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Wow — I haven’t written a post for a very long time! This last year was different — I guess you could say I was out gathering sights and experiences to feed my soul and provide inspiration for future works. I went on a long journey out west with a good friend, visiting friends and relatives all along the way. We also visited 7 beautiful parks: Mesa Verde, Arches, Redwoods State Park and Redwoods National Park, Olympic National Park, Yellowstone, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. All different, and all wonderful!

Here are a couple shots from the trip.   I addition to the trip, we also were busy raising the kittens of a stray cat who came and adopted us — we spent a lot of time playing with and feeding, petting etc. to make sure they would be friendly and adoptable. They all got good homes and Patches [the mama cat] got spayed and adopted by us. We also kept one of her babies, which we named Calypso.

Hope to have some new works to share later on this year!

Calypso1

The Fall was a busy time, for both Art Life, and Family Life. Dave and I were (and still are) busy preparing for winter — putting away the boat, and winterizing machines that will be sitting out the season, cutting trees to saw into lumber,  stacking it to dry properly, making sure we have propane tanks full, etc. etc.  The first snows have fallen, so winter has arrived.

I participated in  a couple group shows with my Critique Group [Artists of Studio 10], and took several sculptures over to Grand Forks, ND for their annual TAG(The Art of Giving) art gala/sale and fundraiser. I also took a couple workshops to learn more techniques, AND have fun! One was to learn the use of Epoxy Clay sculpture, from Wanda Odegard. I still have to paint my piece to call it done, so I will share it in a later post. I also took a wonderful workshop from Tonja Sell, which focused on using a variety of textures in the works and combining media, such as Watercolor or Acrylic with Pastel, or  Acrylic with collage and texture mediums. I started 3 pieces at the workshop, and just now finished the last of them.

Portrait of my son (many years ago!) using the texture techniques from Tonya's workshop -- done in Watercolor and Pastel.

Portrait of my son (many years ago!) using the texture techniques from Tonya’s workshop — done in Watercolor and Pastel.

This one was done using Acrylics on Canvas, texture mediums, and metallic paint -- also painted in a looser style than I usually work in.

This one was done using Acrylics on Canvas, texture mediums, and metallic paint — also painted in a looser style than I usually work in.

Portrait of my Sheltie, Bailey, done in Acrylic on pastel paper, with texturing techniques, and finished with Pastels

Portrait of my Sheltie, Bailey, done in Acrylic on pastel paper, with texturing techniques, and finished with Pastels

If you ever have the chance to take a Tonja Sell workshop, you should do it! Very Fun, and you learn a lot.

Coming up, Studio 10 is hanging a new exhibit at the First Lutheran Church in Bemidji, and after Christmas we are hanging a major exhibit at the Rourke Gallery in Fargo/Moorhead. I am busy with a few pet portrait commissions, and after that I hope to play around with the epoxy clay some more, and also have some started metal sculptures waiting for my attention. There is never a lack of things to work on!!

Hope all of my readers had a nice Thanksgiving — it is so good for us to look for the good things in life and be grateful.

In August I finished the work on a Career Development Fellowship Grant I received from the MN Region 2 Arts Council. My project was to study, and learn to work with different metals, and try different methods than those I was already doing. I learned how to braze with a torch; anneal, hammer, and form non-ferrous metals, and methods for cleaning, and texturing them. I tried out various adhesives, patinas, and finishing products. Also tried out some forge work with steel, mig welding Stainless Steel, and Aluminum, and many other things — too many to list them all! There is SO much to learn, I will be continuing to discover new things for years to come. Many thanks to mentors Wanda Odegard, Roger Loyson, and Paula Jensen who worked with me, and shared their knowledge.

I had an exhibit to share with the community what I had learned and the sculptures created during my grant project. It was fun to talk to people about all the new things I have been doing. I will share a few images from that evening:

Here is the exhibit just after setting it up, awaiting the opening.

Here is the exhibit just after setting it up, awaiting the opening.

A few of the pieces on display:

Here is my favorite piece that I worked on — it took the longest but also used many of my new skills to create it, and was a chance to put several different metals together in one piece:

"Over and Under -- Where Two Worlds Meet" Steel, Copper, Aluminum, Wood, Patinas, Lexan

“Over and Under — Where Two Worlds Meet”
Steel, Copper, Aluminum, Wood, Patinas, Lexan

I have many more ideas brewing — I’ll share more when I can.

