It was so exciting to be invited to exhibit my art at the Cloverdale Arts Gallery, but it comes with lots of hard work.
I've exhibited my photography but collage is so much more work. Because I love doing many forms of collage I realized that I had to have a cohesive exhibit--one basic subject matter and somewhat the same "style." How many pieces would I need? Ten feet worth! Well, I figured about 8 pieces maybe. Eight pieces of what?
I thought... birds, I love birds and always have...except jays. I can do multiple birds, birds of prey would be good...hummers and maybe a flower or two for color. What I didn't realize is how much detail birds actually have...feathers, wings, and the eyes... And I use maps, very old maps, storybook images, etchings, ledger pages, Citrasolv paper--so color, shade and shape would make up those details. The process of completing a bird was much more complex and sometimes more tedious than I could have imagined. When all my pieces were done and the exhibit opening arrived I was a bit anxious. Would people like my art? Would they realize how difficult it is to create a bird with so much detail? Would anyone come to the opening?
I was so pleased that my friends and family joined me at the opening evening. The support was so gratifying. The compliments were reassuring. It was a grand event.
My Great Horned Owls seem to be most popular, but I don't think that I really want to be known as "the bird collage artist."
Here it is 3/15/18 and I realized that I never completed this blog entry. That just shows me how inattentive I am to this blog process.
Just so you know how the exhibition went, I sold three of my pieces--one was a Great Horned Owl I I decided because there were two couples that gave me such wonderful compliments about the sold owl that I created another--and it was sold the day after I hung it. I understand why the Great Horned owls are so popular. These owls are so strong and expressive, and their coloring is so beautiful that their strong presence was easily represented in my art. They are beautiful birds!!! And my Kingfisher was purchased on "take down" day.
I am so very grateful to those who purchased my art and supported me through my first collage exhibition. It is so exciting to have my creations out in the world. It's kind of like being proud of your children and knowing that you live on through them. I spent a great deal of time creating the three pieces I sold--much thought, many cut pieces and lots of insuring that the paper was secure to its substrate. Using veneer made that a little more difficult, but all in all it was a most satisfying experience.
My thanks to the gallery, fellow artists, and the opportunity I was given to share.
I have an exhibit in November but because I have photos of my work due mid-September, I have been very busy making art. The summer has been busy. My husband and puppies have been pretty much ignored while I prepared. I did have a visit with my daughter, my website guru (her husband) and my two adorable grandchildren--it was absolutely wonderful. The conversations I have with my granddaughter are priceless and oh so "deep." My goodness, how did I live without grandkids. I miss my "distant" grand boys but hope to visit soon. My husband visited the boys and I was very envious when he discussed their activities and how much they have grown. I really feel like I'm missing so much.
As I mentioned before, I attended a WABI SABI workshop taught by Donna Watson at a beautiful venue--The Mendocino Art Center. She suggested that I have cohesive/related works for the exhibit so I decided to paper paint birds. It required much for time than I had expected, but I am very pleased with the results. I will add to the exhibition in a few "free form" pieces--more imagination than realism.
My favorite creations are creating new lives for those photographed in my antique cabinet photos.
Google Sketchbook Project (I suppose I should share the link, but do not know how.) I think you will enjoy them. The images are usually very formal and a bit stiff. In the Victorian period parents often took photographs of their deceased children, and although a bit strange by today's standards, it might be the only visible memory they had of their children. Remember, they lost many more children than we do now. I give these photos new and imaginary lives. Thereby they live on.
This is one of my exhibition pieces. Hope you enjoy it. It is titled "Lay Lillie Lay." Lillie is my imaginary hen that celebrates each day by laying a different colored egg.
I would suspect most artists want others to enjoy their art--someone, maybe anyone. I feel that insecurity, of course I'm insecure about a lot of other things too. Oh well... I've been told by art instructors that an artist creates because they must express themselves, and it's not necessary that others like their work. I think that is BS. What artist would want to stand next to their art at an exhibit and hear viewers say something derogatory about their work? Or even worse walk by quickly averting their eyes so as not to convey their disinterest in your creation.
