I was happy to be juried into the 34th Annual New Legacies exhibit in the art gallery at Lincoln Center in Ft. Collins, CO. I was juried into this exhibit several years ago and won first place for a piece I had made from a photograph -- a process I just did once and never again. This year, I wasn't among the award winners but when I went to the opening reception this Friday, I was really impressed by the high quality of the pieces in the exhibit. This exhibit garners entries from all over the country (and Canada) so it attracts the best of the best. Of the 26 artists selected, only 6 live in Colorado. The content was a mixture of figurative, abstract, sculptural and one floral. I discovered new artists and the new works of artists I already know and I'll featured their work in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, if you live in Colorado or are planning a visit, don't miss this exhibit!
Every 4th of July weekend, I enjoy walking through the Cherry Creek Art Festival, not only to visit my friends who are showing their work there, but also to discover new artists. Of course, I am always looking for fiber artists who are doing cutting edge work and I found one today — Alice Vander Vennen. Her fiber work is sculptural and the pieces I saw today were beautifully framed so they would hang on the wall. Alice considers herself a mixed media artist since she uses so many other things in her work (like twigs, paint, metal, piano parts, and found objects) and she paints, embroiders and stitches to add even more color and texture but fabric is the basis of her compositions. She has published two portfolios on Blurb and just paging through the books shows the quality and depth of her artistic voice.
Visit her website to enjoy even more of her beautiful art. Here's a link to an interview she did for World of Threads.
One of the wonderful things about owning an art gallery is that I can choose who gets to exhibit!
And one month a year, I devote to showing the work of my "mentorship" artists. This is a six month long program that helps emerging artists learn how to become professional (in other words, earn $ from their artwork!) and how to present and price their work for the Denver market.
This program is a big commitment for each of the artists since they not only have to pay for the program but they also need to create/update their website, create/update their social media platforms, create and print a portfolio of their art, create other marketing items like postcards and business cards, and also make unique art for the exhibition. A big challenge!
Here are my "students" for August — left to right — Mary Clark, Karen Bennett , and Keats Scott.
If you live in the Denver area, I hope you can come to their First Friday event on August 5th from 6-9pm at aBuzz Gallery, 3340 Walnut St, Denver, 80206.
I attended a demo at Guiry's this morning. My friend, Judith Cassel-Mamet is a mixed media artist and she showed everyone how to use spray inks (Dylusions) to create an interesting first or second layer in a journal. I bought some of the inks and spent the afternoon spraying my heart out. This was really fun and creative. These inks mix together so I bought the three primaries (Lemon Zest, After Midnight, and Podtbox red) and tried to create the tertiary colors (orange/green and purple). The oranges were great but the greens and purples, not so much. I think I need to lighten up the blue and maybe even the red. Bummer! Buying more ink sprays? (Can't wait!)
Judith encourages her students to prepare several pages of backgrounds in your journal so you don't have to face the "dreaded white page", "where do I start" dilemma. If you want to have some fun, attend one of Judith's classes. I promise you, you will love all the techniques you will learn and your creativity button will be pushed!
I love this time of year because almost every weekend, there are art fairs to visit and this weekend was particularly busy! Yesterday, I drove up to Estes Park to visit the annual Wool Festival. Even though I don't knit, weave or spin, I love looking at the colors and textures of the artists that exhibit there. I did break down and buy a scarf made from sari ribbon, sari yarn, and fuzzy yarn, even though I could have made it myself, but I enjoy supporting fiber artists in any case.
Today, I visited the Summer Art Festival put on by the Art Student's League of Denver. I knew many of the exhibiting artists and loved to see Ginger Wilson's cow! So imaginative and so cute! I love it when fiber artists go big and Ginger certainly did that! You can find out more about her at ginger-wilson.blogspot.com
Unusual photo to talk about color! But these silos used to be painted bright blue and the artist studio building next door called themselves the Blue Silo Studios. Someone re-painted them gray.
These silos are in an industrial section of Denver called Globeville and since they were so iconic, everyone knew where they were. Now, they blend into the landscape of all the other colorless buildings and almost disappear into the sky on a cloudy day.
