A new Year, A new Attitude

The studio cleanout is over. 
It took forever to go thru boxes and bookshelves of cut up paper! But it is done and at last I sit in a studio with some breathing room. The desktops are even visible.....Okay I lie. 2 of the desktops are visible. I think everything from both of those desks landed on the third one! C'mon! At least I have some surface to work with...
It's a lot like cleaning the kitchen. As soon as I get the dishes done, the counters clean, the floor swept I sit back and look at this gleaming area like a predator. Almost immediately I will want to bake bread, make cookies, or make a crazy intense spaghetti sauce or anything messy! I think my internal sense just can't stand empty areas. (right Steven? remember the encaustic class, with all that bark and stuff all over my table and surrounding tables and floor?)
In the studio it's the same deal! Whhooppee!! Beautiful empty Table tops  just begging to be messed up.
Here comes larger pieces of paper and all the watercolor gear! I can tell you the table is NOT clear this morning....
It's all good. It's a catalyst for big new work. I am excited again about my craft.

I am also dumbfounded.
After the watercolor gear came out, I attempted a collage work that has been wallowing in my brain for 2 weeks. I was surprised to find myself quite paralyzed! Where IS everything? My normal mode has been discontinued, disrupted and it's extinct.
I decided to do collage on top of the previously mentioned watercolor. I picked up some of the remaining ephemera I did keep and found a ladies face...I imagined her riding a glorious ice sled across the frozen creek in my watercolor. Cool, lets collage this.  I cut out the lady and placed her on the watercolor.
Time for change. I said to myself. I really want to raise the bar. I don't want to just cut out heads to paste. This is work.
Search Fearlessly: collage graffiti from the Dusty Loft, my former studio

I grabbed the watercolors again and began painting 4 little faces, modeling them on the ephemera lady I just found. One of them came out decent. I will cut and paste her and use her instead.
I have a problem with this tho. The texture of the watercolor paper for the background is the exact same texture as the lady face I just painted. When I cut her out and put her into the picture, well...she....just looks weird to me. I am a texture head!! I need to see a contrast. I think the answer is to laser copy and/or inkjet print these things of mine and use the duplicates. The laser will give me a sheen, and paper with no grain. The inkjet will allow me to fade it , or bleed it. Texture! I need texture!

This is one of the new problems I face as I try to generate more of my ephemera on my own and work to a new level. I really am a master of texture. With all this painting, it just seems lacking.

For now at least. In time, I may find new work flows, new techniques! How about monoprints? or silk screen patterns? or transfers.....?
Search Fearlessly.

I am ready to put 2010 and it's workflow to rest. What are you going to do this year?
Happy New Year, dear reader! I wish you a year of creativity. A year of new ideas, new techniques, new inspiration!
Let us ALL take our art to a new level and give the future some history to crow about!



ME/Stefanija....looking like I want to sit down on this couch in front of my work.
I just had to figure out how to do it first....
There's a lot of info here and I shall share as best as I can!

Ya wanna check it out? First place to stop?
Mark's blog! He has a couple of posts that explain the gallery.
Post 1 and Post 2
The gallery wall!
Crazy right? My art all framed and huge on the walls!

Mark has also sent me this info about the gallery and his philosophy:

The Pietmond Art Crawl galleries — Norum, SoSo West, SoSo East, Something To CHRO About, and the Tower of TILE — are small, closely packed exhibit spaces within the Second Life mainland village of Pietmond, a burg of my own creation. Featured art focuses on collage media, but also includes photography and non-collage abstraction. The village itself is a type of collage of various buildings and objects I’ve accumulated and then fiddled around with over my 3 years of existence within that virtual reality. Most are also freebie objects/structure.
I do not charge artists for exhibit space, and all of Pietmond’s current exhibitors, myself excluded, are not that familiar with Second Life. So I set up the space, create the virtually physical artwork, and do some limited inworld promotion through various, established art groups such as Art and Artist’s Network and SL Art Collectors.
Good website on how to set up your own SL art gallery is here:
Each of the art pieces found in the Pietmond Art Crawl galleries can be purchased inworld for approx. 200-300 Linden dollars, which may sound like a lot but is really the equivalent of 1 or 2 “Real Life” US dollars. The artwork is created by, first, uploading earmarked picture textures to SL for the cost of a few cents apiece (and, of course, with permission from the creating artists), then mounting them on building blocks known as prims, short for primitives. In my own galleries a picture is usually made up of a single prim, but Second Life artworks can be composed of several and perhaps many such building blocks, sometimes imbedded with complex programming scripts as well. A great blog archive on the enormous potential of virtual art, geared specifically toward Second Life, is here:
Not Possible in Real Life:


