Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Rockhounding Find?

The thing I was most excited about when we went rockhounding was finding these patterns of bark on some trees.  I am definitely more of an art geek than a geologist or scientist!

Aren't they cool?!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Despite Anna declaring this past week as the worst Springbreak ever, due to tendinitis in her leg and not feeling well at the beginning of the week, we did manage to do some rock hounding outside of Emmett on Thursday.

Unfortunately, the first place we went required walking up a very steep hill which aggravated Anna's leg and we didn't find anything.  We did better at the second location of Squaw Butte where it is more flat (at the top, not in this first picture).  We found a few interesting rocks, but nothing spectacular.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, though.

Anna and Frank on the search.

 I found this tiny little bird nest.  Anna thinks it is a hummingbird nest.

I really like the colors in this rock.

At one place, we all went our separate ways to explore.  Frank climbed up another steep hill.  Anna stayed near the bottom to explore as to not aggravate her leg any further and I went sideways.  I found this rock with bubble agate that was a good size but was deep in the ground.  Frank had the rock hammer so I settled on taking a picture.

A couple of the views from Squaw Butte.

In my next post, I'll show you the find I was most excited about.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shipping Artwork

This is a picture of packages in my car yesterday. All, but one, have artwork in them.  Shipping my artwork should be something exciting as it means the piece is going off into the world, either to a new home, or to an exhibition.

But getting artwork packed up and shipped is one of my least favorite of the art business activities. Even when I think I have everything on hand, it seems like there is something to scramble for.  I save boxes and I purchased special tubes (like the large one on the floor in the picture).  And it still happens that I won't have the right size and I have to retrofit a box.  Sometimes, I am also searching for the artwork among the pieces I have stored.

As an artist that works with fabric, I have the nice advantage of being able to roll up my artwork and not have to worry about a frame getting broken during transit.  To package an artwork, I start by rolling it on a foam or cardboard roller.  I buy swim noodles during the summer to have on hand on which to roll the artwork.  I also store my larger artworks rolled.  Sometimes I have to "borrow" a roller from a piece being stored or cut one to size, or tape two together to get a longer one (foam pipe insulation is sometime used as it comes in a little bit longer lengths, but is not as stiff).

Once rolled, I will tie around the piece with fabric ties so it doesn't come unrolled.  I have made a bunch of these ties, but I am often searching to find one, or have to "borrow" again because they have all been used.

I like to have the roll in a plastic bag and a cloth bag that has my information on it, as well as the title and picture of the piece.  I've started making bags with nylon fabric so I can skip the plastic, but I only have one or two.  This time when I was packing the larger piece for that tube, I did not have any bags long enough.  So, I had to sit down and make a bag.  It took about a half an hour.

Repacking instructions also get printed and included for artwork going to an exhibition.  Most venues hosting an exhibition now require the artist to pay for the return shipping and they want a pre-paid label or check for the amount.  Therefore, before sealing up the box, it has to be weighed and measured and shipping calculated and pre-paid label printed to include in box.  Then everything can be taped up and either dropped off at the FedEx, UPS, or postal office or scheduled for a pick-up (for an extra fee).

My goal, someday, is to have each large artwork rolled and stored in it's own bag so I can just put it in a box.  I have a few like that.  But it takes more room for each piece to be stored on it's own roll. Usually, I have several or more artworks on one roll.  I'm not sure there is much I can do to stream-line the process, besides making a ton of bags and fabric ties to have on hand.

Or I could make all my artwork the same size so that all the packing materials can be the same size. I don't think I'll do that.

Friday, March 20, 2015


While in Portland, I took some time for my first trip ever to the Ikea store.  I walked out with a handful of stuff, literally.  All I bought I could carry in one hand, just some hooks and a piece of fabric.  But I enjoyed looking at everything and took a few pictures of some fun designs.

This was a piece of their fabric they put on the doors of this cabinet.  This was not the fabric I bought but I think it is pretty cool.

