Now that my featured artist show is all installed at The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts, here is a preview for you. I know that I’ve already shared and wrote about all the pieces you’ll encounter, but here is a look at them in the gallery.
Something almost magical happens when three artist start to install a show in our HGA Feature Gallery. Somehow, no matter how different the work, it just seems to make sense together. My little howling wolf Loup Nouveau appears to have a moon painted just for him in Ellie Reinhold’s Reciprocus.
A trio of my patterned pieces greets you at the Featured Exhibit room main entrance. They are all examples of my treating the figures’ surface as a canvas for pattern.
Tea With My Octopus Teacher, came home last week after being part of the National Teapot show at Cedar Creek Gallery. This piece is doubly fun, as it is also a functional work as well. It is a sculptural handbag. The octopus’ clasped arms form a handle, and a small button clasp secures the teapot lid. Inside, is a fully lined compartment. It is displayed in a grouping with My Balloon, and Prince Frog.
Change Up, the giraffe with ox pecker attendants applying her colored spots is displayed alongside Kanga And Roo.
Dance is a pair of cranes captured mid step in a courtship dance. You see them here in front of my pair of elephants working together to climb wooden blocks titled Ele-vate.
Every once and a while, a single piece sparks several more pieces in a slightly new direction. That happend recently with Finding True North. I like the surface treatment of the nautical “tatoos’ so much, that I found muself sketching other sculptures that incorporated interesting patterning or symbolism on their surfaces. The first of these new sketches to be realized is Prince Frog.
He is a little purple three toed tree frog. I captured this anthropomprphic amphibian waving hello, or perhaps giving a piece sign? It’s hard to tell the difference with only three fingers. He wears a distinctive little raspberry beret set to one side, and has distinctive paisley pattern on his back.
Prince Frog is needle felted wool over a wire and batting armature. He has iridescent black glass bead eyes. This art doll sculpture looks up and waves from a squating position on his hind legs. I will let you know when he becomes available for purchase.
Prints, Prints, and Cards
I received a request to wholesale some of my monoprint cards. Many artists bristle at anything that feels like production work, and I am definitely in that category. I don’t even like making batches of my own holiday ornaments (puffins, polar bears, and baby seals, oh, my!) but, they are so darn cute and popular. I was torn by the request, especially since my prints aren’t even my main artwork. They weren’t looking for hundreds, (though they may in the future) so I figured I give it a try. I made more than the order, so they can choose, and any left over will be available to take to HGA. I will let you know where they are headed after I deliver them next month. The price will be slightly higher than the $10 I sell them for at HGA. I have no control over retail markup.
Each of these cards is hand-pulled on a gell press using acrylic paint and plant materials. Almost all are comprised of two layers of paint, one with the forground image and the other background color. Some feature additional overprinting, and watercolor enhancements. Each card is a unique and one-of-a-kind original art work on paper and is suitable for framing.
“For You” is a young raccoon holding out a daisy. He is offering his flower up to the viewer. I’m not sure if he intends to share the flower itself, or merely a chance to sniff and see if it has a sweet sent. Either way, he engages the viewer to move in a bit closer, and smile.
For You, is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. He contains stuffing beads as well to provide ballast and volume. His daisy is needle felted wool over wire. He also features large glass bead eyes, and some prominant fishing line whiskers.
Kanga and Roo?
Kanga and Roo is an anthropomorphic Kangaroo sculpture that features a momma and her baby. The joey kangaroo waves at the viewer from the security of mom’s pouch. Momma Kanga appears to be proudly pointing out her progeny.
Kanga and Roo are needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. They both have hand sewn glass bead eyes. This pair will likely hop into HGA for my feature show in September, but keep an eye out, sometimes they become available early. I will let you know when either Kanga and Roo, or their raccoon friend, For You, become available.
What do the three words in the title have in common? They accompany the main figures in this post. I have three new friends to introduce to you, a girraffe with a michevious ox pecker entourage, a baby rhino and her balloon, and a snail with a lot of bling.
