Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The End

"The End"


As we bring 2013 to a close, and anticipate the dawn of the new year, this is the ultimate advise, don't you think? 
In other words, no matter how things look today, with a new year, we all have the opportunity to get it right, to do it better.

Those of you you follow my work know I have used this quote before in other pieces.  I like it! And I am not alone. Customers who come into the gallery where I show my work, seem to like it too. This piece sold a few days before Christmas.

Initial research credited this quote to John Lennon, however, further digging  revealed a variety of origins, from a recent movie, to a Brazilian fiction writer. In fact, it has even been credited to No One (Anonymous).

I like this quote because it is memorable  I like it because it can be used as a simple general statement of curiosity and how truly free from complication life and the world around us can be.

A wooden box has been covered, front and back in various papers, including text, music, magazine images and tissues, frame the vintage children's alphabet blocks that spell out the quote.
A small frog on top finishes the piece.  Ready to hang.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Three Fives and a Foot . . .

"Gimme 5"                                       "Hi" 

 "High Five"                                             "Leg Up"
"Three Fives and a Foot"
A few more 'smalls' I made for  the holiday season . . .these 'stocking-stuffers can be paperweights or just something fun to look at while sitting at your desk at work or at home.  They are colorful and fun, and made from strange and wonderful things.  They were a 'kick' to make, and apparently folks really liked them, cause they are all SOLD!

"Gimme 5" The small ceramic clown's hand is mounted on a part of a vintage carpenter's level and 3 metal washers that have been covered in papers, (maps, music and text). On each end are bits of a carpenter's ruler.

"Hi!"  A doll's hand is attached to a small wooden block that is covered in magazine images, text and music and tissue.

"High Five" is a Barbie doll hand mounted on a small wooden platform atop a small rip saw blade, and some found metal washers.

"Leg Up"  is a ceramic Harlequin doll leg mounted on a small wooden block that has been covered in magazine images, music, text and tissue.

All are no more than 2" or 4" wide and tall.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Angel People

 "Lola Blue"                                    "Open Arms"

                         "Kitchen Wicca"                "Nicest Person In The World Award"

Last year around this time, I made a few "smalls' just in time for the holiday season . . . they were called the "Chair Family" and "Chair People and the Trees".

They were so well received, I decided to make a new series this year.  This year's smalls are called "Angel People".

They came together from bits and parts, fencing, bottle openers, billiard balls  . . . and such.  Anyway, happy to say, most of them have gone to their new homes this holiday season . . . time to think about what to do for next year . . .

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jack and the Fish Catcher

 "Fish Catcher"

"Jack Always Wears A Rolex"

These two smalls were finished a few weeks ago, and before I could post about them, off to the gallery they went.

First is "Fish Catcher", a sweet little wooden truck, hand made by someone's dad, I am sure . . . I found it 6 or 7 months ago at the flea market. It was at the bottom of a cardboard box containing multitudes of plastic toys, including cars, balls and GI Joes . . . I loved it the minute I saw it.

As I dug deeper in that same box, looking for other pieces of interest, I found Jack.

"Jack Always Wears a Rolex" * makes me laugh just looking at him. He is a hand carved, hand painted rabbit from the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.  He was pretty banged up when I found him, but a little acrylic paint and a varnish finish made him almost-new again.

Both pieces sit atop a 4"- 2x2 wooden block, collaged in various papers, magazine images, and tissues. The "Fish Catcher's" eyes were transplanted from a now deceased stuffed teddy bear.

* NOTE: In researching titles for both pieces, I came across a very entertaining column in the Grant County Beat, the local newspaper for Silvercity, NM.
The column written by NM artist Barbara Jorgen Nance, is titled "Jack Rabbit Wore a Rolex"  . . . I found it entertaining and worth the read.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"Talk To The Hand" (again)


"Talk To The Hand"
This is one my very early pieces. I thought it deserved a second viewing, not because very few people saw it when it first appeared, or because it happens to be one of my favorite pieces, or because I don't have any new work to show you . . . no, it has nothing to do with any of that.
The real reason "Talk To The Hand"  is being granted an encore appearance  is because my computer crashed yesterday, and I am unable to access any images of my new work. . . . alas! what to do? what to do? 
I feel like I am literally 'talking to my hand' trying to figure out what I will do if everything is lost and cannot be retrieved . . .  
To this plea, my husband's advice was: 'you will start over and next time you will routinely back up all your data.'  
He is right you know, and it's not like I had not been warned, because I had.  

