From Art business

Blue Cat from Clowder of Cats

Blue Cat Nags Human

The Blue Cat from the Clowder of Cats has been nagging. “Where is my portrait? Why can’t my legion of fans get copies? What do you do all day? Nap??!!??”

While others have accused me of allowing my affection for cats to get out of hand, the Blue Cat will have none of it. “You are ignoring my public!”

Very Blue Cat from the Clowder of Cats
Very Blue Cat from the Clowder of Cats

Find prints

The prints are easy to find at ETSY. They are digital prints made on Epson paper with archival Epson ink. Each is printed on 8-1/2 x 11 paper and is unmatted. If you are in Minneapolis, call ahead to see if prints are available at The Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market (612-965-8581).

Chatting with Very Blue Cat

“Clowder,” as you know, is the collective noun for cats. Similar to “convocation of eagles” and “battery of barracudas,” it means everything and evokes something that you are not quite certain exists. As a fan of mystery fiction, I am partial to “murder of crows,” but that is for another day.

The Very Blue Cat is part of a Clowder of Cats which I paint in Saint Paul Minnesota, and model on a photograph of Max-the-Cat, the model, muse, and snacks manager.

Very Blue Cat is purr-snickety, and complains a lot. He always wants more and better food. (“I like BIG shrimp.”) The sun, which travels around my home studio onto a staircase, onto windowsills, and, for a good part of the day, is in front of a sliding glass door, provides insufficient sunshine-vitamin-D. Or so he says, not realizing that my condo earned architectural awards for use of sunlight in the Frozen North.

He has strong opinions, urging farmers to grow more catnip, and ice-cream makers to create cat nip ice cream. Were he an interior designer, his clients would have only very soft pillows for naps, which would be rearranged (and fluffed), hour-by-hour as the sun moves through the houses. I would wonder who his clients might be? The humans? Or the Cats?

While sitting on my porch, he has long conversations with local squirrels, and one of his best friends is Barky-the-Squirrel. Between Barky’s barking and Very Blue’s cat-like chirp-and-growl, they keep local birds on their toes.

Max Models for the Clowder of Cats (including the Blue Cat)
Max Models for the Clowder of Cats (including the Blue Cat)

Valentine’s Day: deliver a nanoscapes’ heart

2017 nanoscapes’ heart

Making an annual valentine is a pure pleasure, and the 2017 nanoscapes’ heart was no exception. Share a an original art valentine with a friend or with your sweetie. Or share a print. Or give a coloring project. This nanoscapes’ heart is an original watercolor ($100, unmatted, unframed subject to availability), a digital print ($25 unmatted, unframed); and the nanoscapes’ heart coloring page is a dollar digital download. They are all at ETSY, and accessible and available quick as a wink.

 

nanoscapes' heart 2017
nanoscapes’ heart 2017

 

nanoscapes' heart valentine 2017
nanoscapes’ heart valentine 2017

 

Coloring page at The Art Shoppe

The coloring page 2017 nanoscapes’ heart is at The Art Shoppe (2.50 per sheet).

Coloring pages have a heart

A Valentine heart coloring page

Drawing the first of the nanoscapes Valentine coloring pages was an unalloyed pleasure, as was painting the original ($100, limited availability at ETSY), and creating a digital print ($25, at ETSY). This 2017 Nanoscapes Valentine Heart is a dollar digital download at ETSY. You have choices: the original watercolor painting (get it before it disappears!), an archival digital print (Epson paper and ink), or a project (the coloring page.)

nanoscapes valentine 2017
Nanoscapes Valentine 2017 Dollar Digital Download at https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/SusanGainen/tools/listings/506928367

My pals have urged me to make coloring books for a decade

Adult coloring books stopped being a trend and coloring pages are now a tidal wave. I was a little slow getting to the coloring pages project, but I’m now at it all the time. I go everywhere with a pad of Bristol paper, 6H pencils, erasers, and a tiny brass pencil sharpener.

A collection of coloring pages

Common advice to writers is “go with what you know,” and I followed it. Making coloring pages based on nanoscapes’ designs lets me revisit the tiny shapes and spaces that I’ve explored since childhood with doodles, and with paint since I took James Boyd Brent’s Splitrock Short Watercolor Class in 2006.