First Up, Is Change Up
“Change Up” is my newest creation featuring a giraffe as the main figure. This time I had a bit of fun with the giraffe’s patterning. The ox packer birds are applying her distinctive coat pattern. However, it seems that the bird at the back has some different ideas about color. The giraffe looks interested, but it is unclear if she approves of the pop (or is that bling?) at this point.
Change Up is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature. All have hand sewn glass bead eyes.
Bling! is a snail with an eye for embellishment. They are decked out with a bright blue shell that is encrusted with beaded barnacles.
I began Bling! with a wire armature and a pouch of poly stuffing beads for ballast. That base is wrapped in quilt batting, and the surface is sculpted in wool with felting needles. All the beaded (including eyes), sequined, and fringe elements are hand applied with “invisible” thread. I’m kind of in love with their goofy expression.
This Balloon is My Bling
My little rhino titled My Balloon, seems enamored wirth her possession. Perhaps it is because her balloon provides a bit of bling too? Whatever the reason, she looks pretty happy. In fact, she appears to be making double sure that her balloon doesn’t get away. She has the string both looped around her front foot, and firmly clasped in her mouth.
My Balloon is needle felted wool over a wire, poly bead, and quilt batting form. The balloon is needle felted wool over batting, with yarn felted around a wire core for the string. Her eyes are hand sewn glass beads with frayed yarn lashes.
I’m not sure when each of these sculptures will show up in the gallery. More than likely Bling or My Balloon will make an appearance first, as Change Up is a more suited to the theme of my September feature show. I have been a playing catch up with inventory these past few weeks (one reason you haven’t seem many posts.) I will let you know when I drop anything off, or make it available for purchase elsewhere.
A short post just to catch you up on some new work and happenings.
Another Proud Fisherman
I was sketching a few weeks ago, and decided that I’d like to revisit my little puffin fisherman, but in a more minimalist fashion. So, let me introduce “Proud Fisherman #2”. This puffin has placed his catch on the ground to share how magnificent it is. He didn’t stay on my work table long, as I had some empty pedestals in the gallery to fill, so here’s a shot of him in the gallery.
He is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature, with hand sewn glass bead eyes.
I have been dropping off additional prints from time to time, and thought that I’d share the latest batch composed from fresh flowers and leaves on the gell plate. All of these prints are one of a kind acrylics on paper with some watercolor hand finishing.
As I have been prepping sketches for this year’s Featured Artist show, I have been scanning images online. It is something I do in the planning phase of most sculptures I create. As I may have mentioned, I’ve been working on sculptures with multiple animal figures. A cold search for images with 2 or more animals has yeilded many points of inspiration. One image that caught my eye depicts two bears. In the photo, a momma grizzley bear stands on all fours with her young cub presumably along for the ride on her back. The youngest of the two bears looks so very comfortable and content. This is the feeling I strove to evoke in my piece Mommy ‘n Me.
The mother bear is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting armature form. The young bear is wool over batting, and is felted on to mom’s back. Both bears have hand sewn glass bead eyes.
Happy, But Not Completely by Accident
Last week, I introduced some of my gel plate monoprints. I mentioned it is a process in which you do a lot of learning by doing, seeing what works and what doesn’t. There are a couple of points in the production of each print where you hold your breath… Will the photo-transfer of the lazer print be clear on the plate? Will the whole print come off the plate clean? What will result of the final mixing of the foreground layer and the background colors?… There is a certain amount of variability in each print that is somewhat out of your control. So, it is a moment of surprize each time you peel back your final paper.
One such print I produced yesterday is Flower Print #3. This print has several layers. I pressed a composition of flowers from my garden in a layer of blue and green and pulled off the negative space around them. I then applied a second background layer of yellow and white. Finally, I did a single overprint of yellow on the side facing full bloom. The result is a quite painterly looking print of my flower composition.
Additionally, I did a photo-transfer of an image of my sculpture Remember Whales. It is always exciting when the print transfer has a nice crisp impression. I created this print with a mixture of green and blue in the foreground, a white background layer, and just a touch of watercolor to highlight his eye.
