Monday, December 29, 2014

Gallery Update

This one is short and sweet since I'm kinda taking time off from the blog till January. But in case anyone wanted to see some more work I updated my gallery page recently. I have all these pieces photographed and ready to edit for the printer, but we'll see what makes the final cut. 

I've got some projects planned for the new year. 
New work I want to make. 
A few blog posts in mind. I'll share more of those later. 

Now is time to be reflective and in the moment.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I knew this day would come....



No I don't have any big exciting Mac & Lucille news. No news at all actually. I just know myself pretty well and it was a matter of time before my energy and enthusiasm would wain. This is where it gets tough and I just have to find a way to keep working.

I'm tired at the end of the day, emotionally drained and there is no room in my brain to be creative or insightful. It doesn't mean I'm quitting or giving up. I just have to give myself a break. The problem is, I feel guilty resting.  I feel like if I'm awake I have to be accomplishing something. Like I'm multitasking every second of everyday.

Even if I'm sitting on the couch with the tv on. I have to be blogging, reading blogs or otherwise searching the web for more (more what?? IDK) I don't think we even realize how exhausting it is to be plugged in all the time. Can you believe we have reached a point in history that JUST watching tv could basically be considered meditation?

I mean it. Try it.
Put your phone away.
Close the laptop.
JUST watch TV.

This time of year we could all use some peace, but we never make time for it. How is this for timing? I started writing this post about a week ago and then I watched 60 minutes this week. Anderson Cooper did an interesting segment on mindfulness!

So here is my little bit of zen for you today. Pictures from a past trip to Oregon. Maybe these images can relax your mind even for just the brief seconds you view them.










Photography by L. Dunn


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kandinsky

I wouldn't always take note of a historic person's birthday, but Kandinsky and I have always had kinda of a thing. His birthday was the 16th of this month and scrolling through his images online kind of took me back to my childhood or at least my early adolescence.

The Huffington Post put up an article of 9 things you might not know about Kandinsky. None of those surprised me. It is his work that drew me to art at first. My first love you could say.

I still remember a trip to the National Gallery in DC.
I saw his Improvistaion 31 Sea Battle.
I bought a small print of it from the gift shop.
That print followed me all through college. I'm sure I still have it somewhere.

Sometime in my late 20's I decided that I didn't want to display prints of overly recognizable art. It felt disingenuous, but even so I still love that piece.


I can't explain exactly why I like it. The colors yes, but it is something else. It makes my heart swell the same way it does when I hear great classical music. Not surprising since he found music and art to be inseparable. 
I prefer the pieces along these same lines. The softness of shape and form. The vibrant blended color.




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Assignment / Sketchbook

So there is something about me as a person that I have learned to accept. I can be dared into just about anything. I should wear a sign that says I Dare You to Dare Me.
It always seemed like my Achilles heel, it can become down right embarrassing if you constantly feel the need to match wits with everyone you meet.
But I've learned to turn it into a strength. I am so seriously determined to figure anything out that I no longer doubt that I really can do anything. Now I know that, is qualified by "within reason".

Okay okay I'm rambling. What the hell does this have to do with my art? Well it means that my desire to excel sometimes means that I don't know how to judge how well I am doing if it is not by comparison to someone or something else. That's probably why a few years ago when I decided to take up painting on a more regular basis my first choice was to copy a Degas.
I needed to feel like I had an assignment. Like I did in art school. Can you master the masters? Then you might be a good painter. Might. Because although you can copy a master, can you ever create a master work of your own?

Dark thoughts right? But I think every artist has this in them. Are you good enough?

To be let loose with no rules, quite frankly, terrifies me. So when a friend several months back asked me to paint something for her, I thought "What the hell would I paint?" I put it off. Others asked me to do something for them. I put them off too. Then it dawned on me. I seriously had a moment of clarity.

"This is my assignment!"

They give me guidelines, colors, general outline of subject matter. Then I paint! AAAHHHHH
Seriously made me so happy to realize this I could have cried, but I didn't. I bought supplies. Started mapping it out in my mind and began a quick study on a smaller canvas.

I just love the story about how Dr Seuss was dared to write a book with only 50 words and he did it. Green Eggs and Ham! And that book was my favorite!