This serving tray reminded me of a kid's watercolor palette.

This would make a great rug for a sewing room.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Work in Weiser

This past weekend, I went to an event in Weiser featuring artwork by my friend, Linda McLaughlin. Her artwork was displayed at the little theater in town and lots of people showed up to listen to her talk about her art.

Even though I had seen her working on parts of the pieces and even saw some of them finished, it was nice to be able to see them up on the walls with some space to step back and look at them.  As well as to take more time to step close and look at all of Linda's wonderful hand stitching.

Linda has daily, weekly and monthly projects going all the time.  If you go to her blog, you can follow along with what she is doing and see all the hand stitches.

Here is a picture of the space with Linda's work up on the walls.

Linda with some of her artwork behind her.

A photo of The Daily Paper, a weekly project where Linda had fused pieces of paper towel, that had been used to wipe up dye, onto fabric and then added hand stitching.

The Daily Paper up close.

Another daily project where she had cut up some monoprinted fabrics and added hand stitching.

Detail of hand stitching.

Here's a piece with monoprinted circles that were cut up and put back together.  I couldn't stand back far enough to get the whole artwork in the picture.  This is one of my many favorites.

Linda will be having a exhibition of some of her artwork at The Arts Center in Corvalis, Oregon this autumn.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Collage Papers

I wanted to show you some of the papers I ended up with from the workshops at the Art & Soul Retreat.  Many of these were made just for experimenting and some were accidental.

This paper was made by scraping different colors of transparent paint on the paper with a gift card. The splatter was made by squirting water on the paint and then blotting it off with a paper towel.

This was a gelli plate print.

Another gelli plate print using a stencil.

The blue is scraped on transparent paint and the black and white came from "lifting" paint off another piece of paper.  This is an "accidental" paper.

These next two black and white papers are completely accidental.  I was just using the first one to "lift" off paint from other painted papers. I really liked how they turned out.  Since all these papers weren't planned and we were working quickly, I think they have a real nice "energy" about them.

I am not sure what I am going to do with these papers.  I could certainly use them for collage, or paint over them or just keep them as examples.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Art & Soul

The "year of learning" continues as last week I was in Portland, Oregon attending the Art & Soul Retreat.  It was my first time attending one of these events.  Even though there are many workshops and instructors to choose from, I attended solely to take Jane Davies' workshops.  I took five of the six she was offering.  That was a lot for three days.

In all the workshops, we were working with paint, collage and drawing materials.  Nothing to do with fabric.  I wanted to take the workshops because I like Jane's style and was hoping to find ways of making art more quickly, as working with fabric and sewing is a slower process.

I liked that Jane emphasized that we were not going to make a finished piece of art (if it happened by accident then that was great).  We were there to explore, experiment and get out of our way by not evaluating whether what we were doing was good or bad.  I liked this attitude even though it was sometimes hard because I would slip into trying to make something "work."

The retreat was at a hotel near the airport.  I did not leave the hotel until after my last workshop. For two days, I took a workshop during the day from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (with a break for lunch) and an evening workshop from 6:30 - 9 p.m.  The third day I only had the day class.

Below is a picture of our classroom in the hotel.   The nice thing was since I was taking only Jane's classes and she was in the same room everyday, I could leave my stuff and not have to haul it back and forth to my room after each class.

All of Jane's classes were full (and there were a couple where somehow extra people were signed up).  There were ten tables with two people at each table and two tables for Jane to work at.

The tables were adequate, but it would have been nice to have a little more space to work on.  We had lots of supplies.  Here is a photo of most of my supplies before I got them all packed up.

We also created lots of painted papers during the workshops and we had to put most of them on the floor.  I don't why they didn't try to cover the carpet.  There were several times when people were cleaning paint off the carpet, myself included.  I posted on my Facebook page a tip on how to clean paint out of carpet and I will put that here in another post.

Here's my work space.  For this workshop, we were using gelli plates for printing.

