Patti Edmon Altered Attic: July 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A card for Alice

I wanted to make something for my gorgeous daughter's 16th birthday, naturally. I've made books, scrapbooks, a light switch plate, door hanger and written her dozens of letters. So this year I decided to make a card, which I don't often do since my husband, Jim, is the resident greeting card guru, king, champ. He has been illustrating greeting cards for Oatmeal Studios for more than 25 years and a few of his designs remain best sellers. I digress. This post is more about the need for creative flexibility, knowing when a project is done, and, well, finishing what I've started. 

My track record for completion, especially when it comes to online workshops, isn't great but I think I've made peace with that. I do feel a bit guilty though I've paid the fee and nobody can see me not finish! I may not follow through but I've realized that I take away quite a number of elements that I can use in my own work. So, in addition to celebrating my incredible girl, this is also the result of a recent workshop with the fabulously talented __________________. Bet it's not too hard to guess:)

Peace and blessings, happy summer to you all! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

More fun with photos

Working in a watercolor book - rather than starting on another canvas - has been one of the most liberating creative experiences ever. I don't have a lot of room in my studio and I'm currently not making any efforts to show or sell so the watercolor book is also far more economical.  
Working in an open book also enhances my willingness to art more often and experiment more than ever. The biggest issue I'll have is that I may have to cut the pages out and re-bind them due to the dimensional aspect. I'm only seven pages in and the book won't exactly close. 
The enlarged close-up shot of an old bottle top isn't quite as interesting a focal point as some, but in keeping with the old black & white photo theme, I had hours of fun: coloring, staining, grunging, embossing, using pan pastels, reinkers, oil pastels and acrylics to stamp and paint over texture and trim, wallpaper and old book pages. Cutting up an old screen, scrap cardboard, a piece of wood, digging through my stash of wire and bottle caps - and wholey paper of course.

Same thing with Game Room... aside from the door the photo is building and weeds and I couldn't quite get a print that was, well, interesting. Micaceous Iron Oxide is one of my new favorite colors and with the exception of the red I wanted this page to be monochromatic. The door opens and inside are some 50s guys enjoying a drink between hands of poker... and there is a tiny photo of the country store guy on the right panel, who knows, maybe he runs the establishment called The Game Room. On to the next page...

The letters at the bottom spell 'play' but due to contrast and metal issues I couldn't get a good photo.

I hope you are having a great summer and making lots of art - thanks for looking at mine!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Variety is the spice

Working on a series of pieces incorporating black and white prints from the archives has kindled a deep sense of satisfaction. I haven't worked in the darkroom for nearly twenty years and I didn't start experimenting with acrylics until 2007; tying then and now together on watercolor paper, I realized that while the medium might be different I have always had the need to see what's around the next corner, behind that weathered door. 
My primary reason for using the watercolor book was because I don't need another dozen canvases loitering in the studio. I found it quite liberating, not nearly as serious as prepping a 12x12 board with gesso. A lifelong writer, I've had trouble getting art journaling to make sense; they've always been separate disciplines. Then I realized it's just about playing, experimenting and I opened the watercolor book and the fun began. 
If I had a dollar for every word I've written I'd be having lunch with Bill Gates (and picking up the tab), but even after having a blast with these pages - and I've done several - I'm not writing on them. So, does that qualify it as a journal? 

One of the, if not the, very best things about art is the endless exploration. I believe that curiosity and vision, as original as fingerprint and snowflake, but shared universally are what drive us to express. I've never had a distinct 'style' but rather a progression of approaches that only share texture, layers and paint. There isn't a lot of commonality in these two pieces, done in the same week, aside from my way of doing backgrounds. But both are the result of trying something new. I used to feel that I hadn't discovered my own voice... now I'm beginning to think I just create in many different languages. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Recycling passions can be too much fun!

Back in the old days, BC as I call them (before children), I spent hundreds of hours with a medium format camera, black and white film and abundant curiosity. Along with, of course, a fearless approach to people, property and situations with which I had no familiarity. An avid darkroom junkie, those sessions were a lot like the ones I now spend in the studio - great music at the right (loud) volume and totally in the zone - sans the chemicals that are fairly toxic when pregnant or mothering small kids. In the early-90s Photoshop was around but the world wasn't totally digital. I preferred the pursuit, capture and printing of images - test-strip prints, dodging and burning often ten or more prints before achieving the results I'd envisioned.

A month or so ago, I began thinking about incorporating my black & white prints and art. The first photo I chose was of an old truck (loved the rust, even then!) with the word "farm" scrawled on the door. It sat on the back table for a few weeks until I realized that, although not always 'typical' photos they were still focal points and as such, I could paint and collage and glue just like always. And that the finished piece would be even more original. I'm also quite sure that many mixed-media artists use their own photography, not quite sure why it seemed revolutionary at the time, just sayin.'

I started with an 11x14 canvas, cropped out almost the entire photo and used nearly everything I could get my hands on. The frame around the word farm is a painted, stained, chipboard version of the wholey paper I use in all my projects thanks to Jane at Random Arts. Then I rummaged through old book covers, wood, rusty metal junk - including the huge nail across the bottom, my fave!! - mica, fabric and used a strip of green stamps along the right edge on one of the layers. Once I got started I had a blast.
I'm now combing through prints with lots of ideas for recycling an old passion into a new(er) one!  


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