I admired a table runner my friend Penny had made and asked if I could commission one from her. We decided to do an art trade instead. She quilted a beautiful table runner with six matching napkins for me and I made her an abstract collage that looks a bit like a quilt. I used leftover pieces from previous collages and handmade art papers to build the composition.
Here's a link to Penny's quilting blog: Studio Notes
My friend, Linda, asked me to make a collage for her to give her parents for Christmas. Her mother is from Finland, honeymooned in Parvoo, Finland, and went back to visit this year with her husband and Linda's family. Linda and I looked through photos from that trip and decided this scene of colorful buildings in the old section of Parvoo would be the best choice. Measuring 18"H x 24"W, we think it will look great in her parent's condo with their bold-color decor.
We drove over to Cedar Rapids last Friday and delivered 4 pieces of art to Campbell Steele Gallery in adjacent Marion, Iowa, including this new 10"x10" barn piece. We had dinner and then came back to the gallery for blues music. You can see in this photo (when you click to enlarge it) that the back half of the main floor of the gallery has tables and chairs, lighting and a stage for music performances. The place was full and fun!! Nice to hear music while surrounded by art on all the walls. :-)
I posted the finished barn piece on my Facebook page and got a lot of feedback there. Most liked the new effect, one wondered if it wasn't too bright white at the edge. I, too, had that feeling, so I did a wash of acrylic over the barn to tone it down a bit and give it an antique feel. I made another rural landscape collage on canvas and its colors seem to work better with the white edge.
I have a number of 1-inch-deep canvases in my art cabinet and wondered if there was a way to use them with my new method of working. (I've been using cradled panels since I moved into using strips of imagery as it is easier to work on a solid surface when trying to keep the lines straight.) I roughed up the edges of the three filtrations and then staggered the trim of the strips so the edges are uneven. I might try doing this with a painted canvas, too. Let me know what you think of this method.
I did a post on August 20th of artwork I made of the farm where my grandmother grew up. That scene was the farm in summer and this one is showing it in autumn. I'm planning to take photos of the farm in winter and spring, too, as the landscape changes so dramatically with the seasons on the midwestern farm.
This is a 12" x 12" pieced together memory of a wonderful morning. We were staying with a friend in Paradise Valley, Montana, and a rain storm pelted the windows in the night. When we stepped out onto the porch the next morning, the air smelled like sage and the mountain ranges surrounding us had a dusting of snow shining on their peaks. It was such a magical morning! Now I know why they call it Paradise!
There is a lake on the north side of my town that is always stunning in autumn. I walked around its perimeter taking photos and decided I liked this view the best. As I layered up the strips of altered imagery, the tree at the right seemed a bit too dark. I put some small strips of leaves and grass from the bottom left into the tree, so I guess I reversed "nature" by putting the leaves back on the tree! It DID help to give that dark tree some more interest. I'm pleased with how the colorful trees on the far shore seem to glow with light. This is another 12"H x 24"W collage on cradled panel.
The Teton Range in Wyoming is not like any other mountain range in our country. The Tetons lack foothills or lower peaks which can obscure the view. The range is too young to have had time to erode into soft hills, so the Tetons rise sharply, from 5,000 to nearly 7,000 feet above the valley floor. After driving through Yellowstone, we entered Grand Teton National Park and encountered one stunning view after another. We stopped at the lodge to take photos and were driving down to Jackson Hole when the road turned and it seemed we were going to drive right into the mountain range! We stopped at a little parking lot to take in this amazing view and watch the billowing clouds as they revealed a mountain peak to us and then obscured another. These mountains have been uplifted by geological forces and being in their presence is completely uplifting. This piece is 12"H x 24"W and is titled "Uplifting."
I'm making some more desert pieces for Xanadu's winter "high season" and am enjoying cropping photos I took around the Valley of the Sun to fit a 12" x 24" cradled panel. The horizontal one is of a landscape in Sedona and the vertical is a view from the lower cliff dwelling at Tonto National Monument. One of the filters I used on this one is "sand" so that is the grainy texture on some of the strips... it seemed appropriate for the subject matter.
The opening for the Buchanan Center's 64 Arts national juried show was last Friday. Eric Fischl was the juror and he flew out from NYC to be here for the opening. Since he's "an internationally acclaimed American figurative painter and sculptor," around 20 of the 78 artists in the show came to the opening. I enjoyed visiting with artists from Rhode Island, Montana, New York, Michigan, Washington, Iowa, and Illinois. Here's a photo of Eric talking at the opening with one of my pieces on the wall beyond him.
