Sunday, May 30, 2010

3SITXTY5 #53: Evidence Found of an Extinct Breed of Horse

BREAKING NEWS:  The Times, London, 29 May, 2010. Much excitement rippled through equestrian communities around the globe today, as possible evidence came to light of the legendary Equus Papillon, an extinct breed of horse thought by many to be purely fanciful. An American woman affiliated with the well-known art publishing firm, Collagitation, reported the discovery in a Liverpool flea market of a print of French origin, purporting to be a 16th c rendering of a stallion of the (now defunct) Welbeck Stud. This animal displays the unmistakable attributes of the Equus Papillon, namely, a handsome pair of butterfly-like wings, which, according to accounts of the time, gave the animal an exceptional degree of propulsion, lightness of gait, and facility in balancing itself over truly questionable terrain. It has been speculated that, on occasion, these horses could even become airborne, a phenomenon of which no concrete evidence, pictorial or otherwise, exists. The provenance of the Liverpool print is under investigation. Should this item, after pains-taking scrutiny,  be deemed authentic, it will undoubtedly touch off a world-wide search for any remaining vestiges of this elusive breed. Should such a specimen be discovered, perhaps flourishing in some obscure locale in Middle-Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, or other exotic locale, it is believed that a frenzy of speculation among deep-pocketed entrepreneurs, with regard solely for their investment and none for the noble animals, will ensue. Thus, let us hope that these glorious beasts remain in the realm of legend, until such time as all our fellow creatures are treated with the respect, affection, and even reverence, that they deserve.

Friday, May 28, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Friday, May 28, 2010: Joker of All Trades

Playing cards are so potent--so much history and symbolism in each deck, a hidden history of western civilization in each hand. What if the attributes of each suite were combined in one wild card? The card to enhance every level of luck, the card all hands are praying for-- sweet as a heart, clever as a club, severe as a spade, rich as a diamond.  What else could it be, but a Joker gone wild? A joker so stunning, mischievous, and daring, she could only be the avatar of a goddess? Not only a Jack of All Trades, but a Joker of All Trades.  Now here's the card you want to take to Vegas, tucked in your bra!

Congratulations to Three Muses for a year of encouraging artists all over the globe on the first Anniversary of their challenge site. Way to go, Ladies!

3SIXTY5 for 05/27/10: The Land of...

Diane isn't actually here tonight. She is snuggled in bed, deeply sleeping and dreaming of the Land of...Meanwhile, I've snuck in here to post this work, since she was too tired. It's 12:16 a.m. after all, and her alarm is set to go off at 5:30 a.m. Let's let her sleep. God knows she needs it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Today's Collage, and notes RE yesterday's artwork

Today's art is called Water Joy, a summery piece made on Polyvore, in anticipation of some waterside pleasures to come. Riverside walks along the Allegheny River, heading dahntahn to the Point for the Pittsburgh Regatta, watching the sun set while sipping a long, cool drink on the patio of a riverside lounge along Freeport Road. Or even just taking a few moments during a lunchtime walk to watch the fountain on the Duquesne U campus splashing and dancing, as I did today.  Actually getting in the water, alas, is no longer on my calendar; I don't even own a swimsuit anymore. Nevertheless I love fountains, rivers, lakes, beaches, boats, anything that will get me close to the water.

Regarding yesterday's post, I did a little research and found that the painting I sampled from, is The Visitation with Saint Nicholas and Saint Anthony Abbot, c. 1490, by Florentine artist Piero di Cosimo. The Visitation depicts the meeting of the Virgin Mary and the elderly Saint Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who I believe was her aunt. (It also contains a couple of saints, but I see no resemblance between our St. Nicholas and the fellow in the painting. Maybe there's more than one. Anyway, the guys don't appear in my piece, so if you want to see them, you'll have to google the painting.)

Collage for Tuesday, May 25: Gratia

This is Mary and St. Elizabeth (?) or St. Anne (?) lifted from a painting and made into a couple of market wives (selling eggs, apparently.) I just love that handshake! On a less flippant note, the artist has done a wonderful job of capturing the expressions of tenderness, love and devotion on the faces of the two women.

