13 Days But Who’s Counting

 IMG_0105 IMG_20150411_184912_813  IMG_20150415_161758_633             As some of you might remember, recently I wrote that I am interested in trying out painting in the open air at the up and coming Plein Air Art Festival here in Bisbee. This idea of going into a public setting and painting among the general population, much less painting landscapes, is not my strength. But the opportunity is at hand. Now I am out of Alaska and am back in Arizona so the question is: Will I participate with the Plein Air Festival in two weeks?.

The answer is yet to come but I seem to be headed in a good direction! I have now applied for and paid my entrance fee. I am beginning to look at the landscape in terms of light and shadows, of colors and contrasts and of  general composition. I need to get back into the swing of things here in Arizona so that I can get down to actually painting outside.. If I  don’t have that experience before October 9th I am rather certain I won’t participate. So the emphasis must be to prepare and stay informed.

Here is a partial list of the schedule for the festival:

Plein Air Festival in Bisbee, AZ  October 9-10, 2015

“Schedule of Events 

Friday, October 9

10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Registration and stamping of canvas at Bisbee Books & Music in the Convention Center. Artists can begin painting after canvases are stamped. Artists may paint anywhere in Old Bisbee.

7:00 p.m. Artist Reception at Central School Project

Saturday, October 10

 9:00 a.m. to noon Registration and canvas stamping continues at Bisbee Books & Music.

 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Artists set up paintings to be judged and to sell in Grassy Park. Artists must bring their own easels or stands for display of their work.

 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Paintings can be viewed and purchased by the public. Paintings must remain on easels until judging is completed. “

This list goes on a bit including the judging, live music, etc but you get the drift.

So now my TO-Do list looks something like this:

  1. Create Easels to withstand Bisbee wind and hold four works of art.
  2. Purchase 4-8 canvases
  3. Practice drawing/painting outside in the garden, down the street, in Old Bisbee etc
  4. Practice more
  5. Continue to practice
  6. Stay calm and remember I am having fun

There are already 47 other participants signed up but clearly I am trying to not think of this as a competition but as an opportunity of growth. More on all of this soon . . .

A Toe in the Water or Cannonball Right On In?

IMG_20140527_145641_926  One of the most difficult things I know as an artist, and hear from other artist as high on their tough to-do list also,is taking art or portfolios to gallery owners. The thought of handing your heart and soul to a person who’s bottom line is indeed a bottom financial line and asking if they want to take a risk on you can be a very daunting task. I have known the occasional artist that doesn’t think twice about doing it and has a “devil may care – no skin off my teeth” approach to sharing their wares but many of us dread and despair over the very thought.

Coming up on October 9th and 10th we artist have a chance in Bisbee, AZ to dive right on in. There is a Plein Air Art Festival planned by Bisbee After 5  CALL TO ARTISTS: 2015 Bisbee Plein Air Festival http://www.bisbeeafter5.com/#!plein-air-festival/cho6

The general info is that a person pays $25 to register as a participant. Then gets their canvases and or painting papers stamped. Then finds a place in Tombstone Canyon in Bisbee to set up and paint for the day. Then repeat the painting part on Saturday until 3pm when you put your top four paintings up on the easels. The judging happens then. Cash prizes and an opportunity to sell those works of art in the open air happen after the judging.

All in all it reads like a fun productive time. For those of us a little shy it gives us, lets say “the opportunity” to jump right in at the public level as we paint outside in the open air and in the full view of Bisbee. But also the chance to sell artwork as well as networking with other artists. Open to any and all artists not just folks from Bisbee.

I am usually a toe in the water kind of person but I have decided I am going to go for it and dive in.I am not even a landscape or cityscape artist but there are so many reasons why it makes sense to give it a go. The organization will keep only 25% of the money I make in sales (You see how I am focused on being optimistic.already) and in the art world that is very good. Cash prizes are worth considering; I could use some new brushes. Making an easel and trying out my outdoor painting techniques can be worked on between now and then. and it is a good chance to saturate myself in a weekend of painting at the same time i exercise my brave genes.

So I put on my metaphoric swimming cap and here we go  . . . I will try to keep posted and pictured as I go.

Layers of Civilization

IMG_20150822_165938_550 Supper and tea on the wood stove while i type away.IMG_20150822_170037_819A peek at the antenna that brings me cell and computer reception.

