Saturday, December 31, 2011

Party Animals!

Working on this 5"x7" Ampersand Art scratchbord the past two days.  Not sure if it's finished yet.  It's based on a photo by my friend Fay Barclay who puts up the greatest shots of her dogs and other dogs that need adopting on facebook.  She and I are going to collaborate on a project in 2012.  More about that as it develops.  Come on 2012!
Here's a quick re-cap of 2011-
After moving to Fayetteville Arkansas in Oct 2010... In Feb. 2011 I got a studio at the Fayetteville Underground, made great friends there with artists and patrons alike.  Had my first solo show there in Sept.  Had to move out a few weeks ago, after the dysfunctional board decided to dissolve the organization.  In January/Feb. I designed a series of 5x7 scratchbord kits for Ampersand Art and debuted them in April at the art material trade show.  Big success!  They started hitting the stores around August and are now carried in many stores around the country.   June 1st I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer- had surgery to remove it June 15th.  All clear.  Voice finally came back, but I don't think I'll ever be a singer again.  That's a little disappointing.  Considering the alternative tho, I think I can live with it.  And now, here I am, still making art and working on new designs to license and looking forward to a bright new year.  Happy Happy to all of you!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dog Heart Scratchboard Art

Today we have a small (3"x5") Ampersand Art scratchbord study.  I originally did this design using a sheet foam product with sticky back. I think the purpose of this foam is to make stamps (for stamping with ink). I made several quick pieces using the foam, and then translated them to scratchbord.  At first I was worried that it was too much like Keith Haring.  Upon looking at his work again, I've decided that no, it's close but not that close.  Derivative, maybe, but not a copy.  I am merely being influenced...I love being influenced!  It's always interesting to see what comes from that.
Yesterday I burned a bridge.  Well, let's just say it was already hanging by a thread, and was dangerous to cross on anyway, so it needed burning.  The story behind this?  I told someone who was on the board of a wonderful art organization I was involved with here that they and the rest of the board squandered and mismanaged a perfectly good group. They ran it into the ground.  Am I sorry?  Yes, I'm sorry they did what they did.  Me, not sorry for speaking my mind. Wish I would have done it sooner. And I wish there had been something all of us could have done to stop the decline.  Oh well.  Life goes on.  My studio is at home now.  I look out the window at the birds at the bird feeder, and I try to think up good ideas for future art works. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Orange Cat Face

This is a small (3"x5") Ampersand Art scratchbord.  Note: This size is available only as a sample bord, they don't sell these commercially. I started working on it while doing a demo and finished it a few days ago.  I was trying to illustrate how much of the black ink surface should be removed in order to get the most 'bang' from the claybord ink.  As you can see I scraped away a lot of the black, leaving the outline and some black here and there to give it some nice texture.  I then used some red, yellow, orange and brown ink. One of my techniques is to have a slightly damp paper towel handy so I can use it to pull some of the added ink color out.  The trick with this is to get on it while the ink is still dries quickly so you have to do this immediately after brushing it on. If you find you pull too much out, you can go right back in with more ink to make it darker or more saturated.  It's also a good idea to not have too much ink loaded on the brush.  You can dab it on the paper towel (in an area that won't be used to pull color back out.  I used my favorite tool on the eyes, (the iris)the red fiberglass eraser. It is very effective at pulling out the black, softening the surface, but leaving just enough grey and white to color.  As with everything I do, this is my simple, folk art style.  I could do realism, but my feeling about that is, why?  It just doesn't speak to me.  I love taking photos and then re-working them to make the image my own.  Don't get me wrong,  I'm totally impressed with the hyper-realism style, and it is amazing.
Get out there and make some art.  Whenever and wherever you can.  I'm still trying to convert the world to the joy of scratchbord, one bord at a time...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Scratchboard Classes And Gratitude

