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A Rock and a Hard Place

Yesterday started out as a down day for me. So, after wrangling the checkbook into agreement with the bank statement, I had a playdate with myself–streaming classical music and jazz and painting for a few hours.

I rarely paint rocks because I think rocks are beautiful as nature made them, but this one inspired me. I still think it was better in its natural state, but there you go.

Painted rock (acrylic)

 

Firing the Blues (9×12 inches, acrylic on canvas)

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You Can’t Do It Wrong

One of the many things I love about art is that there are no mistakes and you can’t do it wrong. Sure there are failures, um, projects that don’t work, which can go right into the trash, but it’s all part of the process. Better still there are “happy accidents,” mistakes that enhance the finished product.

When I started doing postcards for swaps, about four years ago, I had no idea what I was going to do or how to do it. But knowing I have a good eye for color and composition, and a degree in art, I figured I’d learn technique as I went along. Much of my early cards were doodles in marker or quick watercolor sketches. Gradually I got into collage, where I had little experience. With a couple of jars of Mod Podge, an X-acto knife, scissors, a ruler and various card stocks and papers–and a whole lot of just playing and seeing what comes about–I’m probably making about half my cards in some sort of collage or mixed media. And it’s still a blast!

A recent card recipient asked me about my process, materials, and what happens in a swap, so rather than reply to her I thought I’d post it here, along with my most recent work. (Good swap info is on ihanna’s site.)

Since we moved into a house with space for a studio, I have a pretty good storage system–drawers, shelves, bins and–best of all, a large work table.

Conveniently located next to the laundry room (where there is additional storage).

Also next to the garage, where I have more shelves and drawers, mostly for sewing, knitting and needlework supplies.

Desk, writing corner, printer, scanner, and laptop for graphics, photoshopping and everything else.

Stacked drawers for papers and other source material.

Work table.

I share the space with a guinea pig, who serenades me with his “oinks” the whole time I’m working. I want to “re-home” him.

Good light and a view of the atrium entry. In the summer I can watch hummingbirds.

I get material everywhere: catalogs are printed on high-quality coated paper so they stand up well to adhesive; I cannibalize postcards and greeting cards; papers and card stock of all types; scrapbooking paper for backgrounds; magazines; calendars; stickers. Some material comes from the scrapbooking department of the craft store, but it’s mostly found objects. My favorite recent find is an empty Chinese cigarette packet–found in front of our house in Central Texas! I don’t know how I’ll use it, but I sure will.

Chinese cigarette packet!

 

Latest piece on the work table.

Here is my recent output.

Peacock in Monet’s Garden (collage, sticker from a Monet art book)

 

Purple Madness (collage, feathers)

 

Can’t Help Myself, I Love Color and Flowers (watercolor, collage, washi tape)

 

Spring Friend (collage, paper, washi tape)

Remember, if you’d like a card mailed to you, email me your address, jillybeanswiggins@gmail.com. I will mail internationally.

Do-over

In the last post before we moved, I posted a “finished” painting. Now that we’re settled and the painting has emerged from packing, I decided it just wasn’t quite done. It needed more texture.

The granddaughter (who lives with us) started school last week, and with unpacking and organizing pretty much done, I got out paints and gave this another shot.

Here it is placed on the wall of the studio, along with the first and second in the “cosmic” series, “Creation” and “Evolution.” (All are acrylic on masonite.) The first is dated 1979, the second 1980, so it took me an awfully long time to complete the cycle.

The three paintings blast out a greeting as one enters the studio from the garage.

I’m excited to be getting back to art at all. Next I want to start making postcards again.

Finally, a Finished Painting!

Started last fall, this painting turned out to be tougher than I imaged from the original pastel sketch that inspired it:

"Cosmos," preliminary sketch, pastel on paper, 12x12

“Cosmos,” preliminary sketch, pastel on paper, 12×12

And the holidays got in the way, followed by husband’s surgeries (three) and normal life with a 10-year-old granddaughter, who lives with us, and a dog, and all the other activities that keep me away from art.

The smaller one was also supposed to be a preliminary sketch, but I finished it after working out the color challenges on the large one. The color blending was difficult, especially at the boundary between yellow and violet, which (as I know from art school) are complimentary colors and, when mixed, turn neutral–beige.

"Cosmos 2," acrylic on canvas, 12x12

“Cosmos 2,” acrylic on canvas, 12×12

The titles are homage to Carl Sagan.

"Cosmos," acrylic on masonite, 24x24

“Cosmos,” acrylic on masonite, 24×24

The paintings are for sale. They are brighter than they photograph. Email me at jillybeans@gmail.com if interested.

