Thursday, March 5, 2015

Simon Beck's Snow Art

I actually did this little write up below for my Geometry For Design class, but thought I would share on the blog too, since it is definitely art related. Funny, I had seen his work a few years ago, and thought "cool", and then went on with my life. Now that I saw it again while I am taking the Geometry class, it resonates so much more, since now I know how to draft some of the designs he uses!  Pretty cool when things happen in the right place at the right time.

The other night, while watching the Science Channel, I saw a short blurb about a man named Simon Beck, who makes giant “snow art” by making footprints artfully arranged in the snow.  An engineer, turned cartographer, Simon creates huge pictures in the snow, often very geometric (rather than free form) designs, and executes them with mind blowing precision. How does he do this on such a grand scale, using only his feet as the drawing tools? 

With Geometry of course…. and a compass. 

He figures out his designs based on a circle (360 degrees) and then uses a compass (360 degrees) to keep himself on track as to which direction on the circle to walk. He paces out the steps to determine the length of a given line, and repeats the same pace in multiple directions according to his design.

This example features the isosceles 60-degree triangles.  The triangles are resized and repeated, and filled in with more footprints to create the "shading".  His designs can take up to 12 hours to complete, and he can walk as much as 25 miles to make one drawing.  Pretty amazing application for Geometry!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I Am For An Art

Over 50 years ago, Claes Oldenburg first composed his "I Am For An Art..." statements. You can read more about that here

I used to compose haiku as I was trying to drift off to sleep--something to distract my mind from all of the stresses of the day, and to take my mind off of the endless "To Dos". Now, I have been finding myself composing "I am for an Art" statements instead. They are quirky and fun, and a great way to engage my mind to get to sleep. Here are a few of mine. Please share some of your own in the comments!

I am for an art exploding with color like a rainbow on acid.
I am for an art that sticks with you like a piece of popcorn stuck in your teeth.
I am for an art that washes over you like a tsunami.
I am for an art that breaks through the clouds like the sun on a rainy day.
I am for an art that holds you with suspense and curiosity like a train wreck.
I am for an art that brings a breath of fresh air, like the scent of Glade in a stinky bathroom.
I am for an art that satisfies like a good scratch behind a cat's ear.
I am for an art that is as crazy as a lunatic who escapes from a mental asylum.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pursuing An Art Degree

I don't think I've mentioned this on my blog, but I am currently pursuing a degree in Fine Art at CNM (Central New Mexico). 

I have a B.A. in Anthropology from UNM, with a minor in Studio Art, and for many years, I wish that I had gotten the art degree instead. So, last Spring, just about a week after my 40th birthday, I took my first class toward this goal!  The kids think its kinda funny that I am going to school, VOLUNTARILY, and as my 9 year old son said, "And you've got to PAY for it too?"  Too funny. But I also think that it is a good example for them, to show them that it is never to late to follow your dreams, to value education and life long learning, and that it takes hard work to achieve your goals.

This semester I am taking 9 hours/ 3 classes. It is a lot to do, plus working to support myself and my kids, and to have any time to clean the house or relax.  But, I am loving it!  I am taking Art Practices II (a studio course), Geometry For Design and Art Career Concerns. More about the classes later.

As I am reevaluating my artistic life, I am realizing what an important tool blogging is. I used to blog very regularly, and really enjoyed it. I love to be able to share my work, to see what other people are doing, and to be part of the online art community. Blogging also helps me to organize my own thoughts, and is a great record of where I have been artistically.  I dropped off for a couple of years due to personal complications (new baby, divorce, move, etc.) and it took me awhile to get my Art Mojo back.  Well, it is back. And I will be sharing a lot more on my blog!

I am also fighting FEAR of posting my art (soul) publically.  And fighting FEAR of being IMPERFECT (see the post a couple of weeks ago).  But many times, I feel the urge to blog about something, and then chicken out because I don't have a good picture, or the artwork is unfinished, blah, blah, blah.....excuses. So, I will try really hard to do my best, but not let FEAR of any kind hold me back!

So, to get the party started, here are a few pictures of little miniature watercolors I have been playing with. They are 3 x 4.5 inches.  I just started doing them in December, and gave a bunch away as Christmas presents. They are a great way to get my "art fix" before bed, and don't take much time at all to do. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Fab Fabric Bowls

I made a couple fabric bowls years and years ago, and finally got around to making them again after being inspired by some I saw last weekend. After many hours of wrapping 1/2 inch wide fabric strips around cording, and only about 20 minutes per bowl sewing, I have my first 2 bowls! 