Monday, May 24, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Monday May 24: A Memory of Music

It always amazes me how powerfully music can evoke a memory. I also love the graphic and decorative possibilities of printed musical notes. So I attempted to combine the concept and the graphics in this piece. It is a bit of a hodge-podge. Maybe I'll rework it at some point. Definitely not tonight!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Sunday: Home

Home is where the heart is, and where the art is. I love being home, I would gladly hardly ever leave if I didn't have to. I'm just fine hanging out with my artwork, books, music, garden, friendly kitchen. If I didn't have to go to work, I'd have time to entertain more, which I love to do. And really get the garden beautiful again. And, of course, spend hours each day in my studio. I know it's a cliche, but there really is "no place like home." I hope you feel the same. Cheers!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Saturday: Nectar

Today's piece pays homage to 16th c Florentine painter, Bronzino, from whose "Allegory of Venus and Cupid" I borrowed an erotic detail.  This is another work put together from left-over bits floating around my drawing table. I hope you find it amusing!

Friday, May 21, 2010

3SIXTY5 for Today: Beak Tweak

Parrots are extremely intelligent birds. Over time they can learn, not just to imitate human speech, but to build associations and use words to communicate their needs. They create the sounds of speech by manipulating the air through their bills with their tongues, and they'll play with sounds and words like kids with toys. They're very social animals and love human company. They also love to chew things (including the corners of my kitchen cabinet doors, once.) They also bite. Hard!!! So if you are lucky enough to encounter a parrot, beware the beak tweak.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

3SIXTY5 #44: Feathers and Fur

Here is my debut offering for Three Muses' "Relationships" challenge, and it is about the special bond between us and our animal companions. The sweet vintage girl is from Mafoirfouille blog, the dog is from; scalloped rondell from blue moon; parrot from; and various images I found on Polyvore. I hope you enjoy it!

PS to Bev--this one's not very "outside the box" but sometimes old-fashioned sentimentality can still add up to art!

Collage a Day #43 for May 19, 2010: Once Upon a Five

My offering for Theme Thursday's "Hands" challenge. Where would we be without our 5 digits on each hand, and the creativity to use them? Since a "hand" is also what calligraphers call a particular style of lettering, I included a bit of my calligraphy in this piece.The pointing hand stamp is from Above the Mark, my favorite stamp source.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

3SIXTY5 #42 for May 18, 2010: Philosophical Elephant

I decided to do some lettering on this piece, so looked online for quotes about elephants. This one, by British novelist Terry Pratchett (aka Sir Terence Pratchett) reads: "When millions of tons of angry elephants come spinning through the sky, does it--philosophically speaking--make a noise?"  It is a lovely bit of blather--I love the image of those millions of spinning elephants in the sky! I am unfamiliar with Pratchett's books, I shall have to read some of his work. Seems like he must have a neat sense of humor!

In rushing to complete this piece, it appears I glued things down a little awry from how they were laid out--the vertical elements behind the elephant seem a bit askew, and his trunk is bumping into the border. *sigh* The hazards of collage.  Many of the elements are print-outs, I could redo the entire piece. Ha! like that's going to happen any time soon!

Edward Gorey named his house in Yarmouthport, MA, "Elephant House" and collected items that he felt resembled elephants. One of my eventual goals is to visit it, now known as Edward Gorey House and converted into a museum of his work and life. But not this year!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

3SIXTY5 for May 16, 2010: The Collector

Polyvore has an applet that users can put in their browsers so that they can upload images they make, or find on the net, into PV to use. Someone uploaded a whole slew of fake fish eyes from a taxidermy site. They set off this whole macabre scene. I'm publishing it as the collage-a-day for Sunday, 5/16/10. It's my blog and I can do things like that!