He writes:: "I’m not a newbie in SL, but neither am I that old either, virtually speaking, in comparison to some. Second Life has been around since 2003, with perhaps a peak interest in it, from an outside world perspective, coming in 2007."
Thanks thanx txxxx Mark for all this cool stuff!! Happy holidays!

My second trip into Second Life

How can I even begin to explain my latest news? It's like a puzzle, these thoughts of mine. These events.

Awhile back, I did a post about a swarthy Second Life collagist named Mark Brittain. He was doing collage in the virtual world and I was fascinated by the concept. I was also far removed from the idea, as I stuck to my studio table like glue (no pun intended!). Over this busy last month and even longer, Mark has silently been behind the scenes working on a Second Life gallery. He saw my work here on the blog and liked it, and wanted to feature me in his virtual gallery. And recently he sent me screen shots of what was to be my first gallery opening>> online. In Second Life.
How exciting! He sent me links to the gallery as he worked on it and I am really quite tickled. It is an overwhelming experience to see your work on the walls of a gallery, pasted there larger than life (literally!), even digitally.

Have you ever read The Secret? or seen the movie, or perhaps saw the Oprah show that featured it? I watched the movie and it brings forth the concept that our mental thoughts are the catalyst for real things to occur. I have always believed strongly in the strength of our thoughts, and if you  need more proof that our thoughts rule the world, just read up on quantum physics for awhile! In seeing these images on a virtual wall, my mind is capable of experiencing in a microcosm the feeling of what it would be like in the macrocosm of reality. I see my work on the wall, I beam with pride. It doesn't seem to affect my inner excitement much whether these images are on my computer screen and shown on a gallery wall within it, or on a real wall. Since lately I am moving towards some digital work, this all seem so appropriate. It's like a sort of digital initiation. It's so full of karma. Experiencing things in ones mind is the first step to experiencing in reality. I believe this is true.

I enter the world of Pietmond, the village that the virtual gallery is located in on Second Life. My clutziness within the SL environment was really hysterical. Upon finding my way to the gallery, I was unable to negotiate the different floors, and I used all sorts of key commands that had me quite literally falling on the digital floor! I was compelled to see the work that Mark did, live within Second Life. I am still seriously unfamiliar with the program's environment and the nuances of having a character. But yet, I found myself standing there in the gallery, attempting to purchase my own work!! I need Lindens...which it seems you must pay for. It's cheap to buy these lindens, and my art is uber cheap so I will be going back in the game to attempt this again. It's really quite upside down!!

To Marks' credit, he has worked very hard on several of these galleries and I am really amazed at the dedication and the creativity required to do this. He has written me many times and sent me progress reports, info on how to play Second Life, links, blog posts, pictures...he's been really enthusiastic, and I thrive on that. I am not certain what is ahead for me as far as Second Life is concerned. I am certain that for me it's another road sign on the path that I am taking my collage work.

In my next post, I will share some of this cool stuff with you!


Happy Cleaned Out Holiday!

I've been quiet the past two weeks here on the clearinghouse. It's holiday time, and I am not exempt from the heapload of elf work that must be done. Buying gifts, wrapping gifts, sending gifts....it's a CHORE that cuts into my creative time. My SUNY class just ended and I have a month off from the second job, along with some days off from the day job. This will help me find time for those creative moments.

