Last night was the opening reception for Artmore. Michael Burnett, owner of Space Gallery, selected three artists to exhibit a few pieces in his beautiful and prestigious art gallery in the Santa Fe Art District in Denver and I was one of the lucky ones.
The Fiber Paintings behind me started as white cotton fabric. I than used deconstructed screen printing with thickened dye to create the background. I added paint, stencils and stamps to create different layers. I finished them off with free motion machine stitching. You can see more of these in my gallery on this website.
The event was well attended and I met lots of art lovers. I had forgotten how much fun it is to exhibit my work since its been over 4 years since I had done so because of Covid. It was also fun to put on some make-up and get dressed up for a change!
Took a Paste Paper Making workshop at Inter-Ocean Studios with Rhiannon Alpers and Alicia Bailey today. I've always wanted to try this technique but never got around to it so when I saw this workshop, I jumped at the chance to learn from the experts.
I can never create good art in a workshop and today was no different. But I learned a lot on things to try in my studio and seeing other student's results was informative. I always love seeing artists create and the demos were wonderful. As we learn new techniques, it is obvious that to become proficient, we need to spend a lot of time practicing.
Making Paste Paper involves a lot of combinations: the type and quality of the paper, the various paste recipes, the different ways to color the paste, and the tools used to make patterns or marks. Not to mention layering everything over and over to achieve different results.
Tomorrow, I will look at the papers I created in the workshop and see what worked and didn't work. And then, I will try to create more Paste Papers using stuff in my stash. Another thing to explore!
I couldn't resist adding another bird to my scroll. And I had fun adding some birds flying in the sky along with some grasses in the ground and a weird tree that you would never find in nature! I also glued on some small flowers that I had in my sari stash and those are actually beaded. So now my scroll has pieces in it that were contributed by people who live in India — a world away. I like this idea and if I make another one, I will expand on it.
I highly recommend this intuitive embroidery art making. It's very freeing and fun!
I forgot how much fun it is to create on the fly. Making this embroidery scroll has given me permission to just play with fabric and thread. The more I work on this piece, the more it reminds me of folk art. It's almost done so I need to think about my next scroll and think about incorporating new stitches. Luckily, my friend Gay gave me two of her embroidery books so I'll have plenty of inspiration!
After watching Misti Mo showing her embroidery scrolls, I decided to make one myself. So FUN!
This combines my love of fabric and stitch in a new way and challenges my brain to decide the next iteration. I started out deciding to use canvas rather than muslin since I wanted to work on something more substantial. If you know me, you also know I only use 3 embroidery stitches in my work (straight, chain and French knots). So this project will encourage me to explore other stitches (like a fly stitch, back stitch, and who knows what comes next!)
What I love about working on this scroll is that I don't have to fuse anything to the surface before stitching. That give me a lot of freedom every day and eliminates a step in the process. And, because I love texture, I don't mind some fraying that happens around the edges.
I haven't measured the scroll but I think it might be 45 inches long and about 6 inches high. It's quite heavy so that is a challenge.
I'm working on all parts of the scroll at the same time so it won't be finished until it's finished. but here is a small part of the scroll. I still have to add some leaves to the stems with the orange flowers and add something to the ground besides the flowers. More to come!
Lately, I've been exploring paper making.
This week, I had the good fortune to spend some time with Shelly DeChantal, a friend I knew from my days as a fiber artist. Both of us have morphed into mixed media over the years and while I'm exploring collage right now, Shelly has been exploring paper making and generously offered to share her knowledge and techniques.
Making paper is a laborious and time-consuming endeavor. But in the end, you are making something that is totally unique to you and something no machine can replicate. It is valuable in and of itself. It also satisfies my reason for making art — it's all about the process and not about the outcome.
We worked with cotton fibers (something new to me since I've been working with mulberry papers) and here are the two sheets of paper I made with Shelly's help. She shared so much with me that I left her studio with my head exploding. I learned about the history of paper making, how to dye the fibers, and how to emboss the surface.
I encourage you to visit her website and see her art. I love her work!
The first layer on this page is a black Stabilo pencil. I love these pencils since they activate with water and make dense, black marks. I added a little splash of color to provide a focal point.
My substrate is some paper gifted to me by an artist. It is paper that is used in print-making so I have never used it before but I'm loving the thickness and it stands up well for mixed media work. However, it doesn't lie flat after applying media to the surface.
A friend suggested painting some gesso on the back to help flatten it but today, the pages were still wonky so I'm putting them under some bricks to see if that will help.
I don't really mind that they are not flat so whatever happens, happens.
I have decided to practice creating art using collage.
Over the last year, I have been making papers using a variety of media, substrates, and
techniques so I have a lot to choose from. I also have a of of pens, pencils, markers, and stencils to add layers and color.
The trick is how to combine all these things to make an interesting composition.
Over the next few months, I will be posting my experiments — some wonderful, some not so wonderful. But I am really enjoying the process!
I am loving working on this new series.
Unfortunately, just as I started incorporating real leaves into my work, it's fall. It's snowing. And there are no more leaves to work with.
Timing is everything.
But, I'm now applying for an artist residency at the Denver Botanic Gardens to continue to explore incorporating nature into my work. I heard last year they had 3,000 applications so I'm not getting my hopes up. But if I don't try, I will never be successful.
I might try printing leaves and flowers from artificial ones I can buy from a craft store in the mean time. There is always a way to get around issues when making art. I think problem solving is 80% of making good art. That, and having the skills of using all our tools and media ends up creating something meaningful and wonderful.
First things first. My friend Mary Williams is having a solo exhibit at Westward Gallery through the end of the month. She is an amazing artist, moving from 3-D sculptures in wood to painting on wood panels. Her work is exciting and wonderful so if you are in the Denver area, I encourage you to visit her exhibit.
Mary and I go back many years to the time she put together a group of 5 artists to exhibit their work in different mediums. Our group named itself "To Expand" and consisted of Mary, Victoria Eubanks (encaustic), Ken Elliott (oil and pastel), Janice Mcdonald (collage) and me (fiber). We didn't know each other at the beginning but from our first exhibit at the Madden Museum in Denver, we became good friends.
Today, we met for lunch for the first time in 2 years (thank you Covid) and walked across the street to see Mary's new exhibit.
Thanksgiving is next week and I will be being thankful of all the artist friends I have made over the past years. And especially thanks to Mary, who opened up so many possibilities for me.
I will be thankful for all my friends who support me and my art!
Carol Ann Waugh
I am a mixed media artist and love color and texture!