Beaver Moon 3d

I had this piece going on for at least a month. It still isn't exactly complete, however it is in a state to be shown. I am moving on to the next moon now, (the long nights moon!) and the details on this piece can be finished later on in spare time (ha. what is that?)

in progress: everything is laid in place. nothing is glued down
I thought it was interesting to see how things change as I work on them. The above photo was taken when I was still defining this piece, prior to my inner fight about putting figures in. I fought with myself the whole month over whether or not to include a person. Somewhere inside I wanted to emulate the flat version I did, and I searched for a figure to put in the center. In the end, I went with 2 ladies in white, who seem to be emerging from the background.

almost finished piece
The part you see is almost done. I intend to extend the picture out onto the sides of this dresser drawer. I am working with different methods of drawing the viewer in. This piece gets no gimmicky LED lights!!


Work in Progress

I've been busy. Real busy. It's a good month when I have several fires that are lit at once!
This piece is as of yet untitled. It's a 3d piece, and I am working with  mirrors and lights.
The idea is to have the building extend out from the substrate....and be open on the bottom and top, allowing the curious ones to peak inside. I have done collage work on both the inside and outside of the building. The only way you can see the inside work is by the reflection in the mirror. It's hard to explain. Let me show you.
An overall view, with crappy lighting! 

The base is a thick 1" piece of gnarly wood that I found in the garage. I painted it white, and then added accents with GOLDEN interference paint. This worked really well, and when you look at it in person, it's pearly. I started this piece before my wedding and ocean honeymoon, so I was in a shell mood and actually picked apart vintage shell earrings in order to create the weeds and front lawn.

A closeup of the right side with better lighting, you can almost see the pearly effect.
The building was made from digital photos, which I blew up and afterwards used colored pencil in order to bring out the pearly colors. Unfortunately with these crappy fotos, you can't see the effect.

Underneath the building rests the mirror. And a hole.
The mirror will be attached to the building and it becomes one unit that I will eventually paste down on the wood. That little hole? I will house the LED light which will shine thru that odd looking piece of vintage jewelry, filtered light...In the back of the wood I have to use the router to create a hole that will house the battery pack and switch for the LED. It will poke thru the hole and I will then glue the jewelry above the hole to create the effect. This will help in 2 ways. First, you will be able to see in the mirror better, if you choose to try this. Also, it will allow the real glass windows that I put in the building to shine thru. It's an eerie effect, with the strange glow of LED coming thru it. (the windows were actually old mirrors, that I removed most of the frosting on the back.)

The people living inside only revealed thru the mirror once this is attached.
Here's the couple that live inside....an HP box was the substrate, and these tabs will get glued under the mirror.

detail of upcycled jewelry that I tore apart as greenery
Everything on this is complete, art-wise. I just have to get my sweet husband to help me with the router part for the LED and I guess I shall have to name this piece at that point!


holiday treat

Steve Specht here...
Here's one I'm entitling "In the Fishbowl" (5 x 7"). It's a bit more colorful than my pieces tend to be; but I like it. It seems to have a holiday feel to it, I think. Enjoy!


It's Not Always Black-and-White

Steve Specht here...
Just wanted to let folks know that one of my collages (shown here) will be part of the juried exhibit at the Arkell Museum/Canajoharie Library (glad that a collage will be represented as part of the group... maybe there will be more). The opening reception is being held in conjunction with Elves Night in the village next Friday (Dec. 2nd). Enjoy!

smallest yet

Steve Specht here...
Have I mentioned how nice it is to be back in the studio? I love it! Ideas seem to be flowing freely. The "problem" is that I now have about 6 actual projects "in the works". That can sometimes be a bit distracting for a monkeybrain like me. Last night while I was juggling the ongoing projects, I put together a few remnants that I had laying around. I used a small aperture mat and "found" the germ for lovely this composition. I tacked it down this morning and will frame it. Although I made a couple of lapel pins a while ago, this is the smallest of my "real" collages yet. I tend to like the small format collages. It's only 2.75 x 2.75 inches (7 X 7 cm). Enjoy!