This situation feels so out of my control. It feels disastrous. And yes, I am having a 'pity party', but I will get over it soon enough. I ask again: what to do? what to do? 
I will start over, and I will start by re-posting this piece, one of my early favorites: 

A glass lidded cigar box lined with vintage wooden dominoes and covered on the inside with hand woven cloth from Peru. A porcelain doll's head talking to her hand, seemingly wanting to know the future by any means possible. On the backside is a tattered image of Frieda Kahlo. Above Frieda's head is the word 'sonrisa', and the message is finished in the front using typewriter letters spelling out the word: 'diablo' (smile to the devil). Brass suitcase drawer pull on top for handle, and golden tassel on the side for color. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Laws of Unintended Consequences

"Laws of Unintended Consequences'

In the social sciences, unintended consequences are outcomes 
that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action.
An interesting concept, wouldn't you say? 
I believe that when most people take an action, they do it with good intentions. Unfortunately, there are factors, often out of our control, that come into play. Sometimes the outcome of our actions are favorable, sometime they are unintended.

This piece speaks to so many of the consequences that are a result of human actions. Work, love, marriage, education, war, health, the environment and the arts . . . sometimes things work out the way we plan other times they do not.
* * *
This piece began as a beautiful wooden box that formally contained a bottle of 30 year old whiskey.
Inside mementos reflected by a mirror in the back of the box include a tuba, a small circuit board, a white heron, a soldier in a test tube, a bride and groom, a 6-pack of beer, a hammer, and a porcelain doll's hand . . . to name a few.
Do you see Mickey's ears?

I find myself working in smaller and smaller formats. Most of the time I love the end result, small formats, however, make it extremely difficult to photograph a finished piece, so here are additional images to reveal the detail.

This piece can be wall hung, or displayed on a table top.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'll Be Your Mirror

"I'll Be Your Mirror"

I finished this memory mirror a couple of months ago, but I was having a bit of a problem coming up with a title for it.
I don't know about you, but my feeling is that a piece is not 'finished' until it is titled and signed.

A few days ago,  I settled on the title "I'll Be Your Mirror" because It reminded me of a a 60's song by the same name written by American rock musician songwriter Lou Reed.  Before going out on his own solo career, which spanned several decades, Reed was a guitarist, vocalist and principle songwriter of the Velvet Underground for whom this song was written.

Below are the opening lyrics of the song:

     I'll be your mirror
     Reflect what you are, in case you don't know
     I'll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
    The light on your door to show that you're home 


 Coincidentally Lou Reed passed away this week, he was 71.  


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Things Remembered . . .

 "Things Remembered . . . "
Why do we remember some things and forget others?  Why do some moments in our life come rushing forward, without notice and in a flash with the simplest of prompts? 

Sometimes, when walking past the neighbor's flower garden, the fragrance of marigolds immediately transport me back to me to my first job in a nursery at age 14.

The minute I see or hear the sound of a vintage Volkswagon Beetle, I feel myself driving my very first car, a 1973 VW Bug.

Smells, sounds, and things all have the ability to flood our memory with moments in time, long ago forgotten.

This piece reminds me of the amazing ability our minds have to bring back those memories. The moments are ours, we possess them, but many of them have become faded.

Wooden box lid, collaged with hand made papers, and overlaid with sewing pattern tissue.  2x2-half inch wooden blocks covered in magazine images, maps, vintage sheet music and dictionary text, are embellished with bits and bling.  Each block creates a tiny vignette, a treasured memory of things remembered.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Long Ago, and Far Away . . .

 "Long Ago and Far Away" "
   This is a sweet little assemblage I made just for me.
   The first few years of my life were spent on a farm in south Texas, I was the youngest of 7 children, and although the memories have become faded, I do have a few mental pictures that are clear and crisp of my days on the farm.
   People often ask me "how long have you been making this kind of art?" in response, I like to reference my earliest memories from my days on this farm.
   I remember that at age of 5 or 6, I would often crawl under the farm house, (1) to get out of the hot Texas sun, and (2) to play quiet solitary games, creating imaginary kingdoms in a silent, secret place.
   (3) Additionally, under the house, I would often find many important treasures, to include bits of pottery, marbles, keys, coins and other forgotten bits, left behind, I'm sure, by previous residents of the old farm house. I loved collecting these treasures and keeping them in glass jars. I loved looking at them, and I loved playing with them.
   In another memory, I remember, making 'mud bricks" (like mud pies only square). I remember, too, that I would sometimes 'embed' my treasures into the mud bricks and set them out in the sun to dry. And as I recall, they were BEAUTIFUL!

