From Birds

Grand Metaphor: Explains Everything

the grand metaphor: every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it.

Having made abstracts before I could define “abstract” (no art school), I think that I can be forgiven for creating backstories before I could conceive of the Grand Metaphor.

The Grand Metaphor connects the backstories

Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky gave me an excuse to make tiny, interconnected bands using both very sharp pencils and tiny brushes. Each of these bands looks better because of how it twines with its neighbors.

Puzzle Pieces covers a space with interconnected shapes that invite bright colors. Although they don’t touch one another, they are closely related.

Friendship #5. Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you're lucky. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Friendship #5. Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky.
Puzzle Pieces Parrot: Wild Parrots of the Grim Winter of 2013,. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Puzzle Pieces Parrot: Wild Parrots of the Grim Winter of 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original nanoscapes were a jump-off point for a new watercolor painter. I saw my artist pals who could get the spirit of trees, flowers, and mountains with a few whooshes of watercolor and realized that I could never achieve anything resembling their work. I also realized that plein air (outdoor) painters had to share space with insects and humidity — two things that I have dedicated my life to avoiding. Turning indoors and turning inside, I found shapes and spaces and their connections at the tip of my pencils and brushes, and never looked back.

The Genus Papyrus, a group of mosaic creatures who answer the question “What do watercolor artists do with leftover paintings?” They cut them up and make mosaics. The Small Friends’ Research Institute supports research in the Genus Papyrus, and continues to look for good habitat for these creatures: 3 parrots, a hippo, a horse, a cat, and a pig. They are wonderful examples of The Grand Metaphor because each piece fits neatly next to its neighbors.

 

Molecular Biology 115: an original nanoscapes
Molecular Biology 115: An original nanoscape
Herbert Hippopotamidae Papyrus (hippo) from the Genus Papyrus. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Herbert Hippopotamidae Papyrus (hippo) from the Genus Papyrus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sail or The Unmade Bed celebrated the brightest colors that I could create with watercolor and challenges perspective. Note: achieve Bright Water colors with lots of pigment and not a lot of water. Thank you, Russ Dittmar, Watercolorist Extraordinaire.

 

 

The Sail or The Unmade Bed: celebrates color and challenges perspective. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
The Sail or The Unmade Bed: celebrates color and challenges perspective

 

Find the Owl is simply #artfun. Tiny connected shapes and spaces intertwine to create a whimsical boulder hiding an owl.

Orange Flying Crystal is part of a series of six crystal paintings. Inspired by quantity time spent looking at the ceiling at Dulles Airport, these paintings began as doodles and grew into flying crystals that look as if they are ready to leap off the page.

Find the Owl Abstract Artfun. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Find the Owl Abstract Artfun
Orange Flying Crystal. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Orange Flying Crystal: One of six

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painted Stained Glass answers a question that may have troubled you for years: what happens when triangles go wild? The menagerie (family) of stained glass creatures who have stopped by my studio to sit for portraits and tell stories includes: a camel, cats, elephants, flamingos, frogs, hippos, horses, kangaroos, LLLamas (their spelling), parrots, pigs, roosters, a seal, and a warthog.

 

Painted Stained Glass Horse. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Painted Stained Glass Horse. All of the painted stained glass designs answer the troubling question: What happens when triangles go wild?

 

Conversations Connections began as a doodle on a postcard. Several professional pals spent time on conference calls trying to figure out the best way to network our friend into a different job. She didn’t get the job, but I was inspired. One of many pieces that began with a General Pencil 6H drawing. What a pleasure it was to fill in the tiny rectangles and squares with watercolor. A tiny Micron pen (several) made the tiny lines around each piece.

Conversations Connections. Doodling while on a conference call to connect a friend to a different job. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Conversations Connections. Doodling while on a conference call to connect a friend to a different job.

 

Paper Mosaic came to me at a perfect time. When I turned 65 I abandoned all activity requiring safety equipment or liability waivers, thus, no tile cutting, no glass cutting, and no bungee jumping. Paper mosaic — creating tile from paper and acrylic paint and mediums — can be done by anyone at home. I taught the 2017 6th Grade Graduates of Alice Smith Elementary School to make paper mosaic. They made this one as a gift to the school and it hangs in the building.