The title is me playing around with things that help a piece of digital content be found by search engines. I do not think my tinkering in this post will really bring any more traffic to my little art blog. It is a price I’m paying for my own education and entertainment.
Annual Feature Show
Right now, I am beginning to decide what sculptures to hold for my feature show, or make available immediately. I also need to decide which images to use to highlight that show. I reassess these decisions as work sells, and my gallery inventory dwindles. This year my feature show is in September, so I will hopefully be making many such decisions between now and then. Perhaps you all can help me decide with the sculptures below? I will update you if the availability status any work changes for any reason.
The title of the feature show I am in is RECIPROCUS. As you might guess, that is the latin root for the word reciprocal. We artists in a show come up with our titles together. I suggested “Interactions”, as several pieces I had been working on recently had two or more figures in them. A previous FA show already used that title, so Reciprocus was suggested as an alternative.
Ele-vate is a pair of elephant babies helping each other climb. They are needle felted wool over wire and batting, and are integrated with the wooden blocks they are climbing. Yes, the title is a terrible bit of punning, but you just have to go with it sometimes.
Everything has a Price
This sculpture features a lone zebra who’s stripes become a barcode. This piece is sort of a nod to the other big project I worked on for the past year or so, leading a team to set up HGA’s point of sale system. At times it felt like that was my job. This sculpture captures that. He is needle felted wool over wire and batting. Though this scupture is a lone figure, I created him with the intention that he is looking directly at the viewer and interacting with them.
My cranes are captured in a moment within their courtship dance. They evoke human behavior with out the need to be contrived. The cranes are a combination of needle felting and nano felting (wings) over wire and batting. Their legs combine black yarn and needle felted wool roving. The delicate pair is joined together, and they support and balance each other to stand on ther own.
The new show, It’s All About The Story, Volume IX – Jaki Shelton Green, opens at HGA next week. The opening reception will be during the Last Friday Art Walk on the 24th. The piece I shared last week, Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows will be part of that show.
Some readers out there may remember that The Hillsborough Gallery of Arts sometimes pairs up with talented local authors for a show titled “It’s All About the Story.” This year, we will present volume IX of that series of shows with poet Jaki Shelton Greene. My piece for that show is titled Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows.
The show will be on display at HGA from February 14th through March 26th. There are two events connected with this show. The opening reception will be during the Hillsborough Last Friday Art Walk on February 24th from 6-9, and Ms. Greene will be reading in the gallery on Sunday, March 12th from 4-6 pm.
You can read all about Jaki Shelton Green and her work on the website Jakisheltongreen.com. The HGA artists have primarily created work that responds to a collection of her poems titled Breath of the Song.
The themes and topics of Ms. Greene’s poetry are wide ranging. Some are brutally honest and speak to a wide open audience, others are very intimate and personal. I first read through the collection to see if any topics or titles jumped out at me. Though there is a poem titled Paper Dolls, I felt that would be just a bit too “on the nose” and didn’t want to be overly literal, especially when responding to poetry, So, instead I read through again looking for visual phrasing that spoke to me.
Rabbit Games are born
Within one of several poems in the collection with the title Eva, I came apon the following lines…
and only precede midnight rainbows / we played the games of / rabbits
Instantly, I saw two celestially patterned rabbits dancing in the moonlight, and I started sketching Rabbit Games and Midnight Rainbows. I have to admit that this is one of those pieces where the creator has fallen on love with their creation. I can’t wait until we install the show in a couple of weeks. The two rabbit figures are needle felted wool over a wire and batting armature. They have large glass gem eyes. They stand on their own and support and balance each other.
We hope that you can stop in and check out all the other amazing work in It’s All About the Story Vol IX: Jaki Shelton Green.
Blog note from last post: Ususally art work in a feature show that sells stays with a red dot until the end of the show. However, there was a special request regarding my piece, So Many Questions, so the penguins have already gone on to their new home. My piece “Remember Whales” is serving as a stand-in until the show comes down on February 12th.
