Friday, February 26, 2010

Oh what fun!!

Here is my Theme Thursday piece for this week's challenge, "Flourishes." It is a tribute to the one and only Maria Callas, the greatest diva of the 20th C. (And that's saying something!)

I had intended to do a flourish piece that I would also be used for an ATC swap about birds. However, I discovered an amazing site that allows you to play, online, with a veritably limitless sea of images! It's called Polyvore, and it is designed for fashionistas, but I've seen that many people use if for artistic image making. during lunch hour, I produced this work.

Check out Polyvore, but beware--it's addictive!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sick cat = day off

(Above:  Rainbow lounging on the patio)

I wanted to do this blog as a way to record my journey of becoming a full-time, working artist, rather than to write about my life in general (not a topic of great interest to anyone but me and my near and dear.) Of course, the two are inseparable--if I have a fight with my mother, or have a bad day at work, or something happens with my adult son (who has the roommate from hell), I get knocked off kilter. But my art is always there for me, no matter what—and that is a fantastic feeling!! Even if I can’t work, organizing my collage files or putting together images for future pieces can take the edge off anxiety or anger.

On Monday morning of this week, I brought my mother home from an early dental appointment to find my cat seriously ill. (He’s all right now, thank goodness, but he really had us scared for awhile!) I ran him to the vet’s, where he had to stay while they figured out what was wrong and began treatment. I decided to take the rest of the day off my job (they are wonderful people, so I can always deal with emergencies) and while anxiously awaiting news of Rainbow, I went to my work table and indulged in serious art therapy.

I try to combine projects whenever possible, so I plan to use my piece from Theme Thursday’s “Girls” art challenge to offer for sale on Etsy and/or use for a printable image on Café Press. Naturally I wanted the piece to be really, really nice! It was a great way to distract myself, but I realized I was working with a sort of desperation, trying not to think the worst for my poor kitty.

Awhile later I was told that Rainbow, who has been on insulin since about last spring, was in hypoglycemic shock with a blood glucose level of 30, devastating for a small animal. It seems that cats can “get over” diabetes, unlike dogs and humans, and start producing their own insulin again, so that day his morning insulin shot nearly killed him! He was coming around with a glucose IV, but they wanted to keep him overnight for observation and would phone if there was anything to report.

So I worked and waited for possible phone calls from the vet's (none came--which was a relief, although the fearful anticipation was relentless) and I ended up working until around 12:30 AM because there was no way I could sleep. I was in a truly strange state regarding my artwork; it was as if my usual days' or weeks' worth of putzing, trying alternatives, tweaking, fiddling, etc, that I usually go through, became compressed, sped up, tossed into a time warp of frantic productivity, and I found that I produced a creditable piece of work in way less time than I would've thought possible even a week ago.

So I posted the “Best Friends Forever” piece here on my blog (SEE previous post) and went to bed.

Rainbow came home the next morning (more time off work, I used up all my vacation time) and has been getting back to his old self quite nicely. But I was disappointed later in the week because my piece wasn’t acknowledged in any way on Theme Thursday’s site, and the new challenge was already posted. I read the instructions again, and soon found I’d not followed them correctly. If I ain't dyslexic, I should be--! I needed to leave a message in their comments box with a link to my blog and artwork. I had merely put a link to TT here on my blog. Doh!! So I posted the link to my work on their site, and today I got a nice comment from one of the TT regulars. (I am such a slut for outside verification of my talent *sigh*)

In the aftermath of all this, I came across a couple of insights. 1) Guilt can hammer you like a pile-driver as you try to outrun it--because I thought I had inadvertently poisoned my cat; and 2) I'll bet I can find that state again that will allow me to tap into this type of energy (without the "frantic" adjective) to move me forward in my self-reinvention from office subservient to "real artist."


Yesterday I started an ATC which I will use for a swap on Art42, as well as post on TT for this week’s challenge (“Flourishes”) There is a wide, wonderful network of artists doing all kinds of art and putting it on the worldwide web--a dozen times over via linking to each others' websites/blogs--and I feel the urge to continue dipping my toes in this stream. I’ve visited many of the links, links from those links, etc., and it is amazing how many talented artists are online, selling their art and also sharing it with a wider community.**  I really feel the need to nurture this kind of contact and develop relationships with fellow online artists, so that this synergy can contribute to my efforts of becoming a full time artist, of which selling on the internet is a huge part. Maybe opportunities to promote/market my work will arise out of this inter-activity, but it is basking in those good vibes circulating so freely and happily that attracts me the most.