Making a book to my satisfaction is much more complicated than I imagined, so I have made these pages into dollar (plus tax) digital downloads at my ETSY shop in the Adult Coloring Page section. Print them onto card stock. Get our your sharp pencils, tiny paint brushes, or pens and markers. Have fun!

Click to see the pages, then dollar download at ETSY

Click on each image to learn more about Orbs (an original nanoscape), Stacked Boxes, Boxes and Dots, Painted Knitted Metal 31, Demented Dominos, Stalagmites and Curves, Find the Owl!, Terrazzo Molecules, Friendship Bands, and Conversations Connections. There are now 24 coloring pages in The ADULT COLORING PAGES of my ETSY shop. I often add new pages.

Celebration! St. Paul Winter Carnival Show

2016 yields to 2017 with Celebration!

Happy to announce that Celebration!, an original acrylic painting, will be in the 2016 Saint Paul Carnival Fire & Ice Show. Thus, I’m able to end the otherwise troubling and weird 2016 with good news and to begin 2017 with “Celebration!”

 

Celebration!
Celebration!

How was it made? How did this happen?

Thanks go to the Fabulous Bonnie Cutts, who confirmed that a-bought-from-a-sale-table bottle of Golden High Flow Acrylics really was supposed to make little fern fronds. Although the effect was cool, I’d never seen it before, and, typical of me, thought it might be defective. Not so. The fern-fronds are a signature of High Flow Acrylic.

I covered four 5×7 and one 12×16 boards with white gesso, and dropped High Flow colors while the gesso was still wet. Watching it make patterns was like watching a series of tiny miracles. No microscopes needed.

I waited until the gesso was dry, dabbed some Golden Glass Bead Gel onto the boards, and waited for that to dry. I covered each board with Golden Self-Leveling Clear Gel and let that dry. With my handy tube of  that most superior of adhesives, E-6000, I glued the four small boards to the big one. The frame — shiny red, and who doesn’t love shiny red? — came from Goodwill as plain dark wood. It got serious sanding and lots of coats of Gloss Sunrise Red Rust-oleum. A pint of shiny red paint goes a long way. The large board, popped into the frame in reverse, is held by shiny red clips.

Golden High Flow Acrylic Fronds
Golden High Flow Acrylic Fronds

Fire & Ice: Opening Reception January 21, 6-10 pm

To cap a very busy day (this is the day of the Women’s March on Minnesota), the Winter Carnival Art Show Opening Reception will be at the AZ Gallery, Saturday January 21 from 6 to 10 pm.  Join us!

Fire & Ice: Winter Carnival Art Show
Fire & Ice: Winter Carnival Art Show

Cat Lovers Need Cat Crime Mugshots

Cat owners know cat crime

Cats look so peaceful when they sleep. Nonsense. They are plotting cat crime.

If you live with cats, you are a victim of cat crime. You wake up to find socks missing, valuable glass in pieces, stray outdoor animal and plant life on the stairs and in the middle of the living room. Depending on the quality of your laundry detergent, you may find cat hair on fresh sheets, and evidence of your white cat’s nap on your black t-shirts. Cat crime is everywhere and all the time.

Visit the police precinct

None of your cats will own up to these felonies, so you may eventually go to your local police precinct to see a photo array of neighborhood cat criminals. Good luck with that.

Mugshots Mugshotz Cat Crime Photo Array
Mugshots Mugshotz Cat Crime Photo Array

 

Cat Crime, Mugshotz and Mugshots

This piece was originally called “Mugshotz,” until I realized that the clever misspelling would be defeated by Search Engine Optimization, so it is now “Mugshots.”

Why celebrate cat crime? Recycling.

I made the original (16×20) mixed media piece from 12 four-inch cat faces that I painted for the 2015 Cat Video Festival in Saint Paul. I packaged them with magnets as “Cats-on-the-Fridge.” They were spectacularly unsuccessful and all but two came home with me. After sulking for a while, they begged to go out into the world again. Not that they didn’t like me, you understand, but they were bored. Here they are. The original, subject to availability, is $120 plus the actual cost of shipping. Contact me directly.

