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Old School Coffee

Since moving to Portland, I have been hibernating in my studio while working on incorporating several new medias.  Just in time for spring, I have escaped my cocoon.   I am showing some of these new works at Old School Coffee on PCC's campus.  This showing is a mix of my fiber pieces, acrylic paintings, and digitally manipulated photographs.

While on the college campus, Old School Coffee also serves the local neighborhood.  Old School Coffee faces Division Street at the PCC Library Building.  Stop by to see my newest work and make sure to try the best lemon bars ever.

You See But You Do Not Observe

Sherlock Holmes: "You See But You Do Not Observe"

What is the best part of being an artist?  Looking for the beauty in your environment on a daily basis changes your perception of the world around you.  Observing, instead of merely seeing enhances your experience of even a simple walk around the neighborhood.

Let's start with something easy.  Flowers are easily appreciated.  Pay attention to their shape, color, textures, and fragrance.

Pay attention to all the different types of bark on the trees.  The colors and textures are more obvious in some barks.

Look at trees from different perspectives.

Leaves can be touched, held up to the light, and observed at close distances.

Make note of the contrast of the organic leaves to the manmade asphalt.

Make note of the contrast of the organic leaves to the manmade asphalt.

Move around the leaves you are inspecting.  Change your viewpoint by squatting down.  Pay attention to how rain effects your view.

 

Much of the Pacific Northwest is covered with a carpet of various types of moss and lichen.  Pay close attention to the variations in texture and color.

Vines produce wonderful organic patterns on buildings.

Rocks and stones vary based on location, lighting, weathering and moisture.

Pay closer attention to insects and animals. 

Look at the pattern and iridescence in a dragonfly's wings.

Look at the pattern and iridescence in a dragonfly's wings.

Chickens, birds, and other animals have amazing patterns in their feathers and coats.

Chickens, birds, and other animals have amazing patterns in their feathers and coats.

Some angles cause distortion or foreshortening.

Some angles cause distortion or foreshortening.

Now, try to find the beauty in what is normally considered ugly or plain.

Look for interesting patterns

Look for interesting patterns

Look at shapes and lines

Look at shapes and lines

An endless number of color combinations can be found in rusted metals

An endless number of color combinations can be found in rusted metals

Look for geometric shapes

Look for geometric shapes

Note the repetition that creates patterns

Note the repetition that creates patterns

Explore the city for different patterns on the sidewalks and roads.

Be up close and personal with concrete to see the rocks that are in the mix.

Be up close and personal with concrete to see the rocks that are in the mix.

Sidewalk repairs made with different materials easily catch your attention.

Some patterns are more obvious during or after rain.

Some patterns are more obvious during or after rain

Some patterns are more obvious during or after rain

Even wet trash on the sidewalk can make an interesting composition.

Even wet trash on the sidewalk can make an interesting composition.

Light poles weather, age, and change in texture from environmental influences.

Light poles weather, age, and change in texture from environmental influences.

Light poles weather, age, and change in texture from environmental influences.

Oil and water may not mix, but they do make lovely colors and patterns on the road.

Sometimes dappled sunlight, shadows, and reflections are more interesting than what is creating them.

The absence of color noise can sometimes illuminate the lines of a subject.

Cross-sections of objects create a unique perspective.

 

Looking through color filters, camera lenses, binoculars, etc. sometimes help eliminate backgrounds that might be distracting.  My oddest technique is squinting.  Look at the aerial view of this intersection.

Borrow someone's glasses, close one eye, or squint.  These techniques can trick your eye into seeing shapes instead of identifying the object.  An abstract composition emerges when quickly blurring this aerial view.  You stop identifying what you see as an intersection and instead see color blocks or shapes.

Grab a sketchbook or camera and take a walk.  See how many interesting images you see using these techniques and thoughts.  I imagine that within a mile from your house you can document numerous items that you observe instead of simply seeing. 

Snow Day Art Project

During a snowstorm in 2015, I had the honor of collaborating with my 7 year old, Mazzy, on a project utilizing her preschool and kindergarten drawings and paintings.  We had a towering stack of drawings and paintings that she had completed in preschool and Kindergarten.  Due to the use of lower quality papers and temper paints, many of the pieces were deteriorating over time.  She selected her favorite pieces to keep.  The other pieces we photographed and then used in a collaboration called Mazzy's Sketches.  

Mazzy cut her drawings and paintings into various geometric shapes.  She then collaged them on to heavy watercolor paper using PVA glue.  To preserve the paint and papers,  I coated the collage with Matte Gel Medium.   Once dry, I heat adhered silk organza I had previously dyed with fiber reactive dyes to Pellon 805 Wonderunder.  Mazzy then cut geometric shapes from the Pellon backed silk organza and I helped her adhere them to the collage with a heated iron.   

Gluing a layer of mid-weight cotton fabric to the back of the collaged watercolor paper added a more secure foundation to stitch through.  Once the PVA glue dried, I then used a rotary cutter to slice the collage in to rectangles.  We then arranged the rectangles in a pattern that we both liked.  To add additional texture and further secure the layers together, we took turns using free motion machine stitching.  The free motion stitching also connected the rectangles to each other in a panel. 

I then hand stitched hexagons in a flowing pattern across the panel using a rainbow of embroidery threads. 

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I hand dyed a background fabric using fiber reactive dyes.  I hemmed the fabric edges and added a rod pocket for display.  Finally, I adhered the panel to the background fabric using smoky invisible thread and a stitch in the ditch quilting concept to hide the method of attachment.  Due to the overall size of the project I have been unable to get a clear picture of the complete project.  Therefore, all of my photos are currently of the panel before attaching to the background fabric.  I will experiment further in methods of photographing large pieces clearly.

Collaborating with my daughter was both a fun and frustrating experience due to her young age.  I am happy that we were able to create this piece together.  Mazzy was thrilled when I displayed this piece in a show of my work.  Perhaps at the end of elementary school we will come up with another project for her first through fifth grade drawings.

Movie Reel

The movie reel is in place.  I wanted to post pictures of all the stages, people, and help that went in to completing this project.  It took a lot of hands and help from the public to create this public art.  I am truly grateful to everyone that helped pull this off:  Donna Belt, Julia Mastropaolo, Lidia Churakova, Lorry McCoy, Ia Ormond, Anna Langston, Joann Ingoglia, Jim Belt, Art Whitley, Sue Ann Glennon, Tutu School of Raleigh, Glenwood South Neighborhood Collective, Downtown Raleigh Alliance, United Arts Council, Visual Art Exchange, Office of Raleigh Arts, Raleigh Public Works, and the Raleigh Transportation and Planning Department, and the many other volunteers that I have failed to name.