Monthly Archives: July 2018

So Much Art

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Recently, Lochinvar and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the 2018 Santa Fe Contemporary Art Show. Our frequent trips to museums and galleries did not prepare me for the overwhelming number of pieces we viewed that night. Nor did I have any idea that so many of the artists would be so forthcoming about how they created pieces, their materials, their time, etc. Frequently galleries and museums seem quite stuffy, with people wandering somewhat aimlessly and speaking in hushed, reverent tones. So, the laughter, conversations, wine and nibbles were not at all what I expected. Walking through the doors, we were greeted by over 100 artists who had multiple pieces on display in a labyrinthine grouping of partial walls filling the main hall of the Santa Fe Convention Center.

While I cannot enumerate how many pieces we quite adored, there were a couple of artists who stood out. Ibrokhimbek Ikromov is a young man from Uzbekistan whose precision and eye for detail astounded me.  His paintings are quite small – the size of a several hundred year old book page (on which they are painted). You can see more of his work in his online photo gallery.

      

I also spent a great deal of time looking at the oil paintings of Marcella Rose. I am frequently enthralled by paintings of women and/or dance, so her work immediately grabbed my attention. Rose also had some lovely animal-themed works, and (bonus!) she was just fun to talk to, having moved around a good deal. Check out her website to see more of her beautiful work.

    

It is impossible to discuss the many pieces Lochinvar and I viewed, so here’s the list of exhibitor’s for this year’s show. You can see a sample piece, read a little about the artists, and follow links to their individual websites. (I have spent a good deal of time surfing through them!)  Art Santa Fe Contemporary Art Show 2018 exhibitor list.

And, if you’re interested in attending (or exhibiting) at next year’s show, those plans are already in the works.

 

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Finding Inspiration

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Sometimes I just need to spend a couple of hours browsing through antiques and artsy fluff to get a project rolling. Recently, Lochinvar and I wanted to create a photo studio space in our basement and a dressing room from a laundry catch-all area. These projects allowed me to contemplate some revamping in other rooms, too – including the guest room and our bedroom. With four spaces and plenty of furniture whirling through my head, I needed some thematic ideas. So, on a whim, I spent a quiet afternoon at Merchant’s Square in Chandler.

This is one of my favorite places to pass a hot summer day because I always leave with decorating ideas and a few chuckles from the quirkier items that abound. For instance, check out the wooden clogs that look like Lego blocks. These puppies would make a great Cosplay costume addition, but not something I’d wear on a daily basis. Can you imagine the noise?

 

0625181227.jpg  Then, there’s the knight-in-shining-armor themed table lamp. I fear my feline friends might try to stage a joust with these accoutrements. Or, worse yet, it might provide weapons for would-be intruders.

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And, as long as we’re talking about about weapons, whose bright idea was it to invent an indoor horseshoe game? Note it says “Rubber shoes reinforced with steel” on the box. I think my Ragamuffin would have destroyed every piece of glass in the house with permission to throw around these things. (And we won’t even discuss the fact that Father looks like he’s about to shout Ole! while young Betty appears to be practicing for the high wire.)

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After a bit of mucking around, the silliness factor gave way to more inspirational items like these romantic doodads. The doll themed coloring book would make wonderful artwork for a girl’s room or an antique style dressing room, as would the lace angel wings. (I have to admit, I looked at those for quite awhile trying to image where they might end up in my house.

 

Of course the porcelain meets paper doll also seemed to fit in with my romantic vision which would perfectly complement many of the whimsical beribboned tags. All of these items were the vision of a single vendor who had lacy French-feeling frippery to spare. I think I could have decked out an entire room in that one shop, and I felt an instant kinship to its anonymous owner.

As I continued to amble down the aisles, my eyes and hands were drawn to many pieces of painted furniture, but I especially fell in love with the old Paris maps on the drawers of this piece. The colors are so beautiful and delicate!

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I also love the wrapping paper lining on the drawers of this chest. Just opening up an empty drawer feels like an adventure among the flowers.

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In addition to the lovely romantic furniture and decor items, several vendors offered beautiful pieces of wearable art. Here, a plain linen shirt became a jacket bedecked in crocheted doilies, embroidered table toppers, and an assortment of vintage lace odds and ends. The maker had an entire rack of shirts, jackets, and dresses that I would love to wear about town.

Finally, I fell for this vintage purse with an adorable under-the-sea theme. This is the perfect piece for those always-be-a-mermaid days. (Sigh)

As I browsed, my brain considered that I could create the new dressing area as a homage to vintage frilliness and keep it for myself, but (alas) Lochinvar had design plans of his own (dark wood, leather, and a blue Oriental rug). So, I settled for cleaning out and rearranging the guest room with its antique bed, painted desk, and handmade yo-yo bedspread and pillow shams (Thanks, Mom!)

