Friday, July 03, 2015

Naming artworks

Tree and Shadow

This painting needs a name. Will you help name it, please?

Perhaps my way of finding titles will help you. I keep a dedicated journal on my desk that's just for titles and quotations. Whenever I find a title I like, into the book it goes. I find titles everywhere, just not when I'm in the midst of painting. So where do I find titles?
  • Gallery shows. 
  • Plant catalogs. (This is where I found the title, Red Hot Mama.)
  • Song titles and musical terms.
  • Thesaurus and the dictionary.
  • Book or chapter titles.
  • Phrases taken from my Bible or other books.
  • Online galleries and websites.
  • Note the titles other artists use for their works. Titles aren't protected by copyright and this is one place I "steal like an artist". I've yet to use a title that I don't change somehow but I know the day will come and I don't call that dishonest, and I hereby give you permission to copy my titles.
How do you title your own work?

Shadow photos....
Photos of my shadow are my version of selfies and lately I've been incorporating the shadow photos in my collages, sometimes directly by gluing the photo into the composition or like this one, printed onto a paper that I intend to use in the collage.

With the proper printer setting one can print on just about anything that will feed through the printer. I've printed text onto photographs, photographs onto painted paper, and in this case I printed a photo onto a magazine page that I had manipulated with solvent. Try it yourself.

I've learned....
  • Inkjet printers don't work well for this technique. Use a laser printer or toner copier, set to black/white. Printing in color should work if you have a color laser printer. I haven't tried it since I don't have one.
  • Lessen the contrast so that the black of the ink doesn't obscure the paper. Or...
  • If you want a silhouette with strong black, then increase the black in your camera software.
  • Experiment to see what you can do.
It's all about process....
Of course much of this would be easier done digitally in your computer program, i.e. Photoshop, but I am a tactile person and I have to have my hands on the paper, the scissors, and get my fingers covered with glue. Otherwise I don't feel like I've made art. The more of me I can get into the work the better I like the process.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Orange Blossom Special

 by Jo Reimer
Orange Blossom Special


We've had such beautiful weather that I can't stay out of the garden, so with my son's expert help we have the whole garden whipped into its best shape... ever. But there was a bare spot so I bought some of those short dahlias and as I was planting them I got the idea of making a bouquet that will last longer than summer. The vase colors reference my collection of green containers.

Orange Blossom Special, 6" x 24" x 1" 
collage and acrylic on cradled panel
Orange Blossom Special, detail

Monday, May 25, 2015

Machine Works and Painting

Machine Work and Painting
This piece named itself. 

For years I've carried a camera wherever I go and have thousands of photos of people, places, and things. And I've been trying to figure out how to combine my love of photography and my love of collage without the result looking like a scrapbook page. Perhaps I'm finally onto something that will work for me. 

This started with the photo of a warehouse stencil, Machine Work and Painting. I added maps, an old car, a collection of hands taken in a favorite store, a machine part from who knows where, and a row of big steel tubes, plus bright color, black and white, painted paper, and the drawn line.  All combined on a 12x12" board.

The best thing about this for me is that this piece pulled me up out of a fallow time when I simply didn't want to work. I've been sewing and gardening, cooking and reading, but no drawing, no painting, no collage. It was starting to bother me even though I knew it was all related to hanging the show in Hillsboro and needing a new focus.  This idea came at just the right time, thank you, Jesus.

I've been accepted into the Portland Open Studios Tour the second and third weekend in October and now that I have a new idea and a new goal of making new work for the tour I'm ready to spend lots of days in the studio. A dear friend gifted me with several dozen cradled panels and another friend cut me lots of flat panels so I know what sizes and surfaces I'll be working on. The next step is to dig out a bunch of photos from the boxes stacked in the corner and see what works with what.

I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong in the 80s and photos from those trips will make some interesting collages, as will photos from various road trips and vacations.

Watch this space for new work! I'm on a roll.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

New PAGE added to my blog

I've just added a PAGE to my blog titled Hillsboro Exhibit. See it at the top, right under the title, One A Day. I'm gradually adding images of all the paintings that are in the Hillsboro show, along with sizes and prices. 

