Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey Time

Sorry, no turkey art here. This piece is "November's End", 33 x 10". It is up for auction on Ebay until this Sunday.

Last year I did a post on what I was most thankful for. I doubt seriously much has changed. I am thankful that I am still able to create my art. This is a time of economic turmoil and so far, I am working on my art and selling it. Yes, sales have been very slow since late summer. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

I am also thankful for the support of other artists. I have met a few artists through blogging whose art work and personalities I enjoy. There have been a couple of small purchases and even a trade made possible through blogging. Hopefully the economy will improve and I will be able to make even more purchases. After clothing and travel expenses, my profits often go toward art purchases. No doubt I'm not the only artist with similar priorities.

I have recently been lucky enough to join up with other artists in a blog called The Fine Art Department put together by painter Tracy Helgeson. Artwork makes a wonderful, thoughtful holiday gift. You are not only giving a gift that makes the recipient feel special, you are also helping out an artist in these difficult times. Having said this, I am off to Etsy to get some gift ideas for friends and family. I still have to figure out what 17-year-old girls want. And this year, I will not be giving out I-tunes gift certificates!

Hope everyone has a warm, safe and wonderful Thanksgiving day. Each year I come to appreciate this holiday more and more. Not only will I be having dinner with my hubby, daughter, mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and three nieces, my grandparents and older family friends will also be there in memory.

Oh, and I'm also thankful that I don't have to cook. So are the other members of my family.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Have Yourself an Ugly Little Christmas!?!

Last night, my daughter and I attended our local Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the State College "Town Square." Hot chocolate was drunk, carols were sung, and snowflakes actually fell. Lovely. I am now getting in the mood for the holidays. I enjoy shopping, baking, visiting friends and family and giving and receiving presents.

Each year at this time, I go in a search for beautiful Christmas wrapping paper. Each year I am more and more disappointed.

I love paper. All kinds of paper. Yes, even stacks of white toilet paper appeal to me. But why is it that I can no longer find attractive Christmas wrapping paper? This year I have seen paper with prancing reindeer, orange and yellow ornaments, blue Christmas trees, etc. . . all on the same roll of paper. Blech.

I remember as a child my grandmother had the most lovely paper. She worked at a downtown department store and received a discount on everything in the store, so she managed to amass quite a collection. My favorite had a black background with trees and birds. It looked like a crewel-work shawl. Stunning! I always asked her to wrap my presents in that paper. She did. I no longer remember what was in those packages, but the packages themselves were works of art.

Today, my search for paper left me cold. The store I was in today had a large display of black and white papers in several different prints. Yes, there were the usual ornament and deer prints, but jeez, it wasn't very festive. I would expect a gift wrapped in this paper to be presented by Herman Munster (with his festive green hands) and contain razor blades or a chicken heart. There were so many other non-festive papers. Now, everything does not have to be red and green. I am quite fond of gold and white, or even blue. But primary blue and yellow? Purple and white? Chunky and downright ugly designs. Why?

How are designers for wrapping paper selected? How does this ugliness come about? I know there are plenty of talented artists out there. Do they feel that wrapping paper design is beneath them?

Somebody. Anybody. Design something attractive for next year.

In a future post, I will discuss Christmas card design.

Monday, November 17, 2008


This is my idea of exuberance. It is being auctioned off on Ebay this Sunday.

Just a tad brighter than my usual work, huh? Every now and then I get into one of those crazy moods. I am NOT in one of those moods today. Not exuberant. Not even close. It has been quite a while since I have seen more than a brief ray of sunshine. Central PA is like that this time of year. I have yet to get used to it. There have been many flurries and even a dusting of snow the other day. Yes, I have read other blogs and know others' snow stories. It hasn't been so bad hear yet. I just want to see some sunshine, though. The hubby is away on business. That could be part of my non-exuberance. It is Monday. Although I usually love Mondays. I'm a rarity, aren't I. I love to think about a whole week laid out in front of me. Lots of studio time. Long periods of thinking time. I need that sort of time.

