Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Garden Photos

In the last post, I showed you some sketches and pictures from the Idaho Botanical Gardens.  Here are a few more photos from the gardens.

 I really like the leaves on this plant (Snow-on-the-Mountain; Euphorbia marginata)

The flowers on this 'Blue Flame' Sage plant were spectacular.

Does anybody recognize this plant?  I couldn't find a sign.

This guy was my favorite in the Koi pond.

 I love the shape and color of these leaves of the Silver-edged Horehound plant.  I want to find some for my yard.

It was so sunny, the fish were glowing in the pond. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fibonacci & Fabric

I used to teach art to my daughter's school class all throughout elementary school.  They do not have paid art teachers for elementary schools here and rely on "Art Moms" do lessons with the kids.

Anna will be a Senior in high school this year.   So it has been a long time since I have taught young kids.  But I taught a workshop last week at the Boise Watershed for children ages 5-14 (two separate sessions for different age groups).

The Boise Watershed is an educational center located at the West Boise Wastewater Treatment Facility.  It promotes "water stewardship."  They have several workshops for kids during the summer that are free.  They also have family events and drop-in craft times along with the permanent interactive displays.

The workshops combine science and art.  I was approached earlier in the year by the education coordinator about teaching a workshop.  We decided on Fibonacci & Fabric.

I tied the Fibonacci sequence into the art project by having fabric squares in sizes related to the sequence (i.e. 1 inch square, 1 inch, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13).   If you place the squares starting with the smallest and then matching the edge of the next with the previous pieces, you end up with a "spiral" like pattern which is often found in nature.  And a golden rectangle which relates to Fibonacci's golden ratio.

The project was to paint Setacolor Transparent paint onto all the squares and then put plant shapes on top to sun print on the fabric.  In each square, the kids had to put the same number of plant items that matched the number in the sequence.  For example, they needed to put five plants items on the five inch square.
Painting the fabric squares.

This piece is dried and some of the items have been removed and some haven't.  I had scanned some plant material they could cut out of paper, had some leaves I had pressed and they could also draw their own plant shapes and cut them out.

After everything was dried in the sun,  I fused all the squares to another piece of fabric in the spiral pattern so that they had a fabric banner to take home with them.

I did a lot of prep work to get ready for this workshop and I think it paid off with the kids having a nice project in the end.

One of the younger kids' finished piece.

I had forgotten that at a certain age, some kids start saying they cannot draw.  One boy told me this and I said that if he could pick up a pencil and write his name, he could draw.  I believe everyone can draw.  The response was "But I can't draw well."  Ah, and therein lies the problem.  I don't remember what I said but it was probably something like "you don't have to draw well."  

Everybody can draw but when people start judging the result that's when the creativity gets shut down.  As an artist, I know this problem all too well.  When I start getting concerned about making something "good" that sometimes tightens me up.  And since I'm an artist, I also have the expectation that it "should" be good; I've been doing it long enough.

We, artists, have to let go of those thoughts and just create!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back in Studio B

Last week, I drove out to Weiser to once again play in my friend, Linda's, studio, along with some other ladies (Barbara, Julie, Sue and Thea).

In the morning we played around with discharging fabric using watered down bleach.

Here's Linda with the bleach buckets (which you want to do outside or with a mask because of the fumes).

There's Thea hanging fabric on the line with some of the other discharged pieces of fabric.

Here's a close-up of one of Barbara's pieces that turned out really well.

After a yummy pot luck lunch, we worked on discharging using a screen with discharge paste and bleach pens.

Above is an example Linda did on some hand dyed fabric.  The leaf on the left was drawn with a bleach pen and left more of a yellow line.  The leaf on the right was discharge paste used with a screen which left the lines more tan/white.

Linda, Julie, Barbara, Thea and Julie in Studio B.

It was a fun experimental day in the studio with old friends and new friends.  I don't have pictures yet of the few fabrics I did. In fact, I already cut some of them up before getting a picture because I was thinking of Linda's challenge to the gals from their last studio visit (I wasn't there) of making something with the fabric they had created.  That's what I'm working on.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Boxes in Bozeman

While we were visiting Bozeman, I was happy to see artwork on the traffic boxes like we have here. I'm sure Boise isn't the place this idea originated.  I hope more and more cities do this.

I am sorry I did not get the artist names for each of the boxes.  We were "zooming" by trying to find places to eat.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Silvercreek Art

I have been invited to be part of the Silvercreek Art Gallery in Ketchum (Sun Valley), Idaho.  This is a new co-operative gallery that just opened in June.  It is being run in conjunction with Silvercreek Realty.

I came onboard for July and have some of my artwork there for the group exhibition this month.   The opening reception is tonight (corner of Leadville and Sun Valley Rd).  Unfortunately, I already had other plans and will not be there.  But I did drive up to help with the installation.

Next month will begin a series of featured artists exhibitions.  I will be the featured artist, along with Jerri Lisk, in November.  Artists in the gallery are:
Rachel Tennalach installing artwork.

Reham Aarti
D'Arcy Bellamy
Nolina Burge
Susen Christensen
Sue Dumke
Lisa Flowers Ross
Jerry Hendershot
Karen Klinefelter
Jerri Lisk
Melissa Osgood
Samuel Paden
Rachel Tennalach


You can see one of my newest artworks, Foliaris VI, on the right.

Entrance with one of D'Arcy Bellamy's sculptures.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Five 18

Last week was a busy week.  After returning from Montana, it was time for First Thursday in Boise. My friend and I went to Gallery Five 18 to see the exhibition of our friend, Anne Peterson Klahr, and another artist, Randy Van Dyck.

