Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Done & UP!

I have emerged from my cocoon.  Well, you can't really call working from dawn to dark to get things done on a deadline being in a coccon, but I have a quite exhausted, yet satisfied feeling of delivery.

Got my awesome patron BJ's order sewn and delivered.  In between chastising myself for not having it done sooner (although I did have it done when she needed it so WHAT is my problem???) and loading the car & picking up my buddy and curator Debby, I took a VERY deep breath and tried to recalibrate.

I felt like a cartoon chacter that shakes it's whole body in the air and goes "balalalalalup" to recenter.  Happily had a lovely time with Debby hanging the show to lots of compliments from the show director and musical director at 1st Stage.   The photo above is our work in progress!

The musical "Alter Boyz" opens Friday.  My Artist Reception is 5 to 7pm on Sunday December 9th.  A bunch of us are staying after to watch the show get your tickets at the 1st Stage website if you care to join us!

For now?  Waiting for my kids to get home from school so they can help me put out new merchandise for the BIG shopping weekend at Stifel & Capra.  Wish me luck!

Black Friday Brunch - Nov. 23rd

Join us at the civilized hour of 10 am for our yummy annual Black Friday brunch. Bagels & champagne (while they last!)plus one of a kind gifts for you from or resident artists and artisans. Who needs doorbusters? Open 10am to 8pm

Small Business Saturday - Nov. 23rd
To say thank you for helping us serve you by following our dreams, enter to win drawings throughout the day for Stifel & Capra gift certificates. Grand prize? $100 to buy a present for our favorite customer - YOU! Open 10am to 6pm

Cyber Monday - Nov. 26th
New this year! If you don't get want to brave the crowds, shop vintage at S&C's website to get 20% off! Go to theStifel&Capra Shop and be sure to use coupon code 2012Cyber20 for special savings!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Equilibrium, Schequilibrium...

 I did these two pieces called "Equilibrium" AGES ago to characterize my mom practical side and my la-tee-da sides.  The gal at the top is balancing all her facets, work, kids, spouse, job, logistics, homekeeping, driving while managing to keep every hair in place and a smile on her face.  Babe number two is having a Calgon "take me away" moment dreaming of blue skies, flowers, & making art.
The reality?  If you want canvas number 2 you have to (get to?!) sandwich it among canvas number 1.  Frankly I am feeling the pressure of my deadlines on every front but it is all good.  Except for the reports due, the looming laundry, the embroidery elbow, the disheveled post flood shop cellar, the very ill friends, the friends without power, the crippling neck pain,    As the wise Lesley Riley says, "Just take one step, and begin."  OK, girl, deep breath, get the heating pad out, go to sleep and start again tomorrow.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Ill wind that blows nobody good

 Nothing like a epic natural disaster to remind you that most of your problems are of your own imagination.  Am still saying my prayers for those caught in the devastation. 

Shockingly, Hurricane Sandy pummeled our neighborhood but we retained power.  Happily as the sump pump in the cellar of the antique building my shop is in was going full steam!  The stacked stone foundation was no match for Sandy.  Thank the Lord for my hubby with the shop vac!  We scooped up sixty gallons on the floor.  Bob ALSO saved me from the "black screen of death".  And yes, we DO have the system backed up.  Now.
Sandy took the bloom off my "woman power, let's all make stuff and find ourselves" first Red Thread Retreat that Lesley Riley hosted up in the hills of Maryland.  I met some AWESOME ladies, especially our instructors Claudine Hellmuth and Nina Bagley.  These ladies are legends in my mixed media world and are just as lovely in person as their work.  Above is only a SMALL part of my stash that I took to make goodies.  More on that next time I promise.
Actually got a couple hours in on my next piece (Ya gotta get the eyes right or you are doomed) for my solo show at 1st Stage that opens in TWO weeks, EEK!  Man, do I have a lot of work to do.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Putting on my dancin' shoes.

 So, here is "Brooklyn Bound" with a new hair do, SOOooo much better than the first attempt.  I wish I looked that good waiting for a train.  I will admit that even in my heyday I wasn't much inclined to ride or drive a couple hundred miles for a party.  Now, it just makes me feel old.
 Another thing that makes me feel old is how many people don't understand Bob's "Sincere Pumpkin" sign.  Don't people watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" any more? 
 Next collage profile?  My daughter in MY dancin' shoes.  Well, actually they are more like my standing around trying to look cool and I never wear them because when I do I am seven feet tall shoes, but a girl can dream, can't she?
These snappy Italian loafers a la' Ellen DeGeneres are probably more my speed.  Mary had these at our last flea market.  Watch the Stifel & Capra Facebook Page for all of the details for next month's Holiday market.  Last outdoor shopping extravaganza of the year.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Back to the drawing (uh, gluing) board.

