Friday, April 30, 2010

3SIXTY5 #22 (Holy Smoke!!) for Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The work for April 28 (almost caught up!) is entitled, The Queen of Time. It is also my offering for Theme Thursday's "Black & White" challenge. It is another meditation on the passage of time, and the resultant loss. I've always been drawn to the "tempus fugit" theme. Is time an illusion? Are we still or are we hurtling through the space-time warp so fast we can't even feel the motion? Does it matter? Not as long as we have ART, and others to share it with!

I find myself giddy with the amount of work I've produced since starting my collage-a-day project for my 60th year. TWENTY-TWO pieces to date, OMG!!! I've had to start a log to keep track of dates & titles, and I got a big binder in which to keep the hand-made pieces, in vinyl sleeves, as well as print-outs of the digital pieces, which I now gloat over like a miser with his treasure chest. I guess this might seem absurd to many, but it is evidence of a quantum leap for me. So far this year I've produced more work than in the entire previous decade. Yep. You read that right. Woo-hoooo!! The only way to improve, is to DO.

The face at the center of this composition is borrowed from another of Fornasetti's "Theme and Variation" pieces. As with all my digital work to date, this was created on Polyvore. I guess it's time to stop apologizing for taking the PV route, and bashing their users, instead of properly learning Photoshop. Why let my ignorance hinder my art-making? Time enough to remedy that situation...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

3SIXTY5 #21 for Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This piece is called Cat's Eye Marble. I wonder if the contemporary younger generation even know what a cat's eye marble is?

Collage-a-Day #20 for April 26, 2010

This piece is a digital collage, created on Polyvore, entitled On the Wings of Memory. It is a sort of meditation on the power of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, to keep those we love alive in our minds forever. While searching through vintage photos on PV to use for this work, I came across the funny photo of a cat sitting on a suitcase on the sand dunes (whose coloring, coincidentally, is similar to Rainbow's.) Probably he was on vacation, but to me, he signifies a cat who has just left on a long voyage, to a sunnier place. Bon voyage, kitty!

3SIXTY5 #19 for Sunday, April 25, 2010

This is entitled The Letter. Ephemera is such a lovely word, soft and flowing. An evocative, nostalgic word. On a cosmic scale, it seems like a perfect description of human existence itself, as well as of the day to day stuff, precious or otherwise, that we leave behind. I have a bunch of Rainbow's little collar charms that the vet gives to document rabies shots. Thinking about what I will do with them.

Collage-a-day #18 for Saturday, April 24, 2010

Still catching up. This piece is called Man and Machine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3SIXTY5 Collage-a-Day #17 for Friday, April 23, 2010

I love looking through vintage technical books, with their old-fashioned charts and diagrams and formal language. So nostalgic! Yet in their day, they were cutting edge technology. Someday someone will be rummaging in a flea market and get a hoot out of our computer books. But visually, I doubt that these will be nearly as interesting. I call this piece The Inventor. The images came from the following Dover Publications books:
Machinery and Mechanical Devices, William Rowe
Men: A Pictorial Archive from 19th Century Sources, Jim Harter
Haeckel's Art Forms from Nature CD ROM & Book, Ernst Haeckel

Monday, April 26, 2010

Farewell to my little companion

On Saturday morning, I had to say goodbye to my sweet little Rainbow kitty, who came all the way from Germany with me many years ago. He was 16 and ill, and then he decided to stop eating. The vet had given me special food and a syringe to try force-feeding him, but he wouldn’t cooperate. I guess he knew best, but when he could barely walk, I couldn’t stand seeing him like that and made the decision to have him put down. He laid very calmly on his blanket at the vet’s while my mother and I stroked him and I talked to him, well beyond the point where he probably couldn’t hear my voice anymore. We brought him home and buried him in the yard near his favorite forsythia bush. I miss him terribly!