3SIXTY5 collage for 5/17/10: Buddha Eggs

Eggs.Buddha. Perfectly packaged wisdom, nourishment from nature's most perfect work of art. Timeless serenity travels along the seamless arc of its circumference. Inside, the universe in miniature orbits its yellow sun. The inner eye behind the shell that holds the future, sees only perfection.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

3SIXTY5 for May 15, 2010: Butterfly Machine

A wonderful weekend socially, but totally grim artwise. I am even more in arrears with collage-a-day. I'll keep on going though. It's a struggle to keep up, but I LOVE making all this art! Saturday's piece is called Butterfly Machine, the machine is from Dover Publications; the butterflies are from Dover and from Green Paper.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3SIXTY5 #37: Steampunque

Sooooo tired. Collage a day has been a trip so far. I never knew I could function on so little sleep, but not sustainable, obviously. Thus, need to further hone my technique. There's some kind of leap of faith there, some mental barrier to break through, some next dimension to step into through the invisible portal. I'm babbling. Good night.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Collage a Day #36: Flora

On this chilly, drizzly Pittsburgh spring evening, my thoughts turn to a lush fantasy of brilliantly colored flowers sending rich floral scents wafting on warm breezes, attracting hummingbirds and fair ladies alike.

Flora is also the name of a favorite movie character:  Flora Post, heroine of "Cold Comfort Farm," one of my all-time desert island movies, directed by John Schlesinger and starring Kate Beckinsale in that role. The outstanding cast also includes Joanna Lumley, Eileen Atkins and Sir Ian McKellan. If you've never seen it, and I am always surprised at how many people have never even heard of it, you are in for a treat. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

3SIXTY5 #34 for May 10, 2010: Star Charts

Did I forget to post this yesterday? Here it is.

3SIXTY5 #35 for May 11: Forboding

Today's Polyvore digital collage was inspired by utterly miserable "Spring" weather, exacerbated by lack of adequate sleep. All I wanna do is crawl under blankets. This too shall pass, along with the gloom, chill and rain.

Monday, May 10, 2010

3SIXTY5 #33: The Messenger

Not your classic winged Mercury. I liked the concept but the execution went awry. The two  images, the woman behind the lettering, and the winged feet, do not coalesce. C'est la vie! The lettering is my own calligraphy, done in white gouache on very thin hand-made paper (I used abaca fibers, great for thin sheets, then I used my own "secret method" to make it translucent.) I made a big batch of it years ago and still have enough to last awhile--though by the end of 3SIxTY5 I may need to replenish my stock. I used to create abstract collages entirely out of my own hand-made papers, which were exhibited in various Pittsburgh galleries. I prefer the surrealist-flavored, pictorial things I'm doing now. Maybe I can have a gallery exhibit of the best of these next year, when I'll have literally hundreds of pieces to select from! Who knows where I'm headed art-wise? It's the journey that counts, not the destination. Art, like life, is an on-going process, always seeking the next higher level. That's the real message!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Collage-a-Day #32: Wysiwyg art

Today's collage came out of a decision to do a piece entirely out of bits left over from other work. The challenge was combining things to build a design that is appealing, if not actually conveying any idea. To borrow a term from the computer world, this is Wysiwyg art:  what you see is what you get. It worked up relatively quickly, which was part of the point of working in this way. It is called Crescent With a View. Why not?

We had severe thunderstorms here last night, and all day today a wicked wind tortured the trees and birds. It blew down a large old tree almost directly across the road from us, which knocked down the electrical wires and cut off the electricity. I found myself working on my next collage via a kerosene lamp--inadequate, to say the least. The power was finally restored this evening, just in time for twilight. And I couldn't use my computer or printer, which caused the musings you would expect on our dependence on our machines and technology, as well as gratitude that I normally have these things available to use. Counting my blessings!