 I don't know about you but I hate mending anything and I REALLY hate doing things over.  My sainted mother was always kind enough to rip out all of my sewing mistakes so I could sew them again (thanks mom!).  I thought of her this morning when I painstaking peeled the paper "hair" off my collage because she had a bad case of "helmet head".  Now poor thing looks like she has some horrible disease.  Not terrible sexy, oh and the black outlines were too harsh so out they went too.  So frustrating but it will make for a stronger piece.  Eventually.
 How cheap am I?  So cheap that I wipe off my brushes and palettes on to canvases so I can use them for background for future work.  Some would say frugal, I say you never know what happy accidents will occur!
While I am busy schooling myself I am looking forward to being schooled at Lesley Riley's upcoming Red Thread Retreat in the mountains of Maryland next week.  A weekend where it is all about art?  Sign me up!  Oh wait, I am already signed up.  And paid for it 7 months ago.  In hindsight, a VERY wise move.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Doing the obvious

Amazing how you get results when you actually do the work on the front end.  Drove around the beltway in rush hour traffic got to meet Seth Apter of the Altered Page.  Thoroughly enjoyed his talk and his book "The Pulse of Mixed Media".  Actually submitted a piece to his latest series "Playing Favorites" and lo and behold, I got featured!  Thanks Seth!  See all the details here .
Took my girl to look at her first college. Frankly she was having a hard time connecting her efforts to "what might happen two years from now".  Walking around campus, talking to professors, counselors and students (all who were very welcoming and patient with questions) made the concept of assembling a portfolio and thinking hard about what she wants to be when she grows up a little more real.  So connecting the dots there is exciting.  Frankly I am little jealous I was always She Who Does the Practical and Sensible Thing.  Like not studying sociology in school and then ending up being a headhunter for 20 years.  Think that field of study might have informed my living?  Perhaps!  If I knew then what I know (or think I know now)...
I was walking around last week with this sinking feeling that I was missing something so I spent three solid days deleting and responding to emails.  There still seem to be hundreds of things to do but at least I know what they are now.  I can only hope that the time investment will pay off . I would much rather be looking my clients in the eye rather than my inbox.  I KNOW email is an effective way to communicate, but I still haven't figured out how to juggle it all...
My artistic reality of the week?  Uh, does thinking about going to my studio count?  Am thinking not.  I use a calender that starts the week on Monday.  So tomorrow back to the schedule. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On to the next...

So here is my completed man child.  Some would say a portrait of my teenage son, but he is truly at that stage where he either either acts like a child or a man and not really so much in between!  The jacket is made of old sheet music because he LOVES music, singing , playing composing.  I think he looks cool enough to be in a band from this shot, don't you?
On to the next!  Inspiration came from an unlikely place on this next piece, Facebook stream!  An artist friend of mine Ashby Foote, was tagged in a photo as she was heading to Brooklyn to a party at the train station.  I thought it was a glamorous mysterious photo so I asked her if I could use it as inspiration for my next collage.  I have the background painted and laid out and have started working on the the figure all in one day.  And there it sits because then I spent the rest of the week working on pulling expired consigner items, receiving and tagging new merchandise (over 100 pieces in 2 days! Whew!) and whipping the shop into shape so we can be ready for our big FIRSTfriday opening. 

If you are local, do stop in!  5 to 8pm THIS Friday.  Stay tuned for more details.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

When you move Providence does too...

Bob and I celebrated our 19th(!) wedding anniversary last week with a trip to the beach.  While we were there we stopped by a local favorite hot sauce joint "Peppers" MY big schmoo of a husband and the owner  Chip Hearn, had a GREAT chat.  So great in fact that they asked Bob if he would be game to fill in last minute and do a food demo this weekend.  A ten case order later, all the details were filled in.  Pretty exciting for a fledgling business Bob's Best Quality. Pretty proud of the hubs...  If you are headed down to the sidewalk sale in Rehoboth this week stop by and chat up Bob.  It's good for Chip to know we have friends! 

Finished my boy in the fedora canvas, need to get a good shot for you.  And started my next one.  Excited!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Trying a new technique.

