Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring is here?

After some nice warm weather, we are back to some cold, windy, rainy, hail and even a few snow flurries yesterday. (no this isn't Boise in April, this was Clear Creek at New Years)

This has been a very busy week for me:

  1. I completed the last of my school tours at the Boise Art Museum this week.
  2. The Treasure Valley Artist Alliance board met at my house on Tuesday. Lots of plans in the works there.
  3. I am getting ready for First Thursday at the Modern Hotel and met with my fellow artists, Zella, Marianne and Kevin this evening to go over last minute details.
  4. I dropped off my Idaho Triennial packet at the museum yesterday and hope to be included in their showcase of Idaho artists this fall.
  5. I am sorting work to bring to the C.W.Moore Building, a Gypsy Gallery Show which will hang for 6 months.
  6. I am also sorting work to bring to The Art Source Gallery for jury into the Gallery.
  7. I was asked to be a guest speaker at a local elementary school and this afternoon I brought my art and did a "show and tell" with 45 first graders. They were so enthusiastic and lovable. After I brought out my first piece, they all broke into a spontaneous applause! At the end when I took questions, one little girls said, "when I grow up I want to be an artist." made me proud.

A busy and exciting time.

For a break and to celebrate the last bit of winter- we decided to drive up to McCall tomorrow to go skiing. 12" of new powder has fallen with that much more predicted, should be a good ski day on Saturday and a nice change of pace.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Grass Is Always Greener....

my wonderful town nestled against the foothills of the Boise Mountains

A story tells of a man who is oppressed by his family. His wife dominates and torments him. His children make fun of him. He feels a victim, and thinks the time has come for him to go away and find Heaven. After much searching, he meets an old sage who gives him detailed directions on how to go there: You walk for a long time, but eventually you will arrive. The man sets out. During the day he walks, and that night, exhausted, he stops at an inn to sleep. Being a precise and methodical man, he decides before sleeping to place his shoes pointing toward Heaven so as to be sure not to lose his way the next morning. But during the night, while he is asleep, a mischievous little devil sneaks in and turns his shoes around the opposite way.

Next morning the man wakes up and sets off, this time in the direction opposite to the day before-toward his starting point. As he walks along, the scenery looks more and more familiar to him. He arrives at the town in which he always lived, but he believes it to be Paradise: "How much like my old town Paradise looks!" But since it is Paradise , he feels good there and likes it immensely. He sees his old house , which he thinks is Paradise: "How it looks like my old house!" But since it is Paradise, he finds it very enjoyable. His wife and children greet him: "How they look like my wife and children! Here in Paradise everything looks the way it was before." However, because it is Paradise, everything is beautiful. His wife is a delightful person, his children are extraordinary--they are full of qualities that he , in his daily life, never would have suspected to exist. "Strange, how here in Paradise everything resembles so precisely what was in my life before, and yet everything is completely different!"

I read this excerpt in a book I picked up at a book exchange in Mexico. Written by Piero Ferrucci, "The Power of Kindness" I think it is a powerful two paragraphs.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Loving Memory of my Dad

Me and Dad
Bloomingdale, NJ 1960

Edward Harold Spreen
June 2, 1936 - April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Investigative Art

"Can You Hear the Footsteps?"

detail of tags on base
detail of top
first step in making the tags- smoked edges on a candle

2nd step of making the top part-adding wax to the collage

1st step of making the top-attaching the metal stand to the tin with
Dap Quick Seal Plus
and adding alcohol inks to the metal.
It all started with a wooden clothes hanger that my husband gave me to do something with. I said "were did this come from?" He said I think it was my dad's he must have stayed there sometime in the 50's or 60's. So this hanger has been hanging (no pun intended) around my studio for about 6 months or more. I found these old wooden shoe inserts at a thrift store and hung them on the hanger in my closet. Then one day I found this wreath hanger that I thought would be perfect for hanging the hanger on. I was thinking that this was going to be called "These shoes are made for walking" and it would be about the traveling salesman of a byegone era and his pounding the pavement looking for a sale.