I am finishing the Alaskan part of my year and becoming a bit reflective about the time that I have had here at home before I return south for the winter.

There is something so interesting about sitting by the wood stove using the internet out here. Thanks to my cell phone’s hotspot I have the luxury of composing this post from my quiet cabin.

This cabin is considered a dry cabin and that basically means no running water. Any electricity that is here is from batteries filled by a generator. There are no refrigerators, microwaves or toasters but ice in a cooler and the wood stove or propane stove accomplish all that are needed. I have no electricity in my studio but instead have two stunningly large windows that flood the room with daylight during the summer.

Long story short this is an amazing blend of old rustic and new modern living. The contrast of that sometimes boggles the mind. Being a city gal sometimes I am still surprised to find myself not only out here doing things from each lifestyle but actually enjoying it!

Tenative Tangles

Traveling means moving about in a faster, fuller pace. I, my art, and my work (Project Management/Virtual Assistant)  are trying to keep up. I am trying to untangle Tumblr., Instagram, Twitter for work and now the art form Zentangles.

The illustration posted here is what I call “doodling while a movie is on” but in all fairness I am supposed to call it “Zentangle inspired art”. Hmmm.

I did purchase the cheap version book and have looked at the idea behind this particular style of doodling so I am  inspired to continue doodling during quiet evening hours. I think that was the goal of the original book.  Although they also would like to have me buy more books, specific papers, pens, go to classes and be mindful.

I find though, that my mind is full of trying to figure out the Tumblr., Instagram, Twitter parts of my work while eating sushi with friends, playing at the playground with grands and catching up with the world Alaska style. So perhaps i will settle for a zen like attitude while I am tangled in instantly tumbling through life in a beautiful place like sunny Alaska.

And so it goes and so it goes, and so it ever goes . . .

 

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Wrappers

The collages as illustrations for my friend’s book are complete (Individual works are here on this WordPress site under Collages). Here are a few that I needed to tweak a bit before I finish wrapping them up to send off to the author.

IMG_6696 IMG_6697 IMG_6699  IMG_6342  And a photo of some of the works before they got wrapped.

Finishing a body of work always leaves me with mixed feelings. There is the feeling of accomplishment, even the “whew” factor that something I set out to do is now done. But there is also a feeling of clinging, perhaps wishing I had done more, better, sooner, clearer.

Luckily, the later is usually overtaken by the prior because I am ready to work on something new. That is the case this time. I have a new body of work ( Live – musicians performing their arts) that has taken up residence in my soul. It feels as if it is bursting to get out and be seen, so I have the best of both worlds – a group of works that is ready to move on and a group of works ready to become.

AZ quiltscape in progress This AZ “Quiltscape” is a transition work in progress. The new body of work (Live) will have a textile element as well as portraiture so I hope this work will help me work on that notion. More on that later this week, (hopefully).

172 Pencils, 1050 Index Cards, 1 Pair Red Cowgirl boots, And So Much More

I have been away from all that I know. I have not worked on projects. I haven’t done any art at all. Instead I have been sorting pencils and clothes and journals. I have also moved into the house of a dear friend. That dear friend died three months ago. Here I am with the pieces.

The news of her illness came on rather suddenly. There were only six weeks from beginning to end. Then after all the arrangements, life celebrations, came the sorting. Grouping like items. Sorting into categories. Finding boxes. Finding time.

So often as I sorted I came across something that she had been looking for or something that she had spoken about and I would turn to tell her about finding it, only to realize that she isn’t here anymore. I had no one with whom to share the tiny joy. So instead I would go back to the sorting and boxing.

Most of that sorting is done now. Most things of her life have found new homes. Her children took some. I returned some items to mutual friends. I kept a few things, probably too many things. I

t is those things, the things of life that if stacked to the ceiling still don’t tell the story of her. Certainly I would gladly have given everything to have another hour with her. But I keep a few close, the items of her life bring back memories, the small pieces of time spent together. Amongst those things, is where I find myself now.

I had no trouble sorting, boxing, attending to the details of the “things”. But now is the quiet time, the time with no distractions. Now that nagging question comes back and sets. The question that has been around all along but was easily pushed aside with the details of the things.

