Tagged Friendship: Complicated. Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky

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.

Minnesota: Art Bonanza State

So many art events. So little time.

Minnesota, art bonanza state, is well-populated with artists, art activities, and art events. I met a woman last week who said “You can’t swing a cat in Minnesota without hitting an artist.” Not that I would recommend cat-swinging.

Minnesota Art Bonanza State: It must be a law.

I’m convinced that there is a section in Minnesota statutes or regulations that requires:

  • An artist on every block.
  • Ten art events on every week day.
  • 30-50 art events on every non-holiday weekend.

I’ve given up counting the number of art invites that I get. I’ve lost track (often to my detriment) of the art events to which I could apply. I’m overwhelmed by the opportunities to participate in arts organizations. What to do? Keep making art.

My work. Opening today. Just today.

Here is one example of the Crazy Minnesota Art Bonanza State calendar: I have work in two shows that open today. The NEEMA Fall Fine Arts Show and the Dow Gallery Celebration of Life on the Green Line. Time being what it is (limited for me), I might not get to the NEEMA show today. I will be at the Dow Gallery with Ginger Chili Krispee Treets.

Both shows celebrate their respective “neighborhoods.” NEEMA, an award-winning arts organization, is a lynchpin of Minneapolis’ Northeast Arts Community. The Dow Gallery anchors the west end of the Green Line in Saint Paul.

Tell your GPS to find art!

 

 

Friendship 7 Complicated Sometimes Messy Beautiful if you are lucky. Minnesota Art Bonanza State
Friendship 7 Complicated Sometimes Messy Beautiful if you are lucky

 

Neighborhood 42. Minnesota Art Bonanza State
Neighborhood 42: every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it

Friendship 7 painting accepted for NEEMA Show

Friendship 7: Complicated. Sometimes messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky.

Friendship 7 got lucky. It is a winner in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association (NEEMA) Fall Fine Arts Show lottery. Gotta love a lottery.

NEEMA Fall Fine Arts Show
NEEMA Fall Fine Arts Show

My entry, Friendship 7: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky, is part of a series of paintings that put a new (and I hope abstractly realistic and delightful) face onto friendship. These paintings are squarely inside the nanoscapes tradition: tiny designs in tiny spaces. I make a pencil drawing, carefully work out the “over and unders” and then paint, using triple-zero brushes and a steady hand. I’ve made small (4×6″) and large (12×16″) friendship paintings. Some are round, some fill the canvas, and some are in random shapes.

Friendship 7 Complicated Sometimes Messy Beautiful if you are lucky
Friendship 7 Complicated Sometimes Messy Beautiful if you are lucky

Celebrate at Solar Arts

Join the celebration at the Solar Arts Building, 3rd Floor, 711 15th Avenue NE, Minneapolis 55413. Opening Reception September 16, 6-10 p.m. See some terrific art, and eat, drink and be merry. Catering by Chowgirls Killer Catering. Craft beer from Indeed Brewing and cocktails from Tattersall Distilling. The show runs from September 16-25, and is open to the public Thursday – Sunday.

 

More Friendship Paintings

Contact me directly to determine availability or to commission one for your very own.

Art-a-Whirl 2016: new work and old friends

Northrup King Building, Studio 435

Friday 5-10 * Saturday noon – 8  ** Sunday noon – 5

I am a 2016 Art-a-Whirl guest artist Studio 435. I’ve brought new work and old friends.

 

Peter the Tattooed Parrot Art-a-Whirl 2016
Peter the Tattooed Parrot

 

 

Orange Neighborhoods 1 Art-a-Whirl 2016
Orange Neighborhoods 1

 

 

 

 

 

When he was a tiny parrot Peter the Tattooed Parrot had trouble learning to talk. His parents sent him to a Pediatric Avian Audiologist. The rest is history. …

Black and White Neighborhood Art-a-Whirl 2016
Black and White Neighborhood

Black and White Neighborhood and Orange Neighborhoods 1 is part of my wish for humanity: every piece looks better because of the pieces that surround it. Collaboration. Cooperation. Some Neighborhoods pieces are straight paint (watercolor or acrylic). The others are Paper Mosaics, a new obsession. Having abandoned all activities requiring safety equipment or liability waivers on my 60th birthday put tile and glass cutting and bungee jumping off my list. Undeterred in my quest to celebrate tiny shapes, I’m creating tile from paper, paint and acrylic mediums. #artfun …

Surprised Panda is one of the Pandas from the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul. Two of them visited me, promised to sit for portraits and tell their stories if I promised to provide snacks (Max the Cat is the Snacks Manager) and to keep the location of their Forest a secret. No, the forest is NOT in Como Park.