 I am trying a new technique for building my mixed media collages.  I tend to get glue happy and regret some layers I have laid down so this time I am doing of the pieces separately before I combine them in the final work.  My poor son gets the shirt shrift as I tend to make "girly" pieces so I asked him to model for a large work that I will display in my solo show at 1st Stage in Tyson's this November.  Above is the photograph I took.  Below is the pencil sketch. I decided I like it "flipped" better.
 I asked my boy what color he thought the background should be for my next painting and he said "moody purple"  He picked dark green for my last one (see previous post) and so I followed him again for this one.
Then I decided on the large scale object materials.  In this case fabrics, sheet music and leather.

 then I hand embroidered the face & finger delineations.  The most amusing part so far?  The t shirt on the figure is from a REAL rhino shirt that my son inherited from my good friend and fellow artist Beth Loftis' son YEARS ago and has grown out of!
I am psyched to continue working on this but ran away to "pick" for the shop inventory for Stifel & Capra on the Eastern shore!  Got LOTS of good loot today!  Can't wait for you to see it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

art and craft

 I was having a chat with a couple of clients the other day about the difference between "art" and "craft" and how testy people get when they get referred to by the name they DON'T approve of.  I consider myself both.  What is the difference between an artistand a crafter, an artisan and a designer?
 My theory is an artist creates their own one of a kind work entirely from scratch and a crafter tends to follow a pattern, even if the pattern is of their own making.  But that doesn't explain the folks that take craft to a high art.  Think quilting or basketry.  But does that theory  negate the artists that seem to do the same thing over and over because they love making it or because it sells?
That theory also doesn't explain the transcendence of practical products, like weaving, or knitting. Or the art of display or juxtaposition.  OK, so maybe I don't have a theory...

PS - When I did spell check on this post, Blogger didn't recognize "crafter" as a word.  Now, THAT gets my dander up!!!

PPS - the top photo is from the "pile o' supplies" in my prior post.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chaos ensues!

 I get LOTS of compliments on how nicely arranged my shop is.  And when I have company coming the studio can look pretty cool too.  When I am actually MAKING art?  Eh, not so much...
 One of the "joys" of mixed media work is that EVERYTHING is an art supply.  The tricky thing is that my work has a LOT of layers so I end up working on multiple things at the same time while waiting for the proverbial paint (or glue!) to dry. 
 Obviously I have a lot going on.  Stay tuned for some actual finished pieces.
I had meeting number one with my personal PMP (project management professional) and his eyes rolled back in his head when I gave him all of my goals and projects I am trying to juggle.  Good to know I can frighten a professional...

PS Sold my blonde babe collage! Thank you Kevin.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fashion 1968 - News you can use

 I was unpacking an estate sale buy and lining the bottom of a box was a 1968 newspaper from Newport News Virginia.  On one side was the "Women's Society Page" Headline page.  Who was lunching where, when the upcoming charity events would happen, etc. 
 Across from the "Mrs. Henry Simpkins hosted" article was a series of perky sport wear ads "for the Modern Woman".
I used fabrics in my stash from the 60's and used modern transfer and collage techniques to make these beauties.  What do you think?  They are 11x14 on canvas.  Individually priced at $135.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Respite & Review

 I have to admit I was a little envious hearing about friend's vacations where there are zip lining through the rain forests and scaling large mountain peaks.  On the other hand I have a fine appreciation for things that are the same, year in and out.  Like my husband building sandcastles!
Or Bob saying "There's my boat!" every time we see an especially cool one.
This one was on the bay at Lewes Beach , Delaware. So Vintage looking!  I am not educated enough to know whether it is old or not but it looks like something out of a Cary Grant movie doesn't it?
Except for some recreational picking I took a complete break from work.  It worked I feel so refreshed and really ready to jump back into the day to day.  OK, so I did make a thousand mental lists of "cool things I can work on when I return".
This week has been great so far.  Got back to working out again and have actually been in my studio 2 days in a row! Results on that VERY soon.
The clouds on the way home reminded my kiddies that it is almost back to school time.
(Who are they kidding? They can't really wait to see their friends, or and learn something.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Muse following Canvas?

 Working on a variation the Field of Dreams movie quote.  "If you build it, they will come."  I went to the art supply store on Sunday and bought the canvases that I will transform into my first solo show.  I will be the featured artist at 1st Stage in Tyson's Corner, VA. 

The theatre, located near Leesburg Pike and the Dulles Toll Road, is the creation of a group of teachers, artists and actors in Fairfax County who wanted to bring professional theatre to Tysons Corner and, in doing so, give local artists an opportunity to grow in their careers. In its first two seasons, 1st Stage debuted the talent of nearly 30 actors, designers and directors.

