Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Updating Flickr

Detail of Plaid Quilt

I haven't spent much time on art making over the last week or so, but I'll soon get back to it. I'm plugging through some of my To Do list and today worked at uploading photos of my daily collages to my Flickr account. You can go here to see my Daily Collage set and then explore more of my photos on Flickr.

I'm getting my sketchbook ready to mail to the ArtHouse in Brooklyn, NY, though with their deep snow I'm not so sure that even the postman can get out to deliver mail. Maybe I'll wait a few days and send it Priority.

Here are a few blog posts that I'm enjoying:
Marge Malwitz quilt
Zen Habits
Lisa Call
Donna Zagotta
Wen Redmond fabric collage technique

Friday, December 17, 2010

House in the Forest

House in the Forest with Gecko
Daily Collage

I thought I was done with this collage until I scanned it and realized that it needed some lines to bring focus. What a difference a few lines can make. I didn't even realize that I had a house in this collage until I scanned it and saw that the gecko was perched on a house shaped paper scrap.

Making this collage was an exercise in giving up "precious". See that bit of paper on the right side and across the bottom? That was a bit torn from a sheet of stencils I made last summer. I kept passing it up because it was too precious to use in whatever I was working on at the time. Finally today I tossed precious to the wind. I tore the sheet in half, then in half again, then simply tore it into pieces so it was no longer precious. Then came the idea of making a collage using black, green, and white. Funny how things work out when you let go and use whatever supplies you have.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

House Collage

House with Red Flower

As I sat down to make a collage this afternoon my eye landed on scraps of my gift wrapping paper so I decided to start with a cutout of the poinsettia from the paper. The central part of the house is from a photo I took at the Taos Pueblo and I kept building from there, thinking about house, roof, openings and balance. It's all exaggerated as far as scale and balance and color, but I think it works.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Art With Heart and Lots of Helping Hands

9x12 collage
copyright Jo Reimer

I'm guessing that many of you are doing a lot for one another during this season of giving, doing for others as you'd like them to do for you.

One of my opportunities to give has been in aid of a young woman who suffered a life -changing accident in September and is now paralyzed from the shoulders down. Cherie is at a rehab facility learning to live in a new way and her brother and sister have given up their jobs to move in and help her.

Her lifelong friend, my online art buddy, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson, has curated a gorgeous book, full of images contributed by many artists, (including the above image) which is for sale on Blurb, with all profits from the sale of the book going to benefit Cherie's rehabilitation. Art With Heart is available to view and buy at Blurb. What a wonderful gift to give to an art lover at Christmas, or any time of year.

 Another project I've been working on is knitting hats, scarves, and fingerless gloves for homeless kids in our local school... around 1600 of them.  Yarn shops have donated thousands of dollars worth of yarn and needles so that we can make beautiful items of exceptional quality to warm the hearts of these kids. Read about it at YarnFest here

And still another group of friends gather to make quilts to give to kids at a summer camp for foster kids. And I've heard of a group of local fiber artists who give fabric and teach inmates to quilt at a local women's correctional institute.

Don't you just love it when people give from their hearts and use their skills to make life just a little better for others? What are you doing to help others?
Giving a little time to a group effort is magnified in untold ways.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


While looking through my editing tools at Blogger today I found several posts that I never did get published. I'll re-read them to see if they're still worth posting. This one is the first....

5x7 Daily Collage

Achieving the perfect balance of elements can be difficult in a collage but maybe easier than in painting because you can move the bits of paper around until it's right, while with painting it's place a stroke, stand back, wipe, do it over. Here I worked to balance several blocks of color as well as the bits and pieces that make up this little collage.

Knowing when something is balanced comes with experience... simply making lots of decisions about what looks best, doing miles of work. Sometimes it comes naturally but most of the time it simply takes practice in order to train your eye.

Remember to back up and squint.

Growing up with a mother who liked symmetrical balance was a bit tough. She had 3 pieces of  wine colored McCoy pottery on the fireplace mantle, one large bowl and two matching vases, so of course the bowl was in the middle and the vases were one on each side. If I'd had my way I'd have used the two vases together with the bowl placed in just the right place to achieve balance. And no, my mantle isn't symmetrically balanced.

What's asymmetric balance? Picture two kids on a seesaw. One child weighs 15 pounds more than the other so she schooches closer to the center so both children are balanced on the board and can work the seesaw. It's like that in art.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Mattie and the Girls

Mattie and the Girls
5x7 Daily Collage

My paternal grandmother, Mattie, is the woman upper left in this photo from the 1920s.  Dressed as they are one would think they've been been to choir practice but that roundish thing one woman is holding looks suspiciously like a football... or maybe it's a watermelon.  Aren't you glad we don't dress like that anymore?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Starting a Series

5x7 daily collage

Maudeline Patterson was my home economics teacher in middle school and high school. She recognized my creative abilities early on and helped me learn whatever I needed, especially in sewing class. Miss Patterson was no fashion plate but she was interested in helping her students realize their fashion dreams. The only comment I remember disagreeing with her about was... "Martha, chartruese green and navy simply don't go together".


With my daily collages I'm turning toward home and homemaking as a series theme, at least for awhile. Although many artists have used the house shape in their art I will try not to look at too many pieces by others and simply see what I can do with a square or rectangle and a triangle. Maybe I can burn through my scrap paper backlog.

I've come to believe that working in series is the way to go. It narrows my focus and keeps me from jumping around so much. I have several series going and I jump around from one to another... home, trees, the garden, spiritual relationships and family are currents interests. 


It's hard for me to focus on just one theme.  One day I feel like doing something about "home" and the very next day I'm ready to draw some trees.  I know, they are all interrelated. And the truth of it is that I'm free to play around with any topic/theme that strikes my fancy, but more gets done when I focus on one or two topics at a time.

My friend Jane Dunnewold addresses the topic of focus in her December 1, 2010 blog post at Existential Neighborhood.  I'm so glad I read it.

Jane reminds me that I don't have to make a decision to do anything forever. I can build paper houses for a month. The next month I can play with circles. I know that my attention wanes at around 6 months. If I take that in consideration when I set my goals I can motivate myself to keep on keeping on with promises such as "if you work on building houses for the next 4 months then you get to paint flowers."  With a single focus I can dig deeper.


LK Ludwig is posting weekly holiday prompts on her blog The Poetic Eye this month with the theme of LIGHT. I urge you to read her post.

Light of the World will be my own theme. I'm already behind because my work day is almost over and I haven't started... but my plan is to make a journal that's devoted to the topic and finish a photo journal page most days during December, using my own photographs, of course.  That's do-able. And focusing on just this one thing leaves me room to enjoy this month of light, including a few minutes for my little daily collage.
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