I'm so grateful to my helpers Constance Adams and Jill Getzendaner (my daughter) who made it possible to hang the show in one long afternoon. The library has a slick professional hanging system of wires and hooks but still, it was a chore. I came away absolutely convinced of the the worth of paying a hefty commission to a gallery which takes on the chore of hanging your work and putting it before qualified buyers. The library doesn't do all that; I do, if it's to be done.

The reception is next Saturday, May 16, from 2-4 and I hope to see many of you there, but you can go see the work anytime the library is open during the months of May and June. If you'd like me to meet you there, just call or email.

I had 39 pieces from which to choose and we wound up with 32. I was quite disappointed to get home and find 4 paintings under some towels in my front seat, 3 of which I really wanted in the show, including the one I used for my show card. And later I realized that I didn't make it home with my little bag of tools. I'll bet I left it sitting in the parking lot when I packed up the boxes to go home. Oh well, someone else now has a handy awl, level, and screwdriver. When you get old you forget things.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

sometimes there's a better way

While gathering completed works for the Hillsboro library show I put my hand on a collage that needed help. I liked the concept and most of the details but the design of the flower and the title weren't right.
Red Flower
So I fixed it. And changed it's name. Now I like it.
Red Hot Mama
Jo Reimer's collages will be shown at the Hillsboro Main Library, 2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR 97124 throughout the months of May and June during library hours. You're invited to an artists reception in the Board Room on the second floor, Saturday May 16 between 2 and 4.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jo Reimer Art Exhibit in Hillsboro, Oregon May and June, 2015

I'm getting more done every day in preparation for my upcoming collage show at the Hillsboro Main Library May 1 through June 30. 

There's a super gallery on the second floor of the library and my work will be shown in the Alcove at the south end of the hallway. I've accumulated quite a few new pieces to add to work from the last couple of years, perhaps 35 works to show and I hope most of you who live in the Portland area will be able to make it to the exhibit.

Hours are the same as regular library hours, Mon-Fri 10-8, Sat 10-6, Sun 12-6 with an artist's reception on Saturday May 16 from 2-4. Of course you're invited to the reception.

Show prep is so much more than making art. There's the first big job of planning the project, then ordering and distributing show cards, typing and printing labels, matting and framing, publicity, connecting with the venue, hanging the show, setting up and hosting the reception, and don't forget gnashing teeth and worrying.

I ordered some fabulous float frames from The Canvas Place for collages done on wood panels, but my boards are thinner than the frames are designed for so I figured out a way to lift and adhere the panel to the frame. I cut 1" balsa wood strips into little squares which I sprayed black to match the frames and glued these into each corner. 

The hook side of sticky back Velcro will stick to this corner piece and the fuzzy side of the Velcro sticks to the back of each corner of the finished art on board...

... the painting attaches to the frame, and it's done. These floater frames also work for cradled canvases. 

Come to the show and see for yourself. All art will be for sale. Make a note of the piece(s) you want and give me a call to arrange the sale. My phone number is on each label.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunny Day at the Beach

Sunny Day at the Beach
Jo Reimer
Collage on board
12” x 12”

I'm experimenting with new ways to add images to my collages, this time using my own photographs. 

It proved to be quite simple. In Photoshop I went to Image>Mode>Grayscale and increased the contrast via Adjustments. Then I sent the image through my Laserjet, and cut it out close to the edges of the image.

The next experiments with be image transfers using acrylic medium which is a technique I used 20 years ago to transfer photos to fabric. What goes around comes around, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Traveling Artist

Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons
For some reason I simply can't toss a few things into my suitcase and be confident that I'll have all I need when I get to my destination. I have to make lists upon lists to be sure I haven't forgotten something important... and this from a woman who used to teach workshops about planning and packing a travel wardrobe. But to make packing easier I keep a packed sketching kit ready for the road.