Mosaic Mural by Alice Smith 6th Grade 2017 part of the Grand Metaphor
Mosaic Mural by Alice Smith 6th Grade 2017

 

Yellow Paper Mosaic part of the Grand Metaphor.
Yellow Paper Mosaic uses tiny bits of acrylic paper and medium covered paper.
Minnesota map paper mosaic. After turning 65, I abandoned activities requiring either safety equipment or liability waivers. Make paper tiles with scissors! Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Minnesota map paper mosaic. After turning 65, I abandoned activities requiring either safety equipment or liability waivers. Make paper tiles with scissors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creatures with Antlers may have the longest backstory. The Pandas and Frogs from the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul decided to expand the metaphorical footprint of The Forest to accommodate creatures from around the world who were being displaced by climate change. The “creatures with antlers” series was originally conceived as birds’ eye views of conclaves of creatures with antlers (including the Jackson’s Chameleon) who were strategizing about climate change. This story became much too complicated to tell all the time. I’ll get it into a book someday.

 

Climate Crusaders Creatures With Multi-colored Antlers 2. Originally conceived as a bird's eye view of a conclave of creatures with antlers meeting in the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul to strategize about climate change. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Climate Crusaders Creatures With Multi-colored Antlers 2. Originally conceived as a bird’s eye view of a conclave of creatures with antlers meeting in the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul to strategize about climate change.

 

Big Neighborhoods are three 22×33 paintings that are joyously self-indulgent, and, perhaps the clearest example of The Grand Metaphor. Watercolor and more watercolor.

Big Neighborhoods 2: every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it. Now covered under The Grand Metaphor.
Big Neighborhoods 2: every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it

 

Shameless Commercial Conversation

In a perfect world, everything would be available with one click. I apologize. Contact me directly to talk about images that you like or ideas that you’d like to explore. For example, paper mosaics can cover a wall and The Sail can be 5-feet long. I look forward to hearing from you.

30 paintings 30 days January 2017

30 paintings 30 days challenge

California-based artist, author, teacher, blogger, and podcaster Leslie Saeta challenged artists all over to world to a January 2017 30 paintings 30 days challenge. I accept.

The last time I did this challenge, I was lucky enough to be visited by 16 Roosters who promptly invited their friends to my studio and into the book, The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul. It was a very busy month, and I learned a lot about chickens and roosters.

Exploring climate change in 30 days

Since I came to Minnesota in July 1992, the state has lost an entire climate zone. Asking “How do you lose a climate zone?” I looked for it, but it appears to have moved to an undisclosed climatic location. One result of that change, though, is an influx of whimsical birds who have moved to Minnesota to avoid cataclysmic weather events in their previous locations.

Whimsical bird refugees

Minnesotans have a history of generosity and of welcoming refugees. With some of the birds unused to life on the frozen tundra, the Pandas of the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul welcomed them into the Forest. As you may know, The Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul is located over a thermal vent, which keeps it at a constant bamboo-supporting temperature.

Max-the-Cat, who schedules portrait-painting appointments with whimsical creatures who visit my studio, tells me that the January schedule is full of birds who are new to Minnesota. I can’t wait to meet them.

First of 30 paintings in 30 days

Max cleverly scheduled the new birds for later this week, so it seems right to honor the new year with a nanoscape — a floating molecule in a stacked box pattern. Abstract molecule makes me think that I should have paid attention when I had opportunities to look at stuff through microscopes. Or not. This way, meaning no disrespect to actual science, I can just make it up.

30 paintings 30 days January 1
30 paintings 30 days January 1

Powderhorn Weekend

An artist on every block

And a festival on every weekend

With Minnesota statues requiring at least one artist on every block and at least one art festival on every weekend, this weekend (August 8-9) is The Annual Three-in-two-days Art Festival Weekend. I will be with my friends at Powderhorn with the Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market.white 350 3 inches

Powderhorn Park is beautiful, uncrowded (even when filled with artists). 34th & 15th Ave, Minneapolis. Saturday 10-6; Sunday 10-5.

Yes — free transportation takes you everywhere. Follow this link.

The Other Festivals are: Loring Park (Saturday – Sunday) and Uptown Art Fair (Friday – Sunday).

