Monday, August 1, 2011

What I did on my summer vacation

Norm & I took a much needed stress-buster vacation to Scotland... with a little bit of England thrown in there, too.
  1. Day to fly. First to Philadelphia with a lay-over that gave us enough time to have some pizza before boarding for Glasgow - we arrived the next day.
  2. Took a bus to a train station to a bus to a train to Edinburgh [we were so excited to travel by train...we fell asleep!]. Could have walked to our great hotel - Dunstane House Hotel but it was raining. Took a bus into "town," climbed up to the Royal Mile stairway near the train station - stopped for fish & chips, and hard cider at Canon's Gait - right up the street from Canon's Gate church where a royal wedding took place the next week...then walked up to Calton Hill - then down a hill to Cafe Royal [you must stop here for food & drink and the Royal Doulton tile paintings]- walked along Princes Street - and dashed into another pub [Dirty Dick's in Rose Street] [order at the bar] for another pint before walking "home." A nice big bed and a good night's sleep.
  3. After a good Scottish breakfast, headed back to the Royal Mile - after stopping in at the information center...and buying an umbrella. Climbed all the way up to the Castle - which was too crowded. Seemed like the Braveheart section of Disneyland... We decided to skip it, and walked down the Royal Mile, ducking into St. Giles and off to the Palace at Holyrood House. Looked at Arthur's Seat and decided we were too tired to hike up it...a bus was hanging around, so we used our all day pass to take it to Leith. Why? Because I wanted to hum "Sunshine on Leith" by the Proclaimers [it wasn't sunny]. We walked around and decided to have a late lunch at The Shore. I had wanted to go to Martin Wishart's very cool restaurant, but it wasn't open that back on a bus, and headed out toward Portobello beach, then switched to another bus that took through Prestonfield "behind" Edinburgh... and ended up getting a little lost and accidently found the Edinburgh Quay and canals...[who knew?] another walk took us to the Grass Market area that is so incredibly charming. Walked around the castle, back to Princes St. and finally decided to STOP WALKING and have dinner at The Conan Doyle. Walk back to find a bus, back to the hotel and a bath. 
  4. After another bowl of porridge, we took the bus to the train station to start our BritRail pass to London. Norm had the insight to buy first class tickets, so we were plied with tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes, etc... by slightly crabby little old ladies all the way to London. We spent the day gazing out the window at the Firth of Forth, the east coast and hundreds of miles of meadows, pastures, forests, cattle, sheep, quaint villages and cities.  This is what Norm was waiting for relaxing while watching the pastoral views go by... then into the bright light, noise and madness of London in the summer. A very expensive cab ride got us to the hotel and a nice room. Small, but lovely, great location. It was late in the afternoon, so the concierge Kaspars [a Bradley Cooper look-alike from Russia] gave us a map and I decided we should walk to Harrod's. On the way, we could spend 45 minutes at the Victoria & Albert Museum before they closed. Mind you, this is a huge building. We rushed through to find the mosaics [duh!] just in time for that room to close. We were allowed 5 minutes and we made the best of it, then headed out. By this time, my feet were killing me. So, naturally, we walked to Harrod's. Mostly, I wanted Norm to see the Food Halls.  The streets were so crowded. We were both hungry - but by the time we got to the Food Halls, they were PACKED with people. Claustrophobia level crowded. I didn't see a brandy snap in the pastry case, so off we went. Now, we needed to find a place to eat. I hadn't been in London for several years...and I'll just say the Knightsbridge area has... changed.  Most of the restaurants were geared for a different clientele. We finally found an almost affordable sidewalk cafe, but when we wanted to enter we were told there was a £50 minimum [$75] per person. For lunch. I saw that there was a cafe in Harvey Nichols so we tried that. It was crowded, loud - but they had BEER and the food wasn't too expensive. Nice waitress from Lithuania. I could tell Norm was feeling edgy. We started the long walk back to our hotel [in the rain] and found a traditional pub. Order at the bar. Staff walked by several times and we thought we were being ignored...while there, we met a couple from Texas on honeymoon - they'd already been to Turkey, Paris and Portugal...and were still going. Feeling inadequate, we [no, I] started making up stories about the fellow hanging around the bar trying to flirt with the bar maids. He looked well dressed, but there was something slimey about him... I wanted to warn the girls to stay away from the potential serial killer with a serious addiction to nicotine. After this, we strayed off to find dessert in one form or another - We passed a very cool looking Portuguese restaurant that had Fado music later on... but I could't convince Norm. Dulce Pontes is one of my favorite singers, but I am the only person I know who knows who she is and adores her voice. Anyway, I found a Pavlova [sold to me by an Indonesian woman] and Norm found something elsewhere. It was pouring so we ran back to the hotel. Dessert in bed and an absolutely idiotic Arnold Schwartzenegger movie was on.
