Something new, something old…

first set

It has been an interesting six months as far as my art goes.  Works included bottle cap mosaics, painted murals and stage sets, not the usual drawing and painting but art none the less.  A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a tile mosaic workshop with the world famous Isaiah Zagar.  To quote Steve Earle in “Coppperhead Road”:  I came home with a brand new plan.  There are many ideas for tile mosaic murals in my head but first one must accumulate the necessary media and tools.  This takes time but I know it will happen.  Friends, family, strangers are contributing tile, pottery and dinner plates to the stockpile for future murals.  There is even the gift of warehouse space.  Free!

In the meantime, a friend gifted me with two boxes of blown-out chicken eggs.  These were to repair a craftsy door wreath I’d made with various colored (naturally by various chicken breeds) eggs but my media was fragile and needed some replacements.

What to do with a multitude of beautiful eggs?  Why not draw on them?  Why not Zentangles?   I used to do Zentangles as an introductory lesson for my beginning art students.  One does not need drawing skills because the lesson involves basically repeating patterns and lines so it was a successful exercise.  Zentangles are doodles.  The amazing thing was watching 30 high school students go silent as they got into their assignment.  The “zen” part is for real, y’all.  Here’s a great article from Psychology Today about the benefits of Zentangles here.

lots of eggs

So, I doodled on the eggs.  Watching tv at night, I doodled.  Combined with my morning cup of coffee, I doodled (it seems to set my brain into a calm, creative mode).  The transformed eggs began to accumulate.  Now what to do?  They’re too fragile to be held by viewers (or to leave on a table top, they don’t take well to rolling off the edge!). Are they too craftsy?  Could I create a work of ART from them?

That takes us to my current status: assembling new artworks that incorporate the eggs.  Thinking past my usual drawing/painting.   Thinking about paper/denim pulp.  The pics shown here are of works in progress, so stay tuned for further developments.

box of nests


The Organization Gene

oil pastel
SISTERS        Oil Pastel      18 x 24″        $600 (framed)

I’ve been doing a lot with oil pastels lately.  Nothing is finished yet so I have zilch to show on the blog,  but there are three pieces  (one commissioned, one experimental floral, one a non-commissioned portrait) on the boards now, another two close behind.  Oil pastel purists call works created with them paintings, but to me it seems like I’m doing a drawing that usually ends up with a painterly quality.  But that’s another topic.  The organization of one of my favorite media is the topic for today.  I have abused mine and in return this has hindered the efficiency of my work because I have to search through the piles of pastels to find the colors I need.  So I decided to really organize them.

Organization is an on-going battle for me.  I didn’t get that gene.  I do work hard sometimes to get things organized and then things just explode (I know, one should REPLACE things after they are used).  And as I write I look at the stacks of books and papers beside the computer, so much to do, so little time!

Anyway, today I went to Harbor Freight with friends and bought me a really cool tool box for what I think was a good price.  It has drawers with dividers and will be easy to carry around.  The pastels are sorted into cool, warm and neutral groups.  The box is labeled.  I was going to have one drawer labeled “for works in progress” but knowing me, that would defeat that whole putting things back idea.

I just have to put the little things back in the compartments.  I can do this.

Now, about that desk…

The Art of Pimento Cheese

PC 9
9. Taste on a cracker

In the south, we make and devour Pimento Cheese.  The store-bought stuff is an abomination and would never grace the shelves of our refrigerator!  My dear husband is a purist when it comes to making it, and does so in the time-honored method used by his wonderful mother (who I called Granny).  She grated the cheese onto a plate, put in some diced pimentos and “mashed” them together with a fork.  The necessary mayonnaise and black pepper was then added.

Our son (who lives way up north in the big city of Boston) has recently developed a taste for what some people call “Carolina Caviar” and wanted to mix up a batch but the family recipe was a little too vague (add a pinch of this and a handful of this).  Since I was making some tonight I told him I’d document it and try to keep track of the ingredients.

I am a rebel and don’t use a plate but a (gasp!) food processor.  Hey, I’m a busy lady!  I also break with tradition and add other ingredients.  Many people do, just not my purist husband.  Wait, actually, he has added a pinch of horseradish, so he’s making strides.

Not the usual media and subject matter I write about here, but since Young Son encourages me to blog (even if it’s not about my own artwork) and he needed a recipe, I combined the tasks.

It’s good on crackers, celery, but the best is toasted on sandwich bread, IMHO!

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Self Portrait Without A Face

By day I am a mild-mannered high school art teacher.  OK, I try to be mild-mannered, but my students know there is a fine line between the “Nice Sweet Mrs. McGugan” and the “Psycho Mrs. McGugan”.  But I digress.  By night and on weekends, I am all about MY art, and summers are for marathon painting sessions and other pursuits that make me happy.  Back to the day job:  my county school system always has a faculty art show and this year it was with a theme.  Self Portrait Without a Face.  So this is my entry, created in acrylic and other media.  It combines new techniques that I’ve been working on with old ideas and subject matter.  Add a little introspection and this is the result.

"Self-Portrait Without a Face" Mixed media, 24" square $500
“Self-Portrait Without a Face”
Mixed media, 24″ square

It’s been a while…

So Christmas came and went and I found myself wrapped up in all the usual activities and enjoying my family immensely!  I did create and print a bunch of linocut cards…was only going to do a couple and then the project just grew.  And grew.  Sold enough to make it worthwhile, and frankly, I just love printing!  I majored in printmaking when I was in college (minored in painting) but now I think of myself as a painter and not the other.

Finally got back into the studio for painting and have posted the results today.  Both of these are mixed media as I am exploring combining oil pastels and tissue paper with oils on canvas.  Don’t know what the deal is with so many trees but will think about that.

The trees in field painting MAY not be finished, but it’s close and then I’ll add my little signature.  A former co-worker and fellow artist is now retired and can be counted on to take photos of sunsets and sunrises (it’s so difficult for me to do that on the way to work while driving up I-95!).  She posted a photo in December that I fell in love with and she’s been gracious enough to let me use it.

DETAIL of “Shirley’s Sunrise”
Oil, oil pastel, tissue paper on canvas. 30" x 40"
Oil, oil pastel, tissue paper on canvas.
30″ x 40″ $1500
DETAIL of Tree 1
tree 1
Tree 1 Oil, oil pastel, tissue paper on Canvas 48″ x 24″ $1500

Comments/observations welcome.