So I am behind with my 3SIXTY5 project. I will get caught up this week, including, I hope, a memorial collage for Rainbow (unless it has to come later.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Collage-a-day #16: Flight to the Castle

Here it is, a lovely Spring, sunshine, birds singing, lilacs, daffodils and hyacinths perfuming the air. Yet I find what comes out of my head often does not reflect the exterior world, nature-lover that I am. Well, this all getting too solipsistic. Here's tonight's collage, gloomy as it is. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

3SIXTY5 #15: Taking Her Bow

Tonight's digital collage is another expression of my love for ballet, as well as image making. In addition to being part of my collage-a-day project, it is also my offering on Theme Thursday's "Black and Red" challenge. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

3SIXTY5 #14: Venus Crowned, but still in the artificially sweetened water

Yes, another digital collage. I would have no guilt whatsoever about going digital, if it was real Photoshop and not just Polyvore. I love Polyvore, but it is the junkfood of digital art. It looks real, it tastes good, but its full of artificial ingredients and will eventually turn you into a torporous blob. *Sigh*

3SIXTY5 #13 Hens in Hats

The art for Monday, April 19 is another digital collage, because the time crunch has bitten me in the ass big time, as we sometimes say here in the 'burgh. My grandparents kept chickens in the back yard (I lived with them until I was 14) and I've always wanted to have chickens again. They would certainly keep the pill bugs under control in the garden. However, for now it's a pipe dream. If I scarcely have time to meet my collage-a-day goals, how could chickens possibly help?? Even in sun hats.

Monday, April 19, 2010

3SIXTY5 #12: Ancient Seas_041810

A digital collage made on Polyvore. I love being on the water, something I don't get to do much these days. The town where I currently live is on the banks of the Allegheny, so I see the river every time I drive anywhere, and it is beautiful and compelling! But I last saw the ocean almost a year ago, when I visited Coney Island, not for the rides, just for the water.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

3SIXTY5 #11: Garden Dreaming

Please accept my apologies for the awful image. The original is too big for my scanner, so I did what I could with the hand held digital camera. My son is going to help me set up a copy stand with a tripod (of which I have several, from the old days of taking portfolio shots with the 35mm camera) so I can avoid bulgy, distorted pictures like the this. Later I will replace this image with a better one.

I call this collage Garden Dreaming, because that's about all I'll be doing garden-wise this year! What's cool is that all the flowers in the piece (and even the swallowtail butterfly) were cut from photos I took of my own garden over the years. The view through the gothic window is the actual view through my bathroom window. I added the gothic window frame, which, alas, my bathroom does not have. The Botticelli angels have yet to appear in my garden, but I keep hoping.

Tonight I attended a performance of Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's Swan Lake, and got to see my ballet assemblage box with the other works in the exhibit. It's amazing the spectrum of ideas and interpretations that the artists came up with for transforming pointe shoes into works of art.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

3SIXTY5 #10: A Song for Virginia

This is yesterday's collage. The past few installments, I've been working them so late I'm too tired to post the same night. I'll get back on track tonight.

Virginia Woolf is one of those writers whose life was as interesting as her work. The whole Bloomsbury group, and their era, are fascinating. I find that collage and assemblage boxes are ideal for creating art homages, because of the endless variety of materials and juxtapositions available. This piece actually did not start out being about Virginia, so there is really no point to the German book page that is the base of it. Thanks for looking!

Friday, April 16, 2010

3SIXTY5 #9 "A Bride for Max Ernst"

This was last night's collage (4/15/10)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"The River in April"--Always a rough ride

Tonight's installment in 3SIXTY5 is dedicated to the IRS, and its thorny cohorts in our State and municipal governments. I hope to have so considerably increased my income by this time next year, via my Etsy store, that I will need to hire a tax professional. Let someone else ride that annual tossing, stormy river of anxiety!

A Swan Lake for Joseph Cornell

My Facebook friends wanted to see a photo of the assemblage box I made for this weekend's Pittsburgh Ballet Theater fund raiser, but for some reason it wouldn't upload on FB. Here it is:

This photo was taken before the piece was put behind glass, thus there is no top on it yet. It measures approx. 13 x 16 x 5 inches. PBT provided each artist with a pair toe-shoes from which to creat their art, preferably with a Swan Lake theme. It was cool just to see real pointe shoes up close! The shoe in the lower portion of the box represents the Odile, the Black Swan. I wish I had taken detail shots of that area because you can't see anything in this photo. There are black feathers sprouting out of the shoe. The walls are lined with gold music on black paper.On one side is a tiny photo of an x-ray of a ballerina's foot on pointe, and on the opposite side is a picture of a swan skeleton (you can just see a bit of it, by the heel of the shoe.)

