Viva Fiesta! Viva Friends!

Our Fiesta Show and Sale was fantastic (nice alliteration :)). Being with Lesta, Jan and Alison is such a treat, and their work is wonderful. It was great to talk to everyone who came. I met some of the *nicest* people. Here’s a photo of the happy artists:

Alison, Lesta, Lyn and Jan

Alison, Lesta, Lyn and Jan

Before I say goodnight and thanks, here are a couple of reminders about upcoming events- the Spirit Box Workshop is next Sunday from 3-5 and there are two spaces left, and Hildegard, Art and Soul Journey with Michelle Belto is the following weekend. That will be the most remarkable event at the Studio so far, I’m predicting. Email me with any questions. OK, this happy artist is going to zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. See you soon!

Sunday’s getting closer . . .

So the big Fiesta Show and Sale is day after tomorrow – I’m sorta ready, but this morning I really wanted to work on something new for the show. I started with some square black frames that I had ordered just because they were on sale. Then I printed some digital photos of gravestone angels (but of course!) and started working on two small collages that remind me of the Guardian series. I call the new series El Ala y la Oración (the Wing and the Prayer) because they feature bird feathers and monument faces. They are turning out so well – it’s great to feel them come together. Here are the first two – with any luck I’ll finish four more by Sunday. These are behind glass so there is a bit of reflection in the photo, but it adds to the overall effect, perhaps. The hardest part was figuring out how to create the shadow box. I did it with thin strips of black foamcore mounted against the inside edges of the frames – come by the Studio on Sunday and I’ll show you the trick!







Tell and Show

The “tell” part: I keep remembering great tips from artist Sherrill Kahn when I saw her presentation at FASA on Monday. One that I’m going to try today is mixing cheap hair gel, the kind you can get at dollar stores in a pump bottle, with acrylic paint to make a glaze for fabric, collage, whatever. Another technique that she uses is Styrofoam plate printing. It’s fun to watch her do this. Breaking news: there’s a pretty good possibility that Sherrill will be at my Studio in August for several workshops (or you can go to Italy to see her in September <wistful sigh>)

The “show” part: Lesta Frank, Jan Longfellow, Alison Schockner and I are reuniting for a Fiesta Show at the Studio this Sunday – whoopee! Here’s a sneak preview of the cool stuff – there will be food and freebies and Fiesta fun, so come by and celebrate from 11-5!



Inspiration: Sherrill Kahn

Yesterday morning I went to a meeting of the Fiber Artists of San Antonio. My friend Vicki Siptak invited me because she thought I’d like the presenter, nationally-known multimedia artist Sherrill Kahn – not only did I like her, I want to BE her! Her work is so inspiring and gloshershe shares her techniques and thoughts in a totally open way. Gloria Hill went with me – Gloria was lucky enough to purchase one of Sherrill’s beautiful multimedia fabric pieces.

Sherrill teaches all over the world. She and I talked about the possibility of having her come back to San Antonio in the fall. I would love to host two or three workshops at the Studio in August, so stay tuned. Talking with her just reinforced my decision to work for a while on smaller pieces – here’s the first one in a new Guardian series, still not finished, but on its way.

guardianPS – Congrats to Ana Kurland who won the subscriber’s Friday Freebie journal!!



Gloria Hill: Guest Artist for April

I’m honored to feature my long-time friend, Gloria Hill, whose expressive abstract paintings have blossomed in 2013. She started working with me at the Studio in February (I hesitate to say “taking lessons” because I learn as much from her as she does from me). Gloria grasps an idea and makes it her own. She is dedicated and amazingly prolific considering that she has a demanding full-time career as North East ISD’s Director of Visual Art where her art teachers and students win state and national awards. Gloria is, thankfully, finding time for her own art, and boy, is she good! Her paintings (below) speak for themselves, but this is what she has to say about her personal creative journey:

“We all have to start somewhere and I feel that I am at the gathering stage in my work.  I am motivated by the strong urge to create.  I hope that through the process of discovering, gathering, creating, experimenting, searching, failing, and learning I will develop the tools, techniques, and processes to better express myself.   I know who I am and am happy with me.  I never want to stop growing and learning and I am finding that my art is taking me down the path I want to travel.  It is giving me joy, inner peace, confidence, and a feeling of personal accomplishment.”

