Monday, July 27, 2015

New Mixed Media Work in Boulder, CO

I went to Boulder for the Pearl Street Arts Fest, Aug 18 and 19.  The show was well-attended and the volunteers kept the artists hydrated and fed.  The town is beautiful and very cool, but a "working vacation" didn't really give me much time to check it out.

I thought I'd share a few shots of my booth since it is clock-free..


I mixed abstract and imagery together since I was juried in with the abstract pieces only.  The application was due before I had made any imagery work and I decided to bring them since I love them so much, and they're made in roughly the same way.  It is possible that the mix confused spectators or that I shoved way too much work in my booth, but every show is a dress rehearsal for the next one and continually evolving, so next time I show this line of work (Art Westport here in KCMO) will be different.

My next show is in Loring Park in Minneapolis for the third year.  I'll take my clocks and see if I can talk some people and/or galleries into keeping them in their temperate climate!  I look forward to seeing more of the city and seeing some friends along the way.  

This weekend I uploaded images to Fine Art America for the whole wide world to peruse and order reproductions of certain works, including some purely digital things and sold pieces.  You can get a giant anatomical heart on a tote bag, shower curtain, or printed on aluminum!  Check my profile page out here.  I plan on adding new work as I have time.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What's the deal with the hearts?

I started making small mixed media pieces with an image of an anatomical heart a little over a year ago.  They were debuted at the OKC Festival of the Arts, and with that came the question, over and over again,

"What's the deal with all the hearts?"

I wasn't prepared for that.  I'd been seeing anatomical diagrams used in art for a long time, especially collage, and had even been selling some bovine medical imagery through The Retro Ranch, so I just thought it was cool and everyone understood it.  Silly, silly artist.  You live in the monkey house!

It started with trying to get over my fear of "cheating" by doing the same design twice.  I have this great digital cutter now, so using the images I've worked hard on in multiple ways only makes sense.  Printmakers do this everyday, so what's the problem?  I can mix it up, add different colors and textures, and each piece is its own individual entity.

This exercise has also been a bridge between my picking life and my art life, and a real stepping stone to my newest line of work, especially the imagery.  Using the wood I had from a worn, defunct fence from my own backyard, no one was there to stop me from using all the sanding pads, leftover paint, and "fabric paper" I had to make something new.  Also, it turns out that I really love woodgrain.

What happened when I started talking to people about how THEY felt about the hearts was enlightening.  My customers and visitors brought much more to the pieces and images than I had ever imagined.  One of my first sales was to a woman who wanted to commemorate her husband's TWENTY-FIFTH anniversary of a heart transplant.  (I get goose bumps every single time I talk about it!)  Some love the color combinations, others are drawn to a particular design or piece of music that I have on the paper background.  In any case, I learned so much more about how a simple thing can become a very meaningful thing in someone else's eyes.

Okay, enough with the words--pictures!

Here's how they're made...
1) Cut out the shapes.  I feed the vinyl sheet into the vinyl cutter and my
blade is run digitally by a computer.  I nest them together as much as possible
to limit wasted material.

2) Take a painted piece of wood and adhere to that a piece of
paper cut by hand in the heart silhouette shape.

3) Place the cut vinyl over the paper to fit appropriately.

4) Take application tape and...

...peel it back, picking up the vinyl decal. (It's sticky like masking tape.)

5) Move decal background out of the way and get ready to
stick that sucker down.

6) After laying decal on paper, carefully pull back application tape so only the
decal sticks to the wood and paper.

7) Stand back and smile!

Make and make and make!

I've had requests for hearts on clocks, so sometimes those make an appearance in my Etsy shop or the walls of my booth. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

OKC Year Six

It's the end of April, and that means that my studio is a mess, my back is out of whack, and I am recouping from a six-day show in Oklahoma City.  Unlike previous years, I didn't drive around the Monday after the show and take pictures of the town...I just wanted to get home to my Clover (and see the guy I live with, too).  I was invited to attend this year, unlike last year, when I drove down the day of set up without knowing if I was actually going to be in the show--waitlisted up to the last minute!  But it paid off and not only did I get the relief of planning my inventory knowing I'd show, I also get to show next year, too. are some pictures of my little spot at booth 23A...
That's a lot of stuff.  I packed it in with both bodies of work.
(The clocks are what people wanted this year, as it turns out.)

My neighbor, roommate, mentor, and friend Laura Nugent.
She is normally not as wind-blown.
(Also, all  photos of me were taken by her.)
 Let's talk about the weather...just kidding.  I think these pictures say enough.

Sold all my heart clocks!  This was the last small one, and it was gone by Thursday.
There is a large cardiac center in OKC, which I forgot to take into account...

I took this while it was raining and water was jumping onto the clocks.
Here's proof that my clocks can take some weather.

Over half-way through the week.

