By susangainen

Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian. Abstract Painter. Writer. Teacher. Explorer.

Color storage: perennial problem

Color storage: what to do?

A mad obsession with paint colors creates a problem: storage. No surprise. I have a history of color storage issues.

Crayons out of the original box

When my color choices were among 24 Crayola crayons, the problems were about corralling the stubs. My Mother was not keen on crayon bits all over the house. Crayons ground into carpet are just not nice. Fortunately, during my Prime Crayon Years, the box held just 24 crayons.

Crayola 24 Pack
Crayola 24 Pack

Yarns by type and color

When my color choices were among a zillion colors of yarns, the solution was to bag and tag them by type (crochet cotton, other cotton, silk, acrylic, multi-color, wool), by color, and then by function (crochet, needlepoint). Many bags. Many many bags. I finally learned to put them into more-or-less clear bags for easy-ish sorting.

When I gave up needlepoint, I de-yarned myself, and gave the yarn and a ton of fabric to the amazingly creative beatrixjar.

Paintbox simply chunky from bloglove knitting
Paintbox simply chunky from bloglove knitting

Paints: tubes, tubs, bottles and more

When my color choices are among paints, I’m in trouble. Having begun as a watercolor purist (no acrylic touched my lips), only to pile onto acrylic and acrylic mediums, acquiring colors with abandon, I have created a massive paint-and-mediums pile-up in my living room studio. There are watercolors, acrylic paints and mediums, acrylic inks, airbrush paints, gesso in many colors, glass paint, glitter paint, and so many more.

My studio mates do not complain. Phil and Max run, walk, and jump over everything with dignity.

Tub of acrylic inks 2019
Whose idea was a 9×13 pan?

Como Fest Saturday’s Fastest Art Fair

Head to Como Park

Como Fest at the Como Pavilion in the park on Lexington Avenue. Saturday July 13, 2019.  10 am – 2 pm

What could be better? Local artists under the Pavilion Roof. Free Parking. Near the Como Zoo.

New work

Introducing customizable birthday greetings for a new baby. Get it on ETSY.

Welcome Baby Customizable 13x19 customized archival print. $30.
                                                        Welcome Baby Customizable 13×19 customized archival print. $30.

 

New Original Cats – Acrylic Mosaic
One of a Kind $60 each

Gerald asked for a leopard outfit because he loves dots
Gerald asked for a leopard outfit because he loves dots
Camo Cat believes that his superpower is invisibility
Camo Cat believes that his superpower is invisibility

Found Art Sparks Imagination

Found Art Found Treasures

This found art turned up when I put things away after the Mystery of Cats Art Festival. I hadn’t seen it in two years, and its simplicity was striking. After having spent seven months creating intense and dense patterns for new cats, the plain shapes in this piece have an appeal. I painted in some blanks and now call it “possibly finished.”

The plan

With luck, I may create a really big (22×33) painting with solid shapes, one with a combination of patterned and solid shapes, and a few small pieces. I’d also like to make something like this in three dimensions. Creating a new dimension expands the meaning of “found art” and circles back to one of the goals that I set years ago as a protege in the WARM (Women’s Art Resource of Minnesota) mentor program: Work in 3D. (Note: WARM is going strong; the mentor program is on hiatus.)

Found Art Inspiration
Found Art Inspiration

Finding Possibilities

Having been making paintings since 2009 and having limited ability to dispose of anything — I suspect that a serious sort-and-organize project will unearth plenty of found art possibilities.

From Vandalism Art is the Best Revenge

Art is the best revenge

Murdered Honda CRV
Murdered Honda CRV

Two bits of random (non-lethal) auto injury made me realize that Art is the Best Revenge.

Two weeks ago, my beloved 1999 Honda CRV was murdered in a hit-and-run. She was legally parked on Lake Street in Minneapolis, and was collateral damage to the work of an Evildoer, who smashed a car into mine.

The estimable staff at Bobby & Steve’s carefully explained the damage. GEICO, my insurance company of 37 years, said “Totaled.”

Cars near me for $1000

Mazda at the Dealership: Art is the Best Revenge
Mazda at the Dealership: Art is the Best Revenge

Acting like any 21st century gal, I took the $1100 insurance check, Googled “CARFAX, cars near me for $1000,” and went to Luxury Imports Auto Sales, North Branch, MN. Waiting for me was a 2003 Mazda Protege Rustbucket. “I have purple duct tape,” I said, and declared that it would become an Art Car.

