Inka dinka do

Yesterday was a BLAST.  A small contingent of art group girls found ourselves on S. Broadway for a holiday card print outing at Ink Lounge.  Actually first we met up at Pajama Baking Co on S. Pearl (sorry, Amy!) for sustenance and caffeine and catching up.  Then we headed over to Ink Lounge to pour through books for the perfect holiday card image.

I brought an image I xerox’d at least 20 years ago, and have been saving for that perfect use. We get to do a 2-color silk screen, so the 2 images that would make up our final card were burned onto one screen:

Then we picked 2 inks (only 2?!?)

Chris chose gold and was musing between turquoise or green for her 2nd color, to make up her Christmas tree image.  I went for deep indigo (so much more interesting than black) and a metallic magenta (quelle surprise). Here’s the taped off screen (Chris took a photo like this of her set up, so had to copied her!):

They paired us off in teams.  One person inks the screen (“floods” it) and then squeegees the ink onto the paper. The other theoretically clean-fingered person handles the paper (lines it up with the clips, then sets the inked card on a drying rack).  MJ and Jody start on Jody’s design.

I didn’t document theirs very well…  You’re going to get tired of my little guy, but here’s the used screen.

And Chris with her screen from the first press (she did the xmas tree ornaments in gold).

Next step, we wash the screens and set them out back to dry in the sun.

Jody’s lining up her card to set the clips and anchor the screen for her 2nd ink pass – green.

Jody-Jo, can you put up pics of your final card?

MJ chose silver and black for her elegant travel-by-steamship image:

Chris lines up her image for the 2nd (turquoise!) pass:

A trip to the drying rack, and the final product!

And my happy guy after the 1st inking:

I was as fascinated by the inked up screens as I was by the final product.

If they don’t line up perfectly, we learned that’s called “charm”!

This was such a creative space…  Jody and I were doing some serious daydreaming about having our own shop…  Look at all these cool prints hanging from previous workshops.

Even the work surfaces are beautiful.

And I guess I should mention there were a few other talented people in the class besides us:

Now we have a jump on the Christmas juggernaut…  for at least a day or two.

Absent art girlies, we missed you!!!

P.S.  Here’s a Flickr link to even more pics from Stu at Ink Louge:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/14868235@N02/sets/72157628003215483/

I’m Back!

Wow it has been such a long time since I have posted–or ANY of us have posted–girls! Anyway I was just reading our artist friend S’s enewsletter and I just had to make a comment on the rash of operations like “Canvas and Cocktails,” that have been popping up. First of all, I am happy that more people are enjoying art for whatever reason. Even if it is a social thing, a form of relaxation or a hobby-type of pastime, I am all for it, in fact those are all the reason’s our group gets together.  My only problem with some of these type of places is that they don’t promote individual creativity or the desire to make your OWN artistic expression. I think this picture says it all.

Hype

We bought a piece of artwork when we were in Taos at the end of December. D suggested the idea; he’s good that way (always buying things when the mood strikes). Me? I’m usually too frugal but I admired his initiative. In any case, we found ourselves perusing the art down south for something we could bring back up north. It was a good way to commemorate our first trip with Miss M (and Gingy, since it was the first time old girl has been out of CO or tasted the sweet, sweet nectar of piñon). We found a piece in an artists collective just off the main plaza. The moment we saw it, we both liked it even though it wasn’t what we had envisioned purchasing. It wasn’t from some fancy gallery or painted by some big name artist. Still the piece spoke to us – what we love about road trips and the mountains. Now it also serves to remind us of that great little getaway. Sometimes it brings me such joy just to think about when we bought it on that trip and sometimes it makes me happy just to imagine a lovely afternoon like the one in the painting.

Red Bug by Alan Heuer (apologies for the bad photo)

Recently I watched Exit Through the Gift Shop. It was my overdue follow-up to discovering Banksy and it really fired me up for the Oscars. I started perusing online to find out more information: Who is this guy? Is his identity really unknown and did he, perhaps, create another contemplative piece of artwork through this documentary? Could Mr. Brainwash be a hoax? The creation of Banksy to make a statement about the commercialization of the graffiti art genre, the commodization of art in general (good right?! it’s not mine), and the climate in the US for that matter: are we all so superficial that we acquiesce to hype? And if so, is that a bad thing?

