Tiny Art Show

Rarely have I ever painted tiny pieces. When my friend, Wendolin Mercado, announced she was curating a Tiny Art Show, I decided why not give it a try.

These two medicine men were inspired by masks I saw on a recent trip to Oaxaca. 

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Both of these tiny Medicine Men are acrylic on 3" x 3" wood panel.

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This brand new oil and cold wax painting is 6" x 6" and will also be in the show.

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Tiny Art Show curated by Wendolin Mercado

Art supplies will be provided so you can create your own tiny art! 

June 15-16, 6 to 9 pm

The Cove, 402 N Tennessee St., McKinney, Texas  75019

Hope to see  you there!

Surprising Faces

This Spring I saw a few Instagram Art Challenges focused on the face. Not everyone, but many artists find drawing and painting faces quite challenging. I include myself in this group.

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I decided to spend some time on the dreaded face. I signed up for an online class called Wandering Muse by Jeanne Oliver. There is a section of this class devoted to experimenting with faces. Jeanne emphasizes that these are just studies. Just play and see what happens. And so I did.

two faces Collage.jpg

Using charcoal, stabilo pencil, ink, gesso and watercolor pencils I took Jeanne's ideas as a starting place. Some were definitely better than others. With more practice I began to actually enjoy drawing faces. 

I put the more successful ones up up on the wall. Seeing them altogether added another dimension. 

The last two were my personal favorites. Since they were the same size, I experimented with putting half of one face over half of the other. 

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I posted a few of my faces on Instagram and Facebook. The response was truly surprising. I received several Private Messages of friends telling me how much they loved them. One friend drove from Dallas to see them in my home art studio. Another friend who owns a shop on the McKinney Square asked me to bring them up to her Shop. 

I sold several originals including the two large faces to the Shop Owner. She may use a couple in her clothing designs. My friend from Dallas loved the two half faces. I took them up to a local printer who professionally photographed them to make customized prints.

My big takeaway from this experience is the energy with which I approached these faces. I was experimenting and playing rather than trying to create a masterpiece. The result was something fresh and new. 

 

The Power of Community

Creating an art community offers many powerful benefits including, mutual support and encouragement, forging unseen collaborations, and fostering cross-fertilization of art forms.

McKinney Creative Community 1

My husband and I co-founded the McKinney Creative Community several years ago. Here is a bit about our journey and some tips for making your own creative community if you don't have one. I can't recommend this enough to give your local creative community some juice!

When my husband moved to McKinney, Texas from Austin, he was inspired to create a monthly potluck much like a highly successful one he loved in Austin. As it turns out, this desire was buzzing around for some other folks in McKinney too. So, the McKinney Creative Community was established.

The first year, a local writer generously opened up her home and lovely backyard as our meeting space. Then, we met in various homes for a couple of years which to be honest, was a bit of a pain to constantly have to organize. Next, a lovely workshop space was gifted to us by a local gardening store. Now, we meet at the local artist cooperative known as The Cove. This place is perfect. We pay a nominal fee each month. 

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My advice would be to find a place where it is the same place every month, as well as the same day and time. We always meet on Second Mondays from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

What happens at our gatherings? It is a potluck, so everyone brings a dish. We also provide wine, tea and water. Upon arriving, folks mingle and partake in the potluck. Then, we sit in a circle and my husband moderates. Everyone introduce themselves, saying what they do and what is new and good in their life plus any announcements to share. He demonstrates by going first. He recommends that there be no cross talk. Otherwise, we might be there 'til two in the morning! If you have a question for someone, you can always go up to them after this part.

A new component of our gatherings is our speaker series. This was Leslee Ortega's brilliant idea. She spearheads organizing our speakers each month which has been highly successful. We've had writers, a musician, artists, a puppet maker, a creativity coach and this month an artisan baker will share her story. 

 Creativity Coach Jill Allison Bryan

Creativity Coach Jill Allison Bryan

After everyone has had a chance to speak, we chat and network some more. It is heart warming and inspiring to have a place where you feel supported. There have also been countless collaborations and friendships formed.

On more component is our annual Holiday Art Bazaar. In a way, this is our gift to the community. My husband and I, along with the amazing Andrea Holmes, organize this event. We team up with our local TUPPS Brewery and provide booth space to the artisan vendors. Each vendor has a six foot table for their handmade creations. It is held on the first Saturday of December. It is a fun and festive day! 