Mazda Art Car with duct tape
Mazda Art Car with duct tape

 

 

 

 

Based on a favorite stained glass design that I often paint, I made a plan. I started researching rust management, auto painting, and industrial glues that could attach a plastic bib covered with recycled plastic bits. Why not make the stained glass designed out of recycled colored plastic? How will I do that? Why not learn something new every day?

Add injury to injury: a broken window

Glass bits of inspiration Art is the best revenge
Glass bits of inspiration: Art is the best revenge

Two days after first parking in my underground locked garage, either a random vandal or a heretofore unidentified Force of Nature attacked the Art Car and broke her passenger-side window. This is not something that you want to encounter before your second cup of coffee.

Again, Art is the best revenge

Tiny glass bits were everywhere. Beautiful tiny glass bits were everywhere.I had never noticed how beautiful tiny bits of safety glass could be.  After calling GEICO, the police, and the glass company, I scooped up as much as I could and made yet another plan: Embed glass bits into paint. I can’t wait to work them into tiny random shapes, whimsical wildlife, and as-yet-unimagined art pieces.

NOTE: As many of you know, when I turned 65, I abandoned activities requiring safety equipment and liability waivers, which means no tile cutting, no glass cutting, and no bungee jumping. I am making an exception for working with glass bits: the glass is pre-cut and tweezers don’t count as safety equipment.

Glass Bits Red: Art is the best revenge
Glass Bits Red: Art is the best revenge
Green and Black Glass Bits: Art is the best revenge
Green and Black Glass Bits: Art is the best revenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artists find inspiration everywhere.

 

 

Blue-eyed Cat for the Art Crawl

Blue-eyed cat

The Blue-eyed Cat is part of an inter-species series of creatures who were delighted (in the nicest possible way) that I spent some of 2018 somewhat uninspired. Pushing on, following the “make art every day” principle, I made sheets and sheets of tiny abstract designs. I had an Artist Epiphany in October (an odd thing for a Jewish person, but an epiphany nonetheless), and realized that even if my Dear Departed Mother were to come back to life, that no one would buy any of these patterned sheets. Luckily enough, as a Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian, I am surrounded by creatures who were delighted to say “thank you for making our new body parts.”

See these and other creatures, as well as some mind-expanding abstracts at Show Gallery Lowertown at the Saint Paul Art Crawl, April 26-27-28.

 

Blue Eyed Cat With Abstract Body Parts
Blue Eyed Cat With Abstract Body Parts

Inter-species siblings

The line-up for new body parts was quite long, dominating my tiny living room studio space. Fortunately all of the creatures who visit me abide by the No Poop in the

Yellow Rooster Waits Impatiently for Spring at the Art Crawl
Yellow Rooster Waits Impatiently for Spring at the Art Crawl

Studio Rule — it’s my living room, after all.

Hippo walks in the moonlight at the Art Crawl
Hippo walks in the moonlight at the Art Crawl      
Big Roo Art Crawl District Spotlight Winner
Big Roo Art Crawl District Spotlight Winner
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle at the Art Crawl
Camouflage Hippo Seeks a Monacle at the Art Crawl

 

Fish-in-progress

Always hanging around, The Fish waits patiently for his tiny body parts. He is a great kibitzer, chatting up new and visiting creatures, showing them where the snacks are kept.

Fish Work in Progress
Fish-in-Progress

Red Cat Gets Art Crawl Whisker Trim

Whisker Trim for The Art Crawl

Cats care exceedingly about their whiskers, and Red Cat is not exception. There was an enormous amount of caterwauling while the Red Cat was at Hair and Makeup. How short should his whiskers be? Were they shiny enough? The tricky one — do they match? — came in at a resounding “no,” be he was OK with that.

Red Cat Art Crawl Whisker Trim
Red Cat Art Crawl Whisker Trim

Saint Paul Art Crawl at The Show Gallery

Red Cat, Red Roo, (District Spotlight Winner) and a menagerie of whimsical creatures will be at The Show Gallery, 346 N. Sibley Street, Saint Paul from Friday April 26 to Sunday April 28. The Gallery is half a block from the Green Line and a block from Union Station. It is super accessible because it is on the ground floor. Come to Saint Paul. See local artists. Support local artists. Thank you.

Click Here for Free Transit Passes for Saturday and Sunday!

New Cats for the Saint Paul Art Crawl

New Cats for the Art Crawl*

As the 2019 Saint Paul Art Crawl approaches, my studio has been very very busy. Cats came and went. Cats came back. Cats lined up. Cats caterwauled. Cats waited patiently and impatiently for hair and makeup. They are looking forward to being at The Show Gallery in Lowertown.

