Monday, April 21, 2014

Haystack Rock and other recent collages

Haystack Rock
Haystack Rock is located off shore of the seaside village of Cannon Beach in NW Oregon. The groupings of rock which commands the attention of visitors is quite accessible at low tide and is a popular attraction for children and their parents who love exploring the tide pools at its base. 

Our family spends lots of time in this lovely spot and images of Haystack fill my photo files. It seemed appropriate to see how I might build a collage that incorporates my photos and uses some of my painted papers. The collage is 9 x 12".

Brother Oak
Brother Oak, 9x12, features my photo of an oak tree that grows alongside a small family cemetery on a hillside outside Magazine, Arkansas. The wintertime photo was a rather blah wintertime photo so I 'colorized' it with a wash of blue and added some green to the grass.

I continue drawing in my sketchbook, motivated by the excellent teachers of the first semester of Sketchbook Skool. It has the result of encouraging me to draw every day, sometimes with tools such as colored pencils that are uncomfortable to me. I'd rather slop around paint than sit tediously layering color with pencils. But I intend to try it all and see what I can add to my skill set, and hope in the process to develop better hand-eye coordination and ability to draw what I see.  Here's today's drawing: 
Morning Coffee

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sketchbook Pages, Week One

 I've drawn in one of my sketchbooks every day this week and I intend to keep it up. It's a bit embarassing to post my wonky drawings but this blog is, in my mind, a way to record my work and progress so it serves my own purpose.

I'm working in an 8" square sketchbook I made. The pages are an assortment of watercolor papers, all shapes, sewn together to make nearly full sized pages. I save all my paper scraps as well as paper samples (waste not, want not) and this seemed to be a good use for them. Some papers work better than other. This first page is 7.5" x 3.5" and is sort of the introduction page.



I did this page yesterday and am NOT happy with it. The pots are okay (I'm working on ellipses which are hard for me) but the pen I used wasn't waterproof so the minute I started adding watercolor the black ink made the page gray preventing me from painting bright colored tulips.

Perhaps you can get a better idea about the sewn together, pieced, pages in this example where the larger but shorter section on the right was zigzag stitched to the narrow piece on the left. I rather like the look.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Sketchbook Skool

I've enrolled in an online workshop series called Sketchbook Skool which was founded by Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene. So far it's great. I hesitated until the day it went online, thinking I didn't really need another drawing class, but I relented when I realized I could use the motivation, the encouragement to draw daily. I've been slacking off on my drawing, so much so that when I pick up a pen to draw it's a real challenge. I want drawing to be easier and I know that with daily practice it gets easier and easier to record what I see more accurately.

My interest is not on being able to draw photorealistically, but to be able to get my lines more or less reasonably placed and to include my emotion about the subject in a drawing. Sometimes I can do it but I'm not consistent. We'll see what comes.

So far I find the first class, taught by Danny Gregory, to be first rate. Danny's the one who got me drawing in the first place with his excellent first book, Everyday Matters, so I know I have nothing to lose by enrolling in his school. There will be other teachers in this six week long session: Roz Stendahl, Koosje Koene, Tommy Kane, Jane LaFazio, and Prashant Miranda, and others in the next sessions.  If you're interested it's not too late to join. Click HERE to learn more.

Here are my first two drawings:

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Dreamtime Garden

Dreamtime Garden by Jo Reimer

Collage Painting. 11 x 14 on cradled panel.

Though I haven't been posting much recently I have been working steadily on a variety of works, mostly collages that I've created using papers I've painted for that purpose. 

I've been thinking a lot about why I find it most comfortable to work this way and have concluded that it has to do with my background in textiles. 
  • I am adapt at cutting fabric and piecing it together to make garments, home decor, and quilts. 
  • I have a strong background in hand and machine embroidery, designing the work and stitching in fine detail. 
  • I've done lots of applique which is defined as stitching small pieces of fabric to larger pieces. 
  • I'm comfortable with moving fabric and paper around, creating pleasing arrangements that can be adjusted before adhering them in place permanently. 
  • It's easy for me to compose with bits and pieces of colored papers but not so easy to arrive at a pleasing painting using only paint and a brush, and at my stage in life I don't want to spend the time and focus that's necessary to develop another skill. 

However, I do love the process of painting, of applying paint to paper with all sorts of applicators such as brush, stick, sponge, cloth, spray, dripping, dyeing and so on. So I spend time now and then painting papers to give it surface texture and pattern and then use the accumulation of papers to make my collage paintings.  This works for me.

How about you? How did you get to where you are? How did your interests form? I'd love to hear.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Uluru.. and Good News

The three paintings submitted to RED.
In my last post I wrote about my paintings being rejected from a January show. This is a happier story. 

I tried again with the next juried show in February at the same gallery, The Cannon Beach Gallery, in the town of the same name on the northern Oregon coast. I submitted three very different pieces to the show entitled RED. Two of the pieces were accepted. One sold. But what pleased me even more is that I was the only artist who had two pieces accepted and only two pieces sold from the show, mine and one other.

Never give up. never. give. up.

Collage painting: 10: x 30"

The piece which was sold is called ULURU which is the Aboriginal's ancient name for Ayers Rock in central Australia. It's a monolith, a huge red rock out in the middle of a flat plain. I composed the collage on heavy paper and then glued it to a cradled canvas and extended the colors around the sides.

