Monday, September 27, 2010

Art of The Land Recap, My Perspective: 9/26/10

It was one of those never ending weekends...So much to do, running in circles, barely catching my breath... I don't think I could even regurgitate all here without burning out!  Suffice to say I do have comments on The Art of The Land Benefit for The Land Conservancy of Mchenry Country.  KUDOS to the TLC for a beautiful gallery show.  I have to say it was "the" event to be at this weekend if you lived around here.  Friday night was a pre sale of the art followed by story telling music and poems inspired by the land.  I brought my Claire to see the exhibit as she had extra credit points she could earn for her high school art class.  Yep, she had a good time.  She got all dressed up, very Soho if I do say, and she knocked em all dead.  Wouldn't you know that I don't have a picture of her.  I am so bad at that.  Then on Saturday evening was the one night gala.  Since the new space opened up in the Starline Gallery, there was great room to move around.  I took a few pics as you can see. And as I was basking in all that beautiful art, I started thinking about next years show.  I want the papers that are in my paper packets to play a significant role in my body of work next year.  Ecological Ethics in our Global Society will be the theme I will be working from (hopefully this class will be a go at The Studio School of Art). I think that this theme will fit nicely with land inspired art.

The rest of the weekend was taken up with an all day festival in Crystal Lake that my Colin and Claire were involved in.  They spent time at the dance studio leading mini classes for walk ins, handing out literature, and performing.  Long, long day.  I also ran to the Opera House to get my tickets for this years Nutcracker, yes I said the Nutcracker.  Tickets go fast around here!  My Colin is the Nutcracker Prince again along with Spanish Chocolate and Chinese soloist.  While Claire is Colin's partner in the Chinese dance.  Sunday I picked up art from the Art of the Land Show, did 4 other errands and then cooked dinner. I don't think I sat down till 9 PM (after throwing in 4 loads of wash).  Monday was a blessing!
El Valle de Paz

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Found Art: 9-23-10

by Kathy LaRocco.  Mixed Media and Collage on canvas board.
Today I left my little 4" x 4" collage at the Starbucks in McHenry, Illinois.  I had been trying to get it out since Monday but we have had iffy weather and some deluges.  I used a little duct tape to secure the plastic baggie to an outside chair (check my fan page on FaceBook and you can see the pictures)!/pages/Artful-Musings-of-Kathy-LaRocco/134584443222432.  It was gale force winds (well may I am exaggerating a little but ya know...its my art and I want someone to find it.  I included a little flier for the ART OF THE LAND fundraiser along with my found art write up. I created this small piece with scraps from "Blue Moon 12/31/09."  Nothing goes to waste!   I am a happy camper. 

Oh and I sold my first art print today on Etsy.  Thank you Karen!  The print was one that was inspired from my kids performances in an annual Nutcracker.  Its titled "She Bowed for Clara," and Karen received number 1 in a series of 50 prints.  Karen, someday, after I am dead of course, that print may be worth something (ahhh wishful thinking on my part). The second print has been uploaded to my Etsy Store.  Being a mom who has teens in the ballet and who has teens that do a nutcracker every year, it is hard to find "Nutcracker gifts."  Flowers were never appreciated by my children, and so that left basically really junky stuff, or really, really expensive gifts (like Nutcrackers made in Germany for 300.00).  So why not a work of art, an original work of art or an art print?  I don't know...just a thought.  OK babbling now. 

Off to feed my greyhounds.  Art of the Land begins on Friday and I am so excited.  More to come.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"Blue Moon 12/31/09"

Blue Moon 12/31/09
12" x 12" mixed media and collage on cradled masonite board


                                  Blue Moon 12/31/09
"The moon was exceptionally bright
that New Years Eve 2009.
A Blue Moon shinning through the night
And in the distant full moon light
a coyote howled
a tree swayed
The Moon smiled, all was right
that New Years Eve 2009."

by Kathy LaRocco

Its finished and it came from my heart.  This Blue Moon so moved me last New Years Eve, that the image was burnished on my soul. The image kept calling me for months and finally at the end of August, I began the work.   I don't think I ever saw a moon so bright or so big.  As we drove home from our dinner, the moon followed us, as it typically does, but something was definitely different about it. Maybe it was the night air, or maybe the yipping of the coyotes that live in a preserve area just a few miles from our home, I don't know for sure.  However, the coyotes were definitely affected by the moon that night. I think it  was the first time I heard them bay in unison....  Definitely eerie.  You can see this work at The Art of The Land Benefit gallery show. 

