Monday, October 22, 2012

Acrylic paint!

On Thursday, October 11th, I went to my regular twice-monthly painting class at Stella Niagara. We don't meet during the summer so this was my first painting class since June. There was a very small group at the class that day. Our project for the day was to do a mixed media project that involved watercolor paint, autumn leaves, and a Sharpie. We used the autumn leaves to make a border around the edges of the painting. You do this by getting a ruler and measuring one and a half inches in on all four sides of your paper. Then you draw the border in pencil. After you do that, you use masking tape to create an edge inside your border.
Once you have a border, you take your leaves and add paint to the underside of them. Cover the leaf thoroughly and place it on the border of the page and press down with a paper towel. Carefully lift the leaf and... voila... you've got the image of the leaf on your page! Use a variety of leaves to get different images. This border will act as a "frame" for your painting. Then, to make the leave stand out even more, paint the rest of the border in whatever color you like. I seem to prefer blue but the sky is the limit... oh wait! That's blue! Well, you can pick any color!
After you are done with the border, you can paint something on the inside of the masking tape. For the class, we painted a "patchwork quilt" of autumn scenes and things associated with autumn, such as apples, pumpkins, and skeletons.
The last step is to remove the masking tape and draw a little design in the white space that remains. It creates another nice little border effect.
So... I really enjoyed it and I decided to have a practice session. I also decided to use acrylic paint for a change. I started by making my border. Then, instead of the patchwork quilt approach, I chose to do just one image, a still life, with things that I had readily available in the house. I maintained the autumnal theme.
Here is the completed painting:
My autumn painting.

In my art class, we will make three more paintings: one for each season. The next painting will be made in January.

Reuse, recycle, reinvent... part two!

I have belonged to a variety of email groups for a number of years now. One of the email groups that I belong to is dedicated to crocheting. It is a very special group to me because it is small and I have gotten to be good friends with the other members over the twelve years that I have belonged to this group, even though I have never met any of them in person.
Sometimes, we do mystery exchanges. We are given a theme and a partner and we can create an object, using any craft medium that we prefer. So we have gone beyond crochet.
This time, I signed up to participate in a mystery exchange with the theme of Halloween. Well, I love that holiday so I was thrilled to participate. My exchange partner was Grandma Mary, the grandmother of the "list mother," familiarly known as "Mommy Lois." The only rule concerning this exchange was that we could make or buy something but we could spend no more than five dollars.
These days, five dollars is not a lot of money for craft supplies. So I decided to create something with scrap material from other projects. I gathered up the material and looked it over. Then I decided that I would make a wall hanging. I had a few ideas: nighttime, a full moon, trees, a house, pumpkins, a pond... and I began to cut material and to sew pieces onto black felt until I got...
It was a dark and stormy night, at least in my imagination. Some of the material that I use includes felt, fleece (the corners that remained from a blanket making project), yarn, cotton fabric, sequins, a button, and beads.   

I mailed the wall hanging to its new home and found out a few days later that the wall hanging was at home with its new family, proudly hanging on the door.
It was a fun project to do!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Community Mural Project!

Last week, I helped to paint a mural. The artist, Terry Klaaren, is a professional artist who has painted a wide variety of murals that can be found outside, in schools, and in other venues. The mural that I got to help work on is located on the side of a building in the Grand Island Plaza. The mural really transformed a building that was almost to the point of being an eyesore. The series of pictures in the murals depict local history and, thus, are attractive and tell a story at the same time.
Terry's wife, Dori, instructed me in the finer points of painting on the side of a building. She told me how to handle dripping paint and how to use a dry brush technique. It was fun and interesting and very different from the type of work that I normally do.
On Saturday, October 13th, Grand Island celebrated its first Taste of Grand Island. During that time, the mural was unveiled, so to speak. I don't think that the mural was ever covered up. It was, I suppose, presented. When I arrived at the Taste of Grand Island, the unveiling had already been accomplished. Terry handed me a paintbrush and asked me to sign the wall. A young girl asked me if it was OK for me to write on the wall. I said, yes, the artist handed me the paintbrush and told me to do so.
The former eyesore is now a beautiful sight!
Here are a few pictures:
A work in progress. Portraits of three famous people connected with Grand Island: Red Jacket (a leader of the Senecas), Charlotte Sidway (educator), and Charles DeGlopper (World War II hero)

Here are a few of the scenes in the mural
This is the section of the mural that I helped paint. I added mostly white paint... on the sailboats and on the water. I also got to play with green paint, and I painted in the lawn. It was a fun way to spend two hours.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Painting at Roswell Park Cancer Institute

During the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd, I was one of thirty artists who participated in Roswell Park Cancer Institute's inaugural paint out. The paint out, a "plein-air art activity," was organized by the Roswell Park Alliance Art Committee. This committee's function is to find locally created art work to hang at the cancer hospital. The intention is to create a more welcoming environment for staff, patients, and visitors.
The event was scheduled to happen, regardless of weather conditions.
I was fascinated by the corridor. It was long, colorful, but empty. There was a light at the end of it. So I started by making this sketch.

I began adding color at this point. I was using a small travel set of water color paints.

This is the completed version of the painting. It depicts the corridor, which is empty, yet not hopeless. The decorations on the columns, which seemed abstract to me, are visual depictions of cancer cells. I made sure to put the empty chair in the painting, as that represented the people and pets who had been lost to cancer.
On Saturday, it rained. Then it got windy. It was truly a dreary day. Dana Jenkins, a member of the art committee, showed me a nice, cozy indoor spot to paint. It was in an enclosed bridge between two buildings. It was a peaceful location. I made two paintings on that day. I was happy with one and a little less than happy with the other. Not so bad. My batting average was .500 for the day. Any baseball player would be thrilled with that. I was alone during the morning. In the afternoon, another painter, Bernice Smith, joined me. Her favorite media is acrylics. She brought her easel, her paints, and her energy for art. It was wonderful to have company. By mid-afternoon, however, Bernice and I were tired. She said that she had been on the roof of the parking garage for the entire morning and that she and her art supplies got soaking wet. She termed our long art adventure "combat painting."
Really big painting, done outside. Notice the ladder. It was fun to watch the artist paint on this enormous canvas.
After a night's sleep, all of the artists, including a man who was painting an enormous painting outside, felt more energetic. For me, going to Saint Louis Church in downtown Buffalo and singing with the choir, directed by Frank Scinta, was a big treat. That, too, helped to energize me.
Ahh, sunlight at last. I enjoyed the lovely weather and celebrated it with this painting.
On Sunday, I painted outside. It was sunny but windy. I felt relaxed and in a good space when I was painting.
All in all, the paint out was a good experience for me.
Here is another artist's story about the paint out: Roberta Bolt's story
Followup: On Wednesday, October 3rd, the committee offered the paintings for sale, in conjunction with the weekly farmers' market at Roswell Park. The sale ended abruptly when a huge wind kicked up and started blowing away the paintings. But, before the abrupt end, one of my paintings was sold to a doctor at Roswell Park. I believe that the painting, the one of the long, empty corridor, will have its home in Roswell Park.