  5. London - right outside our door - we took the Big Bus tour. I don't usually go for this sort of thing, but it was Norm's first time in London, and the double decker affords you a view of everything you wouldn't see at street level. Within several hours, you see the sights - and if you're going on to London - it gives you a lay of the land, and the ability to hop off and explore and hop back on. All the sights were crowded [of course]. Late afternoon, we headed back to the train station and hopped the next train to Liverpool. Stay at the Marriott Liverpool and you can walk from the train station and then to a lot of the sights from there. We hit the gym, swam [indoor pool] and then set out to discover the Beatles. We walked to Matthew Street where we saw the Cavern Club - along with many other clubs - bands playing in each. I was hungry and it was getting late - we found the one place that was still serving food and had fun watching the kids having a snack before clubbing. Lot's of girls in skin tight mini dresses and high heels teetering down cobblestone streets shouting at the young men in hoodies. We almost got back to the hotel before the rain started.
  6. Liverpool- walked back to the Cavern Club to take pictures and walk down several flights of stairs. It was very moving - and surreal to think that those four boys were discovered and could become world famous in this small underground club. We went to the information center to book our next room [one great thing about traveling in the UK] unfortunately, the staff was a bit flustered and it took a lot of effort to book a room. We had to leave and come back. In the meantime, we walked to the docks to visit the new Museum of Liverpool which was really too crowded. Then, off to the Tate Modern to see the Magritte exhibition [inspiring!] and lunch. While at the Albert Docks, we visited the Beatles Story which is sort of how the Baseball Hall of Fame is to Cooperstown. There is so much to see and do in Liverpool. One day is not enough. We wanted to take the ferry 'cross the Mersey, but didn't have time... Before we walked back to the train station, we had a great lunch at La Tasca - tapas & sangria. Off again to Scotland. A late train to Glasgow, with reservation on hand. We arrived late and were told the hotel was a short walk from the train station. Yes. Uphill. All the way. Rough streets...bumpy. The weather was fine, and one good thing was walking past the Glasgow School of Art which I've visited before, as a rabid Charles Rennie Mackintosh fan [I was once brought to tears by his bedroom furniture] - but I digress. We were exhausted dragging our bags...and finally found our hotel. We made it up the loose slate stairs - and the desk clerk had no record of our reservation but had vacancy - and gave us the key to ROOM 26. It was late - probably after 10 or 11 at night. A lot of these lovely older homes have been turned into B&B's. There might be charming lace curtains at the front door, by don't let the exterior fool you. Inside are heavy fire doors that slam. Behind one of them was ROOM 26. Looked like the set of a horror movie. Smelled musty. Tiny room, low ceilings, swayback bed, teeny bathroom. Okay, we just wanted a place to sleep - but the bed had a bedspread and a bottom sheet. No top sheet, no blanket. Were we to assume they washed the bedspread every day? Hmmmm. I figured I'd need a benedryl to sleep in the room. The bathroom had a small FILTHY drinking glass. I opened the window for some fresh air and the giant bugs just waiting outside ALL flew in. Oh dear. While I was batting away at them with a pillow, Brave Norm went back to the front desk and got us a "better" room. Yes, it was bigger, but at the front of the house, and we slept in our clothes, on our coats - on top of the bed. And we found many of the shows on BBC ever so amusing. We might have gotten some sleep, but every late night drunk - in a car - got pulled over in front our hotel; and every late night drunk - on foot- got into a shouting match with another, or had a beef with someone on our block - screaming obscenities into the wee hours of the morning. Not a great night.
  7. Off to the train station [downhill] to Perth where we changed for Inverness. The trains are so much fun. Especially when they don't even check your tickets. No- actually, being able to sit next to Norm - looking out the window and relaxing. Our "steward" [?], Charlie asked us about Arizona. He met a girl online and came to visit. Did they go to the Grand Canyon? Tubing? Quick trips to Vegas or Disneyland? No. They went to Wal*Mart. It was her idea. Geez. Anyway, changed trains and headed uphill all the way to Inverness. Great views... mountains, villages, sheep. We got off the train and walked down a main street to the i and booked a room. It was a little difficult because the Highland Games were on. We crossed the bridge and walked along the river and behind the church to Eden House. Caroline welcomed us and suggested we check out the games...and some great restaurants... and said we should go early, since there were so many people in town for the games. We headed back to town and the games were just wrapping up - the band and pipers were just heading out in front of us. Back into town and all the restaurants were booked - so upstairs at the Riva Pizzeria. We were laughing at how great the view long as you didn't look at the ugly 60"s building with the big "to let" sign. Discovered delicious organic local beer Black Isle. After dinner, we walked around more and enjoyed the town...since it was light until almost 11 p.m. There's a fun show on BBC FOOL US with Penn & Teller and I caught up with Doc Martin.