Now its time to move on.  Just as that Blue Moon stayed with me for months, so too has an image depicting the joy I feel when I watch my Colin and Claire dance.  My inner voice is screaming at me to do it.  So I guess I will comply.  But first, there is always a first (that is why it took months to get to the Blue Moon piece) I have to prep for the Papers Packets class coming up this Monday.  Lots of screening to cut.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Almost ready for Art of the Land: 9/16/10

I wish I could say that I have been more organized, more productive, more creative these last three or so months, but I can't.  I started this final piece for the Art of The Land benefit/gallery show well over a month ago and am just now drying the first coat of varnish on it.  Talk about procrastination.  I will put the second coat on tomorrow and then...yes it will be officially finished.  I have to figure out how to scan it (my photography skill is minimal especially with the cameras we own and I have never in all my years been able to take a decent photo of one of my collages).  Oh well, its the little challenges that make life interesting.  So this Sunday, I drop off my art work at the historic Starline Gallery in Harvard Illinois.  I participated in this show last year and no doubt posted pictures of it  I reread that post from a year ago and indeed I have created several abstract landscapes of my memories from Santa Fe.  And indeed I have a small body of work done with this benefit in mind.  I guess I should go back in my archives more often, I now feel really good about what I will show next weekend. Here is the link to the benefit's information.  If you are in the area, this is a wonderful show with lots of great art, music (live), nibbles, and drinks. 

Snow scape for found art Tuesday.
While I was watching Blue Moon dry, no just kidding, after I finished the first coat of varnish, I had a ton of scraps left over in luscious blues.  Out came a small 4 inch by 4 inch canvas that had a painting on it.  Of course, I sanded it and began a new collage.  I think it took me all of 20 minutes which is a record.  The piece needs to be sealed (don't think I will varnish it) and I am putting this out into the world for Found Art Tuesday next week along with an ad for Art of the Land.  I thought since the show is about art inspired from the land, why not?  So all you locals, I hope to get it out there on Tuesday but that depends on the weather.  I will post a photo of the location on my facebook fan page and I do hope a Facebook or blog reader will find it.  But you just never know with found art.
Hopefully before Sunday I will have a scan up of my "Blue Moon 12/31/09" work.  I want to make sure the varnish is good and hardened before I try scanning it.  Until then...

PS, I need to mention what a worthwhile benefit this is.  A portions of the proceeds from art sales will go directly to The Land Conservancy of Mchenry County... They are dedicated to protecting the Oak trees of this area and have been responsible for preserving over 1800 acres of McHenry COunty's wetlands, woodlands and prairies.  Your $20.00 ticket gets you into the gala evening of art, food, drink and music.  This is the art event you want to go to! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Transfers Class 9-10-10

Prepped before class; paper removed
in class
It was a good night, she says even though the last post was my rant about transfer techniques.  And while I would have loved to stop talking and laughing long enough to shoot some pics of the gals working on their transfers, the truth is, I just plain forgot.  These classes are so good for my soul and I say that even though I run around the house grumbling that my life is too complicated with no time to even breathe especially 4 hours before a class.  So, just how were the hours preceding my class.  Here comes my justification for my grumbling:
1.  6AM wake up, brush teeth
2. dress
3 prepare three greyhounds fresh/raw meals
clean/wash bowls (raw food can't sit on those surfaces for too long
4. run around getting things ready for pre-k (my little ones needed an art project for Friday so I was chasing down a few materials)
5. 7 AM- realize that my oldest (almost 18 yr old) forgot her money for a senior picture that was due.
6. left early so I could get to her school before it started then made my way to work
7.  2.5 hours of one child crying for her mother (and she is almost 5). I got relief at 11:30
8. run two errands then back to work at 1 PM for home coming parade (yes it was homecoming yesterday and with three teens....)
9.  Picked up Colin from parade and headed home.  Arrived 2:40
10 headed to my studio to run in circles.  Finished/prepped some samples for the evening art class and finished packing ( I have a large Sterlite container that is always half packed for class with staples that are used regardless of what I demo).
11.  At 5 came out of my cave, prepped dinner (god forbid that we eat frozen).  Only had three to feed but also prepped my 3 dogs raw meals.
12.  Cleaned up and headed out at 5:45.
13.  Hit Staples to make copies of images to use for transfer class (only just found out how many copies I needed on Thursday and had no time to get their prior to leaving last evening.  However this was completely understandable since we wait until twenty four hours prior to class for late registration, I had budgeted my time very poorly).
14.  Dropped Colin off at Homecoming game (my girls were who knows where)
15.  Hit The Studio School of Art at 6:30
16.  Helped to set up 
17 Hit the ground running.

