December Pop-up Shop & more

It’s crazy busy here in PDX what with the upcoming (and just finished) holidays, parties, family gatherings and (most important to me at the moment) SHOWS. Four to go and then I’m finished. Whew.23172754_1580780921960699_5600731712206462794_nBe-ribboned wool felt PINCUSHIONS (they are featured on the poster), POTHOLDERS stitched from repurposed felted wool sweaters and POLAR BEAR ORNAMENTS (10% of each ornament sales goes to Polar Bear International 

2017popupartOur 4th Year! Drop by and meet our new artists, Diane and Virginia. Shop Local!

23722223_10155533927738110_2848966384253473669_nI will have 10 encaustic photo collages in the BIG 500 – all artwork is 8 x 8 inches, ready to hang and only $40!

23659311_1657659184279202_7323035400940186670_nOpening December 16 at 2pm runs through December 28 / Pioneer Place / 700 SW 5th / Portland / Next to BIG 500 / MAJOR Deals to be had at this show – I’ll be selling older encaustic collage artworks along with some stitched and embroidered  fabric collages (at a huge discount), knitting yarn & more treasures from my studio. There will be something for everyone on your list!

 

 

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I’m an artist / maker

fallshow2cardFall has always been my favorite season – the crisp air, fallen leaves crunching underfoot, the incredibly blue sky, the promise of new beginnings (linked I suppose, to the start of school for so many years).IMG_3871Now, however, it’s my busiest time – shows abound and I’m in the studio 8 hours+ on a daily basis. I’m whining (sort of) and I love it as well. I am an artist / maker and creating gets me going. IMG_3870Stitching, collage, photography, encaustic – all fulfill my need to MAKE.IMG_3865Visit me during Portland Open Studios – I’m #64 / Community 6 in NE Portland. You’ll have the opportunity to work with beeswax and make your own small encaustic collage AND see my newest artwork. I look forward to sharing the joys of art making with you!

 

 

Thinking about home

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a singe town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
– Sarah Dessen –
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I’m sure, as children, many of us drew simple pictures of houses with happy families standing out front. My drawings were always comprised of houses with windows you could look in – and on the wall would be a picture of a house with windows that you could look in and see a picture of a house and a window . . . and on and on. I didn’t draw a happy family as my father had died when I was 10 and it made me too sad to draw only the three of us: my mom, little brother and me. But the house figured prominently in pictures and was very important to me.
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The house form – a square or rectangle topped with a triangle has continued to captivate. I photograph abandoned houses (and wonder about their stories) and have recently begun collecting ceramic, glass and metal houses created by artists whose work I’d admire. Quotations are another aspect that is often included in my art work and I’ve been researching what others say and have written about home.
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Using this iconic shape allows me the opportunity to further explore what “home” and “house” evokes in me and the people who view my artwork. My encaustic photo collages are created with beeswax, Demar resin, colored encaustic medium, pan pastels and oil pastels to create one-of-a kind artworks. These photo collages, inkjet printed on archival card stock and Japanese rice paper utilize my iPhone photos and often incorporate text, machine stitching, colored pencil marks and rubber stamp images. 
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create visual stories about a time, memory or place – real or imagined and look forward to sharing my work with you via the pdx-csa (Portland Open Studios Community Supported Art) project. I am partnered with Samyak Yamauchi . Go to pdx-csa.com to find out more. 
“In life, a person will come and go from any homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart from the homes we made for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”
– Ari Berk –

Captivated by beeswax!

fullsizeoutput_31d6Saturday, February 25 from 12-2 pm, I’ll be demonstrating how to use cold wax and oil paints (on both paper and board) at Artist and Craftsman Supply in North Portland – 2906 N. Lombard Street. Drop by, check out the store (it is artists’ heaven) and learn about this way-cool medium. Additionally, I’ll be answering questions about the 2017 Portland Open Studios Tour – the Call to Artists is open now with an entry the deadline of March 3rd.