**and it also made me realize how much I have to learn about pimping my blog, my site is sooooo BORING. My apologies.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Art and a Quick Post

I have a lot to write about, but it's been a long, long day (12:36 AM and I have to go to my JOB tomorrow--how aptly named that is *sigh*) But, I'm taking a moment before I crash because I spent most of yesterday and today working on a piece for Theme Thursday. Yes, another site where altered-art groupies can "preach to the choir" instead of marketing their work to potential buyers/collectors. Anyway, I've always greatly admired the talent I see there (see link) and so now--ta-daa!!--I offer my first piece of work inspired by Theme Thursday. This week's theme is "Girls" and I took liberties with a several Old Masters and morphed their august work into some girlie fun and games. This piece was done the old fashioned way--scissors and glue--I hope you like it!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back to the Future!

Last weekend, I took a look at an ongoing project I haven’t worked on in ages, an altered book that I started in 2007. Well, it came as a revelation, because I realized the book was done in a sort of “proto-signature style.” All the elements mentioned in my previous post are there, mystery, graphic punch, vintage imagery. Plus this work is monochromatic, black, greys and whites, which is a way I love to work and had already decided to resume in the future. You can see the images from the book in the Flickr widget there on the right, click on it to go to the photostream.

In fact, I am thinking I will design a series of images based on the ones in the altered book for Etsy/Café Press, since I already have a visual vocabulary in place, as it were. I don’t know if I’ll ever finish the altered book itself, however! Structurally, it’s a shambles, I truly didn’t know what I was doing. It is built on a real printed book, from which I attempted to remove signatures to allow for the thickness of added materials but didn’t do it very well. Thus, the pages scanned poorly. My favorite spread of women partying on the roof (above) came out badly due to the difference in levels between the facing pages. One side is out of focus, it sits so much lower than the other. The scans also do not show the “mechanics” of pages that are altered with windows and die-cuts, so the fun of actually paging through the book is lost. But regardless of what is “lost,” I have “found” inspiration in my altered book, and there’s plenty of fun than that!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Momentous Revelation in a Small Package

Today I posted the “Hearts Afire” ATC as a valentines greeting on my MySpace page. I suddenly realized that that image encapsulates the look and feel of what I want my “signature style” to convey. A little bit mysterious, strongly graphic, and with a vintage look. The matchbox shrines have this look too, I think. So that’s IT! I have found my signature style!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Let me start off by saying a great big “Thank you!” to the Collagitation Blog followers. I wanted to send a personal note to each of you (which I will still try to do) but being a novice blogger, what I ended up doing was signing on to follow my own blog—surely that’s a no-no in the blogosphere—because apparently I have more than one Google profile (?) Now I have to figure out how to remove me.

I also found out that the name of my blog as it appears to followers is simply “blog.” How creative is that?? It seems the typography I uploaded in the banner that spells “Collagitation” is an image, as far as the blog engine in concerned, and not a word. Thus, not part of my blog title as I intended. So I’ve had to add the word Collagitation in front of the word blog to get the name to appear as Collagitation blog. Even though it messes up my banner lettering design!

I don’t know who coined the term “Snowmageddon” to describe the winter storms In PA (and NY and DC) but it’s quite accurate, as well as witty. I burned through 2 vacation days because of it. Not that I’m really complaining; any day off my job is a good day! Plus, I must’ve lost a few pounds from all the shoveling. But the best thing about it, of course, was that I got to spend extra time at my drawing table. I wish I could say have a new piece of art to post as a result, but this is not the case. I did finish one ATC, which no one will ever see, and thereby hangs a lesson.

The piece was done for an Artists’ Trading Card exhibit & swap to be held in Vancouver and the theme, of course, is the Winter Olympics. I have to say that although Olympics are intrinsically exciting, they do not bring forth an onslaught of artistic inspiration from me. I struggled to complete the first card, then found I was very unhappy with it. For one thing, visually it was a total departure from my usual vintage-driven style, which I guess was a reflection of my inability to find inspiration in the topic. So why did I even sign on for this project? Well, I was attracted by the idea of exhibiting the ATCs in a gallery in Vancouver, in addition to the usual swap. In the end, I contacted the swap host and withdrew from the project. I decided I don't have time to waste prying artwork out of myself based on a theme that doesn't inspire me.

KC Willis, whose excellent Marketing Mindset online workshop I’m taking, questions the minimal marketing payback of ATC swaps and I see her point. Still, they are another way to get the word out once I open my Collagitation shops. Speaking of which, after dropping the Olympics project, I spent yesterday (Wednesday) designing some small collages that I can offer for sale on Etsy and as printable designs on Café Press. Once I have a bit of inventory, I can finally open my long-planned Collagitation shop.!!! I also started working on a logo banner for the shop, which will definitely be in my “signature style”. I feel much better now! Full steam ahead!


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