Maybe we all need to feel challenged and pushed, by something outside of ourselves. Just attempting to create something with someone else's rules got me going. And soon I was working out other ideas that were nowhere near like the piece I started for my friend.



It's like as an artist you are constantly trying to break out of the prison of your mind. Every so often you see a weakness in the defenses and you run screaming through it. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Color

It maybe pedestrian of me, but I'm always interested in the Pantone color of the year. Emerald from two years ago is still my current obsession.  I mean, it looks good with every other color! Bonus, all you have to do is buy a house plant to bring it into a room.
This year is Marsala...humm. If you have followed fashion trends then you are familiar with the Oxblood color trend. A bit of a gothic name I give you but it's taken off.
Is it strange that I have an opinion on this? But I think they just missed the fashion mark. You know when something about your outfit or an interior is just a bit off. I've always been obsessed by finding that sweet spot. When all the elements come together. 

Proportion
Balance
Harmony 

Well Marsala is not quite right on. It's too dusty, muddled, and honestly, it feels dated, not current. The oxblood trend is about a rich, elegant jewel tone that is both luxurious and off beat. That would seem to fall in line with the last two years selections, emerald and radiant orchid. Clear, strong color that is bold and impactful.  Marsala looks like an 80's condo or a 90's lipstick. Eww I know.

Why do I care? Well I guess my life is color. It always has been. And I've been on this planet long enough to know that not everyone sees what I do. Designers and artists make a living helping others make decisions about what they want to live with every day. It may not be life saving, but I believe it can be life changing. 

Last year when radiant orchid came out I was all about it. So it would only be honest of me to say it if I don't like it. 

If they asked me; which for some reason they didn't my choices would have been along these lines.


Deep Cranberry
Pomegranate

Food thru A Lens






Sunday, December 7, 2014

December


They sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.

A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.

-Emily Dickinson


Photography by L. Dunn











Little by Little

I've had to take a bit of a break over the last few weeks. Holidays, family, crazy work schedules....all took presidents for a while. As they should.



It makes me anxious to get back to photographing and listing paintings on my shop. I finally got a day off by myself that allowed me to get some work done. It's still surprising how truly giddy, happy I am working away in my garage photographing prints. At one point the thought of photographing everything seemed an insurmountable task.




I'm kind of obsessed with my plywood back drop. This blog has definitely helped me find my aesthetic. It's funny to see what you are gravitated toward over and over again.
What you really connect with.
Unlike Pinterest where I am free to love everything and I really love everything. Here I carefully edit.

All of this is so much fun! I've learned so much already and I know it will just keep getting better. Look for a few new prints to make their way onto Mac & Lucille a little later this month. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Collage Art Contest

Okay so I've been checking my inbox in anticipation of finding out who my partner will be for this contest. And finally Monday I got the info I've been waiting for! I requesting an international partner because well that just seemed extra cool to me. I got my wish because it's an artist from Brazil! It doesn't get much cooler.

Then I get an email from her with links to her website and facebook and WOW! Now I'm super impressed!









Amazing right? I got into this contest to push myself and try new things. Clearly many of these entrants are already more than successful in the world of collage art! And I see that she has a shop at Society6 here so I've got one answer to my standing question. To Zazzle or not?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

To Zazzle or not to Zazzle....

I have been thinking from the beginning of the different ways I could market my art. I love having my Etsy shop, but I think I can do more. It seems there are no shortage of options and no shortage of advice out there either.
I'm not against putting my art on different  products, but of course they need to be the right ones.
At first I thought it would be great to have one of these websites create it and ship it for me. I looked at a couple options:

Zazzle
Society 6

Both seemed like good sites, but something about it felt inauthentic for me.
I want options and I want my customers to have options, but what should those be?

The impractical option would seem to involve me having a product made and owning the inventory. What if no one buys anything, ever? I may be set on Christmas gifts for life.

But that feels like an authentic process.
Working with a local company. Getting the details just right. Owning my product.
I have a thing to show for my effort.

There is also the site Great.ly, but I'm still not really sure how that would work? It seems like I would need to have an inventory on hand to ship out. So it would just be another venue like Etsy to sell items I actually have produced.

