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Removing the Sculpture

February 14, 2017

 

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All good things must come to an end, even temporary wall sculptures. Art in Rural Communities 2016-2017 was installed for 5 months in Halsey Oregon. Monday morning I removed my portion, “From the Land”, and brought it home.

Was it a success? How does one measure a success?? It’s difficult to tell from a small town. I don’t live there and have very little contact with residents. The few people I talked with REALLY loved the piece. One of the public works people wanted to purchase individual panels. He also wanted to make a template from one of the long panels in order to cut a metal duplicate (for one of the town residents). Hmmm, I did the design work and he wants to copy that design to make a duplicate for free. Not quite fair in my brain. I spent hours doing research and design for each panel and I won’t be giving anything away without fair payment. The limited funds I did receive certainly didn’t cover much when you account for research, design and fabrication (plus new machinery and supplies). This will most likely be my final entry into AIRC.  If I created less expensive work that didn’t suck the life out of me, then things might go a different direction. However, I’m an overachiever. Even with little funding I want to create work that I’m proud of and will push myself hard to achieve that level.

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Winter might not be the best time to display such a project. Shorter days and nasty weather certainly puts a damper on wanting to visit outdoor art. The piece was up during some impressive winter storms and SURVIVED! Big windstorms, ice, and snow confronted the west facing wall. Damage was minor and confined to warped plywood. Additional screws, along with more paint layers, could have prevented that issue . The main cutouts were fine. Even the skinny-cut portions had no visible damage. Besides the weather, another potential destructive force were the side mirrors on the semi-trucks pulling up alongside the building. Notice the arrow pointing down on the side mirror, about 12″ from my work. I’m so amazed it didn’t get scraped off the wall by a driver! Five months and no damage! Hurray!

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An ugly empty space now prevails on the long wall. Weathered outlines remind residents of what was there. The life, color & energy Bonnie and I created is gone. I feel sad for the librarian, TJ, who now has an empty view. Maybe more appreciation has been stirred for exterior public art and the difference it can make in small towns. Of course, with the new partial administration and POTUS, national funding for ANY arts could be cut from the budget (and would then have to rely completely on public support).

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How aware are people of the arts in their communities? What would happen if all art was removed? What if clothing designs disappeared? Architecture? Theater? Music? Dance? Literature? Fine Arts? Life certainly wouldn’t be life without creativity and the arts. I’ve always wanted to go around town and cover everything art related with sheets to bolster awareness. Nothing beautiful like the Christo’s draping of buildings. Cover everything in grey or black. Would that wake people up to what the arts do for society? It would be an interesting experiment….

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Reexamining a Technique

February 8, 2017

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There is an upcoming print exchange that I’ve signed up for and the deadline approaches. What subject should I attempt? What method should I jump on? Last year I created a drypoint on copper and I wasn’t terribly happy with the end result. Do I try it again or do a traditional block print? It’s been several years since attempting the technique of drypoint on linoleum and my brain is already having issues with the final outcome. For those unfamiliar with drypoint, I’m basically scratching lines on my block (copper , lineolum, plexi). The scratches grab ink and hold on to it during the inking process. Once the plate is inked and wiped, you run it through a press with your dampened paper over the top. The paper is pressed down into the scratched plate and picks up the inky lines. So, I need to keep in mind the fact that it’s the scratches that create the darker values. The below test is the lino block on the left and the printed paper on the right. Whites are not really “white” but a light grey. I used a water based ink which won’t be my preference for the finished work. I prefer oil based even though it’s messy. The mini test indicates to me that I’m heading in the right direction. Hopefully I can make a few corrections (somehow) on the main block where mistakes have already taken place.

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I’ll also start an eze-cut block to run in conjunction with this print. This technique works opposite. I’ll be removing the white zones and leaving black.  It will save additional stress on my tendons and finger joint issues. Which ever image comes out the best will be sent off for the exchange.

The final print image will be 4″ x 6″. Overall paper size limited to 5″x 7″.

Blue Fern

January 26, 2017

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With the depressing state of the US government, I’ve decided to take a few days off from social media to work on art projects. First on the list is completing a small edition of the screen print tea towels. The fern image required a bit of touch-up before moving forward. Half of the morning was spent prepping ink, which I hadn’t expected. It’s been over a year since last checking ink status: some have deteriorated and have hardened/dried out. Not the best start to the new year! Anyway, I managed to crank out 21 tea towels once everything was set up properly. Hemming and an additional wash or two to come before gifting or selling.

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The studio partner hasn’t been the biggest help for any project. All she does is follow me around meowing and attacking my feet/legs for not doting on her constantly. Is it better to work in the cat zone or be surrounded by the crazy dogs? The cat is probably better, but not the ideal partner. After an hour+ of dedicated lap-time, she eventually left me alone for longer stretches of time.

Besides art & cat therapy, I’ve been receiving farm animal therapy! Below are a couple of pictures from Tuesdays visit with the friendly bunch (3 out of 6 animals are super friendly). I’m always thrilled to see them. The sheep/llama manage to put up with the extra treats and cheek/neck rubs. It must be hard for them to have a fan club.

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Fizz the Llama

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Mookie the Icelandic Sheep

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Tractor the Jacobs Sheep with wonky horns.

One of my friends commented that he thought Tractor should become a lead character in a children’s book. Hmm, I might have to explore that thought this year as I continue to focus on animals in art.

 

 

A New Year 

January 16, 2017

holiday-pix-2-2After an almost 2+ month break, I’ve decided that it’s a good time to get back into a blogging routine. The holidays are over. Winter is very much here. The studio is aching  for attention from me!

2016 certainly held several projects with art and life:

Art in Rural Communities is still up and going as of the beginning of 2017. You can continue to visit the work until the end of January (maybe longer? The weather has been difficult.)