  8. Nice breakfast [and no, we don't eat like this at home]. We had to take a cab to airport to rent a car. We had this ambitious goal to drive way up north. It was fascinating driving over the Moray Firth and waterways that have tides that rush in and out - whitecaps! We did get up the Brora coast - through Cromarty, Helmsdale, stopped at Dunrobin Castle. And, a delightful walk on the water and lunch at Poppy's in Golspie. We turned off the main road where I tried to pet some sheep [they would not have it]. It was a beautiful day - lovely scenery. Back to town, we managed a table at the Mustard Seed. This is a really nice restaurant with locally sourced food; they just didn't quite serve what we ordered. Back at Eden house, Donald had suggested we take the train to Skye - now, this is supposedly one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, so we decided to leave the car. It is an amazing trip. But, when we got to Kyle of Lochalsh, we didn't have a car - or a way to get to Skye. We waited for a bus, but if had taken it, we wouldn't have made it back for the returning train... and the ferry service...nope. So, we {I} decided to try to walk. That was a bridge too far... we walked about half way and turned around. It was sort of funny. Sort of. We ended up going to Tesco [Fresh & Easy, basically] and having a picnic... on the grassy knoll at the end of the parking lot. We walked to the post office to use the internet and got on the train heading back. We should have done something...?! We were so sleepy - the train was HOT. There were a bunch of older English tourists [older than US] that were making a lot of noise. We got back into town - walked to get the car and drove to Loch Ness. Now, just a few days before, there was a story in the newspaper that a photographer had seen NESSIE! So, we didn't want to miss our opportunity, so we drove down to and along the lake...stopping here and there. And, that's when Norm's phone died [my camera battery wasn't charged]. It's so easy to see why people think they see something in the water. For one thing, the lake is enormous. There are waves, and water is very dark. The wind blows the surface, so it's never smooth. We got down to Urquhart Castle but it was closed! We peeked over the fence. Oh well, timing. Back to the B&B - and another food suggestion -  Johnny Foxes. Food was good, beer was good -and the bathroom had a hilarious vending machine that offered a "sticky dick" - and other strange toys.
  9. Now, where to drive... We decided to take the car back to Aberdeen... and drove through the highlands, through the castle trail and whiskey trail. The most picturesque village was Charlestown of Abelour. We didn't really have time to explore, but it is the sort of place I'd like to spend time. Off to Aberdeen - the granite city [yes, it is grey!] and I thought the GPS was taking us to a car rental return near the train station [nope]...then the airport [nope], then another location near the airport [nope]. Talk about frustrating! We just went to the airport, and the last thing is the car rental return. Finally, Norm could stop driving. By cab to the train station where I got a few books for Ally by some of her favorite people - Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson. And, now on to vacation fatigue. Train to Glasgow - beautiful again, scenery - but as much as I enjoyed seeing places like the sea and Dundee pass by, it was last day-itis. Another cab got us to the airport where our last night hotel, the Holiday Inn was literally next to the terminal. Our room was nice, but NOISY. Some loud humming [could it have been JETS?] was going where to eat but the downstairs resto...or pub. We found some goodies and took them upstairs. Best french fries [chips] on the whole trip. And, we probably consumed potatoes in one form or another every day - sometimes more than once. Back in the room we watched some of our new favorite shows including Take Me Out whch is funny and stupid. I don't want you to think we did nothing but watch TV, but really, you're in your room at some point...
  10. Off to the airport. Nice lady at the counter gave us passes to the VIP club. [nice!] and our boarding passes. Past a zillion souvenir stores and eateries, we didn't buy anything but a shirt for Ally. And then, the VIP lounge. Holy cow, it's good to be king! [thank you USAIR!] Caught up on email and alcohol. Off to the plane. I wanted to sleep, until we got on board. Free upgrade to first class. [thank you USAIR!] Now we talking! Great seats, blankets, pillows, champagne [don't want to sleep now], personal movie consoles, good food. The hours just flew by. Okay, so Norm has been racking up FF miles, but not enough, so heartfelt gratitude for a nice flight. To Phillie - customs and a long overlay - and then home. What, it's over 100? At night? Yeah - those 60 and 70 degree days were so lovely - and the rain - and the sheep. Fantastic trip - just what we needed. Over a week of wonderful togetherness. Stress busted.