Both artists are painters with very different styles.  Anne's work is often vibrant with an emphasis on strong color and/or dramatic lighting and is often abstract.  Figures are also abstracted into soft, almost other worldly, forms in some of her works.

Anne Peterson Klahr with her artwork, Small Window of Time.

Opportunity Knocks by Anne Peterson Klahr

Forest through the Trees III (top) and Immigration Reform (bottom) by Anne Peterson Klahr.

The other featured artist is Randy Van Dyck.  He works on a smaller scale.  His paintings are photorealistic and somewhat surreal due to the juxtaposition of objects within the painting.  A landscape is the backdrop for birds and other floating objects.  A sense of humor is demonstrated with the titles.

Facebook by Randy Van Dyck

Their exhibition will be up for the month of July. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Back from Bozeman

We are back from a long weekend in Montana.  Another college visit took us to Bozeman and Montana State University.  One day was spent on campus.  Another day we did a long hike in Hyalite Canyon.

They don't call it "Big Sky" for nothing.

Anna standing by "the noodle" sculpture on campus.  It is kinetic and spins around.

We saw several waterfalls.

And lots of these yellow flowers.

I found the pattern of these water drops on these leaves intriguing.

We couldn't get all the way to the lake because there was still snow.

Montana is a beautiful place.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Can You?

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't - you're right."
-Henry Ford

This is one of my favorite quotes.  I really believe this is true.  If you think you can, then you will be more likely to succeed.  If you think you can't, then you have pretty much already defeated yourself. The mind is a powerful thing.

I have to confess that occasionally I slip back into the dark side of thinking "I can't".  Not too long ago there was a request for qualifications for a public art project here in Boise for the outside of a City Hall wall that is being renovated.

I looked at the information and decided I wouldn't apply for several reasons.  First, it was an outdoor project and I work with fabric that is not permanent.  Second, I don't have the experience.  Lastly, and probably the biggest factor, was that I didn't have any ideas for it.

To clarify, a request for qualifications is different than a request for proposal.  For qualifications, they just want your background info. (i.e. resumé) and images of your artwork and a letter explaining your interest in the project.  For a proposal, they actually want to see the design that you plan to make for the project.

I did not apply for that public art project, but I did apply for another small project that involves artwork on panels on a fence downtown.  I thought I could do that project because it was small.  It was still outdoors, but I could see how I could translate my abstract designs by painting a wood or metal panel.  In other words, I had some ideas and believed that I could do it.

I did not get chosen for that project.  However, Karen Bubb, the public arts manager for the city (and who I know from taking the public art workshop last year), asked me if I would mind if she took my application from the fence project and just submit it for the City Hall project.  I said, "Sure." while in my head I was thinking "Why not? Nothing is going to come from it."

Imagine my surprise when some time later (after I had no further thoughts about that project and had put it out of my mind) I received an email stating that I had been chosen as one of four finalists for the City Hall project.   I was shocked!  And I had a bit of a panic attack wondering how the heck was I going to be able to come up with a design and figure out how to write a proposal and give a presentation!

After I calmed down and realized that now I had to do this, I started with step one.  I reread all the information I had about the project and tried to get a sense of what they were looking for.  I went back to my application for the fence project to see what images I had submitted and what the selection panel had seen.  From that, and taking into account that the project was for City Hall, I was able to come up with an idea.

Thankfully, I had taken the public art workshop and had people from the class that I could contact who worked with metal.  I met with Mark Baltes to see if my design would be possible to fabricate in metal within the given budget.  The answer was yes and he gave me some other ideas of what could be done in metal.  I went home and refined my design.  Working with Mark, I was able to get bids for the fabrication.

Then, I went back and reviewed the book I bought for the workshop and information we received to help me write the budget and proposal.  It really was one step at a time and took quite a bit of time since it was the first time I had done any of this "for real".

In working on the proposal, I realized I need a better drawing program on my computer.  I knew the other finalists had more experience in creating proposals and would probably have nice graphics.  I did the best I could with what I had (Photoshop Elements). Here's a small example:

When the proposal was all completed and turned in,  I started work on a presentation board for my speech to the committee.  I really had no idea what I was doing but just did something that would try to help the committee visualize what the final design would look like (because most of the committee members were City Hall staff or others that were not necessarily in a creative field). Here's how it turned out:

 This is almost a full sheet of foam core.

I practiced and practiced what I would say because I knew I would be super nervous giving the presentation.  I was and it didn't go as well as I had hoped, but in the end I think I did a pretty good job explaining the idea.

They did not chose my idea.  But I am glad I was forced to go through the process and I have learned a lot for the next time.  And now I can see possibilities for working with metal.

I am thankful that Karen believed in me and my artwork enough to submit my application.  I originally thought that I couldn't do a project like that and now I know I could.  So, maybe the quote needs to be changed a little to say something like, "Even if you think you can't, you probably can."

The other moral to the story: Don't panic, take one step at a time.

Monday, June 23, 2014


It's hard to believe that June is almost over and the daylight hours will now begin to wane as the summer solstice is now past.  I have been having a hard time transitioning into a summer routine. Or, more accurately, I should say it's been harder to get work done in this transition to summer.

Not much is getting done on the to-do list (a few things are) as we have been enjoying some long hikes in our surrounding foothills, . . .

I've been enjoying the abundance of flowers this year (and taking lots of pictures of them), . . .

have been processing the abundance of serviceberries from our tree (I can only hope the vegetable garden will do as well, but it's not looking like it yet), . . .

and reading books.  I am trying to remember to enjoy this time and not get too worried about that to-do list sitting on my desk.  But I really should be getting into the studio more . . . after I finish my book. :)

Has your summer been zooming by?  Do you notice a change in your behaviors with the changing of the seasons?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thought of the Day

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
- Marcel Proust