I was surprised to realize I'd made square and vertical collages from the photos I'd taken around Scottsdale, AZ, but I hadn't made any horizontal landscapes! Having used up my supply of 12"H x 24"W cradled panels, I decided to make a collage of those dimensions on two 12"x12" panels. I also decided to experiment a bit and merged a constellation chart with the sky in one of my digital manipulations of the photo and put a topo map of Tonto National Forest in the sandy areas in another. Those additions are very subtle, but offers something unexpected in the close up view.
This piece was so fun to work on, as the image is of the farm where my grandmother grew up. I enjoyed spending time there as a child visiting her brother and his wife, and now my cousin lives there. The house isn't visible with all the leaves on the trees, so I just might have to take photos of farm in all seasons and make more collages!
I live in west central Illinois in the land of cornfields. There’s a spot in our county called Pilot Knob that is 100 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. My husband and I went on a drive one day to take some landscape photos for my work and decided to see what the view was like from that higher ground. I really like how the eye goes from the mailbox in the foreground, to the farm house in the middle ground and then follows the road into the distance. Viewing this 12"H x 24"W piece up close reveals the digital filtrations I used and the texture of the strips of imagery pieced together. I don't think I'd ever driven up that part of the road before, yet my grandma grew up just down the road beyond that group of trees! Relatives still live in the family farmhouse... I'll be working on a new piece soon of the Asplund farm just down the road from this mailbox....
I'd made two 18"H x 24"W pieces earlier this year to enter in a show in Cincinnati. The works weren't accepted for that show but I needed new work to enter in the 64 Arts national show in nearby Monmouth, so I entered them plus a Chicago scene. The juror was Eric Fischl, a prominent New York artist, who has an interesting project called "America Now and Here" and he wanted to tie that into the 64 Arts show. One of the categories was "America as Place" and he chose these scenes of Wyoming and Montana to be in the show! It opens August 31st. America Now and Here -
The past two weekends I've worked on some new graffiti-enhanced train car images. I took the original photos while doing a rail yard tour here in Galesburg. I like how they could work as a pair with the yellow cars at the inner edges of the two works. These are 12"H x 24"W and I made the strips 3/8" wide instead of the 1/4" wide that I usually use for a 12"H piece. I think the wider strips work fine with this complex imagery; what do you think?
The two-hour fundraiser at our local art center turned out to be a LOT of fun! Great food and drink, nice music playing, and nine artists creating artwork for a silent auction. I think everyone enjoyed seeing the working processes of the artists -- there were several mixed media artists, a woman making a necklace from her lampwork beads, and painters working in oils and acrylics at easels or on the floor. Sometimes you're lucky enough to get to visit an artist's studio, but to see them at work is even more of a rare opportunity! As I was waiting for a coat of matte medium to dry on my piece, I made a quick round of the art center to see how everyone else was progressing. My husband took some movies, too, so I was able to see a bit more of other artists' process. I may try to upload a movie once he's done some processing and editing.
The photos in this posting show me answering a question of one of the guests, my finished collage, and two of my fellow artist friends at work: Basia Krol is painting a flower in her composition from a reference photo and April Jackson is working on her abstract creation.
I'm going to participate in a fundraiser tomorrow night at our Galesburg Civic Art Center along with eight other artists. We're to create a piece of art during a two-hour reception and our art will be purchased via a silent auction at the end of the evening. I've done a little over half of the base layer of this 11" x 16" collage -- piecing together three different alterations of the photo -- so that I can finish it and add 2 more layers of pieces during the event.
I took the photo (above) looking up the stairs on the north side of the Art Institute, showing a bit of the building and the buildings it faces on Michigan Avenue, Chicago. The famous lions in front of the Art Institute are hidden by large planters but we know they're there. I'm calling this piece "Avenue of the Lions." I'll have my hubby take pictures tomorrow night during the event as I finish the work.
Click on the art below to see how my collage is turning out.
Here are two small (6" x 6") abstract collages I've done in the past couple weeks. The one uses strips of paper from three different ledgers from the late 1800's along with some art papers; the effect is kind of an abstract cityscape. The other uses leftover strips from several collages I've made of Arizona imagery. I'm calling it "Dream of the Cactus Wren" as I think glimpses of desert plants might indeed be what a desert bird might dream about....