Grass Market
Arthur's Seat

Cafe Royal
Cavern Club
Inverness Castle
Urquhart Castle

Monday, July 11, 2011

Words & Text[ure] by...Bob...and Bob

A sentimental journey... 
Before you read more, open an extra tab and listen to this song in the background 
[there's nothing to watch]. 
Go ahead, I'll wait.

I just completed this new portrait inspired by a young Bob Dylan. I thought about those early days in coffee houses...blues-y moods, dark rooms...sad songs.

I created a brick wall texture for the background and his coat and gave them a special dark texture. He's in shades of white, gray and black. All of the the type [verbiage] is black on white or white on black...with little bits of red. 
On top of that - a crazy coating of translucent blues to help pick up the blue mood.
Then, I considered songs from the 60's... to help me pick a title. I didn't like all the "hits," and picked this song. My brother, Robert [I called him Bob] was a fan of Dylan's. He was around during those days, and as I read through songs, the lyrics to this song made me think of my brother.

I like including words and writing in and on my work, so I scribbled the lyrics [and a few other choice words] on to tissue. I ripped the tissue into bits and applied it on top of the portrait...and spent more time painting and tinting until I incorporated my sadness into this work. I miss my brother, and putting these feelings, the words and texture into this particular portrait makes it very special to me.

"He Was a Friend of Mine"- Blues for Bob

Check out more of my work here: Schimmel Art Web Site

can't leave well enough alone...

I am one of those artists whose brains never shut off.
I am always thinking, considering, re-designing.

There is was, the brand new Jim Morrison inspired portrait.
Sitting in the studio, waiting for a final coat of lacquer.

I looked at it. "Something's wrong," I thought. "I just need to fix that one shadow, it's bugging me."

I fixed the shadow.
I stood back.
Now the other shadows seemed wrong.
So I fixed those.
You know, that shade of lavender is too light.
Out came the brushes...
Come to think of it, let me tint the blue too.
now the pink and orange are too light!

I stood back.
I liked the colors better, but I really wanted the eye to go
to the face.
So I did more.
A lot more.
Tinting, painting, glueing, until I had a composition I was happy with.

The same, but different.
Introducing, the "new and improved" portrait.
"Light My Fire" 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

An article I wrote for...

...another publication.
I was just submitting a story, and who knows if it will be published?!
So, since I already wrote it, I'll post it here.
Yeah, it's a little long.

How grateful am I!

It took time, it was a struggle, I still have a long way to go, but what I have learned is “it’s never too late to be what you might have been” - George Sand.

I was the quiet kid, drawing in my room...the weird teen-ager hanging out in the art room. But when it was time for college, my girlhood dreams did not find footing in the real world. Maybe it was my insecurity, the lack of encouragement, or the times...just prior to the women’s movement. And, the endless loop of “no one makes it as an artist.” My parents expected me to be a wife and mother - not a professional, certainly not an artist.

I thought I had talent, but I was a shy and quiet kid -actually pretty shy until 30.

