Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crafty in Easthampton

In a previous post I made a big list of Easthampton Etsyers These folk are pretty talented. I especially love fernanimals work and check her shop all the time for new critters. I'm thinking now of starting an Easthampton Street Team on Etsy. I've just emailed zerkahloostra (see her eyeball kid digital camera case) to see about joining the Western Mass Street team, which would be fab, but hey, we've got talent here in E'town I'm saying.

I've been busy in the sweatshop creating some new items for the shop. For example, check out these eyeglass cases! I'm making two different types, one that closes with a button, the other is just basically a slip in type case. I wish I had time to make one for myself!

reclaimed urban garden - now with soon to be mini mural!!

We've been talking about doing this for two years now! Finally, on this hot and sticky Sunday morning, my hot and sticky boyfriend and I managed to get out there and do some scraping and priming. This mini reclaimed urban area garden has been in the works for three years now (or more?), and the perennials are coming up nicely, the new grass and coneflowers came back after a scary-cold winter. It was a tough spot to get established considering it was full of refuse, brick and mortar dust, rocks, and very very poor soil. But two bags of cow manure and lots of tender loving care the first two years have turned this spot into a nice little oasis.

If you are wondering where it is, it's located behind Mt. Tom's Homemade Ice Cream and Candy Store at 34 Cottage Street, Easthampton, MA. Come in and get a cone and ask Jim (pictured above) to have a look at the garden. Perhaps by the time you come the mural will be already started. Sketches to follow soon. We are thinking it will be a landscape with, what else, but Mt. Tom and Nashawannuk Pond?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Church Street painting almost done

It's nearly there. Just waiting approval from its new owner. This is a bad, bad, bad photo! This is a tough canvas to photograph and there is a lot of reflection happening in the tree area on the right side of the canvas in this photo. I can get one side looking good and the reflection is there on the other.
I'm much more content with the foliage in this canvas than I was with the mural panel at Bueno's. It feels more "tree like" even though it is greatly stylized.

I'm usually very interested in fine detail, as seen in my paintings of glass, architectural detail (as in the painting of the Abbey Chapel Window below, for example) and marbles, so this type of work is always a stretch for me, but the final result, after denying the impulse to be very specific, is light, fun, and yet still remains site specific.

I still favor the detail...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Church Street - progress on Sunday

These are not the best photographs, given the light and situation, they say what they need to. Progress is being made...slowly but surely. I really had a hard time getting myself to the studio today. A really big storm blew through earlier with hail and more lightning than I've seen in a long time, and then torrential downpours that caused some minor flooding in the street. Finally, dragged myself out of the sweatshop and headed over to Cottage Street, where the scene wasn't any better. It was at least an hour after the storm had gone through and there was flooding in the building down on the second floor.

I remember being in studio 304, in the front of the building. In 2006 there was this! Apparently something similar happened again today, as the hallway by the PO Boxes and outisde of Riverside's Art Room was wet and someone was right around the corner with a shop vac running.

Yuck. I hope nothing was wrecked.

The canvas just a few days ago.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Church Street canvas shaping up

After a couple of days work, making a little more progress on the Church Street canvas. At least getting the major areas of color laid out. I still need to print out a swatch from the sofa, because I intend to use either that color or something complimentary in the big umbrella in the foreground. You can see the paint chip hanging from the top of the canvas, the lightest color "Litchefield Grey" is the wall color, so I'm working the steeple and probably the foreground sidewalk to be of like color. I came pretty close mixing up the color and painted some right on the chip, it was sooo close. I've added a couple of new figures in the distance, a father and son holding hands and walking towards the back. The boy is about one step behind father, and I've tried to shape the father's head so that it looks like he's talking about something to the right and the boy looks in that direction. It's not too hard to create gestural emphasis on figures that are larger when they lack detail, but the smaller the figure the more difficult it becomes. They are not even close to being completely finished, so there's more work to be done there.
It was kind of dark at the studio when I took these photos...they are definitely not as bright as the canvas truly is. More work on it tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


This could either be the coolest wool sweater on earth, or the dorkiest.


I tried to babelfish it from Italian to English, and it said Teeth Maglificio Sport......huh? Does this shirt say "Team with Magnificent Teeth?" WHAT?

I did find it on the free shelf at the studios. Maybe that's why it's been abandoned.......... Someone was thinking that they were wearing the most absolutely cool football shirt in the universe and then discovered it was just a team sponsored by a great dentist.