Prints and cards

Prints (8×10 and other sizes to order) and cards are available through The Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. Come to the Market for the art and stay for the fabulous food. For anyone NOT in the Twin Cities, find prints and cards at ETSY.

New work review: fish parts plus

The range of new work surrounding me calls for both an exploration (what is she up to?) and a celebration (perhaps she’ll finally finish some of these projects.) It’s no surprise that my two favorite hashtags are #work-in-progress and #artfun. I may deserve a magpie award: lots of projects in various stages of completion.

Fish Parts Mirror

New work comes and goes in stages. The Fish Parts Mirror is part of the paper mosaic family which bubbled up in 2016. It will be a fish-with-a-round-mirror. What’s the hold up? This looks like a simple glue job. But no. The wooden fish substrate has curves and bumps that need to be smoothed out with layers of gesso. Then, the fish parts need to be fitted together. Funnily enough, what fits fine when flat doesn’t fit as well over bumps and lumps. But you knew that.

Fish Parts Mirror paper mosaic. New work on a wooden substrate.
Fish Parts Mirror paper mosaic. New work on a wooden substrate.

 

 

Coloring book pages in many stages

Where is the coloring book? Coloring pages have been in the new work pile for more than a year. I have lots of pages, but putting them together into a book that makes sense is a lot harder than it would appear. Questions abound:

  1. How big should the book be? This is a two-part question because it refers to size-of-the-page and number of pages.
  2. Should I include full-color versions of each page? Because all of the designs are based on original abstracts, the book won’t look like others in the market. I am cautiously optimistic that some people may be up for the challenge. On the other hand, painting each of these pages would be enormously pleasurable and a potential black-hole-time-waste.
  3. Each design has a story. How much to I tell. Where would it go? On the back of each coloring page? How much — if any — might be interesting, useful, or fun?

In the meantime, more than 20  pages are dollar digital downloads in the Adult Coloring Pages section of my etsy shop.

Square DNA Coloring Page: new work
Square DNA Coloring Page: new work

 

 

Blocks and Arrows Coloring Page: new work
Blocks and Arrows Coloring Page: new work

 

 

 

Dots & Dominos 2 Coloring Page: New work
Dots & Dominos 2 Coloring Page: New work

 

 

Golden Brand High Flow Acrylic: new medium for #artfun

Black and White High Flow Acrylic: new work
Black and White High Flow Acrylic: New work

 

High Flow Ferns Blue Green Red: new work
High Flow Fern Feet Blue Green Red: new work

With the same magical impact on my painting as Golden Glass Bead Gel, Golden’s High Flow Acrylics rocked my world.

Bead Gel, as you may know, contains tiny glass beads suspended in a clear acrylic medium that allows artists to make things bumpy and shiny. High Flow Acrylics do a lot of things that I haven’t explored.

What fascinated me when I got my first sample from the “sale” table at Dick Blick, was that when a blob is dropped into liquid (gesso was my first),  the blobs expand and then grow tiny fern feet. I was concerned (was this paint supposed to do that?) and curious. I sent an email to Golden Artist-in-Residence and Acrylic Diva Bonnie Cutts, who kindly replied that yes, the little feet were part of High Flow’s characteristics. She also sent a cool video. I’ve been playing with this stuff ever since.

The images at right are experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New work for holidays

Having made dozens of Flying Pigs and Elephants this year, it’s clear that I love spending “tiny time” with shapes and creatures. The Holidays (all of ’em) are upon us, and it’s time to turn to ornaments. I’m making a few Holiday Stars that will be studded with shiny stuff (stainless steel beads, etc.) Multi-level Stars of David will be shiny with optimism. Unless there is a groundswell of demand, I will make just three three-dimensional Red-Eye’d Bat postcards which will come with envelopes. All are subject to availability. Contact me directly.

Stars of David New Work
Stars of David New Work
Shiny Bats Postcards New Work
Shiny Bats Postcards New Work
Holiday Stars New Work
Holiday Stars New Work

Big Neighborhoods Community Coloring Page

Community Coloring Page

Big Neighborhoods 2 is all about getting people, things and ideas to work together. Handing colleagues and roommates pens and markers to work together on a Community Coloring Page will support teamwork and create laughter. Thanks go to the very nice man who saw it during  Saint Paul Art Crawl and plans to buy one for his company’s break room.