Mailart by Clint Chadsey

There was a really nice person from the past who sent me a wonderful mailart package that I have neglected to rave about.  I apologize to Clint Chadsey for not gushing about his work earlier, when the excitement of receiving it was fresh, but as I have said....I tend to be a bit manic. Sometimes the timing is just not good in my own personal brain. I can remember when Clint's letter came. I was uber depressed, and I got overwhelmed that someone who doesn't know me would spend time and do something so nice for me. I felt incapable of handling this at that time but it has nagged me ever since that I did not post about this thoughtful event. But I am trying to get back on track with everything, and today is Clint's day.

This is some thought provoking collage work here! I am such a fan of black and white. I can't get enough of it in my day to day life, with b/w striped socks, striped sweatshirts, polka dotted socks, and checkered ear plugs. My first personal art experience was in pen and ink, so a black and white piece feels like home. 
Clint uses black and white like a pro. The work is convincing and most impressive is the idea behind the work. I tend to work for beauty and forget the meaning when I work. It's obvious he has a statement to make and he does it well.
So appropriate for these times we live in.
I don't want to even pretend to know Clint's political affiliation, and I try hard to leave my own personal opinions out of this blog, but the sentiment from Dorothy saying "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" seems so appropriate, given the times we are living in! Today there is a small Occupy group in our town of 2200 that is protesting the local Bank of America. #Occupy comes home.

This face-dog is absurdly sweet
The juxtaposition of the images he uses works so well. These images are from post cards that he sent me. I can't send them out. I keep the precious stuff!
My political mood today is choosing these images. Aren't they great?
He sent quite a few to me, including a few color pieces. 
Bold. Statements. Being. Made. Here.
Thank you so much Clint! These were great pieces to post for the #OWS mood I am in today. More of his work can be found here.... on his site. 


The Hyper texture of Gail Coito

I regret that I am so slow to respond to people that sometimes send me beautiful mail or write to me by email. I am such an emotional sort, and I go up and down more than your local park's swing set. It's a big fault of mine, but as I curse that emotional gal inside of me, I also remember she's the one that rules the roost and allows me to be creative at all. So please forgive me, all of you, for putting you aside while I try to keep a grip of myself! Gail has written me more than a few times about sharing her work and I am so glad that she did! I am in love with her textures!

So, today I want to share the work of a talented woman named Gail Coito who hails from San Fran, CA but originally she was from the East Coast. Finding her way to collage thru her work with a Hospice group, she recognized her calling and has been doing cut and paste ever since.

Her work is uber textured, and super tactile saturated. These pieces read like an ephemera fest. Poetic little snippets sewn glued and fit together to form an unknown memory. In her recent work on her website, I spent some time getting to know the characters she has created.
A Depositor - Random Stacks Series

 Looking thru old photographs it's hard not to imagine what their lives were like and what they stood for. Gail spins a literal web with thread and tiny hints of paper, leading you to draw your own conclusions. Fantastic mixtures of paper and textiles. Little bundles of peoples lives. I seem to be able to come up with lots of little descriptions for her sweet collage vignettes.
Book of Secret Codes - Random Stacks Series
More here, at her site. She also teaches, so you west coast peeps can take advantage! There are some serious textures here...and many layers a collagist can get lost in....

Yet Another Interface

Pardon me for changing the interface again. The last one I was trying seemed buggy to me. It kept freezing on my mac, and then it stopped me from being able to post! This newer look seems like it may be a better fit. I am hoping that Steven has access.....I miss his posts.



Just read about a cool new ipad app called Mixel. It mixes images and creates digital collages. I am not sure about how the copyright nazis will feel about an app like this!
I admit I must be one of the ten people that does not have an iPad. Yet.
And I am craving to try this and several other apps.
If you are iPad endowed, you may want to try this!

Hyperallergic writes about here. I think it's a cool idea. But is there a practical application?????