0626181056a0626181056bIn the end, Lochinvar also suggested that I could work some fru-fru magic on our bedroom. (Of course, he didn’t have to say that twice!) So, that project is currently underway. I have already added curtain panels from Goodwill (a bit of sheer lace over a print at the window and some dotted swiss in the archway), reupholstered the seat over the tub, hung some peacock art, and added a comfy chair to the space. Meanwhile, those map covered drawers continue to dance through my head as I survey two night stands, a headboard, and a foot board. I think they’re calling my name!

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Easy DIY Art with Colarting Kits

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When summer temps hit the valley of the sun there are only a few acceptable activities. One, of course, is hanging out in the pool; another is anything that can be done inside with air conditioning and a cold drink in hand. (The latter situation is also familiar to my northern friends who hunker down to escape the blustery cold of winter.)

As a teacher, I spend a good deal of my time in the summer thinking about and planning for school (which gears up at the beginning of August), but since I don’t have to do those activities on a bell schedule, I also get to spend a good deal of time in my studio. On 115 degree afternoons, the coolness of the basement beckons me to color, cut, and paste.

Thus, our Colarting (where coloring meets art) kits provide a means to escape the heat and create something to hang in my room, office, or home. Let me show you how it works with the Dreamy Kitty design.

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Each kit comes with three or four layers (depending on the picture) to create a 3-D design along with a package of standard embellishments and the foam tape used to give the art dimension. Full instructions are also included, along with a bonus coloring page.

 

 

 

In step one, each of the layers is colored in preparation for cutting and stacking. While a person could leave the larger shapes blank (white), I suggest filling them in to provide a background when looking at the pieces at an angle. This helps the piece look more professional when its complete.

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The middle layer has a gray space around the pieces to indicate what will be cut away. Because I know I’m going to cut these out, I don’t worry about staying inside the edges. As a matter of fact, I intentionally go over the line to make sure I fill in all of the white space. In addition, when I’m using several shades of the same color (like two shades of green on the squirrel shape), I color the entire shape in the lighter color using a chisel tip marker, and then go back with the darker color and fill in the details using a fine tip marker. This makes it much easier to color small, detailed areas.

As you can see, I have written the color numbers I used across the top (which will get cut off). Since I don’t always have time to color all of the pieces at once, this helps me remember which markers I used so I can carry the color theme over to other pieces.

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The top layer consists of cut outs that will rest on top of the middle layer pieces. I used the same basic colors to complete these pieces, too.

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If you plan to use a photo mat (which I highly recommend since it adds a professional finish to your artwork), put the background in the mat before you begin adding the layers. This allows the layers to stick out over the edge of the mat and adds to the 3-D effect.

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Now you’re ready to cut out the middle and top layer pieces.

Once everything is cut out, open up the embellishment packet and locate the foam tape squares. These will be applied to the back of the cut out pieces in order to create a 3-dimensional effect on your artwork.

It’s always a good idea to space out the foam tape squares around the edges of larger pieces (like the kitty). The smaller pieces may only need one or two squares to support them. Remember to plan the number of squares per piece to make sure you have enough.

Once the tape is stuck to the back of the layers, peel off the wax paper backing and apply the middle layer to the background.

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Repeat the application process with the smallest top-layer pieces. Here, the angled photo gives a better look at the shaded in bottom layers. (Take a look in the lower left corner under the lizard.)

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Once all the layers of the picture are attached, it’s time to have some fun with the embellishments. The packet contains basic embellishments in clear and silver to match any color scheme. Of course, you can always add extras from your own stash. (Consider buttons, beads, jewels, trims, pieces of broken jewelry, or even origami.)

If you don’t have a stash, we offer additional embellishment kits in multiple colors. (All of our kitty-themed demos on the website feature standard embellishments. The other themes sport a variety of items from my studio.)

Arrange the embellishments wherever you like. (I suggest placing all of them on the piece before gluing, just to make sure you like the layout.) Regular white glue or craft glue will work to attach the embellishments, or if you’re impatient (like I am), use a hot glue gun for immediate gratification.

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Finally, don’t forget to sign your work before putting it into a frame. Our kits create an 8 x 10 picture which fits into an 11 x 14 mat and frame. (I suggest you get a shadow box frame so your work will be protected behind glass.) If you use a non-shadow box, simply remove the glass to allow space for your 3-D design to pop out of the frame.

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The final product is a one-of-a-kind piece of art ready to adorn your office or home. Our whimsical designs are perfect for kids rooms, dorm rooms, hallways, and cubicles. They make great gifts as a project to be completed or as a finished product to make someone smile.

Check out the nearly 30 designs available at thecockeyedcolorist.com. Happy colarting!