What a business woman I am, unwinding from the day with a laptop and some pistachios!

A repeat customer came and almost cleaned me out of small hearts
 for his macabre dining room.
Repeaters are so wonderful!  He also scored the skeletons above.
I ate many, many, MANY sweets over the week.  The OKC Arts Council makes sure that the artists are full of calories in refined sugar and bleached flour form.  I had a few apples as well, but, you know...when in Oklahoma.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Big Things Are Happening...

I've been making BIG CLOCKS.

30 inch diameter; weighs 5 lbs.

All hand-cut salvaged vinyl, naturally!  And sanded aluminum behind.

24 x 24 inches; probably weighs about 5 lbs., too...

PAINTED aluminum (and sanded twice) with hand-cut vinyl scrap!
I love the look and will be making more with this technique.

I've been making BIG ART.
Close Your Eyes 'Til You're Blue in the Face
Salvaged 100+ year wood flooring, paint, 1960's
Prevention magazine paper dots, vinyl
16 x 35 inches

There are still some nails in the wood, too.
Big Smoke
Two panels salvaged wood shelving, paint, hand-cut vinyl, hand-cut paper
23 x 37 inches

I've been preparing for a BIG SHOW.
Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts!!
Sixth year running, crossing fingers for zero storms/high winds/clouds of locusts.
I have a million different ideas and have been discovering new ways of making art, fumbling my way through, as usual.  I'll be showing both types of mixed media (abstract and imagery) as well as clocks at my season opener in OKC starting April 21st.  Pushing my scale has been fun and scary, and hopefully it won't literally push away the kind of customers I usually enjoy while there.  The smaller versions will be with me as well, so there's something for everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2015

How Long Does it Take?

First thing's first--here's what those two pieces from last time turned into:

This one had the green base.  I added blue vinyl and pink paint,
sanded it to perfection, and here we are.
18" x 7ish" (it's not square, so one end is a bit bigger than the other)
"Blue Hills"

Here's the one with the blue base.  I liked the color and
vinyl combination without an additional layer or paint and sanding.
7" x 17.5"
"Spring Skies"'s Time time.

At the OKC Festival of the Arts, we are swarmed with school kids visiting the show who talk to artists, eat food, and remind me that being a teenager was the worst.  But lots of the kiddos have a list of questions (same every year--let's update that, teachers!) they're supposed to ask the participants in each category of the show.  I fall firmly into 2D Mixed Media, aka "What IS it?" (Trying to explain vinyl to anyone, young or old, isn't the most clear-cut exercise.)

Anyway, one of the questions is, "How long does it take to complete a project?"

Well...I began by saying something like, "It depends, but....(example of a particular piece and how long it took)..."  This means nothing to them, because they think an hour is a long time if they have to wait for their dad to finish his whatever before they can whatever.  An hour can be nothing when you've monetized it.  Like, LITERALLY NOTHING.  Or a  really long-ass time if you're trying to find your measuring tape.  WHY IS IT ALWAYS MISSING?

So I'm going to start saying 200 years for the new work on wood--which is probably not long enough because that tree had to grow large enough to get milled down, be used in construction of a house in 1900, hang there for a while, then be salvaged by me, who has spent 30+ years living an artful life and learning techniques to make that thing they see.  Not to mention the sanding, de-nailing, cutting, painting, thinking, applying vinyl, cutting vinyl, photographing, uploading, packing, and hanging involved.

For the clocks I don't really have a snarky thing to base my time on, because what does it take to smelt aluminum after it's mined (or whatever?) and turn oil into plastic into vinyl I salvaged?  Fifty million years or something?

I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Back to Art

After a few weeks of working on clocks and padding my inventory for the first show of the season (Oklahoma City--one of my favorites!!), I'm back to working on "non-functional" art.  The lumber here is salvaged from a home in my neighborhood.  I put out a call on our 'hood's Facebook page for wood from the old homes around here.  A neighbor said I could come and get his staircase...I literally took almost all the 100+ year old wood that the contractor left, plus some new lumber the guy was just going to burn to get out of the way.  MAJOR SCORE!

Add some paint, take away some paint with a sander, and here's what I have to work with today.  I've been cutting my orzo slices (I don't know what to call them...crescents? fronds?) and we'll see what the muses whisper in my ear.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rusty and Dirty!

I let my Etsy shop for The Retro Ranch kind of slide over the last year, but lately I've been trying to restock it and physically get my stuff all gathered together and organized in my storage area ('s my basement).  Upon moving the inventory from one spot to another to another, I've rediscovered some finds and am excited to share them with the world!  Here are just a few of my newest listings, in all their farm fresh glory...
Way old bottle!

Stop those radiator leaks with chemicals!

String it up.

Instant collection.

The texture of the handles makes me crazy--I love the wear and tear.