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.

Monday, November 03, 2014

200 For Under $200

I'm delivering three new collages to Oregon Society of Artists today to be in their November show called 200 FOR UNDER $200.  It pains me a bit to let these go for so little but I'm committed.

The rules for this exhibit are interesting. The artist buys three 12" x 12" deep-cradled panels from the gallery which serves as the entry fee. Make the art on the panels and return the finished work. I think all the pieces will be hung so it will be a mixed bag.

These new works feature more of my self-generated papers as well as a few solid colors from commercial sources such as the black in the upper right corner. I know it reads as blue, but it's really black. Other papers include magazine pages that I altered with an orange solvent.

Once the papers were firmly adhered to the substrate and coated with a layer of medium I applied layers of cold wax to protect the work and give the surface a soft glow. The sides were left natural, protected by layers of wax.

As I said, the works are under priced but once I started working on the panels, pursuing a new idea which led to something new, I realized that this was about something more important to me, a suggestion for a new direction. I'm eager to work larger.

In my next post I'll show you the four similar pieces that will be delivered to Cannon Beach Gallery later in the week.

Monday, October 20, 2014

New work

Approaching Stillness
I've been hard at work on a new series of collage pieces on cradled boards. I've been using the panels from American Easel and find that this surface suits my way. I protected the edge with a layer of blue tape while building the collage on the surface, and when I was done I removed the tape and finished the cradle with a light sanding and a couple of layers of cold wax which I used on the surface as well.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vessel Collages

For several years I cleaned my paint brush on a large sheet of MDF which I kept on my work table. As it became covered with paint and ink I realized that I had a good first layer for a painting.

I drew a grid over the surface, added paint deliberately, and simply played until it got to the point where I realized it was actually four smaller paintings. My friend ran the board through his table saw and then I went back to work with more paint and collage elements, now working each section individually. They each measure 11" x 22".

The vessel shapes, bowls, eggs and circles crept into each piece and finally each was finished.They've been sealed, varnished, framed and photographed.

I can't tell you the names of each of these vessel paintings; the names are on the back of each piece, at the photographers'. Naming is the hardest thing for me and I often put it off till last, just before I add each piece to my inventory sheet. Another thankless task... at least until it's time to show or sell the work and then I'll be glad I took time to do all the final steps.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

What I Learned by Hosting an Open Studio

What I learned by opening my studio to the public:

I need people. That’s nothing new but it is an awakening to my need to craft more ways to share my work. We artists need isolation in which to create. But we also need opportunities to talk with interested people. An open studio accomplishes that. I sure enjoyed this party!

Being open six hours for two days isn’t terribly taxing. The hardest part was preparing and thanks to friends that wasn’t so bad either. I will do this again.

It would be better to be open two weekends to better accommodate people’s schedules. Early fall is a good time to do this.

It was a good idea to publicize the event on Facebook and my blog as well as an email blast. Next time I'll mail invitations, too.

People have good taste. They bought my best work and passed on some works that I shouldn’t have even offered for sale. Limit what I show.

I thought that framed pieces would sell better than works that weren’t framed. That didn’t happen, perhaps because unframed work is less expensive even though I charged only what the frames cost me to buy and assemble.

There was great variety in the work I displayed, perhaps too much. I think I’ll narrow my focus.

Work larger. I’ve been doing small works because of storage issues but if I grab more opportunities to show work larger pieces will be an advantage.

Several professional artists who were here convinced me that my work is worthy and that I should seek gallery representation and enter shows.  I will do just that.

People like to see something to hang their hat on. Purely abstract work didn’t interest buyers for the most part, but the abstraction of reality was appealing. They like flowers and trees and horses. My map series were quite a draw because people are used to reading maps to navigate so they moved in close and ‘read’ my paintings.  They try to read words. They are highly interested in the stories that are reflected in the paintings and loved to hear me talk about the back-story of each work. Since my work tends to be narrative and personal it’s easy to talk about it.

Gosh, I loved doing this open studio. Thanks a bunch to you who attended and I hope that more of you will come visit me someday.

People were interested in seeing me demonstrate some of my collage techniques.

I am planning to start teaching again, probably something to do with collage. I can handle up to 5 students in my studio and if there’s a larger enrollment I’ll rent space.  Let me know if you want to be added to my student list. There’s no commitment either way. When I decide to teach I’ll send an announcement and you can sign up if it suits you.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Jo Reimer Open Studio

It's happening tomorrow.

At the Reimer home, between 11 and 5. Come on by.

There's lots of art for all tastes and wallets. I take cash, checks, major credit cards.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Y'all Come! Jo Reimer's Open Studio Oct. 4-5

Y'all  Come!

October 4 and 5, 2014. 11 am to 5 pm. 11990 NW Maple Hill Lane, Portland, OR

Park in the driveway or on the street, but be sure to set your brake. It's steep up here on the hill.

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