I’m just going to post a few pictures, as I’m getting into the home stretch on completing my grant, AND have a new exhibit with my art group, Studio 10, going in at almost the same time. For any readers in northern MN, or nearby areas, you should come to see the show. All new works by 10 accomplished artists on the theme “Transitions”. Our opening is August 7th at the Watermark Art Center in Bemidji, from 5-7 pm. The show will be up until the end of September. My Grant project event is August 15th, from 4-6 pm at the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts, in Bemidji. I will be showing the work I have been doing in metal sculpture, using new metals and techniques learned during my Fellowship grant from Region 2.

Cut steel panel for a railing. Finished last fall, for a neighbor's house

Cut steel panel for a railing. Finished last fall, for a neighbor’s house

Another piece from my grant show -- just a sneak peak.

Another piece from my grant show — just a sneak peak.

Close-up of one of my new works, which will be at my grant exhibit.

Close-up of one of my new works, which will be at my grant exhibit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll share more pics after the events, when I have time to catch up on life!

 

 

 

 

 

Last Day of 2014

This year has certainly gone FAST. I have been busy enough to neglect posting new things and hope to do better in the year to come. I have been working on a grant, learning new metal sculpture techniques, and will have those to share in the new year. I have also been doing paintings for shows, and commissions and will share a few of them today.

IMG_5146wThis piece is entitled “Knock, knock …Whoo’s There?”  Won 2nd place in Super Gold category at the annual Artists of MN spring show.

"Harley"

“Harley”

One of my dog portrait commissions. Here is another:

"Ella"

“Ella”

and one more:

"Lulu"

“Lulu”

Here I am, working in the metal shop.

"Me. at work on a new project"

“Me. at work on a new project”

and a goodby for now shot of Groucho under our Christmas tree.

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We survived the winter! It was one of the coldest I can remember, and hard to live with the seemingly never-ending subzero temps. In March, my husband and I enjoyed a reprieve — we went on a road-trip through Missouri, where we enjoyed a visit with family, and then to Florida, where we stayed with gracious friends and enjoyed the warmth of sun and sand. It was -30 the morning we left, and in the 70’s in Florida — over 100 degrees warmer! On the way home we went through New Orleans, spending a tourist day in the French Quarter. I’ll post a couple glimpses of our trip:

 

A scene at the beach we visited (several times)

A scene at the beach we visited (several times)

One of MANY birds we saw -- especially pelicans.

One of MANY birds we saw — especially pelicans.

One view from our day in New Orleans.

One view from our day in New Orleans.

We were welcomed home with 10 inches of new snow — but it has since melted, and we are hopeful that spring is truly here.

Art busy-ness started right in — hanging new shows at the RavenRock Gallery, entering the annual Hawley open judged show [I won a 2nd place!] and preparing for the annual Artists of Minnesota show, coming up in May. I also had a dog portrait commission to work on, which I completed this week. Here is a look at the finished painting:

Alaskan Malamute "Charlie"

Alaskan Malamute “Charlie”

I’ve been reading up and researching metal sculpture techniques. This year I plan to learn to work with copper, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, and other metals in addition to the steel I already work with. I received a grant to help me with this goal. Should be fun [and lots of work, too]. I am excited to see what I can learn, and create this year.

Hard to believe it is 2014! It is starting out as the old year ended — bitterly cold. We had around minus 36 this morning, and that is not wind chill, just the actual temp. So glad I have a house to keep me warm — how the pioneers and Native Americans lived here in ‘the old days’ is hard to conceive of.

Well, we are sure to have some warmer days and good times ahead. I like to look back at summer pictures about this time, and some of my paintings of fall — which I think is my favorite season, because the colors have so much energy! I’ll post a few of my “Autumn Glory” series.

"Color and Sunshine" 10"x10"Acrylic on canvas

“Color and Sunshine”
10″x10″Acrylic on canvas

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“Reds I” 9″x12″ Acrylic on canvas

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“Look Up!” 16″x 20″Acrylic on canvas

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“Glory Days” 12″x16″ Acrylic on canvas

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“Fall Birches” 10″x10″Acrylic on canvas

These were all painted in what I consider a ‘backwards’ technique: I start with the lightest color, which I paint over  the whole canvas except the areas I know will be tree trunks or branches. I then layer on more colors to create the sunlit leaves. Next are the tree trunks/branches. Then most of the mid-size and smaller branches. Finally I add the sky, which is what gives form and dimension to the leaves, and perhaps a few tiny twigs. This is the total opposite of my usual method of painting the background first, and then giving attention to the subject. It is actually quite fun to do things in a different way once in a while, and it helps me loosen up on these landscape subjects, which really don’t need to be photo perfect. It is the mood and the energy of the season that I’m trying to convey. Every one of these paintings were based on trees in my own yard. I am so fortunate to live in a beautiful place!

Hope your year is off to a good start!