Jo Reimer's traveling sketch kit

The case is a tri-fold cosmetic case, found at AAA a few years ago. I've seen similar ones at the drugstore. Here's what's in it...
  • my small Moleskine journal, a tiny watercolor paintbox made from a mint tin, and a waterbrush. These live in my handbag at home, every day.
  • Winsor Newton travel palette with 12 basic colors.
  • a second waterbrush
  • 4 other rather small brushes with shortened handles,
  • a tiny spray bottle for water,
  • a tiny bottle of Indian Red ink and a dip pen for drawing, 
  • several half-sticks of Caran d'Ache crayons in a little plastic bag,
  • my collage/watercolor journal and a few extra bits of watercolor paper,
  • 2 UHU gluesticks and a small jar of acrylic medium with a spreader,
  • small children's scissors,
  • pens and pencils,including a couple of colored pencils
  • eraser and tiny pencil sharpener,
  • a tiny sea sponge,
  • several paper and plastic alphabet stencils,
  • a film container for paper clips and brads with masking tape wrapped around the outside,
  • a roll of clear packing tape that tears easily to use for magazine transfers.
  • small pad of watercolor postcards
  • a 2" S-hook, a carabiner and a large safety pen 
This all fits into the folding cosmetic bag. 
Tri-fold kit with left compartment folded inward
Kit opened all the way

On the airplane I position the S-hook or the safety pin somewhere in front of me on the airplane, hook the carbineer to the handle of my travel kit, and hang from the S-hook so my equipment is handy as I work.

Between trips this kit lives in my car where I also keep a spare, larger sketchbook.

What do you pack? What sort of packing case do you use? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Painting Collage Papers. a tutorial

Ironing painted paper
My friend laughs at me for ironing my papers. But ironing them makes the paper flatten back out after they're painted and they're easier to store and use.

I spent an evening recently painting some papers in the color range that I need for a planned collage. It takes time to do paint my own papers to build my palette but it's necessary for my process and lots of fun. 

Painted Papers, ready to use in collage

Here's one of the methods I use to prepare some of my painted papers.

I start with plain white paper: blank copier paper and paper from laser printers (not ink jets), washi, printmaking papers, art tissue, tracing paper, pages torn from discarded books, and music  from old song books and hymnals, pages torn from old phone books and dictionaries. Just about any papers can be used except for cheap papers that fall apart in water (toilet paper, paper towels, regular tissue paper, tissues). I've saved some of the colorful paper towels that I use in the studio but rarely do I use them because of the rougher texture, though some people use these with great success.
 I use watery mixtures of acrylic pigments including fluid acrylics, acrylic inks, and airbrush acrylic (aka Golden's Hi-Flow).

And here's how it works for me:
 Mix the pigment with water, about 1:4. about 1-2 oz total should do the trick. Wear rubber gloves.
  • Work on a large tray of some sort. I use several old school lunchroom trays.
  • Place white paper on a sheet of plastic and get it fairly wet by spraying with water.
  • Using a pipette or straw or brush drop the color onto the paper, spraying and brushing to encourage the paint to flow over the paper. I like random rather than all over solid color.
  • Cover this paper with another sheet of plastic. Repeat the above steps. Repeat and repeat, building up the layers of paper and plastic.
  • Set aside for several hours or overnight to allow the colored pigments to flow over the paper, to settle in creases, to form patterns of color.
  • Before unwrapping the papers/plastic spread out large sheets of plastic over floors and furniture on which to set your painted papers for drying.
  • Wear rubber gloves.
  • Peel each sheet of paper off the plastic and set over on your drying surface. If there's pigment left on the plastic you can blot it up with another piece of absorbent white paper such as washi.
  • Once all the paper has been transferred to the drying surface it's a waiting game. The paper dries very quickly outdoors in warm weather but it takes overnight to dry indoors in winter.

 Ironing has been completed and paper is ready to use.

If you, dear reader, make some papers using this method, please send me a photo so I can brag on you.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Jo Reimer: Excellence in Craftsmanship

Perhaps I should change the name of this blog since my posting schedule has certainly not been One A Day.  But really, I never intended to post daily, just to be creative daily, and most days I am, even if it's creating an interesting meal or flower arrangement instead of a work of art. And that daily commitment to creativity through this blog has made a difference in my approach to being creative. I'll continue writing about my days, if only for a personal record.

Imbalance is a small piece, 6 x 6" on cradled panel, composed mainly with pages from old National Geographic magazines treated with CitraSolve. The solvent dissolves the printing inks giving unusual and unexpected, unplanned results. I've used these papers for several collages and like them quite a bit because the paper doesn't wrinkle like some of the thinner papers I sometimes use. 

In my work I aim for excellence in craftsmanship. That comes from my background with fabric and thread and tying up any loose ends so the result doesn't have that "loving hands at home" look. Is that the difference between art and fine art? Excellence in the creating?  I want the work to be well made, the labor to look effortless, for the buyer to know that they've purchased something of value.

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