 Holiday Art Bazaar 2017

Holiday Art Bazaar 2017

We have close to 1200 members on our Facebook page which is also a great resource to post events, workshops, classes or just to share your latest creation.

Hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration to create your own creative community. 

 

Unique By Nature Juried Art Show

So happy to announce that Farmers Market was selected for the Unique by Nature Juried Art Show in McKinney, Texas.

  Farmers Market  on View at the McKinney Performing Arts Center

Farmers Market on View at the McKinney Performing Arts Center

Submissions were juried by Karl Buchberg, retired Senior Curator, The Modern Museum of Art and J Patrick Cooney Fine Arts.

Paintings in this wonderful Art Exhibition will be on display and available for purchase through April 28 at the charming courthouse in Historic Downtown McKinney.

Small Works Art Show

Delighted to announce that two of my recent oil and cold wax paintings have been selected for the TAC (Texas Artists Coalition) Small Works Show!

The opening reception is Friday, December 1, 2017 from 6 PM to 9 PM at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center. The Small Works Show runs through January 13, 2018.

Would love to see you there!

In My Own Backyard

My brand new series, In My Own Backyard, will make its debut at The Cove in McKinney, Texas. 

 McKinney Farmers Market

McKinney Farmers Market

My new series began with keeping a sketchbook of my backyard. I realized my backyard is bigger than what is behind my house. It extends to what I love about my neighborhood — from the McKinney Farmers Market to goats to front porches to crepe myrtles.

 Morning visit to the goat farm

Morning visit to the goat farm

Here are the details:

The Cove
402 N. Tennessee St.
McKinney, TX  75069

Friday, September 15, 2017  •  7:00 to 9:30 PM
Saturday, September 16, 2017  •  6:00 to 9:30 PM
Sunday, September 17, 2017  • 2:00 to 4:00 PM


Artist talk both evenings at 8:00 PM
Refreshments will be served

Would love to see you there!

 Crepe Myrtle down the street

Crepe Myrtle down the street

Own Your Colors

Last month I took one of the best online class ever from Melinda Cootsana. She is an excellent teacher who gives detailed feedback. The class I took was Own Your Colors Part 2. Nope, I didn't take Part 1 which she said wasn't required.

I'll share a few of my assignments. So many of these ideas were brand new to me.

I wasn't that familiar with the phenomenon of color relativity. It extraordinary how the same color can look completely different given the colors that surround it. Here is my attempt at giving this a try. 

 The top two photos are the same turquoise green. The bottom two are the same yellow green. 

The top two photos are the same turquoise green. The bottom two are the same yellow green. 

Cool light with warm shadows and its counterpart, warm light with cool shadows was a brand new exercise for me. 

 I also learned about bringing reflective color into the shadow.

I also learned about bringing reflective color into the shadow.

Painting a self portrait with a Zorn color palette was a quite challenging! The Zorn color palette ( Cadmium Red Light, Payne's Grey and Yellow Ochre) are colors I usually wouldn't gravitate toward. That is precisely why this assignment was so good for me to try. This is my very first self portrait!

 Yep, this looks like a first attempt at a self portrait. 

Yep, this looks like a first attempt at a self portrait. 

Using mostly neutrals with thimbleful of a primary color opened my eyes to how the brighter colors pop when contrasted against muted colors. I knew this idea theoretically, but this exercise brought it home for me.

 Painting of Birth of Venus by Caz Love. A site specific art installation at Elephant Butte Lake.

Painting of Birth of Venus by Caz Love. A site specific art installation at Elephant Butte Lake.

I highly recommend this class. I'm in love with Melinda's figurative art so I'll be taking her Abstracting the Figure online class coming right up in September!

New Mexico Dreamscapes

I'm delighted to announce the details of my first Solo Art Exhibition. Here is a sneak peek at two of my paintings from New Mexico Dreamscapes

 Road Trippin'

Road Trippin'

New Mexico. It is impossible to describe, but easy to feel. This collection of paintings is a record of my month-long artist residency at Elephant Butte Lake in Southern New Mexico. It reveals what I saw, heard and felt there. It is a transcript in colors and shapes of my deep conversation I had with that mystical landscape.