Something about just submitting the artwork to a website and them creating and shipping it seems so easy.
Too easy? Maybe I'm being old fashioned about this.
Is this the equivalent of not upgrading to online banking?
paperless statements = inventory-less seller

Ultimately the answer may be several of the above. There is no doubt that the more places you show work the more people will find it. I would love to do art fairs in person, but I'd also love to have a strong online offering. Either way it's exciting to have so many options. It's also exciting to see so many other people putting their work out into the world.
And even if there is never one. single. sale. then at least I have made the attempt!


What would feel right to you?

Monday, December 1, 2014

The 'Perfect' Table

I know everyone has moved onto Christmas shopping by now. I see nothing, but gift guides all over the blogosphere. 

I'm still digesting turkey. 

I'm overwhelmed, by the desire and the pursuit of perfection that abounds this time of year. It causes me great anxiety. The expectaions set so high I am bound to fall short. But I know I am a recovering perfectionist and much of that anxiety is brought on by my own desires to be perfect.

It made me feel better on Saturday night to take some less than perfect pictures of our Thanksgiving leftovers meal. To bask in your own imperfections is a release. Like you've been holding something in for so long you almost don't know how to let go.

The food devoured. 
The perfect place settings packed way, 
in favor of paper plates. 
The chit chat dies away as exhaustion and over consumption sets in,
 for the first time in the holiday season.
But we are happy, imperfect, content.
We are together at least. 
Sometimes that is more than enough.










Photography by: L Dunn

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sketchbook

So this is a quick painting done from a vase of flowers from the grocery. Done within an hour. I want to bring this exercise back into my work.

It is so easy to get in deep with a painting. Work on in FoReVeR, but it doesn't always mean a better painting. I've found that working quickly, when I've got my head right, I actually do better following instincts and not thinking too hard about how to make a good painting.

And know when to stop! That's hard.

I tend to feel that I can make every painting great, but that's not realistic. Not every painting is going to work and that's okay. If you work fast it also allows you to keep your attachment to it low. If it's good then your excited, if not, oh well move to the next piece.




I am happy with the color and composition if the piece. I didn't think enough about the background until too late. So I decided to just go with the bright white.
That gave me the idea to prepare a couple canvases in advance with dark backgrounds. I don't know what I'll use those for yet, but you can start with a blue or black canvas as easy as a white one.







Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

I'll admit, this year I had a hard time getting geared up to decorate for the holidays. However after a couple good cold days in a row I was getting closer. Then the though of decorating a table for Thanksgiving was the push over the edge I needed. I love setting a table! 











Honestly I feel stupid for posting about this. I mean it's kind of like I'm caving in to blogging peer pressure. Everyone else is posting about holiday decor.....But it is what I'm doing right now. I won't be making art or photographing new pieces this weekend, because I'll be spending time with family and friends. 
That I'm very excited about!

Photos from:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Refinishing an Old Dresser: Part 1




Don't get me wrong I like painted furniture. I make a living selling it and I have several pieces in my house. But what I've found is those DIY painted pieces, in my case, have ended up looking a little tired after only a few years of light use. So when I was the recipient of two dressers that needed some love to bring them up to date I knew right away I would not be painting them.

This is not a quick fix and it is not for everybody. It is pain staking and it will not be done in an afternoon. I'm not sure it was for me either, but once I start something I don't want to change course. That's the nice way of saying I'm stubborn. That being said. This will be a 3 part post. I will need time to get all of these steps completed!


Here she is. This is what I'm working with, and there is a tall chest that matches it. Good solid furniture, but not very cute. 




I started by removing all the hardware, taking the drawers out and getting all my tools together. 
  • Klean Strip (this stuff is really toxic so wear long sleeves, long pants and have a washing station near by)
  • heavy duty latex kitchen gloves
  • Plastic scraper (this doesn't leave marks in the wood like the metal one would)
  • old kitchen brush (to get into those deep groves that the scraper cannot reach)
  • galvanized metal bucket and brush
  • plastic drop cloth 
  • roll of paper towels




This part is nasty, but also kinda fun. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and I might suggest that if you live a warm climate don't start this project in the heat of the summer. I did the tall chest already, but I did it back in July and I was miserable and it took forever. I had to keep going inside to take a break from the heat. For the dresser I decided to wait until the fall. 
This goes so much faster if you work in sections painting stripper on several pieces then moving back to scrap the first ones while the others sit. Much harder to do if you are trying to avoid heat stroke.