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New Art: Cards and Tiny, Original Paintings

I have lots of new cat images because I’ll be at the 4th Walker Cat Video Festival on August 12 at the new Saints’ stadium.  New cats! New birds! New abstracts ranging from calming to crazy!  Cards are $4 each and tiny original paintings that fit into 5×7 frames are $15 each. I know that everyone doesn’t have space for 4-foot paintings. But everyone (and this means you!) has space for 5×7 inches.

For more information about the images below, click on the picture.

Piet Rooster – Mondrian Super Fan

 

Piet Rooster arrived in my studio this morning, and urged me to power through to finish the painting. When a 6-foot-tall Rooster makes a request, the correct answer is “you bet.”

Piet Rooster was fun to paint. His bright color blocks recall the Mondrian-inspired color blocking from the 1960s. I was never in a position to snap up Courreges and Mary Quant color-blocked garments, but Piet always admired them. He is a Piet Mondrian Super-Fan, but goes steps beyond his idol’s famously limited palette.

Making the painting

I smiled from start to finish. He began as a pencil drawing, and then I opened my paint palettes and found lots of my favorite colors. Using a Number 2 brush, I filled in the blocks. My trusty Double-Zero brush was just right for painting the lines.

Piet will be available on prints and cards after July 1. Inquire about purchasing the original.

Piet Rooster, Mondrian Super Fan
Piet Rooster, Mondrian Super Fan

Art in the Hollow – June 6

Is Swede Hollow Park is an enchanted forest?

Join me tomorrow at Art in the Hollow and decide. It’s in Swede Hollow, a park you may never have heard of which will be filled with artists and musicians and Persons of Fun. 10-5.

Follow the directions to Swede Hollow Park.  Yes. It’s in Saint Paul very near Lowertown, 120 feet below the streets.

I will be there in a tent next to Diane May, Super Hero Face Painter and Exquisite Painter of Other Things.

Roosters. LLLamas. Cats. Creatures of Whimsy.

Two books will be tucked into my card rack: Meet the LLLamas and The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul. I’ll have cards and prints with flamingos, LLLamas, parrots, cats, Robert the Tap Dancing Rooster, Peter Pangolin, new roosters, Pinky the Beaded Pig, Glenda Diva Gecko, The Giant Stained Glass Penguin, and more!

 

 

Next up! Artists’ Market

Lucky for me! I spent 2015 Art-a-Whirl at the Keg House Arts Building with members of the Polymer Clay Guild of Minnesota. Their work inspires me.

Artists’ Market!

Next up! Northstar Watermedia’s Artists’ Market (formerly Art-on-a-Line), an all-original watercolor show at the Fine Arts Building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, May 29 and 30. (Free parking, of course)Northstar-postcard-2015-FRONT

All original watercolor

This is a miraculous show. 80 artists start with the same tubes of watercolor or acrylic, and each artist’s work is different from all of the others. You will see this on the Artists’ Wall which has a sample (for sale, of course) of each participants’ work. Be prepared to be astounded at the originality and creativity. Then, remember the tube.

Some of my new work

Yes! Original Rooster portraits from The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul (but not the book) will be at Artists’ Market. Not all of them, of course, but some.

Max the Cat: Muse and Snacks Manager

Max the Cat will be out in force with lots of new images. He is proud of his current job as Manager of Snacks. Each of the Whimsical Creatures who visits my studio is always hungry for snacks. Max makes sure that everyone is satisfied. Fortunately for me, both the creatures and the snacks are Whimsical, otherwise the snacks budget would dwarf that of some small countries.

2015 Art-A-Whirl prep

2015 Art-A-Whirl

Proud to be part of 2015 #ArtAWhirl. I’ll be at the Keg House Arts Building, 34 13th Avenue NE (F8 on the map). I will be among a group of incredibly talented polymer clay artists who will all be celebrate Art-A-Whirl together.

New Work

I will have some new work: a Black Cat Clock piece, a number of round menageries, lots of new work featuring Max the Cat, and new cave art including the two cave birds (below) and Three Cave Frogs.