On Saturday, my daughter spent a couple of hours with me in my studio. I don't usually get much studio time on the weekend, but this time I was "lucky." The hubby had some work to do to prepare for his trip, and my daughter was sent to the studio to be entertained. When she came into my studio, I warned her she was not going to be entertained & she couldn't do a lot of talking (VERY difficult for her). She asked if she could do some stamp carving. She did it with great exuberance.

If any of my readers are from Social Services, they should go elsewhere. I encourage my daughter to use dangerous tools. I taught her 8-10 months ago stamp carving techniques and she has been begging me to let her do some REAL stuff ever since. So what the heck. I explained once again the safety tips and let her go at it. Then I explained to her how expensive carving blocks are. She was impressed to know that it would take her 5 allowances to buy a 7"x10" carving block. Then I cut her a couple of squares and explained how she should plan ahead by drawing her shape onto tracing paper in the size of the block. Then she needed to turn the tracing paper over and transfer the design onto the block. She thought that was pretty magical. Then she went to town with the carving tools. Her first idea was a snowflake. I think it turned out quite well.
She is now thinking of making her own Christmas cards. I am pretty impressed.

Now I am off to do some Etsy surfing. Does anyone know what 17-year-old girls like? I'm baffled.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Buzz Buzz

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Hive II is for sale on Etsy.

As I'm sure I've mentioned before, there are 4 pieces in this series and they are all 11x14". I do believe that I will also put one up for auction on Ebay in the next week or so. I'll let everybody know when I do.

I have been doing a bit of lurking (and a bit of purchasing) on Etsy lately. I've purchased an adorable pencil case from Amy Cowen, as a Christmas gift for my daughter, a stunning felt brooch from Vaivanant, as a gift for somebody. I think I'll be keeping it myself. Most recently, I purchased a crow drawing from Ellen Sereda, which is most definitely for me. As I live in an area where there is little in the way of original shopping, I think I will try to do as much Christmas shopping as I can on Etsy.

We do have a handful of quaint shops in the area, however, most of them do sell mass-produced goods. However, I will support these shops to the best of my ability when I cannot find what I want from Etsy. I vow to NOT purchase Christmas gifts from Target. My town does have an artisans' gallery, but since there is some bad blood between me and this gallery, I no longer support it. I'm still shocked at how some gallery owners can be so distant, chilly, non-supportive, etc., in regards to local talent.

I'm still debating trying out the quilt-a-week project. I'm sure to be quickly distracted from it. Yesterday, a friend and I went to a show at the PSU's Palmer Museum -- "New York Cool." Modern art from 1950's and 60's. My friend's mother, who is a docent at the gallery also went with us. A well-informed hour-and-a-half later, I returned to my studio only to feel quite inferior. I felt that I was making little crafty things, when I should be making large, meaningful pieces. I stewed about this for a couple of hours. I hand stamped some fabrics and just plowed ahead. At the end of the afternoon, I had determined that, indeed, I was making little crafty pieces. I had also determined that there was absolutely nothing wrong with that. These pieces have meaning to me, and hopefully to those who see and purchase them. They are not masterpieces. That is not what I am interested in doing right now. I am going to spend at least the next six months working on these small pieces and try to not be distracted into doing other things. That will be hard to me. I am a visual "ho" and I tend to run off with every new color or shape that I see.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tweet Tweet

What?!? Are you surprised to actually see a photo on my blog? Me too! The camera has returned from China and I finally have time to take a photo of what I have been working on lately.

It has actually been a few days since I have worked in my studio. The fellows have finally finished with my bathroom. I had to run out to purchase bathroom necessities. There are many other things I have done and many other places I have been lately. The one place I have NOT been recently is my studio. I had to go there yesterday to iron some shirts and the place was covered with cobwebs! Well, not completely covered. However, there were some webs dangling in the place I normally stand when laying out pieces. I felt so ashamed. Cobwebs!!!!

