Monday, September 23, 2013

But does it match the couch?

At an art festival this weekend, I was approached by a really interesting character who got my grey cells bouncing around my noggin'. He called himself Seemore. [Have you met him?} His name is
Charles Simmons and he is a BIG booster for his home town.

Occasional art festivals are one way I get to meet the public, take my show on the road... and hopefully make some sales of my work. Say what you will about art... I consider it my profession, and have no qualms about finding various ways to make a living.
It's a mixed bag.

Anyway, Seemore stopped by and told me he was looking for 
the next Martha Stewart. He thought it might be me! [Or maybe he says that to all the girls... or every artist he meets...] 

Well, I consider myself pretty clever, creative, can do all sorts of things... I can draw, and paint and grout tile with the best of them. I can design clothes, I can make a sample handbag from my own designs, I can dress a mannequin, darn socks, dye easter eggs, create sets for theatre, fashion floral centerpieces, do window displays, am a gourmet cook, do creative writing and make all sorts of art and craft thingamabobs. I don't have any livestock, but would love a sheep in the backyard to match my designer dachshunds. So, perhaps I fit his bill for the next Martha?

Seemore's actual purpose in attending the show was to find people [like me?] to come to High Point, NC. To visit, to perhaps participate in trade shows or be/display/rent in a showroom? I'm not quite sure. But, to be "discovered" as the "Next BIG Thing" seemed to be what he thought I could achieve in High Point. Or not. He was very honest.

"Dakota Daughter" Scottsdale, AZ
"Sheherazade" Stamford, CT
A RED wall!
He said some marvelous things about my artwork. And, my sense of color. However... he also uttered the phrase...asked the questions that many artists abhor... "But does it match the couch?"

 Apparently, interior designers who pick furniture, fabrics, accessories and ART for their clients in High Point and every where else... can make an artists' career if their work "matches the couch."

A Blue couch!
Seemore suggested I create work that will match fabrics and interiors that designers look for... and although I could almost say color schemes and palette I pick are something I "can't help doing" - from my inspiration in the moment, my thought process... I don't know...
Am I crazy for using COLORS??? 

"Ever" Museum Collection
Outrageous color combination!
Should I start perusing magazines looking for the latest trends in interior design so I can be more marketable? 
Are we still in the Tuscany trend? 
I haven't painted any villas or poplars recently...[ever?]

"Chauconne" Houston, TX
I never really thought about it before, and all the pieces shown here have sold... so someone somewhere must like red, purple, orange, yellow, teal and lime green! I guess a small minority.

I know most people are afraid of color [I had to paint my last house BEIGE so it would sell].

I know most people don't like portraits. I know most people can't afford to buy original art. I get it, I get it...

If the point of making art... is not only to express yourself, but to also earn your way, pay your bills and put your kids through college - is that unreasonable? Is it time to SELL OUT and go beige or greige or sage green?

"The Karen E Project" Redondo Beach, CA
"Coco Rocha" New York, NY
"Can I get a Kiss? - Mexico City

What, neon colors? Unheard of.
Speaking for myself... Is creating DECOR that matches the couch the way to go?

An orange couch?
I guess I could make a lot more money if I did dog portraits...or flowers... or aspen trees... or landscapes or ponds or... the dreaded 
giant pear paintings. 

But, when I walk into my studio - and just create out of my
imagination, faces appear on the canvas 9 times outta 10. 
Colors that may or may not "go" together, or match a couch [Okay, I am being a smart ass here and I know it] get tossed together willy-nilly.

I know there is no real answer here, and I am sure if anyone bothers to comment... the opinions will be wildly different.

"Robin's Blue Bedroom Eyes - San Diego
Teal and Brown...that's more like it.
I am really glad I met Seemore, and might go visit him in High Point, or take a gander at design magazines... after all, being the next Martha Stewart would alright with me. I am sure I can stay out of prison or if I did end up in jail, I'd take up
Martha upon her release...with her knitted poncho
knitting ponchos, too.

Or better yet...  
the next Walt Disney
[after all, Walt & I share the same Myers Briggs ENTP personality type]

Like Seemore said...  
"You never know when Mickey Mouse is going to become Disneyworld."

So, what do you think?

By the way, if you want to be on my email newsletter list... 
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Friday, September 20, 2013

The custom portrait process...and "inside the studio" insights.

It's his birthday, he's in his 70's. He is getting married. 
He started coloring his hair a little...
His family wants to give him something special.
A Portrait. From me!
I get these photos through email, and put together a quick sketch to capture the best of both of them.  I picked the photo of "her" from above [her eyes were the biggest] "him" from the top photo, and his hair color from the one on the right.

Quick Sketch in Paint on Canvas

After drawing and painting, I begin the process of cutting up hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper. What started out as a simple mosaic process has become an incredibly detailed method...I've been doing this for so long, it's just second nature and difficult to explain!

There is a set of old bedroom furniture in the studio [it was mine when I was a kid] - all junk mail, old calendars, postcards, menus, fly cards, card stock, greeting cards and other ephemera go into those drawers. 

Before I start a new project, I spend a few hours going through that stuff - cutting it and sorting into colors...those piles go into other drawers.
Back to the easel, I sort the colors I've chosen to use by shade and lay them out on a large table. I work one color at a time, cutting and pasting [glueing] each piece one at a time, cutting again and again to fit. Sometimes, they're nothing but a sliver... I might need tweezers to hold the tiny piece, I might need an exacto to trim... The process takes hundreds of hours... during this time, I am looking at the subject's photos...constantly going back and forth, tweeking whatever I need to "get it right."