More B(loom)!

I posted B(l)oom a while ago, and decided to do a series, working square this time.

B(l)oom 2, acrylic, 12"x12"

B(l)oom 2, acrylic, 12″x 12″

 

B(l)oom 3, acrylic, 12" x 12"

B(l)oom 3, acrylic, 12″ x 12″ (This is my favorite)

 

B(l)oom 4, acrylic.12" x 12"

B(l)oom 4 (tropical), acrylic.12″ x 12″

These pieces are for sale, $50 each or $125 for the series. Email me if you are interested: jillybeanswiggins@gmail.com.

B(l)oom

Only one painting again last week. Actually there was another, but it was a graduation gift (a 4×4-inch canvas, requested by the grad’s mom, so that the young woman will have a sort of “quilt” of small canvases to take to school). I neglected to shoot a picture of it, but it’s a lot like this one, and will be A.’s own private piece of art.

This is the first of a series of “B(l)oom” (A’s little painting is “B(l)oom” zero) the title being a play on “bloom” and “boom,” take your pick (or do both). The next will be on square canvas as I continue to explore my longtime love for explosive color.

B(l)oom, 8x10", acrylic

B(l)oom, 8×10″, acrylic

Must get back to finishing some cards for the postcard swap that starts May 1.

Benefit post cards

As part of my gallery show, I offered to send an original post card for a donation to the church. Since it’s spring, I went with a floral theme in mostly primary colors. The tiny red biplane was inspired by one I often see fly over my house.

Spring Flight

Spring Flight (water color)

Spring Flyers (water color)

Spring Flyers (water color)

 

The paint is still wet

… and it’s untitled, but for the first time in weeks I have made some art. Another painting, started before major life changes took up my focus, time and energy, is in progress. I’ll get back to that, but this one just came in a rush. (See my other blog to see what has taken up my time and energy.)

No post cards for a while, but I hope to get back to mail art again when my new routine settles down.

Untitled, acrylic (painted mostly with my hands)

Untitled, acrylic (painted mostly with my hands)

 

It must be the heat

Not too much output yet this summer, for the usual reasons. Here’s this week’s work.  Apparently I’m into hot colors. Happy July!

Off-Center Boom. Had a scrap piece of round cardboard to play with. (Acrylic, paper, washi tape)

Off-Center Boom. Had a scrap piece of round cardboard to play with. (acrylic, paper, washi tape)

Little Bang (acrylic, paper, washi tape)

Little Bang (acrylic, paper, washi tape)

Orange, red, purple (water color)

Orange, red, purple (water color)

Sailing the Cosmic Sea (water color, collage, stickers, confetti)

Sailing the Cosmic Sea (water color, collage, stickers, confetti)

The above began as the first version of “Orange, red, purple,” but it wasn’t working so I just played around with images until it became rather whimsical. (I rarely just give up and call a piece a failure–of course there have been some–but I usually try to push through until I get something pleasing or, if all else fails, fun.) I also just realized that each of these four pieces was an attempt to express the same idea, and “Orange, red, purple,” is the closest fulfillment of that vision. Also the simplest and quickest (and last) one. That’s often the way art is. It works best when you quit trying so hard.

Received a nice packet from Honi in New York state, including the scan of a weave, and the dear little purple envelope with butterflies on it and a tiny handmade book inside.

Image of a weave, from Honi

Image of a weave, from Honi

Little envelope and booklet with tiny "tickets" inside, from Honi.

Little envelope and booklet with tiny “tickets” inside, from Honi.

 

Pretty Paltry

As I prepare for summer busyness with travel and grandchildren, here is my recent skimpy output, plus a card from my granddaughter. One other card was submitted to Postcard Poems and Prose, so I’ll save it to link to that site, should it happen. My lame excuse is a big birthday week and the excitement of reviewing a lifetime’s art output for a gallery show in November.

From Chloe. Not sure if the orientation is correct. (acrylic)

From Chloe. Not sure if the orientation is correct.
(acrylic)

Doodle 23, testing new markers (Infinity Markers)

Doodle #23, testing new markers (Infinity Markers)

Kupka homage in hot colors (markers). I seem to be into those hot colors.

Kupka homage in hot colors (markers). I seem to be into those hot colors, and definitely still enthralled with Kupka.

If you’ve been following the news in Central Texas, you know the drought is over, and there have been catastrophic and tragic floods, with people losing homes and lives. We are on a hill and we’re fine, dry, safe and grateful.

That’ll probably be it for a while. Happy summer!