The upper part of the box is lined with music from the score of Swan Lake, and represents Odette, the White Swan as pictured by Tamara Toumanova. The "wings" are wire, gauze and white feathers. The small blue bit is a tiny photo of Joseph Cornell's box, "A Swan Lake for Tamara Toumanova: Homage to the Romantic Ballet," which he made in 1946. Thus I entitled my box to be a homage to Cornell himself.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Today's work in my collage-a-day project is aptly named. Still reeling from an all-nighter on Sunday/Monday, here I am up late again. But tonight's work was well-seeded with ideas and insights (unlike my garden, which is packing its bags and getting ready to hitchhike to more attentive grounds. Art takes its toll.) I will briefly share one of those discoveries:  I can adjust the color balance of scans in my digital camera software. Eventually I'll do this sort of task  in Photoshop, but for now, simpler is better. Good night.

Holy smoke, I almost forgot! My ballet piece was juried into the exhibit for Pittsburgh Ballet's Swan Lake performances. Ah, sweet return on efforts! Since I was asked to submit a short bio (2-3 sentences--no kidding), I took the opportunity for some blatant self promotion, including the url for this blog, and for my Etsy store. Yes! Just like a premature baby, I am shocked and delighted to find that my Etsy store has opened in spite of me! Lots of work to get it up and running before the exhibit opens on Friday night. The question now is--how will those taxes get done? Will the IRS accept a collage in lieu of money owed? In my dreams...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Immortals: Cornell and Toumanova

I cheated a bit for today's 3SIXTY5 piece. My latest work was an assemblage box, and I offer this detail photo of the central motif in lieu of a collage. Because I stayed up, literally, all night to finish it. Arriving home today after delivering the piece to Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's studios for their 40th Anniversary fund-raising competition, I am no fit state to make a collage (or much of anything else.) The piece is a homage to that ineffably alluring constructor of imaginary worlds, Joseph Cornell.

There is a tiny image of one of his a ballet-inspired works, "Swan Lake for Tamara Toumanova," on the back wall of the box. The ballerina is, of course, Toumanova herself, her photo magically made into an instant souvenir via a download from the internet and sepia monochrome inkjet print. What next??

Ballet is an acquired taste, like so many ritualistic manifestations of a particular culture--masonic rites, opera, Noh theater, even (ugh!) bull fighting. I admit to being enthralled by the ballet, as was Cornell, and another of my heroes, Edward Gorey. So it was delightful to create a ballet-themed box, and I will be thrilled if it is selected for the exhibition. If not--hey, this is the first assemblage piece I've made in like 8 years!! So I am happy to have done it--assemblage boxes are very physical--and I will do more. But first, some SLEEEEP!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

3SIXTY5 #5: St. Theresa in Excelsis

Here is today's collage, #5 in the 3SIXTY5 project, entitled St. Theresa in Excelsis. My take on Bernini's famous Ecstasy of St. Theresa. She may be marble, but she ain't frigid.

The Bad with the Good, and vagaries of scanners & digital cameras

KC Willis once asked why several of us who had signed up for her Marketing Mindset online workshop, were so into Artists Trading Cards, since they couldn't be sold. I've discovered another reason why I like them, along with the online camaraderie of ATC swaps:  they are great practice for working quickly on larger projects, as I realized when I embarked on 3SIXTY5, my collage a day project.
Here is collage #4, entitled "Aboriginal Apollo" (which I was too tired to post last night.) I was playing around with an image printed on translucent vellum. Laid atop a primitive sun motif, the rays and dots on the face made me think of aborigine tattoos. However, on the whole I think the final result is NOT a success! But I ain't gonna do it over, so here it is, garish, blobby mess that it is. Gotta take the bad with the good!

The image above is a digital camera shot, and now that the weather is improving, I will take digipix of my collages instead of scanning them. I have a Canon MP560 printer/scanner/copier, and unfortunately I'm not thrilled with it. I don't expect it to produce the same results as the color laser printers at Kinko's, but I do expect the scanner to work at least as well as others I've had, which it doesn't. One of it's drawbacks, is that you cannot make color adjustments while scanning, you can only lighten, darken, sharpen or blur. Here is how Apollo came out on the scanner (with apologies for having to look at him twice)

The background is brighter than the digipic, but what happened to the orange sun?? I would love to hook up my HP scanner again, but I was told there would be a driver conflict. I wanted an inkjet printer (well, I really want a color laser, but we're talking serious money there!) and it seems you can't get anything nowadays but a multi-tasking machine. So there it is.

