Studio in Progress

Studio in Progress

 Here’s my cool new thing.
Half of a bit of studio space.
My side is just 7.5 feet wide by 15 feet deep.
But I’m planning to have some big fun here.
 It’s in the Charlotte Art League.
A non-profit visual arts organization.
 The Art League is a happily ramshackle kind of space.
Crammed to the gills with artists and their work.
It has a public gallery space.
And also offers classes, community outreach and studio space.
 
I’ve been looking for my kind of people.
I’m hoping I find them here.
I applied for a half studio about 3 weeks ago.
(Remember that artist statement I was fussing about?).
I was notified that I was getting my space just one week ago.
I signed my contract yesterday.
And today this strip of floor and wall became mine to play with.
Wow.
That was fast.
I’m feeling a little winded.
The Art League encourages its studio artists to change things up quarterly.
I’ve decided to take that suggestion and run with it.
My plan is to roll out a new installation each quarter.
I’ll choose a theme.
Then create corresponding artwork throughout the quarter.
My plan is to add new art each week.
At the end of each quarter,
The existing art work comes down.
A new theme is set.
And the new art slowly grows to fill the space again.
It will be an ever changing
“Studio in Progress.”
How cool is that?!
My first theme?
“Happy Go Lucky”
Inspired by my memories of carefree childhood summers
and 
my boys’ anticipation of their upcoming summer vacation.
Curious to see where I go with this?
Come visit me then!
Blog or studio.
I’m always happy to see you.
Face

Face

Last week’s class assignment.
An intriguing image of a face.
The technique was to not blend the colors.
That’s harder than it sounds.
I had time to do a quick charcoal sketch in class.
Then worked the rest of it at home.
The first hour of dab-dab-dabbing the different paint colors felt unnatural.
And looked weird.
But Joni had warned us of this, so I just kept dabbing.
About two hours into the painting I realized my proportions were too small.
We weren’t supposed to see both eyes.
And the reference image showed face only.
No neck.
Grrrr….
I did not want to redraw anything.
So I decided my painting would feature both eyes, her chin and her neck.
 I think somewhere in the third hour,
I finally noticed I’d set her chin too far to the right.
Sigh.
Redo the chin?
Or make the lips bigger?
I opted for a slightly wider upper lip.
Better.
I’m not sure how many hours I put into her.
I know I stopped to make dinner.
But this face gripped my attention and I kept chipping away at it.
Finally, my younger boy needed a tuck in.
That’s when I put the brush down.
And decided I was done.
“Face” by Val (Oil on 11×14 inch canvas, May 2017)

Kitchen Window

Kitchen Window

“Kitchen Window” by Val (Oil on 11×14 inches canvas; May 2017)
Less than 3 months to my first student art show.
Here is my one painting I’ve prepared so far.
My goal is to cough up 4 to 6 more.
Eek!
 
All the gallery art students are invited to submit at least 4 paintings.
We have two constraints.
1.  We can only enter work we’ve completed between September 2016 through present.
2.  Our entries must be in the medium of the class we’re taking.
That first constraint is a no brainer.
I started the oil painting class in September 2016.
All my oil paintings fit into that time window.
The second constraint shouldn’t be a big deal either.
I’ve been cranking out multiple oil paintings a month.
Surely I could just grab my four favorite, frame them and call it a day.
Right?
Wrong.
Because I imposed two more constraints on myself:
3.  The paintings I submit will be 100% mine.
I.e. No copying anything!
4.  My paintings should group well under some type of theme.
I’m such a dork.
Because now I’m stuck.
I considered and discarded a bunch of ideas.
Vintage sewing supplies.
Chickens.
Breakfast deconstructed…
Constraint #4 is not so bad.
But constraint #3 is kicking my butt.
Setting up a still life is hard.
Lighting is a pain.
And I’m doubting myself all the way.
But there’s no more time for fussing.
That show is coming up fast.
And,
Something else I put into motion is suddenly happening.
Right now.
So I’m taking a deep breath.
And I’m not fussing anymore.
Time to put my head down and work.
(I’ve got something SO cool to share with you soon!!)
Chiquita Bananas

