Sunday, December 8, 2013

Walker's Point Center for the Arts' Gift Shop

I was pleasantly surprised to find that after being invited to have some photos and mixed media frames in the Dia de Los Muertos at the Walker's Point Center for the Arts, I was invited again to submit some similar works for the brand new Gift Shop which was going to opening on Friday, December 6th, the night of the COPA show opening.

Mary Overman, the very kind Membership/Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center, has been guiding me through the process.  She selected a number of photos from my Flickr page and it was up to me to figure out which to frame.  Because the Oaxaca photos sold so fast, we decided to do another round from the trip.

The first three frames started as bare wood.  I decided that for the first one I would collage pages from a Spanish to English dictionary with classical sheet music.

After the collage was done, I painted the piece while being careful to select certain words and highlight them with paint.  

This image from a shop in Oaxaca was the image I wanted to use with this motif.  I found a music holder in my stash and added that, with its own sheet music, onto the front of the frame.  One of the highlighted words on the frame was "barbulla" which means clamor and that became the name of this piece.  

The second wood frame was adorned with three tin candle holders made in a Mexican style. 

This pieces is called "Skull."

The last wooden frame was destined to become the home of my favorite photo from the Oaxaca trip.  The first addition was a Dodge car key to the front which I wanted to use because of the classic star imprinted on the key.  

The additional of the crown of nails really opened up the work. I painted this one up with a rusty color in mind.  

The bottle cap was painted while I was in Oaxaca and I added it to the frame.  

The final attachment was a metal strap.  Below is the image that I love so much.  

The title of this piece is "Chomp."  It sold before the gift shop opened which is not only pretty cool but rather magical sounding, eh?

 The last frame was one that had just come home from the Fond du Lac Public Library exhibition called "It's a Dog's Life."  I added one element to it:  a dog tag with the words "El Fido" which also becomes the new name of this work.

I decided that one of these pieces was going to be painted in the alebrije style of the Zapotecan figure carvers.  As it turned out, the frame I selected has a series of dots imprinted into the structure that lends itself to the Mexican style.  However, an odd thing happened when I started.  I did one round of white dots and like it so much that I stopped right there.  

It must have worked because "Muerto," as this one is called sold before the gift shop opened as well. 

So, three of the pieces are still in the gift shop if you are interested.  I am going to be adding different pieces as time goes along so stop in at Walker's Point Center for the Arts to see all their exhibitions and don't forget to stop in the gift shop.  

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ten Artists, Ten Items, Ten Days

When my friend Mel Kolstad posted on Facebook that she was excited to join this challenge I jumped right in the fray with her:

"On 09/10 this call goes out to artists everywhere.
The first TEN artists to sign up by 09/20 (TEN days) will be accepted.
There is no fee.
Accepted artists will have until 09/30 (TEN days) to receive one of TEN boxes
containing TEN items. Those TEN items must be used, in some capacity, to create an art piece.
There are no rules.
Artists will have TEN days to complete and return their art pieces. An auction will be held at Creative Studios on 10/10. The sales will be split between the artist and the gallery.
The guest auctioneer for this event will be Sherri Columbus."

The challenge is sponsored by:
Erika L. Block, Owner/Director
Creative Studios
5199 Townline Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235

Then the US Mail cursed me and I did not get my envelope of stuff until Wednesday, October 16th.  So I thought maybe my ship had sailed but Erika said "you have ten days to create your piece from receipt of the materials. Let me know when you have it complete and we'll get it up for auction online. We decided to do the auctions online for ten days per piece to give them maximum exposure nationwide."

So--it is go time, baby!


Here are my ten items:
1) a sheet of white alligator skin paper
2) a sheet of black alligator skin paper
3-7) sheets of advertising
8) a button
9) a shoe string
10)  8 plastic circles

I needed a frame for my effort.  Being an assemblage artist, I went for the Joseph Cornell box thing.  

Then it came time to select the elements from the collage items that I felt I could use.  


Now it came time to decide what would be the feature of the box.  Because the items sent to me did not have a dominate item that could establish a theme I went head hunting a selected the plastic half-head shown above.  

The idea I wanted to express was some type of deity displayed in a retablo.  I thought the box had a altar-like quality to it not unlike:

I decided to develop the head using a technique taught by Michael de Meng called Pin Heady in his online class Distressed Disturbed Disintegrating Dollyheads.  The first step is to use Aves Apoxy Clay to get the head in the frame I had selected.  Then I had to set that aside to harden for about two hours.  

I next prepared the substrate of the box for collaging.  

After the clay had harden, I added some nails into the doll's head.  The last act of the day was to gesso up the head in preparation for painting.


Today's task was to paint the face using acrylic paints.


For day four, the first main task became to collage the elements cut out of the pages into the box.  To get this accomplished, I used a technique taught by Andrea Matus deMeng.  Andrea taught me to think in layers, colors and combinations.  

Then I added the plastic dots.  

The shoe string became the border around the outer edge of the box.  Unseen here, I added the alligator papers to the sides of the boxes in two different shapes.  

As the last step of the day, I attached the head to the box.  For thematic purposes, a nice snakey tongue was added to give the head a folk spirit / religious feel to it.  


I had an opportunity to work on this piece at an event that I helped throw at Valley Ridge Art Studio called Make What Ya Brung #3.  This was a four day event where artists could gather and work on whatever they wished. (Unfortunately, this is probably the last art gathering to occur at Valley Ridge as the Studio is closing.  However, remote workshops are still being offered and you should consider joining one of those--they are great).

My goal on day five was to add something to the dimension of the project as I felt it was too box-like.  My friend Kelley Clarke offered up some screen she had brought and I loved it for this project.


After I got home from the play dates, I was done.  Or so I thought.

In looking at the piece, I still felt that it lacked something dimensionally despite have added the screen over the weekend.  Could the solution just be more screen?

So I made the decision to add some on the east and west sides as well as on the surface of the box.  That's it.  I am done.

And, so we have, Live Totally.

So, if you are interested in my piece or want to see any of the other nine artists' efforts, then head on over to the Creative Studio Facebook page.  Let the bidding begin.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Dog's Life

My friend Susan Fiebig is curating an exhibition at the Langdon Divers Gallery in the Fond du Lac Public Library in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

From the Library's website:

'A Dog's Life' all month in the gallery

This year, the annual Fond du Lac Reads program celebrated the memoir, Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero, by Michael Hingson. The subject matter has inspired the November exhibit, A Dog’s Life, in the library’s Langdon Divers Gallery.
Through November, the gallery will showcase works in a variety a media, including collage, photography and watercolor, submitted by 12 local artists that bring viewers up close and personal to the noble canine.
The public is invited to an artists’ reception at 4:30 p.m. Friday, November 15, as the first stop in the downtown Tour the Town Art Walk. Refreshments will be served.
The library’s gallery is a showcase for local and regional artists. The space is curated by volunteer artist Susan Fiebig, who can be contacted at
About the photo: Rise and Shine by Laura Schneider.

My four Oaxaca photos will be featured in the exhibition:

Thanks, Sue!