Sorry for the crummy pics--can't find my digital camera after our trip for Christmas, so snapped these with my cell phone. Better IMPERFECT than not doing it at all, right? 

Maybe I'll try some coasters next, or even an area rug?  Great way to use scraps!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Word for 2015: IMPERFECT

As we approach the New Year, I am thinking about my goals for next year, "resolutions", etc.  I had a revelation in the shower (of course) this morning--many people pick a word as their theme for the new year--I decided that my word for 2015 is IMPERFECT.  Seems kind of strange that as many of us are trying to think of ways to improve ourselves and our lives, that I would pick a word like IMPERFECT, but I have decided to embrace my imperfections this year.

I am human.
I am imperfect.
I always do my best, but often come up short.
I will not let my FEAR of IMPERFECTION hold me back from trying new things.
I make mistakes.
I do not know everything.
I am sometimes (often?) wrong.
I sometimes make poor decisions.

But, I am also often right, smart, creative, wise, insightful, and kind.
I love my family, kids, boyfriend and friends and would do anything for them. 
I can laugh at myself and my mistakes.
I can admit when I am wrong.
I can learn from my mistakes.
I am constantly trying to improve myself, and to be a better mom and role model for my kids.

In the past, I have been afraid to do the wrong thing, afraid to speak up and be wrong and be belittled. I have been afraid to try new things and come up short, afraid to step out into the spotlight. 

But I am tired of the fear.
I am not perfect, and I am tired of trying to be.

I will ask "stupid" questions.
I will try new things.
I will step out into the world.
I will enjoy and embrace and learn from my imperfections.
I will try--sometimes I will fail and sometimes I will succeed, and both experiences are equally important.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. 

Dear 2015,
Watch out, here I come!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

DIY Silk Screens

This is a very low-tech way of making silk screens to use on paper or fabric with acrylic paint, thickened dye or silk screen ink.  The advantage is that it is a very inexpensive way to make unique silk screens. The disadvantage is that you cannot get very detailed designs, and these screens will not last through a lot of wear and tear.

Materials you will need:
Corrogated cardboard or thin cardboard from a cereal box, etc.
Silk screen fabric, polyester curtain sheers, organza, or non-fusible interfacing
Duct tape
Matte Gel Medium or Latex house paint
Acrylic paint, thickened dye, or silk screening ink
Paper or fabric
Plastic to cover work area
Paint brush

Cut out a frame from your cardboard. I usually leave a 1-2 inch margin of cardboard around the edge for stability.  Cut your silk screen fabric (or other material listed above) slightly larger than the cardboard frame.  Flatten the fabric taut, and staple around the edges of the cardboard frame every 1-2 inches.

Paint your image--remember that what you paint in this step is what will be masked out of the final silk screened print. The areas of silkscreen that are left unpainted are the images that will print.  Use a thick coat of Matte Gel Medium (I tinted mine with acrylic paint so that I could see what I was doing) or use latex house paint.  More than one coat might be necessary.  Leave to dry thoroughly overnight on a sheet of plastic wrap or plastic bag.

Apply duct tape all around your cardboard frame--on front and back. This will help to extend the life of your frame and keep the cardboard from getting wet during the printing and cleaning process.  I used Matte Gel Medium on this silk screen.

Print your image!  You can use acrylic paint (though this dries fairly stiff on fabric).  Silk screen ink is a great choice for fabric if you want an opaque image. Thickened dye is a great choice if you want to maintain transparency of color.  This one was done with acrylic paint on fabric.

I used Tulip silk screen ink on fabric for this sample.

Be sure to wash out your screen immediately after your printing session. If acrylic paint or silk screen ink dries on the screen, it will ruin your screen.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ink and Brush Doodle Vase

Still trying to get back into the swing of things, art-wise. I am really excited to say that I enrolled in the Studio Art program at a local community college this semester. Right now, I am taking Art Practices I, in which we are doing a variety of projects that have really stretched myself. I'll only be able to take one or two classes at a time with my work schedule and kids, but its a start! Going back to school for an art degree is something that I have wanted to do for several years, so it feels good to be proactive about it.

Meanwhile, I did a few doodle type drawings with a paintbrush and permanent ink on large sheets of paper (18 x 24 inches). These take me about 20-30 minutes each to create. I try to work very quickly and intuitively, and not think too much or over analyze. Just get into "the zone" and make marks on the page. I posted one of them on YouTube--my first video ever!--hopefully, with more to follow. I sped up the time on the video, so it only takes 5 minutes to watch the whole painting.
I recorded the other two drawings posted here, but haven't uploaded the videos. Want to see more? Let me know in the comments section!