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Major house renovations continue. Demolition and new framing of our bedroom closet continues slowly. Outdoor lights arrived and are waiting for installation.

The dogs continue with their classes. Moby completed his first Reactive Dog class and will now start on Scent Work like Hazel. Hazel continues to push forward with her skills. I’m still trying to figure out how far this experience will take us. It’s also an expensive game to fund. I’m finally feeling like I need to make my artwork pay for the dog games. Another way to motivate myself forward to sell/create artwork.

Meme has become a full time indoor kitty. She occupies the downstairs and seems satisfied for the moment. Her eye problems have decreased after 21 days of treatment for Bartonella aka “Cat Scratch Fever”. In 6 months she will be retested. Hopefully the antibiotics took care of the problem.

So, keep your eyes open for upcoming art. I have RSVP’d a spot in the Wingtip Press Leftover Print Exchange. It’s the one way I can make sure I’ll produce something fun.

Happy New Year to you all!

Cheers!

Gale

 

Time Off

November 30, 2016

It’s been 2 months since my last posting. I think that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without writing. No art is being produced. The house is a disaster zone with construction and clearing out of old stuff. The dogs are both in class and Hazel has her first odor recognition trials on December 3. The cat has been sick and now diagnosed with Bartonella, a lovely zoonotic disease( totally curable). Philomath Open Studio Tour came and went. Art went to city hall, a coffee shop in Brownsville, and currently works in the Benton County Museum. The horrible election is over and the worst choice won. The country is stepping way back in time. Way way WAY back to eras we shouldn’t be repeating. I’m not going to go into discussion on this subject because it’s too depressing.

The exterior house work has stopped due to the weather. Most of the first coat of paint is down. Siding replaced. Grey is the new color. Exterior lights have been selected, but not ordered. I’ll wait for spring to start figuring out what to do with the landscape. Inside, the battle continues with mouse eradication. Holes are being covered, dogs are alerting us to our hidden friends in the garage, snap traps have been used successfully over and over. Not a pretty thing, but necessary for all involved. 

The ceiling repair work will start moving forward once I figure out how and where to purchase the wood. I got the idea from visiting my friend in Bend the other weekend. Why not install a beautiful wood surface rather than skim coating the full ceiling? It will be much more expensive, but I think the look will be super. 

 We still have flooring to replace, but that won’t happen until I upgrade the master bedroom closet. Time to move out of the funky 70’s into a useable space. I’m passing on several show opportunities in order to create a better space for work. January will be set aside for dealing with buying out my brothers share of the coast house. Then I can become serious about turning it into a rental. 

Here’s a look at what I’m doing with Hazel. We took advantage of a rain break and did some training outside on the back deck. ​

The Install of “From the Land”

September 23, 2016

It’s been several days since the actual installation and I’m finally feeling rested enough to show some photos! It was a beautiful warm fall day and a 20 ft long blank canvas!

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Walter B and Hester Coucke (The Arts Center Curator) were hard at work hanging the informational signage.

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Starting off seemed pretty simple. Lay out the bottom line, drill the template holes and voila, everything would fit! Well, that would have been in a perfect world, and as we all know, that never happens! My templates were off just enough and I didn’t bring a larger drill bit, so an extra hour was wasted making a trip back into Albany for new Forstner bits. Eventually we got into a swing and it only took double the time that I originally thought.

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Along with my fabulous husband, who took the day off from work just to help out, my best friend Maria was part of the hanging crew. Thank goodness she was there because it really did take three people to deal with everything going on.

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So far the community is really enjoying the work. Bonnie Meltzer hung her piece the day after mine. The wall has never looked so interesting!

On Tuesday,September 27, 2016, there will be a gathering in front of the wall and at the public library across the street at 6:30 to celebrate the artwork. Both artists’ will be on hand at the event. The address is : 838 W First St, Halsey OR

A big thanks to The Arts Center of Corvallis, The Oregon Arts Commission, and DLF Pickseed for their support!

Plus a HUGE thanks to my husband Dave who helped keep the household running while I was in production mode, for his insight on the different designs, for taking the dogs out running when my body was incapacitated, and for being the muscle man during the installation. I promise not to take on another big project next year that overwhelms our summer plans. Seriously, I swear!

🙂

 

Early Rain

September 18, 2016

It came early. The rain that is. It’s been a bit of a guessing game as to when it would start. Would it be Saturday or Sunday? Will it start around noon on Saturday or around 9am? It chose the 9:30am Saturday time slot.

This early rain puts a damper on the final painting push. I was delayed a few days this last week due to back problems and sciatic nerve pain starting Tuesday morning. I could hardly lift my left leg three inches before massive pain shot through my body. It’s now Saturday and I’m almost fully functional, only twinges of pain here and there. During the pain period I still kept pushing forward, but not at a rapid pace. Ice packs and heating pads throughout the days. I finished scraping down and prepping the large and small panels, soapy wash and a good rinse, and the alcohol de-greasing wipe down. Two coats of primer on everything then two to three coats of paint. I’m still working on the paint.

The garage/workspace is a disaster. I’ll probably spend a bit of time cleaning up aluminum shavings and everything else. Empty spray cans, vinyl wrapping, chunks of non-usable sign material chucked in a bin with good stuff. Looks like a creative bomb went off in the space. I do need to finalize my mounting design before drilling holes in the two parts (metal silhouette and backboard). I also have not even started the two small panels that fit in the center of the quads. Since they’re so small, I hope that I’ll be able to pop them out pretty quickly compared to everything else!

The push continues until the end, that being Tuesday! I’m really looking forward to getting my life back. My husband is looking forward to getting me back as well! Nothing like a major project to disrupt the household.