Chiquita Bananas

“Chiquita Bananas” by Val (Collage on 8×8 inch wood panel, May 2017)
They are Chiquita bananas.
 I had so much fun with them yesterday.
Can you guess what medium I used?
Not paint.
Not crayons or colored pencils.
Not pastels either. ..
Curious yet?
I’ve been pondering Chiquita banana art.
Blame the stickers.
Some people leave the stickers on their produce.
I can’t stand to.
Especially on my bananas.
I obsessively scrape them off before placing the bananas on the kitchen counter to ripen.
The other week, my bananas had an unusually large number of stickers all over them.
First I was cranky about it.
I don’t like the banana peel smell I get under my fingernails after picking off stickers.
Then I was angry.
What a waste.
Why do we have to mark up all the produce like this anyway?
Wouldn’t one sticker per bunch be sufficient?
I hate creating more trash…
That’s when I had an “aha!” moment.
What if the stickers weren’t just put in the trash?
How about if I used them for something?
…Something artsy…
But what?
Suddenly, the half dozen stickers on that bunch of bananas wasn’t enough.
I sent a request for Chiquita banana stickers to friends.
Shortly after that,
I had  a nice selection to choose to work from.
 My only idea when I started was that.
I wanted to use the stickers in some kind of collage.
Initially, I thought to create a background by placing the stickers in a grid.
But then I recalled this goofy banana cardstock in my paper stash.
So I started there instead.
Drew a quick sketch of a bunch of bananas.
Looked around my studio for supplies and inspiration.
Pulled the tissue paper out.
Once the tissue paper made its way to my table,
The Mod Podge quickly followed. 
If you’re wondering,
When I say “tissue paper,” 
I really am just talking about that stuff we buy to wrap around gifts or to fluff out a gift bag.
Tissue paper can be purchased in packs of single or assorted colors.

I turned on some music.
Danced with my crazy puppy a little.
Gave him a big hug.
Then settled down to tear and paste bits of tissue paper.
No real plan.
Just a little glue brush in one hand.
The bananas took form strip by strip.
When I was done enough,
I slapped a few Chiquita banana stickers on 
and called them a bunch.

Monkey Paw Week

“Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
We’ve all heard that one before, right?
Here’s what we wished for last week:
E wanted the weekend to be longer.
Si needed some extra time to complete his homework.
I was dreaming of a mom-duty-free day to lay around and read a new book.
Here’s what happened:
At 4am Monday morning,
E started vomiting.
An automatic “no school” day for him.
By the end of the day,
He’d vomited 17 times and eaten almost nothing.
No school for him on Tuesday either.
E was back in school on Wednesday.
Si came home stressed out over a class assignment and upcoming test.
He said he could really use some extra work time.
A few hours later,
Si was hit with a bout of nausea that ended with a toilet hugging session.
I told him he was staying home the next day.
His test could wait.
If he was up for it, he could use the extra time to work on that assignment.
I really wanted to read that new novel Wednesday night.
But my Thursday “to-do” list was long.
So I showed some discipline.
Put the book down.
Set the alarm.
And went to bed.
Thursday morning 5:30am.
I was actually up, foam rolling and prepping to workout.
When a wave of queasiness washed over me.
I tried to ignore it.
Unsuccessfully.
Somethings… like the urge to vomit violently and repeatedly… refuse to be ignored.
Well.
I got my day off.
My husband stayed home from work.
Looked after Si (who was also home sick).
Walked the dog.
Handled the chores.
Fed the kids.
Etc.
While I did nothing but lie in bed and read that book (and vomit).
Today is Friday.
I’m hoping we’re done with this whole vomiting thing.
The boys are fully recovered.
I’m still sickish.
But I did stagger out to talk with them before school this morning.
As they got ready for their day,
I told them an abbreviated version of “The Monkey’s Paw.”
Then said that’s what this week felt like.
The three of us paused a moment.
Chuckled.
E boldly stated he still liked long weekends.
I quirked an eyebrow at him.
Asked if he really wanted to wish for another one…