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Pandemic Painting, Spring Swap

The local arts center is accepting work for a member show with the title “Created During Covid.” I’m submitting this painting, which was painted from a photo I took in early May. I love the dramatic sky against the church building, the Mormon church in my neighborhood.

 

Pandemic Sky (acrylic, 8×10)

I have received only eight cards from the Spring iHanna swap, but unless the last two are coming from Fiji or New Zealand, I think that will be it. The last one I received, in late June, was from Australia.

From Australia, California and Arizona

 

A story, some card stock, and a card incorporating a stitched sewing pattern. (I no longer have the envelope and don’t remember what state it’s from.)

 

From Nebraska, Arizona, and two from Virginia. The rain boots and the Dickinson quote (bottom) are my favorites.

 

Ready for the Spring Swap

One thing about postcard swaps: since the administrative side is done online and the actual swap is done by mail, it can go on during a pandemic! I have registered for the iHanna spring swap and have 10 cards ready to mail once Hanna sends out the lists. (See earlier posts for previously completed cards. Also see my other blog for some inspirational cards I am sending out to friends and neighbors.) Here are the final four:

We Will Dance Again (collage) A reminder for these times.

Santorini Knitting Cruise (collage) Another reminder of better days

Lifeguard on Duty (collage) Yearning for the beach?

Floral Weave (collage–images from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Color Aid paper, woven together)

 

 

Two for her, two for me

Our needing to stay home combined with a rainy weekend prompted granddaughter and me to produce some art. I’m fascinated by the similarity in the colors of her painting and my postcard, with each of us working separately from the other.

CSW, Untitled (multi-color); acrylic; 12″x12″.

 

Yarn Joy, 4×6 postcard, collage.

This painting blows me away. I could not have touched her with likeness (from a photo), or technique, especially in oil, at age 13. (She doesn’t even like it, which is why she gave it to me.)

CSW–Girl with nose ring; oil on canvas board; 5″x7″

Using my Creative Whack Pack, the card I chose today said “Rearrange,” so I plopped St. Petersburg’s Church of Our Saviour into the middle of a wintry lake in Yosemite National Park.

Holy Yosemite, 5×7 postcard, collage

Stay safe, stay healthy, and do something that brings you joy.

 

Six in Six Days

Giving priority to art when life gets crazy may just be a way to stay sane. This year so far has been busy and stressful. But after playing around with rocks I was ready to get back to what I love the most, postcards (aka small format art–not all are mailed). Also unusual for me was working with more somber colors–maybe it’s just the late-winter grayness.

Tropical Cyclone (collage with ribbon, stamp by Nat Uhing)

Black Pearl Quicksilver Dolphins (collage)

Tea (collage with stamp by Nat Uhing, German stamps from a previous swap)

Lemonade (collage with washi tape)

Blues and Grays (collage with stamp by Nat Uhing) Can you tell I like dolphins?

Dog and Lamppost (collage)

I’m using up stamps made by Nat Uhing. Each time I use one I remember her and how much I loved her art and how much I miss her (she passed away about a year ago). Now that I have some collage out of my system, I may switch to painting or another medium.

 

Doodling and throat-clearing

After the large (for me) output during the past month, and my decision to break away from collage for a little while, I went into a fallow period to decide what was next.

I did one little water color, sort of an homage to Dale Chihuly. We saw the boats a few years ago at the Dallas Arboretum.

Chihuly at Sea (watercolor)

Being stuck after that, I went to my fallback, doodles. They are far from great art, but they are fun and keep me working and thinking about color and composition.

Doodle #27 (Shuttle Art markers)

 

Doodle #28 (Shuttle Art markers)

 

Doodle #29–Spring Landscape (Shuttle Art markers)

 

Doodle #30 (Shuttle Art markers)

 

Doodle #31–Green is not a primary color (Shuttle Art markers)

And finally got back to mixed media, a watercolor overlaid with tissue.

Brave Butterflies (watercolor, tissue paper collage)

I did a more accurate account: 266 cards since I began in May, 2014. That averages roughly one a week, which is not a huge output, but it keeps me in touch with art. I’m more than ready for the next swap!

 

 

Miscount/Mistakes (Happy Accidents)

Turns out my total count of cards was off. In the five years since I started this, I’ve made more than 250 cards. Here are the most recent:

Métro-Metro (collage)

After “Party in Seattle,” I seem to have started a public transit series. I still have a London Oyster card stashed away, so there may be more. This is the Paris Métro and Capital Metro in Austin.

Float Like a Butterfly (collage)

One of my favorite exercises when I started back to school for an art degree was taking images of totally unrelated objects and combining them in a way that made some sort of compositional or artistic sense. In that first exercise I slapped a Portuguese man-of-war (i.e. sort-of, though not biologically, a purple jellyfish) on top of a croissant. Someone else in the class put a big pickle on an arm of a saguaro cactus. I called this one “Float Like a Butterfly,” but not really after Mohammed Ali. I just liked the title and really enjoyed putting the weird objects together. I’m posting it full size for the details to show.

Pastel Box (collage)

This is literally the palette and part of the wrapper from a box of pastels.

Wonderful Bird (collage)

Since this was another combination of weirdly unrelated objects, I just focused on the pelican and called it “Wonderful Bird,” attributing the title to what I mistakenly thought was a poem by Ogden Nash. So I learned something today: my favorite “Ogden Nash” poem is by Dixon Lanier Merritt.

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the helican

After weeks of collage, it’s time for a change in direction. I may go larger; I may go with markers, or paint, or fabric/stitchery. I also have about four knitting projects going. Is there possibly a way to KNIT a postcard? I may try!

Still on a Roll

After a great start to the school year, I’m keeping up a pace of a card a day in the second week.

