Friday, September 21, 2012

Mixed Media and Chicken Soup

When I posted a blog last week, I mentioned my concern about getting enough artwork produced for an upcoming local artists show at my landlord's gallery for the October Second Saturday Art Hop.  I don't think I need to be concerned about coming up with enough work.  I still have almost three weeks to go, and I'm really enjoying being very productive, both at making artwork and in other arenas of my life.

The diptych above is called "Freak Flag," and I made it on two discarded shelves that I found at the thrift store.  I used scarves that hadn't sold on eBay to make the blue field and the stripes with their paisley overlay, and then I did a bunch of painting using acrylics.  A final touch which is difficult to see in the photo is that there are red glass gems that really draw the eye to the non-stripe elements.  It is a fun piece--not my best work, but someone is going to love it and take it home.  I will probably wait to show this one in November at the Trash Bash show that will feature recycled artwork.  

 For the October show, I'm mostly creating works on canvas that combine fabric and acrylic painting.  The one shown here is called "Swirl," and it's an extension of all of the mandalas I've been drawing by hand for the past six months or so.  Basically I'm just taking the mandala drawing into another medium.  This one was fun to paint, but a little more precise work than I usually enjoy.  I like the sense of being able to slap paint on something, without having to be too exacting about it.  

This one, called "Wild Thing," is a little more my style.  Yes, it's a painted mandala with fabric elements, but it's more haphazard.  This one was really, really fun to make, and I think the end result shows that.

Here's another mixed media picture that I completed yesterday.  This one has some floral scarf pieces overlaid with those leaf-type shapes from a vintage Vera Neumann scarf.  I call it "Viva Vera," and I hope it will be the first of many tributes to my favorite textiles designer.  

In this picture, I wanted to echo the flowers from the Vera scarf, but there was so much going on already that I was hesitant to paint a lot of flowers.  So I simplified it by making some potato prints of flowers instead of painting individual flowers.  The prints make the flowers more uniform in size and color than they would be if I'd freehand painted them.  

The main challenge I had with this piece was that it was too, too much!  Each fabric had a lot of color and texture, and some of the colors were really bright.  For a while, this work was so wildly colored that it looked the Easter Bunny had exploded while breaking through a stained glass window.  But I was able to tone it down and bring more unity to the picture by doing a lavender watercolor wash over some of it.

In addition to creating artwork, I've been getting a lot of scarves listed on eBay.  I also worked three partial days in a row in the new store, where we sold quite a bit of my landlord's old furniture.  Now I have some time off from working while the store is being painted and readied for being officially opened in October.  

I am thrilled by some of the developments as they have occurred.  It looks like I'll not only be selling the larger furniture that comes into January's, but also the clothing!  That will be really fun.  There are two dressing rooms already built into the new store space.  I'm looking forward to dressing up a little myself, after several years of wearing mostly T-shirts and jeans or shorts.  

Also, we're going to use a gallery picture-hanging system in the new store, so it will be easy to change out artwork.  January is open to my ideas about doing some calls for artists to put together some theme shows.  I can hardly wait!  I am going to learn so much from doing the PR and curating duties. 

My pace of producing artwork has slowed down a little the past couple of days.  I have a cold and I'm spending a few days taking really good care of myself.  Back when I lived in the Pacific Northwest, my colds often used to escalate into sinus infections or bronchitis, but that hasn't happened since I moved to the Southwest.  The hotter, dryer weather helps, and so does the fact that I use a Neti pot and give myself the time I need to rest.  Earlier this week, I made a big pot of chili with lots of garlic in it, and that seemed to help.  Today I have a big pot of homemade chicken soup on the stove.  I hope I'm back to my higher level of energy soon!        


  1. ..and don't forget a spoonful of salsa or green chile! Love all the pieces. Have you ever thought about designing fabric?

    1. Thanks, Bridget! I did have some green chile yesterday on a burger at lunchtime and it was awesome. Got my sinuses all cleared out for a while.

      I have thought of designing fabric, but what I'm thinking about more right now is handpainted canvas rugs. My friend Marcy suggested that I do this, and I happen to have a scavenged roll-end of artist's canvas in my possession right now. So I'm thinking about creating rugs that I can sell in the store where I'll be working. We get a lot of touristas coming through from El Paso, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe during the winter, and I bet some of them would buy a handpainted rug.

  2. Sooo important...taking care of oneself....really like your style...
    Kelly ( not Al )

  3. I love your work Sue. I realigned with your blog and am happy to see some of your art displayed on it. I really did like the wall display at January's...