Beaver Moon (flat)

Beaver Moon (flat)
Today is the Beaver Moon. An appropriate day for posting artwork that is inspired by it, wouldn't you say? This piece was a struggle. It's a transitional piece I think. I am watching my ideas and work change.

The color scheme: was inspired by The Sowers, by Van Gogh. I was teaching color and color relationships this week at SUNY Coby in design class. I was also reading about Van Gogh. I am quite amazed at his use of color. My piece uses purples and pale yellows and oranges. It's an attempt to really force color vibrancy using compliments.

The design: was inspired The Tres Riches Heures. The Book of Nature, which was painted in 1400's. I really love this book and the idea behind it. I am using this project as an exercise. Each month I will do a piece based on the moon. I was careful not to look at this piece at all (recently) as I made my own. I don't want to copy, but take the essence. In my piece, I am wanting to define the oval shape with pen and ink and add some numbers. I might try this digitally before I take it to the final work, and only if it looks good.

The use of photography in this piece: was inspired by David Hochbaum. It's no secret I like his work. His use of large scale photos that he takes himself continues to drive me to this mode of operation. I have also almost eliminated external ephemera. Almost! (those planet stickers I could not resist!)

The idea: in case it isn't coming through. The beaver moon is about getting ready for the cold. She is supposedly harvesting the weeds. I don't know if the message is strong enough. I hate to go blatant and put a beaver on the piece. That's cheating!


Beaver Moon Miracle

The rest from the collage studio table has created The Miracle. The very thing I have been waiting for! A CHANGE...
It was bound to happen. I have been wanting to break out of my creative mold for awhile now, and I think that finally the glass has shattered. No longer can I put the pieces back together.

I decided to warm up my collage skills with a simple piece about the Beaver Moon...which is coming up on Nov. 10. I researched the term and the meaning behind it and I have an idea. I did a watercolor on 140 lb. paper for the base. But as I started to add objects, I found that they were heavy. REALLY heavy. I took them off. I struggled and put them back on. I took them off again. ON again. This process exhausted me and I quit and came back. The next day I told myself that if I wanted to deal with these heavy materials, such as fur and metal...I would need to move to a heavier base. Like a dresser drawer (my latest substrate obsession).

I ferret out a nice one from my husband's vast collection of furniture parts and paint a background. I decide in this process that I am going to do 2 works! One shall be flat. Old style. Like I used to do it. For me, so I can satisfy the urge that I have to go back....I can be Free and do what I want. This is for my enjoyment. For selfish ME.  The second piece in the drawer would be the new stuff, the heavy... I lay them out.

Art #2 in the drawer is just a base coat of acrylic, no actual scenery. I am relying on my digital photo to carry it. (It seems like cheating somehow, but the photo is mine so relax Julie) The fur, parts of vintage jewelry and hats, netting, it all will rest nicely on this piece.

It's that Art #1 that is troubling me. I struggled like crazy to place the first few objects on it and ended up removing them. I tried again, with another set of paper pieces, going in another direction. Nope. It just is not going anywhere. It's collage future appears to be dead. So far, this piece is a watercolor. And nothing more.

And there is the change!! I refuse to work on it if I have to go backwards. I quit. Somewhere in there the old went into a cocoon, and something new has emerged. The new work wants to have a lot more depth. It wants to mix paper with milkweed pods and vintage jewelry parts and be heavy. It doesn't feel "pure paper" anymore. It isn't just collage, it's collage plus something else.

Along with the urge to combine newer and heavier materials I also want to build up and off the paper. I can't get past it. To sum this all up, I am working on much more intense pieces. They require planning. And electrical engineering! These works are evolving and they are taking so long. This part I am not liking...and I told myself to go Julie and express that time frustration thing on Art #1, but so far, that canvas remains cold and alone. While the Beaver Moon begins to rise....

Note to you and me> I need to take some photos of the process here, so this blog has something visual going on. All these words make me nervous.

___A place to find all kinds of information about collage.