After getting good feedback on the last blog posting and in email concerning the Chicago landscape piece, I worked with an interesting photo I'd taken in Millennium Park, downtown Chicago. This view stopped me in my tracks when walking through the park last autumn. All of the upward movement of columns and buildings intersecting with the sweeping curve ... the old architecture and the new... the unexpected angle of the tall building in the upper right corner overlapped by the bit of vine with red blossoms - wow! So, I made some digital alterations of the photo - including combining one with a filter called "acidic", which seemed appropriate for what city buildings deal with - and started combining strips. Interesting how I can divide an image into a series of horizontal pieces and the vertical thrust is still quite strong in the image!
I wanted to see how my technique worked with a complex city scene, so I chose a photo I'd taken while riding on Lake Shore Drive into downtown Chicago from the north. Hmmm, we're hoping to go into the city later this month, so I think I'll be taking some more photos of street scenes and buildings....
The woman who commissioned two pieces from me (see April 23rd post) to go with two others she'd purchased from Xanadu Gallery sent an email after they'd received the package. She said they really loved the barrel cactus close-up piece, but it wasn't working with the grouping and was like the song form Sesame Street "One of these just doesn't belong here..." HA! I told her I wondered if it would "play well with others" as it had a very dominant personality. She expressed interest in getting another 12"x12" landscape of mine at Xanadu, so we decided she should ship the cactus piece to the gallery and they would send her the landscape. She sent this photo of how the arrangement looks with the watercolor they already owned. They're very happy with the grouping and I think it looks great!
One of the places that sells my art is Campbell Steele Gallery in Marion, Iowa. (Marion is adjacent to Cedar Rapids.) They have an annual Marion Arts Festival in the city park right across the street from the gallery and the day of the festival is a busy one in the gallery. (The festival is ranked #17 among the top tier of fine art events in the nation!) The gallery owner asked me to send some more pieces for the event, held May 26th. I'm working on one more piece and will then send four 8"x8" pieces and four 12"x6" works.
I've been spending as much time in my studio as I can. I started the above piece last weekend and then worked on it during the week whenever possible. It is another 24"W x 18"H piece to submit to the Cincinnati "Art Comes Alive" exhibition. In addition to the three digital variations of the photo of the Hoodoos in Yellowstone, I've added sections of topographical maps of the park and photos I took of animals in Yellowstone. There are tiny images of: 1 bear, 1 coyote, 4 bison and 6 antelope (you can actually see some of them if you click on the image to show it larger). I'm calling this piece "Hidden Life" due to those hidden images and also referencing all the other hidden life within the park.
I needed to get the Yellowstone piece finished and off my drawing board as I now have two commission pieces to complete by the end of the month! A woman in Chicago purchased two of my desert collages she'd seen at Xanadu Gallery and asked me to make two more for a grouping of art. The images above are the two photos of mine she chose for me to work with. I started the cactus grouping today....
There is a national juried show in Cincinnati with an April deadline and one in Monmouth with a June deadline. I want to have some new, larger work to submit to those, so this is my first completion toward that goal. This is called "Listen - the grass is singing" and it is 24"W x 18"H. I used some colored pencil lines on yellowed book text and put fragments of that in the grass for some up-close surprises.
I spoke to an area church's Daughter Banquet last week and have two more speaking engagements lined up for women's groups. It's been fun to put together a 20-minute talk summarizing how I got into collage and then moved from traditional collage to what I'm doing with photographs. It was also surprising to look back and realize how many achievements I've made in seven years; good motivation to keep pushing ahead!
After hiking up this path to see some Native American ruins in central Arizona, we made our way back down, frequently stopping to enjoy the up-close view of desert plants and the long view of saguaro, lake and mountains. I made three digital alterations of a photo from the path, shredded those alterations and combined them to form a new landscape.
Ever since a trip to western Montana in May, 2009, my artwork has had photography as its base. At first, I made several digitally altered variations of my photos (giving the images a painterly, sketchy or scratched look) and tore or cut the prints into rectangles to layer up imagery. Then one day I had the idea of running my prints through a paper shredder and building up the scene in those narrow strips of paper. I now cut the strips by hand, allowing me to vary the width and to keep the imagery organized. Sometimes I add in pieces of handmade papers, topographical maps, or fragments from old ledger books to further abstract the scene. I’m moving from a photographic documentation of a place at a particular time, to an impression of a place that is timeless ... more of a memory or a feeling of the space.
View my website at lorireedart.com
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