All of this leaves me believing the hoax is why the movie is up for an Oscar. In fact, I find the documentary much more intriguing from that perspective (and if so, Banksy is a friggin’ genius). Certainly it makes an overnight artistic success like Thierry Guetta more interesting. Sure I can appreciate the limelight of Hollywood and a person’s 15 minutes of fame but, as Banksy says in the movie (much more eloquently in his English accent), he never earned it. He didn’t follow the rules for becoming an artist, which is ironic for a medium that lives by the belief that there are no rules. And in that context, how suiting for a piece of Banksy artwork.

When it comes down to it, what I like best about the documentary is that it begs for conversation. And isn’t that the highest form of flattery in the art world?

Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash) is seen near his mural on La Brea near San Vicente. (Liz O. Baylen, Los Angeles Times / February 2, 2011)

We don’t have enough money in our house to have artwork from big name artists but still we manage to have pieces that are dear to our hearts. I like to think that’s how it should be as both the artist and as the admirer. The rest is just hype.

richard benjamin show at DAM

Nellie

Nellie and her Italian soda

From the DAM website:

On view through May 29, 2011

Robert Benjamin: Notes from a Quiet Life is a rich exploration of the photographer’s everyday life: unguarded moments with family, things around the house, and small visual surprises on walks to the corner store. Benjamin’s images capture the beauty of his world—like his daughter sipping a soda, his son peacefully sleeping on the couch, and tender moments with his wife, Pamela.

encaustic evening

Last night we did an art night for Ally, Justine, Justine’s friend Sophie and her mom Angela. And Julie came over cuz she is an encaustic queen. We cut and collaged, and sprinkled and dipped and talked and drank (well not the under 14 ones) and generally had a merry time being crafty. I couldn’t include Sophie’s art made from an Altoid tin becaus when I picked it up to photograph it all her letters slid around. oops, it wasn’t dry yet. And no pic of mine because I was making bottle cap collages and I screwed the epoxy. You are supposed to mix the epoxy together before pouring it on the art. Dang, I shoulda read the directions. We also ate well.  Ally and Justine made dinner (chicken satay)  and I did what I do best– I brought out the art supplies!

An Inspiring Video

Wow, it has been SO long since I posted. Even though I am not traveling to exotic places like some folks over the Thanksgiving break I am so happy to have a few days to catch up on my life. I am not painting yet but I am thinking about it, and doing some home projects and spending time with family. For all of that (not in any particular order of course) I am infinitely thankful. Anyway… I have been reading my every increasing pile of unread art magazines and ran across the artist Christopher Brown. I LOVE his work. Of course that could be because our work is somewhat similar, but there is a video on his site that I really enjoyed and thought others might too. He really goes into his thought process and that is something that you don’t always get to see. Enjoy!

Ps. This video is somewhat long and takes a little while to download, so get that new cup of Joe, or a snack and let it load.

Chris Brown video

hot wax

Ok finally, our excellent encaustic evening at Amy’s (and Andy’s, but he went out for cigarettes).

encaustic = to burn in, as the wax and paint are fixed with heat

We are so lucky to have an encyclopedia of artistic knowledge in Jody.  Encaustic painting, even just the word, seems so complicated and mysterious, but not to Jody Jo.  But before we get artistic-ey, let’s enjoy another outdoor meal (yay, summer!).

Love that evening light.

Amy is a big fan of the baked bean.  And grilled pork.  I think she’s on to something.

Fortified with food and laughter (and a rendition of Happy Birthday sung/shouted into Gina’s cell phone for her sister), we’re ready to encaust (it’s a technical term).  It’s been heating up in a can, over a hot plate.

We dump our store of papers and pictures onto the table and paw through for something shiny. There’s a hush in conversation while we try to imagine our masterpieces.

Jody has a plan for a series of chakra pieces.  I think this is the throat.

Tammy has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use some 1970’s postcards her uncle brought back from China.

Gina is working on a man and woman piece, an anniversary present for Mark.

Amy colors outside the lines with her piece. You paint on the melted wax and then blast it smooth with a blow dryer.

I’ve got pieces of shells and moss from Shaw that i’m hoping will stay put under wax.

Ginger stands guard.  She has no interest in our sissy art projects.

Look how beeeautiful!  I love how we’ve all used tile letters.