I created the top part of the sculpture by collaging a tin box with a photo of an old typewriter keyboard, then added wax chunks and melted them 1/2 way to look like ice cubes, cause after a day of walking in Tuscon AZ, you would need to cool off. The frame for the top part is an old art deco light switch plate. The metal wreath stand is mounted on top of a carved wooden thing I found. The piece still seemed like it needed something. So I thought I'd google the hotel and see what I could find out. Was I in for a shock. The Tuscon AZ, Pioneer Hotel was the scene of a 2.5 million $ fire in Dec. 1970, started by a 16 year old arson. 28 people died in that blaze including the 82 year old builder of the hotel who lived in the penthouse with his wife. In 1977 the building was renovated and turned into offices.

The office building is now thought to have paranormal activity. The experiences in that building have been indicative of a residual haunting, or the playback of a recording of a past traumatic event such as the sound of running footsteps when no one is around. Perhaps the Pioneer building itself is replaying the events from the night of the fire. So needless to say this completely changed the focus of my piece. Somehow I had to honor the lives lost in that fire. I found the roster of those that had died in the fire and attached their information to tags that I distressed by burning the edges. Those tags are tied around the base of the sculpture. The ice now stands for the ice needed to cool the firefighters. The new name for the piece is: "Can You Hear the Footsteps?"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Living the Artists Life

The finished project being auctioned off.

Me starting on my "quick draw" piece for the Live Auction. I had 1 hour to complete it.
Susan working on her "quick draw" printmaking project
(she even brought a press)
and me with the gesso.
4 "Exquisite Corpse" collaboration pieces that I was a part of all were auctioned off this evening for a good cause.
These were all created by Zella, metal artist, Nancy, painter, Marianne, mixed Media, Susan, print-maker and me. It was such a neat experience to be asked to be a part of this.
This was the start of my "quick draw" piece. Though I was not technically drawing but creating an assemblage. I started with this birdhouse, then
gessoed it and stained it with various acrylic paints.

The next step was to add collage items, and more paint.
The final project. "Every Little Thing" I used was something that was no longer wanted for it's original purpose. The metal hummingbird was from a broken wind chime. The Book spine was from a book taken apart by my friend Aimee, who makes journals out of the covers. The bird on the twig was from my artist friend Miriam, who gave me an old assemblage of birds that I have taken apart.I talked to the lady who was the highest bidder and she bought it as a wedding gift for a woman that loves hummingbirds, so it was perfect! I love to talk to the people that buy my art, because more often than not...they say it was as if the piece was made just for them (or for whoever they are purchasing it for.) So cool.

There has been some talk among my various artist circles about what constitutes a "real" artist. Well after this week and especially after the We Art Women Fundraiser tonight, I told Marianne...well I finally feel like a real artist.

This has a been a busy week for me with museum docent training, two museum tours, Treasure Valley Artist Alliance Meeting (I'm on the board), helping out with silent auction items for WAW for three hours on Sunday and three hours today and then returning this evening for the actual event.

The cool part is that I was chosen as one of 4 "quick draw" artists for the event, and these 4 items were the only live auction items. So I got to make art all evening and talk to those that came by my table with what it is that I do.

Oh, and last but not least I had a piece chosen for the 2 month extended exhibit. The juror Sue Latta said she could only choose 32 out of 190 pieces submitted, so that was quite an honor to be chosen.

I did not make any money myself this week but my art made money for those in more need than myself and if I can do good with my art, then it is all worth while. And don't worry, I'm not "starving." :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Post Apocolyptic Barbie (and friends)

Post Apocalyptic Barbie (and friends)

Well a special thanks goes to Marianne for lending me the Margaret Atwood Book "The Year of the Flood." I had had this barbie head sitting around for a while, I think I even blogged about it but didn't know what to do with it and then it hit me while reading this book. I would create an assemblage of cast off dolls that had survived being sent to the dump.
The doll on the left, I bought at a thrift store in Caldwell for a quarter. Someone had cut off all its hair and looked like she really needed a second life. She is riding on a giant fly. The doll in the center I found in the street and someone had run over it and its head was split open- it really did need another life, he is riding on a giant lizard. Barbies body is a dinosaur body. Now the three are all happy to be together gleaning and foraging in the wasteland that is left of our planet earth. And yes, that is a real snakeskin that someone gave me from their pet snake.