Two things are different, and I’m embarrassed to say that as an artist it’s way late for me to come to this:

  1. Soon after I get home from school drop-off I head into the studio and get to work, instead of taking care of laundry or other household chores. In the past, unlike Anne Lamott, who wrote in “Bird by Bird” that she could write with a “corpse in the sink,” I have a low tolerance for dirty dishes. I’m learning to me more like Anne.
  2.  Also for the first time, I can get so absorbed in the work that I lose track of time–the “time of the game,” as my philosophy professor called it, because he said that’s why casinos don’t have clocks. They want people to get lost in the game and forget the time. (I do manage to get to school for pickup, or to appointments, and I don’t go to casinos.)

I’ve kept count of the cards I’ve done since the first swap in 2014, and I’m up to 209. Not great for more than five years, but watch me now! Here’s the current output:

Shuffle #12, Summer Garden (collage)

This is part of the “shuffle” series, using random colors from a Color Aid pack. I sent it to a neighbor who recently had knee surgery to cheer her up.

Terra Sun and Moon (original photo, color aid paper)

The title is for the photo of sun and moon art taken at Terra Arts, outside Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Wiggins Farms

When I bought the watermelon I had to keep the label!

Hand-made (collage with hand-made paper)

 

Floral Dream (collage)

I made this while my cleaning lady was here and she seemed to really like it, so I mailed it to her for a surprise.

Party in Seattle (collage, stamp by Nat Uhing)

Still using the precious faux Australian stamps made by the late Nat Uhing. I think she’d like to see her work still circulating. The ticket is from my Jeopardy! audition trip.

I wonder how long it’ll take me to reach 300! At this pace I should be get there before the holidays.

 

Five School Days, Five Postcards

Now that my granddaughter has gone back to school, the longer days (or earlier starts) have made me more productive. In fact, these are the first cards I’ve made since the spring swap. I hope I keep up this momentum into the school year.

Blue Horizon (collage)

When this collage was done, I decided it needed words. It reminded me of the song “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” so I added “Beyond the blue horizon…waits a beautiful day.” I love that song so much I now want to play it at the start of every day!

Shuffle #10–for Nat (collage)

Part of the “shuffle” series, in which I pull out random colors from a pack of Color-Aid paper and figure out how to make weird color combinations work. The “stamp” was part of a pack made by Nat Uhing, one of my favorite bloggers, who died earlier this year. I will continue to use Nat’s stamps, always thinking of her. The link is to her final post.

It was Good–Cafe Sol (collage)

We ate at this Tex-Mex restaurant in Greenwich in 2013, after straddling the Prime Meridian, and I saved the card. We were longing for margaritas, so we decided to give it a try, ordering nachos and margaritas. We told the server we were from Texas and we had high expectations. And IT WAS GOOD! We gave our compliments to the cook, who, we were told, was from Turkey!

Shuffle #11–Be the Breeze (collage)

Another in the shuffle series, also including one of Nat’s stamps. The little fish windsock is from the package of an actual windsock, and I’ve had a lot of use out of the package (the actual windsock hangs by our pool). The “Welcome to Scotland” card in my last post shows what it looks like.

Trebuchet in the Garden (collage)

I struggled over the title of this one. The main image is from the Crusader Bible, “Saul Destroying the Ammonites,” with a little bit of Monet’s water lily garden in the corner. But that was pretty clunky, so I settled on something shorter. I just liked the colors together, along with the “shuffled” Color Aid paper.

Please plan to come back for shuffles 12 and beyond! This is the process: during the day scraps and odds and ends appear on the art table; I pull images out of my “inventory” of various images I have saved in bins and drawers. I fiddle with them whenever I walk past. (I’m so glad the art table is in an open space I pass often, rather than in an isolated studio over the garage or in the back yard.) During the night the pieces sort of rearrange themselves like iron filings to a magnet. In the morning I move the nascent arrangement into a more coherent composition, then take a photo of it so that I can paste everything in more or less the same place. The finished product will always be slightly different–either by mistake or on purpose.  Happy accidents make art even more fun!

Spring Postcard Swap

After receiving only nine cards in the Spring ihanna swap, I assume by now there will be no #10. Here’s what I received:

These were from Sweden, California, Idaho, Washington and Michigan:

These came from Switzerland, California, Connecticut and right here in Texas:

No more postcard for awhile, but I plan to get back to painting soon. We just returned from a very tiring trip. Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Spring Postcard Swap + Bonus Cards

I’ve been on a roll, and have more than the 10 cards needed for the Spring ihanna swap.

“Shuffle” series came about when I remembered an old pack of Color Aid paper (explained in a recent post). The exercise was so much fun I did nine cards, all based on randomly selecting six or so colors from the pack. I allowed a switch out if two nearly identical colors came up, and allowed myself to just drop out one color. I also added other visual elements to increase the fun. One thing I find interesting is that, for all the “randomness” (I swear I selected the colors from the backside, blindly), there is a lot of consistency in the color palette, with pinks, purples, golds and oranges predominating. My favorite piece is the rainbow koi windsock flying over Inverness.

Here are all the recent cards, 10 of which will go in the mail to Canada, Sweden, Thailand and all over the U.S. in the next day or two.

Shuffle #2: Dots (there is no #1–the first Color Aid shuffle was in the previous post.) (collage)

Shuffle #3: Butterflies (collage)

Shuffle #4: Canyon (collage)

Shuffle #5: Journey (collage)

Shuffle #6: Believe (collage)

Shuffle #7: Rise and Shine

Shuffle #8: Floral (collage)

Shuffle #9: Splash Pad (collage)

Welcome to Scotland (collage)

A Walk on the Pier (collage)

Splash Pad (collage)

And, a fun little wrap-up (I need to take break and do some other things for a while!):

A Crawl on the Pier (collage)