The seasons of creative expression

DSC06459Yin and yang. In and out. Up and down.

There are equal opposites in every part of life that flavor and sweeten each other with the anticipation of the change. For what would the coming of autumn be without the memory of spring?

Thusly, there are seasons in the life of an artist. Creative expression needs fallow times to muddle on ideas, to dissect past works and imagine new possibilities…to lube up the internal engine with the combustive energy that the composting process creates to be in good working order for when the rush of out-put takes over.

Take in to be put out, retreat to advance, replenish for rebirth.

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Window boxes; color study in copper

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Copper leafed star fish; triple coated with clear matte urethane.

I have been in this internalized “fallow” place for sometime now aware that I have been absent from this blog.  I have been muddling on new series of artwork, new creative directions and in essence remolding my artistic life itself.  And how interesting this process is because an artist thinks with his hands!  Whether it be sketched-out studies, or word plays, or tending a garden, the simple act of staying in motion lets the thoughts flow…

Part of what I am thinking about is this blog.  When I started this to catalog my creative expressions and showcase my artwork, my buddy Lynn said that this was a big commitment (and I value her insights) and then those blogging Gods say you are failure unless you post regularly. These seem to be the facts. However, the creative process does not work like that and it’s a big assumption that you will even be in the least bit interested. I love the creative process of writing and photographing and composing posts but do you even care??

I need your feedback.  Please leave me a comment and would you take the time to answer this quick survey???

 

 

The colours of Roussillon

 

 I have discovered while on holiday this week, that each hill village here in Provence has its own visual character. Yes, Provençal Style conjures up well known images but as an artist I have found the nuances fastinating.  Each village based on orientation to the sun and the mineralized earth around it informs the personality of the enhabitants.  Historically lives are formed from this.

And so Roussillon with its hills rich with ochre has literally built itself on the pursuit of color.  This long wave-length high-energy color tinged with sunlight yellow invites compliments of other vivid tones sharing in the same base color yellow.  Houses are stuccoed and shutters are washed in this palette of warmth.

  

       

               

             

Artist’s gallery design; putting it all together – part 4

photoNothing is done until the last touches are applied.  The icing on the cake…that swipe of lipstick…that last piece of the puzzle; satisfaction comes from seeing all the elements come together in any project.  The cabinets have arrived and the artist’s wares are being placed on shelves in the new League of NH Craftmen’s fine craft gallery in Hooksett.  Take a peek at how it is coming together for Saturday’s grand opening.

Grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday February 14th, 2015, 2:00.  Hooksett Welcome Center I93 north bound.

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GRAND OPENING!

of the League of NH Craftsmen Fine Craft Gallery at the
Hooksett Welcome Center on I-93 Northbound

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2:00 PM

Ribbon cutting and accolades to our supporters:

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The Duprey Companies
Mount Sunapee Resort
The Curt and Alice DeSouza Little Fund
of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
and an Anonymous Donor

Come and meet the Manager and Sales Staff, enjoy light refreshments.

This new venue will serve to educate the public about fine craft,
promote the work of League juried craftsmen, and will encourage travelers
and commuters to shop at the seven League fine craft galleries throughout New Hampshire.

 

Artist’s gallery design; paint choices – part 3

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Ted Ney of North Cove Design

Ted Ney of North Cove Design

With cabinet designs firmly under construction next came the fun part of creating that backdrop to showcase the work of the League of NH Craftsmen in their new space.  As much fun as it would have been to go crazy with fixture design (I am an artist after all) restrain is always needed when showcasing artwork to let the back drop be just that; a supporting role to highlight and magnify the work of others.

On one of our later visits to the space we were surprised to see that the decorative ceiling painting in entire space had extended down into our own open-air retail space.  The warm wood-tones of natural maple fixtures combined with this ceiling color [Sherwin Williams “Secure Blue”] gave me the jumping off point to choose final colors.  Another opportunity to remain zen, we were told the ceiling color was “Atmospheric Blue” that we based our gradation on then had to change on the spot.DSC_0089photo.JPG ceiling with beams

With the upper part of our wall being the dark blue and having the need for it to be a neutral where our artisans wares were to be placed, I decided on a gradation in the style of the ceiling.  “Secure Blue” fading to “Atmospheric Blue” fading into California Paints “Waterloo” then ending with “Stucco Tan”, each color smudged into its previous.DSC06403 color gradation of paint

Rule of thumb; when artwork of varying colors, textures and intensities are to be displayed together, the backdrop needs to be a “neutral” color that contains redness, yellowness AND blueness.  What we think of as neutral color—like gray for example—may not truly be neutral & can be detracting if it is not balanced with all 3 hues.  If you mix red, yellow and blue together you get brown; so think beige and tans for truly neutral.

