Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Sketchbook Project - Mountains

Mt. Hood
Pencil, pen and ink, watercolor crayons.

Mt. Hood is only 50 miles east of Portland and lures many Oregonians to its beautiful slopes for skiing, hiking, fishing and many other sports, both summer and winter. Part of the Cascade Range of volcanic mountains, it often appears to float above the city due to atmospheric conditions.  At 11,230' its distinctive volcanic shape is hard to miss.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Phone Book as Art Supply

The end of the phone book is near. Both AT&T and Verizon have initiated plans to stop delivering the white pages in several states. 

Friends, the phone book is a valuable Art Supply!  Build a stash for the future.

So how does one use a phone book in an art studio, you ask?  Here's my list:

1. As a gluing station. Tear off the cover. Place the item to which you'll apply glue on top of the phone book and apply the glue. Tear off the page and toss it. Repeat. You'll never again get glue on the surface of a paper or photo. 
    Tear off a 1/2 inch hunk of paper and pack with your traveling art supplies.

2.  As collage ephemera. Use a strip of numbers or names in your collage work.

3.  To clean your paint brush.  And then use the painted paper in collage.  Or toss it.

4.  Use as a pad when attaching grommets or rivets.

How do YOU use phone books in the studio?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Sketchbook Project - Rivers


Oregon, especially the western part, is all about water and mountains and forests and rivers and agriculture. Because we get lots of misty rain we have abundant snow in the mountains, plenty of water in our rivers and streams, and lots of clean water to drink and to irrigate our crops. Our drinking water which comes from the Bull Run Reservoir is so pure that we drink it straight without lots of chemicals or processes to purify it. 
This pier is on the Willamette, near Oregon City. I wish I had a boat!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Self Portrait - Birthday

Self Portrait
September 2010

Today is my birthday. Some creative people have birthday rituals; they paint a self portrait or make a self portrait doll or a scroll of the last 12 months or write in a birthday book, but I won't do any of these things. My ritual is to gather family around me and have a little love fest. I'll go to church, then to my favorite cafe for brunch with my husband, maybe spend a few hours in my studio and garden, and then meet my family for a burger. It'll be fun, low key and so good to be with family and friends that I love. What could be better?

Perhaps shooting a self portrait will be part of my future birthday ritual. Or maybe I'll make a birthday card that I can copy to send to friends on their birthdays. Hmmm, that's a good idea.

Do you have birthday rituals?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

May I introduce you to my friend Elizabeth Nelson who has an unusual approach to figurative collage.  She draws a recognizable subject (domestic and barnyard animals, people and landscape) onto board and then brings them to life by adding painted papers to the forms and some of the background.
Enjoy the video. You'll find the link to her blog in my blog list in the sidebar.



4 pieces of paper on card. It works.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



I'm pleased with this one. The top layer is spray stencil. The bottom layer is part of a nude painting I did in a class that's really ugly except in the details... the painting is the upper band and the lower right area of gray and yellow... so 3 pieces of paper glued to the background = a pretty nice collage.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time

Sometimes there's just not much one can say about a piece. I'm sure you can see the struggle here, but at least I did the work.

I've been asked why I make these little collages, what I'm going to do with them. It doesn't matter what the end result is; it just matters that I do the work. Doing the work, whether it's collage or painting or drawing or writing or exercising or practicing any discipline, is how one improves her/his skill set. I'm showing up and doing the work.

It takes discipline and an objectively self-critical attitude about one's own work to reach a high level of achievement, and it's easy to fall short of the mark. (John Hulsey)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gifted For Service

Gifted for Service

Bands of unusual text lend a mysterious element to this little collage. The background was cut from a watercolor experiment... that's the green and reddish brown at top right and along the bottom. The numbers are cut from a Bingo card and the lower row of text was some unrelated documents printed like a double-exposure photograph, a favorite thing to do on top of a too-light photograph.  Just run the photo back through the printer 2 or 3 times, allowing the ink to dry in between print runs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Sketchbook Project - Portland

In my sketchbook about Oregon I'm moving from west to east, now pausing in Portland to have a look at a bit of the downtown. Our largest city has a vibrant core, anchored by Pioneer Courthouse Square with the MAX light rail lines radiating from there out to the suburbs in four directions, to Clackamas, Gresham and the airport, to Vancouver, and Hillsboro. Crossing that grid is the streetcar line and a large bus complex. Transportation is easy with free Max rides downtown and computer parking lots in many suburb communities.

Assuring that no one should be thirsty our city fathers placed drinking fountains all over the downtown area, 126 of them. These provide clean, cold running water from 6am until 11pm every day unless there's ice or high wind. They're called Benson Bubblers, after Simon Benson who ordered the first ones to be placed.