As I have a BAD habit of putting my own work last I figure that the visual reminder of the MOUNTAIN of canvas will remind me to stay focused and do the (fun!) work that putting together this show will require!  Above is number of one of a projected 30.  Tell me if you like it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CREATE, Recreate, & Road Trip!

 ROAD TRIP!  Gotta tell you when I expressed my dismay at schlepping my truck load o' mixed media art supplies and "stuff" to be a vendor at the 1st CREATE retreat in NJ all by myself, I was shocked that my 13 year old son said, "Mom, I'll come help you; it will be fun."   "Dude, it's a 4 hour drive, and being my personal Sherpa, and being nice to old ladies like me.  Ya sure?"   "Do we get to stay in a hotel?"  "Yes."  "Do they have a pool and a jacuzzi? Can we order room service? And watch movies until midnight?"  "Yes, son, but no room service, the food is always cold; but we can eat at the restaurant downstairs."  "OK, count me in!"

 So off , we went!  Me being VERY mindful of making it fun, when I was the one doing all the driving.
Especially when a tractor trailer overturned on the NJ turnpike.  Happily thanks to modern technology, (bless you oh Traffic App!) we took a bucolic alternate route and arrived in fine time.  Got checked in, met some new pals at the show. Chatted up the College Closet folks and author Seth Apter (who I had recently met at Judith Heartsong's This Way Up Art Salon.  Gave away door prizes to the happy mother daughter pair below who had flown in from Europe for the event: WOW!  Got to meet the staff from Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine, awesome ladies all.  Was especially tickled to meet Editor Jenn Mason, who encouraged me to submit to the magazine!  As I have always threatened to submit, it was thrilling to have an unsolicited compliment!
 Not so fun? The tepid Jacuzzi and Monty Python-like Championship Hotel Hallway Door Slamming Event that went on until 2 am.   Way fun?  My son convincing me that "The X-Men" counted as a fine movie SERIES to stay up all night and watch, while the doors slammed and toddlers wailed outside until 2 am.  Even more exciting? Knowing Bob was holding down the fort back at the shop so I could make some new connections.                 Unforgettable?  Our non-stop conversation there, during, and back.  It's heartening to know that  you are raising a kid that you not only love but actually like

We talked about the funky carpet pattern and how it was all different yet connected.  Like people.  That knowledge was tested when we returned home and were told the terrible news that a beloved friend had committed suicide.  After a week of numb disbelief we tearfully attended his funeral and now pray daily for all of the people that love Mark to gather strength to face another day. 
Including us.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Bob IS the best, soooo

 Am trying to decide what convaluted thing it is that I can get things done for other people, waaay faster than I do things for myself.  Is it the "Martyr Mom" persona?  Is it the "you can rely on me!" SuperFriend thing?  With my own work I want it to be perfect so it never appears.  When I am working on something for someone I can objectively evaluate, (good, better great) make adjustments and GO.   I AM determined to NOT make the same mistakes helping my husband like I do when I trap myself in my own details.  (Coach Lesley are you proud of me???).

Thus Bob's Best Quality BBQ is on both Etsy AND Facebook as of last night at 10.  And of course he had more "fans" by breakfast than I had at Stifel & Capra in a month because I didn't TELL anyone when I posted the shop page!  Amazing how that works, she said abashedly.

Of COURSE, it needs to be tweaked and I can see every flaw and every "thing to do" but you know what?  This party has STARTED!  Trying to let that be a lesson to ME.  Next? The website!  Charge!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I want to be Linda when I grow up

 Linda Vrogindewey of Clay Whimsy is not only just imaginative and talented.  She has a great family (who braved the HEINOUS storms we had at her opening on FIRSTfriday).
 Linda is also kind and patient (listening to me talk about my kid's adventures in high school ceramics).
AND she lives in Florida for half the year.  A lot of folks know that the only time Bob & I buy lottery tickets is when we are on the Eastern Shore.  I say it's so we know if we have to come home!

Not that I would REALLY leave, but wouldn't it be nice to have beachfront too?

***Get upstairs and see Linda's Whimsical World in the Alcove Gallery before the month is out.  You will be glad you did!

Monday, June 11, 2012

And the band played on...

 FIRSTfriday in June was certainly one for stalwarts.  We had a wicked storm blow through complete with gale and tornado warnings.  Eeesh.  I always laugh when I read stories about "the small yet enthusiastic crowd" but that is certainly what we had!  Special thanks to Charles Solomon and Rick Steele for rockin' the (small yet enthusiastic house).  Hopefully you will play for us again soon in the sunshine!  Next: Clay Whimsy -Artisan of the Month