Work-in-Progress
Work-in-Progress
2015 Art-a-Whirl Postcard
2015 Art-a-Whirl Postcard

At the Dow Art Gallery for the Art Crawl (and beyond)

 Some Artists at the Dow Art Gallery

I stand by my personal label as Whimsical Wildlife Documentarian.

I will deny forever that I am a good photographer. Clearly there is more to learn about photography and Photoshop. How, for example, should light reflections be eliminated without deeply hurting the underlying image. How does an amateur photographer contort herself to get a square or rectangular photo without acquiring permanent back injuries. Make a list for next week.

Come to the Dow Art Gallery to see these works (and many more).

I apologize in advance to the artists whose work I’ve Instagrammed and reproduced here.

Karen Searle Knitted Wire Flowers
Karen Searle Crochet Wire Flowers

 

Peggy Wright Watching
Peggy Wright Watching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terry Palm Serving Breakfast
Terry Palm Serving Breakfast

 

Robert Delutri SubArtParticle Physics
Robert Delutri SubArtParticle Physics
Marjorie Moody Sunflowers
Marjorie Moody Sunflowers
Kelly Doyle Owlets Not Ewoks
Kelly Doyle Owlets Not Ewoks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Dickinson Sunny and Cold
Don Dickinson Sunny and Cold

 

Debra Ripp Orbits
Debra Ripp Orbits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colette Sakschek Hen On Red
Colette Sakschek Hen On Red
Ann Meaning I'm Screaming
Ann Meaning I’m Screaming
Susan Gainen Sam the Snowy Owl Who Went to Mardi Gras
Susan Gainen Sam the Snowy Owl Who Went to Mardi Gras and Never Came Back

 

 

Today is the last day of the Art Crawl. The Gallery is open from 12 to 5 p.m.

3 Cats & 11 Flamingos at the Art Crawl

 

The 3 Cats & 11 Flamingos Acapella Group are starring on my wall at the Dow Art Gallery during the Saint Paul Art Crawl. Click here to download a pass for FREE Green Line transportation for Saturday and Sunday. (Note: you have to take a two-question survey first.)

The group lives and practices in Saint Paul, in a home with a very-well sound insulated practice room. The group has stopped out from their first World Tour to appear at the Dow Art Gallery.

The Dow Art Gallery and the Art Crawl

40 artists share the beautiful light-filled space at the Dow Art Gallery, 2242 University Avenue West, Saint Paul. Start your Art Crawl journey in the Dow, then hop onto the Green Line for a complete Saint Paul Art Journey.

 

3 Cats and 11 Flamingos Acapella
3 Cats and 11 Flamingos Acapella

St. Paul Art Crawl — up next!

 

Multi-task: Explore Saint Paul’s Art Community, Visit the Dow Gallery, & Ride the Green Line for Free

Saint Paul Art Crawl
Saint Paul Art Crawl

 

Dow Art Gallery: a bright-light & art-filled gallery at 2242 University Avenue West

Up up and away!  Come to the Gallery at the Dow Building for the St. Paul Art Crawl. See the work of 40 Gallery Artists, and then, as a bonus, visit the artists in the Dow Building itself.  One stop for lots of great art!

Where is the Gallery?

It faces directly on University Avenue, and gives you access to the rest of the Dow Building

What will I bring?

Originals, prints and cards of Roosters, LLLamas, Cats, Flying Penguins, Pigs, Frogs & Pandas, a never-before seen Giant Panda Portrait, Cave Paintings, Friendship (all sizes), and Flying Crystals. I will also have signed copies of The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul and Meet the LLLamas.  And one of the snacks that draws both creatures and humans to my studio, Judith Olney’s Joy of Chocolate Pound Cake

Events (so far) in the Gallery

Free Performance Showing by SoulPlay/CathyAnn Beaty
Show time on Saturday @ 11am and 2pm

Free Green Line Bus passes!

Live Rooster showing by Collette Sakschek

Live Music, Food, and Beverages!

Fundraising for Cancer Kids. Selling Pints of the famous “Tiger Jack” created by Barb Pinc. Proceeds go to the Cancer Kids foundation.

 

SpringPostersmall

 

Free rides on the Green Line

Download at www.artcrawl.org. The Green Line comes right to the front door of the Dow Gallery.

Free Rides to the Art Crawl
Free Rides to the Art Crawl