Thursday, December 23, 2010

winter alchemy

Well, here she is. I can still hardly believe Somerset Gallery has published three of my icons. If you are searching...they are in the Winter 2011 issue most often found at Barnes & Noble or Michael's. The ladies came home last night. I was amazed to see them again. I sent them off without frames or glass, the better to be photographed by Somerset's legendary photographers. The colors were richer than I remembered, the surface more layered. Not surprising, as I hadn't seen them for almost a year !

My dear family ran about the East coast searching out their very own copies. Readers, I am referring to men who are police officers, Marines and retired Air force officers...searching for the alchemy of Icons. I can't stop smiling when I think of it.

More sweetness: One of my students gifted me with a framed photo of me holding the copy of Somerset Gallery, grinning like a mad woman. I love it. We celebrated with cupcakes and coffee before getting back to our art journals. I did tell the tale, as I will tell you now: I have been an avid Somerset fan since 1994...owning issues back to that date ! I watched with excitement as the publication grew from a rubber stamp how-to into a magical family of magazines dedicated to wonder, creativity and artful living. Each month I stretch my beleaguered budget to buy the latest and the greatest. I loved their featured artists, followed their growth with inspiration and great admiration. On one desert day in the wilds of Las Vegas, I doodled my own name on a tiny post-it and placed over the name of the featured artist...and smiled. Could I really be a "Somerset Artist"? In my mind, those folks were wondrous artists, masters of their trade. I knew I was an artist, a watercolorist of some renown, but a "Somerset Artist". Hmmm.

But you know, I kept that doodled on issue. Hauled across the deserts and rivers right here to Middle Earth. It was carefully kept in a stack of very favorite issues that seemed to grow like Jack's Beanstalk over the years. That was until last Winter, on the cusp of Spring, when everything was still frozen and grey, I finished up a series of paintings , icons actually, that I knew were very special. They whispered urgently in my dreams that they needed to go off on a journey back across the deserts, the rivers, the mountains, back to the land of sand and surfers, to a place where wondrous issues of creativity and artful living came from. So I carefully packed them up, wrote a tale of their birthing and sent them of to California and the Land of Somerset.

And, oh they had a magical time. They posed prettily, glowed gorgeously and told their tale in pages of Somerset. I am so grateful to the folks at Somerset, to my ladies, to a darling mate who proof read many drafts, to the angel friends who celebrated with me.

I am grateful.

So, for those who may want some inspiration to do a bit of icon making of your very own, I will be teaching a workshop in the Spring here at the St. Louis Artists' entire day of medieval golds and rich reds.. Do join us...there will be cupcakes!
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Lost angel

Please meet Fleur. Obviously she is a flower angel. You know, the one who stands over the plants and whispers "Grow". She is also a lost angel because today the temperature here in sunny St. Louis is -10 degrees with the wind chill factor...not exactly flower weather. She came to visit my studio to remind me that there would be flowers again, but not for a little while. she brought a few with her to cheer me up , which she was quite good at. I loved her colors and bits of glitter and shine.

The inspiration for this piece came from a demo class by Pam Carriker through the Crescendoh site. It was a real change for me in that it was very sculptural and encouraged me to dig through all the goodies I had stashed about to create something lovely. I have been busy with a few other angels I will save for another post.They came about as donations to the St. Louis Artists Guild's invitation to their artists to create Christmas ornaments to be auctioned off this Wednesday evening. All of these lovelies have faces based on my studies of sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci. What could be more inspirational than Renaissance Angels ? I have been sketching away on thin, thin paper that lets me slip and slide my pencil around and create very painterly drawings. It's a lot more fun to paint with graphite and charcoal than to try and actually draw with them. I am not linear in my thinking or my art and get much more enjoyment from softening edges and brightening shadows. That would be my philosophy of life and art. What are we here for except to soften the hard edges of of life and maybe bring a little brightness to the dark places. That may be a bit simplistic to some, but it seems to serve me pretty well most of the time.

Playing with these little angels along with some very non-traditional materials is leading me down a new road. In proofing a freshly carved stamp a few days ago, I realized to line of stampings just needed a little more attention and they could be the body of yet another celestial being and so another lovely appeared a top a stack of stampings. The greatest part of being an artist is that you never cease to be amused. There is always another rabbit hole to tumble down and meet new creatures. A wild tea party can happen any minute. In a chilly December, you tend to get a lot of angelic beings at your tea parties. That may mean you have to be on your best behaviour, which isn't a bad thing either.
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