From Roosters

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

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!

 

 

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

Whimsical Wildlife & more at the Dow Building Gallery

 

Whimsical Wildlife & more at Frame by Frame, the Dow Building Gallery
Whimsical Wildlife & more at Frame by Frame, the Dow Building Gallery

What’s inside the Dow Building? Lots of artists and a great gallery.

What’s inside the Dow Building on University Avenue? Khanh Tran of  Frame by Frame opened a huge light-filled gallery for Dow Building Artists (and others), and the Whimsical Wildlife and Geometric Abstractions have a new home.

Saint Paul Art Crawl Spring 2015

I’ll be there for the 2015 Saint Paul Art Crawl, April 24-26. Friday 6-10 pm. Saturday 12-8 pm. Sunday 12-5 pm.

The Dow Building and gallery address is 2242 University Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55414. Check out the map and put it on your calendar.

Waiting for you…

The Cave Seal #2: The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
The Cave Cat: The Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul
Two 3-D Backyard Roosters (From The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul)
Sam the Snowy Owl Who Went to Mardi Gras and Never Came Back (From The Small Friends’ Chronicles)
The French Roosters (From The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul)
3 Cats & 11 Flamingos Sing Acapella
The Great Leafy Bunny of New Hampshire (From The Small Friends’ Chronicles)
Friendship #5: Messy. Sometimes Complicated. Beautiful if you’re lucky.
Flying Red Crystals

 

The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul

From the Small Friends’ Research Institute

Spreading Rooster Whimsy

Coming to print & e-book by mid-March 2015…

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

The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul has 41 pages of portraits and stories of the Rooster leadership in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Some of the 42 roosters in the book…

 

30-paintings-in-30-days: Done!

 A big shout out to Leslie Saeta for the January 2015 30-paintings-in-30-days challenge!

January 2015 30-paintings-in-30-days
January 2015 30-paintings-in-30-days

Beginning the new year with the challenge to sit down and make a painting every day was a great way to begin the year, but not too far out of my comfort zone. I have been posting an image-a-day (with some exceptions) since 2011, but having a group of artists painting along with me in cyberspace gave the project an interesting dimension. Waking up to see other artists’ 30-paintings-in-30-days work on Leslie’s blog was a gift.

Collage

And, bravo to picmonkey.com for creating an amazingly intuitive and easy place to make this collage — for free. Thank you!

All of these images appear in my 30-paintings-in-30-days gallery. Some are for sale as originals or prints, some are on products at zazzle.com. Click on the gallery to explore!  Contact me directly for unique ways to use the images.

Coming Soon:  The Roosters will join a group of more than 35 in a new publication (ebook, etc)., The Backyard Roosters of Saint Paul, sponsored by the Small Friends’ Research Institute which supports all of the whimsical wildlife work.