Thank goodness for NPR and Pandora and PBS online... I can listen to stories, music, comedy and might learn something while I am working or discover a new artist whose music grabs my attention.

Sometimes one of the dogs wanders into the studio. Usually Farfel, who wants me to hold her, but that ain't happening. But she will sit on my hot pink chair and whine... I wish I had a baby bjorn for dachshunds.

In the morning hours, after I have my tea, I often work in whatever I was sleeping in the night before. T-shirt, Yoga pants...Hopefully, no one will come to the door. I work odd hours, all day, with breaks to check my email and see what my friends are doing on Facebook... or talk to friends or family... always wandering back in and picking up where I left off. I am back in the studio at night - often WAY into the wee hours. When I am in the mood...the "zone" I don't know where the time goes. 

The studio is carpeted and I am always trailing it around - embellishing the house with slivers of paper that have stuck to my toes or my socks... and at some point, vacuuming is necessary. Byproduct of my work.

After all the paper is applied, I go back and repaint the eyes, teeth, whatever makes sense. Whatever colors you see - that's the color of the paper. After 24 hours, I apply a sealer and UV coating. Edges of the canvas are painted...usually black.

Here's a small pic of the happy couple [a little glare on the right side] before it got shipped away to enhance another home.

By the way, I don't make my art for me... I make it for YOU!

Thanks for reading!

What's in a Face?

Wolf whistles...Scorn...Desire...Adoration...a Mother's Love...Rejection...Swoons.
It starts with the face.

Babies are born looking like their fathers...  so they'll know the child is theirs and won't run off. Well, at least that's what I've heard, and it is certainly true of me and of my own daughter.

What is attractive? Repulsive? Beautiful? Sexy? Attraction is physical, "chemical," intuitive. We respond to what we like. So, most of us are stuck with what we're born with, other "enhance" with products and poisons and reach an ideal...and that target is always moving.

One man's meat is another man's poison
One man's meat is another man's person

My Mother told me...never trust someone with thin lips, or close-set eyes.

So, What's in a Face?

After all...aren't most of our face comprised of two eyes, two lips, one nose? Are not our faces merely skin stretched [or sagging] over muscle and bone? What's the big deal?

And yet... so much is made of our visual appearance. If you've read my blog, seen my art or know me, you know I have been exploring how our "looks" relate to our own self-image, and the messages we hear and tell ourselves. This collage was originally completed several years ago, soon after I dealt with a slight change to my own face [no one sees it, but it is glaring to me] which altered my impression of myself and others. 

Included in this composition are photos, textures, verbiage, people I know, and many others I don't.
Here are some details. I'm in there somewhere...and I don't look like Kate Moss.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

"LUNA" a Pareidolic Portrait [what's Pareidolia?]

This is "Luna," a new mixed media portrait.

 Materials are: Junk Mail, Acrylic Paint, Glitter, Textured Glazes.

Pareidolia is the experience of “seeing” something in a stimulus or an object that’s simply vague and random. An example is the Shroud of Turin. Remember when you were a child lying on your back in the grass, watching the clouds go by and you saw a bunny or a castle in the sky, or the man [or woman] in the moon? Or the Madonna on a piece of toast, or a cluster of cactus? Maybe you've even heard messages when records are played in reverse [number nine? number nine?].

Carl Sagan believed that the ability to recognize faces from a distance or in poor visibility was an important survival technique. While this instinct enables humans to instantly judge whether an oncoming person is a friend or foe, Sagan noted that it could result in some misinterpretation of random images or patterns of light and shade as being faces.
Leonardo da Vinci wrote about pareidolia as an artistic device. "If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills."

So often, people compare my work to those photo mosaics they've seen at Disneyland or in magazines... an image made up of thousands of photographs created in a computer.
Photo Mosaic at Disney

In fact, many people believe I use some sort of computer program to create my work. I'd like to say that no... I actually DRAW...PAINT...CUT...GLUE... using nothing more hi-tech than pencil, brush, scissors and sometimes and exacto knife.

So, I decided to tackle one of the most common Pareidolic images, the man in the moon... but I love women's faces better...
It's only a Paper Moon
I began by creating a monochromatic background and crescent moon in large squares - if you look closely, you'll see movie tickets [Knight & Day how apropo], greeting cards, advertisements, invitations, fly cards, postcards and photographs. Yes, I have a room full of paper. I save everything. I recycle everything. It took HOURS to cut and sort by tone all of those pieces! I reversed the progression on the moon.  It's only a Paper Moon!

Then the painting of Luna took shape... I kept to a somewhat monochromatic color scheme, only adding a bit of pink paper to the lips and greige shades for the hair.
Luna before the asteroids...

A Crater!

I was pretty happy when I got there, but never leaving well enough alone, I grabbed palette knives, brushes, glitter, gravel, textured gels and my own fingers to create peaks, valleys, craters and rocky textures.
This changed the perfectly flat "collage" into a textured moonscape. Now my woman in the moon looked like she was ON the moon!

This portrait, one of many in my collection of paper mosaic portraits is 30x40" on 1" museum wrapped canvas. Edges are painted black. Wired, ready to hang!

See more here: Schimmel Art Web Site