This is a blurry picture of Jane drawing with her toes.  One of our exercises was to discover all the different ways we could create different line qualities with a drawing tool (i.e. pencil).  We were not required to draw with our feet (but you could if you wanted).

Here is an example of Jane's of different ways to use the gelli plate.
We worked with black and white for some exercises.  These are some of my experiments.  There is paint as well as different drawing media.

This is Jane's example of a technique she showed us with paint.  My attempt didn't turn out as well. I really like this, though, and should do some more practicing to get it.

At the end of the workshops, we would usually go out in the hall and look at everybody's pieces. These pieces came from an exercise using complementary colors.

I learned some new things and was reminded of some old things.  Right now I am trying to figure out if any of this will make it into my fabric work or not.  Or if I will continue with paint, etc. and try to make the techniques work with my own style.  I'm not sure yet.

In another post, I will show you some more of the things I made.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Pay What You Want Event

In an effort to get more of my artwork out of the closet and to people who would enjoy it, I came up with the idea of a Pay What You Want Event.  I offer my newsletter subscribers a chance to name their own price on selected artworks each month.  They have 24 hours to make an offer before I let the public in on the deal.

Yesterday was their chance.  Now it is your turn!  This month I still have two small artworks available that I am now offering to the public.  They will be available for 24 hours.  If you want to see the artworks, read more about how this works and/or make an offer, here is the link to the page.

If you want to sign up for my newsletters and be one of the first to make an offer on future artworks, you can sign up here.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Year of Learning

Some people like to pick a word or phrase at the beginning of the year as something to focus on throughout the year.  I don't usually do that.  But the phrase "the year of learning" keeps coming to mind when I think of my year this year.

The reason this comes to mind is because I have signed up for quite a few workshops this year.  If you have read my blog for a while, you will know that I like to take workshops and classes (mostly about art). This year I am taking some that are farther away and that seems more like a big deal because I don't usually do that.

So far locally, I have already taken a book making workshop with Lisa Cheney.  I have also been taking oil painting classes with Rachel Teannalach.  I have never worked with oil paints before.  In college we used acrylics. Rachel does plein air painting and I like the idea of being able to capture more color while outside as opposed to just sketching (and occasionally using watercolors).  The oils don't dry as quickly as acrylics which can be an advantage and a disadvantage.  An advantage because they don't dry out as you are painting in this dry desert climate.  A disadvantage because then you have a wet painting to deal with when you are done.

It has been a little frustrating for me working with the oils because I have to work with them in a different manner. It's a different way of thinking about painting.  Of course, I also discovered this when I started print making.  The other issue is mixing the paint is different than mixing dyes.  The same color theories apply it's just that the two media are totally different. When I started mixing dyes, I learned that as well.  Just like learning most new things, I need a lot of practice.

I haven't decided yet if I will make oil painting a regular part of my repertoire or not.  Anyway, it's been interesting to learn.

The classes were in Rachel's studio.

Here Rachel is demonstrating for us how to use a fan brush. 

She invited her students to go out one day and do some plein air painting at sunrise.  I did get up early on a Sunday and went.

Here are Carrie, Rachel and Lorna.

I don't have the proper plein air painting equipment.  Here's my stuff on the ground.  I was painting on paper and that bright orange/red on the paper is the primer color I chose.  It gets painted over. Because it was frosty and I had my palette on the ground, my paint actually started to freeze up some.

 This is a better set up of Lorna's and a better painting.

Most of my paintings are too embarrassing to post, but these are o.k. even if they look nothing like what I was looking at (our foothills).  I didn't get the top one finished on site and so the sky was still the primer orange.  But I kind of liked it.  So when I got home, I just painted over it with a slightly different orange to tone it down a bit. The bottom one looks like I should have been in Ireland instead of Idaho.

The learning continues, as this week I am in Portland taking five workshops at the Art & Soul Retreat with Jane Davies.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Thought of the Day

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.  The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes.  To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”  
- Cynthia Occelli