Friday, May 7, 2010

3SIXTY5 #31: Clever Parrot

Parrots are wonderful creatures! I have one in my family, and she is smart as a whip and lots of fun. She lives in Brooklyn, and when she visits our town we get to hear sirens, trash trucks backing up, cell phone conversations, and myriad other city sounds. Of course she also talks, but it's the sound effects that amuse me the most! She loves fruit, also eats hard-cooked eggs; I'm not sure about seashells and flowers, but my parrot in the picture likes those things too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Collage-a-Day #30: Clocks and Gates

This digital collage is for Theme Thursday's "Vintage" challenge. Just about everything I do could fit that category, it is the kind of imagery that opens vistas before my mind's eye. This piece is also called What Kept Them Apart, but that seemed a bit much for what is basically an exercise in layout design. Locked gates and not enough time, in other words, kept them apart (so I guess there is a little story there. There's also a little key in it!)
I think clocks are marvels of the marriage of engineering and art that have never been surpassed. I love them. But, apparently they don't love me! I'm usually in the "not enough time" category. The Law of Attraction would say, that is no way to attract more time. Actually, I could make the point that time is expanding for me--I still have the same demands in life as before, but now I'm making LOTS of art! Yippee!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

3SIXTY5 #26 for May 2, 2010: Uovo Metod

Eggs and a watch. Egg timer? A new method, or an egg method. It's time for bed.

For Cinco de Mayo, a Shrine for Frida

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I made a shrine on Polyvore to honor my favorite Mexican personage, Frida Kahlo. I have never visited Mexico, but hope to some day, it is a beautiful country, and I want to visit Casa Azul, Frida's home. As with many other women artists the world over, I am fascinated by her art and life. Her dedication was awe-inspiring, as was her strength in the face of adversity. One of my favorite Frida books is the biography by Hayden Herrera, which I first read back in the '90s. The photo on the cover of the current edition is not of Frida herself, but of the actress Salma Hayek, who played her in Julie Taymor's biopic. How disrespectful!! Frida was cremated after her death, and the book tells that, when the corpse was wheeled into the crematorium, a blast of heat blew her into a sitting position and ignited her hair into a blazing halo. Frida's last bit of performance art! Well, maybe I should apologize for relating such a grisly story, but then, the Mexicans seem to be less intimidated by death than we are, so I don't think Frida would mind.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

3SIXTY5 #25 for May 1, 2010

This is a digital collage made on Polyvore. I call it Flight of Fantasy, and it is sooo not what I usually do, but I really like the colors! It started out as a color study, because I love orangey golds and dark blue. PV collages are a lot of fun to do and come together quickly, and are quite stunning when they work. (The duds never make it out of the draft folder.) But for me, there's nothing like producing an old-fashioned, cut paper and glue collage, handling real materials instead of just the mouse & keyboard, and getting that layering and depth and mystery. That's satisfaction! I could happily play at my work table all day--if only I could make a living doing so. Meanwhile, that's where I am every evening when I get home.

I am slowly expanding my repertoire of techniques, something it was difficult to do before without consistent work time. I used to do so little work, it was like re-inventing the wheel every time I did do something. Now I'm getting my art chops back again, and after this year, I expect to be doing art on another level entirely. Perhaps I'll even get back to painting? I know I want to incorporate more of my own made images into my collage work. Yum. Can't wait!!

Yesterday was I think the first time since his death that I got through a whole day without shedding any Rainbow tears. The tigers are for him.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Parrot and Pomegranate

Collage for Thursday, April 29, 2010. I claim artistic license to operate in a time warp. How else to get things done?

Collage a Day: Getting Faster But Still Behind

I spent most of this weekend working furiously on collages, trying to catch up on missed days. I am still behind, but hey, I’m slowly getting faster—if I can put it that way! I am sort of getting used to the pace, and I find myself mentally putting together collages out of everything I see.  For instance, I had one of those lucky accidents that are, happily, fairly common in doing artwork. I found that I could run tracing paper through my printer, so I was printing a vintage photo of a young woman and for whatever reason, this time it did not work. The tracing paper buckled and the printer rubbed across it as it moved and smeared the ink. I ended up with a streaky mess and had to clean the print heads. However, the woman’s face was partially visible, and I decided to use this interesting effect as part of the composition. I finished it off with a scrap of vintage lace attached at her breast. The piece is called “Margret Light, Margret Dark.” The title is taken from the hand-written name that appears in the piece. The effect of the smeared image contrasted with the clear one made me think of happy and sad moods. She was beautiful, whoever she was. I hope her moods were mostly happy!


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