vintage-valentines

For this month’s Rest Home art workshop, I wanted to do something Valentine-inspired.

I collect old photos and love is one of my favorite subjects, so I thought it would be fun to paint on some old photos. Okay, actually not on the vintage prints, but on duplicates that I scanned and printed.

  1. I scanned the photos on the color setting at 600ppi, which is very high resolution, so that I could blow them up to 5×7″ prints.
  2. I printed 2 to an 8.5 x 11″ sheet on Epson shiny photo paper and trimmed them to 5.5 x 7.5″ (This left a .25″ white edge, in case we want to border them).
  3. We used tempera paint, right out of the bottle, providing only red and white, so artists could mix to get pink.
  4. We painted the sky area in red, and added a few embellishments, like the man’s necktie and a bow in the lady’s hair.
  5. I brought some small heart and letter stickers as embellishments
  6. I provided paper mats, to make the art look more finished.

Participation was good, although just painting the background was plenty of challenge. I started by explaining that the first step was to paint the sky, and leave the people unpainted. I helped some participants by providing an outline to fill in. For most in this group, painting their own embellishments (hats, shoes, ties, etc.) was a bit too challenging, so they enjoyed placing heart stickers to add some Valentine flair.

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I had so much fun that I made a few to send to my friends!

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Our family participated in the Women’s March on January 21 2017.

As a writer, I think words matter. Especially words spoken by people who call themselves leaders. Saying ugly things about innocent people is despicable.

When I learned that a person of despicable character had been elected as the U.S. president, it was like getting the news that a loved one had died. The loved one was the ideal of American democracy. How could a government by the people elect a person of low moral standards: a liar, a cheater, one who demeans the helpless, one who insults instead of conversing, one who flies into a senseless rage at the slightest challenge to his ego, one who seeks to aggrandize himself at any cost?

The day after the election was one of the saddest days in my life. How could anyone vote for a sleazebag who treats women as objects? How could they care so little about the people this creep demeans: A whole religion? A neighbor nation? An entire gender?

To me, the election of this sad walking spectacle of human failings seemed to mean that the majority of voters couldn’t care less about the things that make life more than just breathing. It seemed that for whatever reason, they didn’t place a high enough value on character, generosity, compassion, decency, pride. Yeah, pride. It allows you to feel good about who you are, without feeling the need to fear and destroy others.

But the brighter news is that the majority of Americans did not vote for this poisonous, greed-crazed charlatan. He may insist on pretending that he is admired, but that’s just another lie. That’s why many of us who are usually pretty quiet felt a need to stand up and be visible, at least for a day, and show we won’t accept empty promises of prosperity at the price of normalizing belligerence, cruelty and outright stupidity.

I didn’t march because I thought it would cure some pitiful narcissist’s deeply ingrained personality disorder. I didn’t even do it because I thought it would change anything. I did it simply to be seen and heard for a moment.

I stood up to express my conviction that the words and actions of a few ill-mannered bigots don’t stand for the values of equality, justice, compassion, intelligence, acceptance and teamwork that my family, our friends, our neighbors, and millions of Americans (yes, the vast majority) care deeply about. And the world stood up with us!

America’s democracy is founded on the peaceful inclusion of all. It promises liberty and justice to all races, all genders, all lifestyles, all beliefs. It learns from skeptics and dissenters, instead of silencing them. It’s founded on the ideals of helping each other, providing equal opportunities, welcoming those in need, and taking care of each other, even when personal beliefs differ, and especially when personal resources differ.

Inclusiveness and peaceful cooperation are American values. And I’m willing to stand up for them.

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These banners are sized at 1200 x 300px, but if you would like to use one and need me to reformat it to a different size, feel free to contact me.

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I spent the first few days of January creating artwork to help my fellow Montanans express feelings of unity and pride. With the upcoming Women’s March on Washington and Women’s March on Montana, plus ongoing efforts by the Montana Human Rights Network and others to address Nazi harassment of Montana citizens (particularly in the Whitefish area currently), it seemed like a good idea.

Montana includes all races, colors, genders, loves, family styles, faiths and nonbelievers: a wonderful reality that the majority knows, but that a few noisy bigots sometimes outshout.

