Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween, Samhain and Storybook Parade

Today's work of art:

Watch out or you'll get hexed.
R as Bellatrix LaStrange
at the school Storybook Parade

I don't have anything new ready to post, but I do have this small collage from a year or so ago in seasonal colors - much more orange than I usually use.

Fabric and paper collage with
acrylic painted papers 5x7

Also, check out my Etsy site for views of Divination, an acrylic on canvas diptych I painted a few weeks ago. (One of the ones I was struggling to photography well the other day.)

May you all get all the candy corn and chocolate you wish for!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back in the technological age and Back to School

I haven't written a blog post in a while, or even been on the computer. Last week Microsoft sent an automatic update, and my poor old and overburdened computer just gave up the ghost. Now, thanks to Edward and Damon (my oldest) working hard into several nights and the addition of a number of Damon's computer part hand me downs plus new stuff, I am back in business with a spiffy new processor that glows neon blue and has lots and lots of room for more art files. And all the stuff on my old drive and the new equipment even seem to be playing nicely with each other.

Thanks guys!

My daughter is very happy to be back in school after her bout of mono. She seems to have had a fairly mild case. She just cannot participate in any strenuous sports or do anything that might result in impacts to her body, because of the enlarged spleen, danger of rupture thing. Dodgeball is definitely out.

I need to get back out and paint some more very soon. And I am finally going to overcome my fears and grout this piece that combines collage, photographs I took in Italy and mosaic. The piecing has been finished for a couple of months. It's very different for me, just hope I don't mess it up with the grout.

Tuscan collage mosaic in progress
photographs and images under tempered glass
(this is before the mosaic piecing was finished)

But right now I am going to take my cat to the vet and go and VOTE.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photographing Paintings, Diagnosing Mono and Posting Collages

acrylic on canvas 20x16

I spent a good deal of time yesterday with the tripod set up in the living room taking pictures of a number of paintings...or at least attempting to. I have learned that adjusted white balance and a smidgen of sharpening in an image program (thanks Michelle!) can really help to get the photo to look like the work of art.

This morning I took my daughter to the doctor with a very sore throat and neck and headache and found out she has mono. Now, she's only just turned 11, so I doubt she's been kissing anyone. The pediatrician said it's like the worst sore throat in your life, and that it would probably get worse before it gets better, but she is in good spirits, if a little bored. She was asking this afternoon if certain friends could be asked over to play....uh, I'm not too sure that their moms would be too crazy about that idea!

Needless to say, I didn't get much art or photographing of art done today, but I did post these 2 collages on my Etsy shop this afternoon. Completely without titles! If anyone can come up with some suggestions for me, just let me brain is without ideas right now.

Handmade art collage composed of paper, fabric, highly textured handmade paper, acrylic painted papers, found and repurposed images. 10x8

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Paintings and Mutant Peppers

I haven't yet titled this painting I did a couple of weeks ago, but I'm thinking about giving it the name of an imaginary city from a series of books. I wonder if that would be okay?

The painting is 8x10, small enough that I could lay it on the scanner and not have to deal with the issues of lighting, digital photography settings and learning the new camera. Unfortunately, I can't do that with every painting, and I think I am going be experimenting with taking pictures of a larger diptych later today.

Two posts ago, there was a picture of my jalapeno plant with little red and green peppers. The little peppers are shorter, smaller, more rounded than the usual jalapeno. That's because the plant is one of the hybrids developed by Texas A&M University that is supposed to have the same taste but half the heat of the traditional jalapeno. I planted one of these and one regular jalapeno, in large pots about 8 feet apart. Which was evidently too close. Both plants have little rounded hot peppers. The other day I came in from the yard and put these 2 peppers in Edward's hand. He came down the hall a few hours later with watering eyes to report on the heat of the "mild" pepper he had just taken a bite out of.

In the garden on Friday, I planted a row of mixed "Gourmet blend" beets, the picture on the seed packet is very pretty, and some more arugula. I noticed that several almost thread thin fennel seedlings had cropped up. I'm hoping the cats don't stroll across them until they are a bit sturdier.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Art Collages on Photrade

Last week I wrote that I had figured out how to watermark my images in GIMP and also that I joined Photrade and started putting the pictures from my Italy trip up.


I have also posted a number of my collages on Photrade. It's an interesting idea that people I don't know are looking at my photos and collages...well over 600 views, and that they could order prints, or even make mugs and mouse pads out of my images.

Silent in Stone

It's been a while since I've worked on a collage, because I have been focusing more on mosaics and painting recently, but as I was waking up Sunday morning I was planning a series of collages in my head.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The October Garden and the White House Lawn

Raindrops on Canna leaf

I love this time of the year. Everything is crisp and refreshed and greening back up again with a little autumn rain. The walk to school with my daughter is wonderful; every morning seems like a new beginning. Here in Texas October is a new growing season, when the garden comes back to life after the hot dry summer. Last night's wonderful rain has made the colors lush and the plants revive.

