Monday, July 28, 2014

Track 13

A few weeks ago, my friend, Kathleen, and I went to an art opening at a new gallery in Nampa called Track 13.  Sue Latta was the featured artist with her exhibition, A Recipe for Bliss.  Sue creates sculptural works combining different media.

The gallery is open the 2nd Friday from May through November during the Nampa Art Walk and by appointment.  It is a contemporary gallery in a space with brick walls.

 Things Have Changed by Sue Latta

There is Sue pictured above just left of the extended wall.

I believe the exhibition will be up until September.

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. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Botanical Sketching

Last week, I had a date with my friend, Mary Donato, to go to the Idaho Botanical Gardens to do some sketching.  I have really been wanting to do more sketching outdoors so that I can get better and faster at doing it.  I would like to be able to do quick sketches when we travel other places and only have a short time to do something (like while waiting for a train or having a drink at a cafĂ©).

I can do quick thumbnail sketches of ideas I have in my head.  But when I sit down to draw something I see, it takes me a long time.  I get caught up in the details or wanting to make it look realistic.  What I really want to do is capture the impression I have in my mind of the shapes, lines and colors (which for me tends to be abstract).

I take a lot of pictures with my camera so I can go back and do this at home.  But I notice that sometimes the camera doesn't "pick up" what colors I'm noticing or what I am picking out as the "important stuff" in my mind. (I know you can see the next picture below and I was able to get the color and focus on the important part for me in this one.)

The other issue I noticed that I have when drawing something I see, besides being slow, is that I have some problems with proportion because I don't have  a "frame" like you do when you take a picture.  When I take a photo, I zoom in or out to "frame" the exact section I want of what I'm looking at. Like this.

While drawing in person, I don't have those edges for reference.  I know I can make a viewfinder by cutting a rectangle out of a piece of cardboard, or I can make "L" shapes with my fingers to help define the space.  But when you have a pencil in one hand and have to hold your sketchbook in the other, it's not very convenient to use those things.

I want to just be able to do it without those aids.  To be able to do that just takes practice, practice, practice!  And that is why we went to the botanical gardens.

I will confess that I probably spent more time taking pictures (it's so much easier to abstract something that way) than I did actually drawing.  But I did do three sketches.  When I attempt to do "plein air" sketching, I have done line drawings with pencil.

This sketch below is actually the last one I did with a limited amount of time because I was supposed to meet Mary back at the car.  There were many different kinds of plants and trying to figure out how to suggest them and not get caught up in the details was a good exercise.

I also wanted to try to capture some color that day.  I have a small travel watercolor set that I have taken on a few trips with me.  But I am slow with that as well.  I have acrylic paints, but not in a travel set and they would dry too fast in our desert heat here.  I have not worked with oils and do not own any.  So, I took my Caran D'Ache Neocolor II crayons.  They are water soluble.

As I mentioned in the last post, I had to fight off the mental attitude of judging the sketches of being "good" or "bad" and just practice and learn.

The first sketch I did was of some rock forms. I drew in pencil and then used the crayons to color. Then I went over them with my water brush to blend the colors.  I don't have a picture for you but I realized that with a limited set of 30 crayons, I don't have many choices because I can't just make the color I want.

On the next sketch, I just started directly with the crayon and no pencil.  I learned that you cannot make great detail with the crayon (and you cannot erase).  Here is what it looked like before I added water.

 After I came home, I did a little bit of blending with some water.  And here's how it looks.

Even with a few sketches, I learned something, especially using the crayons.  In the next post, I'll show you some more of the photos I took.

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.