And then a quick tour of the house since it’s the first time we’ve held art night at A&As.  I’d say it’s a success!

Moore at the Gardens

It was one of those luxuriously warm, windless nights – in other words perfect for an al fresco art evening!  And the crowd at the Botanic Gardens agreed with us.  There was a great turnout of people enjoying the sculptures and the plants and the free entry and squeezing as much outdoor summer as they could out of the tail end of August.  Even the bees were buzzin.

Luckily we found a spot all our own, I think it’s a desert garden, and spread out.

Gina had a shiny new set of acrylics from Dick Blick.  Jody, MJ and I opted for watercolors.  Jody updated us on Ally’s first days at COLLEGE.  She’s already knocked an older classman out of marching band.  Atta girl.

In the food department we had lots of hors d’oeuvre-y stuff (cheese, crackers, chips, guac, cold cucumber soup, strawberries) and it worked!  As you know, everything tastes better outside.  And as Anthony Bourdain says, food tastes better when you’re barefoot.  I think sand helps too (on the feets, not the foods).  Well, we had a sort of red sand under our feet.

Stupid sun sets by 8pm now instead of 9pm, like it seemed to just a few short weeks ago.  I hate to see summer shrinking.  We painted and ate and yacked, and didn’t really spend as much time exploring the Moore sculptures as we should have (we just enjoy each other more):

http://www.botanicgardens.org/content/henry-moore-exhibition

As Moore himself once said: “I would rather have a piece of sculpture put in a landscape, almost any landscape, than in or on the most beautiful building I know.”

What a beautiful evening!

En Plein Air

“in the open air” – a French expression particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors 

Art night is always so inspiring and this past one was a special treat. We made our way over to Cheesman Park for some late day light as it flirted with natural colors and general park activity.

I always forget what a great view Cheesman presents: not only can you catch glimpses of the front range but you also get a great perspective of downtown. The Acropolis sits as a vantage point, alive with the smooth moves of a yoga class directly followed by the excitable activity of a dance group.

The people watching can’t be beat. Passersby run and work out, some sit or lay with lovers and friends, some stroll in deep conversation (and some yell obnoxiously horrible untruths about Denver’s general population and though I want to curse “them” and send them packing to their dream locale – Colorado Springs – I can appreciate said crazy to be just as much a part of this juicy scene). It all is so active and alive with only the type of energy and promise only a summer night can bring.

We sit and toy with our paints, creating blended color and revealing shape. I’m so glad Jody found some time to take photos while her masterpiece marinated.

Gina took Jody’s sage advice and figured out impressionistic color.

Julie used her palette knife to create these beautiful strokes.

I played with my new watercolor set (who would have thought me + watercolors = friends, but I do like how mobile it can be).

Dessert follows a wonderfully fresh salad from Julie’s garden and some cold pasta, which seemed suiting for the heat. Stories abound – some about work, some about family, some about pregnancy, some about long lost English professors (mmm).

JandJ go to the DAM

We wanted to catch the Embrace exhibit before it left. For whatever reason, the idea of this exhibit didn’t appeal to me, but to experience it was amazing. Much more visceral than your traditional gallery of paintings on a wall.

This is Katharina Grosse’s mural, painted with spray guns from a cherry-picker basket 60 feet above the floor.

And a room of bungee cords – you had to fight your way through because they were strung so close together, but could fall against the cords and they’d hold you up. (got some cool video but can’t figure out how to add it… ?)

Neon hidden on one of the back walls:

Large knife cutouts:

Upside Down by Christian Hahn:

As to be in plain sight:

A room full of swirling neon numbers, projected from various spots around the space:

This really took advantage of the skewed walls.

An entire room covered in roads, by Nicola Lopez. She cut out mylar and put up all these crazy pieces:

This may have been my favorite, Rain Has No Father? by Ghana artist El Anatsui.

“About six years ago I found a big bag of liquor bottle tops apparently thrown away…I kept the bottle caps in the studio for several months until the idea eventually came to me.” (Note to self:  remember this for the next time Erik asks why I have so much crap lying around… )

It looked like a huge piece of fabric.

Plus it cast a cool shadow:

And then we visited some old favorites:

I LOVE the glow of this lamp:

Jody, I know you will have more astute words about the art, whaddya say?

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