So, I did a million other things instead. I worked my way up in retail, all the way to the buying offices and management, and then chucked it to be a display artist. Dressing mannequins and making beds and doing window displays was incredible. I opened a business doing displays, creating props, designing stores...but my partner and I were not always watching the bottom line, became exhausted and closed after 6 years.

I got married and put husband #1 through law school. So, “someone” had to have the “real” job. The one with a steady paycheck and benefits. I had a baby. So, now I am breadwinner, parent, housekeeper, cook... No time for art, no support from husband.

I ended up in nonprofit. But, always, I had room in my home for artsy stuff. Husband one moved my art room into a closet, then into the laundry room, then the car port. I moved my self out of the house.

I created a new life for myself. Single parent with an art filled house. I made funky lampshades, I painted murals, I broke tiles and made a mosaic countertop, I made my own shutters, I put together a chandelier. Those “itches” were fun, but never really a way that made me feel fulfilled.

Then, many years later, I met and married my dream husband. Adores me, supported my artistic dreams - built me a studio - gave me time and space to work and grow as an artist. A year into our marriage he said - the only way you’re going to make it is to put everything into it - quit your job!

I held my breathe and took the leap. No golden parachute. No trust fund. No MFA. We sacrificed a lot. No vacations, went from Kiehl’s to Oil of Olay. Ditched the suits and go to work in pajamas. Work, work work. Make art, find shows, galleries, sell, market, create a web site, pack, ship, file...oh yeah, and make dinner, do the laundry and help a kid through school.

I spend time every day in my studio. I spend time every day exploring every possibility - from researching galleries to looking for opportunities for pr, writing a blog, sending out emails, networking and planning art festivals [which includes filling out forms, applications - and then booking travel].

Today, my work is in several galleries in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago and more... In museums, and in private and corporate collections throughout the world.

I had to accept the fact that I AM AN ARTIST. I didn’t need someone outside myself to tell me that. I appreciate my husband’s love and support. I put in the time, every day: dedication and focus to make this happen on my own terms, in my own way.

 What I have achieved is not an accident. And I am always excited about what’s next. I have more goals for myself, and am looking forward to more adventures!

I accepted: I didn’t need a professor, a degree or a family member to tell me what I knew inside...I am an artist. I am an artist because I say I am.

I love my life. I get to be who I am on a soul level every day. I have the love and support of my family. I love my family. I love my art. I love it when other people love my art.

I appreciate the opportunities. The opportunity love: to be a parent to the greatest kid and wife to greatest husband. The opportunity to make art, show art and sell art. The opportunity to help others.
My most rewarding achievements are: parenting, being a wife that loves and is loved, and finally having a career that I designed, doing what I love to do.

I am not perfect in this way - I don’t follow the rules. I am not sure I even know what the rules are. I do what I want, when I want, the way I want. Do you like what I do? Great. I didn’t get a formal education in my [now] chosen career. I know there are prescribed steps. I don’t have time to suffer in silence for my craft. I want to be happy, I want to be successful. There, I said it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mosaic Inspiration

When people view my work, they wonder...
how did you get from this [above] to this [below]?

How did I end up creating mosaic portraits 
out of junk mail?

Well... imagine two lines in space...on a course to intersect. 
My work represents those converging lines.

Line one - I've always painted portraits. Years ago, I started attempting to make my paintings resemble mosaics. Like, actually painting the "grout" or grid lines. Didn't look great. I am a pretty good painter, this just didn't do the trick.

Line two - I started doing traditional mosaic work, studying the ancients... in Italy, in Turkey, in Cyprus. I did a great job creating the obligatory planters with broken china. I created a celestial tile mosaic on my kitchen counter. I did my bathroom floor using 40 shades of blues, greens, metallic, white... glass tiles. And many other pieces. I am a pretty good mosaic artist.

THEN...I saw the mosaic stained glass portrait in Venice [Italy]... so I started to attempt to create portraits out of tile...out of glass...out of stone...out of buttons...and then paper. 

It started small, and it grew. became more intricate...more challenging...and eureka! I found my groove. I've been creating a connected body of work in this style, using my own technique for many years now. 

I hope you like it! - Now, here's some inspiration and examples. Enjoy.