Thank you, Glo, for sharing your talent and inspiring work!

Back to Books and Basics

I’ve been working so much on large paintings that I’ve missed doing the smaller works that I love, like journals and mixed-media collages. Fortunately, the wonderful Nueva Street Gallery owners sent out a call to me for more of both. I just complete six journals for them in a format that was developed especially for their lovely gallery in historic La Villita. Part of that format includes incorporating face shards in the design. Here are some photos. These will be available at Nueva Street Gallery as soon as I get down there tomorrow or Tuesday. I put a new little label on the library card that goes inside the journals – it says La Vida es BuenaLife is Good. Yep!

PS If you’ve read this far, the Overdue Friday Freebie will be a journal like one of these – all subscribers to Shards are in the pot! You can choose your favorite and I’ll make one for you that is similar.


Heather Ash and Michelle Belto

How did I get so lucky to have these two extraordinary teachers in my life? On Monday evening, Heather Ash Amara will be at the Studio for an informal, enlightening talk about creativity and intent – and how to spark both. Carla Pineda from Viva Bookstore will be there to share some of Heather Ash’s publications. This is the perfect start to a thoughtful spring (and if you come, I’ll have a new basket of take-home shards). Refreshments and conversation, too.

And I’m counting the days to Michelle Belto’s workshop. I’m really excited about this, and so is Michelle. Please consider joining us.

logo copyOff to do a happy dance 🙂

Nope, haven’t forgotten the Friday Freebie either – stay tuned!

Shards and Strands

Last night I got an email from artist Dawn Zichko, whose blog, Mental Mohair is full of inspiring ideas for thought and new work. Dawn had ordered some Shard Faces from my Etsy shop in early February. I always ask buyers if they’ll send me pictures of how they use the little faces, but these fiber hangings that she and her daughter did just blew me away. Look at this amazing combination of strands of knitted yarn, ribbon, twigs – beautiful work. There’s another photo here. Thanks for letting me share these, Dawn. I love your work and your blog.

Further thoughts . . .

In Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way day book yesterday was this quote, which somewhat describes that feeling of the force behind the creative calling –  apart from making something “to sell”:

jcquoteI wonder who the “they” is, though – people who look at art and get a message? Buyers? Do “they” have to come to make art worthwhile, or can you just express yourself FOR yourself. Personally, I love it when other people find a resonance for themselves in my work, but if I were alone on the proverbial desert island, I’d still be arranging palm fronds and shells into nifty designs and drawing lines in the sand just for my own enrichment and artistic fulfillment. You probably would, too!




Art for art’s sake?

I belong to a LinkedIn list for art discussion and thought this comment in response to pricing abstract art was thought-provoking:

Melanie Rae Zero • And Mike, if you’re making art for solely for sale, that would be decoration and ornamentation. That’s not art at all. You need to have an idea and e conveying a message. Otherwise, it’s just art for the sake of art. Art for the sake of art is nothing at all, it begs the question. Pointless. Find some value in your life and work from that, otherwise you’re working from the point of view that you’re life is not valuable at all. If you’re life’s not valuable, what’s the point of painting?

I don’t know Melanie Rae Zero, but she has – to say the least – an interesting website:

It all seems to go back to the discussion we had at the Spirit Doll workshop – is there Intention behind the creation? Is a Spirit Doll or Spirit Box just an ornament or is it art? Or something else? Hmmmmmmmm . . .

Spirit Box - just an ornament?

Spirit Box – just an ornament?

PS Spirit Box workshop on the 21st!