, for this challenge, I'm going to work single page and create a notebook around them. The benefit to this is that I can use whatever surface I want, watercolor paper, pastel paper, or computer papers without making a collage and spraying a book. This book will expand as needed and I don't feel either pressure or dismay at the number of pages bound into a book, the mistakes I might make or the quality of art there.