The question even showed up unexpectedly in a concert a week ago. Don Armstrong, a Southwestern Folk Musician wrote and sang “Day After the Day of the Dead”, a phrase inspired by his wife Victoria. The song talks about waltzing off into the day after the Day of the Dead. The nagging question inside it for me –  after the death and the memorials and the packing … what then? What now that she isn’t here to turn to? What now that there are no more stories or songs from her? What now that the playfulness that she brought to my life is over? What now?

Luckily the song did more than beg the question. It answered it.

“Waltzing”.

Waltzing into what comes next – whatever that is. A waltz has structure, it has rhythm, it is musical.

With that in mind I am bringing along the playfulness, the memories, the stories, the music that I can pack along and go back to that thing we call life. Now I go to finish the collages for the book “Museum of Us”. Other projects will have to wait but they will find their own time again along the way.

Now I also begin a series of paintings of musicians in concert, live music, people playing, musical stories, sharing life with others.  LIVE – that is the word that kept answering the question in my head all along. Both as in “to live my life” and as in “Live and in concert” and now is a good place to begin. Let the tears flow if they may. Who cares? We can always use a few more drops in southern Arizona. We are not afraid to go waltzing in the rain.

Thanks art friends for waiting me out. Thanks to courageous, musical Don for being that catalyst I needed to get moving again and to his late Wife Victoria for her many songs, inspirations and words that are still reaching us through the music.Thanks to my friend’s many friends. It has been so comforting to know how much she was loved. Thanks to those who have supported me. Thanks also to my everyday best friend who, one way of the other, goes through all of this with me and is helping me use up all the pencils.

No Book Left Behind

I have a great stack of books now. I have a tendency to pick them up and they follow me home. Just yesterday I found a lovely old Alice in Wonderland that I simply could not leave in the used book store. But also many people have donated worthy copies to my stacks knowing I enjoy transforming the pages into other things.

I plan to move out of this lovely old Bisbee rental in the spring as I migrate north for the summer and I would love to have fewer things to store. In fact I am studying that topic of sorting through and letting go of much of life’s clutter right now. That seems to make such sense in so many ways. But the books, oh the books, it is so difficult for me to abandon them.

So I have decided, in fact I declare that before Christmas (I hope) I will turn the rest of the paperback stack into orbs, snowmen, trees or other everyday holiday items. Thus putting them to use now and keeping only the ones that haven’t made it to another home during the holidays.

That leaves only the hardback copies for any assignments that I have for myself such as How-To videos I have promised to make or bookends that can’t wait.

Other clutter not such a problem. Let it go, let it all go. But the books, they have such life!IMG_20141212_135513_891

The Carousel or What Goes Around Comes Back Around as an Orb

Here are some of the steps in fashioning the orbs that I have mentioned in the last couple posts. I am hoping to get a video made of this as well as the altered book that looks like a flower arrangement. Soon, I hope soon! But for now here are the steps

2014-11-08 11.23.35 I start with an ordinary paperback book with the covers and binding removed. This is the cutting of the binding. I take off the old one because it is usually not as flexible as needed.

2014-11-08 11.28.15  I apply an acrylic medium or ModgePodge like medium to the cut binding side. I apply three or four coats of it letting it dry well between coats. (The old binding is setting next to the book in the photo but I don’t use it in this project at all.)

2014-11-22 20.14.46  Then I trace around half of a bowl or small plate creating a semi-circle. Beginning across the binding I then cut out that shape and it looks something like this. The edge can be smooth or rippled as shown.

2014-11-22 20.15.17  Then draw a small semi-circle inside the first one leaving between 1/2-1 inch border. It works best to drill a small hole next to the inside line and then insert your saw blade into the space and cut it out. Again smooth cutting line or ripple will be fine. They each have their own style.

2014-11-22 20.17.14  The next step is to glue (with a glue stick) and brace (with small folder clips or clothespins) what appear to be the core of this newly shaped book. It is the area next to the binding only. Use a couple sheets from each side. Let dry.

While that dries, take a look at the pieces that were cut away and find out how many pages were in the book. divide by a number like 8 or 10 until you come up with an even number. (You can always tuck in a few extra pages if it isn’t coming out exactly even).  If you have a book with 200 pages grouping with 10 pages will be fine. For the example below I will use the number 8.