Put down you drop cloth and place your furniture over it to catch those nasty leftovers. You will want to just roll up the drop cloth and throw it away afterward so I used a cheap plastic one.

Paint on the stripper and leave it on 15 minutes before scraping. I actually started with the drawers because they were the most difficult. I prefer to work from the hardest to easiest. Then I'm always moving toward a less difficult task.

Make sure to leave the product on long enough. You will see the finish start to bubble up off of the wood. I did have to add a second coat before scrapping on several occasions. Use heavy even pressure as you scrap towards you for the the best control. Use the plastic scraper on all flat surfaces and even along edges where you can. Go back over groves with the brush and use just as much pressure to really clean out the finish from those deep groves. 

But you can only do so much by just scraping off the finish. To get down to really clean wood you must sand!


Sanding Supplies
  • Sanding block (because I don't have an electric one, that would have saved some time)
  • 150 grit sand paper
  • box cutter (to cut strips of paper for the block)
  • wire brush (to clean off sand paper)
  • lots of elbow grease
Once again I started with the drawers. Be careful as you sand the edges and grooves not to round off square edges or you may loose some character of your piece. Also be prepared to go back to each drawer and make sure the every piece is sanded down to the same level.
You will notice the color of the piece lighten as you sand and remove even more of the finish. That's what I mean by sanding to the same level.



You can see the difference the sanding makes. Above the drawer to the left is stripped, but not sanded and the drawer to the right is fully stripped and sanded.








It's a wonderful thing when you finally get it all sanded. It looks so good already! The back breaking part is done.



The main disappointment was the top of the dresser. I read up about removing veneer from old furniture, but what I did not anticipate was the partial board underneath it.

Talk about sad! There is nothing you can do to make that better.

So that's when I got the idea to just remove the entire top and replace it with stone like you would for a bath vanity. I think a white and grey marble top will look great on this piece. I figure it will also make this piece useful in a dining or serving area at some point the down the road.

Now for the fun part of staining and sealing. Bringing it back to life! Look for that in a later post. For now I will sit back and enjoy the completion of these first few steps with a cocktail!




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Accountability

I started this blog as a way for me to be accountable to this project and my process. If I have to write about it I have to be working on it. Right?


Well what I've found is that this blog itself can become a distraction. I can spend hours surfing other blogs and getting great inspiration, but that does not count as making art. I love the blogs I've been following and you can see what I've been reading over at Bloglovin. I don't care what anyone says, RSS is not dead. I love having one place to read just blogs nothing else.  Anyway, see there I go drifting off. I have a problem with that.

 I have to keep refocusing myself.

I rewrite to do lists to keep myself on task.

I have a list of medium to large goals for myself and my shop.

But none of that has much to do with making time to make new art.

So with that in mind I am going to start a new type of post. I'm going to call it Sketchbook, it will be a weekly image of something I've been working on. It might be a sketch or a detail of a painting, even an experimental thumbnail. But the point is I have to be actively making new things. It will also let me talk about why I even did the work. Which helps me figure out my direction and who I am as an artist.

That is the intangible goal I've avoided for a long time. It's a strange thing to get your arms around.

You know those gut wrenching "critique sessions" in art school. Well maybe this will be a self inflicted critique every week. 

Comments, as always, are welcome!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Georgia

My favorite thing about starting this project has been my new awareness. I have become more open to the beautiful and the interesting around me.  I carry a moleskin in my purse and I make sure to travel with my sketch book. 

I'm ready to be inspired!

It's a much more engaged way of looking everything. On a trip through middle Georgia we stopped for a train to cross. I instinctively look up from my magazine as we stop, to see the little country railroad crossing. I see this old barn with artificial flowers hanging from the awnings. 

It struck me as funny and really beautiful at the same time.  I love that I had just a small window of time to take a few pictures before the train passed and my opportunity gone. 




Photography by L.Dunn