Patti Edmon Altered Attic: August 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Garden Fairy

While combing through photos I found the garden fairy that I've used for my avatar since I started blogging from the Altered Attic. The statue is in the front yard of a friend's house around the corner; I saw 'her' on one of my photo walks several years ago. 

I started with a cutout of the fairy and a background, and no clue how I was going to merge the two. But since it's 'just watercolor paper' I figured that trying one process/step would lead to the next so I shut my brain off and started playing. Foraging through the far corners of the studio, sifting through supplies and treasures I don't often use proved very useful. The wings are gorgeous lace from my Flights of Fancy stash and I worked on them for quite a while to alter the ivory and blend them with the rest of the colors. I used Golden's pearl mica flake paint and love the texture and the hint of sparkle (so subtle it doesn't show up in the photo:). I continued digging and found some moss - how delightful and no, my studio isn't so bad that I have mushrooms and moss growing. It was in a container and to give it a splash of color I spritzed it with lavender glimmer mist. I used alcohol ink on the silver stars, which don't show up well because of the glare, flowers and leaves from my old Prima stash, cut apart a small fabric gift bag from Japan and heavily applied Pan Pastels to make the color pop. I was happy with the way she turned out so I updated my blogger avatar and have a new art fairy.

What's on your table? 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

old photographs, scissors and baby wipes

This is one of my favorites (so far - ha). Jim and I were wandering around the small town of Cynthiana (Kentucky) and walked by an old store front and noticed these dolls mounted and stuck in a dusty corner, and I took a quick shot.That was back in 1988, maybe 1991, a long time ago to say the least! I'm still a bit stunned by the number of pieces I've been finishing and I love that the detail, texture, quirkiness, weathered or rusty surfaces I loved to photograph then are the way I paint now.  

Having a chronic illness prevents me from roaming the countryside in search of interesting subjects. I've tried digital collage - wow that is such an entirely vast new universe - but love getting paint on my hands so for now I'm sticking with acrylics. And reinkers, pan pastels, stencils, fabric, paper scraps, old window screens, wallpaper*, fibers, embossing, resist, beeswax and other stuff in my studio. I'm so fortunate to have been able to collect such a diverse, myriad storehouse of goodies. It makes me feel rich, one of the benefits of illness I mentioned; such intense waves of pure joy that I don't recall feeling often back in the hectic, type A do-it-all days.

Now for some sad news. One of my first ever pair of art scissors broke, obviously from the years of use considering it's the handle not the blades. Together, we learned to cut straighter lines, rounder circles and detailed shapes... sigh. I don't know whether to observe a moment of silence or find the duct tape 

You know you're an artist if you have a favorite brand of baby wipes but no baby. I've accumulated quite a stack with such a variety of colors. If anyone has used upcycled dried-up (art) wipes in a project please share ideas - they're too cool not to use them!

PS: The comments I get on posts about chronic illness rock my world... yeah, those benefits!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Creativity and Chronic Illness

Invisible Illness Week is coming up - September 5 through 15 and the theme this year is, I Choose to: 

I don't always consider my autoimmune arthritis a benefit, particularly when one, or five days have been cancelled due to lack of ability. But there are gifts that come with the burden that are too valuable to bury beneath self-pity. I've learned so much about understanding the need for real priorities, valid choices, insightful empathy, living in the moment and the need to abandon the false ego that really does waste a lot of time. I've lived the better part of the last decade with illness and I choose to call myself an altered artist. Though I've been a writer and photographer nearly all my life I never picked up a paint brush until the expanding need for self-expression gave me an ultimatum: either work to nurture an evolving, explosive passion or, well, go nuts. I say that lightly knowing how fortunate I am to have had that opportunity. 

Saturday I was on day four of a major flare and as the anger swelled, and the bitter, mean, self-taunting voices began shouting, I grabbed my headphones, paint and my watercolor book and dove in (gently). I persevere, not because it's my career - I've already done that, though I'm far too young to be retired - or because I have big plans, which invariably derail midstream. 

No, aside from a few random events the only people who see my art are you, my family, close friends. But I don't create for the sake of potential sales, exhibition, publication. I choose to make art because I can and because it helps me stay in touch with the gentle encouraging voice that is always there, whispering, "you make a difference, you have a purpose." 

(By the way, Lesley Riley invented the most amazing thing - Transfer Artist Paper - and I was finally successful in transferring onto acrylics (the weeds:). I look forward to further exploration.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted

Another page from my watercolor book features a photo of a table setting/vase, taken so long ago I don't even recall where we were! I'm consciously using a wider range of color, materials, processes and techniques in my work - so along with layer/texture love, I'm really stretching. Pan pastels put a nice finishing touch on this piece so they're a new favorite. 

The theme for this post is flowers (really, who does themes?! maybe a way to use two unrelated photos). From social media pals, I've learned that Central Kentucky isn't the only area with a blasted rain gauge. Between the fog, sog and chill, it hasn't really seemed like summer for much of the time, though rain does create fabulous studio days! I've finished a dozen pages, more art than I've ever made in a short time span... don't know if it's thanks to working in a book or using the photography - or both, but as we all know, more art = more happy. Especially since we've only had two lakes trips so I haven't done enough swimming (my other therapy for chronic illness!).

I don't have much of a green thumb but was thrilled when my artist-husband, Jim Edmon, upcycled some old wood and glass panels to create the coolest flower holder (is that even a valid term??) ever! He even did the planting - I have a feeling this addition to our somewhat eclectic, foresty back yard will be a fave for years to come. 

Hope your late summer is blossoming! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

head games

Another page from the watercolor book. This 'guy' was a sculpture/statue - head only - on the ground in the woods next to a fabulous house in Ann Arbor, where Jim and I were attending a wedding reception in 2006. As a photograph it was interesting but not anything extraordinary. When I cut him out and gave him a body I was really pleased with the results. 
The number 42 is an inside joke at our house - and to anyone who has truly asked, "what is the meaning of life?" and I've wanted to use a card of buttons for the five years I've had them! One upside to hoarding? Of course, just like the fabric, key and bingo card:). I still have a bunch of flocked wallpaper - anybody?

The merging of photography and art has become rather obsessive - I've done a dozen pages in just over a month. The common factors are that I took the photograph and, well, my love for texture, layers, layers and more layers. Other than that they are so dissimilar, I love it. As soon as I can get the right climate (errgghh), I'll photograph the other pieces.

What are you working on?


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