My art show runs from June 10 - 30, 2017 at The Martin Place, 1799 N. Graves St., McKinney, Texas  75069. 

My opening reception is June 10 from 6 PM to 9 PM. I will give a short artist talk at 7:30 PM.

 Red Hills

Red Hills

Hope to see you there!

Conversation with the Landscape: My Artist Residency

Recently, I spent a month at the Elephant Butte Lake Artist Residency. I’ve heard about artist residencies, and I was eager to experience one. The theme of this residency was Conversation with the Landscape. This rural desert landscape and I had lots of say to each other!

 Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake

 It was a big adventure to be sure. The first week I felt like a kid at camp – I was somewhere brand new, not knowing anyone and yes, I was homesick that first week but by the end of my four-week stay, I shed tears of happiness and appreciation for my amazing experience.

 Strolling through Bosque del Apache Wildlife Reserve

Strolling through Bosque del Apache Wildlife Reserve

Although I’ve spent tons of time in northern New Mexico when I was younger, this was my first time to explore southern New Mexico. We all had our own casita overlooking Elephant Butte Lake which was usually full of vintage houseboats. We had no TV; cell phone service was very sketchy, but we did have Wi-Fi.

 Casitas for the Artists

Casitas for the Artists

 Houseboats on Elephant Butte Lake

Houseboats on Elephant Butte Lake

The nearest town was Truth or Consequences or T or C as the locals refer to it. It is a funky town known for its natural hot springs and its long name. My favorite spring was the Riverbend Hot Springs formerly a bait shop but now a relaxing spa overlooking the picturesque Rio Grande River.

 Truth or Consequences, NM

Truth or Consequences, NM

 View of the Rio Grande from Riverbend Hot Springs

View of the Rio Grande from Riverbend Hot Springs

This residency was self-directed. I was on my own. I could do whatever I wanted. No instructions. No critiques. It was like how I imagine Heaven being.

There were eleven of us from all over the country representing a variety of art forms including a documentary film maker, a potter, a paper maker, a photographer and visual artists.

We had a big space for our communal art studio. At times the studio was buzzing with activity. While other times I would enjoy the peacefulness of being the only one there. I enjoyed seeing what everyone else was working on. I tried to absorb as much as I could from the other artists. I was constantly asking questions. What brand of paint is that? Where did you get that brush? How did you do that?

 One corner of our Art Studio

One corner of our Art Studio

We gathered each Monday morning to go over what was planned for the week. On Friday afternoon, we gathered again for HAPPY HOUR which involved lots of salsa and beer tasting.

We went on weekly excursions including trips to Las Cruces, Mesilla, Pueblo Ruins at Abo, Hatch and the ghost towns of Chloride and Monticello. I had two favorite places: the bird sanctuary at Bosque del Apache and the Gila Cliff Dwelling which was majestic and mystical. It was a long gorgeous drive through the mountains aptly named the Trail of the Mountain Spirits. I could feel every one of them.

 I had many encounters with deers. This one is at Bosque del Apache.

I had many encounters with deers. This one is at Bosque del Apache.

 Trail of the Mountain Spirits

Trail of the Mountain Spirits

 Gila Cliff Dwellings

Gila Cliff Dwellings

We artist were good at balancing our work time and play time. For fun we would have a potluck, watch a film, go for a soak, or make a run to Casa Taco. The best brisket taco in the world can be had at this place. Seriously! Everyone was respectful and understood when you just needed to chill in your casita by yourself.

In this remote and isolated creative sanctuary, I found myself craving time to be with the land rather than in the studio. I marveled at the wide-open expanse and how the ever-shifting light constantly changed the colors on the lake.

 Patio outside our Art Studio overlooking Elephant Butte Lake

Patio outside our Art Studio overlooking Elephant Butte Lake

 I did lots of creative thinking and soul reflection while hiking. My creative practice shifted from creating finished work to keeping a sketchbook of ideas and impressions. I wanted to listen and absorb all that the land had to offer. It was a time to learn and be. The studio work would just have to wait.

In my next journal post, I’ll share some pages from my New Mexico Sketchbook and thoughts about my creative process.