Beginning at the area  that you already glued pull together equal number of pages from each side to finish out that number you decided on in that last step. Pin all of those together with a paperclip at the “equator” of the orb. Taking that group and moving to the right count out half again as many. With the new four and half of the old group or we’ll say the old four put a paperclip at about 45 degrees up north on the orb.  Then pin the pages about 45 degrees south of the equator. Both the north and south 45 degrees will have pins on exactly the same pages. Count out another new four and put another paperclip at the equator. Continue around the orb. (When you make it back to where you started you might have to adjust adding and shifting a couple pages for three or sections until all the pages are used.) Then the orb looks something like this:

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The nearly final step is to sew and/or glue where the paperclips are so that the pages will stay in place. I used the glue stick and a sturdy needle with quilting thread and a thimble. Just use 3-5 overhand stitches ( go all the way through your 8 pages pulling the needle all the way through. Pull it over the top and do it again moving 1/4 inch south.)

2014-11-07 11.05.59    2014-11-07 11.47.04For this orb I added wires with horses to make it look more like a carousel. I added paper at the ends of the wires so they would not punch through and so they would stay put. Glue paper on and let it dry on the ends as well as putting on the horses at this time. Add these wires to the orb as you glue and/or sew the orb pieces. I also added embroidery thread at the equator and the southern hemisphere for a little more flair.

A 20lb gauge wire with a hoop at the top is inserted from the top through the binding. I usually make a swirl or two at the bottom to keep it from trying to pull through the glued binding, cut off excess with wire cutters and put a safety loop at the end.carousel sphere wstring Kathy Baker-Addy   2014-11-07 14.43.35 a detail 2014-11-13 14.54.39

Cliches – The Ineffective Bandage of the Verbal World

Last week’s blog was about handling the rejection slip. And boy am I glad I thought about that before the weekend. Things went well at the local opening The Fourth Annual Altered Book Art Auction and Show in Bisbee, AZ (pictures below).

But my other venue, a magazine, did not go as planned – my artwork wasn’t selected. [This is where we insert phrases like “Into every life a little rain must fall” , “There are still plenty of fish in the sea”, or the old kicker – “Try harder next time”, ouch.]  But the bottom line seems to be that I don’t know why the art wasn’t selected. It fulfilled all the requirements. It was a fairly strong and very original work. One of the photos I sent in was marginal but the detail photo was very solid. My artwork got in the same venue six weeks before. No telltale signs why it didn’t fly. There is really no way of knowing.

I’m going to focus on having given it a shot and this time, that is good enough. Feel free to keep all cliches for other occasions. I have already begun gluing papers on canvases so I seem to be moving on.

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Rejection

2014-11-13 14.54.39  I am waiting to hear about getting art works into venues so this seems like a great moment to explore that feeling that haunts – rejection. Whether actual or just remembered and feared the idea that someone has not chosen one’s art work can feel a lot like they have not chosen us. Insecurity, dread, fear certainly makes for a difficult place from which to create and begin again.

I wonder if other professions feel that gut wrenching feeling when you are told “thanks but no thanks”. The plumber or grocer are professions difficult to imagine with this feeling but easier to see with lawyers – they win or lose the case, the chef with his food critic, and the would be politician with just a few votes.

So I can imagine the arts are not the only realm in which rejection weighs heavily. The investment is so deep and the feeling can be so personal, for the artist we place a piece of our soul with precision and poetry out on the canvas, the paper, or the stage for all to see. So when the word comes back that your work did not make the cut the heart naturally sinks.

There are many reasons for the rejection slip besides the work stinks. Perhaps this art doesn’t fit the other work selected, perhaps it doesn’t fit the space, the audience, the time. Sometimes the work is ahead of its time, Some times the work needs its own time to grow and change. (Many a time I have found my new beginning on the canvas that never seemed to click.)

So as I wait I will try not to watch the clock, bite the nails, or pace the floor but merely head into the next idea and hope that the juror’s decision and my heart will meet equally. Because tomorrow is a fresh start no matter what they decided about my yesterday.

I sure hope I remember this when I get the news.

2014-11-13 14.55.08  Thousand Fibers (above Sphere) by Kathy Baker-Addy  entered into the 4th Annual Altered Book Show and Auction Bisbee, AZ.