The other piece that was accepted into the show is called Red Leaf - Falling.  

It's a collage of hand painted papers and a single maple leaf from a tree in my front yard. The collage is 12 x 12, matted in a 16 x 20" frame.

 My mother was know as a creative homemaker and craftswoman who was one of the first women to paint the walls of her home with vibrant colors. She firmly believed that "every room needs a spot of red" to bring cheer to its occupants. This 20 x 30" cold wax and plaster piece honors her conviction... one which I consciously follow.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Sense of Touch

I delivered the following three paintings to the Cannon Beach Gallery to be juried for a January show with the theme of The Six Senses. None of them were accepted into the show but at least I stretched myself and increased my self confidence.  I was disappointed that the work was rejected but after seeing photos of the show I understood why the juror passed over these... they didn't play well with others. After all, when a juror makes selections from available works her job is to build the strongest, most cohesive show possible. My work simply didn't fit.

 Each piece is 12" x 12" on stretched canvas with a 1.5" cradle (side depth). They are mixed media, mostly acrylic with cheesecloth.  The titles are: "If I Could Touch the Night Sky", "Close Enough to Touch", and "Beyond Our Reach", and as you can see each name could go with either piece.

My work refers to the sense of touch.  One wants to touch the work because the visual texture is appealing, and also I considered the universe of stars and planets in our night sky that are absolutely too far away to touch... beyond man's reach.

It's an interesting theme. Doing work about the sense of touch was personally appealing because I am drawn to texture having worked with fabrics and threads over a lifetime. I can't keep my hands off appealing surfaces.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Jo Reimer: Torn Paper Collage... trying a new method

 Fermenting Friends is 9 x 12" on panel.

I challenged myself to try a new-to-me collage method, this one perfected by my friend Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. Like me, Elizabeth paints her own collage papers with acrylics. See a short article about her in the current issue of The Artist's Magazine, April 2014. This article also features two other collage artists, Cathy M Woo and Laura Lein-Svencner

My paper stash contained all I need. What's different is that this method starts with a drawing on a strong substrate which is then painted before the collage process begins. Then various papers were torn into bits and pieces and glued in place, paying more attention to value than to color.

Elizabeth offers a DVD and a downloadable PDF of her process. See her website and gallery here.

I started with a photograph of a wine bottle from my friends private label, making the drawing part rather easy, even though I added a second bottle and glass to the original composition. This was a hostess gift for friends we visited recently in Arizona, a trip that enabled us to completely miss a major snow event in Portland.

Then yesterday I made a second torn paper collage, working from a quick stylized drawing. It's becoming a bit easier to work this way, but I suspect that this won't become much more comfortable to me and I'll revert to my old way of working.

Red Flower is 12 x 12 on cradled canvas.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for giving me the go ahead to try your methods.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Getting the Most out of an Art Workshop

First page of notes from a Cathy Woo workshop in 2007

I've taken dozens of art-related workshops and classes over the past 50 years, since my first one one day workshop at the Embroiderers Guild in London, England in 1966. I've had loads of fun with like-minded friends and learned a lot about making art, but I've also wasted time and money by not treating the time seriously...mostly because of lack of preparation and practice. But I have gotten smarter as I've matured and finally figured out how to make the most of the workshop experience. has just published my article about this subject. Hop over to read it HERE.

I'd love to hear about how you prepare and practice when you take a workshop. 


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Here's how I made this Christmas light:
I simply stuffed a string of LED lights into a turquoise vase along with a few small silver balls and placed some snowmen to guard the light. An extension cord runs down the back of the chest to a nearby electrical outlet. This light stays on all the time, maybe even long after the holidays.

I have several other similar lights in my entry hall and living room to serve as night lights and to add sparkle to the rooms. Lots of interesting light strings are now on sale. Grab a few strings and make some light vases for yourself and for gifts.

Here's the lamp in daylight:

Jo's Merry Christmas light

Monday, December 09, 2013

Limited materials, limited palette

Songs of the Soldiers
Jo Reimer
Collage on Paper
7.5" x 7.5"
 On a recent week at the coast I determined to limit my art supplies and took only a small box of compost with an assortment of black and white and a limited palette of colored papers and supports. It was a good decision that forced me to seek variety within limits. I learned that it's possible to do satisfactory work with limited means and is an appealing challenge.

The name of the above small collage came from a piece of sheet music with my uncle's signature, dated 1918-19. Keith lost one arm as a teenager and couldn't serve in WWI but he loved to sing and I can imagine him thinking about those at war as he sang the songs that were currently popular... "Over Here" and "Over There" among them. The picture of the baseball player also was from that era.

Red Maple - Late Fall
Jo Reimer
Collage on Paper
12" x 12"
Red Maple - Late Fall is the main work I intended to do that week, an abstraction of the colors I saw from my front door, taken from this photograph:

Then I got out some paint (still the same color palette) and did a quick painting, remembering some recent weather:
Jo Reimer
Acrylic on Paper
9" x 12"
Then back to the collage box for the next piece:
Under the Clouds
Jo Reimer
Collage on Paper
9" x 12"
All these papers were ones I previously painted or dyed except for the brown, upper right corner.

And this is the final one in the series:
Jo Reimer
Collage on paper
9" x 12"


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