Although I have not been at the studio table, there's been a lot of really cool things going on. I'm STILL going thru the grueling process of going thru the ephemera in my studio. UGH and double ugh. how long will this process last!!!???  I finally went thru my laser copies (which I have been hoarding for at least 7 years). Most of this stuff is imagery that I culled before I met Chris and fell in love with an antique dealer who supplies me with endless vintage stuff. I don't use copies anymore, and there was an entire trunkfuI had to go through. Any copies of my own photos I kept, which came to probably 15 pieces of paper. The rest? Woodstove fodder!! I moved the huge 1950's graphic table out and it's off for sale at the antique store. I emptied 2 bookcases and they are just waiting to be filled with new stuff! My piano keyboard is set up, synthesizer program loaded on the laptop, and I have a nice clean desk to use for my computer exploits.
I was explaining to Chris how my work HAS to change. I have thrown away a good portion of material. This will force me to find new things to use...and therefore my work will change. It's logic. The new space also affords me a place to paint, something which I am trying to engage more in my new work. I  don't know where it all leads, but this cleanout seemed appropriate and most timely.  I am ready for the New Mode.
And I am happy about it. I am glad I chose this time of year to do this massive cleanout, since i am already busy doing Christmas stuff, and personal time is hard to find anyhow.

Wherever you may find yourself this holiday, whether it be in the middle of your own personal art studio mess, or in the living room with only a pad and pencil, may you find a creative moment this season!
Happy Holidays everyone!
old stencil on barn door: it's gone now, but my happy memory remains!


"Nothing left to do"

Steve Specht here...
This is my latest piece. I have a bit to say about it; but not right now. I want to post this and will "discuss" it in an upcoming post soon. Enjoy!


Limestone Art Gallery (Fayetteville, NY)

Steve Specht here...
The opening of the exhibit at the Limestone Gallery in Fayetteville was really nice last night. We went to see the assemblage/box works of Jim Ridlon specifically, but were very pleased to be introduced to the intriguing works of Darryl Furtkamp from New Hampshire. And both artists are really nice to converse with too! So here are some nice examples of the works that can be seen there. Enjoy!


the upheaval

I can't explain what is happening. you know, I am just documenting it. I have been busy with all that holiday prep crap that has to go down this time of year, but in the background there is a huge upheaval going on that I thought I should share with you.

I started throwing everything away.
Well, actually first it started with a new computer. I replaced my desktop computer with a laptop. I have not copied my usual 200+ GB of files to it. Instead, I started purging and emptying trash. Made some CDs and DVDs. Archived.
I began with computer scans of art. Art that literally already sits in boxes and folders on the perimeter of my studio. I have the art. Do I need the scans? no. Empty trash.
Then came my boxes of ephemera. I was judicious. I was relentless. I managed to turn 7 boxes of pre-cut, already sampled imagery into 2. Hello garbage bags.
Then it was the bookshelf. Out of 5 shelves of resource books that I used for collage, only 1 remains....and it's full of empty journals. The rest, off to the recycling trailer at my day job. I was ruthless. It felt good.

It's all symbolic you know. In order to do NEW Work, I need to start fresh. I have to. I never did understand artists that destroyed their work, but I need to change the habitual way I do art and maybe they had a point. It spills over into my "other" life> as I clean thru closets and drawers of memories and sentiment. Clothes, jewelry....it's like a disease.

I still have pockets of art hoarding that I am removing....like the email box!! And the bookshelf packed with umpteen The Conservationist past issues. And the trunk that is completely stuffed with laser prints of images that I HAD to have over the past 12 years, images that now sit forgotten in that very trunk for 4 years without being touched. They are like a boat anchor. They need to go.
Also, The filing cabinet, with all kinds of previous correspondence and such>> that project I save for after the holidays. And all that art. This finished art is another project for the coming year. Distribution. I need to get this art into art lovers' hands....and clear the way for this BIG THING that seems to be brewing inside of me.
I have thrown away no tools. No paints, no pencils. This is where shall I begin. again.


brain fabric art

Wow... if you're interested in fabric art, be sure to check out this site: http://harbaugh.uoregon.edu/Brain/index.htm


inadvertent high tech "find"

Steve Specht here...
I went to an opening reception of a great exhibit at Utica College of Dick Morrill's artwork. The gallery is experimenting with some high-tech system using bar-code technology as information portals to the web. By each piece of artwork is a two-dimensional bar code like the one show here. You "aim" your iPhone or Droid at the barcode (with the relevant free app of course) and viola, it takes you to a website with more information about the painting. So I spoke with one of our computer science faculty who had been involved with the project and he set me up with my own barcode. If you have a high-tech phone, point at this bar code and see what comes up ;-) Are you interested in one Julie?

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.