fullsizeoutput_3214Beeswax! It’s amazing. When combined with Demar resin and heated you end up with encaustic medium, which is used hot. When encaustic medium is combined with Gamsolheated and then cooled you end up with cold wax medium, a paste-like substance which is used cold.

fullsizeoutput_2983Until recently, I focused on creating encaustic artworks, having taken several excellent classes from Portland artist Linda Robertson. I love utilizing iPhone photos, pan pastels and colored encaustic oil pigments, using a heat gun and pancake griddle to heat things up. After spending two days working with the talented artist and teacher, Serena Bartonlearning about cold wax, oil paint, Venetian plaster and more, I am totally smitten with this method of using beeswax.

fullsizeoutput_308fThis encaustic piece combines three iPhone photos (the clouds, the house/field and the crow). All three images are inkjet printed on archival card stock and collaged the cradled birch panel with PVA glue. Warm encaustic medium (both clear and tinted) is applied via a natural bristle brush and then heated with an embossing gun between layers, pan pastels and encaustic pigments are used as embellishments. Again, every time something is laid onto the surface, heat is used to melt the layer into the one below. Having the chance to use my photographs, create imaginary landscapes AND the added bonus of warm beeswax scenting my studio is divine! These pieces do require a certain amount of planning and preparation – what layers go down first, what photos need to be cut, what paper should I print on? How much more wax should be added? My graphic design background comes in quite handy.

lake1Encaustic medium cools so fast – brushing hot wax from one side of a board to the other – it’s cool. Working with cold wax is TOTALLY different and I’m in uncharted territory. Never having used oil paints before (yes, they are used in a diluted form in encaustic), I was unprepared for the ‘drying’ time issue.

fullsizeoutput_313dfullsizeoutput_326ffullsizeoutput_31e2Layers of cold wax and oil paint (mixed at a 50/50 ratio) can take several days to dry, especially in our rather damp Oregon climate. These three abstract works are all painted on cradled birch panels with a base layer of acrylic gesso and a thin coat of Venetian plaster.

Needless-to-say, they are QUITE different from the encaustic medium works! Layering and scraping away, incising the paint with various tools – bamboo skewers, Starbucks® cardboard jackets, forks, paper-towels, a palette knife – whatever I can grab that makes a mark. Even with the element of waiting for stuff to dry, the process is very spontaneous. Inspired by “true life” images and then creating abstract compositions with depth and movement is both challenging and rewarding and so much fun!

A BIG SHOUT OUT to the bees for making such a wonderful product that, whether used hot or cold, allows me not only to expand my knowledge but also adds to the joy of my continuing artistic practice!

Sharing what I love to do

img_0595Portland Open Studios (PDXOS) features 106 artists who open their studios, showing their art and work spaces to visitors. This past weekend over 100 guests learned a bit about encaustic collage, hand embroidery and my art practice. Additionally, everyone was given the opportunity to create their own small piece – working with beeswax, demar resin, oil pastels and encaustic colors. They had a blast and so did I! img_0582img_0583Monday evening I visited 8 of the studios in my artist community  (Community #2). Betsy Levine #11, (her meticulous oil paintings of flowers are delightful) organized this private tour – since we’re all booked during the two weekends of the event. The studios and artworks I saw were amazing and getting to know these artists was a treat. David Friedman’s, #17 paper cutting must be seen in person – photos just can’t capture it’s depth and beauty. Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley’s #20, watercolors and acrylics are wonderful – scientific and whimsical at the same time. Dan Pillers #16, heart-felt mixed media/reclaimed wood sculptures tell stories and share his visions. Mona Cordell’s #19, bi-level studio was full of her powerful figure paintings, sumi brush drawings and more. Would so love to see her body painting on the NW Dance Project performers this weekend! Mandy Stigant’s #18, sturdy wood-fired stoneware would be a great to use. Scott Conary’s #13, masterful oil paintings tell stories of places, people and more. Hilary Pfeiffer’s #12, works embrace several mediums: wood, metal and book publishing. Her painted wood birds and animals are truly delightful. Three hours later I came home visually sated, feeling very honored to be included with this talented group of working artists. pdxoscardfront       I’m gearing up for this weekend’s tour (October 15/16, 10am – 5pm), creating some small encaustic pieces (3.5 x 3.5) on the left-over pine blocks that my sweet husband so graciously cut and sanded for me. Sharing what I love to do, having people appreciate my work and also enjoy trying their hand at making is the best! Here are some the Little Art Works (L.A.W.) that will be available this weekend – $25 each and ready to hang. img_0593img_0591Today’s lovely sun is giving way to a weekend of rain, rain, rain. So please do drop by, have some tea and chocolate, play with wax and see my work – I look forward to sharing it with you. Portland Open Studios guides are available at New Seasons, Collage, Dick Blick, Artist and Craftsman Supply as well as other local businesses and there’s a free app, too!img_0589img_0590img_0594img_0588