My cousin once visited me and when we went downtown in the evening he was amazed at how many people were on the streets, lounging in the Square, bustling to theatres, heading for a restaurant, or simply strolling along the Willamette river that runs through the center of town. It's quite safe in most areas and because many retail stores and restaurants stay open into the evening it doesn't feel closed down and deserted like some cities.  I like it here, a lot.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Barb and Jo and the Pacific Ocean

Barb and Jo
Daily Collage

Earlier this year Barb came for a visit to search the north Oregon Coast for wave action photos to use as she plans a series of fiberart paintings.  We stopped at a small overlook to see where the path led. Someone had placed two old plaid recliners on a flat spot facing the ocean,  (creative dumping, for sure) so we took advantage of the comfy spot to watch for waves and whales.  Neither one showed up, nor were the old chairs particularly comfortable but it all made for a big laugh and a little story.

This isn't art but it satisfied my need to create something.

Perhaps I shouldn't call myself an artist. I'm creative in all that I do and sometimes I make art, too. It's all good for my soul.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Daily Collage - Tree


I made a contact sheet in Photoshop of some of my drawings and photos in order to reuse them as focal points in collages and on journal pages. This is one of the first of my Bare Bones series of tree drawings on sewn paper collage backgrounds.

Making a contact sheet of small photos for a variety of uses is quite easy. I use Photoshop 7. Go to File > Automate > Contact Sheet II. Set your numbers and watch the magic happen. I use the $17 packet of glossy paper from Costco or else the matte paper from Staples that you can print on each side. Printing on each side works well if you want your photos to become book pages.

Probably you can make contact sheets with Photoshop Elements and most other photo software. Cut them out and glue them to a magnetic backing for quickly made giveaways.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Collage - People


My habit is to have a stack of papers or old book pages on the painting table and I clean my brushes on these papers. The blue part of this collage was acrylic painted onto a sheet of used ledger paper from the early 50's.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Daily Collage - Man


Some of the surfaces I'm working on were from a failed acrylic painting that I cut into 5x7 pieces. This section of the painting actually worked quite well as the background for the collage. Serendipity rules again... these 3 pieces were lying together in my compost box as if to say, "Take us, take us. Glue us together." So I did.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Sketchbook Project - Forests


This is one of those shots taken from the passenger seat of my car, driving down the highway at 60 miles an hour. Surprisingly the shot turned out okay, at least for the Sketchbook Project. I cut it in two to fit across the spread and then extended the lines and colors, with a little insert taken within one of the coast range forests.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Final Cut - Sketchbook Project

It's decision making time. Before I designed the first page in my book I chose a bunch of photos that I've taken around Oregon in the last 3 years and moved them into a folder and printed them as contact sheets. The photos are 2" x 1 1/2". I cut the contact sheet apart and narrowed the selection and now I'm at the critical stage of making the final cut.  Which 7 photos will best represent Oregon?

I have a spread about the western edge, one about grayness and rain.... now what?  Eastern and Central Oregon, for sure. My city (Portland), the rivers, agriculture... by jove, I think I've got it!

My next step will be to do some work in my daily journal. For a big project like this I like to write out my thoughts, first doing some mind-mapping, and then make a plan.  Right now I'm feeling like I limited myself to too few pages, but I have only so much time that I want to give to this project and limiting the pages seemed like the best way to handle it.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Ecola State Park - The Sketchbook Project

For this next spread I chose a photo taken from Ecola State Park.

After attaching the photo to the page with a tape runner (double-stick tape) I extended the scene using Derwent Inktense pencils, Caron d'Ache watercolor crayons, and ink.
Then I used plain water and a soft brush to moisten the marks and blend the colors.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Sketchbook Project -Gray Days

I'm participating in The Sketchbook Project (click on the icon in the sidebar to read more.) and have been mulling around ideas about how I want to proceed. The papers in this 5" x 8 1/4" Moleskine are so thin that actually drawing on them as they are is out of the question as far as I'm concerned and there's not a great deal of time left in the year to draw on every single page. So. I decided to follow Marge Malwitz's lead and glue some of the pages together to create fewer, thicker pages.

What glue to use is the big issue with lots of the people who are working on this project. At MakenArt there's a long post about which glues and pens work best but I didn't read it until I had already experimented with gel medium, YES! paste, and a UHU gluestick, resulting in some badly wrinkled pages. I'm not worrying about that because I'll be making collages on the pages.

I find it so intersting to follow Marge's Creative Process that I decided I'll document my own process for you.  The title I chose from those available is "If you lived here". I'm enlarging the title to "If You Lived Here... Oregon". I'll use my own photos of various places I've been recently in Oregon and extend the photos with drawing and journaling since that's what I do.

My first 2 pages have to do with people's idea that it always rains and is cloudy and gray here in Oregon. It doesn't rain all the time. In fact the rain this week is the first we've had in Portland in 2 dry months. But one CAN count on bits of most days at the coast being overcast.

I happened to have the perfect sheet of gray washi so I cut that to fit and used 3M's 77 spray adhesive to glue it to the page, along with bits of blue washi to indicate the promise of blue skies.

The text under the pictures reads

Some say
it's always gray
here at the western edge
of the USA.

Often - yes, with a gentle mist.
But not always...
See there...
a hint of blue.

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