The volunteer painting crew L to R: Prudy Gagne, the League’s Finance Director and Catherine Green, the League’s Standards & Education Manager.  Terri Wiltse, the League’s Operations Manager & Fair Director is taking the picture and was ALWAYS behind the scenes through this entire project!

photo.JPG painting crewSketch wall paintingCatherine—who is also an artist—doing the delicate job of blending all colors one into another to create the gradation down the wall to end with our perfect neutral.  I missed out on all the painting because I was moving into a new home this week.photo.JPG Catherines painting

Also happening during this time period:

  • Terri worked with Big Jim’s to have a specialized door designed to fit into the unusually large opening to the space.
  • The committee worked with Advantage Signs to design a sign for the exterior of the space utilizing an artisan-made wrought-iron hanging post recycled from the Concord League gallery.

Next post will show setting up the shop!

Artist’s gallery design; 3rd design’s the charm – part 2

HooksettJune4A final delivery is only as good as the labor that went into it; ask any mother! So as the League of NH Craftsmen prepares to deliver it’s newest gallery to the public this week-end, here is another look behind the scenes at what has gone into creating it. See part 1 of this series for the background story.

IMG_4126As the building site developed over this last fall so did our little space. The original blue prints changed unbeknown to us; long walls became longer and short walls became shorter. So I came up with a new set of space plans and we were finally comfortable to begin a conversation with the cabinet maker. Ted Ney, of North Cove Design, understood this process so was happy to receive loose sketches to base his bid on knowing that sometime later we would dial in the actual measurements.

As the months went by with construction delays (very typical) in December we were finally able to get into the space with Ted to measure, only to discover that the interior walls were still not up, windows that were to be here ended up there and unexpected beams crossed overhead. Thus a new set of layout plans were needed. Word to the wise; changes always happen in construction so never cast your plans in stone until the final interior walls are up.

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But now knowing that the steel studs were firmly in place we knew that my last set of plans would stick.Hooksett 1 Hooksett 2 Hooksett 3 Hooksett 4 Hooksett 5 Hooksett 6

The choice was made to have our fixtures built in maple.  Very blond when first milled, maple will age with UV light to become quite golden.   Since these fixtures will be housing a myriad of colors and tones I decided to choose a laminate—for the pieces that needed a counter top—in a grayed sand-beige.  The cool tone of the “gray” compliments the yellow-orange tone of the wood to make a balanced backdrop.  And like any project, my first choice was not available thus the opportunity to practice staying fluid and zen.  :)DSC06406

Other decisions by the team that were finalized during this time period:

  • The point of purchase sales system nailed down.
  • The over-head lighting issues; to track or not to track.
  • Interviews began for the sales staff.
  • Searched and found ready-made display shelves for walls.
  • Put out a call to artist’s to stock the store.

Color choices in the next post…..

Snow-day baking; Peanut Butter Twist cookies

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When was the last time you had a really good peanut butter cookie?  Really nutty, totally satisfying, not the bland-fake-beige-too sweet version?  It took some creativity but my daughter came up with this very unusual version of peanut butter cookies that have a healthy twist.  I am never going back.

Happy baking…day one of two more snow days.

Whitney’s funky peanut butter cookies

Combine in a medium-sized bowl mixing each ingredient in as you go (I did by hand but a mixer will make quick work of it):

  • 1/2 cup very soft butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, salted
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg; best at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together then stir into the above mixture:

  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour (traditional wheat)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (meal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Once this is all blended then fold in (I used my hands) :

  • 3T millet
  • 3T chia seeds
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped (or slivered) almonds.  Peanuts could be used too.

Whitney says, “Omit the seeds and nuts if you want a traditional PB, but definitely keep the flour combo and almond extract – it makes it more peanutty. The millet also actually creates a rad texture and oddly great nuttiness, me thinks.”

Form into 1″ balls then smash down with a fork on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350° for 9 minutes for a soft cookie with nice crunch from the additions.  Bake 11 minutes for a more crunchy cookie.  YUM!

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forgive the IPhone photos…slightly distorted.

Snow day reprieve; time for the studio

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Its been 2 weeks since I packed up my studio in Canterbury along with my life and moved to our little colonial in Portsmouth, NH.  Scraping, painting and unpacking the household has been my life thus far so today with “Blizzard 2015″ I have had a day just for the studio.

Unpacking and sorting…deleting and abbreviating…repurposing and organizing in 1/3 the space of my former studio.  This process is good for the soul; letting go of what once was useful for the possibility of something new, learning to see different associations and finding that old collections serve up new inspirations.  Such a metaphor for life…reducing size for the appreciation of minutia!  Snuggle up…

studio 1 b & a studio 2 b & a

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