In November I will exhibit my art at the Cloverdale Art Alliance. I will stand there with a very dry mouth, trying to smile, and hoping that someone will say, "I love your work." So you see, it is wonderful that my friends and family encourage me. It will help me become more confident and sure of myself.
Some of my family and friends are amazed at my new technological skills. I would never take the credit for creating this website. My son-in-law, Nick Ratcliff, is my administrator/creator. It took me almost two hours to place a photo on my home page--then it disappeared. Yes, Weebly is supposed to be user friendly, but this user is not friendly with computers. So, I cannot say how grateful I am for Nick's expertise and patience. He is one of my most ardent supporters and has great ideas and knows how to implement them. So THANKS NICK--I love you "son." My daughter, Kelly, is truly fortunate to have such a thoughtful husband--and he is an amazing father too.
It's been quite some time since I last blogged. I've been quite busy with classes, grandchildren, and creating art. My last class, "Wabi Sabi" was June 9-10 at the Mendocino Art Center. My teacher, Donna Watson, taught us to make our own paper with the thinnest and most delicate Japanese papers, and although it was fun, it was also quite challenging. Donna gave us many tips on how to create more interesting collages and encouraged us all to step away from our safe places. It wasn't easy to follow her direction, but I learned so much about composition. She also spoke to me about finding my voice--and although it is still but a whisper--Donna's given me much to think about. I am so thankful for her patience and compassion. Google Donna Watson and see what serene collages she creates.
I am currently exhibiting at the Cloverdale Performance Art Center. My work has been in the halls for over a month. I will be taking the pieces down around April 12. Some repairs will have to be made due to moisture and am hoping I can correct the lifting of the fragile architectural engravings.
The learning curve is pretty steep, and I seem to be at the lower end right now. I love creating art, but promoting it isn't easy. It is my desire to show my work locally at the Cloverdale Art Alliance. I believe I am a good fit and may also pursue exhibiting at a gallery in Chester, near Lake Almanor. We spend quite a bit of time at Almanor, and the art community is quite strong there. A supportive cooperative or gallery is what I am hoping for.
We'll see...if you are an artist you will understand my words, if not I am sure that you also try to make your dreams come true, even if you are unsure as to what they are.
It's important that we support each other. Please share my website with others. It's just the beginning.
Thank you, Leslie
Every artist has a style that often evolves. Well, currently I love creating backgrounds with one inch squares--sometimes larger. Some may think this is a little restrictive, but cutting and applying the little pieces is meditative. I choose to use decorative artist papers, but my favorite paper is one I create by using National Geographic Magazines (dated after the 1970s) and Citrasolv, an ecological orange concentrate degreaser. It more or less melts the clay inks, creating the most unpredictable colors and shapes. I love, love, love the Citrasolv paper. The process is a little messy but worth it.
I don't know how other artists work, but I don't usually have a plan. I don't draw my layout...I just start and eventually I feel that I have finished the piece. I become an alternate self. It's not a good idea to interrupt me during the process. Crazy as it seems, I enjoy watching old westerns while I am working--Gunsmoke is my favorite.
Hopefully, this gives you an insight into my process. As I continue this "blog" you will get to know me a little better. Come back and visit and enjoy the journey.
Until about eight years ago photography was my art form. I had taken every photography class available at the nearby community college including Color, Advanced and Experimental. I found the darkroom magical--floating the papers in the developer and seeing an image form was a miracle to me. I was totally awestruck, and I could spend hours and hours in the darkroom. Then the college decided to limit the number of times a student could take each class. That was the end of my long sessions in the darkroom. And using our spare bathroom was just too difficult--and the ventilation was horrible.
As I am technically challenged, digital photography is not magical in the least!!! So, finding another art form was inevitable. After I took a class in collage at the Palo Alto Art Center I was hooked. The other students in the class were kind, talented, supportive, and FUN. We lived each others lives--divorces, breast cancer, deaths of spouses, grandchildren, and tragically we shared grieving for two of our beloved "sisters." When I moved to Cloverdale, CA, I missed my collage group, but I visit every once in a while, and it's as if I never left.
Collage is limitless, meditative, and incredibly expressive for me.