I remember my first visit to these silos as I got out of my car and took a photo several years ago. A man ran out of the building and yelled at me "no photos"! I remember thinking then, I wonder what goes on at this location that they don't want anyone to take photos. And now, I'm wondering it even more. What are they hiding?
Color has so many ramifications in life. I just re-painted my office yellow after living it painted tan for many years and I can already see a change in how I feel about my space. Walking into the room actually lifts my spirits! Who knows, I might love being in this room so much I will post more on Facebook! (Doubt it, but it could happen!)
I also notice a change in the way people interact with me based on the color shirt I am wearing. I love wearing black but people seem to respond better to turquoise, cranberry and melon orange.
Something to think about as we go about our lives is how color can change us and the people around us.
Now, I'm thinking of repainting the living room from a dark forest green to gold. Hmmmmm.
I was able to spend some time at the Institute of Art in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and stood in front of this iconic painting, American Gothic by Grant Wood. They say that good art creates an emotional response and I have to say this one did. I wasn't really focused on the man since he was scary and forbidding. The woman held all of my attention. First, the look in her eyes. It looked to me as though she was afraid to speak but was thinking about a lot of things. Her hair was pulled into a severe bun and her clothes we unadorned except for some rick-rack on her apron and a cameo at her neck. The colors, brown, black and white reflected even more austerity. Women's lives were hard in the 1900's — especially on the farms. I wondered if she was a quilter......
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I've taken on the challenge to learn how to work in a new medium — watercolor. Everyone said "Why pick the hardest one to start with?" and my answer was "I didn't know it was supposed to be hard!"
I started by taking some drawing and pen classes at Craftsy.com to learn some basics. Then, I moved on to watercolor and now, my "style" is to combine all these techniques into a finished piece. I love the color and transparency of watercolor but also love the detail of applying ink.
This was one of my first pieces — made from a photo I took of an old building in a rural area of Colorado. And to my surprise, it sold! I don't know who bought it yet because it was sold at the Park Hill Art Sale last weekend.
I don't know how many of you have sold your art or remember back when you sold your first piece but for me, selling the first piece in a new medium is a big deal. At least someone liked my work and it is validating. Especially when it was offered next to some very accomplished painters in the show. My other 5 pieces came back home to await their fate in the future!
I belong to an artist group called "To Expand". It was started by Mary Williams, a wood worker who wanted to find artists working in different mediums to show at the Madden Museum in Colorado. I was one of the lucky artists she chose to represent fiber. The other 3 artists are Victoria Eubanks (encaustic), Janice McDonald (collage) and Ken Elliott (oil and pastels).
We have been invited to show at the Art Gym from June 3 through July 3, Opening reception is June 23 from 5-8pm. Hope to see you there!
Given that this is an election year, I decided to showcase my Conversations piece for 1968. That was an amazing year, full of hope (passage of the Civil Rights Act) and despair (the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.) It was the beginning of the Woman's Liberation movement and we elected Richard Nixon to run our country. It has taken us 48 years of hard work to finally have a chance to have a woman President of our country. I'm finding that my art is taking on a more political voice in the past year as I continue to explore how history continues to repeat itself and we seem powerless to prevent wars, famines, natural and man-made disasters while our scientists continue to find new ways to extend lives through the miracles of modern medicine. To me, seeing evil and good existing side by side is puzzling.
Judy and I have collaborated on a new book and we just published it!
This is the coloring book that quilters have been waiting for!
Coloring books are all the rage but this book is different. Written specifically for quilters who want to design their own quilts and who don't want to learn a complicated computer software product. Contemporary Patchworking: A Design and Coloring Book combines the relaxing activity of coloring with the inspiration provided by understanding how color affects good design. Each of the 25 grids is accompanied by four fully colored examples as a springboard for the user’s own creativity. This is a book that engages the artist within and encourages experimentation with color and design.
If you are among the first 25 people to order a copy from my website store, I will include some coloring pencils for you to use to design your own quilt! Order here.