We have about 20 dark green poblanos on our one pepper plant.

Arugula seedlings

The baby greens are coming up from seed, little bitty Swiss chard, a few romaine seedlings and the arugula. I still have to plant some spinach and some more arugula which I mean to plant every few weeks for a while, so we will continue to have the young tender greens for salads.

We are still getting a couple of okra every day, but they have really slowed down, and I'm sure will bow out to the cool weather soon.

Our globe eggplant plant which gave us only one eggplant this summer now has half a dozen tennis ball sized fruits and more tiny ones forming under calyxes. The slender Japanese eggplant has one fruit and lots of blooms, but I doubt those will have time to do anything before the cold weather gets it.

We have harvested a few San Marzano tomatoes this month and have dozens of green ones all over this one plant that is sprawling all over the garden now. There are more green tomatoes on some of the other varieties of tomatoes, all tangled together with and under the San Marzano...pushy Sicilian!

Tiny tomatoes grown from heirloom seed

The peppers on the jalapeno plant look like red and green Christmas bulbs. We have been picking these constantly, more than we use, all summer and fall.

Speaking of kitchen gardens
, the people at Kitchen Gardens International have been running a campaign to have part of the wide expanse of the White House lawn replaced with an organic vegetable garden. Historically the White House grounds have included a garden; Thomas Jefferson had a vegetable garden and Eleanor Roosevelt planted a Victory garden. Produce would go to feed the people at the White House, First family and staff eating local homegrown organic food, the excess to be donated to a local food bank.

Author Michael Pollan wrote a very thorough article, Farmer in Chief, addressed to the president-elect, in the Sunday New York Times that champions this idea.

KGI's campaign to plant healthy, edible landscapes in high-impact, high-visibility places is called Eat the View.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tuscany Pictures and Photrade

A few weeks ago, Edward sent me an invitation to Photrade, a new site for photo storage, sharing and possible sales that he was trying out.

So, I signed up and took the opportunity to begin sorting through all my pictures from my trip to Italy with Michelle 2 years ago, doing a little walk down memory lane while finally labeling and describing the pics.

Here are a couple of examples:

San Biagio, Montepulciano
with olive trees and a vineyard.
I loved Montepulciano.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence,
and its reflection in the Arno.

I have several pages of photos in my Italy gallery on Photrade so far, and about that many more to go.

Friday, October 10, 2008

What I learned

When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college - that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, "You mean they forget?" ~Howard Ikemoto

Today I learned how to use the layers dialog in GIMP (kinda like Photoshop) and apply a watermark to images of artwork or photos. I felt intimidated at first, but it wasn't too difficult, and easy as pie the second time. I learned from the tutorial at eHow.

The image of this painting was then posted at my new esty shop for fine art.

Trade Winds

I painted this one last week...evidently while I was time traveling. Think anyone will notice?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Celebrating the Baker as Poet and Everyday Artist

This great quotation was sent out in an email newsletter from Elizabeth of Elizabeth Anna's Old World Garden, a wonderful little nursery in Fort Worth that is an advocate of locavorism and helping people grow their own delicious food in their own yards.

In his acceptance speech in the noble prize for literature, Pablo Neruda, said "I have often maintained the best poet is he who prepares our daily bread: the nearest baker who does not imagine himself to be a god. He does his majestic and unpretentious work of kneading the dough, consigning it to the oven, baking it in golden colors and handing us our daily bread as a dutiful fellowship..."

This is beautiful and fits in with ideas from 2 of my previous blog articles about individual talents and values and the idea that everyone has something they can do well, their own strengths that they can contribute to the world.

I am reminded of a link to an article sent to me by my friend Michelle Rhea a few weeks ago. The writer talks about the value of the work done by people in what we think of as menial jobs, and just how involved those jobs can be and the skills and minute to minute decision making they involve. Michelle and I both worked as waitresses in our younger days, so we really understand about all the many things a waiter or waitress is dealing with at one time in a hectic restaurant, while at the same time constantly putting on a happy face and practicing some pretty intense human relations.

There are a lot of prestigious, high paying jobs that I really cannot see how they effect my life and my world, but thank goodness for the people who come by every week to collect my garbage!

And Thanks to Elizabeth Anna for the inspiring quotation.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 pieces

A while back I posted some pictures of canvases I had prepared to paint. Alas, since then the digital camera has developed a problem, or the user has developed a problem...and I cannot take pictures. So, all I can post at this time are images scanned on my scanner bed, which is not exactly big enough to get the whole painting in at once. So, your challenge is to use your imagination and creative eye to put together these images to make a complete picture.

The first one is tentatively called When We Did Not Sleep, what kept coming to me while I was painting.

This second one is actually a 10x10 canvas. This has lots of texture...but is visually simple.

And this last one is an older painting, called Remembering Winter...or something about winter. It is also square, 12x12.

I painted most of the day today, so it just seemed right to post about painting today, camera difficulties not withstanding. Today's paint is still too sticky to lay down on the scanner.