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I wanted to make it easier for people to express a message of unity, so I got busy and made some art. I didn’t have a convenient means of printing, stocking and distributing swag, so first I made a Cafepress site offering a plethora of Montana Unity festooned items. 

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Next, I thought it would be nice to make something more affordable, so I got some printable iron-on transfers that I’m making available at cost. (The packaging and prep I do to sell them on Etsy costs me some time, so contact me if you want to get a no-frills/no package/pick it up at my studio and trim-it-yourself version, which is cheaper.)

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I printed a few baby and toddler shirts with iron-on transfers, which are available on Etsy while they last. To Bozeman locals who can pick them up at my studio, contact me for a 50% off coupon, which just covers my production cost.

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Finally, I decided to make the artwork available for digital download on Etsy, so anyone could purchase it for personal use: T shirt, poster, whatever. I just ask that you don’t resell my artwork or sell items printed with it for profit. (If you have a a commercial project that would benefit a philanthropic cause, contact me to discuss.) I made the digital download available for $5 on Etsy, proceeds of which (if any) I plan to donate in $50 increments to Montana Human Rights Network.

This isn’t a money making venture for me. I’m just trying to recoup costs. If you would prefer to have the printable artwork at no charge, here’s the free link.

We’re all in this together!

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matchbook-group

Eeeeee! I’ve developed a new technology!

Well, actually, I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person ever to make a little matchbook-book, but this is the first time I’d ever thought of it, and it took quite a bit of dinking around to get it right.

I was exploring new ways to present prints of my “on fire” series of paintings (now known as the “Everything’s Fine” series). Seems that not a lot of people want to decorate their kitchens with nihilistic pictures of people standing around placidly while their world goes up in flames. But encouragement from my friends about the little print books I was making inspired me to keep messing around with ideas for affordable art with that heart-warming underlying “we’re fucked” message that I so seem to gravitate toward.

So, I reverse engineered a packet of Albertsons matches that we keep around for lighting birthday candles, and eureka, a new use for the tiny stapler I got at a garage sale last summer emerged.

art-kitchen

If you ever wondered just what I do in my art kitchen, it’s time you found out. I’ll be participating in the December 9-10 2016 Bozeman Open Studios tour.

The 2-day event will feature 12 local artists–right in their workspaces–and will coincide with the Friday, Dec. 9 Bozeman Artwalk.

Visit me! I’ll have recent paintings, prints, cards, oddities, cast-offs, goo-gaws and, of course, refreshments and (existential) holiday flair.

Demos! I’ll be around both days, demonstrating processes I enjoy, including gelatin printing, needle felting and oil stick drawing. Who knows what else–I’ll have some projects underway, so you can try your hand.

Time/Dates:
Friday December 9: 5pm-9pm
Saturday December 10: 10am-4pm

Places: I’m Number 3! See more studios and details on the Google Map Here

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I am cursed with the gift of prescience.

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I recently learned (from this video) how to make a perfect-bound book. (However, in my case, “slightly imperfect-bound yet with much TLC” may be more accurate.) This is the style of book-making where you stack the printed pages and glue them along the spine with archival PVA glue, then add a cover, also glued along the spine.

Yesterday, I made my first two perfect-bound books, little 4.5″ x 3.75″ 16-page books of the prints from my 2016 series of fire paintings.

I decided on the title, “Everything’s Fine.”

I’ll give you a hint about the subtext. Everything isn’t fine.

This book and original paintings from the series are available in my Etsy shop.

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Somehow it’s become an October tradition for me to draw cartoons of the costumes that David and I “decided not to wear for Halloween.” I draw them on my i-pad using the Sketchbook app, using my finger as a stylus. Some are messier than others, depending on the time of day that I draw them.

Coming up with the ideas is a family affair. My daughter, Wren, sends me texts of her ideas. And my son in law, Mike, came up with several over dinner at Starky’s one evening. Some of them are David’s ideas, some my own. Some are inside jokes, or feature people we know (e.g. the two Ryans).  Thus, I give you “Rejected DavMar Halloween Costumes 2016”

(If you missed last year’s series, you can find them on my haphazard cartoon blog, Tepid and Oversteeped.