Took these photos this week while teaching two scratchbord classes to some great students at Fayetteville High School-Go Bulldogs! Sorry about them being sideways, still don't know how to fix that.  We had a great time together, there were about 30 students per class.  They kept me hopping!  And I totally enjoyed it!  Thank you Ms. Adams, and thank you Ampersand for letting me spread the joy!
I'm feeling very grateful today for many things.  I'm mourning the loss of the space that the Fayetteville Underground used to fill.  We are officially out December 31st. Sad, sad, sad.  Because of the Underground, which I joined in Feb., I have met some of the greatest folks.  Artists and art lovers alike.  Because of the Underground, I have been able to make the contacts to teach scratchbord classes to students at John Brown University (2x) Mary Hardin Baylor College in Belton, TX, and this weeks classes at Fayetteville High School.  In addition, I've taught classes with a cancer survivors group and classes at the Underground.  I will miss all of the artists.  I know we will stay in touch, but still, there not be another group/place like it.  And even tho the A&P commission is going to attempt to re-create the organization at the old post office in the square, it will not be the same.  I hope there will be support from the public for artists here in NWA.  I'm in my studio at home on the hwy.  If you want to see or buy my art, you'll have to come here.  Contact me.  I will continue to make art like crazy.  And my scratchbord kits are at Hobby Lobby, Aaron Brothers, Dick Blick and Jerry's Artarama.  Have fun!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Life Moves On

I spent some time yesterday working on the above commission for an Austinite.  She is not so keen on it, so I'm back to the drawing board soon to see if I can make one that pleases her.  Meanwhile, I like it and may adapt this scratchbord with some changes (and others) into a storyline for a children's book.  I've been thinking about doing a child's picture book ever since I got back from spending 3 weeks in Austin last month.  There is a certain little almost 2 year old who is my dear friends little girl.  We spent a lot of time looking at and reading her books.  I think there may be an 'Adventures of Little Josephine' needing to be written and illustrated soon.
Meanwhile, studios at the Fayetteville Underground are being packed up and moved. The artists are going to various points through out the area.  Me, I'm back in my little blue house on the hwy, sitting at the table in my living room making art, looking at the birds at the feeder, and watching the cars go by.  I'm sorry the group is fracturing, and yet, I had been thinking I needed to move on or change something in how this art business is going for me.  The licensing deal on the scratchbord kits with Ampersand is going great.  Actual art sales at galleries, kind of slow.  And kind of slow does not pay the bills.  So, during the winter I will be working on more designs to license, and making some plans to ramp up the etsy shop and such. The 'such' part is the unknown plan that I'm hoping will come to me while I'm working.
Next week I've got 3 scratchbord demo/classes scheduled, two at the local high school and one with the cancer survivors group. Then, to plow through the whole 'holiday' thing.  Good luck out there folks.  I hope y'all get or give everything you want.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scratchboard Demo Fun

Ok, please forgive me for the side-ways, out of focus view on this photo.  I finally got a smart phone, and I'm not smart enough to figure out how to use it!  If you tilt your head to the right you get the general idea.  This is a 5"x7" Ampersand Art scratchbord from last night's demo.  The artist, Linda Flores, invited me to come spend the evening teaching a group of cancer survivors some scratchbord techniques. I am a 'member' of that cancer survivor 'club' now, due to the whole thyroid cancer experience in June. We had such a great time.  There were about 10 of us, talking, drawing, scratching, enjoying.  I loved it!  I believe there might even be a few new converts to the scratchbord way.  They liked it so much they asked me to come back on the 19th to continue the class.  It is so satisfying for me to watch as folks discover what they can do with this bord. (that's the Ampersand spelling)  The way Linda F is approaching this design is a very traditional take on using scratchbord as illustration.  It looks very much like a woodcut, or etching. She used a template of a line drawing, transferred it using white chalk on the back.  The scratching beyond the line drawing is her imagination and talent.  I look forward to seeing this completed on the 19th.  She attended a class I taught at the Fayetteville Underground earlier this year, and used her artwork from that class to make inkjet prints of it on greeting cards. I promise I will take better photos next time. 
There is a dusting of snow on the ground outside,  I'm warm and toasty inside.  Thinking about some commission projects that need to be done before Christmas.  Oh my...I'd best jump on those today!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Art Sale At The Fayetteville Underground

Tonight (1st Thursday) there will be a huge art sale going on at The Fayetteville Underground from 5-8. All or most of the artists there will be slashing prices on their work.  It's a great time to be an art buyer!  The above piece is an box assemblage from my earlier body of work(2006-7).  It's "Alice, The Dark Side(drink up)".  Previous price $150.00.  Tonight's price $75.00.  I used a variety of vintage papers, paints and wood in creating this piece. There are also a number of scratchboard and mixed media works in my studio that will be half price.  Hope y'all can stop by and help us celebrate the Underground, on this, our last 1st Thursday in this space, as this organization.  Stay tuned, we are moving on to bigger and better things as the 'Fayetteville Arts Alliance'