Demoed in class: soft gel matte transfer
Notice I did not eat breakfast nor lunch.  What a day.  But during class I could feel my blood pressure return to normal.  Art is magical that way.  So, above is a sample that I did prior to class and here is one that was demoed in class (I hurried through the second one).  Both are soft gel matte media transfers.  They are not perfect but that is the charm of the transfer.  I think that my biggest joy was watching the fledgling mixed media and collage artists achieve some measure of success with the techniques shown.  I made sure to demo Talbot's transfer method and give them a great book recommendation (Image Transfer Technique Workshop, 2009, by McElroy and Duncan-Wilson).  I think once artists start going down this path, even though it is dangerous, frustrating, and often ambiguous, if one achieves the desired result, there is no turning back.  OK now back to my own studio to finish Blue Moon!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Transfer Hocus Pocus: 9-2-10.

gesso transfer in my journal.
  OK, I am going to admit it.  I have a love-hate relationship with transfer techniques.  I remember about four years ago when I first discovered, I think it was Claudine Hellmuth, adding transfers to her earlier collages and  then I saw an article in the now defunct Expressions.  I can't remember who the artist was but there was an entire article on making a transfer.  Since that time I have been captivated by the technique(s) trying maybe 20 different solvents or adhesives and even laser tran.  Most of these methods yielded inconsistent results for me. I thought maybe a little hocus pocus might help lol. It actually drove me crazy.  My learning curve included discussions with mixed media artists via the Internet.  You know the ones...where to get the best Xerox copies,which shops actually had xerox machines that still use toner.  Then there were the ink jet discussions: which printers were best, which archival inks were preferred, what about the paper.  Why don't my transfers come out like so and so's?  So how many of you, as mixed media artists, will attest to my revelation. 

    To continue, about three years ago, maybe 4, I took a workshop with Mr. Jonathan Talbot, and my transfers are finally recognizable .  I subscribe to his method almost religiously now, even if I may not use his collage technique for a particular work.  So, cool you say...well not really because now I  have decided to teach a class in which the black art of transfer techniques is explored.  Stupid on my part I think, because while I am certainly knowledgeable, other transfer methods just don't work well for me (most times unless I use some black magic hocus pocus). Sitting on my studio shelves are about 10 different adhesives like DAP clear caulk, Elmer's Glue caulk, OmniGel, soft gel matte medium, soft gel gloss, polymer medium, fluid matte medium, Diamond Glaze,and I think a few more.  And then there are the solvents like Xylene, acetone, various rubber stamp cleaners (don't know what is in those), and Citra Solv.  Ah yea lest we forget beeswax and assorted acrylic paints like gesso.  I guess the hard part in teaching a class like this is that I really only use one method to do transfers (maybe two methods). So what do I teach.  I certainly don't want folks to run out and buy all these media only to get marginal results, so I went with stuff I know that they will have on hand:  soft gel matte medium and gesso and then I will wave my magic wand :)    I decided that I would demo Jonathan's methodology so they can see what is involved.   I remember seeing Jonathon do his transfer and I thought "It can't be that simple,"  but it was (I say with a huge smile).  I digress.  I just finished some gesso transfers as samples.  They turned out OK.  The soft gel matte transfer turned out OK as well but I am not a huge fan.  There are variables and really most write ups suggest letting the transfer dry overnight.  We are going to cheat and use heat to hurry everything along (using my trusting heat tool and an iron).  So there you have it... I hope to have a good write up for this class and then I will be sure to have that magic wand with me.

On the current work in progress...No time today to get into my studio.  But yesterday I made some good progress.  I added to transfers which help elucidate the work and I am very close to finishing (I think).  Yea.