Windy Days

Yesterday was super windy with the rest of the week's forecast promising the same.  I spent the blustery afternoon in the library, signing up for my card and getting lost in the stacks.  Wind is a major theme in my artwork; a friendly carrier, sweeping through from place to place.   
Anywhere graphite, colored pencil, ink and watercolor.


Paper Birds

I've spent the past few days stringing up all of the origami birds we've folded for our wedding...according to tradition, folding 1,000 will grant eternal good luck.  Steven and I plan to hang these garlands, each one about 6 feet tall, throughout the Lambermont house and lawn, where our ceremony will take place next month.  A mere 29 days to go!  Since both of us have been using origami cranes in our artwork the past few years, we thought it would be neat to incorporate that creative tie into our wedding celebration.

Below, take a gander at his pinhole photograph, Windmill & Birds.  My drawing to the right was one of the last I completed during an artist residency in 2010 titled  Away We Go.  We exhibited this series of work together for our sweetheart art party called Wonders and Blunders.  The lovely Teresa Roche hosted our show at the art & light gallery in Greenville, SC back in 2011.


swimming in the sea

I recently learned of these genetically engineered, fluorescent pink angelfish in Taiwan.  Proteins from a coral were injected into the fish egg to produce the vibrant hues.  According to the news report, fish use their 'bioluminescence' to communicate, attract prey and distract predators.  I like to think they glow pink when their hearts light up, as I've pictured them in my painting.  Did you know that freshwater angelfish are monogamous?


Homeward Bound & Arrival

Tonight I taught an awesome painting class and returned to my home studio full of creative energy!  I wanted to paint, but will wait for tomorrow to have a full day ahead of me, with coffee.  I finished the two paintings above this afternoon...acrylic on canvas, 5" x 7" x 1 1/2".

Originally, the lovebird in the tornado was an origami crane, but it looked too sad, lacked contrast and a focal point.  There's that art appreciation background creeping into my studio practice!  I miss lecturing those classes and I must say that teaching experience really strengthened my critique skills in regards to my own art.  These pieces are so similar yet so different-we've got birds and a warm background yet one is on a journey while the other is waiting.

In the lovebird painting on the left, Homeward Bound, he's on his way home, the tornado aiding in his swift passage.  A little white picket fence (an obvious yet sweet allusion to the 'dream house') is adorned with a hand-stitched heart garland.  Considering all of the movement in the tornado and splashes of color in the bird, I didn't add my signature dot pattern in the background.  I use the tornado a metaphor for travel, getting swept from one place to the next safely.  I remember in my younger years being terrified of tornadoes, worried I'd get sucked out of the house and thrown down somewhere unfamiliar.  I blame the made-for-tv-movie Night of the Twisters and the film Twister.  Even after the 90s had passed, there were more than a few times in Clemson that I herded all my pets into the closet under the stairs to wait out a storm with my clock radio.  After grad school and plenty of flying and moving, I came to welcome the idea of a wind just carrying me from one place to the next.

Arrival, the painting with the chickadee and pinwheel, is a bit more calm.  The bird waits on his sweetheart to return, patiently perched with his party decoration, looking skyward.  Since he was so still, I dabbed in the teal dots to break up the space and provide some color contrast in the background.  I love dots in my paintings (and polka dots on my shirts, reference my closet for proof); there is something reassuring in the steady pattern.  The pinwheel was painted in layers of white, orange, and neon yellow paint.  Those neon craft paints are awesome, if you're a painter, go pick some up at your local craft store.  Right.  Now.  Buy the Americana Neons, they are less than two dollars &  behave like glazes to make the surfaces pop without being too overpowering.


By Your Side

Last night in my studio, I stayed up working until 2 am.  It felt like grad school, minus the stress, plus the glitter (I am in the midst of an obsession with chunky gold glitter).   In grad school, my friend Meghan and I were always working in the studio together, spending late nights talking, printing and rocking out to whatever mix cd we hadn't scratched too badly yet.  When I'm making art, I like to have a good playlist blaring (Spotify has been great for this) or a sappy favorite movie playing in the background.  There is something comforting in hearing the voices and love stories play over and over again.  Yesterday, I painted to Sleepless in Seattle, one of my all time favorites.

'By Your Side.' Acrylic on canvas, 5" x 7" x 1 1/2".  The wings on this little lovebird are really thick.  I painted, painted, and repainted them in layers of yellow, teal, green and white.  The colors are very peaceful, a sea of muted turquoise, gray and fading white dots.  My bird seemed a little lonely on his perch, so I added a little cloud of glitter to keep him company, a memory floating in the empty space where the second bird should be.

I've been reading about lovebirds from the many books I've collected for inspiration; they are social and affectionate, and spend a lot of time just sitting together and preening one another.  I think it's very romantic, and I wonder how they feel when their partner is gone?  This reminds me of a book I am reading now about a parrot named Alex.  This past December in my travels to Clemson, I paid a visit to my favorite used bookstore, McClure's.  I used to scour the shelves for art history & printmaking books, travel guides to Italy and vegetarian cookbooks, trading in my old books for new ones.  On this particular trip, I came across a book called Alex & Me.  It is about a really exceptional parrot who lived and learned for 30 years with an animal psychologist named Irene Pepperberg.  His last words to her were "You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you." Heartwarming and heartbreaking.  

Papel Picado, Invitation Stamps & Art Love

Being an artist and planning a wedding is fun, because I'm able to envision and create a lot of the decorations quite easily.  To the left are the papel picado flags that I made for our centerpieces, to stick in amongst the flowers.  It is a cut paper craft, a traditional Mexican folk art that is abundant here in San Antonio.  I used card stock instead of tissue paper so that my designs would be sturdy.  First, I made a little template on gridded paper, then transferred it to the paper & cut around the pattern with an exacto blade.  Each one is wrapped around a little barbecue skewer, painted white.  My friend Claudia had the scarf in the background specially made for the bridesmaids in our friend Ann's wedding this past July, based on colors from Mrs. Gosser's art.

Our wedding invitations have all been made...the paper measured & cut, folded, glued, stamped & addressed.  Now that the RSVPs are starting to come in, my daily trip to our mailbox is so much more exciting.  Since I'm a printmaker, of course I wanted to print the invites for our wedding.  I had custom stamps made by the ladies at Antiquaria-they turned out beautifully and gave me the look of letterpress without having to hand over the project to another studio.  It took a long time, two ink pads, a lot of paper, and even more patience.  Steven and I had a little assembly line set up in our dining room for about two months while I printed and we put everything together, together.  Pictured are the RSVP cards, the last step in our invitation suite.  I am happy to report that our dining room is now available for dining again!  

The other bit of good news is, with most of the planning and big wedding craft projects finished, I am back in the studio, ready for a new year of art!  I've made a handful of new mixed media watercolor paintings for Valentine's Day that are now listed in my Etsy shop.  I've been working on two pieces at once to keep myself from getting stuck. So, rather than sitting in my red chair and staring at my art, pondering how to finish it, I'll just work on a second piece for awhile & go back to the first with fresh eyes.  So far it's been working great, and keeping me very productive!   I'm lucky to have time to be creative and do what I love.  

My job as a painting instructor at a local art studio here in the city has been amazing-my work is to make art and my colleagues are talented and amazing!  I am inspired every time I'm in Jennifer's painting studio.  Two weekends ago, she and I went to an art opening at the Bright Shawl Gallery to see Rikkianne's  art (another artist and friend from work) for the Junior Art League! We even got our picture in the paper (bottom, middle).  Famous!