Part of the reason I created an "Angels & Icons" series came from my love of religious mosaics and Russian Icons.
glass mosaic
glass mosaic
My first attempt at paper mosaic, influence by religious glass mosaics
Russian Icon
glass mosaic

There are more - check on my site for Saints, Angels, & Icons.

Arabic tile work, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Antoni Gaudi are other inspirations:

a paper mosaic I created to match my bathroom floor
Tiffany glass mosaic portrait
Travel also inspired me - to locations in the Mediterranean, but I have yet to visit Barcelona [home of Antonio Gaudi] or Samarkand.
my bathroom floor
an early attempt at junk mosaic -I created this in 2005 from buttons, beads, toys, etc.
Antonio Gaudi mosaic in Barcelona
Tiffany glass mosaic

The Empress Theodora and her retinue. I still have this drawing in my studio for inspiration

Please feel free to view my site [click the link below] or email me to ask questions, inquire about purchasing original art or to represent me at your gallery!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Kindest Cut

Yes, it's me and my scissors again.

I am working on this intricate portrait. As I was going yesterday, I started to think of how many times I cut ONE piece of paper to create the "tiles" I fit together.

  1. First, I cut the from the "raw material"- whether it's a postcard, catalog cover, packaging, business card...etc. One hack to separate a block of color from the rest. 
  2. Next, as I go through any particular box of colors, I look for the exact shades and CUT a strip.
  3. I cut the strip into squares. 
  4. That's two cuts - one on each side.
  5. Now, some of the pieces are fine as a square, but not too many. If it's good the way it is, it gets glued.
  6. But, if I'm going around a curve, there's another cut to make it fit.
  7. If it's in a tight spot, it might take another trim or two
  8. or another. I counted. Most squares get cut at least once more, many of them three times. Which means I'll glue it down, pick it up, trim it again.
Sure, it's pretty tedious to cut ONE PIECE of paper [and there are hundreds if not thousands included in each piece of work I finish] as many as EIGHT times, just to get it right.

I never repeat the same source of paper next to another - so if you'll look closely, you'll notice bits from that postcard from the neighborhood dentist is next to an old birthday card, next to the Nordstrom catalog cover, next to the insurance salesman's business card, next to a magazine fly card, a movie ticket... and so on. Why? It's just the way I do things.

So, I am somewhat process driven, somewhat image driven, and color is always behind everything.
Check out my work here:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rollercoaster Redux

I create art from all sorts of twisted inspiration. I see an image, it starts going where it's going and I follow it.  The impulse is the action.

I have an affinity for music, and sometimes a simple song inspires me, but then the materials at hand take me somewhere else, and then...I take off in another direction. 

Sweet Honey Rox...before
A few years ago, I created an image of a fabulous diva inspired by an Ohio Players album cover. Boy, am I giving away my age. Anyway, I remember this gorgeous black woman pouring honey all over herself - and so gave my subject golden skin and 
Sweet Honey Rox for a title...
{there she is on the right with her arm up in the air}

The Ohio Players were famous for the FUNK and a song called Love Rollercoaster. Click on it to hear it on UTube.
And, for racy album covers...nudity...bondage...honey.

I was in Pittsburgh in January. I visited the Warhol museum. I was really moved by Andy's early work - illustrations, cards, advertisements, shoes, fairies, etc. 

There was one piece I loved - darn, all I wrote down was this note - "GOLD DOILIES." 
And, I wrote Sweet Honey Rox on it too. 

Well, I can't share the Warhol with you...but I came home and got me some GOLD DOILIES...and my scissors...and glue... and whaddya know. Sweet Honey Redux.

Now that I looked them up,I realize the image I was thinking was my inspiration was actually a series of Ohio Players album covers... Ecstasy, Pleasure, Pain and Honey [featuring Sweet Sticky Thing].

So, here is my funky and fly Sweet Honey Rox Redux

...with thanks to the Ohio Players and Andy Warhol. 

Somewhere in the 70's, they both got under my skin and in my grey cells. Let me know what you think. And check out the DOILY details!
doily detail!