If anyone knows anything....let me know.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Underpainting on the Church Street canvas

Finally put some paint on this canvas. It felt really good to start thinking about colors and putting down a first wash of paint. And while I've made this image before, I'm now considering a variation in colors to go with the room it will eventualy be placed in.
Here's the Benjamin Moore swatch of color that is on the wall -------->
Litchfield Grey
I also have an image of a Crate & Barrel sofa that resides in the room. It's a nice light turqouise/slate color. These are probably the main colors within the space, so I'm going to try to include a few areas that will work to tie in with these two colors. I think the shots of intense color, like the red umbrellas and the dark pink shadow of the wall of the far left building will really be nice punches of color. I've decided I'll tone down the original royal blue of the umbrella in the foreground to be somewhat on the shade of the sofa and then also the smaller umbrellas on the left, a variation of that same hue. It'll be pretty nice, I think! The sky is already shaping up.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I was just thinking I'd keep it

So I'm hanging out during Open Studios, mindlessly eating my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and staring at one of my paintings thinking "I might just keep that one".

More thinking and eating......"Yah, I'm going to keep it. It's got all of my favorite colors, it would help me decide on a new wall color for my living room, and it's pretty cool. I'll take it home with me tonight."

Presto, someone walks in and says they want to buy it. Later, I find myself thinking about another painting that I might just keep.........maybe it'll work again!

Amherst projects....otherwise known as "what have I gotten myself into this time"

I've been working on several murals in Amherst for about two years now. This is the incomplete east side of the garage entrance that was commissioned by the Amherst Public Arts Council in 2007. It's nearly complete now, but I don't have a recent image of it for this post. If you aren't familiar with the area, Amherst may as well be half a world's an effort to get there and when I go I have to be like a girlscout, which I never was, and remember everything that I might need, including a bucket of water and all of my acrylic paints, just in case. It's been a fun project.
Recently, the Council has contacted me again to finish up some pillars that are actually inside the dark and very cement-like garage innards. They had put out a call to artists to have these pillars decorated by local artists and offered a small commission to have each one done. There are still ten pillars left and they want to complete the project. I've spent a lot of time in that garage while painting the ramp walls, and it really needs to be brightened up. I've been feeling a little overwhelmed, given all the projects I have on my plate right now AND working the full time job with ECA, so I enlisted my amazingly talented friend, Bronwen, to help decide what to do with the pillars, and also to execute the concept once it is, or if accepted by the Council.
We started out thinking that the main focus should be to somehow tie the pillars that are already painted in with the rest of them...not an easy task because they are all so different. So, we thought simple, but sophisticated, bright, and include a repeating pattern that's not too complicated, but interesting enough. After much deliberation and trying very hard to work with some more complicted motifs, we decided on a relatively simple plan. It's a three color palette, basically spring/summer, winter, and fall, with a really pretty flower motif. Given there are 10 pillars, these colors would be divided up among the 10. 4 greens, 3 blues, 3 reds. Our thoughts and concept are that the repeating pattern and palette will work to tie the garage together and create a feeling of intention, but also give an intuitive feeling as well with the random repeating flowers (yes, we just finished reading Dean Nimmer's book!). It's simple, bright, and sophisticated, and easy to understand. We are trying to avoid complicating the scene for the other, more intricate pillars, but also make them interesting enough to stand on their own without being too loud or complicated.
(oh, the pillars are square, not round, and measure 17" x 6' 4")
Over the weekend, one of the Council members came into my studio. I had been thinking about the project (given all my free time), and thought that these pillars should be given a really glossy sealant after they are done. It would almost make them "car-like" and also make them really shiny and even nicer to look at. Usually a gloss medium really brightens a painting, especially if it's acrylic. It's almost like cranking up the contrast in photoshop. I have to pass this one by'll be one more trip to the land of Amherst....but probably well worth it.

Open Studio Success! Phew!!

We all look forward to Open Studios, but I'm always relieved when it's over. It's so much fun to open my studio door (not to mention having a reason to clean the studio) and meet a bunch of genuinly interesting people. You just never know who will walk in your door and what great ideas will come about from good conversation.

After a long weekend of standing and smoosing, I finally got a chance to get the drawing more complete on the Church Street painting. I was getting ready to leave on Sunday night, after saying goodbye to my last visitor and was standing there with my bag on my shoulder staring at the canvas that now hid behind the studio door. It was 5:30 and I wondered what I'd actually do if I went home just a book....swelter in the the cat and get hair stuck all over me? I couldn't imagine working in the sweatshop in the 90 degree heat. So I dropped my bag and pulled out the canvas and got busy.

It's a little hard to see, but it is definitely shaping up!