Thursday, January 31, 2013

Let's Try This Again


Maybe someone should invent a word for a person that blogs only once a year.  I think that would make me an  'annualogger.'  Shameful as that is, I've realized that I enjoy reading others' blogs so much that I should be working on mine again.  Let's give it another try for 2013.

I have the greatest group of women in my classes here at Quietwoods Studio this year.  My lovely Tuesday ladies have been with me (I think) 4 years now and continue to inspire me every single week.  The Wednesday group just started a little over a year and a half ago.  Their continual growth just amazes me.  I'm so lucky to know each of them.  They're very accomplished and successful women and it's obvious that they apply that same hard work ethic and tenacity to painting that they used to achieve success in their "former lives" as professional people.  There is also a terrific group that meets in the studio every other Saturday and I have to work very hard just to stay ahead of them too.  I just love the way they are so willing to try every crazy thing I throw at them!  Besides that, we have a blast solving all the world's problems and bragging on our children and grandchildren!

I'm now the victim of a triple obsession - painting, collage and jewelry making.  On these -0 February days, I've discovered the pleasure of sitting by the fire and working at designing paper collage brooches, making author inspired bookmarks, stringing beads on a bracelet or other small lap-size projects.  No one is more thankful for a beautiful studio in which to paint and teach than I, but sometimes there's special comfort in taking your art to a different spot in your home with a different view (and a warm fire) just for the sake of change.

I've just sent off a box of 18 author themed collaged bookmarks to a very special book club (started by my daughter, Kelly) in Kingwood Texas.  I've never had so much fun painting, pasting, embossing, stamping and ribbon tying.  If I were to market them, they'd probably be the most expensive bookmarks in the universe that no one but John Paul Getty (is he still alive?) could afford, but sometimes there's nothing so satisfying to an artist as a labor of love.

I also just acquired an extra bedroom in our house.  It's still a guestroom, but it's also equipped with a large desk and cabinet that I've turned into jewelry heaven.  My latest brainstorm has been creating brooches and other jewelry from my baskets of old watercolors that just didn't make the cut.  Combining collage papers, tiny letter stamps and beady dangles with the torn and cut watercolor paper, they are repurposed perfection to me.   Each paper pin (or pendant) is then coated with a resin like glaze and displayed on tea dyed and aged tags.   Each tag is then stamped with a handcut linocut design of my Handsongs jewelry logo and sent off to find love in the world.

People have been liking my jewelry at the Up North Gallery in Lindstrom MN and I'm bringing several new pieces to them in time for Valentine's Day.  I also continue to show my paintings at Fineline Design Gallery in Door County, WI,  Kah-Nee-Tah Gallery in Lutsen, MN and Peter Kess Gallery in Ely, MN.  I'll be bringing new paintings for them in the next couple of months (April in Door County, does it get any better?)

My favorite pins are the little houses.   Each one is different and collaged with special little messages like hope, love, faith, etc.  The little bluebird of happiness pins are fun to make too.  I don't know how long I'll continue making them though.  They're definitely a limited edition project.  I always feel a little guilty whiling away the happy hours putting them together,  knowing that I probably should be out in the studio creating "great art," (if only I could) but I'm in love with smallness these days.

 Rev Joanie, hard at work on her beautiful poppies.

 Karen, loving those gorgeous reds.

 Mary, finding out how fun a full sheet is to paint on.
Isn't that just the happiest painting you've ever seen?.

 Judy, poppy painter exceptionale.

 The new 'houses of hope' pins

The new 'bluebird of happiness' pins

That said, my studio and teaching passion this February is painting huge floral watercolors in gorgeous, saturated colors.  The Wednesday class (shown above) had a blast splashing those gorgeous Winsor reds, vermillions, quinacridone corals and yellow oranges on their paper.  Incredible successes for first time full sheet (22"x30") painters!  This group is fearless.  Most of them have only been painting in watercolor a year or so or are revisiting watercolor after many years away.  I'm so proud of them!

My favorite patron of the arts (my husband) just "commissioned" me to paint a massive (5'x6') acrylic of #1 son Ben's winter ice kiting experience a couple winters ago.  Although the photo was taken on a blustery, frozen day on a lake near Duluth, MN, I'm already envisioning sneaking some wonderful oranges, pinks and lavenders into the mostly gray and white wintery scene.  I'll need to paint it in place on the cabinet above which it will be displayed since it's too big to work on anywhere else.  It should be a very fun project.   I think I'll start working out now in preparation for all the stretching I'll be doing.

Happy New Year, everyone and may 2013 bring you great creative satisfaction.