In the studio . . .

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There are studio days that are incredibly productive. Correspondence is answered, artwork is shipped, pieces are finished and at the end of the day the studio is tidy. Then there are days like this past Monday . . . where I take two steps forward and four steps back – little is accomplished, the studio’s in chaos and I bounce around from idea-to-idea, leaving half finished projects in my wake.

I’m often asked “How long did it take you to make this piece?” Frankly, it’s the one question I really hate and giving an accurate answer always stymies me. Funny, huh, since it’s the actual process of “making” that fuels my creative soul. Does the person want to know all the little picky time-consuming details? (How many times I gessoed and sanded a birch panel, how I scraped away images, beeswax and oil pastels ’cause the work just isn’t “getting there”? How I can only feed one sheet at a time of Sumi rice paper into the printer because it’s temperamental and chews up the paper?) I think not. I wonder if the questioner is asking for “time = difficulty of process” or “time = years I’ve been creating art” or last, but usually not least, “time = money per hour” information.

On days like yesterday when asked the “how long” question, I feel like tearing my hair out and yelling “I have absolutely no idea!”

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This is my third Portland studio in as many years, and by far the largest and most unusual. I occupy the 2nd floor sunporch of a former 4-plex apartment building,  built in the 1920’s, which also is home to therapists and counselors. No one else was interested in the space and for me it’s perfect.

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Even on my least productive days, time spent in this studio is the best! Favorite tools live there, the north light is perfect, my collections clutter the windowsills and books and materials overflow the shelves. I’m close to good coffee and the activity outside my windows gives me visual breaks when moving forward just isn’t happening.

While I strive for good work days, inspiration and a sense of completion; it all comes down to one simple fact: I love my studio – it’s where I’m most at home. I’m fairly certain that most artists feel this way and cherish the time spent making. What’s your studio space like? I’d love to hear about your “creative home.”

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Recycling art

allheartEverything that is old can be new again . . . that’s what I’m discovering as I fall deeper into the encaustic rabbit hole. I’m mining my photo files, revisiting favorite images, ink jet printing them on Sumi rice paper and finally incorporating them into collages.  fiveCollaging onto oversized baggage tags has been obsession. The size limitations (2.5 to 3 inches x 5 to 6 inches) are right in my comfort zone. I found these tags stashed in a drawer with collages on both the front and back of each one (don’t know why I did that). I enlarged and photocopied each one onto Sumi rice paper, torn it into several pieces,  “re-assembled” it and finally collaged all the parts with encaustic medium (a mixture of beeswax and damar resin) onto gessoed encaustic boards. Each board is the size of an artist trading card, 2.5 x 3.5 inches. thereandbackThe original tags are multilayered collages, composed of handmade and commercial papers, iPhone photos, paper ephemera and trash calligraphy (from my friend LeeAnn Clark’s studio recycle bin). The collage was glued and sewn to the tag along with a layer of transparent inks. This encaustic piece shows both the front and back of one tag. The transparency of the Sumi paper, when saturated with the encaustic medium and attached to the white background, makes the collages glow from within.

How fitting that this piece contains a rabbit (iPhone photo of a little iron bunny that I discovered hidden in a grassy curb strip on a Valentine’s Day walk with my sweetheart)as I do feel a bit like Alice embarking on a wonderful art journey.