Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dover Publications: treasures (free or cheap) for all

Dover Publications is a trove of inexpensive or free treasures for children of all ages, parents of all children, artists and aspiring artists, historians, naturalists, puzzle freaks, and the genuinely curious.

Founded in 1941 by Hayward and Blanche Cirker, Dover has published works primarily in the public domain across an astonishing range of topics.  Having had Dover books all my life, I was delighted to recommend them to a friend who was seeking "classy" coloring books.  I knew that she meant Dover's Coloring Books.

I wanted to include the entire Dover subject list, but shall provide this link and just a hint of the length and breadth of the catalog:  African-American History Month; American History (Americana); American Indians; Antiques (Collecting); Art (Anatomy for Artists, Art Instruction, Clip Art, Commercial Art & more); Art Activity Packs; Brain Games (Chess, Classic Board & Card Games, & more); Civil War Books; Clip Art (Angels, Animals, Celtic Art, Design Tools [with CDs for Photshop!] and more); Coloring Books, and much, much more.

While it started with both feet in the print world, Dover has come roaring into the 21st century with design and other books with CDs, a website which will draw you in and take your time in the nicest and most productive possible ways, and the opportunity to subscribe to newsletters for free samples, catalogs and ecards.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Long Rings 2010 - Done! With its own slide show

Long Rings 2010 is finished, and it has its very own slide show and close-ups. Relishing the Painstaking Exuberance that goes into every nanoscape, I have explored tiny spaces, created new nano designs, and given new life to designs from the nano archive.  While not quite answering the 2-d or 3-d question ("Is it or isn't it?)", Long Rings 2010 seems to fall neatly into 2-1/2 d, whatever and wherever that is.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The first 2010 Hopkins MN Farmers' Market Day

It was a fun first day!  It was great to see customers from last year and to meet a lot of new people.

The Farmers had vegetables, plants and flowers, and there were other vendors with honey (including HOT honey), beautiful breads, pastries, and chocolate treats, jams, jellies, barbecue sauces, coffees,  beautiful preserved vegetables, fresh meat, poultry & eggs, handmade and handspun wool scarves and hats, pressed flowers in tiny frames, and one thing that always astonishes me because it looks like magic: amazing wooden creations (cutting boards, etc.) that were beautiful. 

To the delight of Flying Tackle Phil, my younger cat, I was able to buy a supply of catnip toys.

If you look very closely at this photo, you can see the Tote Cats tote bag...

I'll be back at the Market on July 10, August 7, September 11, October 9, 23, and 30.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Long Rings 2010 - Adding color is the heart of Painstaking Exuberance

Adding color is the heart of Painstaking Exuberance.  If you were to watch me paint shape by shape, brushstroke by brushstroke, bit by bit, painting one color next to another, you might "see" the dictionary definition of plodding ("to work laboriously and monotonously") and mumble something under your breath about watching paint dry.

For me, however, it is the polar opposite. I am fully and cheerfully engaged in finding the right place for the paint at the end of my brush. 

Will Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue Violet be comfortable next to Daniel Smith Viridian or would it work better between Schmincke Chromium Lemon Yellow and Holbein Bright Violet?   Sometimes Winsor Newton Opera Rose is right; other times Daniel Smith Opera Pink is better. This is my non-stop conversation -- mostly silent, sometimes out loud, always with a smile.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Long Rings 2010 - creating inside spaces

OUTSIDE SPACES  I used a ruler and a pencil to draw the Long Rings.  After that, though, the ruler moved on the sidelines.

INSIDE SPACES  The inspiration for the designs inside each ring comes from whim or whimsy, a purposeful attempt to work out a new design, or from a sense that the intricate designs might need to be balanced by a solid ring.

NOT TILE WORK  Some of my small space designs come from a misplaced urge to do intricate tile work.  I have snipped and shaped ceramic tiles and won't do it again because: (a) it requires safety glasses, (b) snipping makes loud noises that can frighten the cats; (c) mistakes can send chips everywhere, and (d) painting tiny shapes is much more fun for me. 

NOT WOODWORKING  I find another set of inspirations in old paintings with intricate frames and catalogs and photographs of decorative molding.  The intricate detail in carved molding can be breathtaking.  The work of a talented woodworker who knows and loves the tools of the trade leave me awestruck.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Long Rings 2010 - more connections

Although nanoscapes are no longer tiny, my Painstaking Exuberance keeps me focused on small spaces.  The nearly completed Long Rings 2010 is 15x23" and its long rings encase tiny spaces.

The image on the left is very early pencil-and-Davy's Gray stage.  I started with the largest Rings and began to sketch in some nano designs which just flow.  Can't explain it.

The image on the right is well into the Davy's Gray stage.  The one ring with color is a reminder that I can't resist new things, even if they throw the painting process out of order.  I'd gotten a tube of Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue Violet and couldn't wait to use it on this wonderful 300 # Arches  paper.  It is very thick, and feels like painting on felt -- very welcoming felt, that absorbs paint like a sponge and holds the color.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

7 Palms juried into Savage Arts Council 2010 Juried Arts Competition

The Savage (MN) Arts Council jury has accepted 7 Palms into its 2010 Juried Arts Competition.

7 Palms is the signature piece in my small group of "not quite botanically accurate landscapes"  which includes Up North 2 and Como Reflections

At 14"x5", 7 Palms is also one of the first nanoscapes that was bigger than a postcard.

I have been working on 14 Palms off and on for a year...

Up North 2 is 6"x6".  While my travels in Northern Minnesota are limited to Two Harbors, which is just north of Duluth, I imagine a beautiful place.  This may be an image from before the last Ice Age.

I do, however, live very close to Lake Como in St. Paul's Como Park, and I love each and every tree, rock, shrub, bird, turtle, and fish. At 4"x7", Como Reflections is from the nanoscapes' post-card era

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fractured Glass 3: In the beginning there was a triangle

No sooner did I finished Fractured Glass 2, then I started Fractured Glass 3, which, at 22x30 will be about four times the size of Frac 1 and Frac 2.  When completed, I will have nanoscaped on 726 square inches. 

A Fractured Glass nanoscape looks like this with just pencil on the paper.