What a great idea.

Hang your Community Coloring Page

Create community in:

  1. An office
  2. A dorm
  3. A sorority or fraternity house
  4. A retirement home
  5. A community center
  6. A waiting room
  7. A recreation center
  8. Your choice

The Big Neighborhoods 22×33 Coloring Page will be available at the Vine Arts Center Holiday Sale, December 3-4, 2016.   $48 plus tax.

Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page by mail

Each is packed in a sturdy mailing tube. $48 plus $16 shipping plus tax. Click here.

Weekend plan: Do the Dow & Pop into Peggy’s Holiday Boutique

 

Two wonderful art events this weekend: Do the Dow (at the Dow Building at 2242 University Avenue W.) and Peggy’s Holiday Boutique, a 30+year tradition at the Roseville Oval. Each show has one of my favorite paintings.

Do the Dow

Artists with studios at the Dow Building and who are part of Khanh Tran’s Dow Gallery will be opening their doors and celebrating their art. Count on great food and music and lots of fun. Friday 6-10; Saturday 12-6.

3 Cats and 11 Flamingos Acapella
3 Cats and 11 Flamingos Acapella (original $125; prints $30)

 

Peggy’s Holiday Boutique

A 30+ year tradition with more than 100 artists’ work, the Roseville Oval hosts Peggy’s Holiday Boutique. It is a vortex of creative energy, and the artists’ work includes jewelry, painting, ceramics,glass, fudge (yes! fudge), wood work, leather, candles, and so much more. You will find some locally and nationally recognized artists. Friday: 10-8:30; Saturday 10-6; Sunday 10-4.

 

5 cave parrots
Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul: 5 Cave Parrots (original $250)

St. Paul Art Crawl: Help the Zebras Find Their Stripes

 

Help the Zebras Find Their Stripes

Come to the Dow Gallery (2242 University Avenue W) on Sunday, October 11 from 1-2 for a Saint Paul Art Crawl Make-and-Take workshop. Two of my old friends, Wall Street Zebra (below) and Xavier Camo Zebra (far below), invite you to Help the Zebras Find stripes or dots or anything else that you think might be fun for a Zebra. Camo Zebra? Incognito Zebra? Wherever your imagination takes you (and your zebra!)

50 wall street zebra

Help the Zebras Find Their Stripes

51 zavier camo zebra

Art Crawls: Dow Gallery-St. Paul & Savage-Scott Co.

Two in 1 weekend: I need a scheduler

Somewhere in the Minnesota Constitution it says that an artist must live on every block and that there must be at least on art event on every weekend. I am my building’s artist, and this weekend I will be in two art events: The Saint Paul Art Crawl at the Dow Gallery (I will be there Friday night and all day Sunday, and will teach “Help the Zebras Find Their Spots” on Sunday from 1-2); and the Scott County Art Crawl (10-4 on Saturday).

The Saint Paul Art Crawl At the Dow Gallery

The Dow Art Gallery (2242 University Avenue West) is in the iconic Dow Building, home to a large community of artists working across disciplines. The Gallery is a beautifully lit space on the Green Line and artists line up for space there because of the light and location.  Be prepared to have your jaw drop at the talent.

A true nanoscape

Having selfishly hung The Tall Silos of Iowa in my house for years, I finally realized that I don’t need to keep all of my favorite paintings forever. It was the first of my paintings ever to be juried into a show, and it is a true nanoscape: tiny spaces, tiny brushes, tiny designs.  Inspired by my first trip to Iowa, I decided that the silos needed some sprucing up. It is beautifully framed (9×22) in a bright orange metallic frame with a domed triple mat. $220 plus tax from Dow Gallery.

 

Tall Silo of Iowa
Tall Silo of Iowa

 

Top of the Silo
Top of the Silo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help the Zebras Find Their Stripes at the Dow on Sunday

For children of all ages: 1-2 pm at the Dow.

 

Help the zebra find her stripes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott County Art Crawl: Savage MN Saturday October 10

I will be at the Savage City Hall Community Room, 6000 McColl Drive. Come to meet the Clowder of Cats! Here are two of them.