Friday, April 9, 2010

3SIXTY5 #3

 This is entitled Snakes in Venice. Original size is 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches. The little image of Venice is a vintage postcard of an unusual size, 1-3/4 x 5-1/2 inches. Here is the back of another:

The background is the marbled endpaper from an old book. The snake was scanned from Seba's Snakes and Lizards by Albertus Seba, published by Dover (the original work was published in 1731 in Amsterdam.) I find that the confluence of all these details are part of the charm of collage. Although I guess snakes aren't intrinsically charming! Be that as it may, I hope you like the work, thanks for looking.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

3SIXTY5 #2

The second day into this collage-a-day project, I've realized a couple of things:  1) I will finally acquire some self-discipline; and 2) I've created a monster that will eat this year of my life for dinner (or rather, the bedtime snack that's left after my day-job--only 7.5 hours of which I am actually paid for. Oh yeah, then there are those benefits...)

So, I am 1) grateful to have a job in these lean times and 2) hoping to sh(f)uck it as soon as I can and make art all day long!

Today's collage is entitled "Wings for the Journey."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

3SIXTY5 Off and Running, and Confessions of a Polyvore Addict

Today begins my “3SIXTY5” collage-a-day project, in observance of my 60th year. There’s nothing like a new beginning, a new challenge to keep the juices flowing! As an artist who’s always been a slow producer, I know this is going to be interesting. At the end of it, I expect to have kicked a hole right through my procrastination, indecisiveness, hesitations, unidentified quirks, whatever it is that has held me back. I intend to concentrate on paper and glue collage, but a drawing or other art manifestation may appear, if time and inspiration converge. Another goal for 3SIXTY5 is to start on an inventory of work to offer for sale in my Collagitation store—which is not yet opened (did I mention my problem with procrastination, indecisiveness, hesitation?)

Given that my Photoshop knowledge is still rudimentary, I do not expect to produce much digital work for 3SIXTY5, unless it is truly the result of increasing my skills (or an absolute, life constricting, rock-and-a-hard-place convergence of circumstances.)  I confess that all of the digital art I’ve posted here has been made on, the digital collage site. While I’ve never claimed otherwise, I’ve come to feel that it’s almost “cheating” to post it, due to comments I've gotten that give me credit where none is due. The design of the PV pieces is certainly my own, but the Polyvore Editor makes it sooo easy to produce beautiful effects, that these works do not accurately reflect my digital art abilities. Thus, I offer my apologies if I’ve caused confusion, or even inadvertently deceived anyone, regarding my digital art skills (and calligraphy skills; there is none of my own calligraphy in the “M” collage, for instance. But within the next few days I’ll upload some of my calligraphic work to Flickr, so you can see what I can do in that area.) I got hooked on PV as a way to quickly create work for Theme Thursday, my favorite of the many fun weekly art challenge sites on the web. I adore Polyvore, but I feel it’s become too much of a crutch--maybe I should start a Polyvore Anonymous group?

And let this mile-stone day not pass, without my expressing how touched and grateful I am for all of the kind wishes, FaceBook greetings from extended family and friends, and work-place observances of my 60th birthday--not to mention the company of those I hold dearest:  my Mother, as well as my wonderful daughter and son, and my awesome son-in-law, who journeyed to the 'burgh to be with me for this occasion. Who needs riches when I am so blessed with loving friends and family?  I am truly touched and grateful to you all!!

My maiden work for the 3SIXTY5 voyage is called "60 Is Nothing," which kind of expresses my take on my BIG 6-0 Birthday! It incorporates both authentic vintage bits and recreated bits (ie, downloaded/printed out.)  I hope you like it, feel free to comment, and thanks for visiting during my momentous evening!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wishing you a happy Easter!

Easter is the only holiday in the christian calendar, where they forgot to change the pagan reference when they booted out the old gods and took it over. It's name still bears homage to the goddess, Oestre. She was, of course, a fertility goddess, hence all the rabbits and eggs. Be that as it may, I wish a happy Easter to all my friends of every persuasion!

Theme Thursday Challenge: Mmmmm....

This week's Theme Thursday challenge is to do a piece about a specific letter(s) of the alphabet. (Yes, this week I read all the directions.) As a calligrapher, I love all letters! Though some are very tempermental, S, for instance. Y can be a terror sometimes too. But one of my favorites is M, and one of my favorite calligraphy exercises is making italic M necklaces. This consists of writing the lower case alphabet with an m between each letter, to develop rhythm and flow and beautiful, consistent arches. So here is my artwork dedicated to the always friendly letter M.


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