Inspiration...the memory of an album cover, coupled with a visit to a museum, a beautiful woman, an emotion and a couple of hands holding scissors and glue.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The connection between advertising and art [mine, anyway]

original ad [I found it]
An ad for Target a year ago was SO cute I hung on to it. A girl with a wistful expression and long straight hair in a cute spring in there somewhere.

original painting
A few weeks ago I painted a woman with long hair... and a long neck...and although I always start with a painting, my work doesn't always end up looking exactly the same [to me, anyway]. I still had that Target ad in my head. But, I didn't use it as a reference, and as someone with eidetic imagery, I didn't need it. It's not the girl from the ad.

I started the mosaic. I had drawn a lot of diverging lines, but ended up using only a few as a guide. Black, grey, white, cream... cutting all my pieces and placing them just so...

Somewhere in there, I decided on ditching flesh tones for the shadows. Gray highlights in her hair got a coating of periwinkle metallic glaze.

I found a piece of junk mail [to me, anyway] from a food bank in Israel [?] with gorgeous tones of periwinkle. That ended up being a key color, so I sorted through the "blue" box to find coordinating pieces. Nothing matchy-matchy.

What's the connection between advertising and my work? Well, for one thing, we're bombarded with images of beauty in advertising. They are the basis for the images I paint. Then, I use images from advertising to create my paper tiles.

No magazines, I use advertising that comes to me... mostly junk mail: flyers, postcards, catalog covers, advertising ephemera, fly cards, etc. Even gallery cards. 
almost done

I thought I was done. Background done. Stood back... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz bored?
Did it need something else?

I revved up that eidetic imagery and "remembered: that ad again - that original inspiration from a couple of years ago and decided to use that as a "jumping off" place. I designed and hand cut flowers. And stems. I placed them where I thought they ought to be. All the while thinking, geez this is going to look like that Target ad - busted!

But, after all - I'm no longer bored. There is no story to this image. No deeper meanings. Something beautiful that hopefully evokes an emotion. I really like it, and whaddya know, it looks NOTHING like the Target ad.


The Blogosphere!

So, I got a request for images for a blog. Sometimes I respond, sometimes I don't...depending on the blog. If it looks like an aesthetic fit, them seem legit, and they ask for PERMISSION to use my images, and they PROMISE to add a link back to my site, I say yes.

Am I crazy? Or crazy good?

So the latest, blog, My Modern Metropolis did a short story, but included a lot of pics. Thanks, Alice - that was wonderful.
But then... off to cyberspace! Blogs picked up the story and reblogged it all over the world.

Off it goes. Liked on Facebook, Tweeted. Somehow, Flavorpill picked the My Modern Metropolis story verbatim. On to Tumblr. From there to many other blogs including pretty propaganda and hundreds of others. Most just posted a photo of one of my pieces. Some of them included my name, some got my gender wrong [should it matter?], some got my name totally wrong! Most left my name off... and images are just floating around...

What's your opinion? Should it bother me? I'd love your opinion...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What I won't do, darn it!

I love my collectors. They obviously have great taste, they like my work! They "get it." Most of the time. But I have to this point in my career, I am no longer open to "suggestions."

I've spent my lifetime developing a style, a technique, a voice. I do what I do because it works for me. It brings me great joy. I know what I like, I know what I'm good at.

I also know my art is not controversial, not earth-shattering... I utilize a couple of gifts and quirks - I am eidetic, I have synesthesia, I can draw, I can paint, I have skill in cutting up paper to make my work.

I create portraits, I think they're beautiful. I am inspired by women's faces, by fashion, by travel, color, or an idea. I'm not curing cancer, I'm not trying to be clever, I make pretty pictures.

I am not a performance artist. I don't arrange shoes or shower curtains "just so," I don't dig up galleries, I don't utilize bones or doilies or pornography in my work. I don't pee or smear poop on my work.

I usually don't paint men. I'm not great at landscapes. I might feel like painting flowers but it goes away.

I want my work - the work that comes out of MY HEAD to sell. I will not apologize for wanting to make a living as an artist. Sorry, I don't want to either suffer for my craft nor do I wish to sell out. 

I do NOT paint dogs. Or cats. I do NOT paint cars or motorcycles. I do NOT do company logos. Yes, people so insane for their pets and yes, people spend a fortune on them... and yes, people with money have cars.

I have friends who paint pets and motorized vehicles. They're really good at it, and they make money selling their work. And, they LIKE it! I have graphic artist friends who create logos for a living and they're happy, too.