Early assemblages?  I think so. . . so when someone asks me, "How long have you been doing this kind of art" . .  . I always say, "I've been making assemblages all of my life . . ."

PS: Yes, that is me, the short girl in the middle . . .

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Girl With A Pearl

"Girl With a Pearl"
An exhibit of Dutch painters was recently at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.  Included in the exhibit was the painting by Johannes Vermeer, “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and, as the name implies, the artist uses a pearl earring as a focal point.
This is one of the best-loved paintings in the world . . . and it is a mystery. Who is the model and why has she been painted? What is she thinking as she stares out at the viewer? Are her wide eyes and enigmatic half-smile innocent or seductive? And why is she wearing a pearl earring?
The book in this piece is a contemporary novel by Tracy Chevalier by the same name
Besides the book, this piece also includes a mannequin head, clock gears and a mainspring, gold acrylic paint atop vintage book text, vintage sewing patterns, and of course a pearl earring.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Living In Awe


 "Living in Awe" 
A year ago or so, I worked on this piece, and when it was finished, I loved it. It was bolder than anything I had done before. The elements that came together in this piece seemed a bit more audacious than the 'bits and bling' I normally incorporate in my work.

To name just a few of the elements, this piece contains parts of license plates, a bullet belt, guitar tuning keys that are strung with green fishing line, car emblems, a coat check from Madrid's Del Prado Museum, a hologram, and bicycle chain . . . . all set on a black background.

As  I said earlier, I loved the piece when it was finished, because it was so different from any of my other work, but I was a bit cautious about bringing out in public.
As is typical for me, I was under deadline, and in a few days, a new show needed to be hung in the gallery, so after snapping a few quick photographs, I took the piece to the gallery and hung it thinking I would come back and take more photos at a later date if needed.

The very next day, the piece sold! It was gone. That's the good news.

However, to my chagrin, when I looked at the images I'd taken of the piece I was disappointed, feeling they were mediocre, and didn't really show the finished piece well. Time passed and I forgot to post about it on this blog.

One of main the reasons I decided to maintain a blog was to be able to keep track of the work I produce. So here I am, a year later, posting this piece titled "Living In Awe". . . because most of the time I AM . . . .

have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alligators Always Dress for Dinner . . .

"Alligators Always Dress for Dinner"
This is a commissioned piece for a customer who fell in love with a previous "Alligators" piece, that had already sold.  I worked on this piece over the last couple of weeks, knowing exactly where I was going with it . . .  until I got to the alligator . . . the one I had was the wrong color . .  so I opted for this little guy . . .  he is more of a gecko . . . a distant cousin of the alligator, but he works!  
Especially in his colorful garb, and with his articulated tail!

For this piece, I used a cabinet door from Habitat for Humanity, and covered it in tissue papers, and bits of other papers and ribbons, then over-laid with sewing pattern tissues.

The title is borrowed from a children's alphabet book, by the same name, of vintage photographs by Linda J Donigan, Michael Horwitz.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kisses and Wine . . .

"Kisses and Wine"
Living in 'wine country', I love all things 'wine'.  
A couple of years ago, we were wine tasting at Smith-Madrone Winery, located on the border between Sonoma and Napa counties. 

In their cellar, this quote written on a chalk board that the owner told us came from a bar somewhere in the mid west, caught my eye, and I knew it had to be captured in an assemblage piece.

"We are all mortal, until the first kiss and the second glass of wine.
 ~ Eduardo Galeano

Burgandy Scrabble tiles with gold letters, a bamboo frame and bits of broken tempered glass create this piece of Sonoma County 'wine art'. A side wood panel from a wine crate, is covered in hand made papers and overlaid with sewing pattern tissue. An articulated wine bottle brooch, with a tiny corkscrew, wine glass and grapes, accent, while a beautiful green 'feather' butterfly, finish the piece.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Behind The 8 Ball

"Behind the 8 Ball"
When someone is in a bad situation, or in a losing position, this is the phrase that comes to mind.  The phrase comes from pool (or billiards). When the cue (white) ball is behind the eight (black) ball, a player usually has no shot.
That's all.  I thought this would make a good art piece.
Vintage Japanese porcelain jewelry display hand found at the flea market and a well used eight ball are the focus. A pair of black dice and 2 crystal stars finish the piece.
The box is a mid century gentleman's valet case with the original velvet lining intact.
The back is collaged in a poster found in Pt. Reyes Station CA, that reads: "Face to Face Laugh Now Laugh Later". The poster was over-covered in gold acrylic paint and sealed with a varnish finish.
I think it turned out very cool.

What do you think?