Friendship #4: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky is part of a series of paintings that explore and celebrate connections. Just as in life, everything is connected.

Shiny Gold from the Clowder of Cats. Who knew that the collective noun for cat was “clowder.” I was closely supervised by Max the Cat, who modeled for this series,

Surprised Panda Art-a-Whirl 2016
Surprised Panda

 

Friendship #4: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you're lucky. Art-a-Whirl 2016
Friendship #4: Complicated. Sometimes Messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky.
Clowder of Cats: Shiny Gold Art-a-Whirl 2015
Clowder of Cats: Shiny Gold

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

 

Round and Round: a painted wood project

 

Very Old Flamingo Appearing at the WARM Show 2014
Very Old Flamingo Appearing at the WARM Show 2014

When I had the Big Flamingo cut from a full sheet of plywood in 1996, I had a dozen sets of bookends made, and the leftovers were cut into 8-inch rounds.  Plans for them were made, and forgotten. They have aged like fine wine (not old cheese), and now I have a use for them.

Along the way, I acquired round pieces of 140# paper, which I can attach to the rounds with gesso. To make the painted wood possible and workable, I put a layer of gesso underneath to act as glue.

Here is the first, a work-in-progress, using the design of the Friendship series. My plan is to finish the links, paint the sides, and spray the whole thing with archival spray to protect the watercolor. I will then cover it with blazingly shiny acrylic medium, inspired by Dar Bunde, of Northstar Watermedia Society, whose brightly colored work with acrylics inspires me every day.

Wooden Round Work-in-progress
Wooden Round Work-in-progress

Friendship. Complicated. Sometimes messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky.

Friendship #5 at Vine Arts Center's Member Show
Friendship #5 at Vine Arts Center’s Member Show

My newest family of paintings comes under the umbrella of “Friendship: Complicated. Sometimes messy. Beautiful if you’re lucky.”  I made the first one in late April 2014, and I’ve been working on large and small ones (in between working on the WARM Project Lost Cave Paintings) ever since.

 

Some who have looked at  this work have suggested that it might be brains or kidneys or traffic jams or swarms of bees.  I prefer “Friendship. Complicated. Sometimes Messy…

Small Victory

Friendship…#5 made the first cut in the Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition, but it wasn’t juried into the final show.

Consolation and a gift

Friendship #5 and some smaller pieces (above) were beautifully and artfully hung by Jack Mader at the Vine Arts Center’s Get Behind the Work #2 show.

Friendship #4.
Friendship #4.
Friendship #2
Friendship #2

New Series: Friendship: Complicated, messy, beautiful if you are lucky

After spending most of my rotator cuff recovery time with Pandas and Frogs in the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul, I recently fell into a new series. Or, perhaps I fell back into the nanoscapes geometric abstractions where I began my watercolor work in 2006.

476-Friendship-Bands-232-100Even in the short time that I’ve worked in this mode, the paintings have changed.  While each band is a completed connection, in the earliest paintings, each was thin and squiggly. More recent paintings have large, exuberant bands that go around and across the pieces. I have no idea what that means.These random bands reminded me instantly of friendship, which is complicated, sometimes messy, and, if  you are lucky, quite beautiful. Wags among my pals made alternative suggestions (brains, kidneys, worms, the inside of a junk drawer).  I prefer friendship.


friendship-bands-7-july-2014250Using my trust double-zero brushes, I paint each band, watching carefully for the over-and-under so that the bands link together. Every band is linked to at least one other. Those are the connection of friendship.How do I begin? As always, with a General GH pencil with a very sharp point. I draw the first line, and then go back and make it into a band with a line that is sometimes parallel, and sometimes wavy to give the band a sense of movement. I add line-after-line and band-after-band until the piece is dense enough to suit my mood.