Thanks to those of you who gave me the names of some singing women lately. I have done "research" on iTunes and have come up with a couple of new artists that I like. My fave new group has to be The Be Good Tanyas. As time allows, I will do some more "research." I want to do more, lots more, in my singing birds series. I had decided to name the series the "Sweet Songs of Birds." The name decided, I did my research, found The Be Good Tanyas, and fell in love with the first song on their Blue Horse CD -- "The Littlest Birds (sing the sweetest songs)". Seems like some kind of a good omen. I'm still debating attempting to do a quilt a week with this series. I have five pieces laid out so far. Only 47 to go. Maybe.

The problem is, I have discovered other music. The hubby went out of town, and I spent many evening watching whatever movie jumped off of the shelf at the local Blockbuster. I came across "The Visitor", and came across African Jazz artist Fela Kuti. This new music makes me want to go into a different color direction. Sometimes I wish I weren't so easily influenced.

What do other artists do to stay on the right track? Are others so easily influenced by music, colors, etc? Is it a matter of discipline? Do I lack the discipline to do this series?

Perhaps I should stop clickety clacking away here and get up into the studio.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tired, but Happy

I don't want to get political here in my blog, but I must say I am happy with the election results. Thanks to all of you, no matter who you voted for, for getting out there and doing your job.

I began my day yesterday at 4:15 in the morning. I must have some wake up time before I shower or I can be dangerous to myself. Arrived at my polling place to work a little after six. The line was long when we opened our doors at 7:00. Our little precinct has only 732 registered voters, some of which have died or have recently moved. I'm estimating our turnout to be 80%. Not too bad. Half a mile away on Penn State's campus, 1000 students were lined up to vote at 7:00 am. STUDENTS! These are those folks who usually prefer to sleep late. I'm impressed.

I'm also impressed about the young woman who just left the hospital and came straight to the polls. I'm impressed about the young man who arrived at our precinct (where his voter registration card stated he should vote), only to find out his name was not in our poll book. Our Judge of Elections called headquarters to find out if there was another place he should vote. He was instructed to go to another polling place. After waiting three hours in line there, he was told to come back to us. No call was made on his behalf to see if he could be assisted in any way. He came back to us. He was given a provisional ballot. This young man (boy I feel old saying that sort of thing), was so calm about the entire thing. I'm impressed about the elderly folks in our neighborhood who came in with canes and walkers and supported by the arms of family members. I'm impressed at my mother registering to vote (with much assistance on her family's part) after being a non-voter for about 30 years.

Anyway, job well done people, regardless of who you voted for. If you didn't vote, what the ...?

As of 10 minutes ago, bathroom done, now ready for lotions, soaps, creams, t.p. towels, toothbrushes, unmentionables to be reinstalled. Photos soon.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Your Job as an American Citizen

We've all got those pesky jobs and responsibilities, I know. They take up oodles of time and brain power. Who's got enough time and brain power left to do that most important job as an American citizen? Well, deal with it and get out there Tuesday and vote.

There is little excuse not to. Sure, things come up. Bad things you can't plan ahead for. Heart attacks and emergency room visits. Good excuses. I hope it happens to no one out there.

Your job as an American citizen is to vote. And not just to vote for you own well being. Vote for the well being of the country as a whole.

I'm certainly not going to tell you who to vote for. I'm sure you already know. But in case you are STILL undecided, do some reading, pray, meditate, talk to friends and family (it is always helpful to talk to someone with a good amount of intelligence).

Once again, vote for the good of your country. This is not the time to be selfish. You do things for the good of yourself everyday (pedicures, yoga, cutting someone off in traffic). I would use the term "Country First", but it has been taken, and I fear lawyers would descend on me. No, I'm not going to say "spread the wealth around" either. I so look forward to not hearing either of those phrases anymore.

And while you are voting, or perhaps, waiting to vote, be very nice to those volunteer polls workers. They are so nice to do what they do, and (the vast majority of the time) they are only there to help. I should know, I'm one of them. I'll be there from 6:00 a.m. to ???? Hopefully, I will be home before the crack of dawn on Wednesday.

And don't forget to bring I.D. And patience. And a friend to talk to. Or a book. Or your neighbor who might not be able to drive.

I'll be back on Wednesday. Hopefully in a good mood. And I will finally have those photos of my new bathroom.

Also, I'm still looking for a few new female singer/musicians to add to my too small collection.