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from the front

I learned the process of painting in egg tempera on glass from my friend, Romanian-born artist Cristina Marian, and it’s so much fun I’m going to try the technique with senior citizen artists. Instead of using glass, india ink, and egg tempera paint, I’m using plexiglass, Sharpie and acrylic paint for this project.

I gathered:

  • 8×10 sheets of plexiglass. (Optix acrylic sheets in .080″ thickness $3 ea.at Lowes.
  • A broad chisel-point black Sharpie. (I love this pen! Got them on sale, under $1 ea.)
  • A simplified drawing based on Van Gogh’s sunflowers (PDF).
  • Color laser prints of the drawing (flipped).
  • 9×12 (or larger) work boards (I used scrap cardboard)
  • Masking tape
  • Cheap 8×10 frames (with glass removed), found at garage sales, 25 cents ea.
  • Acrylic paint in primary colors (or yellow, orange, brown, green and blue).
  • Paint smocks, paper plates, water cups, brushes, and portable table easels (optional)

In preparation for my 1-2 hour workshop, I:

  • Printed the image flipped, so when seen from the front it’s not a mirror image. 1 for each participant.
  • Peeled the protective sheeting off both sides of the plexi.
  • Taped the 8×10 print-out, with the 8×10 Plexi on top, to a piece of cardboard. 1. Board on bottom; 2. Print-out, face-up; 3. Plexi on top, so you see the printout through the plexi. (I overlapped the tape on the glass by about 1/8″ to prevent sharp corner hazards.)
  • Pre-traced the black lines in the drawing onto the plexiglass with my chisel tip Sharpie. (Participants could do this, but it would take longer/might be difficult)
  • Removed glass from the 8×10 frames and set it aside for my own reuse.
  • The prep process took me about 6 minutes per piece, but I’m fast at tracing!
  • Created an example:

I made the sample as quickly as possible, and it took 10 or 15 minutes. I started with accents and greens, then did yellows and browns. Finally, I painted in the background, and ended with a second layer of yellow over the back of all the yellow, green and brown parts to fill in gaps. It looks messy from the back, but remember, whatever you paint first is what shows through the front of the glass. The last things you paint become background.

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Here’s a jpg of the image I used to trace from. After I did my sample I realized it would be easier to see what you had painted if the printed image had a texture.

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When I saw this Kandinsky inspired color study project is popular among primary school teachers, I couldn’t wait to try it with senior citizens. I had no idea if they’d enjoy it, or think it was too abstract, but they loved it, and everyone had a great time. It was exactly the right level of challenge for a 1-hour workshop with a mixture of seniors with varying abilities and challenges.

I find that the seniors I’m working with are more inclined to participate and seem to be less beset with self-doubt if there is some type of structure, and this activity had a nice, clear concept that was easy for people to engage with. Once they get going, the work can evolve and be open-ended. There’s never a wrong choice!

I used:

  • Acrylic paint in 3 primary colors (magenta/red, blue, yellow)
  • 30 3×3″ mini canvas boards purchased at Michaels with a coupon
  • 1 18x 24″ black canvas (Also from Michaels. I think they were on sale, 2 for $8)
  • Double sided heavy duty carpet tape
  • (smocks, water cups, paper towels, paper plate palettes, medium-sized acrylic brushes)

I provided an example of one canvas already painted, so they could visualize the idea. (I was careful not to make it too perfect!)

I had each painter choose 2 primary colors. Then I asked them to 1. Paint a dot in the middle of the page with one color; 2. Add a circle around that dot in the second color; 3. Mix the two to make a third color; 4. Continue alternating until they had covered the whole canvas.

For some, painting one 3×3″ canvas was enough of a challenge to take the whole hour. Others churned out several, and had fun experimenting with color mixing.

The best part was that I was able to quickly mount their mini canvases on a big black canvas, so they could see that the imperfections and uniquenesses of their individual paintings added to the interest of the overall piece. (Hot glue would have worked to stick the canvases down, but I used some heavy duty carpet tape I happened to have handy.)

 

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NOTE: This is a free blog that WordPress monetizes through ad sales. They sell ads to people I DO NOT endorse, support or condone.

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