My fetaured artist show at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts is now down. The remaining work has been distributed around the gallery, and I’ve had a chance to sit at my studio table again. Getting new ideas going after mounting a show is sometimes a tricky activity. I always need to rev up my sketching. Not everything that I put to paper ends up executed in 3D, but this seems to be the process that works for me. I also take in a lot inspiration visual and otherwise. This can include anything from scrolling on Pinterest to catching a phrase while reading.
Following the Spark
The idea of Persistence came to me from a couple of directions. I first just had the thought of creating a snail, no deeper meaning connected. I like the interesting form of the animal, and the endless variety of the size and shapes of their shells. When an idea occurs this way, I will often do a search of the topic. I look for meanings or symbolosm connected to the image.
Among the results that came up when I searched snail symbolism was a short story by Virginia Wolfe titled Kew Gardens. In this story an unnamed narrator is observing the garden along the side of a flower bed. Several pairs of people walk by each engaged in conversation. In between these snippits of dialogue, the narrator turns to describing the flower bed itself. Several of these descriptive musings note the progress of a snail. One critique I read of the story describes the snail as a manefestation of Wolfe’s depression. I have to say that I disagree with that interpretation. The snail seems to be steadfast in its determination to keep going on its path, and completely unaware of the concerns or even existence of the people passing by. I saw this little snail as persistent.
He is needle felted wool over a wire and quilt batting form that contains a small sand bag inder his shell. The sand bag provides ballast to keep his head up. Hand sewn glass beads serve as his green eyes and tips of his tenticles.
Pandas are often fodder for anthropomorphic art. The real animals are just so full of personality. The giant panda usually gets the attention, but the red panda can be equally as engaging. I came across a photo of two red pandas trying their best to intimidate the other. The result is nothing short of adorable! Much in the oxymoronic fashion of “ugly-pretty” I found their intimidation scary-cute.
My Panda is needle felted wool, over a wire and quilt batting armature. He has hand sewn glass bead eyes, and knotted yarn claws. This work features quite a bit of felting with a reverse needle to provide him with his fluffy look.
Last New Work Struts
Strut is just what he appears to be. An anthropomorphic rooster wearing spats and an ascot, and using a glass-topped and silver-tipped walking stick. Roosters seem so embued with confidence and flamboyance that depicting one as a bit of a dandy borders on cliche. He does seem to pull it off with flare, however.
Strut features colorful needle felted wool over a carefully balanced wire and quilt batting armature. His tail feathers I constructed by stitching a central anchor line in a strip of denim, and then fraying and trimming the sides. His spats are needle felted wool with copper brad embellishments. I used glass beads for his eyes and cane topper. The walking stick itself is a trimmed down chopstick painted black, with a jewelry ferrule tip, and silver wire and glass bead top.
That’s all the new sculpture work I have for you for now. Stay tuned.
I’m of a vintage to be able to remember ‘Save the Whales” as being a thing. I know that the global moratorium on whaling isn’t complete, and doesn’t block all whaling. But, it has allowed many species of whale populations to rebound. Why did I find my self thinking about this the past week or so? It might have some connection to watching my daughter doing some fundraising for Ukrainian refugees at school, and working an internship at a non-profit that deals with poverty issues. It is inspiring to witness empathy and caring. In recalling this rallying cry from youth for people to care about something, I was inspired to bring my own whale to life.
I’m not sure if some would count him as anthropomorphic or not. I do not have this humpback whale doing something overtly human, and he’s certainly not dressed up. However, I find a certain intelligence expressed by most species of cetaceans. My whale seems ready for a conversation. His bright blue eyes sparkle with knowing, and he is propped up on his fins to look the viewer in the eye. A conversation with this humpback might prove quite embued with humanity
Remembering Whales is needle felted wool over wire and batting. HIs upper coloring is a hand blend of grey and blue fibers. Blue glass beads are sewn and felted in place for his eyes. He will be available at the Hillsborough Gallery of Arts the last week of May.