Sunday, October 9, 2016

Traveling with Pastels and TSA....

Sometimes traveling with art supplies can be a pain

Painted Plein Air in Douglas , MA.
Shimmery watercolors which glisten in light.
 In my Etsy shop pagibbons

Pastel done plein air last year. Pastel on Rives BFK paper.
In my etsy shop pagibbons
I see that my last post here was March. No no no.  I must be more regular. However, once I closed down my Rhinebeck studio, ( a HUGE financial weight, and time sucker)  allowed me to be a free bird for a while, so that I could really taste what retirement is about.

I have been traveling since April. California. North Carolina. Tennessee. Lake George. Douglas, Cape Cod, Maine. Hard to believe that once upon a time I had a traveling phobia!  I painted a few oil paintings plein air (one of which just sold!) and took tons of photographs for inspiration for winter's paintings.  I made many small post-card size landscape sketches  mostly executed in watercolor which I have listed in my pagibbons Etsy shop.

When I travel, at the minimum I carry is several sets of Kremer watercolors, a pad of watercolor postcards, my Moleskine watercolor books, and some 5 x 5" squares of a variety of papers and surfaces, a few markers and my Pentel waterbrushes. If I am driving, I can also take my oils and pastels, although I discovered that watercolors are far more portable and practical.

While on a trip to Tennessee for 9 days, I had work to do for a show. I was flying, so oils were out of the question (dry time etc.). I packed the watercolors, ink pens, and 2 boxes of pastels. One is a box of Sennielier, which I love for their buttery feel and application.  The other is a divided plastic bead box, each compartment filled with rice and  Diana Townsend pastels.  Both ways I was stopped and thoroughly searched, my luggage flagged.  I think I had some pastel dust on my clothes which glowed, and the pastels apparently contain some chemical components which flag the TSA since my watercolors have never been flagged. On the way back I put my pastels on TOP of my luggage to facilitate their search....

So let this be a warning: art supplies often contain chemicals which show up on the TSA scans. They also contain chemicals harmful to you, but that is for another blog. Pack your art supplies on the top of your luggage, and plan plenty of time to compensate for the delays you may experience!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

This Week in the Studio

This is a  recent mixed media drawing which I just finished for a show submission.  Blue Traveler was created with pastels, metallic watercolors, graphite, and ink on paper. 11 x 11" unframed.

My current body of abstract work is about color, light, and movement/energy. Due to the nature of the medium I am exploring, the colors in the art change  in relation to one's stance and the light in the room. Colors shimmer, then disappear with the slightest body movement, like the lenticular postcards of old. A world opens up, then snaps shut.

Under the Lens was created with metallic watercolor, ink, and reverse collage. Like the previous artwork, the colors change with the viewing angle. This little 5 x 5" piece hearkens back to a time when I dreamed of becoming a medical illustrator but did not have the money for the college that specialized in it.  It is a magical world, unseen to the naked eye -  a hidden world of line, shape, structure. 

When I was teaching art in the public schools,  I taught a class called Art and Science. One of the best units was the study of pond water, where my students learned illustration techniques, combined with sterile sampling of water in their ponds, pools, and puddles. Kids screamed with delight as they discovered the hidden world of odd little creatures that swam through the slide that got captured in ink on paper. Through them I relived the excitement of my youth.

Off to work on the taxes for a while, the bane of my life, then a walk for some cold fresh spring air. One third of my art career is spent on entering shows, marketing, and taxes!  I'd rather be making art!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Hey It's Good to be Back Home Again

The title of this blog is the title of a John Denver song which is running through my head right now. I just finished unpacking another load from my Rhinebeck studio which has been my home-away-from-home for two years.

It's been a good experience. I learned a lot, met many lovely people. It was an excellent business experience, and my tenure there helped me discover who I am and what I like.

In preparation for working from home, I have been organizing my home studio. As an artist and teacher, I have hoarded many things over the years. The difficult part has been to decide what stays and what goes.  I still have not given up my collection of beads, though I no longer bead, and there are 10,000 other things that I use in my work that I just can't let go of yet. But somehow the floor is opening up, the tables are being cleared, and soon I will be able to fit 3-4 people in my studio to teach a few classes a week.

I look forward to being more domestic; mixing my bread in the morning so that I can bake in the afternoon, or putting on a pot of soup or beans to simmer while I work. When the weather gets warmer in another month, I will start prepping my beds for peas and spring greens. Maybe, just MAYBE, I will start some plants from seed.  I look forward to taking my daily walks, followed by my afternoon/evening work in the studio.

This is the first painting that came out of this new incarnation of my life as an artist. I spent 4 blissful hours in my studio yesterday, painting with a friend who wanted to see my process while I painted from a recent photograph using a palette knife.  She painted along side me, each of us captivated by the sensuality of the oils, and making new discoveries. This is a detail from an apple farm in Highland, NY.

Tonight, I will make it final, changing the info on my FB page, and my website. I do not regret that past, but I am ready for the future and the ultimate joy of working from home!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year Transitions!

I can't believe that I have ignored this blog for so long. It's a tribute as to how hard I work, but also a reminder to keep up with my website and blogging on a regular basis.

Part of my reinvention of self, is to constantly keep tweaking, fixing, improving, reevaluating.
Thus, I have made the decision to work out of my home studio only come the end of February, and close my Rhinebeck location.

I learned a few things about my Rhinebeck business venture.
1) it is too expensive to run 2 studios
2) too much effort to lug art supplies up and down stairs twice a week. I am not a kid anymore, and it is a literal pain in my shoulder/back, though I look forward to doing stairs as part of my 10,000 steps.
3) there is no place like home
4) I want to simplify my life- so eliminating extra driving, bills, and work is part of the simplification.
5) I should have taken that business class at Marist BEFORE I opened up a second studio, but what I learned after, helped me make a sound decision NOW.
6) I learned that I am not a person that wants to be tied down to a business outside of my home.  I took off very little time on the Thursdays and Fridays that I taught, as I not only would not get the income from those days, but I still had to cover the rent.  Double whammy. 
7) I am retired. Though I still work really hard doing what I love, I need to not do what I don't love. I owe that to myself. I guess I could say I am learning self-care through a circuitous route.

I don't consider it a failure, rather, I embrace what I learned, have been graced with meeting people whom I would not have met otherwise.  I had a great time at my studio, and love the little town. It will always be one of the towns I visit when I want to play.

This decision has forced me to clean and organize my home studio so that I can fit up to four people in it for classes. I tend to be a bit messy, and this will force me to know where everything is, and store it neatly, though I will never have one of those picture perfect designer studios that you see in those art magazines. (I suspect they have to work hard to clean them up and get them that way!)

Currently am working on my Valentines, and loading up my Etsy shop, Pagibbons, and also selling on Ebay (id catskillpaper) and I also have an Etsy shop where I sell my antique paper - Catskillpaper.
I am getting ready to frame up new work, to start showing again in February.

Here's to my new adage: Play more, sweat less.

Stay tuned!