Art Crawl Cats Waiting for Hair and Makeup
Art Crawl Cats Waiting for Hair and Makeup

Gray and White Cats for the Art Crawl*

The Gray and White Cats have waited very very patiently for some months as they haggled between themselves and with me (occasionally) about how their hair and makeup would work. We finally agreed on a mixture of acrylic paints, and acrylic mediums (Golden Clear Tar Gel).

Gray and White Art Crawl Cats
Gray and White Art Crawl Cats

Two Cats on Two Canvases for the Art Crawl*

These cats are Fraternal Twins who loved their many trips to hair, makeup, and wardrobe. In their minds, their costumes are covered with jewels and precious metals. Don’t confuse them with facts.

2 Cats Two Canvases for the Art Crawl
2 Cats Two Canvases for the Art Crawl

Not just The Art Crawl*

These cats and other creatures are equally thrilled to be part of Art in the Hollow, Art-a-Whirl, Mystery of Cats Art Festival, and  Dakota County Arts in the Park.

2019 Festivals Short List

ADDITIONAL EVENTS:

ART-A-WHIRL— IN THE WARM (WOMEN’S ART RESOURCES) DEN, SOLAR ARTS BUILDING
MAY 17,18,19

DAKOTA COUNTY ARTS IN THE PARK
AUGUST 3 – 1-4 PM
THOMPSON COUNTY PARK, WEST SAINT PAUL

 

Purple Squirrels and Multi-colored Squirrels

Purple Squirrels & Multi-colored Squirrels: Fact? Fiction?

Purple Squirrels and Multi-colored Squirrels blend fact, fantasy, whimsy and weirdness.

As a Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian,I am always glad to see whimsy validated by actual, genuine fact-based reporting. Thank you, Smithsonian. Wandering your halls a child was one magical trip after another. Now that I live in Minnesota, I rely on the magazine and the web.

Purple Squirrel Confounds Recruiters
Purple Squirrel Confounds Recruiters

Purple Squirrels History

Purple Squirrels, as you may know (from reading my old blog post) are candidates whose qualifications make them impossible to find, let alone recruit. Consider searching for the patent attorney licensed in four states and three countries who speaks four languages and holds 14 patents. Good luck finding her.

Actual Giant Multi-colored Squirrels Roaming Indian Forests

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Giant Multi-colored Squirrels (Malabar Giant Squirrel) roam the forests of Southern India. Is this a case of fact catching up with whimsy or the collision of fact and whimsy, or something else? Where is Charles Darwin when we need him?

Giant Multi-colored squirrel
Giant Multi-colored squirrel from the Forests of Southern India (photo credit: Kauskik Vijayan/SWNS.com)

Big Red Rooster Spotlight Winner Saint Paul Art Crawl 2019

Kudos to Big Red Rooster

Congratulations to Big Red Rooster, whose image made him (and me, too) a District Winner in the 2019 Saint Paul Art Crawl. We will be at The Show Gallery Lowertown on April 26-28. Find Red’s portrait on page 11 of the Art Crawl Catalog.

Big Red
Big Red

 

Big Red Rooster leads the pack?

Big Red can’t really “lead the pack,” because there is no collective noun for rooster. What he does lead is a group of roosters and other creatures made from abstract paintings whose tiny designs were comforting to make at a time when a little bit of obsession seemed like a good idea.

Why is there no collective noun for roosters? Think about it. They don’t hang out together.

Artist Epiphany

After painting sheet after sheet, I had an Artist Epiphany. I realized that no one — not even my Late Mother should she have come back to life — would have the slightest interest in buying these abstract paintings. Luckily for the Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian (me) I am surrounded by creatures, including roosters, who stepped up and said “Thank you for creating new body parts for us.”

More Roosters

The cackling that you hear is from the roosters in The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul, which I wrote and illustrated before learning that you can’t have roosters in Saint Paul. Who knew? I will have copies at the Crawl, they are available at The Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market, or you can get it at Amazon.

The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul
The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul

 

Exploring Plaid Creates Joyful Jumble

Exploring Plaid and making a Joyful Jumble

Calling this exercise “exploring plaid,” demonstrates the folly of research-free design. I looked for a path that would be different from my design comfort zone (random). Marching forward with no data, I imagined that I could insert horizontal and vertical lines of color and make “plaid.”

Anyone who knows anything about plaid, knows that there are different types of plaids, and each has historic and cultural significance. This may be a Joyful Jumble, but it is NOT plaid.

It is, however, an example of #everypiecelooksbetterbecauseofthepiecesthatsurroundit one of my favorite Instagram hashtags.

 

Plaid or not? A Joyful Jumble
Plaid or not? A Joyful Jumble