Me, I'm happy making beautiful women out of little pieces of junk mail and discarded paper. It's my thing. I love it. I am thrilled to be able to make art every day. I am also thrilled when it sells. It's confirmation that this work makes my collectors happy, too.

I show my work in galleries, have had a few museum shows, and I continue to work hard making better work every day. Thanks to you who appreciate my point of view, I love you, too!

Visit my web site to see more...
Schimmel Art

and please email me to chat!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Commission Time!

Shut Up and Kiss Me Again..and Again...and Again!
There's both an upside and down when it comes to commissions. 

Of course, it's great to have your work desired. And, getting paid to do what you love is also a wonderful boost. The downside? The internal dialog you have with yourself - second guessing each move? Will they love it or hate it? So, while you're working on the commission, you may not be entirely confident*

So far, my experience with commissions has been very positive. Whether creating a commission for a celebrity or of a celebrity... or a civilian just like you and I... I've done custom portraits from photos, or created completely original work for corporate offices...

Well, there was that one...when the collector asked for something "just like" another piece I'd done...except a different shape, a different color scheme and a slightly different composition. Her reaction was…remarkably quiet.

What to do when you're asked to create a portrait of a subject you've done before? A commission for a collector - or through a gallery. This is a bit of a dilemma... you don't want to alienate the collector who has the original. 

But, let’s think about this – I believe some of the greatest artists re-created portraits of the same subjects over and over – whether their wives, lovers, mistresses, especially self-portraits… so maybe it’s not a complete sin?

For some reason, some of my images have been really "popular." Of course, each time it’s a complete original…new composition, new materials, new color scheme.

So here’s my latest, a huge version of an image I originally created a few years ago. 

And, a new version of another image is getting shipped to a gallery [the original sold to a museum]. The collector had wanted to purchase it, but it was sold before he made a decision! This one is “sort of” like the original, but not the same.

As a working artist, I have to juggle all sorts of opportunities – requests for my time while attempting to follow a strategic plan; while fielding inquiries from bloggers, trying to coordinate shows in galleries, exhibitions, working with the media, doing the laundry… and making sure the “working” part of working artist includes making a living.

So, I will accept limited commissions for images I’ve created before – as long as I can make it different and make the collector [and the artist] happy!

*I have to go now - and contact a woman who wants a custom commission and ask her to send some more photos… I painted her portrait last night and I’m not happy with it…!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's on MY walls?

Most collectors ask me what art I have on my walls.
Boy, what a loaded question.
Do I hang my own art in my house?
2 Part answer.

All the art I have [on hand] is hanging in the studio. Done or in surrounds me every day.
One piece of mine hangs in the house. It's the first "mosaic portrait" and a self-portrait. My husband is attached to it and won't let me sell it, although it has been in a few shows from time to time. A few acrylic floral paintings on the wall I did...mostly experimental stuff. And several pieces of needlepoint I designed and stitched when that was my job.
So if there's only a few of my pieces hanging in the house...what else is on the wall?

Plates. A ton of plates. A ridiculous amount of plates.
Plates from Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Portugal, France, England, Denmark, several places in South America and Africa and probably many more places.

There's the antique Royal Doultons [for the Anglophile in me] a collection of Royal Copenhagen Christmas and Mothers Day Plates, Majolica, Faience, Talavera, Art Deco, Ethnic, some hand-painted, some decals... all have special meaning to me.

They're gifts, travel souvenirs, family heirlooms. They're old, they're new...oh, I think I might have painted one or two.

As for Art...
There are large Maxfield Parrish prints. Photographs, wood cuts & prints purchased from galleries and art fairs, a painting of my grandmother when she was a baby in Czechoslovakia. Some framed posters from the past. My favorite is this crazy painting of a ballerina in a off kilter, sand-blasted frame. It's crazy. It has to be from the 50's but I think my Mom bought it at a yard sale and it's one of those unknown things. I might have to take it to Antiques Roadshow someday.

But, mostly plates. I guess I collect plates.

Oh yes, there is a poster in the bathroom of a lighthouse...hanging over the bathtub. It's holding a space for a piece I was working on, but sold it [that's good] and I still think it's fun since the whole bathroom floor is supposed to look like water.

Almost every wall is covered in art of some sort...just not so much mine!